Glen Argan

Glen Argan

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

Omar El Akkad begins his novel, What Strange Paradise, with this sentence: “The child lies on the shore.” That beginning calls to mind the photo of the dead three-year-old refugee Alan Kurdi whose body was washed ashore on a Mediterranean island in September 2015. The photo sparked heightened global concern for Syrian refugees and an upsurge in donations to help migrants and refugees.

Today, I phoned to book a haircut only to find that Pat, my stylist of the past two years, had died of the delta variant of COVID. When I last saw him in late August, he looked fit and healthy as ever. I phoned back a month later to set my next haircut appointment but was told Pat was off work because he was having back problems. He died shortly after that call.

The first responsibility of a journalist is to get the facts right. In that regard, I failed in my column “Lack of transparency shatters credibility” in the Oct. 17 Catholic Register. In that article, I took Canada’s bishops to task for failing to meet their responsibility to live up to agreements to provide healing and reconciliation to the survivors of residential schools.

The doctrine of the Trinity provides the clearest insight into the nature of God as love as well as into the fullness of the human person. Christianity is best understood in the light of three divine persons who are infinite, overflowing love. Society could benefit enormously if it understood God as trinitarian love and our call as that of living in light of such love.

Alberta residents will have their say later this month on the legitimacy of Canada’s system of equalization payments to poorer provinces. The United Conservative Party government of Jason Kenney has ordered a referendum, as part of municipal elections across the province, on whether the constitutional provision for tax sharing with poorer provinces should be abolished.

Last month’s federal election fell on the eve of the feast of St. Matthew the tax collector. Matthew, of course, was an employee of the Roman occupying forces in Judah, doing the dirty work of taking from the poor and giving to the rich.

At the beginning of the current pandemic, there was much discussion about the need for a new normal to emerge after the crisis. Yet increasingly, old divisions are being exacerbated and the dominance of the rich over the poor is being repeated in new ways. Instead of moving toward a more equitable global sharing of resources, wealthier nations cling to the sad tradition of “me first” in allocating vaccines to battle the coronavirus.

Pope Francis’ decision to tighten restrictions on the use of the Tridentine liturgy has been the most significant global Catholic news story of the summer.

My most recent conversation with an avid COVID-denier came during one of my frequent walks in Edmonton’s North Saskatchewan River Valley. According to my interlocutor, the COVID pandemic is a hoax and a mysterious “they” are hiding data which would show that tens of thousands of people have died from anti-COVID vaccines.

Some may take Michael Crummey’s brilliant 2019 novel The Innocents as a piece of nostalgia for a lost way of life in Newfoundland’s outports. But The Innocents offers insights much greater than the nostalgic pacifier Make Newfoundland Great Again. It depicts an unrelenting struggle for survival by two children left orphaned when their parents and baby sister die within a matter of months.