Glen Argan

Glen Argan

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

At the conclusion of the Lenten journey of Indigenous representatives to the Vatican, Pope Francis gave the delegation a laetare moment, a time to rejoice. The Pope’s poignant apology for the harm “members of the Catholic Church” did to Indigenous children in residential schools and his promise to visit Canada this summer is a major step toward healing a broken relationship.

Friday, March 25 marks the 35th anniversary of the publication of Pope John Paul II’s encyclical Mother of the Redeemer in 1987. One might ask, “Why should I care about such an anniversary?” However, the Church does care about it, asking herself how the anniversary of a teaching document might speak to us in the light of changed circumstances. The anniversary, if we attend to it, renews the grace of the original event.

The carnage has begun. Is there any way it can end without the annihilation of Ukraine? NATO has (rightly) refused to enter the fray, fearing that its participation will lead to the further spread of war and possibly to nuclear war. Negotiations between Ukraine and Russia are having no effect on the fighting. It may be months before economic sanctions bring Russia to its knees. Ukraine’s heroic defence is no match in the short run for Russia’s military might.

Three cheers for the more than 30 million Canadians who chose to be vaccinated against the COVID virus. You have played an invaluable role in limiting the virulence and death toll of a disease which ravaged many nations much more than Canada.

As a young man, I developed a curiosity about the Cistercian way of life. Part of my interest came from reading books by Thomas Merton, the dissolute young man who discovered a unity of life and spirit upon entering the Trappist monastery in Kentucky.

In last week’s column I recalled Pope John Paul II’s call for “a patient and fraternal dialogue” among Christian leaders and theologians on possible reform of papal primacy. The day after I sent that column to TheRegister for publication, I received my copy of the British Catholic magazine TheTablet in which Rowan Williams, the former archbishop of Canterbury, discussed the same topic.

From Jan. 18 to 25 each year, the Christian church celebrates the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. The week, really an octave, is a time when Christians of various denominations hold joint services in each other’s churches to pray for full visible unity of the communion of believers.

Growing numbers of commentators are warning of “a grave danger” to American democracy — the possibility of a civil war or other anti-democratic actions by right-wing extremists aimed at overthrowing the United States government.

The day of reckoning is upon us; how can we respond?

In a speech to an international congress in Madrid last month, the president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Archbishop Jose Gomez, painted movements of social justice, “wokeness” and identity politics as pseudo-religions.