Stories for the Left Column of the WCR This Week Page
Pope Francis has called for "a bold cultural revolution" that will sweep away consumerism, myths about unlimited economic growth and the desire to constantly maximize profits. Human activities based on those habits and beliefs are destroying the planet, the pope said in his encyclical Laudato Si', On Care for Our Common Home, dated May 24, Pentecost Sunday, and released at the Vatican June 18.
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Edmonton Archbishop Richard Smith will be one of four Canadian delegates to the world Synod of Bishops on the vocation and mission of the family at the Vatican in October. The other three Canadian delegates to the Oct. 4-25 synod will be Archbishop Paul-Andre Durocher of Gatineau, Que., president of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB); Bishop Noel Simard of Valleyfield, Que.; and Cardinal Thomas Collins of Toronto.
An outdoor Mass on the Hill celebrating the 150th anniversary of Catholic education in St. Albert highlighted the "timeless" faith that has remained constant in the midst of dramatic change. Some 6,000 students from across the Greater St. Albert Catholic Schools division sitting on the historic Mission Hill June 11 listened as Archbishop Richard Smith reflected on the various changes – both dramatic and incidental – in society that have taken place in the past 150 years.<
Christian pro-life physicians are facing a major battle to protect their conscience rights in the face of the Supreme Court decision to legalize assisted suicide. "We are in a pitched battle in Canada to protect the conscience rights of Christian physicians to uphold their right to practise medicine based on their values and beliefs without interference," said Larry Worthen, executive director of the Christian Medical and Dental Society (CMDS).
One might wonder how the women of the Gospel, especially those who stood beneath the Cross of Jesus, might live out that devotion on earth today. Those women at the foot of the cross are the inspiration that drew Madame Marie Madeleine d'Houët, a mother and wife, to establish the Sisters Faithful Companions of Jesus, founded on Holy Thursday 1820 in France.
People have a growing ecological awareness, but that awareness "has not succeeded in changing their harmful habits of consumption," Pope Francis said in the opening chapter of his encyclical Laudato Si', On Care For Our Common Home. Rather than decreasing, those "harmful habits" appear to be all the more on the increase, the pope said.
Consumerism and individualism have seriously eroded traditional cultures and sent society into "ethical and cultural decline," says Pope Francis. An emphasis on economic growth has led to increased standardization through efforts to cut costs and simplify procedures, the pope said in a chapter on Integral Ecology in his encyclical On Care for Our Common Home.
When Pope Francis met Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Vatican June 10, the ongoing crisis in eastern Ukraine was the principal topic of their conversation. Putin arrived at the Vatican more than an hour late, beating the 45-minute tardiness he chalked up in November 2013, the last time he visited the pope.
Once again the hills are filled with the sound of music, only this time the music soars from Benedictine monks rather than the Von Trapp Family. In Norcia, Italy, about 110 kms northeast of Rome, an international community of monks operates a craft brewery and spends hours a day chanting the Mass and the Divine Office.
The earth, which was created to support life and give praise to God, is crying out with pain because human activity is destroying it, Pope Francis says in his long-awaited encyclical, Laudato Si, on Care for Our Common Home. All who believe in God and all people of good will have an obligation to take steps to mitigate climate change, clean the land and the seas, and start treating all of creation – including poor people – with respect and concern, he says.