Much is being made — and deservedly so — of Loyola High School’s victory on behalf of religious freedom. The Jesuit-run Montreal school deserves praise for sticking it out through a seven-year court slog that has made Canada a better place for people of all religions.

Edinburgh’s disgraced Cardinal Keith O’Brien was in the news again last week after he resigned his rights and privileges as a cardinal. The Vatican stated that “with this provision” Pope Francis “would like to manifest his pastoral solicitude to all the faithful of the Church in Scotland and to encourage them to continue with hope the path of renewal and reconciliation.”

Recent stories about two Catholic high schools are terrific examples of how government policies can sometimes produce the exact opposite effect as intended.

Twenty years ago, on the Feast of the Annunciation 1995, St. John Paul II published one of his signature encyclicals, Evangelium Vitae (The Gospel of Life). It’s important to return to the richness of that teaching, as many who oppose the Church’s pro-life witness having been making mischief with Pope Francis’ remark that Catholics should not be obsessed with abortion.

There’s a wonderful scene in that poignant and delightfully sharp movie Mean Girls where the then-compelling Lindsay Lohan explains that her homeschooling wasn’t of the ultra-religious variety. The scene cuts to a group of toothless youths on a farm who say proudly, “And on the third day God gave us the Remington rifle, so we could fight the dinosaurs. And the homosexuals. Amen.”

Two years ago the demands of office caused a tired Pope Benedict XVI to resign the papacy. He was 85. Now we have Pope Francis, 78, musing about a short pontificate as he begins his third year on the job.

I had the pleasure this past week of hosting George Weigel, one of the Church’s leading public intellectuals, in Toronto and Kingston. I had long wanted to host Weigel, a mentor and friend and colleague for more than 20 years, and thought that 2015, the 10th anniversary of the death of St. John Paul II, would be the perfect year to do it.

Lent has a way of unsettling us, of shaking up our easy routines and making us question what more we should be doing as part of our Christian obedience.

A country that deems it progressive to kill your grandmother but conservative for the state to dictate your choice of hat might be going, in a technical sense, nuts.

The release last month of the Ontario government’s revised physical education and health curriculum is an opportunity for Catholic schools to again demonstrate an approach that is both distinctive from but supportive of secular goals.  

Requiring doctors to remain pillars of integrity while chipping at their moral underpinning is an odious contradiction. Yet that is what the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario proposes with a draconian new policy that tramples on conscience and religious rights.

On a frozen afternoon in February, I visited Mary Wagner in the Vanier Centre for Women. The prison is a long, low building in Milton, Ont., and its waiting room for visitors is surprisingly pleasant. It has a clean, cream-tiled floor, cream-painted walls with blue-grey doors and trim and blue-green metal chairs locked together. A Coke machine and a snack machine glow from a corner. Large signs proclaim the centre “scent-free” and small signs ask visitors if they suffer from coughs or chest pains. A framed document extols the virtues of the warden.

Basketball superstar LeBron James and the National Basketball Association have joined best-selling author Sheryl Sandberg in promoting gender equality, the timing coinciding with International Women’s Day on March 8.