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By Brett Salkeld

The following is the third of a five-part series.

We live in a culture that makes an idol out of choice. In our basic and unquestioned public discourse choice per se, without any reference to the object of that choice, is seen as a basic good. Choice is understood as the sine qua non for authentic human freedom. Take away someone’s choice in any matter and you limit their freedom. This is seen as acceptable only when their choice might harm others.

This is the second of a five-part series.  In the first part of this series we looked at the claim that, “An assisted dying law would not result in more people dying, but in fewer people suffering.” We saw that, while the statement is true, it is irrelevant. No kind of killing increases the number of people dying for the simple reason that everybody dies. But there is another problem with this statement: it imagines death as the solution to suffering. This is a dangerous idea. People contemplating suicide do not want to die. They can simply see no other way out of their suffering.

This is the first of a five-part series on assisted suicide by Archdiocesan Theologian Brett Salkeld.  It is being co-published on his Archdiocesan blog sAsk-a-Theologian and in the Prairie Messenger every two weeks.  Parishes are very welcome to print and distribute this material in their Sunday bulletins and to provide the link to this blog in their bulletins and other communications platforms, i.e., Facebook pages, e-mail listservs, etc. ____________________________________________

I have recently come across questions about dialogue in the Catholic tradition in at least three different contexts.  First of all, Pope Francis’s prayer intention for January 2016 was interreligious dialogue.  This got a lot more play than is normal for a Pope’s monthly intention because it was also the first time the Vatican accompanied the announcement of the Pope’s prayer intention with a video.  Many Catholics expressed concern about this choice of intention.  “Why dialogue with false religions?” they asked.  “Shouldn’t we be evangelizing people instead?  Isn’t dialogue an admission of relativism?  Aren’t we saying, or at least implying, that all religions are equally true?”
 
Second, at our most recent diaconate formati

One of the most difficult teachings of the Catholic Church for contemporary people to understand is the Perpetual Virginity of Mary.  Actually, in one way, it is one of the easiest things to understand.  We may not have any sense of what it means to be conceived without Original Sin (the meaning of the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception) because we simply cannot imagine that.  We can, on the other hand, imagine what perpetual virginity is, namely, that Mary never had sexual intercourse throughout the course of her life.

Frank Flegel recently wrote a blog expressing his confusion over the question of conscience and its relation to Church teaching.  Frank had recently attended two events in our Archdiocese where the speakers, a priest and Catholic ethicist Father Mark Miller, CSsR, and the Bishop Emeritus of Victoria Remi de Roo, made comments about the primacy of conscience that seemed to conflict with the idea that Catholics are required to follow Church teaching on important moral issues (among other things!).

Archbishop Daniel Bohan would like Catholic families to reintroduce or reemphasize the practice of saying grace before meals in this 100th Anniversary of our being an Archdiocese.  Pretty simple.  Pretty easy to do.  But will it make any difference?  Can something as small as a memorized prayer before a family meal stand up to the massive pressures we often feel against our faith in contemporary culture?

In my recent post “What is the Catholic Position on Yoga?” I failed to make a couple of distinctions that have led to some confusion among my readers.  I apologize for this confusion and want to offer a couple clarifications here.

First of all, my title was not strictly accurate.  While some of my initial comments certainly represent Catholic teaching, later comments reflected my considered opinion as a theologian, but not the official teaching or discipline of the Church.  While I believe my phrasing and language made this clear, the title of the piece and my own title as Archdiocesan Theologian may have contributed to lack of clarity on that point.

I have received a couple inquiries about Yoga by e-mail, and heard of others by word of mouth.  It seems that a lot of the faithful are wondering what a Catholic is supposed to think about Yoga.  Many even desire an outright condemnation from the Church.

That such a condemnation has not yet occurred is an important factor for anyone seeking to honestly answer this question.  Despite registering certain concerns, the Vatican has not felt compelled to tell Catholics that yoga is totally out of bounds.  Why not?

A reader (a pastor who has faced these questions from his congregation) asks:

“Many people still question the use of the term 'hell' in the Creed. Some are even upset because for them it connotes eternal damnation and irreparable separation from God, despite the best efforts of the Catechism of the Catholic Church to explain it's reintroduction in the Creed replacing the term 'the dead'. Even article 635 of the Catechism uses the term 'death' rather than 'hell'. How can we help people to better understand this in light of the long popular understanding of 'hell' which, in all honesty was taught very vigorously by many clerics in the past?”

Thank you for your question Father!

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Dr. Brett Salkeld
Archdiocesan Theologian
306.352.1651 Ext 214

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