I was a little nervous about Pope Francis’ meeting with the clergy of Rome last week. As a seminarian and a new priest, I always looked forward to Blessed John Paul’s annual Holy Thursday letter to priests. To my disappointment, Pope Benedict XVI did not continue that tradition, but replaced it with an annual encounter with the clergy of Rome in the first days of Lent. Pope Francis opted this year to continue Benedict’s practice, and so met with the parish priests of Rome last week.

G.K. and the God debate

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God was abundant at the Toronto archdiocese’s recent inaugural Chesterton Debate. Dear old G.K., unfortunately, was in notably shorter supply.

Rolling Stone and the Pope: what a shame

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It is official: Pope Francis is a rock star. Or, at least that is what Rolling Stone magazine is announcing to the world by putting the Pontiff on its current cover.

Israel’s outlook must be seen through a biblical lens

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JERUSALEM - I have been to Israel more than a dozen times — as a pilgrim, leading pilgrimages, with my family, on a private retreat, for Christmas, for Holy Week, for board meetings, for the papal visit of 2009 — but never for something quite like this. I was invited to be part of the official delegation accompanying Prime Minister Stephen Harper on his visit this week to Israel and the Palestinian Authority (West Bank).

Restoring my faith in media balance

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As a young lad, I remember coming home after being teased at school and my mother immediately asking me what was wrong.

The world was present for Christ’s birth

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KINGSTON, ONT. - Local Catholic Tony Vella had an effective evangelizing idea. How to remind local schoolchildren about the birth of Jesus amid the commercial clutter of the season? The St. Paul the Apostle parishioner thought that the best way to remind children about Jesus was to show them, well, Jesus.

Seeing is believing

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Christmas came early to our house this year. Very early. Pre-Advent early.

Standing up where apathy won’t

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Now that the annual costume-and-sugar festival called Halloween has passed, I will comment on what I believe is a new low reached this year in the sale of adult Halloween costumes.

Technology sure has a hold on us

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The other day, I lost my so-called smartphone. It was kind of dumb of me. But the episode set off a range of emotions; from the pit-in-my-stomach initial feeling to panic and stress at figuring out what to do next, including a little prayer to St. Anthony, to contentment realizing life without that digital albatross around my neck actually feels pretty good.

Sexual revolution on New York streets

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NEW YORK - Fifth Avenue is the world’s main street, a gentle stroll taking you from the Empire State Building at 34th Street to the New York public library at 42nd Street, or from FAO Schwartz, the toy store for all ages, at 59th Street, to the magnificent Frick Gallery at 71st Street. Then there is the Queen of Fifth Avenue, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, which Cardinal Timothy Dolan likes to call “America’s parish church.”

Bringing the Church back to its core

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Reading through Pope Francis’ fascinating 12,000-word interview in the Jesuit journal America Magazine, many thoughts and sentences leapt out, especially this one.