Israel and Christian ambivalence

The visit of Stephen Harper to Israel, the Palestinian Authority and Jordan has been judged a success. Israel’s government was ecstatic for Harper’s steadfast support, the Palestinians overlooked that and were grateful for tens of millions in Canadian aid for schools and security. There were good media reviews at home, and favourable contrasts were drawn with the last visit of a Canadian prime minister to Israel, Jean Chretien’s bumbling and error-strewn tour in 2000.

    Quebec’s education decline

    Late last week, the Catholic girls school at the top of my street announced it would close its doors permanently at the end of this school year. In its 126th year, Queen of Angels Academy simply cannot afford to continue.

      The perils of the ‘re-gifting season’

      With the Christmas season behind us, so begins the “season of re-gifting.” The other day, my lovely wife was thinking about passing along a Christmas present she didn’t want until I reminded her of a story.

        Israel’s outlook must be seen through a biblical lens

        JERUSALEM - I have been to Israel more than a dozen times — as a pilgrim, leading pilgrimages, with my family, on a private retreat, for Christmas, for Holy Week, for board meetings, for the papal visit of 2009 — but never for something quite like this. I was invited to be part of the official delegation accompanying Prime Minister Stephen Harper on his visit this week to Israel and the Palestinian Authority (West Bank).

          Faith’s message is too often lost

          It was the night before Christmas and all through the church, many creatures were stirring . . . especially the restless children.

            New generation of leaders

            In choosing his first group of new cardinals, Pope Francis indicated changes for some parts of the world, but continuity for Canada.

              God will be judge

              In his inimitably colourful way, Pope Francis has challenged Catholic priests to be shepherds “living with the smell of the sheep.”

                Just my imagination? I don’t think so

                The Christmas holidays tend to be a time to catch up on reading around our house, when the hustle and bustle is over and before we gear up to return to work or school.

                  History repeating

                  In an elegant touch, Pope Francis announced his trip to the Holy Land on Jan. 5, the precise 50th anniversary of the historic meeting in Jerusalem between Pope Paul VI and the Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras.

                    Francis, Quebec secular charter, top Catholic stories of 2013

                    Catholic story of 2013 was the retirement of Pope Benedict and the election of Pope Francis as his successor. During the period between those events, the media exploded with a mixture of ill-informed rants about the need for a new pope who would bring the Church “into the 21st century,” particularly on issues related to sexual morality, including same-sex marriage, contraception and abortion.

                      Francis’ year in rhetorical review

                      The dominant news story for theCatholic press in any year of apapal election is the conclave itself.Except this past year, when it wasthe cause of the conclave, namelythe utterly unprecedented papalabdication of Benedict XVI. Therehad never been a freely chosenresignation by a pope whose legitimateelection was not in dispute.Yet the abdication and conclave asthe Catholic news story of the yearwas soon overtaken by fascinationwith the new Pope, particularly hisrhetorical style.