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.

Did a pope’s letter change Canada's church?

{mosimage}What is 1967 best remembered for in Canada? If you are of a certain age, you might recall Expo ’67 and Canada’s Centennial celebrations. Growing up in Toronto, the key event of my schoolboy’s life that year revolved around that last time the Leafs managed to win the Stanley Cup. I recall Mom constantly praying the rosary so that those “St. Mike’s Boys” (Red Kelly, Frank Mahovlich, Davie Keon, etc.) would win.

Being prepared for genetic advice

{mosimage}Sometimes an observation leads to that rude “duh” of quick retort. But sometimes on a second or third thinking you realize that knee-jerk cynicism is simply insufficient, simplistic.

Caregiver's role is very gratifying

One in five baby boomers and seniors provides care to an older adult, according to Statistics Canada. (In my experience, this figure is quite conservative.) The majority are in the 45 to 54 age group, giving practical help to a parent.

Faith-based schools debate? Stork dancing

{mosimage}The debate about the public funding of faith-based schools in the Ontario election campaign could be described as “stork dancing.”  There was no engagement and no contact.  No honest exchange, just a bashing of hard beaks.  And the blame was evenly spread.

Faith and education can mix

{mosimage}Editor’s note: This article offers a perspective on faith-based education from outside Ontario. It is written by Lee Giles, an editor for the Red Deer Advocate, a daily newspaper in Red Deer, Alta. It is reprinted with permission.

If someone asked you to name the Canadian province most likely to embrace religious diversity, you just might choose Ontario. After all, is there anywhere in the country where you could find a greater number of faiths represented than in Toronto? Not likely.