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Time gets it right, and wrong, all at once

It is splendid indeed that Time magazine made Pope Francis its “Person of the Year” for 2013. The Pope has captured the imagination of the world and has breathed new life into the Catholic Church.

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Open up and let God into our lives

I just can’t do it in my own. We vain humans have such difficulty admitting that.

Mandela inspires a hope for progress

Reflecting on the 1994 election of Nelson Mandela as the first black president of South Africa, American scholar Rob Nixon wrote: “Between 1964 and 1990 he was absented from the political present, yet remained a pre-eminent inhabitant of South Africa’s past and future. He lived on the cusp of time, embodying a people’s hope, yet monumentalized on a scale ordinarily reserved for the dead.”

Packing up family memories

Emptying the house I grew up in, after the passing of my mom, has been one of the most difficult, rewarding, surprising, touching and inspiring times of my life. It was so fitting that this emptying culminated in November, the month that starts with us remembering those who have died and ends on the eve of Advent.

Is politics suffering from a death of character?

Writing in The Death of Character, James Hunter argues that character is frequently associated with words like honour, reputation, integrity, manners, duty and even manhood. Character, he argues, is always associated with an explicitly moral standard of conduct oriented towards work, building, expanding, achieving and sacrifice on behalf of a larger good.

Jesus embodies true sense of selflessness

Selflessness. That most admirable quality seems to be fighting extinction in our me-first society.

Religious voice is essential in euthanasia debate

A few years ago I interviewed then Bloc Quebecois MP Francine LeBlanc. In 2010 she introduced a bill in Parliament to legalize euthanasia. At that time there didn’t seem a snowball’s chance in hell of it passing, but the introduction of the bill was at least a chance to talk about the issue.

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.”

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. 

The Church’s message is one of joy, not indifference

One of the capital sins recognized in the medieval Church was acedie (or accidie, the older spelling) which the Catechism misleadingly equates with sloth. Actually, acedie is worse than sloth. The Oxford dictionary defines sloth as “laziness or indolence” but defines acedie as “spiritual torpor” or “black despair.”

The Church’s message is one of joy, not indifference

One of the capital sins recognized in the medieval Church was acedie (or accidie, the older spelling) which the Catechism misleadingly equates with sloth. Actually, acedie is worse than sloth. The Oxford dictionary defines sloth as “laziness or indolence” but defines acedie as “spiritual torpor” or “black despair.”