Today on Perspectives: Pope Francis shares the two things that mark real Christians, Cardinal Gerald Lacroix has a challenge for Canadians as euthanasia becomes legal, and the man considered the memory of the Church and the Second Vatican Council dies at 100.
On Today’s edition of Perspectives Pope Francis asks everyone to pray for Syria. Also, an Ottawa newspaper digs up the numbers about sex abuse cases on Ottawa.
For the first time in years a pope and grand imam have met formally. We have the details. Plus details have been released about the next World Meeting of Families, and we have a special invitation for viewers in Vancouver.
Tonight on Perspectives: Best-selling authors Tom Corcoran and Fr. Michael White speak about their book series “Rebuilt” and “Rebuilding Your Message” ahead of our Sunday, May 22nd episode of Subject Matters.
On today’s edition of Perspectives, Pope Francis has some pointed words about the lure of worldly things like power and vanity. We have an update on World Youth Day from the organizing committee in Krakow. And if you’re in Vancouver you’ll want to hear the details of our upcoming fundraiser in Vancouver.
I first heard of Mark Pickup, 10 years ago when we were working on Turning the Tide. At the time, it was not possible to interview Mark for the documentary. He would have been a great addition to the film.
Mark was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis at age 30. He is one of Canada’s most out-spoken disability-rights advocates against euthanasia and assisted suicide.
But Mark was not always this way. In his personal blog, Human Life Matters he writes about how angry he was when he lost his health:
“Fear overcame me about what lay in store for me. I knew multiple sclerosis is a serious disease that often has a catastrophic impact of the lives of people it strikes. I knew people with MS: often their lives were torn apart as their marriages crumbled, careers shattered, and they were abandoned to a living hell.
“Multiple sclerosis devastated my life. It stripped away my health, layer by layer, like pealing an onion, and eventually left me triplegic and in an electric wheelchair.
“Looking back over more than twenty years of increasingly profound and crippling disability I must say that I have become one of those people I wrote about who lives with a sick and twisted body. Yes, there were times when my heart broke – along with the hearts of those loved me. There were times throughout the years when it was me (not someone else) who was on the verge of despair. Protracted suffering seemed to isolate me in sorrow – just as my wife’s sorrow seemed to isolate her. At other times we lived two solitudes rooted in the same overwhelming and inexpressible sorrow.”
He is a perfect candidate for Canada’s new Medically Assisted Dying Bill.
That is why when we were in Edmonton recently for the Every Life Matters series with Archbishop Richard Smith and I knew that Mark was one of the speakers, I asked if we could meet to speak further. He agreed and we spoke about his disease, about suffering, quality of life, disabilities, conscience rights and much more.
My conversation with Mark Pickup will air on Catholic Focus tomorrow, Wednesday, May 18 after Perspectives Daily, at 7:05pm ET (5:05pm MT). It repeats at 11:05pm (8:05pm MT).
I hope you can join us for this special Catholic Focus on end of life issues.
This mini series on end-of-life issues began last week with a conversation with lawyer Kate Faught, who explains how our legal landscape is changing, and will continue for the next three Wednesdays:
May 25: What Does The Church Say? with Archbishop Richard Smith of Edmonton.
June 1: Ending the Pain, with Lisa Daniels who suffers debilitating, chronic pain, and her doctor, Robert Hauptman.
June 8: Quality of Life, with Jeri and Chuck Marple, parents of Mary who has cerebral palsy.
In today’s episodes of Perspectives Daily, we feature some of our coverage from the March For Life Rally in Ottawa.
Our team on the ground spent the day filming and interviewing people about why this event is important to them.
Here is a small sample of our coverage.
Tonight on Perspectives: Pope Francis speaks of missionaries; the Holy Door opens at Midland; and a special report on the Prayer Vigil to Dry Tears.
On today’s edition of Perspectives: the pope prays for Fort McMurray while neighbouring dioceses help the relief effort. As well we have details on the Regina Caeli and the pope’s Charlemagne Prize.
On April 8, 2016, Pope Francis released the long-awaited post-synodal exhortation, Amoris Laetitia (the Joy of Love), on the family. A few days later, Archbishop Richard Smith of Edmonton joined me to explore various themes from the document, as well as to share his experiences in journeying with families through the many challenges they face. We spoke about the impact of social media, how the economic downturn has affected families in Alberta, family violence, and how the Archbishop sees end-of-life issues affecting the family. I hope you can join us for this insightful conversation about the state of the family in Canada.
Catholic Focus: The Joy of Love will air today,Wednesday, May 4, 2016 at 7:05pm ET / 5:05pm MT with a repeat broadcast at 11:05pm ET / 9:05pm MT. Watch the full episode below!
Archbishop Smith also wrote a statement on Amoris Laetitia:
Amoris Laetitia (On Love In the Family) is not only a beautiful and welcome reflection on marriage and the family; it is also a particular call to pastors, parishes, and Catholic institutions to work in concrete ways to support families and help them grow. In this way Amoris Laetitia underscores the importance of the ministry to families that unfolds daily throughout the Archdiocese of Edmonton.
With this exhortation, the Holy Father has demonstrated a deep understanding of the challenges faced by all families. As a bishop who was privileged to participate in the 2015 Synod on the Family, I can say that my first glimpse into the exhortation confirms my observation that he listened very carefully to the concerns raised by bishops and other Synod participants from all over the world.
Ministry to families is one of the key pastoral concerns that we have identified here in the Edmonton Archdiocese, and so this teaching by Pope Francis will be invaluable to us. We know that many of our social ills stem from unhealthy, often violent, family situations. Here in Alberta, we have one of the highest rates of family violence in Canada. The importance of ministry to the family simply cannot be overstated.
As a Christian community, we are called to share the Gospel message of the beauty and dignity of marriage, the inexpressibly wondrous gift of children, and the home as the place of love, nurture, safety, and identity. Pope Francis illustrates this call in great detail in his exhortation.
This papal document does not change Church teaching or discipline regarding marriage. It does underline the need for pastors to listen attentively and deal sensitively with single people, couples, and families who experience difficult situations.
At more than 260 pages, Amoris Laetitia is lengthy, and I plan to follow the Holy Father’s advice to give it the proper time and attention before giving any more detailed response.
In the meantime, I encourage all Catholics to join me in studying and reflecting on his words. Pope Francis has given us some important and timely teaching on issues that affect us all.
Richard W. Smith
Archbishop of Edmonton 8 April 2016