Christians should support all liberties, not just religious liberty

– in Grand Rapids, Michigan –

As we mark the 25th anniversary this year of the defeat of communism, there are new questions about the unity of liberties. In the 1980s, when in the Gdansk shipyard the workers began to rattle the cage of communism, they demanded economic liberties (free trade unions), personal liberties (speech, the press), political liberties (democracy), legal liberties (against the police state) and religious liberty (the strikers insisted upon public worship in the shipyard itself). Continue reading

How a New Orleans boat-maker beat the Nazis

– in New Orleans, Louisiana –

Last week was full of history — the 10th anniversary of the death of the man who won the Cold War, Ronald Reagan, and the 25th anniversary of the date it was won, when Solidarity won the first free elections in Poland. Without Reagan and Walesa to inspire, the gathering in Normandy for D-Day’s 70th anniversary was rather flat. Barack Obama and David Cameron and Francoise Hollande are rather a long step down from FDR, Churchill and de Gaulle.

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Msgr. Foy knew what was at stake

Last week I wrote about ordination of a friend for the Archdiocese of Kingston. Priestly ordinations are joyful occasions. They are not as common as they should be, but they are not rare. This coming Saturday something truly rare will be celebrated when Msgr. Vincent Foy will celebrate the 75th anni­versary of his priestly ordination, which took place on June 3, 1939. Continue reading

The triumph and tragedy of 1989

The year 1979 marked the beginning of the end for communism. In January, Deng Xiaoping, having seized power just weeks before, began the economic reforms that would remake Chinese communism. On June 2, 1979, Pope John Paul II returned for his first papal visit to Poland with a more ambitious agenda. He wanted the Soviet communism in his homeland, and throughout Europe, utterly destroyed. Continue reading