Basilica hits the spot for Lenten renewal

Cradle Catholics sometimes miss the wonder of the universality of their Church: universality in two senses — the “here comes everybody” that overpowers the new convert, and the geographic universality of the Church being everywhere in the world so no one is ever without a home.

    Weigel and the Station Church Pilgrimage

    The Fourth Sunday of Lent is Laetare Sunday — the Sunday of rejoicing, complete with rose vestments to lighten the Lenten purple. It complements Gaudete Sunday — the Third Sunday of Advent — but poses a puzzle.

      School fights Quebec

      In the name of neutrality, seven Supreme Court of Canada justices peered down from their red leather bench at 27 lawyers armed to the teeth with briefs and bristling with arguments in a courtroom full of spectators ripe for the legal fight.

        Gauging the rights of religious institutes

        Religious and conscientious freedom is at the heart of several ongoing news stories. Some of the stories involve institutions and others individuals, but they all raise the troubling spectre that these rights may exist more in theory than in practice.

          Fr. Georges Lemaître and the Big Bang Theory

          The Big Bang has captured the scientific and popular mind as the spectacular beginning of the entire universe. There is even an eponymous sitcom which, to judge from what is available on airplanes, might just be the most popular television program ever made.

            PQ’s star candidate a Harper ally?

            A friend in Montreal — I’ll call her Sassy Knoll for her love of conspiracy theories — thinks Pierre-Karl Peladeau and Prime Minister Stephen Harper are in league to torpedo the Parti Quebecois’ chances in the crucial April 7 Quebec election.

              Child-like faith makes it crystal clear

              So many questions, so few answers. That’s often where we find ourselves as Catholics and as people.

                The what, how and why of Catholic education

                Have you ever noticed that the lineup for Apple products always seems to be the longest in the mall? Certain products have a strong brand loyalty. It is similar with Catholic education.

                  For God or country

                  Crowds at Parti Quebecois whistle stops during the provincial election have been chanting: “We want a country!” They’re perfectly entitled to both the desire and its democratic expression, of course, even as Quebec Liberal leader Philippe Couillard is equally justified in asking rhetorically: “Don’t we already have one?”

                    Pope’s ministers of mercy

                    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.

                      Praising Francis is not a slight to Benedict

                      As we approach the first anniversary of the election of Pope Francis, it is not difficult to find him top of mind.