Fr. Raymond J. de Souza
VATICAN CITY – The Feast of the Chair of St. Peter, Feb. 22, is my favourite day to visit St. Peter’s Basilica.
Recent developments regarding the Catholic Church in China brought to mind the Canadian visit of the Chinese Church’s most outspoken pastor in 2013.
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.
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.
I have crossed paths with Bishop Frederick Henry for nearly 20 years on visits to my family in Calgary. He has always been kind to me, made me welcome in his diocese and I have enjoyed the occasions we have had time to talk.
Earlier this fall, the bishops of Alberta and the Northwest Territories released guidelines to help priests offer pastoral care to individuals and families contemplating voluntary euthanasia and assisted suicide. The guidelines were fully Catholic, comprehensive, compassionate and courageous, as detailed then by Peter Stockland in these pages.
Where I am able to organize things — in my parish, at the chaplaincy — we sing Advent hymns in Advent. But otherwise, Christmas concerts are the order of the day by early December. And so it was that last Saturday I had the privilege of attending the annual Christmas concert of St. Michael’s Choir School in the afternoon at Massey Hall, and then the Christmas pageant (“Gaudy” to employ the local nomenclature) at Massey College in the evening.
Fidel Castro is dead. Canada’s prime minister, whose father was an admirer and friend of the tyrant, is struck with grief, but it is not widely shared. Fidel’s death is an advance for Cuba. A more significant step forward will be when Fidel’s brother Raul, to whom power was handed over in 2006, follows his brother into eternity.
The election of Donald Trump must have distressed Pope Francis. Or did it?