An unlikely love story

I’ve read many — far too many — Holocaust accounts, and despite too much familiarity with the horrors and depravity, my emotions usually get the better of me. It’s not unlike from what I’ve heard from friends who have walked under the Auschwitz concentration camp’s entrance gates and its ominous “Arbeit macht frei” — “Work sets you free” — and are reminded of horrors past: you arrive knowing fully well what to expect, yet the tears still flow.

Invitation to reach for higher realms

The first I heard of Fr. Ron Rolheiser was when I was a bushy-tailed editor of the Western Catholic Reporter in Edmonton still in my 20s. An article he had written showed up in the mail one sunny day in 1982 from Belgium where he was studying, and he wanted to know if we would publish it. The subject was revirginization, a possibility that had never previously crossed my mind. Nevertheless, the brilliance of the article astonished me, and I eagerly published it as well as another article he sent.

Chilli’s death reminds us love is the answer

I never knew the lady’s real name. When I met her she said, “Just call me Chilli, that’s my street name.”

Readers of this column will know her as “The woman who lives in a doorway downtown.” It has been 10 months since we first met. At that time, she gave me some money to go and buy clothes for her from a nearby shop. When I returned, we sat on the step together as she poured out her grief for her son who was taken from her at nine years old.

Let me taste goodness so I will not want more

Years ago, musician Audrey Assad released “I Shall Not Want” on an album called Fortunate Fall. She had discovered a Litany of Humility and set it to music. At a concert she did at my parish, she told us that she wrote it so that she would be inspired to pray it more often.

That has worked for me, and the chorus has become a measure of my spiritual health: “When I taste your goodness, I shall not want.”

Catholic colleges have role to play in abuse prevention

Both at the national and international levels, Church leaders along with their supporting committees are making significant strides in addressing clergy sexual abuse prevention policies, as well as procedures for making complaints, and are beginning to explore how to accompany those who have been abused.

Although it is encouraging to hear about such progress, it is not realistic to expect that our bishops alone can discover and respond to all victim-survivor needs.

Online Harms Act too long in the making

Give your children L-O-V-E

It’s legislation long overdue. The introduction of Bill C-63, the Online Harms Act, is badly needed protection for the vulnerable — particularly children and youth — against traumas arising from an unsafe and unregulated digital world.

The proposed act identifies seven categories of harmful content, three of which directly relate to children. These include content that sexually victimizes a child or revictimizes a survivor, bullies a child and induces a child to harm themselves.

Looking down on the virtual world

Do you understand what you are reading?

Acts: 8: 30

The art of reading is rapidly disappearing. According to a study by the National Endowment for the Arts, nearly “half of all Americans ages 18 to 24 read no books for pleasure.” Even more alarming given my line of work, “College attendance no longer guarantees active reading habits.”

Sneaking polyamory past its sleeping victims

“Is Toronto finally shaking off the sexual stigma of polyamory?” reads the recent headline in the Toronto Star. News outlets have been peddling polyamory apologetics after a middle-aged woman released a book about her life-changing adventures pursuing polyamory in January 2024.

Honouring a prophet of his own country

Alexey Navalny was surely a hero. Perhaps he was also a saint. Little evidence is available to buttress the hope that he might someday be recognized as such. Navalny, the Russian dissident who died/was murdered Feb. 16, spoke little of his conversion from militant atheism to Christian Orthodoxy during his abbreviated life.

Wrapping ourselves in holy Catholic warmth

The world can be a cold, unfriendly, even hostile and angry place — online and offline. It doesn’t have to be that way. It’s not supposed to be that way. God created an earthly paradise for us, but when we reject Him and His ways, we reject our true selves, each other and everything we’re actually longing for. We become prideful and selfish. Put a bunch of prideful and selfish people together and you have a recipe for guaranteed misery.

Listen closely to the heart of Lent

Fr. Michel Cote is a voice for those seeking to be understood — literally. He is a Dominican Friar who has worked for decades as an interpreter. His small business has served virtually every multi-lingual Catholic entity in our country, from the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops to my own beloved Development & Peace - Caritas Canada. In his great service, it is likely that no other single person in this country has done more to help Catholics understand one another. Global Solidarity is near and dear to his heart. To us he is more than an interpreter, he is our beloved friend and spiritual elder. A humble man, he would balk at the idea of me writing a column about him. So instead of enumerating his many accomplishments, I would like to share the spiritual invitation that I have received from him in the form of a short Lenten reflection.