Saint Batman?

Sydney, Australia – Heath Ledger is mesmerizing in The Dark Knight, the latest Batman film. Here in his Australian homeland, his posthumous appearance as the Joker has been a major news story for two weeks.

It’s an extraordinary film, even if you are, inexplicably, unmoved by the addition of futuristic gadgets to the most reliable blockbuster combination in cinema: explosions, firearms, car chases and more explosions. This Batman comes with the bonus of some of the more combustible questions in philosophy. What is evil? Is there a moral order built into our world, or is to speak of such a moral design delusional? Continue reading

United by faith, surrounded by beauty

SYDNEY, Australia – ‘It was beautiful!” More than anything else, that’s what I heard from the pilgrims who came here last week for World Youth Day (WYD), the massive Catholic pilgrimage which Toronto hosted in 2002. I was struck by that, because the great success of Sydney 2008 could have given rise to any number of adjectives — it was enormous, it was exciting, it was emotional, it was inspiring, it was transforming, it was exhausting. Yet repeatedly people chose to describe it as beautiful. Continue reading

Value prayer, silence, Pope urges

400,000 attend World Youth Day Mass

SYDNEY -The largest single event in the history of Australia — as with many countries, a papal event — concluded with a rejuvenated Catholic community and the prospect of a softening in the hard edge of Australian secularism. The World Youth Day (WYD), hosted by Toronto in 2002, brought some 400,000 to a closing Mass yesterday with Pope Benedict XVI. Continue reading

Let the Order remain

The awarding of the Order of Canada to abortionist Henry Morgentaler has stirred controversy in recent weeks. The negative attention paid to this decorous institution has led some to ask: Is this the end of the Order of Canada as we know it? This week, the National Post has asked its regular contributors to offer their opinion about the future of Canada’s highest civilian honour. Continue reading

A better way to ask the big questions

SYDNEY, Australia – Pope Benedict XVI arrived here on Sunday for the World Youth Day (WYD), which runs through this weekend. The WYD, as Torontonians would remember from our hosting it in 2002, is by far the largest gathering of young adults in the world. When they held it in Manila in 1995, the final papal Mass drew upwards of four million people — perhaps the largest assembly in human history. Continue reading