Ontario and several other provinces are following the federal government’s lead in assembling “expert” panels to research and make recommendations during a mad dash to transform Canada into a nation that permits doctors to kill selected patients or help these patients kill themselves.

Some weeks ago, I mentioned an inevitable goodbye that would take place with a dear friend whom I met on the first day of Grade 9 at Neil McNeil High School in Toronto’s east end 40 years ago next week.

In the early 1940s, as a barefoot-in-summer lad in Ireland, I had my introduction to the natural environment. My family had a small store and pub on a gravel coast road in The Burren, a barren karst limestone district on Galway Bay.

My father had built a small windmill, using the dynamo from a Ford car, with a wooden wind direction indicator, on an eight-metre pole. The constant winds from the ocean kept three “wet” batteries charged, which provided enough electricity for four light bulbs and a wireless radio. Every night, my father and the neighbours from miles around gathered around the wireless to listen to the news/propaganda from the war fronts.

WOLFE ISLAND, Ont. - One of the highlights of my summer is “Seminarian Week” on Wolfe Island.

It’s late August, and the wild roses have blown over. In July they grew profusely, and every time I passed them on the way to the supermarket I stopped to smell them. Although its delicious scent is indistinguishable from that of the pink, I like the proverbial “white rose of Scotland” best.

An understandable reaction to an early August federal election call for an Oct. 19 vote is to declare a pox on all their houses and turn deaf ears to such an excruciatingly long campaign. Eleven weeks of insincere promises and attack ads. Who needs their summer sun darkened by those black clouds?

Green Party leader Elizabeth May made the perceptive point recently that democracy is too important to be left only to politicians. A nuance that might be added is that as a keystone of democracy, free, fair and above all vigorous elections should never become the exclusive preserve of the political actors seeking to benefit from them.

When Pope Paul VI was beatified last October, his feast day was set for Sept. 26, the date of his birth in 1897, rather than the customary date of death, Aug. 6, 1978. Blessed Paul VI died on the feast of the Transfiguration, so another day for his feast had to be found, otherwise it would never be celebrated.

It’s summertime and the living is easy. Regular schedules are abandoned as day trips, vacations and relaxation provide respite from the everyday humdrum. In our churches, the pews that appeared to be sparsely occupied in fall, winter and spring seem to be even more vacated in the summer heat. Open the doors and where’s the people, we might ask.

There was a day when we would sit by the phone anxiously waiting for it to ring with important news. Nowadays, the phone is often muted, and it is a text message that intrudes into our vigil. So it was that at 3 a.m. I received the simple text message: “Gordie has passed. May he rest in peace.”

A bitter clash has erupted in the United States following the release of two videos that show officials from the American arm of Planned Parenthood allegedly negotiating the sale of tissue and organs from aborted fetuses. It’s a conflict that should sound alarm bells in Canada.

The pollster Gallup reports Pope Francis’ popularity in the United States has dropped significantly over the past year, fueled by his writings and teachings surrounding the environment, capitalism, income inequality and other issues.

Before I started theology school, I thought I would be trained in apologetics, which I saw as the art of arguing one’s own beliefs so well that others are converted to them. However, when classes began I was told, “We don’t do apologetics; we do theology.”