GANANOQUE, ONT. - A year ago I visited the diocese of Whitehorse, heading north to the Yukon for the first time. Last week, the bishop of Whitehorse — which comprises all of the Yukon and a little of northern British Columbia — returned the visit as it were, preaching the priests’ retreat for the archdiocese of Kingston, here in the Thousand Islands.

Even priests should take heat when they crash and burn

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It was just a year ago that the latest media priest crashed and burned. Fr. Thomas Williams, a priest of the Legionaries of Christ and a well-known writer and television commentator, acknowledged in May 2012 that he had fathered a son many years ago. He took a leave of his public ministry. The Legionaries have now announced that Fr. Williams has asked to leave religious life and the priestly ministry, petitioning the Holy Father for permission to do so.

We’re not in it for the money

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When Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran stepped out on the central loggia of St. Peter’s Basilica on March 13 to tell the world that it had a new pope, he had no idea that the news would cost him more than $30,000.

Cardinal Tauran sits on the supervisory board of the Institute for the Works of Religion, or the Vatican Bank. The five cardinals on the board were given an annual stipend of 25,000 euro until 2012. Pope Francis cancelled it.

I don’t know what Cardinal Tauran did with his stipend, or what the other four cardinals — Tarcisio Bertone, Odilo Pedro Scherer, Telesphore Placidus Toppo and Domenico Calcagno — did with theirs...

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Rita MacNeil has made her way home

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“From Mabou to Big Pond, there is no place on Earth like it,” said Rita MacNeil, who died last week. “My glorious home, Cape Breton.”

Nothing but R-E-S-P-E-C-T for the Queen of Soul

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It is a bit silly for fortysomethings to be speaking about a “bucket list” but that’s what I heard leaving Toronto’s Roy Thomson Hall after an Aretha Franklin concert. A man my age, who should be busy about living rather than thinking about dying, commented that seeing Aretha Franklin in concert was on his bucket list. That’s rather a nice compliment to Aretha, who has made all sorts of lists in her life, including some years back taking the No. 1 position in Rolling Stone magazine’s Top 100 singers of all time.

How exactly one measures the top 100 singers is not clear, but to finish first in such a manner of list-making is be acknowledged as a rare talent. Aretha is still that, 50 years after she got her start.

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Right until death Ebert dodged the most fundamental question

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He spent a life chronicling show business, so why not a show at Holy Name Cathedral in Chicago for the funeral of Roger Ebert? Chicago’s great clerical showmen were on hand for the premiere. Jesse Jackson sent a message that Ebert “sought to explain America to itself,” which may well be apt if you consider America to be a vast, leisured people busy about entertaining themselves.

We need God’s divine mercy

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“Jesus is risen, there is hope for you, you are no longer in the power of sin, of evil! Love has triumphed, mercy has been victorious! The mercy of God always triumphs!”