Shopping blues

{mosimage}Complaining about Sunday shopping might seem the epitome of flogging a dead horse. But in Nova Scotia, the horse has not been long dead and, as the good people of that fair province have discovered, the corpse is still twitching. So let’s flog away.

The Lord will protect them

{mosimage}It’s time to prepare the inevitable back to school budget and the list includes books, toys, clothes and a bullet-proof backpack.

Margaret Avison, an authentic religious poet

{mosimage}The death on July 31 of Margaret Avison — arguably Canada’s pre-eminent poet writing in English — didn’t actually dominate the national media.  In fact, it took a few days for the obituaries and tributes to make their appearance, and I couldn’t help but reflect that if Avison were not regularly defined as a religious poet and publicly identified as a Christian, her passing might have commanded greater attention.

Turkey’s experiment

{mosimage}A profound experiment in the relationship between religion and politics is unfolding in Turkey, an officially secular state but fundamentally Muslim society. If all goes well, as appears likely, it could teach Western societies a useful lesson about the place of faith in a pluralistic society.

CNN religion series is way off the mark

God’s Warriors, the six-hour CNN special report broadcast over three evenings in late August, was promoted as an even-handed look at the evil that Jewish, Christian and Islamic militants are promoting in the name of God. Hosted by Iranian-born reporter Christiane Amanpour, a CNN heavyweight, the series purported to document the dark taste for violence in all three religions with roots in Holy Scripture, and, by implication, the violence of biblical religion itself.

A green church

{mosimage} An old joke says that when God put Adam in the Garden of Eden, He gave him a rake. Then, He added, “I made the Garden perfect. Now take care of it.”

Greening our sacred spaces

{mosimage}TORONTO - The serenely modern Catholic Church of St. Joan of Arc, on Bloor Street West in the High Park neighbourhood, was one of Toronto’s earliest post-Vatican II ecclesiastical settings designed to accommodate the reformed liturgy initiated by the council.

A brave move

{mosimage}Judging from the torrent of abuse poured on Ontario Conservative Leader John Tory in recent weeks, it is clear that his proposal to fund religious-based education with tax dollars has touched one of those latent nerves in the provincial populace. His is a brave stand indeed, one that deserves better than the dismissal it has received in many quarters.

There’s none more Irish than the Irish abroad

One of the many surprises New Brunswick had for this native Torontonian and staunch Upper Canadian is the solid Irish fact — as strong as the Acadian — that defines so much of the history and culture of the province.  Some 38 per cent of the population is of Irish ancestry and the port city of Saint John is as Irish as Cork.

The timelessness of Ingmar Bergman

{mosimage}When death came for Swedish film and theatre director Ingmar Bergman in late July, it found a lonely old man living on a desolate island, whose most important accomplishments in art lay far in the past. He still had numerous fans, as we were reminded by the outpouring of tributes. But despite the polite homage often paid him by younger directors, he had no followers in Scandinavia or anywhere else.

Intramural debate behind Vatican document responses

{mosimage}On July 10, the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith released a document reaffirming Catholic ecclesiology entitled “Responses to some questions regarding certain aspects of the doctrine on the Church.” The succinct, three-page document, in essence, simply reaffirms the teaching of the Second Vatican Council regarding the theology of the church (ecclesiology), as well as modern encyclicals and magisterial documents.