Why Christmas Matters for Your Pets, or What Pope Francis Didn’t Say About Dogs

Nativity Scene

Every Christmas growing up, my family would go caroling at the dairy farms that were about two miles upwind from us.  In deference to the local Holstein inhabitants, we would always change the words of “The Friendly Beasts”  appropriately:  From "I," said the cow, all white and red "I gave Him my manger for His bed I gave Him my hay to pillow His head" "I," said the cow, all white and red to "I," said the cow, all black and white "I gave Him my manger for the night I gave Him my hay to sn … [Read more...]

A Facebook Advent: On Waiting and God

Sometimes, the waiting is the best part

I belong to that dying breed that is still (relatively) young and had remained untouched by Facebook until very recently. During the first few days of my Facebook existence, I was astounded by the almost immediate responses to my “add friend” request, with some of them coming within seconds. I find that the rapid-response nature of Facebook has somewhat conditioned my behaviour, as well.I feel an unspoken pressure to “like” or respond to Facebook activities as soon as possible, and within … [Read more...]

Collapsing the Faith/non-Faith Dichotomy in Teaching

teacher owl flickr creative commons

The best teaching involves the whole person: their beliefs and views, their reasoning and arguments, their hopes and fears. For this reason, I propose that we re-frame our debate about teaching from a faith-based context. It is not a fundamental feature of faith that it must posit itself as the only point of view. Faith, as St. Anselm so pointedly reminds us, seeks understanding. I often encounter the misconception that a church's main role is to separate the world into the sacred and the … [Read more...]

Joyfully shipwrecked


There once was a ship that travelled far and wide. Some said it was as old as time. It wasn’t necessarily  a majestic vessel, but it always remained an important part of the lives of people wherever it sailed. In the Canadian province of Quebec, the history and identity of French and English-speaking people were deeply intertwined with this ship’s long and illustrious journey. It was believed that the ship would endure forever. In many hearts, this journey continues today, but for the majority of … [Read more...]

“Truth Eventually Wins Out,” Which Is Why Franciscan Needs to Reconsider Hayden’s Honorary Degree


“Truth eventually wins out; facts are stubborn things.”  These were the words of General Michael Hayden when he gave the commencement speech at Franciscan University of Steubenville on May 12, 2012.  He continued: “stand your ground, don't forget the moral compass you have been given here at Franciscan University.”As a proud graduate of Franciscan University of Steubenville, I echo his sentiments.  The truth does eventually win out, and I was given a firm moral compass, a commitment to the tr … [Read more...]

In the Kingdom of the Enemy: Reading the Torture Report


It’s been a struggle to figure out what is most disturbing in the executive summary of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence’s report on the CIA’s “detention and interrogation” — i.e., torture — program, but I got the list down to a top six:The sheer brutality of some of the “enhanced interrogation techniques;” The fact that the torture was mostly useless, if not actually counterproductive; The fact that we’re discussing torture and effectiveness as if utility could justify brutali … [Read more...]