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He Descended into Hell


(As we begin these latter days of Advent, awaiting the imminent arrival of our Saviour, it would do us well to ponder what indeed He is saving us from.  Hence, this piece by Father Callam is quite a propos, that the Child in the manger is also the Redeemer of all men, the vanquisher of Satan, who was destined to carry in His own body and soul the sins of all time, and all of their heinous effects, in this ... (Continue reading)

Ad Multos Annos, Father Alphonse de Valk, Fifty Years a Priest.

Father de Valk 2

It is fitting on this feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, patroness of life, that we offer a hearty and warm congratulations to Father Alphonse de Valk who yesterday celebrated 50 years a priest.  Father de Valk, a faithful member of the Congregation of Saint Basil, and the founder and editor-emeritus of both the Interim and, until a few years ago, Catholic Insight magazine, which he began in 1993 as a beacon of Catholic culture and hope, is a true ... (Continue reading)

What Does the Church Believe? : The Catechism of the Catholic Church


(This archived address by Cardinal Ratzinger, forwarded by Father Callam, fits in well with our preparations for Advent on this memorial of Pope Damasus.  The future Pope ponders here the role of the clear doctrine of the Catechism in preparing us to meet Christ, not just at Christmas, but, as this spiritual journey ultimately prepares us for, the end of our lives.  Ah, the calming and peaceful effect of superlative theology!  Editor) An address delivered by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger on 18 ... (Continue reading)

Why Are Catholics Not Holier Than They Are? Father Paul Quay’s ‘The Mystery Hidden for Ages in God’

(I thought this memorial of the great Jesuit Saint Francis Xavier was a fitting day to post this adaptation of an address I offered last week on a book by another great Jesuit, Father Paul Quay).   On his recent visit to our college this summer, the Jesuit scholar Father Koterski mentioned a book that he described as the 'most influential he has ever read', his fellow Jesuit's Father Paul Quay's "The Mystery Hidden for Ages in God".  Upon his effusive recommendation, ... (Continue reading)

Magisterial Clarity and Ambiguity

saint thomas aquinas

There is an old saying that the three rules of real estate are ‘location, location, location’.  A similar rule applies to public speaking: ‘brevity, brevity, brevity’.  And, we may also apply an analogous principle to teaching:  ‘clarity, clarity, clarity’.   The ultimate point of teaching is to transmit the truth that is in the teacher’s mind (which he should know clearly) into the mind of the student.  Ambiguities, double-entendres, irony, bombast, hyperbole and so on are essential in literature, poetry and drama, ... (Continue reading)

A Student Interrogates his Law Professor

Professor: Who will be first? Yes, you Miss Ezjakina:   Student: Mr. Rechtson, a moment ago, you quoted a renowned jurist regarding the preamble to the Canadian Charter of rights and freedoms. It went something like this:  Although the preamble is clearly part of the Constitution, it is equally clear that it has no enacting force. In other words, strictly speaking, it is not a source of positive law and is without legal effects. I am looking up the word preamble in ... (Continue reading)

Are the Poor Blessed? L’Arche, Part II


Jesus lifted up his eyes on his disciples and said, “Blessed are you poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. Blessed are you that hunger now, for you shall be satisfied. Blessed are you that weep now, for you shall laugh. Blessed are you when men hate you, when they exclude you and revile you, and cast out your name as evil, on account of the Son of Man, Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in ... (Continue reading)

Reasonable Force?

We will soon learn the fate of Constable James Forcillo, the Toronto police officer currently on trial for murder, who, shortly after midnight on July 18 2013 fired  nine rounds from his 9 mm service pistol at 18 year-old Sammy Yatin, who was high on ecstasy (and perhaps marijuana and cocaine), semi-incoherent and brandishing a switchblade in an empty streetcar.  Officer Forcillo, after commanding Sammy to drop the knife, fired three shots, the first two entering Sammy chest, damaging his ... (Continue reading)

Theresa of Avila: 500 years

theresa of avila

(I was hoping to post this article on the great 16th century Carmelite reformer Saint Theresa of Avila, the 500th anniversary of whose birth we celebrate this year, on the memorial of the Presentation of Our Lady, which is itself dedicated to the religious life.  Due to a technical glitch, however, it had to wait until today.  So enjoy, in the spirit of prayer and devotion to this most likable and approachable of saints - Editor)   We cannot know whether we ... (Continue reading)

Conversionary Compassion: Pope Francis and the Engaged Church


Conservative Catholics have expressed suspicion that Pope Francis is importing the values of a culture influenced by secular humanism into Church theology. He has expressed concerns with regards to the treatment of the poor, women, and ethnic and religious minorities. On the 1st of January of 2015, Pope Francis began the year on the World Day of Peace by referring to St. Paul's letter to Philemon while instructing Catholics to combat those who would maintain millions of people in "conditions ... (Continue reading)

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