{mosimage}WINNIPEG - Any anthology of Christian writing in Canada cannot help but examine the intersection of faith and politics. In Northern Lights, readers can examine this through the eyes of someone who has lived it for almost three decades.

After almost 30 years as a member of Parliament, United Church Minister Bill Blaikie has taken on a different campaign — to encourage Christians to talk to each other, and the world, about who they are.

To a believer, there's no doubt God created the world

{mosimage}TORONTO - Science can't adequately explain the role of God in the universe, says Fr. George Coyne, S.J., the former director of the Vatican Observatory who, at one time, was referred to as “the pope's astrophysicist.”

But as a religious believer, the American professor said he is able to answer the question of God's role.

Senior volunteers give back to community

{mosimage}TORONTO - The Notre Dame Cathedral parish in Ottawa may have 460 volunteers, young and old, but that doesn’t mean there is never a void to fill.

Alannah Lennon has been volunteering at the cathedral with her husband Stan for about 12 years now. As retirees, they find it’s easier to be involved in parish life, from attending daily Mass to helping out, because their time is more flexible.

Canada and the 'Sheen Affair'

{mosimage}In 1952, Canadian and American culture collided over an unlikely cleric — Bishop Fulton Sheen. It was the dawn of the TV era and Sheen's Life is Worth Living had made him the most watched priest on television in the United States. But in Canada, for several years the CBC refused to broadcast the program. Find out why in this podcast of the Eighth Annual Somerville Lecture on Christianity and Culture.

This lecture was presented Nov. 6 at the Newman Centre, in the University of Toronto campus. It featured Dr. Mark McGowan, principal of the University of St. Michael's College, Toronto. He is well-known for his analysis of church affairs and as author of Waning of the Green: Catholics, the Irish and Identity in Toronto, and Michael Power: The Struggle to Build the Catholic Church on the Canadian Frontier.

The Somerville lecture is sponsored by The Catholic Register in co-operation with the St. Jerome's Lectures in Catholic Experience and the Newman Centre.

Click the arrow to hear the audio.

The gift of the incarnate Jesus

{mosimage}The church gives us four Sundays to get ready for the enfleshment of God. Four weeks is just enough to get organized for the office parties, gift exchanges, good cheer with good friends, family gatherings, etc. But it is impossible to be ready for God among us, God here and now, God in history — God as a concrete, physical reality. There is no strategy, no program, no scheme that will make such a thing easily acceptable or even understandable. Faith is a gift.

The nature of the gift is a clear sense of Christ and profound communion with reality.

Market meltdown less harsh on social investments

{mosimage}TORONTO - The September apocalypse on Wall Street and Bay Street is no surprise to religiously and socially motivated investors, who are now contemplating their place in the post-meltdown economy.

“Socially responsible investing is going to be very well positioned coming out of this crisis,” said Jantzi Social Index founder Michael Jantzi.

Preparing for the coming of Christ

{mosimage}TORONTO - With Christmas approaching, it’s important not to lose sight of the preparation that should come beforehand — and this doesn’t just mean picking out the right presents and decorations.

Fr. Vito Marziliano, pastor at All Saints parish in Toronto’s west end, has tried to make the Advent season really one of spiritual preparation for his parishioners by offering workshops to help them prepare their spiritual “inn” for Christ.

Mary, the model of motherhood


{mosimage}Christmas centres on the Nativity, the birth of Christ who came into the world to save us from our sins. There would be no birth, of course, if there were no mother. As the poet Coventry Pattmore has remarked, Mary is  “Our only Saviour from an abstract Christ.” 

If there is a secondary message that Christmas brings, yet one that is still intimately tied to the first, it is the motherhood of Mary which, in turn, serves as the model for all motherhood. This message takes on greater significance in an age in which motherhood, in many instances, is routinely eviscerated into a  “choice.”

Some biotech advances playing God, Vatican says

{mosimage}VATICAN CITY - A new Vatican document warned that certain recent developments in stem-cell research, gene therapy and embryonic experimentation violate moral principles and reflect an attempt by man to “take the place of his Creator.”

The latest advances raise serious questions of moral complicity for researchers and other biotech professionals, who have a duty to refuse to use biological material obtained by unethical means, the document said.

Loretto Sisters meet needs of their community for 400 years

{mosimage}TORONTO - The Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary , commonly known as the Loretto Sisters, continues to serve the needy in a variety of ministries as the worldwide order celebrates its 400th anniversary this year.

While the order’s early years during the Protestant Reformation were rough at best, its introduction to Canada nearly 250 years later also met with some dramatic obstacles. Five sisters, sent to Toronto from Ireland in 1847 to teach Irish immigrants, landed in the midst of a deadly typhus outbreak which took the life of Toronto’s Bishop Michael Power just weeks after their arrival. Within the year, a few of the sisters had passed away themselves, unprepared for the harsh Canadian winter. However, the survivors were later joined by more sisters from Ireland, and today the order here still counts as many as 100 religious sisters, mostly based in Toronto and Guelph, but also present in Saskatchewan, who strive to emulate the charisms of their foundress, Mary Ward.