Whither the religious left?

Much has been remarked about the new leader of Her Majesty’s loyal opposition, Thomas Mulcair, and his desire to move his party to the centre, or the centre-left, or the left-of-centre, recasting them as moderate progressives, or progressive moderates. Whatever the position may be called, will there be room in it for the religious left?

For those who are not paying attention, religion is thought to be the exclusive province of the political right. Yet the most religious caucus in Parliament today is that of the Green party, where 100% of its members (namely, Elizabeth May) are recent theology students aspiring to ordination. More broadly, clergy in Parliament are almost always on the left. Continue reading

Is Development and Peace worth donating to? You decide

The question arises because last June I wrote in this column that the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace (CCODP) “has a tenuous claim on Catholic dollars because, aside from fundraising in Catholic parishes, they have a tenuous relationship with any distinctively Catholic mission. In their operations they are largely — and by their own proud design — indistinguishable from any number of peace and justice NGOs working in the developing world.” Continue reading

If prostitution is a tragedy, why make it easier?

Two questions immediately arise from the Ontario Court of Appeal prostitution decision. The first is constitutional. The second is one of economics.

Section 7 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees everyone the “right to life, liberty and security of the person.” Is it plausible that Parliament, back in long ago 1982, desired to protect the right to run a brothel as part of our fundamental legal liberties? Habeas corpus indeed. Section 7 now apparently includes the right to sell one’s body for sex in a licensed establishment fully compliant with safe drinking water standards and the requisite no-smoking signs. Continue reading

For Christians, the sun is rising in the east

On Monday night, I was honoured to host the senior Catholic prelate from India, Cardinal Oswald Gracias, in Mississauga, Ontario. On Tuesday morning, a new archbishop – Christian Lépine – was announced for Montreal. In the 21st century, what will be more important for global Christianity – Mumbai and Mississauga, or Montreal? To even ask the question demonstrates how the tectonic plates of the universal Church are shifting. Continue reading

Reconfiguring the episcopate

How do you reform an episcopate and provide new leadership for the Church in a particular nation? Canada is now the model for the Church universal on how it can be done.

The dramatic appointment of Christian Lépine as the new archbishop of Montreal, only six months after he was ordained an auxiliary bishop of the same diocese, has drawn attention to Canada as the exemplar of how an episcopate can be reconfigured for the challenges of the new evangelization. Continue reading