Glen Argan

Glen Argan

Glen Argan, former editor of Western Catholic Reporter, writes from Edmonton. See www.glenargan.com.

The issue of the right to freedom of conscience will not go away. In fact, it may be the defining issue of our time. 

With 47 of 48 seats in Alberta and Saskatchewan going to the Conservative Party in the Oct. 21 election, those Tory MPs make up almost 40 per cent of their party’s caucus. They would have a dominant voice in government had the Conservatives won the election.

The current federal election campaign is perhaps the saddest in Canada’s 152-year history. With its emphasis on political spectacle, minimal contact with voters and a refusal to look the future in the face, one wonders what democracy has become.

Jimmy Carter, the former U.S. president who turned 95 on Oct. 1, is one of the most decent, self-sacrificing human beings of the 20th (and 21st) century. 

Early in his book, Biography of Silence, Pablo d’Ors notes some of the many experiences he cultivated in his life as a young adult — travelling, reading voraciously and having numerous romances. “Like many of my contemporaries, I was convinced that the more experiences I had and the more intense and stunning they were, the sooner and better I would become a complete person.”

An old adage in development work is the dictum, “Give a person a fish, and you will feed her for one day; teach her how to fish, and you will feed her for a lifetime.” 

In his work with the Mennonite Church of Canada, Steve Heinrichs encourages congregations across Canada to seek reconciliation with Indigenous peoples. He urges Mennonites to learn about the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s 94 calls to action and to study the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Authors of dystopian novels are bound to get a lot wrong. After all, they are looking into what they believe will be a dark future which is inherently unpredictable. The year 1984, for example, turned out to be nothing like George Orwell’s famous novel of the same name.

Since the Quiet Revolution of the 1960s, Quebec governments have been bent on driving religion out of their culture. Ironically, this campaign has co-existed with the broader campaign to preserve Quebec’s uniqueness in an English-speaking North America. 

In our liturgy, Catholics confess that we have “greatly sinned, in my thoughts and in my words, in what I have done and in what I have failed to do.” Sin takes more than one form, and often what we fail to do makes as much space for evil to grow as do our overtly sinful actions.

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