June 9, 2013 issue

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Despite our differences, I still prayed for Dr. Morgentaler

About 30 years ago I met the late Dr. Bernard N. Nathanson, a co-founder of the U.S. abortion movement and back then a self-described atheistic Jew.

Fr. Greeley, the happy warrior, got one big thing wrong

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.

The good in differences

There was a small moment at a recent McGill University conference that put the very large debate about public religious faith into clear perspective. Rabbi Lisa Gruschcow, appearing on a panel called Taking the Temperature: Religion and Secularism in Canadian Society, spoke eloquently and effectively about the delicate balancing of neutral secular governance with public manifestations of religious freedom.

Quebec prayer ruling could have nationwide effect

The Quebec Court of Appeal recently overturned a provincial human rights commission ruling regarding the opening prayer at Saguenay City Council. The commission had ruled that the mayor, Jean Tremblay, must cease saying the opening prayer and also pay $30,000 in damages to the complainant. The court, however, said the tribunal got it wrong and that the opening prayer did not significantly affect the state’s “religious neutrality” and should therefore be allowed.

June 2, 2013 issue

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‘Don Pino’ beatified

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.

Always a car crash waiting to happen in Ottawa

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.

May 26, 2013 issue

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Committed to care

The government has long worked with Canadian development organizations that have religious affiliations and roots. These organizations, and the people who work and volunteer for them, share a commitment to improving the lives of the most vulnerable in the developing world. Shared values of generosity and compassion is the foundation for our collaborations.

More thoughts on the Yukon and the new evangelization

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.