Columns

From the category archives: Opinions

Bob McKeon

TRC draws to a close, but aboriginal issues remain unresolved

Bob McKeon

May 18, 2015

In a few weeks, in Ottawa, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) will come to a close. On June 1 the TRC will present its final report. There will be formal closing ceremonies at Rideau Hall on June 2. These events will mark an important moment in the long, challenging story of the Indian residential schools, and of everyone associated with the schools.

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Way of the Cross spurs Gospel reflection

Bob McKeon
April 20, 2015

Over the years, participation in Edmonton's Outdoor Way of the Cross on Good Friday morning has very much become part of my life. In the beginning years, the route was downtown, the first year going over the High Level Bridge as far as the University Hospital. More recently, the event has found its home in the inner city, with the procession this year starting and ending at Hope Mission, the largest homeless shelter in the city.

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Taxation must support the common good

Bob McKeon
March 23, 2015

Today in Alberta we find ourselves often talking about government budgets. Because of low oil prices, government revenues are down. Alberta relies heavily on ever-changing revenues from the sale of fossil fuels to balance its budget, between 15 and 40 per cent of total government revenues depending on the year. Of course, world oil and gas prices over the years rise and fall dramatically. When gas and oil prices are high, Alberta has budget surpluses.

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Lenten fast should challenge injustice

Bob McKeon

February 23, 2015

Each year as we enter the first week of Lent, we naturally tend to think of fasting. Often we may think of things to give up and abstain from. Candies and deserts may be chosen. For adults, maybe it is alcohol or smoking. It is almost as if we can get a second chance to work at the New Year's resolutions we failed at a month earlier. Significantly, the Scripture passages for the first days of Lent each year speak of fasting. However, what is meant by fasting is different from simply giving up certain treats and pleasures for 40 days.

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Church teaching on domestic violence too often forgotten

Bob McKeon

January 26, 2015

In the last days of 2015, Edmontonians were shocked by news of mass murder in their community. Phu Lam killed his wife, Thuy Tien Truong, five other relatives by marriage and two other adults before killing himself. Police investigators describe these murders as a case of domestic violence. Two years earlier, Lam was arrested for punching and attempting to strangle Truong. At that time, Lam threatened to kill all the members of his wife's family. Shortly afterwards Truong withdrew her testimony about the violence and threats, and charges against Lam were dropped. Lam and Truong were reconciled for a time, and had another child together. Last month the violence escalated to murder.

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Sisters' foundation seeks ecological balance

Bob McKeon

December 29, 2014

In recent weeks, there has been much in the news about the latest UN climate change conference in Lima, Peru. Articulate Catholic voices were raised during the conference. Pope Francis sent a personal message with a sense of urgency saying "the time for seeking global solutions is running out" and that there exists "a clear, definitive and unpostponable, ethical imperative to act."

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Efforts to end homelessness call for true solidarity

Bob McKeon

December 1, 2014

Earlier this month, faith leaders from 25 churches and faith communities, including Archbishop Richard Smith, joined together at City Hall to renew their commitment to support the goal of Edmonton's 10 Year Plan to End Homelessness in our city. They reaffirmed the words of the Interfaith Statement they originally signed in 2011. Significantly, this statement ends with a list of values shared by the different faith communities: "respect for human dignity, solidarity with those who are poor and vulnerable, and an affirmation of the importance of inclusive and welcoming communities where individuals and families can thrive." This is an important message for us today. Solidarity is a strong word. Pope Francis, in a recent statement, insists that solidarity "means much more than some acts of sporadic generosity."

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Canada drags its heels as Church speaks clearly on climate change

Bob McKeon

November 3, 2014

Environmental concerns have been very much in the news over the past weeks. Last month, on the occasion of the UN Summit Climate, more than 300,000 people marched together in New York to support a call for effective and timely action on climate change. There is a strong sense of urgency. Unless major changes are made in current governmental policies, practices and commitments, it is almost certain that global warming will exceed two degrees C by 2100, the generally accepted limit by scientific and government authorities around the world. National leaders came from around the world to speak, with our prime minister being a notable exception.

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All called to take part in ending poverty

Bob McKeon

October 6, 2014

Almost two years ago I was invited to join Edmonton's Poverty Elimination Steering Committee as a faith community representative. City council established this committee to follow the example of other cities and provinces in establishing long-term, multi-sector poverty elimination initiatives that sought to address the root causes of poverty. This Edmonton poverty initiative sought to complement and build on the success of Edmonton's 10 Year Plan to End Homelessness which had already been underway for a couple of years.

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Wisdom needed to avoid ecological disasters

Bob McKeon

September 8, 2014

This summer I decided to take holiday time far away from Edmonton. I went to Ireland with family and friends. While visiting Galway Cathedral, I stopped to browse in the cathedral bookstore. There I purchased an interesting book on Catholic ethical reflections on nuclear power titled Fukushima. It was by an Irish priest, Sean McDonagh, who is a leading Catholic environmental writer. As I sat down, many miles from home to do a quick browse through the book, I came across a section on the Alberta bishops and their June 2009 statement, Pastoral Reflections on Nuclear Energy in Alberta.

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