The emerging post-secular society

It's premature to declare the debates led by social conservatives over

The emerging post-secular societyCurrent wisdom has it that the age-old debate between order and freedom is essentially resolved. Champions of the former – so-called social conservatives and traditional religious believers – are said to be in retreat, even facing outright defeat. There is certainly no question religion has gone from a private good to a public bad. Thirty…

Arrogance threatens the environment and social order

The Pope’s encyclical is about far more than the environment

Arrogance threatens the environment and social orderNot since Humane Vitae has a papal encyclical attracted as much attention as Pope Francis’s encyclical on the environment, On Care For Our Common Home, which calls us to rethink and transform the “outdated criteria which continue to rule the world.” From the first page, Laudato Si’ grabbed me, and not because I am an…

Pope’s encyclical on the environment wrong in so many ways

Those countries with relatively free markets have made the greatest gains in environmental quality over the past half century

Pope’s encyclical on the environment wrong in so many waysAs pretty much everyone in the world knows by now, Pope Francis published an encyclical recently On Care for Our Common Home, which discusses all things environmental – climate change, of course, but also air pollution, water pollution, sustainable development, the precautionary principle . . . the list goes on through 184-pages. Unfortunately, while the…

Popes, terrorists, politicians and hypocrites

Popes, terrorists, politicians and hypocritesFollowing the news can be instructive in more ways than one. In addition to keeping you abreast of what’s happening, the response to certain stories can be illuminating. Take, for instance, last week. When Pope Francis nailed his climate colours to the mast, he didn’t bring any fresh scientific information to the table. Instead, he…

Jean Vanier found humanity in the disabled

His organization, L’Arche, is demonstrates that people of different cultures, religions and abilities can live together in peace

Jean Vanier found humanity in the disabledAt the end of a steep hill in the neighbourhood where I grew up stood a house shrouded in mystery. Adults whispered about a “retarded” child who lived there and who was confined to a room. They argued about whether his parents should put him in a “home”. I was both fascinated and afraid when…

Compromise not creed is the way to solve public prayer debate

Both sides in the Saguenay, QC dispute more intent on proclaiming a creed than reaching a workable solution

Compromise not creed is the way to solve public prayer debateIt’s time to make compromises when it comes to freedom of conscience and religion, as a nine-year legal battle over a prayer in Saguenay, Que., demonstrates. Briefly, Jean Tremblay, the Catholic mayor of Saguenay, and his council began their meetings with the traditional Catholic sign of the cross, followed by a prayer. This made Alain…

Supreme Court strikes balance between religious and non-religious beliefs

The State cannot privilege either religious or non-religious beliefs to the detriment of the other

Supreme Court strikes balance between religious and non-religious beliefsBefore the Supreme Court’s recent Saguenay decision becomes shorthand for assaults on religious freedom in Canada, the point needs making that it is a thoughtful, fair-minded, and overall welcome ruling. As with any judgment that must walk the fraught line between faith and politics, there are some findings that should properly raise warning flags. But,…

Loyola decision protects religious freedom

Church and state can work together for the common good

Loyola decision protects religious freedomThe Supreme Court of Canada’s recent decision in the case of a private Catholic high school in Montreal only confirms the obvious: a faith-based education is not incompatible with the goals of a secular, democratic society. In 2008, as part of the continued secularization of the Quebec school system, the province adopted a mandatory Ethics…

Faith at heart of Pastor Lee Jong-rak’s mission to save babies

Disabled son inspired his "drop box" for abandoned babies

Faith at heart of Pastor Lee Jong-rak’s mission to save babiesHe is a man with a mission – a mission to save abandoned babies. He is Pastor Lee Jong-rak of Seoul, South Korea. The documentary film The Drop Box tells his story. In 2009, after a mother left her baby on his doorstep one cold night, Lee created a system to safely receive abandoned babies.…

World crises a clash of moral values

Western ignorance of the moral character of the struggle is leading to many mistakes

World crises a clash of moral valuesWestern civilization has shaped the modern world. Unfortunately, that world and the liberal values that underpin it are facing violent existential threats today. The most dangerous of these threats are the rise of radical Islam and a newly menacing Russia. There is a growing sense of frustration, even resignation, in the public, a belief that…