Glen Argan

Glen Argan

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

In Alberta, the province where I live, those hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic are workers in meat processing plants.

One could almost hear the collective sigh of relief as governments across Canada announced the lifting of some restrictions imposed during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The question on many minds is, “When will life return to normal?” That implies another question: What is normal?

Joseph of Arimathea saw something that others on the Jewish council did not. In St. Luke’s telling of the story, Joseph was not only a good and righteous man, “he was waiting expectantly for the kingdom of God.”

With widespread orders from bishops across North America and Europe to cancel public Masses including the Sunday Eucharist, some naysayers were bound to arise.

The revelation of the grievous sexual misconduct by L’Arche founder Jean Vanier should awaken us all to the central importance of a well-founded moral conscience in the pursuit of holiness.

The news that Jean Vanier, the founder of L’Arche homes for people with mental handicaps, engaged in decades of sexual misconduct and falsely denied knowing about similar abuse by his mentor, Fr. Thomas Philippe, is shocking. Vanier was a saint in the eyes of many and also an icon for the future direction of the Church.

When I was a young journalist, I joined the Volunteers, a group associated with the Oblate Missionaries of Mary Immaculate (OMMI), a secular institute, and began to take part in their regular discussion groups. Early on, we discussed the five elements of the OMMI spirituality. 

When Pope Celestine V resigned as pope in 1294, he removed his papal garb and intended to return to life as a hermit. However, his successor, Pope Boniface VIII, placed him under house arrest where he remained until his death 10 months later. 

Many posters promoting the theme of this year’s Week of Prayer for Christian Unity — “They Showed Us Unusual Kindness” — include photos of a small battered rowboat to illustrate the shipwreck which landed St. Paul on the island of Malta. The story in the Acts of the Apostles (28:1-10) is short on details about that unusual kindness.