Columns

From the category archives: LeftColumn

Stories for the Left Column of the Columns Page

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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Marital breakdown calls for true mercy

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October 20, 2014

Most attention in preparation for the world synod of bishops on the family has focused on whether ways can be found to allow divorced-and-remarried Catholics to receive Communion without having their first marriage annulled. While this is an important topic for discussion, a singular focus on this issue is a symptom of overly legalistic times. When modern Western society has a significant social problem, it habitually seeks a juridical solution. In preparation for the synod, possible changes in Church law have been described in terms of a search for mercy. Mercy, according to Pope St. John Paul II, is "a superabundance of justice." Mercy is more powerful and more profound than justice, the late pope wrote in his encyclical Rich in Mercy (Dives in Misericordia, 4).

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Ebola outbreak is a result of global inequality

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October 20, 2014

The rapidly growing Ebola crisis in West Africa, says Robert Walker, president of the Population Institute, has the potential to become "one of the greatest humanitarian disasters of our time." As of Oct. 9, the estimate of those dead from Ebola had reached 3,865 people worldwide. The disease could do much greater damage than it already has in developing nations with inadequate medical facilities and compromised public health systems, Walker said in an article in The World Post. Medical personnel are particularly susceptible to the disease, and if large numbers of them die, the people could be left to fend for themselves.

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When one door of happiness closes, God opens another one

Mark Pickup

October 20, 2014

Helen Keller was deaf and blind from early childhood, yet she became one of the great humanitarians of the 20th century. When news of her death in 1968 came over the radio, I remember my father say, "There goes a great person." I was 15 years old at the time and too self-absorbed to understand. Only much later, in my own disability, did I begin to understand what my father meant. Helen Keller wrote: "When one door of happiness closes, another opens, but often we look so long at the closed door we do not see the one that has opened for us."

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Church must navigate dangerous currents with the ship of mercy

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October 6, 2014

One need only compare the stories on the reports given by four Canadian bishops with the efforts of several cardinals to uphold Church teaching on the family and marriage (Pages 18 and 19) to see the huge disconnect between doctrine and pastoral reality in today's Catholic Church. If the chasm between teaching and the lives of today's Catholics widened following Pope Paul VI's reaffirmation in 1968 of the immoral nature of artificial contraception, it has expanded even more during the intervening decades.

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Mireau blessed us by being himself

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October 6, 2014

Prior to his ordination in 2002, Michael Mireau told the WCR that the priesthood is realized differently in different people. There will be differences in personal taste, appearance, many things. But the minute a priest drops his individual identity and becomes "the priest," Mireau said he stops being human. Because of that, he stops being an effective priest. One thing for sure was that Father Mireau never lost his unique identity, never bowed to whatever pressure there was to compromise the person God had created him to be in order to fit into some watered-down human standard of "the priest."

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Guarantee the right to be loved

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October 6, 2014

In a little book called Tears of Silence, published in 1970, Jean Vanier wrote, "He who is or has been deeply hurt has a right to be sure he is loved." A right to be loved? To be sure that you are loved? What a novel concept! Ours is an age of rights (even though those rights are routinely violated the world over). Rights can seal the individual in a cocoon of autonomy, in a protective separation from violence, hatred and other forms of abuse

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