Columns

From the category archives: Opinions

Glen Argan

The cross remains a scandal for us today

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March 23, 2015

Even after 2,000 years of Christianity, the cross is a scandal. Good Friday annually confronts us with the message St. Paul says "is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved, is the power of God" (1 Corinthians 1.18). In many nations today, violence is a lived reality. War, terrorism, marginalization in poverty or homelessness, or simple abandonment by loved ones are defining characteristics of the lives of tens of millions of people.

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Federal sentencing bill seeks to solve a problem that doesn't exist

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March 23, 2015

Government's most fundamental responsibility is that of protecting the common good. Part of that responsibility – in the Canadian system, it is a federal responsibility – is that of protecting the public order, including punishing the perpetrators of major crimes. Punishment serves three purposes. First and most important, it attempts to redress the disorder caused by the offence. The traditional term for such redress is retribution, widely misinterpreted as meaning revenge.

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Vanier found the path to true happiness

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March 23, 2015

It is fitting that Jean Vanier's doctoral dissertation focused on Happiness as the Principle and End of Aristotelian Ethics. (See story, Page 5.) One can only wonder what he thinks of that topic now that he has spent 50 years happily living with mentally handicapped people. Happiness is the goal of human living, but how does one find it? For Aristotle, it is through a life of virtue.

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At foot of the cross, Mary became our spiritual mother

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March 23, 2015
GLEN ARGAN
WESTERN CATHOLIC REPORTER

The appearance of Mary, Jesus' mother, and the beloved disciple at the foot of the cross presents a scene perplexing to Scripture scholars. How did they get there? The three synoptic Gospels – Matthew, Mark and Luke – make no mention of Mary in Jerusalem, let alone at the cross. The synoptics do say women were present at the crucifixion, but only at a distance and only after Jesus' death. As for the beloved disciple, the other Gospel accounts say the disciples had fled Jerusalem prior to the crucifixion.

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Supreme Court is losing its sense of judicial restraint

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March 9, 2015

The Supreme Court of Canada has a responsibility not only to interpret laws, but also to chuck laws that are plainly unconstitutional onto the garbage heap. The court has done this throughout Canada's history, in one notable case radically redefining the relationship between the federal and provincial governments. The court's ability to overturn laws gained wide expansion, however, with the Constitution Act of 1982 and its Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

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Our Lenten walk on the path of humility

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March 9, 2015

It was God's humility that prevented people from recognizing Jesus as saviour, and, even today, it is that humility that keeps us from following Christ. If there is one thing we need to learn in Lent, it is humility. But humility is not what we might think it to be. Humility does not involve bowing before greatness; that is a simple recognition of truth. There is no humility in bowing before God; we are acknowledging the truth of God's infinite greatness.

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Canada has a day to remember John Paul II

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March 9, 2015

Likely few Canadians have Thursday, April 2 on their radar screen. That day will not only be Holy Thursday, but also both Canada's first commemoration of Pope John Paul II Day as well as the 10th anniversary of the sainted pope's death. It might seem odd that Canada, a largely secular nation, has set aside a day on which to remember a Catholic pope. Pope John Paul, however, was no garden variety pope, if there be such a thing.

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Assisted suicide testifies to a society that has grown cold

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February 23, 2015

However did we reach this point in Canada where the Supreme Court would legalize assisted suicide with the overwhelming support of the people? The answer is not easy to discern, but it behooves us to try. By discovering how we got lost, we may begin to find a way home. The most obvious causes of our plight are the idolatry of individual freedom in isolation from the common good and the erosion of respect for human life. That the individual ought to control his or her life is now an axiom of Canadian society. That belief is ideological, but it is an ideology rooted in the prosperity the Western world has enjoyed for several decades.

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Political issues may be at play in the falling price of oil

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February 23, 2015

For Albertans, the huge drop in oil prices is having major repercussions. The provincial government says it faces a $7-billion annual deficit unless it cuts spending, and job layoffs are beginning to affect many people both inside and outside of the petroleum industry. The lower pump price of gasoline hardly begins to compensate for the negative effects of the collapse in prices. Yet, too often the falling prices have been seen solely in terms of market economics. For some strange reason, too much oil is being produced globally and that is driving the per-barrel price downward.

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Need for theologically-educated laity is growing

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February 23, 2015

The Church could use many more theologically educated laypeople. Say that in the wrong company, and you may draw resistance. Faith is more about the heart than the head, some will respond. What good is all that knowledge if you cannot communicate it to the average person, others will ask. Learning theology can cause you to lose your faith, still others will say. Such objections, even the last one, are true. Still, it is odd to hear faithful Catholics fret about others dedicating themselves to deepening their understanding of the Bible and the tradition of the Church.

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