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From the archives

Liberal Interpretations

Making sense of Justin Trudeau and his party

Clock Watching

The nuclear threat lingers still

Spending Power

Can compassion and efficiency be combined in the use of public funds?

Michael W. Higgins

Michael W. Higgins is a Basilian Distinguished Fellow of Contemporary Catholic Thought at the University of Toronto’s St. Michael’s College.

Articles by
Michael W. Higgins

Moral Whirligig

A David Adams Richards mosaic June 2023
The fiction of David Adams Richards is unmistakable. It has salient features that distinguish his novels and short stories in the same way that a single paragraph can instantly signal a Mordecai Richler. For some critics and readers, this consistency illustrates a deficit of imagination. For others, the predictable recurrence of a signature prose with its stylistic peculiarities and recognizable plot patterns provides an opportunity to explore at greater length the layered intricacies of a flawed and heroic…

Finding Illich

David Cayley’s labour of love May 2022
Penned in 1959 and published in 1967, “The Vanishing Clergyman” was Ivan Illich’s bravura entry into the contentious world of ecclesiastical polemics and combative theologies following the Second Vatican Council. It is a measure of his prophetic instincts that the essay, although released after the council ended in 1965, was conceived several years before that assembly began in…

Complicated Ties

Jean Vanier and the United Church June 2020
The timing was not propitious; in fact, it was catastrophic. Releasing a book on Jean Vanier just before demoralizing revelations came out — that the man many took to be a living saint was in fact far from it — does not make for good marketing. But that is neither the author’s nor the publisher’s…

Without a Prayer

How Christianity is losing ground in Canada December 2018
I didn’t like high school very much; in fact, I loathed it. Mine wasn’t a rough or mismanaged school. It ranked highly in Toronto, and many decades after graduating I was honoured with being included on its inaugural Wall of Fame. But the memory of unhappiness has never quite been expunged. My grade school was a Catholic one nestled in the heart of the township of York and I loved…

Life in the Barrios

A radical priest’s career among the poor of Haiti and Latin America. December 2015
Quebec missionary and cleric Claude Lacaille shoots from the hip: “Wojtyla and Ratzinger had left us naked and exposed to the savage repression of our tyrants and had delivered the shepherdless sheep to the wolves. The Church’s history will record that these men were a formidable obstacle to the evangelization of the continent.” This stark and severe judgement of the two pontificates that preceded the current papacy of Francis—that of John Paul II and Benedict XVI respectively—is without…

Sickness in the Church

How will Rome minister to an institution debilitated by the sex abuse scandals? October 2004

Defender of the Church

A new biography attempts to capture the most puzzling of 20th-century popes May 2013
The recent election of Jorge Mario Bergoglio as the successor of Pope Benedict XVI was surprising on several counts. The new pope took the name of Francis, comes from what the Vatican still thinks of as the New World and is a member of the Companions of Jesus or the Jesuits. All papal firsts. He has communicated by…

Inside the Order

Two memoirs reflect the light and darkness of seminary life. June 2007