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.

    No stacked deck

    Just before Christmas, in one of those quiet moves governments make when everyone's attention is somewhere else, Health Minister Tony Clement announced the membership of the new board to run the Assisted Human Reproduction Canada agency. It has been a long time coming.

      Cardinal Ambrozic

      The announcement of who would be the next archbishop of Toronto has been much anticipated, not least by Cardinal Aloysius Ambrozic himself. At almost 77, he gets a well-deserved rest after labouring 30 years as bishop in that Lord's vineyard we call the archdiocese of Toronto.

        There are no limits to Christian joy

        "Joy is a net of love by which you can catch souls."

        Mother Teresa of Calcutta

        As seasonal celebrations wind down, the decorations are packed away and people get back to their routines, it's not uncommon to feel disappointment — a symptom of what's known as "the post-holiday blues."

          The same-sex marriage debate is far from dead

          Sometimes politicians have a rather exalted sense of their own authority. Witness the comments in the aftermath of the vote in the House of Commons Dec. 7 over same-sex marriage.

            For all humanity

            At this year's Midnight Mass we read Luke's famous nativity account in which the shepherds in the field first hear the good news of the birth of Jesus Christ from an angel: "Be not afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which will come to all the people." Christians recognize that it was indeed good news, but sometimes it is easy to forget it was for "all the people."

              Divided yet united in the one true Lord

              The incident in Pope Benedict XVI's recent trip to Turkey that got the most vivid press coverage was his silent prayer, facing Mecca, in Istanbul's Blue Mosque. Given the vehement criticism and controversy that have dogged the Pope's steps ever since his remarks on Islam at Regensburg, such attention was probably inevitable.

                True to Nativity

                Myroslaw Tataryn, theologian, priest and acting president of St. Jerome's University in the University of Waterloo, made a personal note in his annual Christmas card that this coming celebration will be a "first Christmas" for our family and times such as these are special. He meant, of course, that this Christmas will be a first for us in a new home and in a new city and that we should mark it as such.

                  Jesus revealed through the kindness of strangers

                  In 1985, Bishop James Doyle sent me to the faculty of education of the University of Toronto where I had a wide range of facilitators and assignments. My psychology professor, Dr. Kong, provided a challenging assignment that proved spiritually fulfilling and blessed my Christmas experience that year.

                    Jesus revealed through the kindness of strangers

                    In 1985, Bishop James Doyle sent me to the faculty of education of the University of Toronto where I had a wide range of facilitators and assignments. My psychology professor, Dr. Kong, provided a challenging assignment that proved spiritually fulfilling and blessed my Christmas experience that year.

                      Grandma's gone, but Christmas memories live on

                       Christmas at Grandma's — widowed as long as my kids have known her — has always been a special time. Numerous traditions are an integral part of the experience.