A new generation of Royals coming to Canada

CHARLOTTETOWN — The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are due at the airport here on Sunday evening, which boasts in the terminal a near life-size fibreglass cow, the cow of Cow’s Dairy, an Island enterprise that rather boldly advertises itself as purveyor of the world’s best ice cream.

Such curiosities will test the young royals capacity to encounter local novelties with a smile, apparent interest and an encouraging word.

They will get their chance many times over, for William and Catherine are doing a very Canadian royal tour, full of stops in places such as Summerside, P.E.I. and Yellowknife. To be sure, they are headed onward to Hollywood and the Beverley Hills Hotel, but if they wish to be a successful royal couple, they will opt more for Moose Jaw than Manhattan in the future. Duty, not glamour. Continue reading

Pius XII’s actions spoke louder than words

The conduct of Pope Pius XII during the Second World War, specifically in regard to Jews and the Shoah, has been a bone in the throat of Catholic-Jewish relations for some time now. Recent developments may point, however tentatively, to the possibility of a way forward.

In late June, the Israeli ambassador to the Holy See, Mordechay Lewy, made a remarkable statement in the course of the ceremony in which Fr. Gaetano Piccini was named “Righteous among the Gentiles” — a designation given to those who were heroic in saving Jews during the Shoah. Ambassador Lewy noted that after the Nazis rounded up Jews in Rome in October 1943 for deportation to the death camps, Catholic convents and monasteries opened their doors to shelter Jews — something risky and dangerous under Nazi occupation. Continue reading

A trial without reason, a sentence without proportion

Only a few hours after Conrad Black was resentenced to 42 months in prison, the original lead prosecutor in the 2007 trial revealed the animating attitude of the judge and the prosecution.

Asked about the dwindling of this case – which at one point included 17 counts, hundreds of millions in theft, money laundering and even racketeering – to one fraud count for $600,000 and the flimsiest of obstruction charges, Eric Sussman had this to say:

“To look at it by counts and money maybe misses some of the point. I think at the beginning of the case the prosecution had a very definite statement, which is that Conrad Black stole money from the shareholders, he lied about it, and he obstructed justice. After everything this case has been through, you are left with the same facts.” Continue reading

Moral wars need military clarity

Canada’s participation in the Libyan war was extended by Parliament last week for another few months. Yet serious questions remain about the goals, tactics and morality of our continued participation in that war.

The decision to go to war in Libya was taken in the full flush of the alleged Arab Spring. Protesters had toppled the regimes in Tunisia and Egypt, so it was thought that Gaddafi’s remaining time could be measured in days. In the meantime, using NATO forces to protect civilians seemed like an almost humanitarian duty. Alas, it turned out that President Obama and his allies backed the one group of Arab protesters too hapless to pull it off, even with bombing support from NATO air power. The result is a perverse fiasco – Tunisia and Egypt achieved revolutions without foreign help; NATO has gone to war against Gaddafi, but apparently cannot or will not win; meanwhile in Syria the Assad regime slaughters its own with impunity, the Libyan disaster preventing anyone from suggesting that anything be done in Syria. Continue reading

God’s call still shaping Pope Benedict’s life 60 years later

The Feast of Saints Peter and Paul, June 29, is kept with suitable solemnity in Rome, with the Holy Father offering Mass at St. Peter’s on the patronal feast of his diocese. Ten years ago, in 2001, Blessed John Paul asked Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger to celebrate the Mass in his stead. It was the 50th anniversary of Ratzinger’s priestly ordination, 29th June 1951, and the honour of offering the patronal Mass in the Holy Father’s presence was thought both a tribute to Ratzinger’s long service, and, perhaps, a prelude to a farewell earnestly sought by Ratzinger himself. Continue reading