Today's Wisdom

Those who do not pass from the experience of the cross to the truth of the resurrection condemn themselves to despair! For we cannot encounter God without first crucifying our narrow notions of a god who reflects only our own understanding of omnipotence and power
Pope Francis

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Who is next?

Canada is the most admired country in the world in 2015 according to the Reputation Institute's survey of 48,000 residents of the G8 countries. Norway placed second on the list, followed by Sweden, Switzerland and Australia. The United States slotted into the 22nd spot. According to the Institute's Fernando Prado, Canada is praised for "its effective government", "absence of corruption", "friendly and welcoming people", and its welfare support system (here).
The above report was published at a time in which the people of Greece are experiencing hard times. The people of Greece will have to accept tough conditions from their external creditors such as the IMF and Germany. In a significant analysis Dr. George Friedman (founder of Stratfor, an American global intelligence specializing in geopolitics) wrote a significant article on the background of the European crisis in Greece (Titled The Empire Strikes Back, it can be found here). Professor Stephen Walt at Harvard writing in the American Foreign Policy did not shy away from writing "Does Europe have a future?" (The analysis can be read here). And The Economist. as always, bombarded its readers with more updates on it (here).

If Canada is the most admired country in the world, why should Christians in Canada care about Greece or the nearly-broken Europe?
There are a number of answers to the above question:
1. Europe is the continent where Christian civilization made the most-enduring influence for some 2000 years. It is in Rome that Peter was crucified to death and his successors continue to govern the Catholic Church. Today, as before, the world listens to the voice of the successor of St. Peter as the global moral authority.Unchallenged by its political representation in the majority of countries from the North to the South and from the West to the East, the Vatican has an immense political influence.
2. Pope Francis is particularly seen as a man of God who advocates the poor, the marginalized and neglected against the tyranny of money and excessive capitalism. This reality worries the very rich in North America and Europe. The average high standard of living in the G8 countries is a question mark for poor people in other countries; some of them are in East Europe and/or part of the European Union such as Greece and Ukraine. Many other poor people live in underdeveloped countries or emerging economies including most countries in Africa and Latin America. On his way back from Latin America, Pope Francis was asked questions to which he gave precise answers on why he advocates the poor. In his mind, it is not a sociological or economical class warfare that he is advocating but a doctrine of the Church expressed in the Catechism of the Catholic Church (Read the interview here).  The question remains: Can anyone hope for a serious dialogue between the rich North and the poor South?

The renowned Jesuit scholar Henri Boulad, SJ, who belongs to the same order from which the pope hails will be in Toronto from July 24 to the end of July 2015. Fr. Henri Boulad (who is a personal friend to many of us in Toronto) is the head of Caritas Egypt; a Catholic organization (Caritas Internationalis) through which he served the poor in the Middle East for decades. In the presence of His Eminence Cardinal Thomas Collins and many priests, both Catholic and Orthodox, Fr. Boulad will be speaking in a large dinner served by the Knights of Columbus standing for the dignitaries on Tuesday July 28 at St. George Centre an essentially Christian Orthodox centre (9116 Bayview Avenue, Richmond Hill). All Christians in the Greater Toronto Area are invited to buy tickets by contacting or

Nearly fifty years have gone since the end of the Second Vatican Council which opened the Church to the dialogue with the world. And the question remains for the cause of the poor in Europe (already under much tension since terrorism targeted it in 2014-2015) and the rest of the world especially people of the Middle East exposed to terrorism: Who can speak for the poor, the marginalized and the neglected. Who is next to suffer?

Today's Quote

"Behold I make all things new." (Revelation 21:5)


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