In Fr. McBrien’s passing, the Church’s liberal standard bearer moves on

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.

    Each family has its differences

    When the U.S. Supreme Court declared it will rule in the coming weeks whether same-sex marriage will be extended nationwide, the esteemed New York Times and others called the issue “one of the great civil rights questions of the age.”

      St. Joseph Vaz, the great missionary saint

      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.

        Politics must have a broader horizon

        “I beg the Lord to grant us more politicians who are genuinely disturbed by the state of society, the people, the lives of the poor!”   
        Pope Francis, Evangelii Gaudium (The Joy of the Gospel)

          Praying good for the brain, not just the spirit

          A friend popped by the other day while I was working on a Sudoku puzzle.

            Francis a gift for Sri Lanka

            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.

              It's all in the evidence

              As NDP leader Thomas Mulcair pointed out in a year-end CTV interview, January marks the start of a federal election year in Canada. Although voting is not expected for another 10 months, virtually every Ottawa eyelash flutter will be decoded for its electoral significance this year.

                Retracing John Paul II’s triumphant Asia visit

                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.

                  Christmas always cracks up the family

                  I just celebrated my 26th Christmas with my lovely bride. Each Christmas has been special and each one has been a little different.

                    Funeral didn’t do justice to Jean Beliveau the Catholic

                    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.

                      Christ is not an ideology

                      A colleague scolded me recently for my argument that any attempt to reconfigure the culture must avoid being a pretext for smuggling Christendom back into the story.