In one of those happy liturgical coincidences — or better, providences — Feb. 6 brought the following reading from the First Book of Kings at Mass:

“The elders of Israel and all the leaders of the tribes, the princes in the ancestral houses of the children of Israel, came to King Solomon in Jerusalem, to bring up the ark of the Lord’s covenant from the City of David, which is Zion. All the people of Israel assembled before King Solomon during the festival in the month of Ethanim (the seventh month). When all the elders of Israel had arrived, the priests took up the ark; they carried the ark of the Lord and the meeting tent with all the sacred vessels that were in the tent. (The priests and Levites carried them.) King Solomon and the entire community of Israel present for the occasion sacrificed before the ark sheep and oxen too many to number or count.”

The planet is a better place because humans are a curious species. Occasionally, a scientific discovery comes by happen-chance but typically it flows from a curious mind asking the right question.

Thus we are living longer and more comfortably than ever. Progress has been mankind’s hallmark since before the invention of the wheel. Life is full of wonder. One discovery leads to another. The Wright brothers wondered if man could fly and barely a lifetime later Neil Armstrong was standing on the moon.

There has been a strange silence from the top of the Dalton McGuinty government on the  contentious issue of gay-straight alliance clubs.


The Ontario Catholic School Trustees’ Association gave its response to the government’s proposal on Jan. 25. Catholic schools will respect differences but will not go against Church teaching, the OCSTA document said.
The document was a challenge to the government’s attempt to steamroll over Catholic schools but also a strong affirmation of religious freedom and the constitutional right of Catholics to run their own education system.

Faith and Las Vegas are an oxymoron. But these two seemingly paradoxical thoughts rattled around in my head as we walked down the busy, glittery Las Vegas strip the other day for the first time.

Sure, Sin City has different types of temples filled with moneychangers of a modern ilk. These temples are named Caesar’s Palace, the Mirage, the Venetian, Bellagio and a host of others. And, sure, churches are hidden so far out of sight that you’d think illusionist David Copperfield made them disappear.

Super Bowl Sunday marks the end of the football season and a look back at the year that was. On the field it was the year of the quarterback, with Drew Brees, Tom Brady, Matthew Stafford, Eli Manning and Aaron Rodgers all putting up eye-popping numbers. Off the field, the chatter was about one quarterback, Tim Tebow of the Denver Broncos.

His improbable story was captivating enough, coming off the bench in mid-season to lead his team to the playoffs with one last-minute victory after another. It was his Christian faith, though, that sparked an international discussion about whether faith had a place in sports, whether God was on Tebow’s side or whether Tebow thought God was on his side, or whether in fact God thought He ought to be on Tebow’s side.

The January issue of the Canadian Medical Association Journal included an editorial proposing that the gender of an unborn child be withheld from parents until 30 weeks gestation to prevent gender-based abortions, a practice that typically targets females.

While screening for the sole purpose of sex selection is illegal in Canada, and not believed to be widespread, there is convincing anecdotal evidence that it does occur, particularly within ethnic communities where sons are more valued than daughters.

Catholic educators have responded to the controversial anti-bullying initiatives of the Ontario government by politely but firmly indicating they won’t be bullied. Bravo!

The response came from the Ontario Catholic School Trustees’ Association in a comprehensive document titled “Respecting Difference” that articulates the Catholic perspective on an issue that has become unnecessarily controversial. With input from trustees, bishops, educators and parents, the document exhibits compassion, clarity and resolve as it addresses bullying uniformly, rather than elevating one type of bullying above others.

It should be required reading for all educators.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper gave Canadians a wake-up call with his recent warnings at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. The problem is that even those who hear the alarm might rise to the wrong bell.

Harper was candid that our country’s solid economic performance in comparison to Europe and the United States masks a frightening demographic threat. Bluntly put, the number of Canadians nearing retirement is rising; the number of younger Canadians available to replace them is falling. The outcome of that stark reality, Harper said, will require his government to simultaneously undertake serious reform of federal pensions, particularly the Old Age Supplement, and immigration policy.

There is a new social phenomenon affecting thousands of families. For many, it is bewildering, even infuriating. For others, it’s addictive.

I call this new phenomenon Together but Texting — people socializing through text messaging. We’ve all seen it and, quite likely, been with people while they’ve had their eyes, minds and fingers focussed on their cellphone, Blackberry or iPad. Sometimes it’s as if their very soul is immersed.

It’s rare that a bishop indicates publicly how he intends to vote. But recent events provoked just such a response in the United States.

President Barack Obama announced on Jan. 20 that his health care plan would require all employers to purchase health insurance for their employees which would cover contraception, sterilization and abortion-inducing drugs. While churches with a moral objection would be exempt, universities and hospitals would not be. The upshot would be that Catholic institutions would be forced to purchase products directly contrary to the dictates of a conscience properly formed by the teaching of the Church.

So, people constantly ask in exasperation, “What’s the world coming to?”

In the U.K., what it’s coming to are television and radio advertisements to promote private, for-profit abortion services. This regrettable development is the result of a regulatory change that, critics say, means abortion will be advertised into family homes as casually as toothpaste and breakfast cereal after new rules kick in April 30.