{mosimage}In the spiritual and intellectual adventure that has brought humankind to the present moment, no place has played a more influential role than the Middle East.

{mosimage}It’s actually kind of surprising that the Ontario legislature’s practice of starting off the day with the Lord’s Prayer had escaped notice for so long. Most legislatures in Canada changed the custom some years back, adopting non-sectarian prayers, or moments of reflection, or something similar to reflect Canada’s evolving religious diversity.

{mosimage}We love to talk about peace and what it means or may mean, and yet we know how elusive the definition and the experience can actually be. I suspect that is why we look for people who embody the “reality” of peace, individuals who have given themselves over to a life of creating a culture of peace, people who understand directly the costs of peace.

{mosimage}Charles Moore wrote a column not long ago in England’s Daily Telegraph so politically incorrect as to take my breath away.

I believe firmly in freedom of speech, but I do draw the line. Incitements to violence and murder are illegal in Canada, and well they should be. Libel, treason and sedition are also illegal. It is also wrong to pass off another’s words as one’s own. Meanwhile, I am not at all interested in freedom to create images — especially pornographic images.

{mosimage}Until Liberal MP Keith Martin tabled a private members’ motion in the House of Commons on Jan. 30, the problem of human rights commissions dabbling in censorship of free speech had really not hit the political radar screens. Now, however, the politicians have been forced to take note and, predictably, they wonder what the fuss is all about.

It is only days away, that fatal day, that day with the power to cast single women into abject gloom and to send married men into a frenzy of procrastination; that day that crushes the joy out of men who love and rarely fails to disappoint the women who love them; that day that sends boys and girls hand in hand to their local Catholic college campus to watch The Vagina Monologues. Yes, my friends, Valentine’s Day is upon us again.

I have a friend, a fellow writer, whom I’m here calling Peter. That’s not his real name, but I can assure you he’s real.

{mosimage}In his 2008 Message for Lent, Pope Benedict XVI refers to the “spiritual battle” of the Lenten season, a time when we use the tools of almsgiving, fasting and prayer to strengthen our inner selves against those forces, internal and external, which prey on our human foibles.

{mosimage}Lent is both a question and an answer. It is the Christian’s way of asking the fundamental human question of why there is evil if God is good. But in the asking the answer is found.

{mosimage}Canada recently “celebrated” — “mourned” would be more appropriate if not, unfortunately, accurate — the 20th anniversary of the Morgentaler decision by the Supreme Court of Canada, which demolished our laws restricting abortion. Away from the main events of public marches, protests and university symposia, there were several sideshows that revealed how threatened mainstream opinion makers are by the fact that the subject refuses to die.