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From the category archives: Glen Argan

Glen Argan

Quick judgments about God's wrath ignore mystery of suffering

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December 1, 2014

The mysterious man walked into the church after Communion, loudly announced, "Ebola is God's punishment" and then left. There are two problems here (three, if you include his lack of respect for people at worship and for the God they worship) – bad theology and racism. To say people suffer because God is punishing them for their sins is a quick, easy and idiotic judgment. This is not to say that God does not care about evil. If God loves good, he must hate evil. God is passionately concerned about each person and whether he or she chooses good or evil. Scripture, both New and Old Testaments, includes several accounts of people who were punished for turning away from God.

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Pope preaches uncompromising Gospel

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December 1, 2014

For some Catholics at least, there exists the frightening prospect that the media is right about Pope Francis – that the pope is trying to make it easier to live the Gospel, that he wants to water down the faith and that he wants Catholics to get in step with modern society. There was, of course, the famous "Who am I to judge?" comment the pope made shortly after his election in relation to homosexual activity. Now, there is the prospect that it might become easier to obtain a Church annulment or possibly even for divorced and remarried people to be welcomed at Communion without having their first marriage annulled. Some fear all this means that the pope wants to alter Church teaching.

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Are English-speakers rising in Rome?

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December 1, 2014

The appointment of English Archbishop Paul Gallagher to the Vatican's equivalent of a foreign minister has been heralded as part of the rise of English-speaking bishops in key Roman positions. Gallagher's appointment comes shortly after Australian Cardinal George Pell was put in charge of the Holy See's finances. However, it was not long ago that two Americans held top Vatican posts – Cardinal William Levada as prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and Cardinal Raymond Burke as head of the Church's supreme court. Levada retired and Burke was shifted to a lesser role as patron of the Knights of Malta.

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Mistrust of converts provides context for Guadalupe visions

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December 1, 2014
GLEN ARGAN
WESTERN CATHOLIC REPORTER

In his 1999 apostolic exhortation Ecclesia in America, St. John Paul II referred to Our Lady of Guadalupe as the hope for the new evangelization in the Americas. Mary's appearance to St. Juan Diego at the Aztec holy site of Tepeyac in 1531 had a decisive effect in bringing the Gospel to the indigenous peoples of present-day Mexico. In the document, the pope prayed that Mary's intercession would lead to an outpouring of the Holy Spirit "so that the new evangelization may yield a splendid flowering of Christian life." Indeed, the image of Mary miraculously emblazoned on Juan Diego's cloak was replete with symbols from the Aztec culture. The Church did not even have to deliberately accommodate its presentation of the Holy Virgin to the Aztec people; Mary had done the job.

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Religious persecution calls for faith, reason to embrace each other

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November 17, 2014

The 20th-century historian Arnold Toynbee once wrote, "The things that make good headlines are on the surface of the stream of life, and they distract us from the slower, impalpable, imponderable movements that work below the surface and penetrate to the depths." Yet, these slower movements are what affect society most deeply. That is why the 2014 report of Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) on the state of religious freedom in the world ought to be of great concern. (See story on Page 11.) While religious persecution does make headlines, this does not happen enough to make it apparent that this is a great issue of our time.

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Woman clothed with the sun battles against cosmic evil

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November 17, 2014
GLEN ARGAN
WESTERN CATHOLIC REPORTER

As the Church year draws to a close, the Scripture readings that confront us are filled with apocalyptic images that herald a monumental struggle against the forces of darkness. On one hand, it is easy to see that battle being waged in world events with wars and savage killings, not only in the Middle East and Ukraine, but also in many parts of Africa. The two recent attacks on Canadian military personnel might also be viewed as indicators that this cosmic battle has even touched our peaceful land. The cosmic battle may seem remote from our daily routines until that routine is thrown into turmoil by some crime, the death of a loved one or another disturbing occurrence. Mostly, our lives seem to continue outside any overt waging of the ultimate battle between good and evil.

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Francis leads Church into an era of greater transparency

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November 3, 2014

What a refreshing synod of bishops! Say what you want about the final report adopted – at least in large part – by the bishops in Rome, this synod has ushered in a huge culture change at the highest levels of the Church. When Pope Francis decided to make the synod's final report public, along with the vote totals for each paragraph in the document, it brought a level of transparency never before seen. For too long and in too many ways, the Church has been tight with information because of the supposed fear of scandalizing the faithful. Oh, how ever would people react if they saw that bishops and other Church leaders sometimes disagreed over substantive issues! Indeed, the real scandal was that episcopal deliberations had to be held under lock and key with only sanitized communiques issued at the conclusion.

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No inevitability to Canada's future

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November 3, 2014

During the Oct. 22 lockdown in Ottawa following the murder of armed forces reservist Cpl. Nathan Cirillo and the subsequent killing of Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, a reporter for a national media outlet wrote that Canada will never again be the same. One can appreciate the fear and anxiety a person would experience in such a situation without granting that our nation is forever altered. There will, no doubt, be greater security on Parliament Hill, a result of the increasingly dangerous times in which we live. Yet, the strength of a nation will be found not in kneejerk responses to lunatics who – even if they are politically or religiously motivated – cause death and mayhem. Our strength is found in re-emphasizing our commitment to peace and freedom, building more intercultural dialogue and understanding, and renewing Canada's spiritual fabric.

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Church, Caesar are uneasy partners

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November 3, 2014

One unfortunate fallout of the extensive media coverage of the bishops' synod on the family is that it plays into the widespread perception that the only societal issues with which the Catholic Church is concerned are those dealing with human life, the family and sex. Of course, the Church is and ought to be vitally concerned with those issues, but there are many others as well. Coincidentally, the end of the synod fell next to a Sunday when the Gospel reading included Jesus' much-abused statement, "Give to Caesar the things that are Caesar's and to God the things that are God's" (Matthew 22.21). The statement is misunderstood when it is used to assert that the Church should not concern itself with political matters.

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Canada, U.S. bombs will only deepen tragedy of Syria, Iraq

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October 20, 2014

Once again Western nations, led by the United States and including Canada, are trying to impose a military solution on Middle East countries where terror has overrun any semblance of the common good. It has not worked in the past, and it won't work this time. Indeed, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) grew out of the situation created by the two Iraq wars of the last 25 years. The successful overthrow of dictator Saddam Hussein led, not to meaningful peace, but rather to the rise of an even more bloodthirsty monster intent on wreaking murder and mayhem.

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