Robert Brehl

Robert Brehl

Robert Brehl is a writer in Port Credit, Ont., and can be reached at or @bbrehl on Twitter.

The other day I had a “Count Your Blessings” type of day. It was courtesy of two friends; a new friend and a long-time friend.

It’s difficult to find anything more perplexing than the tragic shooting death of teenager Sammy Yatim, the former Brebeuf College School student. It has caused a great gulf in the community with people lining up to either detest or defend police actions. One web site called the Toronto Catholic Witness Blog posted a story entitled “Sammy Yatim: A victim of the Toronto Gestapo Police.”

Never have so many words been used to explain so few after Pope Francis said “Who am I to judge?” when asked about homosexuals.

It never fails to amaze me how much the secular media loves to take shots at the Church. Pope Francis offering indulgences — or opportunity for forgiveness of sins — to those following him on Twitter during World Youth Day festivities in Rio de Janeiro is the latest hit and gigglefest for the media.

As we celebrate Canada Day, it’s not too difficult to get down on our country right now.

As we mark Pope Francis’ first 100 days in office, it would be impossible to argue that they have been anything other than successful. Some might say wildly successful.

Media reports this past week about the anti-blasphemy law in Pakistan got me angry, then it got me thinking.

Political scandals, whether on Parliament Hill, city hall or elsewhere, are like car accidents: you don’t like to see them happen but it’s difficult to look away.

Earlier this year the topic of gun control was brought up in this space, citing how that issue underlines perhaps the biggest cultural difference between Canadians and our neighbours to the south.

About 35 years ago, I walked into religion class at Neil McNeil High School in east end Toronto and the Rolling Stones song “Sympathy for the Devil” was blaring from an old record player. My first thought was some cheeky classmate put it on, but the teacher was sitting at his desk, head bopping to the music, drumming a ruler.

When the song ended, the teacher began a discussion with questions like: Is there really a devil? If there is, what possible scenarios could lead to sympathy for him? Why does God even allow the existence of a devil?

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