The most impactful accomplishment of Stephen Harper’s years as Prime Minister might have been his selling G-20 leaders on the need to spend billions of dollars to improve maternal and child health in some of the poorest nations on Earth.

It is possible I am simply dense and if so, allow me to apologize from the very beginning.

Have you heard the one about the long-time politician preaching to Catholics about morals and obligations?

In recent decades Fort McMurray and the oil industry it symbolizes has divided Canadians. The Alberta oil hub was regarded as either a badge of national prosperity or symbol of ecological disgrace. The arguments were fierce.

Good fences make good neighbours, wrote Robert Frost. But don’t try telling that to the bishop of Eisenstadt, Austria.

The notion of separation of church and state is an important foundation for a true democracy. It guarantees freedom of religion by favouring no religion over another. It is also the surest way of guaranteeing the expansion of religion when the state favours none and allows religion’s best instincts to make a real contribution to society.

The federal government’s assisted-suicide legislation is chilling both for what it says and what it doesn’t say.

The phrase “Canada is back” has been increasingly present in the discourse about the values of our new government and its place in the global community.

Once again Africa is reeling from a hunger crisis and appealing for humanitarian aid. And once again the world’s sated nations have a moral duty to generously respond.

Perhaps Cardinal Christoph Schonborn best summarizes Pope Francis’ papal exhortation Amoris Laetitia (The Joy of Love): “There are true innovations, but no break” in tradition, the Austrian theologian told reporters the day the exhortation was released.

The search is on to find a Canadian woman of distinction to honour on an upcoming bank note. After asking why has this taken so long, the next question is who should it be?

If there is an issue that unites most politicians, health workers, social agencies and religious leaders, it is the urgent need for a bold strategy and major investment in palliative and hospice care.

The death of Mother Mary Angelica, the American Poor Clare who founded EWTN, has produced much commentary puzzling over an apparent contradiction. An orthodox and traditional nun was at the same time an entrepreneurial pioneer in Catholic television and did not blanch from charting a path independent of Catholic bishops. How could this be? She had conservative ideas but seemed to operate like a liberal.