Foreign Affairs needs to get religion

If the Conservatives are returned to power on Monday, Canada’s diplomats may well get religion. Or at least be required to pay more attention to it, if the Tories follow through on their proposal to establish an Office of Religious Freedom at Foreign Affairs.

This election appears set to change Canada’s political landscape, but it has been more about personalities, parties and post-election manoeuvring rather than policy. On the dominant issue of the giant sucking hole in Canadian public finance – health-care expenditure – the stated position of both Her Majesty’s government and the loyal Opposition is that nothing should change. Federal spending on health care should follow the sacrosanct federal-provincial agreements of 2004, not only until they are set to expire in 2014, but forever and ever, amen. Most countries to do not accord their constitutions as much reverence as we do the 6% escalator in federal health spending, established by apparent oracular decree seven years ago. Continue reading

Christ’s promise fulfilled in those who assumed the seat of Peter

In his inaugural homily in St. Peter’s Square, Pope Benedict concluded, “At this point, my mind goes back to 22 October 1978, when Pope John Paul II began his ministry here in St. Peter’s Square. His words on that occasion constantly echo in my ears: ‘Do not be afraid! Open wide the doors to Christ!’ ” Continue reading

Truth and power

In many places across the land, Canadians make their way to church in order to vote. Church halls are often booked by Elections Canada as polling stations, and so as advance polls opened yesterday, voters likely mixed with Good Friday pilgrims, each going about their business, citizens to their civic duties, religious folk to their worship. Continue reading

This Side of Eden

The voting begins tomorrow, with advance polls open across the country. It will be Good Friday, and so one hopes that those with even the most residual sense of Christian identity will choose another day to vote. To vote is a good thing, even a duty, but it belongs inescapably to the worldly order, and one should not profane a sacred day with such matters. Continue reading

Will the ‘many’ be counted?

Many Catholics are reading the Holy Father’s most recent book, Jesus of Nazareth: Holy Week, as spiritual reading this Holy Week. Does many mean all?

Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI sheds light on a matter that English-speaking Catholics will encounter later this year. The new translation of the Roman Missal, which will take effect in Advent 2011, changes the words of institution, the words the priests says to consecrate the bread and wine, transubstantiating them into the Body and Blood of Christ. Holy Week is a good time to examine that. Continue reading