February 10, 2019

“Are all instances of blackface alike?” asks Professor John McWhorter, a popular African-American author and academic, in The Atlantic.  McWhorter is discussing recent political controversies in Virginia over revelations Attorney General Mark Herring and Governor Ralph Northam had engaged in separate incidents of blackface as college students. McWhorter calls for people to distinguish between the two incidents. The crux of McWhorter’s argument is as follows: Perhaps there is a difference between blacking up to mock black people, as whom we might… Read more

February 3, 2019

Forgiveness Sunday brings one of my favourite liturgical acts as a Byzantine Christian. Called the Rite of Forgiveness, it takes place during vespers on the last Sunday before Great Lent. The rite involves the priest and each member of the congregation asking and receiving each other’s forgiveness for any sins committed through the past year. There are different variations among the various Byzantine Churches to the practice of this rite. Here is how our parish practices it: Our pastor approaches… Read more

December 1, 2018

Pope Francis has released his fraternal greeting to Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew on the Feast of St Andrew the Apostle according to the Byzantine Calendar. The statement was read during the Divine Liturgy offered by the Ecumenical Patriarch. This is an important feast for Eastern Orthodox and Byzantine Catholics. St Andrew, the first of the 12 apostles Christ called, is also the founder of the See of Constantinople. Historians often refer to the mutual excommunications of 1054 as the catalyst for… Read more

October 13, 2018

In a few days, Canada will become the first developed country to legalize cannabis. Not just for medical use–which is already legal in Canada–but also for recreational use. This is a major shift in Canadian socio-cultural attitudes. One that leaves many Canadian faithful still working through a Catholic response. What follows is merely my personal reflection as a Byzantine Catholic. In no way do I present it as official Church teaching. Nor should my personal thoughts be taken as representative… Read more

June 23, 2018

Addressing the topic of family separation at the border, Sister Vassa Larin said today on Saturday Morning Live: “This is a very painful situation […] I don’t know of anyone who could observe this story without being deeply disturbed.” For anyone following this controversy, I invite you to watch the full episode here: Eastern Catholics often describe Sister Vassa as ‘the Russian Orthodox Mother Angelica’. Not only is her show Coffee with Sister Vassa popular in Christian social media today, but… Read more

June 16, 2018

I am the Stranger You can’t see me I am the Stranger Do you know what I mean The lyrics, from Canadian rock legend Gordon Downie’s “The Stranger,” refer to a tragic incident that exposed one of the darkest moments in Canadian history. On October 23, 1966, 12-year-old Chanie “Charlie” Wenjack died of exposure and starvation while attempting the 370-mile trek back to his village. This was during the early onslaught of Canadian winter. He was wearing only a light… Read more

June 2, 2018

Would I consider jumping to an Eastern Orthodox jurisdiction prior to restoration of full communion between Constantinople, Moscow and Rome? It’s an interesting question. Especially for a former Traditional Latin Mass apologist turned Byzantine Catholic ecumenist. And especially for one who already practices and considers himself Orthodox in communion with Rome. Yet here I am again wrestling with this question. Or perhaps I should say mulling it over  given my after-hours gig as a professional wrestling referee. In large part,… Read more

June 1, 2018

“Pope Francis the First, a Jesuit with a Franciscan’s humility” is among the best descriptions of the Holy Father that I have come across during his papacy. It is the title of Abbott Tryphon’s beautiful tribute on Ancient Faith Radio’s Morning Offering. Broadcast shortly after Francis’ election to the papal office, Father Tryphon’s opening paragraph has since proven prophetic: In Catholic Tradition, Francis of Assisi had a mystical vision in which Christ told him to rebuild His Church. In taking… Read more

May 12, 2018

Like capital punishment, torture is an issue that divides American Catholics from their co-religionists elsewhere in the developed world. A 2009 Pew Study noted the two biggest supporters of waterboarding and torture in the U.S. are white Catholics (51 percent) and white Evangelicals (62 percent). These two constituencies both buoyed and exceeded the U.S. national average of 49 percent. By comparison, a 2017 Campaign Research poll shows 71 percent of Canadians believe the use of torture is infective. Sixty percent of… Read more

May 9, 2018

Is the pope Catholic? Quoting from the Church Fathers, Catholic apologists like my friend Dave Armstrong will argue that the Roman Pontiff is successor of St Peter. To which I respond as a Byzantine Catholic: the See of Antioch also was founded by St Peter prior to his co-founding the See of Rome with St Paul. All kidding aside, I agree with my Latin friends that historically the Roman Pontiff holds a special role in resolving disputes within the Church…. Read more

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