Jack Sproule: Spirit of the Trickster

  My recent book, The Trial of Pope Benedict: Joseph Ratzinger and the Vatican’s Assault on Reason, Compassion, and Human Dignity (Arsenal Pulp Press, 2013), was dedicated to Father Jack Sproule, a priest who served in the Vancouver Island diocese while I was growing up. The following essay I wrote about Jack appears in the winter edition of the Island Catholic News…. ********** On March 13, 2013, the day Jorge Bergoglio became Francis I, CBC…

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Pope Francis: Numero Uno Paradigm-Buster

Earlier this year when I signed the book deal for The Trial of Pope Benedict, I was convinced that this would be the end of all my writing about popes—and the Roman Catholic Church, for that matter. The book was intended as a kind of closure: my one and only statement about an institution I had no intention of returning to, much less thinking about on a daily basis, and a j’accuse indictment of the…

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Gay-friendly pope? Let’s hope.

The announcement that Pope Francis has extended an olive branch to gay priests and the LGBT community in general should be seen as a major development in the Roman Catholic Church—although how much change it will actually lead to remains very much in doubt. The comments by Francis occurred during an 82-minute press conference aboard Vatican Air, following the pope’s visit to Brazil for World Youth Day. His Holiness addressed many issues during a wide-ranging…

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The Trial of Pope Benedict launched

The Trial of Pope Benedict launched
Forgive me, author, for I have sinned: signing for old pal and Vancouver Sun reporter Kevin Griffin.

VANCOUVER—About seventy-five friends, colleagues, Gawthrop family members, fellow writers, and other readers showed up at Pat’s Pub on June 25 to celebrate the launch of The Trial of Pope Benedict. The place was packed. There were lots of happy reunions, there was a fabulous introduction from Carellin Brooks, and there was a reading. There was also a long line-up of people with copies to sign: legendary queer rights activist Janine Fuller of Little Sister’s, someone…

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Remi De Roo: Vatican II’s last great champion

The last time most Canadians heard from Remi De Roo, it was in a carefully worded letter of apology vetted by his lawyer. In June 2000, the year after his retirement as bishop of Victoria, De Roo was publicly lambasted for having approved the purchase of Arabian show horses and then a parcel of land in Washington State—investments that were bleeding the diocese dry. In his public mea culpa, he said he had approved certain transactions…

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