Archdiocesan Theologian

Salkeld BrettHello,

My name is Brett Salkeld, and I am the Archdiocesan Theologian for the Archdiocese of Regina.  In this role I am available to consult on theological questions for the Bishop, the Presbyterate, and for all the faithful of the Archdiocese.  My recently launched blog on the Archdiocesan website, sASK-a-Theologian, is a forum where you can ask me any theological question that has been exercising your mind, and I’ll do my best to give you a helpful answer.

My area of academic focus during my theological studies was ecumenical dialogue and I am happy that I am also serving as the Ecumenical Officer for the Archdiocese.  In this capacity I will support our ecumenical commission and parish ecumenical representatives in their efforts to seek mutual understanding and greater unity with our brothers and sisters in Christ who are not in communion with the Catholic Church.

Finally, my biggest project is to get a local diaconal formation program up and running so that we as a diocese can provide an answer to and a place for those men in our community who are called to the permanent diaconate.  This is a very large undertaking involving promotion, discernment, administration, and teaching, but it is also a very exciting project with huge potential to serve the people of God in the Archdiocese of Regina for years to come.  Having worked with candidates for the diaconate in St. Catharine’s (while studying in Toronto) and Vancouver (during a year at St. Mark’s College), I bring important experience to this project and also a sense of hope and joy from having seen the faith and dedication of the men pursuing this important vocation in those dioceses.

What's New

By Brett Salkeld

This is the last of a three-part series.

In this third of a series on raising kids Catholic I want to talk about some of the particular challenges our culture presents to us as Catholic parents trying to pass on the faith to our children. Can we identify with some precision certain cultural factors that are working against us, so as to effectively counter them?

It would be too easy to simply compile a list of complaints about contemporary culture. What I hope to do instead is to identify one key issue and show how it relates to several problems. I do not argue that it’s the only issue, but that it is a foundational one important for us to understand and address.

We live in a time of confusion about the relationship between faith and reason. For that reason we are seeing both a crisis of faith and a crisis of reason. The Catholic tradition has the best resources for addressing this. I believe our odds of raising our kids in the faith go...

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New Course Offered

Last updated on December 1, 2016

Campion College is offering a Catholic Studies course next semester on Principles in Catholic Education.  The course is primarily intended for those in the B.Ed. program but it is open to anyone who is interested.  

I have recently received several communications expressing concern about the supposed decision of the Bishops of Alberta and the Northwest Territories to deny funerals to anyone who has died by assisted suicide. The decision is often portrayed as cold and heartless and even as a pastoral abandonment of a suffering family at a very difficult time. Many people express deep hurt and anger over this decision.

After hearing people's concerns, my first question is, “Have you read the document, or just the media reports?”

Fellow Catholics, if you learn anything from this episode, let it be this: whenever the media reports something about the church that makes you confused or frustrated, check the sources.

While some media outlets have been more careful than others, it is certainly fair to say that the impression most Canadians have is that the bishops of Alberta and the Northwest Territories have pronounced that no one who has died by assisted suicide will be permitted a...

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This is the second of a three-part series, originally posted in the Prairie Messenger.

In the first part of this series we looked at things we can do in the home to help our kids appropriate the faith given to them in their baptism. Much more could be said, and my suggestions could serve just as well as sparks to your own imagination as examples to strictly follow. The larger point is to be intentional about your life of faith in the home.  

But our faith is not a private family affair. It is also concerned with our whole Christian community. How can a family participate in the life of the Christian community? And how can the community support families striving to raise Catholic kids?

In the first place, families need to be rooted in a parish. That means, at the very least, weekly mass. But that is not enough. Being parishioners also means participating beyond Sunday mass. There is usually something more going on. Some are spiritual, some are social, some are...

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Any bishop will tell you that one of the most heartbreaking parts of his job is meeting with elderly parishioners who lament that their children no longer participate in the life of the Church.  

Parents in my own generation, whose children are perhaps not yet teenagers (my oldest is 9), often face the future with some anxiety.  Will our children continue on in the life of faith we have begun with them, or will they drift away like many in the generations before them?  

It is easy to get discouraged when we see and hear about the decline of the Church in the west at every turn.  On the other hand, Catholicism remains the fastest growing religion in the world and there are signs of life even here in the west for those with eyes to see.  One of those signs of life is the young Catholic families dedicated to passing on the faith to their children.  It may be too early to tell how successful these families will be, but...

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What’s so real about Real Presence?

Last updated on September 22, 2016

Tara writes to ask how best to respond to people who say that Christ’s presence in the Eucharist isn’t real, it’s just symbolic.

Thanks for the question Tara!

I think there are at least two complementary ways of approaching this.  The first is the most common.  Catholics who want to defend the claim that Christ is REALLY present in the Eucharist turn to Scripture.  There we can find extremely realistic language.  At the institution of the Eucharist Jesus says “This is my body,” not “This signifies or represents or symbolizes my body.”  That argument alone was enough for Martin Luther, the father of the Protestant Reformation, to fight for belief in the real presence against other Protestants his whole career.

And in John 6, Jesus baldly states that anyone who eats his flesh and drinks his blood has life and those who don’t, don’t.  In 1 Corinthians Paul admonishes his congregation for approaching the table unworthily and even suggests that such sacrilege can...

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Last Spring Archdiocesan Theologian Brett Salkeld wrote a 5-part series on assisted suicide that was co-published on his Sask-a-Theologian blog and in The Prairie Messenger.  Due to popular demand, those five pieces have now been combined and formatted into one easy pdf (portable document file) available for free to interested parties.  This will allow parishes, lay associations and other groups to print or e-mail the document at their own leisure and discretion.

To access the document, click here.

This is the fourth of a five-part series.

In the first three parts of this series I have tried to paint a bleak picture of what the legal availability of physician-assisted suicide means for vulnerable individuals and Canadian culture generally. On the other hand, while this legal battle seems unwinnable at this stage, I am not without hope. The church has lived through bleak times before. 

While history is no picnic, Christianity offers us great resources for dealing with evil. In the final two instalments of this series I want to look at those resources. Today we will look at what Christians and our allies can do to both live and give hope in our current legal situation. In our final instalment we will look at the spiritual resources Christians have for facing death and dying.

In a culture with legally available physician-assisted suicide, several practical options for action present themselves to those who are troubled by the legal status quo.


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Op Ed in the Leader Post

Last updated on June 28, 2016

Last Tuesday, I was lucky to be a member of an ecumenical and interfaith delegation that went to the provincial legislature to present a joint statement calling for more palliative care in our province and conscience rights for health care workers and institutions in light of Canada's new laws on assisted suicide.  The delegation included Roman and Ukrainian Catholic, Anglican, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, Evangelical, and Muslim delegates and represented a much larger group of signatories to the joint statement that included Jewish, Muslim, and a great many Christian communities.

We met with Health Minister Dustin Duncan, the NDP caucus under opposition leader Trent Wotherspoon, and Premier Brad Wall.  It was a very encouraging meeting and we are hopeful that both the government and the opposition are willing to try to find workable solutions both on increasing access to palliative care in our province and on ensuring health care workers and...

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A Christian Approach to Death and Dying

Last updated on July 12, 2016

While it is not necessary to appeal to Scripture or the authority of the Church to demonstrate that assisted suicide is bad for people and for society (you’ll notice I made no such appeals in the first four parts of this series), that does not mean that Christian faith is of no help for our present situation. 

It should be possible to demonstrate from rational principles accessible to people of all faiths (or none) that assisted suicide is an evil.  And Catholics are generally happy to approach the public square with arguments that do not require faith in order to be accepted.  On the other hand, the fear of death and suffering that underlies the contemporary push for and wide social acceptance of assisted suicide cannot be answered by a simple appeal to rational principles.  It is here, I suggest, that we most need to Gospel of Jesus Christ.

All the rational argumentation in the world won’t make much difference when people are afraid of death, of suffering, of losing...

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Dr. Brett Salkeld
Archdiocesan Theologian
306.352.1651 Ext 214