May three faithful shepherds enter into peace with the heavenly Master

Death comes for the archbishop, as the novel puts it. Death came for three of them this summer in Canada. Three retired metropolitan archbishops died in the space of a few weeks — my own archbishop emeritus in Kingston, Francis Spence, in late July, followed a few weeks later by Austin-Emile Burke of Halifax, and then just last week Cardinal Aloysius Ambrozic of Toronto.

They were all in their 80s, and had served long years as bishops —Archbishop Spence for 44 years, Archbishop Burke for 43 and Cardinal Ambrozic for 35. Their episcopal service began at a difficult time, in the years after the Vatican Council, inaugurated with so much hope, but quickly inundated by the tsunami of secularism that submerged the culture and washed over the Church. Their years were not full of great triumphs for the Gospel, for there were few of those to be had. Instead, their task was, as I wrote about Archbishop Spence upon his death, the “long fidelity.” They lived long enough to see that the Lord would begin to restore the years that the locust hath eaten. Continue reading

Giving the young something to believe in

They should have been terrified in Madrid. Over a million teenagers and young adults were gathering in the capital of a country in a severe debt crisis, and facing a staggering youth unemployment rate of 40% for its third straight year. After the riots in London last month, surely civil unrest, violence and urban terror were on their way.

Yet the 1.4 million young people who gathered with Pope Benedict XVI over the weekend were Catholic pilgrims and, just as they did when Toronto hosted World Youth Day in 2002, they conquered the heart of Madrid not with fear, but with joy – singing and praying in the metro, on the buses, cheerfully thronging the streets. Continue reading

How will Poland honour its most noble son?

KRAKOW, Poland – The local Church here takes great pride in her saints and in the 20th century no city produced more important ones. Fr. Maximilian Kolbe studied here and died at Auschwitz, part of the archdiocese of Krakow. Sr. Faustina Kowalska’s convent was here, and the Divine Mercy devotion began here. The summer of 2011 has added Blessed John Paul II to the honour roll, and every single parish, shrine and souvenir stand is bedecked with images celebrating Krakow’s most noble son. Continue reading

Diagnosing a decaying civilization

The news is catching up to Mark Steyn, and the author is catching up to himself. His rollicking new book chronicles the advanced cultural, strategic and economic decline of the United States. It’s called After America: Get Ready for Armageddon, and it picks up the story that Steyn told in his last book, America Alone: The End of the World As We Know It. The earlier book was about how the West outside America was on greased skids to civilizational collapse; in this book he demonstrates that America has more than caught up. Continue reading

Canada’s success story can’t be copied

Aren’t we fabulous?

Since 2008, celebrating ourselves has been a dominant theme in Canadian commentary about our financial sector. Now the preternatural profligacy of the exchequer in European countries as well as by the American behemoth has ramped up that self-congratulation. We knew that we were good, but now the whole world knows that we are even better than we ourselves had thought, for not only was our financial sector sound, but our fiscal policy was, well, fabulous. Continue reading