Columns

From the category archives: Glen Argan

Glen Argan

Besieged Church need not withdraw into circle of muskox

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March 19, 2012

The greatest threat to the Church is its own fears. We have nothing to fear from the powers of the world who, though they torture us, ban our worship and close our schools, can never harm the Church. The history of Christianity is replete with stories of persecution making the Church stronger.

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Strong societies built on virtue more than good institutions

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March 12, 2012

The leaders of the Arab Spring movement have found it easier to destroy a dictatorship than to build a democracy. That insight comes from Rashid Ghannushi, an intellectual leader in Tunisia, the north African country where the Arab Spring began a year ago.

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U. S. Church ignores teaching moment on contraception

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March 5, 2012

The Catholic Church in the United States is waging a valiant defence against a federal government plan to make all employee insurance benefit programs pay for contraceptives. The Church, led by the U.S. bishops, has argued that it would be a violation of the religious liberty to force Catholic institutions to pay for contraceptives.

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Bouchard leaving, but he leaves legacy of moral courage

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February 27, 2012

The appointment of Bishop Luc Bouchard as bishop of Trois Rivieres, Quebec, came as a bolt out of the blue. Bishop of St. Paul for 10 years, Bouchard seemed likely to minister here until his retirement in 13 years.

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Catholic colleges offer the gift of a liberal education

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February 20, 2012

It is a great misfortune that once was seen as the cornerstone of a liberal education is now widely perceived as the writings of dead, white, European males. The purpose of reading authors from Homer to Heidegger was not to narrow one's perspective to that of an antiquarian patriarchy. Rather it was to enable the people of today to participate in the great 2,500-year conversation of the Western world's greatest minds over central questions such as the meaning of life, morality, God, science, society and many others.

All are welcome to participate in that conversation no matter their race, creed, country or gender. However, to walk in on a conversation that has been going on for centuries and to pretend that one can make an immediate, creative contribution is, at best, impertinent.

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Evil of suffering can be transformed into the highest good

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February 13, 2012

The feast of Our Lady of Lourdes, Feb. 11, was a special day for Blessed John Paul II. In 1992, he expanded the feast into the World Day of the Sick. Eight years earlier, however, he issued his apostolic letter Salvifici Doloris (On The Christian Meaning of Human Suffering) on the anniversary of the first appearance of Our Lady to St. Bernadette.

Blessed John Paul rode against the tide on many topics, but perhaps none more than that of human suffering. Ours is an age, especially in the West, that views comfort and pleasure as the greatest good and suffering as the worst evil. The rising call for assisted suicide is due in no small part to the prevailing sentiment that esteems a comfortable, content life as the greatest to which one can aspire.

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Next pope just might have a local connection

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February 6, 2012

On Feb. 18, Toronto Archbishop Thomas Collins will become the first former archbishop of Edmonton to be installed as a cardinal. Collins is no longer "our man," nor is he the "man" of the St. Paul Diocese where his episcopal career began. Nevertheless, we feel some stake in the man and are glad to experience a little of the reflected glory of his appointment.

A little known fact, however, is that Collins will not be the first priest from this archdiocese to wear the red hat. That honour belongs to Cardinal James Charles MacGuigan, archbishop of Toronto from 1934 to 1971, who in 1946 became the first-ever English-speaking Canadian cardinal.

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Take the fascinating – and surprising – Catholic house tour

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January 30, 2012

One obligation Catholics have is to become catholic. The four marks of the true Church, as we learned in catechism class, are to be one, holy, catholic and apostolic. However, these are not badges to be worn with pride; they are obligations for living.

The Church is sometimes accused of being a relic of mediaeval times; in fact, it is a Church of all times. For G.K. Chesterton, the famous 20th century apologist and convert to the Catholic Church, Catholicism "is not an old religion; it is a religion that refuses to grow old." It is not old, but eternal.

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Designer genes move into life's dark side

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January 23, 2012

Only 34 years ago the first "test tube baby" was born. Things have since come a long way. Scientists have developed preimplantation genetic diagnosis which, combined with the mapping of human genome, has set the stage for the possible creation of designer babies.

Those involved in the assisted reproduction industry say designing your own baby to be as smart as Aristotle and athletic enough to be a pro football quarterback is not technically possible. The vast majority also say they won't select embryos based on cosmetic traits, such as ensuring your baby is blond, blue-eyed and beautiful. What they want to do is to prevent diseases and health conditions that create suffering.

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Church's treasure of sexual teaching is a gift to the world

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January 16, 2012

Basilian Father Jack Gallagher has written an important book that challenges both Church and society (Pages 10 and 11). The challenge to society is to overcome its individualistic approach to sexual morality that has separated procreation from marriage. The challenge to the Church is to be more forthright in presenting its teaching on sexuality and marriage that is the only real hope for society to avoid collapse and ruin.

Gallagher doesn't mince words in his book, Human Sexuality and Christian Marriage: An Ethical Study. Evidence abounds, he says, indicating that the direction in which society is moving regarding sex and marriage is disastrous for both individuals and society itself.

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