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Humanae Vitae: 40 years on

Editor's note: Below are two commentaries on the meaning of Pope Paul VI's encyclical, Humanae Vitae, which was released 40 years ago this summer, on July 25, 1968. The encyclical, which reaffirmed traditional Catholic teaching against the use of artificial contraception, has long been considered a watershed document in the history of the post Vatican II Catholic Church.

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Jesuit novelist mines Africa's joy and anguish

A fine novelist can capture in fiction what objective documentary evidence is unable to realize. No matter how detailed, objective and scientific a study of a human calamity like the Holocaust can be — and there are many human-generated catastrophes to choose from in our carnage-loving time — the capacity to evoke true horror as well as the power of the human spirit to survive is only approximated by historical analyses. Art invariably succeeds where analysis fails. And it need not be in words.  Think of the haunting works of the Polish composer Henryk Gorecki.

Media too quick to move beyond Morgentaler

{mosimage}It's interesting how quickly the astounding news that Dr. Henry Morgentaler was to receive an Order of Canada has disappeared from the nation's media. After an initial flurry of articles, commentaries and broadcasts, the issue has quietly been replaced by the usual diet of stories on summer weather, terrorism and environmental degradation.

It's OK to use taxes for social goals

{mosimage}Canadians are evenly divided on Liberal leader Stephane Dion’s plan to use the tax system to reduce Canada’s disproportionate contribution to global warming.

When the Liberal carbon tax and its purpose was described to them by pollsters at Harris/Decima, 47 per cent of Canadians said they support the concept versus 39 per cent who were opposed.

China's dilemma

{mosimage}When the 2008 Summer Olympic Games finally kick off in Beijing Aug. 8, we can all hope the Olympians will get the attention they deserve as some of the world’s top athletes. Until then, it’s all about China and the picture isn’t pretty.

Trials and tribulations of a soccer dad

{mosimage}Prior to our daughters’ soccer tournament in New York state last weekend, my husband tried to interest other parents in carpooling. He volunteered to drive the two-and-a-half hours each way, but forewarned that our minivan’s air conditioning wasn’t working.

Joy of conversion

This summer, I am celebrating the 10th anniversary of my conversion to Catholicism. I didn’t make this turn in the usual, sensible manner, after a suitable period of study and reflection. I didn’t break with Anglicanism, the Christian path I had chosen early in life, because of any disagreement over doctrine or practice. I became a Catholic, as the Godfather movies has it, after getting an offer I couldn’t refuse.

We serve the church best with honesty

On the Feast of Sts. Peter and Paul I found myself attending Mass at a church in Toronto whose current pastor is an old friend. We had lunch afterwards and talked about the state of the church but nothing that emerged from that discussion matched the perspicacity of his morning homily.

The last straw

{mosimage}It's almost impossible to think of a ruder present for Canada's 139th birthday. On July 1, the Governor General of Canada announced that Dr. Henry Morgentaler would receive the Order of Canada, the nation's highest honour.

This summer, remember to care for creation

The current warm, sunny weather invites us to spend as much time as possible outdoors, taking in nature with all of our senses.

Families typically enjoy activities such as gardening, visiting local parks, going to the beach, attending sporting events, picnicking, hiking, cycling, attending outdoor concerts and festivals, stargazing and vacationing in the woods or by the water. We also enjoy the many fresh flowers, fruits and vegetables available locally, some perhaps from our own garden.

Human Rights Act foils reasoned debate

{mosimage}Editor’s note: the following is a letter sent to Alberta Premier Ed Stelmach by Calgary Bishop Fred Henry June 23 on the Alberta Human Rights Commission.

Dear Premier Stelmach:

I have raised the issue of the Alberta Human Rights Commission several times with you in the past 18 months. On each of those occasions, you said that you understood the issues and shared my concerns. However, the situation is continuing to deteriorate across our country and the various levels of governments are seemingly non-responsive.