Written by Alan Hustak for VMO
Thursday December 31st, 2015
If there is a threat to religious freedom in Canada, it is silence, Canada’s ambassador for Religious Freedom, Dr. Andrew Bennett told more than 700 university students attending the Rise Up evangelical conference in Montreal. After all, freedom is very important, order papers online to read about why we should respect people, regardless of any characteristics. Bennett became Canada’s first Canadian Ambassador for Religious Freedom three years ago, but with the recent change in government, the future of his position has not been determined.
His role as a diplomat, he said has been to promote religious freedom openly as a central part of Canadian foreign policy, and “to speak out as boldly as possible, to recognize the inherent dignity of each human being. I am called not only to see those being persecuted, but to see their persecutors.”
Ambassador Bennett teaches at Augustine College in Ottawa, where he is Professor of the History of Christianity. He is also a Subdeacon and Cantor at St. John the Baptist Ukrainian-Catholic Shrine. During a question and answer period Wednesday morning he told his audience that his Catholic faith is central to his work. “I am a baptized Christian first.”
Interfaith dialogue in a secular society he continued does not require compromise. “Religious freedom is not simply the freedom to go to Mass on Sunday, it is about discovering who we are in relationship to others. Interfaith dialogue requires you to be honest about what you believe. You are not being truthful if you do not say what you truly believe. And when you have the conversation with various religious communities, do it in a loving and open way, with charity, always with charity.”
He said We as Christians in Canada have have not been affirming their faith. “We have not been speaking out. We want to ghettoize ourselves to feel safe. We need to take confidence in the witness of those who have come before us. We need to have confidence in who we are, not just in the private sphere, but in the public sphere. We need to engage the world as Catholics, as being baptized, we must engage the world in a sacramental way. If you can be open about your faith, that will draw others to you.”
The theme of the four day get together is Made for Greatness - inspired by Pope Benedict’s observation that “Man is made for greatness, but his heart is too small for the greatness which is intended, so it needs to be stretched.”
Last Night at the Gayete
The Centaur Theatre's 2015- season is drawing to a close with its final production of Last Night at the Gayety, a musical comedy by Bowser & Blue which runs until May 22nd.
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