Glen Argan

Glen Argan

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

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.

Greta Thunberg has been named by Time magazine as its person of the year because of the global attitudinal shift towards climate change the magazine says she has created.

Pope Francis is increasingly critical of the lack of political will to grapple with the growing threat of climate change. The Pope’s frustration raises the critical issue of how whole societies can be persuaded to change their behaviour to avert threats to their existence.

For nearly 500 years, Bolivia has been a cheap source of natural resources for colonial powers. Every time some mineral is mined to extinction, a new metal is discovered to be extracted at bargain basement prices. During the 16th century, silver was the hot commodity and Potosi was one of the richest cities in the Americas. Today, the Potosi region is the poorest section of the poorest country on the American continent.

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.” 

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