The inevitable question: why?

Almost exactly seven years ago, in April 2000, I was sent by the newspaper I worked for to Columbine, Colorado, to report on the first anniversary of the high-school shooting rampage that left 12 students and a teacher dead and 23 people injured. It was a harrowing assignment. I found the citizens of this affluent Denver suburb of high earners and hard workers still in shock, battering themselves and each other with the inevitable question: Why?

Debunking some of the atheistic secularists

New books bent on discrediting religious belief and practice are never in short supply. But in the last couple of years we have witnessed a mini-boom in anti-religious publishing of the classic, interesting sort — ferociously opinionated, high-minded, inclined to view Christianity as something very dangerous. The basic arguments may be rather shop-worn, but they are stated in compelling and sometimes surprising new ways.

Easter promises us that we are being renewed in Jesus

With the coming of Easter, the calls for conversion we Christians heard so often during Lent are naturally heard less. The mind of the church turns to other things: the victory of Jesus over death, the coming of His Spirit, the inauguration of the Kingdom of  God as a radical new reality in the life of humankind.

Brave, new world is not that far off

When I first read Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World in 1960, this ironic novel from 1932 about the distant future had been around for a little over 25 years. But already its predictions seemed to be coming true, at least in the affluent North American society in which I lived as a young man.

There’s plenty of room for more

Last month in Ottawa, the Anglican Catholic Church — not to be confused with either the Anglican Church of Canada or the Catholic Church — consecrated two new bishops. According to all reports, it was a moment of celebration for the small denomination, which, some 30 years ago, split off from mainstream Anglicanism over the ordination of women.

Liturgy of the Hours a treasure in our midst

Among the initiatives of the Second Vatican Council aimed at making the church’s ancient rites more accessible to God’s people, the reforms and translations of the Mass have been the most successful, as well as the most controversial. Less successful, however, have been the attempts to bring the Liturgy of the Hours — the church’s majestic daily prayer — out of the cloister and the priest’s study and into the daily life of Christians.

A case of too little too late

As one of those who opposed U.S. military intervention in Iraq from the outset of this adventure four years ago, I would have liked the quick official response of the American Catholic bishops to President George Bush's recent decision to boost U.S. military force in Iraq to go further than it did, and declare the intervention to be immoral at its very core. As it stands, however, the statement issued on Jan. 12 by Bishop William S. Skylstad, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, is wise and sensible counsel about the extraordinarily difficult situation faced by the Western principals in the conflict.

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.

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.

Let's hope for an end to the U.S.'s polarized hostility

The campaigns that precede U.S. general elections are always wonderful events. Speeches ring with high melodrama and gaudy patriotism, every pundit with anything to say (and many with nothing to say) are continuously paraded in front of television's bright lights. Accusations of villainy fly from every corner, and every candidate presents himself or herself as the saviour of a nation descending into ruin.

Christian view can she light on globalization

Public protests against globalization — vociferous, often tumultuous affairs — gained momentum from the mid-1990s onward, peaking around the turn of the new millennium. Then, for reasons that are imperfectly understood, the potential Great Cause of a generation of young activists simply fizzled.