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.

JERUSALEM - Where is it safe for Jews to live?

One of the dynamics of last year’s Synod on the Family was the contrast between the German-speaking bishops, who have been preoccupied with finding a way for those in invalid marriages to receive Holy Communion since Joseph Ratzinger and Walter Kasper were young theologians, and the African bishops. The latter, not to put too fine a point on it, objected that it was not possible for the Church to teach that simultaneous polygamy was immoral for poor black Catholics in Africa while serial polygamy was okay for rich, white Catholics in Europe.

“Benedicite glacies et nives Domino; laudate et superexaltate eum in saecula!”

During the ice storm of 1998, a friend of my uncle took a photograph of an outdoor crucifix in Montreal, thinly covered in ice and surrounded by trees encased as if in shimmering glass.

Next month, on March 24, the Church in San Salvador will mark the 35th anniversary of the assassination of Archbishop Oscar Romero. Soon the whole Church will celebrate the beatification of Archbishop Romero, for on Feb. 3 Pope Francis approved the decree for his martyrdom. (Martyrs do not require a miracle for beatification, but do require one miracle after beatification for canonization.)

The ranks of the priest-columnists are not few, but we are one fewer with the death of Fr. Richard McBrien on Jan. 26. He had both great longevity — more than four decades of syndicated weekly columns, with his home at the National Catholic Reporter — and great influence. In the 1980s, he was the go-to source for Catholic stories. The chairman of the theology department at the University of Notre Dame, he appeared constantly in the leading American newspapers and on television, an influence that extended into Canada.

COLOMBO, SRI LANKA - Passing through Rome on the way to the Jan. 14 canonization of Fr. Joseph Vaz, Apostle of Sri Lanka, I heard something extraordinary from Cardinal Angelo Amato, prefect of the Congregation for Saints.

COLOMBO, SRI LANKA - It happened here again, but this time rather unexpectedly. In 1970 and in 1995, when Blessed Paul VI and St. John Paul II visited Sri Lanka, the president who invited them was no longer in office when they arrived. So it was for Pope Francis’ arrival this week, but more dramatically so.

ROME - There is excitement here about the papal visit to Sri Lanka and the Philippines next week. For those with longer Roman memories, they know that it celebrates the 20th anniversary of an extraordinary pilgrimage by St. John Paul, one that marked the beginning of the heroic last decade of his pontificate.

Upon the death of Jean Beliveau I devoted my National Post column to eulogizing the gentleman who exemplified the best that Quebec once produced, a model of what Quebec aspires to be. The treatment was even more generous here in the pages of The Register, with a cover story and a laudatory editorial. It was well deserved.

Fifty years ago Blessed Paul VI went to Jerusalem — the first papal trip outside Italy in our time, inaugurating the practice of apostolic journeys — to meet Patriarch Athenagoras of Constantinople, primus inter pares of all the Orthodox patriarchs. It was a historic moment that, after nearly a millennia of separation, the Bishop of Rome, Successor of St. Peter and universal pastor of the Church, would meet with the Patriarch of Constantinople, the “New Rome,” successor of St. Andrew and ecumenical patriarch of all Orthodoxy.