{mosimage}Judging from the torrent of abuse poured on Ontario Conservative Leader John Tory in recent weeks, it is clear that his proposal to fund religious-based education with tax dollars has touched one of those latent nerves in the provincial populace. His is a brave stand indeed, one that deserves better than the dismissal it has received in many quarters.

One of the many surprises New Brunswick had for this native Torontonian and staunch Upper Canadian is the solid Irish fact — as strong as the Acadian — that defines so much of the history and culture of the province.  Some 38 per cent of the population is of Irish ancestry and the port city of Saint John is as Irish as Cork.

{mosimage}On Sunday July 8, Nova Scotia went one step further down the road to making Sunday just like any other day of the week. It was inevitable. After years of attempting to control Sunday shopping, and a plebiscite in 2004 where 55 per cent of voters cast their ballots in support of a Sunday ban on shopping, the pressure became unbeatable.
The year I turned 13, my parents booked a week at a lakefront resort, a departure from our family’s usual summer plans. This afforded us a wealth of recreational opportunities. Little did we know, though, how big a role the activities director would play in our enjoyment of them.
{mosimage}On July 10, the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith released a document reaffirming Catholic ecclesiology entitled “Responses to some questions regarding certain aspects of the doctrine on the Church.” The succinct, three-page document, in essence, simply reaffirms the teaching of the Second Vatican Council regarding the theology of the church (ecclesiology), as well as modern encyclicals and magisterial documents.
{mosimage}Occasionally, the image of Canadians — as portrayed in popular media — runs headlong into the wall of Canadian reality. It happened in early July when a new opinion poll revealed that a majority of Canadians believe that God had a hand in making human beings who they are.
{mosimage}The prayers of the Holy Father for the 15th World Day of the Sick in 2007 were expressed in his message written on Dec. 8, 2006. He reminded us that, “Despite the advances of science, a cure cannot be found for every illness, and thus in hospitals, hospices and homes throughout the world we encounter the sufferings of our many brothers and sisters who are incurably and often terminally ill.”
{mosimage}The debate over whether the new commissioner of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police should have risen from the ranks, or even be allowed to wear the red serge, is beside the point. The real objective should be to restore integrity to the RCMP and William Elliott should be judged on his ability to do so.
{mosimage}It is disappointing to see church groups responding to the political debate in Canada by seriously debating whether minimum sentences for gun crime are too long or not.  They will never win. Debating in the arbitrary ether about what is a fair penalty will always lead to increases in punishment — to the cost of taxpayers and little benefit to our safety.
{mosimage}Gone are the days when Catholic themes on either a network or specialty channel, television drama or sitcom series would have garnered a measure of respectful fascination, bemused interest or benign mystification.
Editor’s note: Below is an excerpt from a speech by Fr. Bill Ryan, S.J., founder of the Center of Concern in Washington, a former general secretary of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops and longtime social justice advocate. It was presented to a gathering of Canadian Muslims at the Congress Centre in Ottawa on May 20.