It is noble to mark the World Day of the Poor with gifts of charity, but Pope Francis has challenged Catholics to go much further than that. He asks us to observe Nov. 18 by making a serious examination of conscience “to see if we are truly capable of hearing the cry of the poor.”

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Good riddance to confidentiality clauses. If one outcome captures the spirit of the Canadian bishops’ new document on sex abuse, that might be it. No more confidentially clauses.

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We have grown weary of Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò. Weary of his accusations. Weary of his recklessness. Weary of his insolence. Weary of his betrayals. Weary of his cunning.

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“When a bit of time has passed,” said Pope Francis, perhaps he would answer serious allegations that he permitted a cardinal cited for sexual abuse to return to public ministry.

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“We showed no care for the little ones,” wrote Pope Francis. “We abandoned them.”

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It’s probably a safe bet that Ontario’s new premier has never read Pope Paul VI’s encyclical Humanae Vitae, which reaffirmed the Church’s teaching on marriage, parenthood, procreation and contraception. 

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They are desperate, poor and usually forgotten until violence erupts and the world takes note of them burying their dead.

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Few dossiers that cross the Pope’s desk are more challenging than the thick, sad file on sexual abuse. It’s a file Pope Francis inherited from his two predecessors and one he pledged to handle with urgency, compassion and transparency.

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For much of the past two decades, Christmas celebrations in the birthplace of Christ have been muted. Recent Decembers, however, have seen Bethlehem start to become a more joyous place and the annual Christmas tree lighting last month in Manger Square was said to be the most festive in years.
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More than 100,000 people turned Zimbabwe’s capital Harare into a big dance party following the bloodless overthrow of their tyrant-president Robert Mugabe. Goodness knows they earned it.
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Catholics and people of all religions should be troubled by a new Quebec law that is an obvious affront to religious freedom. 
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Pope Francis caused a buzz in the Catholic world on Sept. 9 when he announced a relaxation of the Vatican’s stranglehold on liturgical texts in favour of sharing responsibility with local bishops.

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The mere thought of North Korea’s homicidal dictator possessing a nuclear bomb is terrifying. But as long as world powers cling to their nuclear arsenals, the spread of these weapons is inevitable.

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It was interesting to monitor the shock expressed around the world to recent news that Iceland has almost eradicated the birth of Down syndrome babies by prenatal tests and abortion.

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Regardless of where you stand on the nasty public spat involving the president of the University of St. Michael’s College and some school faculty, it seems fundamentally obvious that a Catholic institution of higher education should promote a visible and distinctly Catholic identity.

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