A modern Passion

0385660944I have long been a keen student of writers from Atlantic Canada. Wayne Johnston, Alister MacLeod and Lisa Moore are but a few of the more recent novelists who have managed to capture not only a national but an international audience. And their work is good. Very good.

Unity stills beckons

When Pope Benedict XVI was elected to replace the inimitable Pope John Paul II, he promised to carry on his beloved successor's work, particularly that related to ecumenism. As is often the case, the press of events can overtake the best laid plans and so ecumenism has often appeared to play second fiddle to other issues.

A case of too little too late

As one of those who opposed U.S. military intervention in Iraq from the outset of this adventure four years ago, I would have liked the quick official response of the American Catholic bishops to President George Bush's recent decision to boost U.S. military force in Iraq to go further than it did, and declare the intervention to be immoral at its very core. As it stands, however, the statement issued on Jan. 12 by Bishop William S. Skylstad, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, is wise and sensible counsel about the extraordinarily difficult situation faced by the Western principals in the conflict.

Anything goes now

Five-year-old D. — in the brave new world parlance of the Ontario Court of Appeal — has "two mums." He has three parents: B., his biological father; C., his birth mother; and A., his mother's lesbian partner. Two parents are enough for most of us, sometimes more than enough; but thanks to the wisdom of our judges, D. now has three parents.

Toxic knowledge or needed information?

As of Feb. 1 the Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Canada and its equivalent in the United States will recommend that the rules on the use of amniocentesis change. It is the primary test used to discover if a fetus is afflicted with Down Syndrome and a number of other genetic disorders.

Useful suffering

Every year in February, the Catholic Church marks the special place it holds in its heart for the sick, the suffering, the dying. The World Day of the Sick, held this year on Feb. 11, draws our attention to Christ's own compassion during His years on earth for those needing physical healing.

Stay connected with elder in retirement setting

One of my husband's aunts moved to a nursing home a while ago, due to her fluctuating health status and declining ability to care for herself. Although she'd exhausted other options, she was extremely unhappy about the situation and initially our visits there were strained. But my husband and I persisted and gradually found ways to make interactions with her enjoyable again.

Still with us

Each year the Pope delivers a wide-ranging speech to the 175 or so ambassadors assigned by their countries to the Holy See. It is an occasion for the leader of the world's largest church to turn a spotlight on some of those global issues that are too easily forgotten in the fickleness and superficiality of the daily news grind.

Why we wait

Recently, after putting myself through a crash course in selecting ladies' rings and cashing some Canada Savings Bonds, I proposed to my beautiful girlfriend. On bended knee I spoke of love and the future. She tallied up the pros and cons and fortunately the former outnumbered the latter.

The magi and the blessing of Christmas

Much of what we read last month about the opposition to public displays of Christmas was largely irksome and petty. In some circles, for example, it is impermissible to bring red or green cookies to a "Holiday" party.

Life is not served by Saddam's death

Long before the execution of Saddam Hussein in late December, the world had come to understand clearly the character and career of the former Iraqi dictator. He was a man of blood in the baleful tradition of earlier strong men in the modern era: murderous and cruel, vengeful, suspicious and infinitely jealous. He meted out terror and torture to his real or imagined enemies, and corrupted his society with the constant threat of violence. For the countless crimes they committed, Saddam and his henchmen deserved severe and lasting punishment.