The Comment

Year end reflections; dignity above all

TORONTO – I have been fortunate in life: the experiences I have lived; the people I have met; the cultures of the different peoples with whom I have interacted have made me appreciate the importance of values we hold in common. They all seem to drive us towards action whose achievement showers us with “dignity” in their accomplishments – be they ever so humble.

At the heart of it all is the family. Without diminishing any religion or social construct, it is the microcosm of social organization and Law with which Western societies (Judeo-Christian/Greco-Roman) identify most often. None of us are “island entities” who exist on our own.

Many of our celebrations – periodic, ritualistic repetitions of remarkable events – underscore our interdependency as individuals and refocus our purpose. Christmas is one such time. We draw inspiration from the exercise of coming together for a meal that is, by its definition, “special”, no matter what is served. We live in a generation when that is not enough.

The Pope thought it important to dedicate his Christmas message to the absence of “peace” in two “hot spots” around the world: the Middle East and Ukraine. These are far away places for most people; but they are immediate for the destruction and inhumanity that their conflict perpetuates.

Gaza: a child amidst the rubble (by hosny salah from

Eventually, the conflicts will end. The current death and destruction will as well; but, the associated reputational damage perceived perpetrators, belligerents – be they “aggressors or victims” – will not soon be remedied. It seems the world’s grudging acceptance of the concept of “a just war” has run its course. Or maybe not. For this reason, as an expression of “hope”, we decided to print the letter and images provided, randomly and spontaneously, by one of our Local Journalism Initiatives reporters, elsewhere in these pages.

Readers of the Corriere Canadese, accustomed to reading about the Italian experience in the world, should be pleased to see that what they thought was a classic Neapolitan Nativity experience (where there is interactive roleplaying during the religious ceremony) lives on in the Greater Toronto Area. A Polish parish, St Maximillian Kolbe in Mississauga, celebrates two Christmas Eve masses: the first for children, the second, closer in timing to the traditional midnight start, for adults.

In either case, the expectations of the world were probably better expressed in those “Masses” than in any parliaments, courts of law or academic environment where freedom of speech is still cultivated. In thanking those congregations, we extend best wishes to our readers for this Christmas season and beyond.

In the pic above, Pope Francis brings the image of the Little Child to the Nativity scene, surrounded by a group of children (photo Vatican News)

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