The Big Bang has captured the scientific and popular mind as the spectacular beginning of the entire universe. There is even an eponymous sitcom which, to judge from what is available on airplanes, might just be the most popular television program ever made.

Restore, don’t replace the beauty of marriage

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Last week we had the honour of hosting Timothy Cardinal Dolan, Archbishop of New York, in Kingston at the annual St. John Fisher Dinner. The Fisher Dinner, named in honour of a great man of letters before his courageous defence of marriage and martyrdom under Henry VIII, supports the work of our Newman House Catholic Chaplaincy at Queen’s University and the missionaries of Catholic Christian Outreach who are an essential part of our mission.

Applauding Pope Francis without the standing ovation

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As we approach the first anniversary of Pope Francis’ election, I received a thoughtful e-mail from Mary, a regular reader of The Register. She complained that my columns “undermine Pope Francis.”

Salvifici Doloris turns 30

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Last week, Feb. 11 was marked everywhere in the Catholic world as the first anniversary of the abdication announcement of Benedict XVI. Understandably so, for it was without precedent — the very definition of news — and it opened the door for a renewed energy and enthusiasm under Pope Francis.

May this be Ukraine’s 1989

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A quadrennial custom I look forward to is writing a column mocking the absurdity of the Winter Olympics. Hockey aside, silly sports contested by people otherwise unknown somehow become moments of national pride. “Cheering on the oddballs” was how my editor headlined the 2010 version for Vancouver. Hoist the maple leaf — our man won skateboarding on snow!

Rolling with the punches

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Papa is in Rolling Stone. Which is not exactly what The Temptations sang in 1973, but then at that time who could have expected that the Pope — then Paul VI — would have been on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine, the magazine of pop music, with occasional forays into cultural criticism?

Israel and Christian ambivalence

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The visit of Stephen Harper to Israel, the Palestinian Authority and Jordan has been judged a success. Israel’s government was ecstatic for Harper’s steadfast support, the Palestinians overlooked that and were grateful for tens of millions in Canadian aid for schools and security. There were good media reviews at home, and favourable contrasts were drawn with the last visit of a Canadian prime minister to Israel, Jean Chretien’s bumbling and error-strewn tour in 2000.

New generation of leaders

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In choosing his first group of new cardinals, Pope Francis indicated changes for some parts of the world, but continuity for Canada.

History repeating

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In an elegant touch, Pope Francis announced his trip to the Holy Land on Jan. 5, the precise 50th anniversary of the historic meeting in Jerusalem between Pope Paul VI and the Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras.

Francis’ year in rhetorical review

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The dominant news story for theCatholic press in any year of apapal election is the conclave itself.Except this past year, when it wasthe cause of the conclave, namelythe utterly unprecedented papalabdication of Benedict XVI. Therehad never been a freely chosenresignation by a pope whose legitimateelection was not in dispute.Yet the abdication and conclave asthe Catholic news story of the yearwas soon overtaken by fascinationwith the new Pope, particularly hisrhetorical style.

Let us all adore Him in song

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KINGSTON, ONT. - On Thursday evenings, we have a Mass and dinner for our students at Newman House, which is just across the street from the Queen’s University campus. At the end of the semester our evening Mass coincided with the Queen’s Bands practising on nearby Tindall Field. At least that is what we surmised as my homily was delivered with background music, recognizable as the repertoire of the marching band.