Stories for the Right Column of the WCR This Week Page
ROME - Women consecrated in religious life and engaged in apostolic work must realize their vocation is about being prophetic witnesses of God's love, superiors general from around the world were told. They should not see their mission as one of building and maintaining great institutions, speakers told almost 900 superiors of religious orders at the assembly of the International Union of Superiors General.
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TORONTO - The inspiration and wisdom of L'Arche founder Jean Vanier teaches us not only how to become more human, but also how to be people of faith in a world wary of religion, says author and academic Michael Higgins. Higgins describes his 110-page biography as a brief introduction to the life of one of the last century's most influential writers and thinkers, and "a spiritual mentor to millions irrespective of religion." Higgins spoke to about 100 people present for the Toronto launch of his new biography of the founder of the L'Arche movement.
If we don't go out as witnesses of Jesus and tell stories about our experiences with him, then our faith will become extinct. So says Father Joseph Salihu, a Nigerian priest currently serving in Spruce Grove. Salihu said God works in our lives, and "We need to be aware of what he is doing and give glory to him when he does it." Salihu, associate pastor at Holy Trinity Parish, was the speaker at the charismatic prayer breakfast at the Chateau Louis Conference Centre May 14. Members of a prayer group at Holy Trinity accompanied him to the breakfast.
Commentary on the Catholic Church in online media is suffering from "character assassination" by those who believe themselves to be "the clean, the perfect and the saved," says Basilian Father Thomas Rosica. In a May 11 talk in Brooklyn, N.Y., the founder of Canada's Salt and Light TV Network said the work of the Catholic media is to build bridges that encourage encounter and inclusion. Rosica pointed out that Catholic media will be held to accountability and responsibility for creating communion and engaging in a dialogue that is fueled by mercy and understanding.
With physician-assisted suicide becoming a reality, there is renewed urgency for expanding palliative care, which is currently available to only one in three Canadians. But palliative care is surrounded by misconceptions, says a Winnipeg palliative care doctor. Some people believe it actually hastens death; others think it is only for the very old or cancer sufferers. Others believe palliative care means nothing more can be done. "There is always something we can do" to bring comfort to the dying, said Dr. Chantale Demers.
OTTAWA - Constitutional lawyers opposed to euthanasia and assisted suicide are divided on whether passing Bill C-14 without further amendments is preferable to no bill at all. Euthanasia Prevention Coalition's legal counsel Hugh Scher said it is important to have a bill that addresses the Supreme Court of Canada's Carter decision with "comprehensive safeguards to protect vulnerable people from the risk of abuse. "The existing bill does not do that," he said.
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.
EDMONTON - Pope Francis has added his name to the list of people offering condolences to those affected by the massive forest fire that has led to the evacuation of Fort McMurray. In a May 6 letter to St. Paul Bishop Paul Terrio, the pope said he "was saddened to learn of the destruction and distress caused by the extensive fires around Fort McMurray." The pope said he was praying "for all the displaced, especially the children, who have lost their homes and livelihoods."
Jesuit Father Daniel Berrigan, an early critic of U.S. military intervention in Vietnam who for years challenged the country's reliance on military might, died April 30. He was 94. The author of several books of poetry and one of the first Catholic priests to receive a federal sentence for peace activism, Berrigan protested government policies in word and in deeds, which garnered several stays in jail and in federal prison.