WCR This Week

Jay's Articles

Canadian bishops celebrate ecumenical landmark

Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras

November 17, 2014
DEBORAH GYAPONG
CANADIAN CATHOLIC NEWS

To mark the 50th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council's Decree on Ecumenism, Canada's bishops have issued A Church in Dialogue: Towards the restoration of unity among Christians. The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops' (CCCB) Episcopal Commission for Christian Unity, Religious Relations with the Jews, and Interfaith Dialogue prepared the 28-page document available at the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops' website. The Decree on Ecumenism was approved at Vatican II on Nov.21, 1964.

Smart as a fox?

Pope Francis

November 17, 2014
FRANCIS ROCCA
CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE

Since the end of the Oct. 5-19 Synod of Bishops on the family, news outlets have portrayed the outcome as a "setback" or "loss" for Pope Francis – even a "rebuke" to him. Journalists have pointed to the absence, in the synod's final report, of an earlier version's strikingly conciliatory language toward people with ways of life contrary to Catholic teaching, including those in same-sex unions and other non-marital relationships. Commentators have also noted the relatively low support, as measured by bishops' votes on the final document's relevant sections, for continued discussion of whether to make it easier for divorced and civilly remarried Catholics to receive Communion.

Tagle: Family poverty remains central concern for synod fathers

Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle

November 17, 2014
SIMONE ORENDAIN
CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE

MANILA, PHILIPPINES - The impact of poverty on families, especially in Asia, was a major concern of participants at the recent world Synod of Bishops, says Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle of Manila. "Poverty is really affecting the Filipino family in a dramatic way," Tagle told reporters at an Oct. 30 news conference. Despite heavy emphasis on divorce and gay unions in media coverage of the event, the synod was more than a series of discussions on those issues, the cardinal said.

Quebec Catholic schools died from loss of identity

Spencer Boudreau

November 17, 2014
EVAN BOUDREAU
THE CATHOLIC REGISTER

Ontario supporters of Catholic education should heed the lesson of Quebec before it's too late, said a former education professor and ombudsman at McGill University in Montreal. Spencer Boudreau said one reason for the collapse of Quebec's publicly funded Catholic education system in the 1990s was that Catholic schools "lost their identity." Speaking to about 150 Catholic educators at an Oct. 20 event at Msgr. Percy Johnson High School in Toronto, Boudreau said the loss of identity was due to the advent of an increasingly secularized society coupled with a push by Catholic schools to become overly accommodating.

Aboriginal elders discuss indigenous Church

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November 17, 2014
PRAIRIE MESSENGER

SASKATOON – A group of about 40 Catholic elders recently gathered at Queen's House of Retreats for a dialogue to explore avenues leading to a more indigenous church. This dialogue was held under the auspices of the Standing Committee on Aboriginal Affairs of the Western Bishops. It is an initiative of the bishops' Building Bridges Project headed by Sister Eva Solomon, an Anishinabe from Winnipeg.

Survivors need consolation

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November 17, 2014
LASHA MORNINGSTAR
WESTERN CATHOLIC REPORTER

Someone dies. What do we say when we meet their relative, their friend, their family? Too painful, right? Maybe we will blurt out something inane or insensitive. Yet this is the very time the grieving person needs words and/or actions of comfort. Father Leo Hofmann is sensitive to what not to say when someone has died, such as "God only takes the good ones." Or if a child dies, one shouldn't tell the parents, "'Oh, you are young. You can have another.' That is the most unfortunate thing. It's not like a litter of puppies.

Cemeteries are a place of evangelization

November 17, 2014
BETH GRIFFIN
CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE

Beyond their traditional roles as predictably quiet and often-beautiful places, "cemeteries have a huge opportunity to evangelize and a responsibility to stand for what the Church represents," said New Jersey Catholic cemeteries director. People who come to a committal service in a cemetery may be encountering Catholic funeral tradition for the first time, or for the first time in many years, said Andrew Schafer, executive director for Archdiocese of Newark Catholic Cemeteries. A positive experience might encourage them to return when they need to arrange a burial, Schafer said.

Giving to charity through one's estate leaves a testament

Carla Smiley

November 17, 2014
RAMON GONZALEZ
WESTERN CATHOLIC REPORTER

As disciples of Jesus, Catholics are stewards, not owners, of what God has entrusted to them. "In fact we are accountable to God for what we receive and how we used it to serve others," explains Carla Smiley, coordinator of planned giving for the Edmonton Archdiocese. At the end of our lives, "we are to give whatever gifts we received back to God with increase." One way to be a good steward is to leave money to charity in your will, says Smiley, noting that Catholic charities rely primarily on Catholics for funding.

Muslim leaders rebuke ISIS for 'abominable crimes'

Muslims making the Hajj

November 3, 2014
MARK PATTISON
CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE

More than 100 Muslim leaders – clerics and laypeople alike – have signed on to a letter criticizing the Middle East Muslim military group ISIS, short for the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. In the 17-page letter, the leaders quote extensively from the Quran, the Muslim scriptures, to rebuke ISIS' tactics and actions. Since the letter was issued Sept. 19, more than 125 Muslim leaders around the world have signed the letter.

Bishops fear terrorism growing out of Canadian soil

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November 3, 2014
DEBORAH GYAPONG
CANADIAN CATHOLIC NEWS

OTTAWA – Anti-terrorism experts warn terror attacks involving lone assailants are likely to increase, but faith leaders urge a Christian response to ensure Canada remains an open society. "This is a time of profound national sadness for all Canadians," said Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops president Gatineau Archbishop Paul-André Durocher Oct. 24 in response to two attacks on Canadian soldiers during the week of Oct. 20. "We worry that the horror of terrorism is taking root in our soil, so long a land of peace, cooperation and inter-cultural collaboration," said Durocher.