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Category: Reflections

Café culture

The featured letter in this past weekend’s Ottawa Citizen is from Patricia Willoughby, who captures well the value of café culture. The same extends to bistros and pubs too, as places that can become a “second home,” especially to those living in downtown apartments. I wrote more than one conference paper and bits of my PhD dissertation in the ornate…

Fiction as an agent of the moral imagination

As we consider and reconsider the role of social media in shaping public discourse, here’s a quote from twentieth century literary critic Lionel Trilling on fiction as a tool of introspection — an area where online echo chambers typically fail: “For our time the most effective agent of the moral imagination has been the novel of the last two hundred…

A review of The Two Popes

The most striking aspect of The Two Popes is that it avoids being didactic, offering instead a complex portrayal of Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio (Pope Francis) and Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (Pope Benedict XVI). Although Bergoglio is liberally-minded, outgoing and pastoral, while Benedict is more conservative, introverted and academic, the film avoids tropes, depicting each in a multidimensional light. Fernando Meirelles’ film,…

Exploring the problems of the Catholic Church

Fr. Joel Sember serves as pastor of three churches in the Diocese of Green Bay, Wisconsin. When he shared the audio recording of his most recent homily, entitled “The Problem with the Catholic Church is…,” I found it hard to suppress my curiosity. The homily’s theme was prompted by the cancellation of Saturday evening Mass at St. Anthony, one of…

A visit to Montreal’s Encore Books and Records

Encore Books and Records proved to be one of the best bookstores I have visited in a long time. Located at the corner of Sherbrooke West and Harvard in Montreal, a mere fifteen minute walk from our family home in the city’s NDG neighbourhood, I arrived with a completely random request. I was looking for Evelyn Waugh’s The Ordeal of…

Scripture, Authority, Tradition and Reason in Richard Hooker and the Church of England

Theologian Richard Hooker lived and wrote with the activities of those Puritans in mind, who were looking to radically reshape the Church of England. At the centre of Hooker’s study “Of the Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity” is the relationship between Scripture, Authority and Tradition, and the role of human reason in embracing Christ’s salvific message. Hooker wrote in an era…

Of Mice and Men at the Ottawa Little Theatre

Set against the misery of the Great Depression, the Ottawa Little Theatre brought to life John Steinbeck’s story of how two men who journey together in search of work struggle to overcome a dehumanizing situation through their frustrating, yet ultimately genuine friendship. Ottawa actor J.T. Morris played George Milton poignantly and Dan DeMarbre, cast as George’s friend Lennie Small, gave…