Few Christmas hymns are more admired than “Silent Night.” The lyrics were penned by a young German priest in 1816 and a schoolteacher added the melody two years later. Together these amateur musicians wrote a simple yet powerful song that lovingly depicts the peace and joy of the holy mother and her new child.
Upon the death of Jean Beliveau I devoted my National Post column to eulogizing the gentleman who exemplified the best that Quebec once produced, a model of what Quebec aspires to be. The treatment was even more generous here in the pages of The Register, with a cover story and a laudatory editorial. It was well deserved.
They came by the thousands. Young and old, men and women, Francophone and English, the able-bodied and the infirm, they came despite the driving, biting snow and blustery wind to a church in Montreal in mid-December to bid farewell to hockey legend Jean Beliveau.
I have never quite understood those people who become so upset at the non-Christian celebration or perhaps exploitation of Christmas. Santa, even Rudolph and certainly Ebenezer Scrooge are not alternatives but extensions of the Christian message.
Fifty years ago Blessed Paul VI went to Jerusalem — the first papal trip outside Italy in our time, inaugurating the practice of apostolic journeys — to meet Patriarch Athenagoras of Constantinople, primus inter pares of all the Orthodox patriarchs. It was a historic moment that, after nearly a millennia of separation, the Bishop of Rome, Successor of St. Peter and universal pastor of the Church, would meet with the Patriarch of Constantinople, the “New Rome,” successor of St. Andrew and ecumenical patriarch of all Orthodoxy.
I have just returned from Edinburgh’s largest department store with a mattress pad and a pair of “nude” nylon tights. The mattress pad is for a guest bed, and the nylons are for me. One of the small annoyances of British life is that hosiery manufacturers seem to think the average nude Brit is walnut-coloured. In Canada I would at least have the choice of “alabaster,” the colour I actually am.
The world’s newest nation is in big trouble.
Following more than 20 years of civil war between north and south Sudan, the independent nation of the Republic of South Sudan was born in 2011.
But the birth of the new nation didn't come without pain. The many years of war brought not only much death, but also drained South Sudan of valuable resources, leaving it extremely poor.
Pope Francis issued a wake-up call in a frank address (or was it a scolding?) he delivered Nov. 25 to the European Parliament. Good for him. But let’s not be smug about it. His knuckle-rap that a “self-absorbed” Europe needs to recover its soul applies with equal weight to North America.