As one of those who opposed U.S. military intervention in Iraq from the outset of this adventure four years ago, I would have liked the quick official response of the American Catholic bishops to President George Bush's recent decision to boost U.S. military force in Iraq to go further than it did, and declare the intervention to be immoral at its very core. As it stands, however, the statement issued on Jan. 12 by Bishop William S. Skylstad, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, is wise and sensible counsel about the extraordinarily difficult situation faced by the Western principals in the conflict.

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.

Long before the execution of Saddam Hussein in late December, the world had come to understand clearly the character and career of the former Iraqi dictator. He was a man of blood in the baleful tradition of earlier strong men in the modern era: murderous and cruel, vengeful, suspicious and infinitely jealous. He meted out terror and torture to his real or imagined enemies, and corrupted his society with the constant threat of violence. For the countless crimes they committed, Saddam and his henchmen deserved severe and lasting punishment.

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.