Fr. Raymond J. de Souza

Fr. Raymond J. de Souza

Fr. Raymond J. de Souza is the pastor of Sacred Heart of Mary parish on Wolfe Island, and chaplain at Newman House at Kingston, Ont.’s Queen’s University.

SAN DIEGO, CALIF. - Last week the American bishops met here to pray, study and reflect upon the role of the bishop in the New Evangelization. But before they began, the Latino leadership of the American bishops devoted their attention to the emerging new America, on the pressing subject of immigration reform.

SAN DIEGO, CALIF. - The American bishops are gathered this week in a special assembly — and a special one it is. The American episcopate meet twice a year, in November and in June, and every third year the June meeting is given over to a retreat rather than a business meeting.

There are those priests who write — columns, novels, academic papers, books — and then there was Fr. Andrew Greeley. He wrote. Certainly too much, but the Lord made him a writer, so he wrote, and he can hardly be blamed for that. Some 5,000 words a day for a very long time, turning out serious sociological research on the Catholic experience in America, analysing survey data as a long time scholar with the respected National Opinion Research Centre. He wrote a newspaper column for the Catholic press for decades. And there were his dozens of novels — tens of millions of copies in print — bestselling yarns that included the infamous sex scenes that rather made him famous among the elite media who think that celibates know nothing about sex.

Will the mafiosi attempt to march in the Corpus Christi processions this Sunday in Sicily? The beatification last Saturday of Fr. Giuseppe Puglisi — Don Pino as he was affectionately known by his people — of Palermo should dissuade them.

GANANOQUE, ONT. - A year ago I visited the diocese of Whitehorse, heading north to the Yukon for the first time. Last week, the bishop of Whitehorse — which comprises all of the Yukon and a little of northern British Columbia — returned the visit as it were, preaching the priests’ retreat for the archdiocese of Kingston, here in the Thousand Islands.

It was just a year ago that the latest media priest crashed and burned. Fr. Thomas Williams, a priest of the Legionaries of Christ and a well-known writer and television commentator, acknowledged in May 2012 that he had fathered a son many years ago. He took a leave of his public ministry. The Legionaries have now announced that Fr. Williams has asked to leave religious life and the priestly ministry, petitioning the Holy Father for permission to do so.

Last week Cardinal Keith O’Brien, who resigned as archbishop of Edinburgh just before the recent conclave upon revelations of “lewd behaviour” and “drunken fumblings,” spoke for the first time since press reports led him to absent himself from the conclave. The accusations were made by Scottish priests who reported O’Brien had made advances after excessive drinking in years past. The accusations did not involve minors.

When Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran stepped out on the central loggia of St. Peter’s Basilica on March 13 to tell the world that it had a new pope, he had no idea that the news would cost him more than $30,000.

Cardinal Tauran sits on the supervisory board of the Institute for the Works of Religion, or the Vatican Bank. The five cardinals on the board were given an annual stipend of 25,000 euro until 2012. Pope Francis cancelled it.

I don’t know what Cardinal Tauran did with his stipend, or what the other four cardinals — Tarcisio Bertone, Odilo Pedro Scherer, Telesphore Placidus Toppo and Domenico Calcagno — did with theirs...

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“From Mabou to Big Pond, there is no place on Earth like it,” said Rita MacNeil, who died last week. “My glorious home, Cape Breton.”

It is a bit silly for fortysomethings to be speaking about a “bucket list” but that’s what I heard leaving Toronto’s Roy Thomson Hall after an Aretha Franklin concert. A man my age, who should be busy about living rather than thinking about dying, commented that seeing Aretha Franklin in concert was on his bucket list. That’s rather a nice compliment to Aretha, who has made all sorts of lists in her life, including some years back taking the No. 1 position in Rolling Stone magazine’s Top 100 singers of all time.

How exactly one measures the top 100 singers is not clear, but to finish first in such a manner of list-making is be acknowledged as a rare talent. Aretha is still that, 50 years after she got her start.

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