{mosimage}It’s time to prepare the inevitable back to school budget and the list includes books, toys, clothes and a bullet-proof backpack.

Margaret Avison, an authentic religious poet

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{mosimage}The death on July 31 of Margaret Avison — arguably Canada’s pre-eminent poet writing in English — didn’t actually dominate the national media.  In fact, it took a few days for the obituaries and tributes to make their appearance, and I couldn’t help but reflect that if Avison were not regularly defined as a religious poet and publicly identified as a Christian, her passing might have commanded greater attention.

There’s none more Irish than the Irish abroad

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One of the many surprises New Brunswick had for this native Torontonian and staunch Upper Canadian is the solid Irish fact — as strong as the Acadian — that defines so much of the history and culture of the province.  Some 38 per cent of the population is of Irish ancestry and the port city of Saint John is as Irish as Cork.

Intramural debate behind Vatican document responses

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{mosimage}On July 10, the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith released a document reaffirming Catholic ecclesiology entitled “Responses to some questions regarding certain aspects of the doctrine on the Church.” The succinct, three-page document, in essence, simply reaffirms the teaching of the Second Vatican Council regarding the theology of the church (ecclesiology), as well as modern encyclicals and magisterial documents.

Making sense of Sunday

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{mosimage}On Sunday July 8, Nova Scotia went one step further down the road to making Sunday just like any other day of the week. It was inevitable. After years of attempting to control Sunday shopping, and a plebiscite in 2004 where 55 per cent of voters cast their ballots in support of a Sunday ban on shopping, the pressure became unbeatable.

Recreation leader ensured a memorable vacation

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The year I turned 13, my parents booked a week at a lakefront resort, a departure from our family’s usual summer plans. This afforded us a wealth of recreational opportunities. Little did we know, though, how big a role the activities director would play in our enjoyment of them.

We must offer social, spiritual support for the sick

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{mosimage}The prayers of the Holy Father for the 15th World Day of the Sick in 2007 were expressed in his message written on Dec. 8, 2006. He reminded us that, “Despite the advances of science, a cure cannot be found for every illness, and thus in hospitals, hospices and homes throughout the world we encounter the sufferings of our many brothers and sisters who are incurably and often terminally ill.”

Find real solutions to fight against crime

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{mosimage}It is disappointing to see church groups responding to the political debate in Canada by seriously debating whether minimum sentences for gun crime are too long or not.  They will never win. Debating in the arbitrary ether about what is a fair penalty will always lead to increases in punishment — to the cost of taxpayers and little benefit to our safety.

Denis Leary provides gritty portrayal of angry Catholic

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{mosimage}Gone are the days when Catholic themes on either a network or specialty channel, television drama or sitcom series would have garnered a measure of respectful fascination, bemused interest or benign mystification.

Seeking mutual understanding

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Editor’s note: Below is an excerpt from a speech by Fr. Bill Ryan, S.J., founder of the Center of Concern in Washington, a former general secretary of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops and longtime social justice advocate. It was presented to a gathering of Canadian Muslims at the Congress Centre in Ottawa on May 20.

Once more into the breach for Hitchens

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{mosimage}There’s a joke about Christopher Hitchens circulating around the Internet: “What’s the difference between Christopher Hitchens and God? God doesn’t think He is Christopher Hitchens.”