Community for all in housing developments

{mosimage}For many people in the earthly city, the first of January marked the end of the gift-giving season. The exchange of holiday presents was over, and the last chance to make a charitable donation for 2007 had passed.

Come out against death penalty

For Catholics and other Christians concerned with the advancement of justice, human rights and peace, 2007 has hardly been a year of encouragement. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan dragged on. The agony of Africa, afflicted by disease, war and famine, continued. And despite the pronouncements issued by the much-ballyhooed Bali conference, the world’s worst industrial polluters seemed as willing as ever to inflict long-term environmental damage in the interests of short-term economic gain.

Catholic, Orthodox show signs of reconciliation

{mosimage}Advent invites us to cast aside our pessimism about the present age, and boldly imagine the great new beginnings that God has promised to His people.

Morals and politics

Meeting in Baltimore last month, the U.S. Catholic bishops overwhelmingly approved a new guide intended to inform Catholic political opinion. The circumstances surrounding this document are urgent: “Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship: A Call to Political Responsibility From the Catholic Bishops of the United States” is directed at American Catholics trying to live out their faith in the contentious presidential campaigns now under way and who are looking for ways to express themselves responsibly in next year’s presidential and congressional elections.

What to do with Anglicans?

{mosimage}The long-standing conversation between the Catholic Church and the Anglican Communion about unity has been patient and respectful — and painstakingly slow. But recent events on the ground may be overtaking this genteel high-level dialogue of prelates and theologians, and lending fresh urgency to the question: Whither Catholic-Anglican relations?

7th annual Somerville Lecture: Christian voices in the urban jungle

{mosimage}Editor's note: John Bentley Mays, an award-winning journalist, art and architecture critic and author, presented the 7th annual Henry Somerville Lecture on Christianity and Communications on Oct. 18 at the Newman Centre in Toronto and Oct. 19 at St. Jerome's University in Waterloo. His title was “The Creative City: the Future of Christian Urbanism.” Below is the entire text of his speech.

At the present time, the cities of the global West are enjoying a remarkable moment in the sun. In Toronto, the city I know best, architects, urban planners and social theorists who learned their lessons about liveable cities well from Jane Jacobs have come of age and occupy positions in city bureaucracies, the design professions and the universities.

Christians under pressure in Iraq

While U.S. government officials insist that security in Iraq has improved since the so-called “surge” in troop strength began earlier this year, the situation of Iraqi non-combatants remains dire. Hundreds of thousands have been killed or injured in sectarian violence and millions have been forced from their homes. Kidnapping and other acts of criminal banditry occur every day. A recent report by the United Nations states that civilians continue to be targeted by armed groups through abductions, suicide bombings and extra-judicial executions.

Nuclear justification is just plain wrong

The recent decision of North Korea to dismantle its facilities for producing nuclear weapons — if we can believe the leaders of that ruthless totalitarian state — is a faintly hopeful development in the otherwise grim recent history of nuclear proliferation.

Pray for Anglican Church in crisis

It hurts to see the Anglican Communion breaking up over the issues of openly gay clergy and same-sex unions.

Film shows path for Christian art

The 2007 Toronto International Film Festival was a huge, happy party from start to finish. It was a mix of gala screenings, sightings of Brad and Angelina, stylish cocktail parties and non-stop schmoozing and gossiping by people in the movie industry. It was one of those events that makes you feel good about our town, and about our moxie when it comes to hosting big cultural conclaves.

CNN religion series is way off the mark

God’s Warriors, the six-hour CNN special report broadcast over three evenings in late August, was promoted as an even-handed look at the evil that Jewish, Christian and Islamic militants are promoting in the name of God. Hosted by Iranian-born reporter Christiane Amanpour, a CNN heavyweight, the series purported to document the dark taste for violence in all three religions with roots in Holy Scripture, and, by implication, the violence of biblical religion itself.