When Pope Benedict XVI was elected to replace the inimitable Pope John Paul II, he promised to carry on his beloved successor's work, particularly that related to ecumenism. As is often the case, the press of events can overtake the best laid plans and so ecumenism has often appeared to play second fiddle to other issues.

Five-year-old D. — in the brave new world parlance of the Ontario Court of Appeal — has "two mums." He has three parents: B., his biological father; C., his birth mother; and A., his mother's lesbian partner. Two parents are enough for most of us, sometimes more than enough; but thanks to the wisdom of our judges, D. now has three parents.

As of Feb. 1 the Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Canada and its equivalent in the United States will recommend that the rules on the use of amniocentesis change. It is the primary test used to discover if a fetus is afflicted with Down Syndrome and a number of other genetic disorders.

Every year in February, the Catholic Church marks the special place it holds in its heart for the sick, the suffering, the dying. The World Day of the Sick, held this year on Feb. 11, draws our attention to Christ's own compassion during His years on earth for those needing physical healing.

One of my husband's aunts moved to a nursing home a while ago, due to her fluctuating health status and declining ability to care for herself. Although she'd exhausted other options, she was extremely unhappy about the situation and initially our visits there were strained. But my husband and I persisted and gradually found ways to make interactions with her enjoyable again.

Each year the Pope delivers a wide-ranging speech to the 175 or so ambassadors assigned by their countries to the Holy See. It is an occasion for the leader of the world's largest church to turn a spotlight on some of those global issues that are too easily forgotten in the fickleness and superficiality of the daily news grind.

Recently, after putting myself through a crash course in selecting ladies' rings and cashing some Canada Savings Bonds, I proposed to my beautiful girlfriend. On bended knee I spoke of love and the future. She tallied up the pros and cons and fortunately the former outnumbered the latter.

Much of what we read last month about the opposition to public displays of Christmas was largely irksome and petty. In some circles, for example, it is impermissible to bring red or green cookies to a "Holiday" party.

Just before Christmas, in one of those quiet moves governments make when everyone's attention is somewhere else, Health Minister Tony Clement announced the membership of the new board to run the Assisted Human Reproduction Canada agency. It has been a long time coming.

The announcement of who would be the next archbishop of Toronto has been much anticipated, not least by Cardinal Aloysius Ambrozic himself. At almost 77, he gets a well-deserved rest after labouring 30 years as bishop in that Lord's vineyard we call the archdiocese of Toronto.

"Joy is a net of love by which you can catch souls."

Mother Teresa of Calcutta

As seasonal celebrations wind down, the decorations are packed away and people get back to their routines, it's not uncommon to feel disappointment — a symptom of what's known as "the post-holiday blues."