Stephen Harper's controversial non-controversy

{mosimage}It is hard to imagine how many heads have rolled over a wafer. Or more precisely, a host.

And I am not talking about U.S. vice-president Joe Biden, past Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry, the pre-Roman Tony Blair of England or the scandal-hounded Silvio Berlusconi of Italy. This is closer to home; a New Brunswick-made furor.

The departure of the publisher of the Telegraph-Journal of Saint John, New Brunswick — Jaime Irving of the storied Irving dynasty — along with editor Shawna Richer, ostensibly because of  the coverage of Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s communion debacle, appears to be the final act in a uniquely Canadian melodrama.

Lord, to whom should we go?

{mosimage}Was the recent Anaheim decision of the 76th General Convention of the U.S. Episcopal Church just one more aftershock in the life of the Anglican Communion, or was it a new and quite serious quake whose thunderous presence and effects were felt all the way to Canterbury, England? We are speaking about the decisions of the U.S. Episcopal Church’s General Convention to bless same-sex unions and to permit the appointment, to all orders of ministry, persons in active same-sex relationships.

The latter decision is of earthquake proportions and sends deep and permanent fissures throughout the worldwide Anglican Communion. This decision, overwhelmingly approved (99-44 with two abstentions), opens wide the doors for the consecration of bishops in active gay relationships and gives final confirmation to the first such bishop, Gene V. Robinson, ordained bishop of New Hampshire in 2003.

Recognizing God in nature

{mosimage}For many of us summer is our peak time of interaction with nature. We spend more time than ever outdoors, enjoying activities such as gardening, visiting local parks, going to the beach, attending sporting events, picnicking, hiking, cycling, attending outdoor concerts and festivals, stargazing and vacationing in the woods or by the water. We also enjoy the many fresh flowers, fruits and vegetables available locally, some perhaps from our own garden.

Unfortunately, this is also the time of year when our consumption of — and damage to — Earth’s resources tends to be highest, due to often excessive lawn and garden watering and car washing, increased car travel (day tripping or driving back and forth to the cottage) and use of pesticides, gas-powered lawn mowers, air conditioners and motorboats, among other things.

Dialogue between adversaries is essential

{mosimage}“A soft answer turns away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger. A Proverb for our times.

The recent murder of the U.S. abortionist George Tiller, purportedly as an act of justifiable homicide to protect the unborn, was a horrendous event marked by contradictions and paradoxes that reverberate still. Everyone should meditate on the link, if any, between words, deeds, anger, despair, violence and hatred.

Media pundits should read it to find the truth

Not surprisingly there are many — mostly in the business community — who have serious reservations about Pope Benedict’s new encyclical, Caritas in Veritate (Charity in Truth).  Neil Reynolds of The Globe and Mail and Terence Corcoran of The Financial Post delight in savaging Benedict’s sustained reflection on “integral human development in charity and truth.”  As “experts” in finance they pull no punches as they lambast the Pope for his insufficient regard for the sweet joys of capitalism, his failure to appreciate the fruits of the free market and globalization and his unhappy reliance on the spurious economic wisdom of his illustrious predecessor, Pope Paul VI.

Unlike Reynolds — who appears to have read but a few papal snippets — Corcoran has paid the Pope the compliment of actually reading the text, at least to the extent that he has counted the number of footnotes. There is one particular passage in Corcoran’s minimalist and polemical exegesis that stands out as a real howler: “as with all encyclicals. . . the attacks are incoherent, inconsistent, unsupported and mostly catalogues of conventional leftist theories.”  John Paul II must be rolling in his grave.

Lessons learned along the career path

The end of the academic year is particularly significant in our family this time around. Our eldest child just graduated from high school and our youngest completed elementary school.

My daughter is fortunate to have a career plan mapped out. It’s too early to guess my son’s future path.

Coming to grips with Irish abuse scandal

{mosimage}When I was at a meeting for the International Council of Universities in Limerick, Ireland, last April, it was in the air.  Menacingly on the horizon.

Over a year ago when my own university honoured Diarmuid Martin, archbishop of Dublin, for his record of service in the cause of global human rights, the topic came up, and the dread was palpable.

And now, at last, it has happened, and the church in Ireland is convulsed.  Again.

Living on less a bonus for this family

{mosimage}It’s amazing how what initially seems like a major crisis can sometimes end up being just what is needed to get your priorities straight. I wouldn’t have believed it at the time, though.

I’m referring to my husband’s job loss a decade ago due to workplace restructuring. The anniversary is this month.

He’d been with the company longer than I’d known him. His job necessitated a two-hour, round-trip commute and long, demanding workdays. Originally it also involved travel; the last two years he was continually on call via pager.

Thank you, Father

{mosimage}Father’s Day. Bring out the greeting cards, new ties and socks. My dad is an inspiring guy, a role model, someone who’s shown me the kind of person I’d like to be in life. So dad, never forget you’re #1 (along with mom) in my books.

But this Father’s Day, I’d like to thank some other “fathers” out there. They probably won’t be taken out for brunch this weekend and are unlikely to receive any great classroom art from the kids at school, but I’d like to say thanks just the same.

And thank you too, Dad

{mosimage}It had been a busy day at the office and as I walked into the house I was psyching myself up for an evening of parenting.

As the father of a large family there is always someone who needs attention. Any given night could include a trip to the arena or basketball court, dropping one of the older children off at their part-time jobs, or helping Emma and Hope with their homework.

Readers Speak Out

Poor choice

The recent decision of the Catholic Principals’ Council of Ontario to have abortion supporter Stephen Lewis address its 2010 annual conference can be likened to the recent event that took place in South Bend, Indiana (I refuse to call the South Bend institution of education by its name, for it no longer has anything to do with Our Lady).

Lewis’ position and work regarding human life, especially in Africa, is well known. I do respect his compassion. However, it is incomprehensible to have the leaders of publicly funded Catholic schools listen to his misguided ethics at the risk of dividing the Catholic educational community. I wonder if the Principals’ Council approached trustees and especially the bishops of Ontario with their desire to have Lewis speak to them.

I feel that publicly funded Catholic education in Ontario is being hijacked by a new, self-appointed and self-important intelligentsia who have no regard for church teaching and tradition, forgetting that its mission is intimately connected to the mission of the universal church — the salvation of souls.

Steve Catlin
Hamilton Ont.