Quebec's spiritual void

{mosimage}The Reasonable Accommodation Commission hearings in Quebec have been described by some observers as a “horror show” or “circus” demonstrating some of the more xenophobic aspects of Quebecois culture. For that, however, they should be lauded rather than condemned. They have done all Canadians a favour.

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.

The newly fallen

{mosimage}Since 2002, Remembrance Days have taken on a special poignancy. The memories of loved ones fallen in battle are no longer from the distant past. Today, they include those who have died in Afghanistan.

7th annual Somerville Lecture: Christian voices in the urban jungle

{mosimage}Editor's note: John Bentley Mays, an award-winning journalist, art and architecture critic and author, presented the 7th annual Henry Somerville Lecture on Christianity and Communications on Oct. 18 at the Newman Centre in Toronto and Oct. 19 at St. Jerome's University in Waterloo. His title was “The Creative City: the Future of Christian Urbanism.” Below is the entire text of his speech.

At the present time, the cities of the global West are enjoying a remarkable moment in the sun. In Toronto, the city I know best, architects, urban planners and social theorists who learned their lessons about liveable cities well from Jane Jacobs have come of age and occupy positions in city bureaucracies, the design professions and the universities.

No vision from Throne Speech

{mosimage}The Speech from the Throne, read with pomp and ceremony by the Governor General of Canada, is supposed to represent a vision of hope and ambition for the entire nation. In fact, this is just what Stephen Harper’s Conservative government promised in its Oct. 16 address to Parliament. Unfortunately, this vision appears myopic and stunted, a thing focused less on building a grand nation than winning the next election.

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.

Christians under pressure in Iraq

While U.S. government officials insist that security in Iraq has improved since the so-called “surge” in troop strength began earlier this year, the situation of Iraqi non-combatants remains dire. Hundreds of thousands have been killed or injured in sectarian violence and millions have been forced from their homes. Kidnapping and other acts of criminal banditry occur every day. A recent report by the United Nations states that civilians continue to be targeted by armed groups through abductions, suicide bombings and extra-judicial executions.

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.