Peter Stockland is publisher of Convivium magazine and a senior fellow at Cardus.
Crowds at Parti Quebecois whistle stops during the provincial election have been chanting: “We want a country!” They’re perfectly entitled to both the desire and its democratic expression, of course, even as Quebec Liberal leader Philippe Couillard is equally justified in asking rhetorically: “Don’t we already have one?”
It was one of those almost-invisible gestures that defy a seemingly impregnable political fixation.
The seeming uncomfortable paradox of the Catholic Church in Quebec is illuminated by two pieces of legislation making their way through the province’s National Assembly.
God was abundant at the Toronto archdiocese’s recent inaugural Chesterton Debate. Dear old G.K., unfortunately, was in notably shorter supply.
Late last week, the Catholic girls school at the top of my street announced it would close its doors permanently at the end of this school year. In its 126th year, Queen of Angels Academy simply cannot afford to continue.
In his inimitably colourful way, Pope Francis has challenged Catholic priests to be shepherds “living with the smell of the sheep.”
In its Christmas editorial, The Catholic Register reminded readers of their double reason to be joyful in 2013. For the first time in Church history, the editorial pointed out, Catholics are able to pray for not one but two legitimate popes as Christ is yet again renewed in our hearts. It’s certainly a surprising bounty worth reflecting on as the year ends. Even more, it is a gift to carry joyfully through 2014 and well beyond.
Anyone sifting around for Advent reading might consider the just-out apostolic exhortation of Pope Francis to lay alongside a strange and beautiful new book bearing Flannery O’Connor’s name.
Reading Evangelii Gaudium alternately with O’Connor’s prayer journal creates the sense of listening to a yearning yet joyful dialogue between two immensely gifted writers whose very habit of being is illumination of the Catholic soul.
It is not habitual — perhaps even unheard of — to praise a pontiff for his literary prowess. The job generally places far heavier emphasis on other gifts, talents and skills. Wherever he ranks in the pantheon of pontifical pens, however, there can be no doubt that Francis is the first to use the noun “sourpuss” in an apostolic document. More, he positions the word perfectly in his sentence to make it clear that it is us that he is concerned about.
Two years ago, my wife and I were in her mother’s room at an extended-care facility when we heard another patient calling out plaintively. I poked my head out the door in plenty of time to see Madame Beaudoin moving up the hallway with halting walker-steps, calling out: “Where am I?”