Tag Archives: religion

On the Pope’s visit to Canada in 2022, and more

The Pope was recently in Canada to apologize for the role of the Catholic Church in the residential school system and the suffering that was inflicted on indigenous people within Canada. Here’s the  NYTimes on the visit. Here’s NCR onlineEven our Prime Minister weighed in.

When it was over, we got follow up stories from the NYTimes, from America Magazine and from NCR online, each assessing the visit, as well as highlighting statements like: Pope Francis Calling the Abuse of Indigenous People in Canada a “Genocide”.

Overall, many seemed unsatisfied with it, as you can see from this piece, Why Pope Francis’ Canada school apology isn’t enough, and this piece, ‘Indigenous representatives had no voice’ at Quebec City Papal event. Even during the events, some indigenous people expressed their negative feelings towards it all, as this story showed, ‘I couldn’t stay silent ‘ says Cree singer who performed powerful message. It didn’t help that some  bishops seemed to be raising money from it.  Even prominent Catholics did not see it as a success, though for different reasons than indigenous people did: 3 views on pope’s visit to Canada.

During the time he was in Canada, there was much focus on certain Papal Bulls from the 15th century. It came up in this tweet from cblackst. At first I could not figure out why this was an issue. I was ignorant to the fact that indigenous people have been demanding revocation of the 1493 papal bull since at least the year 2000. As far as some Catholics are concerned, the Catholic doctrine of discovery is already null and void.

I am not sure what revoking it would accomplish. Papal Bulls are weird documents. During times of good popes, they could be good. During bad popes, they could be evil. Anti-semitism drives many of them. If you want to read more on them, here’s some links that could be helpful: Papal Bulls – Doctrine of Discovery, and Dum Diversas – Doctrine of Discovery, and finally, Sublimus Dei On the Enslavement and Evangelization of Indians.

While the Papal Bulls got a lot of focus, what seemed to get less focus was money that the church had pledged but failed to deliver. The church failed to provide $25 million in compensation for the victims of residential schools, as this story showed. Despite claiming they could not raise the money for their sins, the Church did manage to raise much more than that amount for their properties. It was maddening to me that the media did not focus enough on that. (Later on they did report on a deal the government made freeing Catholic entities from $25M campaign for residential schools. You can read about that here and here. That would have been useful to know about before the visit.)

I had hoped for more from the Pope, the Church, the media, even activists. I hope at least the victims of the residential school system benefited from the visit and the actions of the Pope.

On a different topic, one thing I think everyone will benefit from is the appointment of Michelle O’Bonsawin to Canada’s Supreme Court. We need more indigenous leadership in the justice system, and she is in one of the key roles to provide that. You can read more about that here and here.

Finally, this New York Times interactive study on Benjamin West’s painting on the death of General Wolfe is relevant in many ways to the topic of this post. I recommend you check it out.

(Image: link to an image from one of the NCR Online pieces)

A brief post on the Church

In my case, the Church is the Catholic Church, which I have been estranged from since my teenage years. There are a great many good Catholics that I know, doing great acts of charity and service, such as paying off medical debt. And when I read pieces like this one, I think: yes, Catholicism can be a force for good.

But then there are the many terrible actions by the church and those within it that remind me of why my estrangement still exists. Like how Catholics who promised residential school survivors $25M instead spent $300M on a new church. or the political actions of Bishops in the United States. Or finally, laicized cardinal Theodore McCarrick.

McCarrick is being charged with a fraction of the things he got away with for a very long time. Things everyone knew about. And just so you know, McCarrick is not the end of it. If you can bare it, here’s more about it.

Finally here’s an editorial in a Catholic Church publication talking about just how messed up the church is.

That’s all I have to say for now.

(Image: Damon Winter/The New York Times)

Sodom, or when science collides with early religions and folklore

I thought this was fascinating: New Science Suggests Biblical City Of Sodom Was Smote By An Exploding Meteor.

There is an archaeological dig happening that seems to say that a meteor hit the region at some point and destroyed the place people were inhabiting. You can see how this could have been taken for divine retribution, just like the Great Flood was. Then this great event is incorporated into folklore and early religion.

Now how good is this new science? If you read the wikipedia page for Sodom, you can see at the bottom in the section Historicity that shows the claims made and how debatable they are. So maybe this isn’t the actual site and it’s possible Sodom was not wiped out by a meteor. Still, it is fascinating to think about.

(General Photo by John Ballem on Unsplash of a site hit by a meteor.)

On being grateful despite duress

Grateful sign
It is said that being grateful is good for our mental health. But being grateful when living under duress can seem next to impossible. To see others do so is educational.

So I give you this piece on someone who is grateful in a way many of us might not be. I found it educational. I am still absorbing the lesson. I hope you gain something from reading it.

(Photo by Dylan Ferreira on Unsplash)

How to write your own psalm

You may not ever want to write your own psalm, but if you do, here’s advice on how to do it.

You don’t have to restrict yourself to a psalm of lament, though. There are 5 kind of psalms: praise, wisdom, royal, thanksgiving, lament, according to this. Feel free to write the one you see fit.

P.S. I got interested in this after finding out Churchill wrote his speeches in psalm style. You can read more about that, here. Or see an example of it below.

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Invisible cities: the eruv of Manhattan

What’s the eruv of Manhattan? Well according to the article below:

The eruv encircles much of Manhattan, acting as a symbolic boundary that turns the very public streets of the city into a private space, much like one’s own home. This allows people to freely communicate and socialize on the Sabbath—and carry whatever they please—without having to worry about breaking Jewish law.

Here’s a map of it:

You might think that it is hard to believe such a thing could last for long, but as this piece shows, it is diligently maintained.

I found this fascinating. There’s many interesting aspects of New York, but this is one of the better ones. For more on this, read: There’s a Wire Above Manhattan That You’ve Probably Never Noticed

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A new book on The Book of Job


The book of Job is one of my two favourite parts of the Bible (the other being Ecclesiastes). If you also have a keen interest in it, there is a new book out on it and The Atlantic has the goods on it, here:  The Book of Job in a New Light.

The new book casts Job in a different light than other interpretations. It’s not a terrible interpretation, and worth thinking upon. After all, that is what the Book of Job is about.

For more on the strangeness that is the Book of Job, see this article.

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On exhibit: the Slave Bible

A fascinating exhibit in Washington, DC on the Slave Bible. What is the Slave Bible? It was a heavily reacted book with anything removed  that could have supported slaves seeking their freedom. It’s a sad but also interesting story, and more of the details are here: Slave Bible From The 1800s Omitted Key Passages That Could Incite Rebellion : NPR.