A double-double shot of His grace

Recently I was at a checkout counter as a couple in the next line were having a bit of a disagreement. I tried not to pay attention but soon I was drawn in.

“Sir, excuse me,” the lady turned and asked. “Can you solve a mystery for us?”

Oh goodness, I thought, they know I’m a priest and want me to solve some theological mystery, like the Trinity or why Pope Francis took the name he did or who came first, the Easter Bunny or Santa?

“Sure,” I replied, sighing...

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We’re not in it for the money

When Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran stepped out on the central loggia of St. Peter’s Basilica on March 13 to tell the world that it had a new pope, he had no idea that the news would cost him more than $30,000.

Cardinal Tauran sits on the supervisory board of the Institute for the Works of Religion, or the Vatican Bank. The five cardinals on the board were given an annual stipend of 25,000 euro until 2012. Pope Francis cancelled it.

I don’t know what Cardinal Tauran did with his stipend, or what the other four cardinals — Tarcisio Bertone, Odilo Pedro Scherer, Telesphore Placidus Toppo and Domenico Calcagno — did with theirs...

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Teachers promoting critical thinking should be celebrated

About 35 years ago, I walked into religion class at Neil McNeil High School in east end Toronto and the Rolling Stones song “Sympathy for the Devil” was blaring from an old record player. My first thought was some cheeky classmate put it on, but the teacher was sitting at his desk, head bopping to the music, drumming a ruler.

When the song ended, the teacher began a discussion with questions like: Is there really a devil? If there is, what possible scenarios could lead to sympathy for him? Why does God even allow the existence of a devil?

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May 5, 2013 issue

Exclusive articles, video, audio and photo galleries in the Catholic Register: Digital Edition for our May 5th, 2013 issue:

 

Rita MacNeil has made her way home

“From Mabou to Big Pond, there is no place on Earth like it,” said Rita MacNeil, who died last week. “My glorious home, Cape Breton.”

We are all called to serve our fellow man

He is a man of the poor, we were told.

Pope Francis’ devotion to the poor was one of the first things the media latched onto when the result of last month’s conclave became known. We were treated to stories of his humble apartment, his riding the bus and his overall simple life.

The media attention is fading but the Pope’s message to help the poor should not. The question is how?

In our secular politics we often hear political parties accuse one another of not caring about the poor. That’s not true. In fact it’s quite unfair. In Canada all parties care about helping the poor but they differ on the best way to go about it...

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The communion of saints will take us to the finish

On a bright sunny day in Vancouver about 15 years ago I witnessed my first long-distance run. The videographer working with me knew where to get the best shots — at the bottom of a hill on Georgia Street, about a kilometre from the starting line.

Staring up the empty street we waited. The first sign of movement was a line of bobbing heads as runners emerged over the top of the hill. What followed was an avalanche of humanity undulating down the street. Thousands and thousands of people, all sizes, ages and running ability, on foot, in strollers pushed by running moms and dads, in wheelchairs. Family, friends and spectators cheered as they began their arduous run. And the cheering and encouragement continued...

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Seeking the answers

Only those who have run marathons fully understand the event’s power to shred body, soul and psyche. Runners of half-marathons don’t half understand that power because the full 42.1 kilometres does not split arithmetically in two. It is commonly said the marathon truly begins at 30 kilometres.

Nothing but R-E-S-P-E-C-T for the Queen of Soul

It is a bit silly for fortysomethings to be speaking about a “bucket list” but that’s what I heard leaving Toronto’s Roy Thomson Hall after an Aretha Franklin concert. A man my age, who should be busy about living rather than thinking about dying, commented that seeing Aretha Franklin in concert was on his bucket list. That’s rather a nice compliment to Aretha, who has made all sorts of lists in her life, including some years back taking the No. 1 position in Rolling Stone magazine’s Top 100 singers of all time.

How exactly one measures the top 100 singers is not clear, but to finish first in such a manner of list-making is be acknowledged as a rare talent. Aretha is still that, 50 years after she got her start.

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Even Tiger shouldn’t mess with the golf gods

After last week’s Masters golf tournament, perhaps Tiger Woods’ sponsor should change its marketing campaign to: “Don’t mess with the golf gods.”

The world’s Number 1 ranked golfer again found himself in the middle of a media storm when in the second round of the Masters he took an illegal drop after his ball careened off the flagstick and into the water.

When Woods later admitted to the mistake, the rules committee assessed him a two-stroke penalty and used a new rule to allow him to remain in the tournament instead of facing disqualification, which was the automatic penalty up until two years ago. Some thought he should have been disqualified, others thought a two-shot penalty was ample punishment...

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Our mysterious exchanges with God

When asked by a deacon how best to communicate the Christian faith, St. Augustine encouraged him to share the story of salvation, especially drawing from the Bible. Scripture can be summarized as stories of God’s dealings with men and women and the unfolding of His love in their lives in order to bring them salvation.