The gift of the Lateran Basilica

Nov. 9 is a rather obscure feast on the liturgical calendar — the feast of the dedication of the Basilica of St. John Lateran. Obscure, but most important. A year when we are praying for a new Pope is a good occasion to revisit its significance.

    Ignatieff’s honesty sets his apart from other political memoirs

    In his Songs of Innocence William Blake wrote: “The strongest poison ever known / Comes from Caesar’s laurel crown.”

      Our fascination with death

      At the heart of the liturgical year are the great feasts of Christmas and Easter, the feast of eternal life becoming earthly in a new baby, and the feast of earthly life becoming eternal in the Resurrection. The Christian calendar hangs upon the great feasts of life. Yet notwithstanding the principal feasts, the opening days of November, the month in which we pray for the dead, are a direct answer the Church gives to the mystery of death. All Saints Day celebrates those who have died and are already enjoying the life of beatitude in heaven. All Souls Day prays for those who have died and, while still being purified in purgatory, will one day be in heaven. The Church does not ask us to look away from death. To the contrary, in November she forces us to look straight at it.

        Faith is on our side

        In a third-season episode of the insanely good TV series Breaking Bad, students at chemistry teacher/ drug lord Walter White’s high school gather in a gym for a post-modern public grief ceremony.

          Standing up where apathy won’t

          Now that the annual costume-and-sugar festival called Halloween has passed, I will comment on what I believe is a new low reached this year in the sale of adult Halloween costumes.

            Technology sure has a hold on us

            The other day, I lost my so-called smartphone. It was kind of dumb of me. But the episode set off a range of emotions; from the pit-in-my-stomach initial feeling to panic and stress at figuring out what to do next, including a little prayer to St. Anthony, to contentment realizing life without that digital albatross around my neck actually feels pretty good.

              Sexual revolution on New York streets

              NEW YORK - Fifth Avenue is the world’s main street, a gentle stroll taking you from the Empire State Building at 34th Street to the New York public library at 42nd Street, or from FAO Schwartz, the toy store for all ages, at 59th Street, to the magnificent Frick Gallery at 71st Street. Then there is the Queen of Fifth Avenue, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, which Cardinal Timothy Dolan likes to call “America’s parish church.”

                General apathy, major boredom at election time

                During a mid-1970s election campaign in Great Britain, William Whitelaw, the Conservative opposition leader, famously accused Harold Wilson, then Labour prime minister, of going round the country stirring up apathy. 

                  History with a sacred heart

                  Last Sunday, on the anniversary of the final apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary at Fatima, the Holy Father consecrated the entire world to her Immaculate Heart, in the presence of the original statue of Our Lady of Fatima, brought to Rome from the Portuguese shrine.

                    Religion misunderstood

                    At a recent conference in Montreal on religious freedom and education, the principal of Loyola High School pinpointed the threat facing people of faith.

                      The Do Not Call List? It just doesn’t work

                      Are you ever pestered by annoying telemarketers trying to sell you things you don’t want? Have you registered your phone numbers on the Do Not Call List and still the calls keep coming?