Comment: Francis opens the door to ‘cafeteria’ Catholics

To call someone “more Catholic than the Pope” used to be a joking reference to conservative Catholics, but these days there truly are some people who think they are more Catholic than Pope Francis.

Comment: Our environmental abuse puts us on a road to ruin

The August and September hurricanes of Harvey, Irma and Jose drowned out two fleeting news items that should keep us awake at night with anguish about how we’re treating our planet.

Amid violence streets still have their moments of grace

There are few, if any, parishes in Toronto that had three shooting deaths in the first month of the year and followed them up with two more in the next few months. Add to this an epidemic of drug overdoses and a picture of lawlessness could emerge.

Faith in civil discourse waxes, then wanes

When this column cited a vicious smear campaign against Fr. James Martin, it was expected that some people would disagree with his call to build a bridge of dialogue between the Church and the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. It was also expected some would agree with his call for civil discourse. Naturally, both things occurred.

Editorial: Canadian bishops are wise to take their time

Despite several invitations and considerable speculation, a papal visit to Canada seems no closer today than it was 2 1/2 years ago when the topic first surfaced.

Comment: Take nothing for granted, give thanks for all things

We’re all guilty to some degree, aren’t we? I mean, guilty of taking things for granted.

Comment: Are we a Church of slobs and mediocrity?

Mark Shea thinks the Catholic Church is a vast accumulation of slobs and mediocrities. He means it as a compliment. He contends it brings us closer to Christ.

Editorial: Shame on MPs for walking out on nominee

Status of Women Canada exists to promote women’s equality and “full participation” of women in the economic, social and democratic life of Canada. Among its many worthy objectives is to encourage women to become community and political leaders, active players in shaping a just society.

Compare that mandate to what happened Sept. 26 when MPs from the Liberal and NDP parties aligned to publicly shun a 30-year-old woman who was properly appointed as the chair of the House of Commons standing committee on the Status of Women. They walked out en masse minutes into Rachael Harder’s first meeting for the sole reason that, in the past, she has exercised her Parliamentary right to vote in support of pro-life motions.

It was an act of public shaming, of bullying, to be expected perhaps in a schoolyard but quite undignified among elected members. A committee that, above all else, should exemplify fairness, accommodation and tolerance, instead opted to belittle and stigmatize a woman because of a sincerely held belief of conscience.

The explanation given by Pam Damoff, who led the shunners, was that the chair of the committee “should be someone who is representative of the Supreme Court decision that was made in 1988.” If the MP is going to cite Supreme Court decisions, she should perhaps first read them. Harder, not Damoff, very much reflects the spirit of the infamous 1988 Morgen-taler ruling. None of the justices back then advocated for abortion on demand. Although they ruled aspects of the law at the time were unconstitutional, they agreed unanimously that the State has a legitimate right to legislate limits on abortion.

But Damoff is not stumbling alone in the dark. The Prime Minister claims to be an advocate of equality for women but apparently not equality among women. He defended the public shaming because, he said, the committee chair should be able to “unequivocally” defend women’s rights.

“That’s sort of the point of the status of women committee,” he said.

Actually, the point of the committee is to defend women’s rights and advance women’s causes across a broad spectrum, not to be a tunnel-visioned advocate of abortion. The committee should respect and represent the views of all women, and it should be a pit bull when a women’s Charter rights of freedom of conscience, belief, opinion and expression are under attack. It should never become the attacker.

It should also never fail to encourage young women of all political stripes and beliefs to become engaged in the democratic process. In that regard, the committee should be ashamed of how it demeaned Harder, an accomplished female millennial.

She should be held up as a role model for other intelligent, young women, not cruelly branded with a scarlet letter and shunned in an emptying room.

Comment: It's through giving that our humanity is fully realized

The mountain ash tree in our front yard is at the peak of its autumn brilliance. I sit on the couch in our living room awed by the array of gold, green, yellow and red.

Comment: Instead of fear take time to listen to refugees

There’s a scent of fear wafting from recent headlines in Canada. Are we afraid of Haitian families?

Editorial: Taxes must be fair

Pay unto Caesar what is Caesar’s, said Jesus, yet few topics rankle people more than taxes.