Power of the Catholic church can tear down walls – even along borders

History shows again and again that the church can mobilize an unstoppable force driven by a desire for love and peace

Power of the Catholic church can tear down walls – even along bordersAs tensions mount in the United States over whether a wall should be built along the Mexican border, little has been written about a force that could well become the determining factor on the issue. Despite its own struggles and coverups, the Catholic church has shown itself to be an insurmountable force when it fully…

Climate change conformity may well bury the truth

The large mass of scientific opinion tends to keep individual scientists in a conforming orbit. But what of the dissenting views?

Climate change conformity may well bury the truthGalileo wrote, “In questions of science, the authority of a thousand is not worth the humble reasoning of a single individual.” The problem is the ideas and clout of that thousand make that single individual a rare and unappreciated gem. Copernicus defied thousands, if not millions, when he dared suggest the Earth was not the…

There’s a place for religion in common and public life

At a time of heightened social divisions and isolation, not to mention divisive politics, religious illiteracy is costly

There’s a place for religion in common and public lifeChristmas often brings out the best in Canadians. We dig into our pockets for charity a little more. We volunteer more. And we make more time for friends and family than at other times of the year. But the holiday sometimes brings out our weirder side, too – especially when it comes to Canadian hang-ups…

Enjoying the beauty of Christmas lights

Across traditions and time, there has been a longing for light to brighten the darkness of winter

Enjoying the beauty of Christmas lightsI had a striking visual of light in darkness early one morning this week. A bright light, probably the planet Venus, shone with extraordinary clarity and pierced an otherwise black sky. Given my Christian faith and the time of year – less than a week until Christmas – my thoughts turned to the legendary Star of…

Why Santa Claus matters, regardless of your faith

If we share peace and goodwill with others, we find them growing within us. If we share kindness, we become more kind

Why Santa Claus matters, regardless of your faithThough it’s technically the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ for Christians, many traditions merge to form what we call Christmas. Some traditions are indeed Christian but others aren’t. Some date from eras before Jesus was born and some are more recent. One of the most endearing today is that of Santa Claus, the…

Bah, humbug to the war on Christmas

In the interests of diversity and inclusion, society shies away from Christian manifestations of Christmas

Bah, humbug to the war on ChristmasIn the interests of diversity and inclusion, society shies away from Christian manifestations of Christmas. Battles loom over nativity displays, the traditional “Merry Christmas” greeting and Christmas trees. Public schools banned carols from school concerts years ago. There is, some argue, a war on Christmas. While some seek to eliminate anything that remotely resembles religious…

Religious freedom benefits everyone

But hard secularism and the marginalization of some Canadians are reducing our deep pluralism and chipping away at our freedoms

Religious freedom benefits everyoneIt’s a safe bet that Asia Bibi – a Christian woman recently acquitted of blasphemy charges in Pakistan but still facing mob violence – would say religious freedom makes Canada a better country. Indeed, it’s because Canada enjoys religious freedom that this country may even grant her asylum. Chances are that Muslim Rohingyas fleeing Burma or…

Religion helped defeat the first Catholic U.S. presidential contender

Al Smith fell prey to the three Ps – prohibition, prejudice and prosperity – in 1928

Religion helped defeat the first Catholic U.S. presidential contenderWhen John F. Kennedy was running for the U.S. presidency in 1960, the ghost of Al Smith hung over public discussion of the campaign. Smith, a New York Catholic, had been soundly beaten in the general election of 1928. And his defeat generated the conventional wisdom that no Catholic could be elected to the presidency.…

The same truths are part of every religious and philosophical tradition

Each of us needs to be true to our mission if we’re to be effective agents of universal change

The same truths are part of every religious and philosophical traditionReligion can provide guiding principles for a meaningful life, yet few concepts have been more divisive in human history. Seeing the tensions of the first half of the 20th century, Mohandas K. Gandhi, a deeply spiritual man, came to the following conclusion: “One should accept the faith into which one was born, but seek always…

A spiritual leadership grounded in reality

Fostering collaboration rather than conflict, the Aga Khan builds bridges between people, religions and cultures to help the world’s most vulnerable

A spiritual leadership grounded in realityWhen your last name is Arab and you’re not a Muslim or terrorist, you defy a few Islamophobic stereotypes yourself. I’m Arab in name, but my father’s religion is Maronite Catholic – an early branch of the Roman Catholic Church. I was brought up Roman Catholic and indoctrinated in papal infallibility. So the idea of…