Stories for the Middle Column of the WCR This Week Page
OTTAWA – Chaos will be the result of the federal government’s decision to leave protection for the conscience rights of medical professionals and health care institutions to the provinces, says the president of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB). Bishop Douglas Crosby of Hamilton, Ont., said the government should clarify the rights of professionals and institutions who conscientiously object to participating in assisted suicide and not hand the issue off to provincial legislators or professional bodies.
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Reading Pope Francis' exhortation on the family is like having a discussion at the kitchen table with your grandfather, says Archbishop Richard Smith. The apostolic exhortation - Amoris Laetitia (The Joy of the Family) - is like being able to "talk openly with a man who already understands your problems and your weaknesses," the archbishop said in an interview. "The pope has a beautiful way of expressing in accessible language what is on the mind of the Church," he said.
Archbishop Richard Smith issued a passionate call to arms in the ongoing fight against physician-assisted suicide. "We are witness in this country to extraordinary events which are not of God's doing - the legalization of assisted suicide and euthanasia," he said. Smith issued his challenge to an attentive audience at St. Charles Church April 14. The education seminar was the last of the five-part Every Life Matters series created by the Edmonton Archdiocese.
The influential role of the Catholic Women's League of Canada in social action was affirmed at the recent 94th annual Edmonton archdiocesan convention. The theme for this year's convention, which took place April 22 to 24 at Holy Family Church in St. Albert, was With One Heart, One Voice, One Mission Be the Face of Mercy. Speakers, including Archbishop Richard Smith, who praised the CWL's ability to secure audiences with premiers and prime ministers, urged the sisters of the league to be the face of mercy, the eyes of mercy and the hands of mercy.
MANILA, PHILIPPINES – Philippine Church officials expressed outrage and sadness over the beheading of a Canadian hostage in the restive southern part of the country. Abu Sayyaf, a Muslim separatist group, had threatened to behead two Canadians, a Norwegian and a Filipina if their ransom demand of $8 million for each hostage was not met by an April 25 deadline. The Philippine military as well as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau confirmed the decapitation April 25 of John Ridsdel, a former mining consultant from Calgary.
Not a week goes by that Catholic Social Services' CEO Stephen Carattini doesn't visit one of the homes run by the agency in the Edmonton Archdiocese. During the visits he engages with residents and staff and also pays close attention to the quality of service and the physical condition of the residences. Over the last few years CSS has made a concerted effort to provide not only safe, secure and dignified spaces for its staff but also for the people it cares for.
TORONTO - The "fires of persecution" are bringing Christians worldwide closer together, a number of Church leaders in Toronto believe. A global trend of persecuting Christians is bringing greater unity among the different traditions which follow Christ, Church faith leaders said April 10 at A Service of Prayer for the Persecuted Church held at Yorkminster Park Baptist Church in midtown Toronto.
Catholic, Protestant, Jewish and Muslim faith leaders appealled April 19 for protection of conscience rights for health professionals and institutions in the assisted suicide bill. "We believe that any action intended to end human life is morally and ethically wrong," said Evangelical Fellowship of Canada (EFC) president Bruce Clemenger. Toronto Cardinal Thomas Collins, representing both the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops and Coalition for HealthCARE and Conscience, said faith-based communities "established havens of hope" to serve suffering and sick people.
Father Henri Nouwen is still trying to help us understand. He's been dead 20 years, but he's still talking to us about our gifts and our failures, our hopes and our doubts, God and love and sin and community and loneliness. Thirty-eight of Nouwen's 39 books are still in print, some available in half a dozen or more languages. The books are studied in Catholic and Protestant seminaries, assigned as spiritual reading by retreat masters and passed from friend to friend.
It is not surprising Brooke sometimes speaks in treatment terms like "shame messages" when she tries to tell her story. They are negative things about herself that her brain tells her. She has been through a lot. At just 19, Brooke has lived on the street and been to four treatment centres, after spiraling into mental illness and addiction at the tender age of 12. It was also at age 12 that she discovered what would be her saving grace: art and writing.