Robert Brehl

Robert Brehl

Robert Brehl is a writer in Port Credit, Ont., and can be reached at bob@abc2.ca or @bbrehl on Twitter.

Whether opening a free laundromat for the homeless in Rome or shunning the palatial papal apartments in the Vatican, Pope Francis knows the power of symbolic messages.

It’s been said family can provide us with great strength and expose our greatest weaknesses. Or, as comedian George Burns once said: “Happiness is having a large, loving, caring, close-knit family in another city.”

“What good can this wretched intolerance and religious bigotry effect?”

The Pope’s recent musings about the possibility of older, married men someday being ordained as priests is all about math, not theology, doctrine or politics.

March 7 is the feast day for Sts. Perpetua and Felicitas — the patron saints of mothers and expectant mothers — and the story of these two courageous martyrs is appropriate to reflect upon.

The headline on the front page of the New York Times last week about Donald Trump’s key advisor was ominous: “Steve Bannon Carries Battles to Another Influential Hub: The Vatican.”

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.

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.

Oscar Wilde famously said “to lose one parent may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose both looks like carelessness.”

Reading through the obituary recently of iconic Canadian author and baseball lover W.P. Kinsella, one paragraph jumped off the pages of the Globe and Mail; dripping with irony.