Recent events have been dark and disturbing. First we saw U.S. President Donald Trump put a “temporary” travel and immigration ban on seven mostly Muslim countries. Then there was the tragedy in Quebec City where six men were killed and several wounded while praying.

Following the shooting deaths of six men inside a Quebec City mosque, politicians quite rightly condemned the slaughter and affirmed Canada’s commitment to diversity, inclusiveness and tolerance.

On Feb. 6, Queen Elizabeth II marked 65 years on the throne. It’s the “sapphire” jubilee, a designation which I did not know; 65th anniversaries are rare enough, but welcome as reminders that enduring fidelity is possible. The anniversary, not marked with any great festivity given the celebrations of the Queen’s 90th birthday last year, also has something of a reminder of the liturgical seasons.

Edinburgh was wet on a recent Saturday, but Mark and I were out in it, running errands in the Old Town. As we were walking up the Royal Mile, we heard shouting outside St. Giles’ Cathedral, Edinburgh’s so-called High Kirk.

There’s a lot of talk these days about building walls.

My first thought, upon hearing the news of the massacre at the mosque in Ste. Foy, was that there must be a special place in hell for those who kill men at prayer, all the moreso in a house of worship.

One must wonder whether the rather bizarre clash between the Vatican and the Knights of Malta — a Catholic humanitarian organization with diplomatic ties to more than 100 countries — is really about distributing condoms as part of an aid project.

Unlike chaotic situations that arise from unpredictable or uncontrollable circumstances, this one was unnecessary and entirely avoidable.

Are there circumstances where assisted suicide should be among the range of options available to someone dealing with serious mental health issues? Should we routinely euthanize people with diseases like Alzheimer’s based upon their advance wishes? Are there times when mature kids and teenagers should be able to get a doctor’s help to die?

Early each year bishops from North America and Europe join bishops from the Holy Land on an information tour of those sacred but troubled lands. The visit this January had added significance because 2017 marks the 50th anniversary of the Six-Day War and the start of the ongoing occupation of Gaza and the West Bank.

On a family holiday in London earlier this month, I learned many fascinating stories while wandering the old town, but one involving the last Catholic king of England and his nephew may well have been the most captivating, so to speak.