Columns

From the category archives: Glen Argan

Glen Argan

Fair Elections Act is still unfair

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May 12, 2014

The federal Conservative government has made some headway in improving the so-called Fair Elections Act with its recent spate of amendments. However, it still has a long road to travel before it arrives at its intended destination of providing the basis for fair elections in Canada. In carrying out investigations of election fraud, the chief electoral officer still lacks the power to compel witness testimony. Without that power, the electoral officer may frequently have his or her hands tied in fully investigating matters that come forward.

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Archbishop MacNeil still helping us grow together into Christ

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April 28, 2014

Archbishop Joseph MacNeil is 90. Good grief! Like many people in this diocese, I can say that I knew him when he was in his 50s. Time passes, and we're all much older now than we were then. There are many memories, but one that stands out might seem mundane. I knew almost from the day I walked in the door what his episcopal motto was – Let us grow together into Christ, which he took from Ephesians 4.15. More than a personal motto, it was something engraved on the heart of the local Church during MacNeil's 26 years as archbishop of Edmonton.

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Christ's resurrection was a bodily one

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April 28, 2014

Despite our faith, we still have a hard time making sense of Easter. What has happened to Christ's body that he can pass through walls, but still eat food? He is not a ghost, but neither is he a material being in the way that we understand matter. Over the course of history, some heavy thinkers have been tempted to give up on Easter. The resurrection, some say, was not bodily; there was no empty tomb. The resurrection was more like a brilliant inspiration given from on high that helped Jesus' disciples make sense of the time they spent with him. It was a spiritual empowerment that spurred them to go forth and spread the Gospel.

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Thank God for the gift of evildoers

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April 28, 2014

One of the greatest spiritual challenges Christians face is the evildoer, especially the one who is doing evil to me. It's hard to turn a blind eye to these vipers, hard to ignore their provocations. Yet, if we are to have any peace ourselves and if the world itself is to achieve peace, we at the very least have to pick our battles judiciously. Better still, if we see them within the perspective of eternity, we will realize they are no more than irksome flies, annoying little gnats whose day will soon pass.

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Unsettling 'truths' of survivors need to be heard

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April 14, 2014

The first concern that one might have about the Truth and Reconciliation Commission is that only one side of the "truth" was heard at its national events. While one heard numerous testimonies from survivors of Indian residential schools, no one spoke for those, mostly Church people, who worked in the schools. Even less was there any voice for the federal government which held ultimate authority for the schools.

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Pope John Paul II will be seen as one of greatest popes

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March 31, 2014

On April 27, Popes John XXIII and John Paul II will be canonized. Both were great men who made epochal contributions to the Catholic Church. While John XXIII made an enormous contribution to transforming the Catholic Church, John Paul II is one of the greatest popes in the Church's 2,000-year-history, perhaps the greatest.

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A church committed to fighting racism

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March 31, 2014

The Alberta bishops' recent pastoral letter on Indian residential schools did many positive things. Besides again apologizing for Catholic involvement in the schools and inviting the Catholic community to participate in the March 27-30 Truth and Reconciliation Commission hearings in Edmonton, the bishops also said "God is speaking to us today through the gifts of aboriginal culture and spirituality."

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Ukraine deserves peace, justice and sovereignty

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March 17, 2014

Why did thousands of unprotected Ukrainian protesters remain in Independence Square on Feb. 20 as sniper fire rained down on them from above? Why did they not run for cover as did the foreign journalists who were reporting on the protests? Think first of the Holodomor of 1932-33, the forced starvation of millions of people suffering under Soviet oppression. Think of the attempted annihilation following the Second World War of the Ukrainian Catholic Church, a body most determined to stand for Ukrainian national identity, cultural expression and freedom. Think of the imprisonment and exile of poet Taras Shevchenko and numerous other 19th-century Ukrainian artists who passionately wrote against the repression of Ukrainians by the tsar and in favour of Ukrainian national identity.

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Ugandan law violates human dignity

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March 17, 2014

The Ugandan government's decision to punish those who engage in homosexual acts with life imprisonment should be opposed by every person concerned about the dignity of the human person. African politicians are resentful of what they see as attempts by Western nations to export homosexual behaviour onto their continent. The United Nations' support for advancing so-called sexual and reproductive rights is profoundly disturbing to societies that continue to respect human life and traditional family structures. Nevertheless, the rabid reaction of African politicians to UN and other Western initiatives could easily lead to acts of violence against homosexuals.

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When injustice takes root in a parish

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March 17, 2014

Traditionally, there are four marks of the true Church – it is one, holy, catholic and apostolic. However, the 1970 world Synod of Bishops added a fifth mark. By saying that justice is a constitutive dimension of the Gospel, the synod in effect said the true Church is also known by its proclamation and living out of God's justice. This is a good thing, but it can also be problematic. For just as the Church is not united and its members often lack holiness, relations among baptized believers are sometimes unjust.

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