Toronto’s finest hour

Ten years ago, Blessed John Paul II was in Toronto for the World Youth Day, the largest single religious event in Canadian history. Those happy days on the streets of Toronto now stand out in ever starker relief to other mass gatherings – notably the G20 summit, which descended into hostility, violence, abuse of police power and a staggering bill for all the unpleasantness. World Youth Day (WYD) was what other great international gatherings only pretend to be, namely authentic exchanges between ordinary people from various nations and cultures. Continue reading

A blessed anniversary

- in Krakow, Poland –
Faithful — or alternately, long-suffering — readers may recall that while I have been writing for the National Post since its inaugural month in October 1998, it was in July 2002 that I became a regular presence in these pages. I did a daily column for a fortnight on the occasion of Blessed John Paul II’s visit to Canada for World Youth Day in Toronto. Continue reading

A Perfect Gesture

Baseball is on its mid-season break after the all-star game in Kansas City on Tuesday. With no games scheduled, fans may choose to spend the free evening reading a book, and I would recommend one that I just finished: Nobody’s Perfect: Two Men, One Call, and a Game for Baseball History by Armando Galarraga and Jim Joyce. It’s a quick and endearing read. Continue reading

America’s most cherished liberty under attack

On the Fourth of July, the Catholic Church in the United States turned toward Washington, not for the fireworks, nor for a windy speech from the president, but for the conclusion of what the American bishops declared to be a Fortnight for Freedom.

I followed it rather more closely than most, since I was appointed last year a consultant to the American bishops Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty. Alarmed at encroachments on religious liberty at home, and escalating violence against Christians abroad, the ad hoc committee of senior bishops proposed a special fortnight of prayer, fasting, catechesis and public action in defense of religious liberty. Summoning forth “all the energies the Catholic community can muster,” the fortnight was a dramatic appeal to Americans — both Catholic and otherwise — to realize that their “first, most cherished liberty” is under sustained and serious attack. Continue reading