The Christmas manger and the little ones

xmasManger.jpgOn Christmas afternoon, Hope, my five-year-old, will carefully deliver baby Jesus to grandma’s Christmas manger. Mom and dad have had their manger for as long as I can remember. It appears every year in early December and takes up its position of prominence on the end table in the living room.

Christian conspiracy or journalistic overkill?

antonyFlew.jpgJournalism is not really about objectivity or neutrality. There are biases in the choice of story, biases in perspective, biases in the way we do stories, especially the language we use.

We do remember

remembrance2002.jpgOTTAWA - On Nov. 11, I attended Remembrance Day ceremonies at the National War Memorial in Ottawa. More accurately, I tried to attend. As it happened, I did not get close enough to see the prime minister and the Governor General and the other dignitaries, or to see the wreaths being laid.

Seeking miracles in AIDS ministry

AIDS_africa.jpgHealing is tougher than handing out pills. The spectacular results of antiretroviral (ARV) treatment have many thinking such drugs are the solution to the pandemic. They can make a huge difference. Where available, they prolong life, improve its quality and thereby reduce stigma. Making them as available throughout Africa as they are in Canada is an urgent issue of international justice.

After Noel’s fury

HurricaneNoel.jpgExperiencing the power and fury of a hurricane is unforgettable. On Oct. 30 the Dominican Republic tasted the wrath of hurricane Noel whose powerful winds and rains swept up from the Caribbean, striking a devastating blow to that country’s central region.

In Merton’s poetry, the ‘Word percolates deep’

Thomas Merton and the Dalai LamaLast October Bellarmine University in Louisville, Kentucky, sponsored a conference on the poetry of Thomas Merton called “In The Dark Before Dawn: Thomas Merton, Poet.” I was invited to give the keynote address at the conference and my paper actually embraced more than Merton in that I considered two other parson poets — Pier Giorgio Di Cicco (a regular contributor to the pages of The Catholic Register and currently poet laureate of the City of Toronto) and Roderick J. MacSween, the founder of the Antigonish Review and a professor of English at St. Francis Xavier University who died in 1996.

A lover of human love

0819873942.jpgWoody Allen once said that 80 per cent of success in life consists in just showing up. While Allen has been described as many things, “theologian” probably isn’t one of them. Still, there are good reasons to think that Pope John Paul II — especially in what has come to be known as his teaching on the “theology of the body” — would say that Allen is right, or at least 80-per-cent right.

Weakened religious identity is at the root of Quebec’s problems

Editor’s note: The following is an excerpt from a brief presented by Cardinal Marc Ouellet, archbishop of Quebec, to that province’s Commission on Reasonable Accommodation (Bouchard-Taylor Commission) on Oct. 30. Translated from the French by Catholic Register staff.

ouellet-cns.jpgThe debate on reasonable accommodation and its emotional impact forced Quebec society into an exercise of listening, reflection and dialogue about the place of religion in the public sphere. It is fortunate that a broad forum chaired by two well-known personalities allows us to calmly lead this reflection and dialogue on the current malaise, its causes, issues and solutions. Quebec society is now faced with a choice which requires from individuals and institutional authorities of the state, churches and various religious groups a serious review of the situation and a true and sincere dialogue in order to wisely decide the way forward to live together harmoniously in the coming decades.

What's the fuss about getting a bite to eat?

bread.jpgIt was a First Communion Mass at my church and the communicants were invited by name to “come to the table of the Lord.” Before that calling, they had set the table, just as one would at home for a special occasion. Two children brought up the white linen altar cloth and pulled and tugged until it was even. A third placed a smaller cloth in the centre, close to the edge, much like a placemat.

Nothing is as it seems with the Knights Templar

Knights_Templar_Shields.jpgLast month’s unveiling of long secret Knights Templar documents by the Vatican Secret Archives has been the stuff of news and features stories as well as fodder for millions of kilobytes of commentary on blogs, in e-mails and, one suspects, telephone conversations and late night bar debates.

40 years marrying faith with action

{mosimage} The meaning of Vatican II is nowhere more evident than in the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace, this year marking its 40th anniversary.