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{mosimage}There has been in recent weeks much focus and discussion on Ontario’s strong publicly funded school system. Catholic schools are an integral part of that system, supported by 2.4 million Catholic ratepayers and the province’s three major political parties.


{mosimage} Prior to the 2006 federal election, Faith Today, the magazine of the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada, published the response of Prime Minister Stephen Harper to a question it had put to him: “What role do you think faith should play in developing public policy, and what is the place of religious institutions in contemporary Canadian society?”

The recent decision of North Korea to dismantle its facilities for producing nuclear weapons — if we can believe the leaders of that ruthless totalitarian state — is a faintly hopeful development in the otherwise grim recent history of nuclear proliferation.

{mosimage}The people in the pews are the Body of Christ, and never am I more aware of this than when I am in my parish in Cambridge, Mass. The priest censes the altar. The altar server censes the boys’ choir. He then stands before the People of God and bows his head. We bow our heads. He censes us for, like the altar and the boys’ choir, we are holy. He bows again. We bow again. There is a tremendous dignity in all this — unless, of course, you are allergic to incense and sneeze.

{mosimage}Prime Minister Stephen Harper was in a rather indecent rush recently to turn the $14-billion federal surplus from last year into a $725-million tax cut for all Canadians. Granted, we’d all love an extra $30 or so to go shopping at the mall, but before we accept this as a fait accompli, shouldn’t we at least talk about it.

{mosimage}In the middle of a highly emotional public debate over religious education, a new report has just been released by the Institute for Catholic Education on the current sense of how concerned Ontario Catholics feel about their publicly funded separate school system. The political context gives this report a necessary urgency.

{mosimage}The 25th anniversary of the life and death of Benedictine monk John Main (1926-1982) will be celebrated at the John Main Seminar in Orford, Que., Oct. 18-21. It will bring together more than 200 speakers, teachers of spirituality, meditators and the general public from around the world to join in a three-day colloquium on the influence of this extraordinary spiritual teacher and prophet.

{mosimage}Forty-six per cent of Newfoundlanders are left-handed. At least that’s what my husband’s golfing partner told him while they played the Terra Nova course.

It hurts to see the Anglican Communion breaking up over the issues of openly gay clergy and same-sex unions.

“We can all do small things, with great love, and together we can do something wonderful.” Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta

{mosimage}Editor's note: Ontario voters face a historic election Oct. 10, but not because of the candidates before them. This year, voters will be asked in a referendum if they wish to make the most dramatic change since Confederation in how they choose provincial governments. They will be asked whether they want to retain the current system (known as the “first-past-the-post” method) or accept a form of proportional representation called the Mixed Member Proportional vote. Below we offer pro and con opinions on MMP by two Catholics with extensive experience in political activity. For more information on the referendum, access the web site www.citizensassembly.gov.on.ca.