WCR This Week

Archbishop Richard Smith's letter on Bill 10

December 29, 2014
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

In the past number of days we have witnessed significant media commentary pertaining to Bill 10, a recent legislative attempt to promote safe, caring and inclusive communities in schools. Students experiencing same-sex attraction were singled out in the bill for special attention, and much of the debate has centred on whether the government should mandate what are called Gay-Straight Alliances to help these children feel safe and cared for. A serious attempt was made in the proposed legislation to reconcile the right of students to be safe with the rights of parents and schools pertaining to the education and formation of children.

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Calgary Bishop Fredrick Henry's letter on Bill 10

December 29, 2014
My Dear Brothers and Sisters

The Canadian humourist Stephen Leacock said: "A half truth, like half a brick, is always more forcible as an argument than a whole one. It carries further." During the past week, we have witnessed considerable misinformation and misrepresentation of the views of the Alberta Catholic School Trustees Association, the Catholic School Superintendents of Alberta and the Alberta bishops in the public forum as individuals and groups reacted to Premier Prentice's decision to "pause" before the third reading of Bill 10. In my opinion, Bill 10 was a win-win for everyone.

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Vatican report absolves U.S. women religious

December 29, 2014
CINDY WOODEN
CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE

A massive Vatican-ordered investigation of U.S. communities of women religious ended with a simple call to the women themselves to continue discerning how best to live the Gospel in fidelity to their orders' founding ideals. Although initially seen by many religious and lay Catholics as a punitive measure, the apostolic visitation concluded with the publication Dec. 16 of a 5,000-word final report summarizing the problems and challenges the women themselves see in their communities. It also thanked them for their service to the Church and to society, especially the poor.

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Sisters heartened by conciliatory tone, content of report

December 29, 2014
DENNIS SADOWSKI
CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE

WASHINGTON - U.S. women religious welcomed the conciliatory tone of a Vatican report on religious life and appreciated acknowledgement of the important ministry that they practice day in and day out in the life of the Church. They also said the report, released Dec. 16, opens a new beginning for women religious, who have continued their work despite the questions about the status of religious life in the U.S. that were raised by the apostolic visitation process that ran from 2009 to 2012. "The positive tone and the clear affirmation found in the document gives us new energy to move on in our critical role for the sake of the mission of the Church in the United States," said Sister Mary Johnson, a member of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur.

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CWL brings seniors joy

December 29, 2014
CECILE GANNON
SPECIAL TO THE WCR

Every December since 1993, a group of ladies from the Good Shepherd Catholic Women's League in Edmonton brings Christmas joy to the seniors at Jasper Place Central Park Lodge. We come wearing bright red Santa hats, with happy hearts, warm smiles, a few jingle bells and musical props, accompanied by a guitarist or a pianist to sing Christmas carols. That is not all. It is not unusual to see some members break from the group during some songs and dance a few steps when Frosty the Snowman came to life one day or the "ladies dancing" appear in the 12 Days of Christmas.

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Local writer offers even-toned overview of residential schools

December 29, 2014
GLEN ARGAN
WESTERN CATHOLIC REPORTER

The story of Canada's Indian residential schools could be told and often is told with moral outrage. Lord knows that it was a system that was warped in just about every conceivable way. Larry Loyie, a former student at the St. Bernard School in Grouard now living in Edmonton, however, has chosen to provide an overview of the schools in a matter-of-fact way without invective or sensationalism. Loyie, in his Residential Schools: With the Words and Images of Survivors (Indigenous Education Press), written in conjunction with Wayne Spear and Constance Brissenden, has told the story of the schools in a way accessible to the average reader.

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Students become Santas Anonymous

December 29, 2014
CHARLES WECKEND
FORT MCMURRAY

FORT MCMURRAY – Perhaps the best proclamation of the Gospel in a Catholic school is the love that permeates it. Perhaps, as Hans Urs von Balthasar claimed, only love is credible. And when that love has persisted for 30 years, then it has indeed permeated a school's culture. Such is the case for Father Mercredi High School in Fort McMurray. For 30 years, some 200 lead students, collaborating with the rest of the school, have worked throughout the year to share Christmas joy with those in need. They call their student-driven activity Santa's Anonymous, and they reach approximately 600 families.

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Militant atheist's spiritual yearning leads her to Catholicism

December 29, 2014
RUANE REMY
THE CATHOLIC REGISTER

When God answered Jennifer Fulwiler's prayers, she was upset. It was just another confirmation for the former, self-proclaimed militant atheist that God does in fact exist. In her often hilarious memoir, Something Other Than God: How I Passionately Sought Happiness and Accidentally Found It (Ignatius Press), Fulwiler documents her transformation from atheist to agnostic to theist and her pursuit of happiness in this fleeting life. Fulwiler's conversion story begins in childhood. Raised in a happy, free-thinking home, she refused to give into peer pressure and become a believer just to fit in with the girls at school. She developed a fierce independence that would sustain her for many years.

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Church in E. Ukraine may return to catacombs

Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk

December 29, 2014
JONATHAN LUXMOORE
CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE

Ukrainian Catholic leaders have warned their Church is being driven underground again, a quarter-century after it was re-legalized with the end of communist rule. "In Crimea and eastern Ukraine, we've already effectively returned to the catacombs," said Father Ihor Yatsiv, the Church's Kyiv-based spokesman. "It's a sad paradox that history is being repeated just as we commemorate our liberation. But after a couple of decades of freedom, we again look set to lose our freedom," he told Catholic News Service Dec. 18.

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Muslims, Jews, Christians meet to promote peace

Yasmeen Quraishi Nizam

December 15, 2014
RAMON GONZALEZ
WESTERN CATHOLIC REPORTER

As war rages in the Middle East and racial tensions heighten in the United States, leaders of the Christian, Muslim and Jewish faiths condemned violence and spoke of peace at Edmonton City Hall Dec. 6. The event, titled Voices of Peace from Abraham's Children, was sponsored by the Phoenix Multi-Faith Society for Harmony, an Edmonton group whose goal is to promote bridge-building and understanding among Christians, Muslims and Jews. "I feel that Islam, the religion that defines me, has been unjustifiably hijacked by (extremists)," said Yasmeen Quraishi Nizam, presiding co-chair of the society and the event's emcee.

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