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Pontifex Minimus Blog


James Clarke

June 30, 2022

PONTIFEX MINIMUS BLOG: PRESIDENTIAL REFLECTIONS ON THE CATHOLIC INTELLECTUAL TRADITION By Dr. Michael W. Higgins, President and Vice-Chancellor of Corpus Christi-St. Marks at UBC James Clarke is an avuncular person with the temperament of a mystic.  He delights in the simple things but has spent his life with the complex things.  A lawyer and former […]

Michael Danby-Smith

June 24, 2022

PONTIFEX MINIMUS BLOG: PRESIDENTIAL REFLECTIONS ON THE CATHOLIC INTELLECTUAL TRADITION By Dr. Michael W. Higgins, President and Vice-Chancellor of Corpus Christi-St. Marks at UBC Nothing reminds me more acutely of my mortality than the death of my friends and peers.  It has been a demanding year with so many such deaths. The most recent, and […]

Rixon

June 17, 2022

PONTIFEX MINIMUS BLOG: PRESIDENTIAL REFLECTIONS ON THE CATHOLIC INTELLECTUAL TRADITION By Dr. Michael W. Higgins, President and Vice-Chancellor of Corpus Christi-St. Marks at UBC In “A Slain Lamb Standing: Remembering the Future of Religion in Post-Secular Canada,” delivered at the Centre for Christian Engagement on St. Mark’s campus yesterday evening, Jesuit theologian Gordon Rixon evocatively […]

Elizabeth II

June 10, 2022

PONTIFEX MINIMUS BLOG: PRESIDENTIAL REFLECTIONS ON THE CATHOLIC INTELLECTUAL TRADITION By Dr. Michael W. Higgins, President and Vice-Chancellor of Corpus Christi-St. Marks at UBC The past week has seen the UK, the Commonwealth (what is left of it) and, well, the world-at-large, honour the multi-decade rule of that Britannic Majesty we know as Elizabeth II […]

Change on the Horizon

June 3, 2022

PONTIFEX MINIMUS BLOG: PRESIDENTIAL REFLECTIONS ON THE CATHOLIC INTELLECTUAL TRADITION By Dr. Michael W. Higgins, President and Vice-Chancellor of Corpus Christi-St. Marks at UBC Pope Francis has just made it easier, possibly even likely, that his successor will be an American. I am being a mite outrageous, but stranger things have happened. Mere whimsy and […]

Saints

May 27, 2022

PONTIFEX MINIMUS BLOG: PRESIDENTIAL REFLECTIONS ON THE CATHOLIC INTELLECTUAL TRADITION By Dr. Michael W. Higgins, President and Vice-Chancellor of Corpus Christi-St. Marks at UBC Pope Francis has now canonized over nine-hundred candidates, including a recent batch of ten on May 15.  Among their number are eight who are quite obscure, not registering on the national […]

The Pope and his Knee

May 20, 2022

PONTIFEX MINIMUS BLOG: PRESIDENTIAL REFLECTIONS ON THE CATHOLIC INTELLECTUAL TRADITION By Dr. Michael W. Higgins, President and Vice-Chancellor of Corpus Christi-St. Marks at UBC The health of a pope is always a big thing for the media. And not just for the media. The Catholic world—and a sizeable chunk of the non-Catholic world—watched as John […]

Convocation 2022-President’s Address

May 14, 2022

PONTIFEX MINIMUS BLOG: PRESIDENTIAL REFLECTIONS ON THE CATHOLIC INTELLECTUAL TRADITION By Dr. Michael W. Higgins, President and Vice-Chancellor of Corpus Christi-St. Marks at UBC I am posting this a day later than usual as it consists of my Convocation remarks delivered at today’s event in the St. Mark’s Chapel. This is a special day for […]

Finding Illich-David Cayley’s labour of love

May 6, 2022

PONTIFEX MINIMUS BLOG: PRESIDENTIAL REFLECTIONS ON THE CATHOLIC INTELLECTUAL TRADITION By Dr. Michael W. Higgins, President and Vice-Chancellor of Corpus Christi-St. Marks at UBC   A review-essay published with the permission of the Literary Review of Canada Ivan Illich: An Intellectual Journey David Cayley Pennsylvania State University Press 560 pages, hardcover and ebook Penned in 1959 and published […]

John Wilkins

April 28, 2022

PONTIFEX MINIMUS BLOG: PRESIDENTIAL REFLECTIONS ON THE CATHOLIC INTELLECTUAL TRADITION By Dr. Michael W. Higgins, President and Vice-Chancellor of Corpus Christi-St. Marks at UBC John Wilkins, the legendary editor of The Tablet, the premier English-speaking Catholic publication in the world, has just died. I know of no other editor who gave so diligently in time […]

Vatican diplomacy or Gospel solidarity? (Guest writer)

April 22, 2022

PONTIFEX MINIMUS BLOG: PRESIDENTIAL REFLECTIONS ON THE CATHOLIC INTELLECTUAL TRADITION   On a couple of occasions I have used guest blog entries because I have found their content especially moving and germane.  Perhaps none more so than this week’s by Myroslaw Tataryn. Earlier this year following the demonic invasion of Ukraine by President Putin our […]

Is Pope Francis, a polarizing figure for Catholic hard-liners, ready for the coming schism?

April 15, 2022

PONTIFEX MINIMUS BLOG: PRESIDENTIAL REFLECTIONS ON THE CATHOLIC INTELLECTUAL TRADITION By Dr. Michael W. Higgins, President and Vice-Chancellor of Corpus Christi-St. Marks at UBC Special to The Globe and Mail   The undiscriminating, reform-minded people’s pontiff faces growing resistance from conservative factions within the Church. The prospect of a split is not to be ignored. […]

Following the Pope’s apology, Canadian Catholics need to step up

April 6, 2022

PONTIFEX MINIMUS BLOG: PRESIDENTIAL REFLECTIONS ON THE CATHOLIC INTELLECTUAL TRADITION By Dr. Michael W. Higgins, President and Vice-Chancellor of Corpus Christi-St. Marks at UBC Special to The Globe and Mail Who can deny the traumatic impact of the discoveries of unmarked graves at Kamloops Indian Residential School in the spring of 2021? But if we […]

Praedicate Evangelium – Innovation regarding the laity

April 1, 2022

PONTIFEX MINIMUS BLOG: PRESIDENTIAL REFLECTIONS ON THE CATHOLIC INTELLECTUAL TRADITION By Dr. Michael W. Higgins, President and Vice-Chancellor of Corpus Christi-St. Marks at UBC   Every pope it seems likes to tinker with the structure of the Roman Curia, the central bureaucracy of the Catholic Church, and in recent years it was Pope Paul VI […]

Poet Jonas Zdanys

March 25, 2022

PONTIFEX MINIMUS BLOG: PRESIDENTIAL REFLECTIONS ON THE CATHOLIC INTELLECTUAL TRADITION By Dr. Michael W. Higgins, President and Vice-Chancellor of Corpus Christi-St. Marks at UBC We all have—or dare I say, should have—a poet we can read in the knowledge that such a poet will give us pleasure, a spiritual frisson, an aesthetic epiphany.  In other […]

Sister Mary

March 18, 2022

PONTIFEX MINIMUS BLOG: PRESIDENTIAL REFLECTIONS ON THE CATHOLIC INTELLECTUAL TRADITION By Dr. Michael W. Higgins, President and Vice-Chancellor of Corpus Christi-St. Marks at UBC One of the spiritual writers I find consistently interesting is the Australian Jesuit Richard Leonard. The author of several books published by Paulist Press in the U.S., Leonard is an hospitable […]

Conspiracy Theories

March 11, 2022

PONTIFEX MINIMUS BLOG: PRESIDENTIAL REFLECTIONS ON THE CATHOLIC INTELLECTUAL TRADITION By Dr. Michael W. Higgins, President and Vice-Chancellor of Corpus Christi-St. Marks at UBC Conspiracy theories, mis/disinformation, and propaganda are unchecked in their boldness. We have an endless cataract of confusion, a new Babel on our hands. The crisis in Ukraine is, of course, top […]

Putin

March 4, 2022

PONTIFEX MINIMUS BLOG: PRESIDENTIAL REFLECTIONS ON THE CATHOLIC INTELLECTUAL TRADITION By Dr. Michael W. Higgins, President and Vice-Chancellor of Corpus Christi-St. Marks at UBC   The carnage in Ukraine offends the world, offends justice, and offends decency.  And it has yet to make an end. As political leaders, media commentators and academicians struggle to make […]

Celibacy and Priesthood

February 25, 2022

PONTIFEX MINIMUS BLOG: PRESIDENTIAL REFLECTIONS ON THE CATHOLIC INTELLECTUAL TRADITION By Dr. Michael W. Higgins, President and Vice-Chancellor of Corpus Christi-St. Marks at UBC Debate is a necessary thing in Catholic culture if that culture is to be vibrant rather than moribund. Pope Francis has encouraged frankness of expression in the belief that baptized Catholics […]

Signature qualities, habits of mind and unique insights that characterize Catholic thought

February 18, 2022

PONTIFEX MINIMUS BLOG: PRESIDENTIAL REFLECTIONS ON THE CATHOLIC INTELLECTUAL TRADITION By Dr. Michael W. Higgins, President and Vice-Chancellor of Corpus Christi-St. Marks at UBC As a journalist and academic, I have a strong professional commitment to accurate and fair writing. As president/principal of Catholic colleges, I have a vocational commitment to ensure that reasonable debate […]

Synods

February 11, 2022

PONTIFEX MINIMUS BLOG: PRESIDENTIAL REFLECTIONS ON THE CATHOLIC INTELLECTUAL TRADITION By Dr. Michael W. Higgins, President and Vice-Chancellor of Corpus Christi-St. Marks at UBC Synods are not new to the Catholic Church.  We have had a few over the centuries.  But their revitalization, normalization if you like, began with Pope Paul VI when he re-instituted […]

Bishop Remi De Roo

February 4, 2022

PONTIFEX MINIMUS BLOG: PRESIDENTIAL REFLECTIONS ON THE CATHOLIC INTELLECTUAL TRADITION By Dr. Michael W. Higgins, President and Vice-Chancellor of Corpus Christi-St. Marks at UBC   This week, at the grand age of 97, Bishop Remi De Roo died.  Just last year St. Mark’s College received news that his archives would be given to our library […]

TV and Such – Recommendations

January 21, 2022

PONTIFEX MINIMUS BLOG: PRESIDENTIAL REFLECTIONS ON THE CATHOLIC INTELLECTUAL TRADITION By Dr. Michael W. Higgins, President and Vice-Chancellor of Corpus Christi-St. Marks at UBC Most of us get our catechesis, theological updates, ecclesiastical gossip, etc. not from religious publications, weekly homilies, papal tracts, or local episcopal missives. But from popular culture, which can, and does, […]

Bill 21

January 14, 2022

PONTIFEX MINIMUS BLOG: PRESIDENTIAL REFLECTIONS ON THE CATHOLIC INTELLECTUAL TRADITION By Dr. Michael W. Higgins, President and Vice-Chancellor of Corpus Christi-St. Marks at UBC Voltaire, the Enlightenment philosophe with a poor regard for Catholicism, once referred to the Catholic Church in these strikingly colourful terms: écrasez l’infâme (crush the loathsome thing). Voltaire lets you know […]

Midnight Mass

January 7, 2022

PONTIFEX MINIMUS BLOG: PRESIDENTIAL REFLECTIONS ON THE CATHOLIC INTELLECTUAL TRADITION By Dr. Michael W. Higgins, President and Vice-Chancellor of Corpus Christi-St. Marks at UBC I am not a fan of grand papal ceremonies.  As theatre, they are marvellous and can give the British a run for their pound, but the spiritual capital seems to me […]

Highsmith on Education

December 10, 2021

PONTIFEX MINIMUS BLOG: PRESIDENTIAL REFLECTIONS ON THE CATHOLIC INTELLECTUAL TRADITION By Dr. Michael W. Higgins, President and Vice-Chancellor of Corpus Christi-St. Marks at UBC This has been a disruptive year at the university on many fronts: pedagogically, economically, emotionally.  We have struggled to meet the needs of our students in ways that are respectful of […]

Religious Nationalism

December 3, 2021

PONTIFEX MINIMUS BLOG: PRESIDENTIAL REFLECTIONS ON THE CATHOLIC INTELLECTUAL TRADITION By Dr. Michael W. Higgins, President and Vice-Chancellor of Corpus Christi-St. Marks at UBC   I despair of the United States.  Its capacity to remain in any discernible way a liberal democracy has been so mightily imperilled by the Trump presidency—even in its post-presidential modality—that […]

Ross Labrie

November 26, 2021

By Dr. Michael W. Higgins, President and Vice-Chancellor of Corpus Christi-St. Marks at UBC I am not an obituarist by training.  I just fell into writing them—obituaries, I mean.  It started while visiting the celebrated papal biographer Peter Hebblethwaite in his Oxford digs when he got a note from an editor at The Guardian commissioning […]

St. Marguerite Bourgeoys

November 19, 2021

PONTIFEX MINIMUS BLOG: PRESIDENTIAL REFLECTIONS ON THE CATHOLIC INTELLECTUAL TRADITION By Dr. Michael W. Higgins, President and Vice-Chancellor of Corpus Christi-St. Marks at UBC With so much turmoil assailing us as citizens of the world and members of the church—climate change, the regression to authoritarianism in countries recently struggling into liberal democracy, the plague of […]

Biden, Amess, and us

November 10, 2021

PONTIFEX MINIMUS BLOG: PRESIDENTIAL REFLECTIONS ON THE CATHOLIC INTELLECTUAL TRADITION By Dr. Michael W. Higgins, President and Vice-Chancellor of Corpus Christi-St. Marks at UBC As American Catholics wage war over President Joe Biden’s faith—conservatives bemoaning his insufficient ardour on reproductive life issues and progressives trumpeting his command of Catholic Social Teaching—many of their bishops are […]

The Pope’s visit should remind the Canadian Catholic leadership of its responsibility to Indigenous peoples

November 5, 2021

By Dr. Michael W.  Higgins, President and Vice-Chancellor of Corpus Christi-St. Mark's at UBC Pontifex Minimus blog Special to The Globe and Mail It has finally happened. Delayed, obstructed, tepidly advanced, but finally realized. The Pope is coming to Canada. The reasons for this protracted negotiation – bringing him to Canada in response to Call […]

A Sorrow Shared: The Spiritual Teachings of Henri Nouwen on Moving from Loss to Hope

October 29, 2021

Pontifex Minimus blog This week’s blog is a guest entry. Gabrielle Earnshaw’s recent lecture for the Centre for Christian Engagement at St. Mark’s College is a balm and a boon for worried souls and an illuminating and brave exploration of the grieving process. -Michael W. Higgins We are living through a time of great upheaval, fear […]

The Society of Jesus, a Contemporary Organization That Has Deep Roots

October 22, 2021

By Dr. Michael W.  Higgins, President and Vice-Chancellor of Corpus Christi-St. Mark's at UBC Pontifex Minimus blog Special to Jesuits.ca. This article is part of a series on the significance of Jesuits today. What is the role of the Jesuits in today’s complex Canadian—and even international—religious context? What do they bring to the people involved […]

The hard truth of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church is demoralizing. But we must confront it

October 15, 2021

By Dr. Michael W.  Higgins, President and Vice-Chancellor of Corpus Christi-St. Mark's at UBC Pontifex Minimus blog Special to The Globe and Mail on October 10, 2021   When Pope Francis met with the Archbishop of Paris and other French bishops at the end of September, he observed on the matter of the then-forthcoming report […]

After Kamloops, the Flood

October 5, 2021

This talk was delivered by Dr. Michael W. Higgins on October 1, 2021 at a public lecture for the Centre for Christian Engagement. Learn more As Canada and the Catholic Church face a crisis of conscience over the history of residential schools and their corrosive legacy, various questions arise that must be addressed. One of […]

The Makings of a Canadian Jesuit Cardinal – Part Three

October 1, 2021

Pontifex Minimus Blog: Presidential Reflections on the Catholic Intellectual Tradition By Dr. Michael W. Higgins, President and Vice-Chancellor of Corpus Christi-St. Marks at UBC Part Three in a three-part series (Part One,  Part Two)   After UCA, Czerny was appointed to Rome to work at the Jesuit Social Justice Secretariat—1992-2002—followed quickly by his establishing the […]

The Makings of a Canadian Jesuit Cardinal – Part 2

September 24, 2021

Pontifex Minimus Blog: Presidential Reflections on the Catholic Intellectual Tradition By Dr. Michael W. Higgins, President and Vice-Chancellor of Corpus Christi-St. Marks at UBC Part Two in a three-part series (Part One) Rattling through the infosphere at the time Francis announced his new cohort of cardinals was the buzz around this Canadian Jesuit who was […]

The Makings of a Canadian Jesuit Cardinal – Part 1

September 17, 2021

Pontifex Minimus Blog: Presidential Reflections on the Catholic Intellectual Tradition By Dr. Michael W. Higgins, President and Vice-Chancellor of Corpus Christi-St. Marks at UBC Three-part series (Part One,  Part Two, Part Three) What is it about cardinals and me?  So many interactions and yet I don’t move in, or indeed gravitate toward, their orbit of […]

In the COVID-era, the liberal arts are more valuable than ever

September 10, 2021

By Dr. Michael W.  Higgins, President and Vice-Chancellor of Corpus Christi-St. Mark's at UBC Pontifex Minimus blog Special to The Globe and Mail on September 4, 2021 With an ever-oscillating mixture of trepidation and excitement as we near the return date to campus, students, faculty, administrative staff and parents juggle their conflicting emotions and wavering […]

Pontifex Minimus Blog: Presidential Reflections on the Catholic Intellectual Tradition

September 3, 2021

By Dr. Michael W. Higgins, President and Vice-Chancellor of Corpus Christi-St. Marks at UBC It has been a summer of upheaval, unpredictability, social and political anxiety and exasperation on many levels. Certainly, it seems like a small matter—when our global crises are factored in—but for many Catholics it is not a small matter at all.  […]

What the Catholic Church in Canada can learn from the Archbishop of Munich and Freising

June 25, 2021

By Dr. Michael W.  Higgins, President and Vice-Chancellor of Corpus Christi-St. Mark's at UBC Pontifex Minimus blog Special to The Globe and Mail on June 25, 2021 It has been a month of upheaval for the Catholic Church in Germany. Its most prominent and admired senior cleric, Cardinal Reinhard Marx, Archbishop of Munich and Freising, […]

Pontifex Minimus Blog: Presidential Reflections on the Catholic Intellectual Tradition

June 18, 2021

By Dr. Michael W. Higgins, President and Vice-Chancellor of Corpus Christi-St. Marks at UBC Continuing on the theme of synods and synodality: the remaining two synods I attended as a Vatican Press Office-credentialed journalist and scholar were the 1987 Synod on the Vocation and Mission of Lay People in the Church and in the World and […]

Canada’s Shame

June 11, 2021

By Dr. Michael W. Higgins, President and Vice-Chancellor of Corpus Christi-St. Mark's at UBC Special to The Tablet The discovery of unidentified Indigenous children’s remains in the grounds of a Catholic-run boarding school has further damaged the withering moral authority of the Church in Canada. Pope Francis has turned to its senior cardinal for advice […]

Pontifex Minimus Blog: Presidential Reflections on the Catholic Intellectual Tradition

June 4, 2021

By Dr. Michael W. Higgins, President and Vice-Chancellor of Corpus Christi-St. Marks at UBC When it comes to Roman Synods, the 1985 one is singular in a number of ways.  First of all: it was an Extraordinary Synod, falling between the schedule for the Ordinary Synods, on average held every three to four years. Secondly: […]

Pontifex Minimus Blog: Presidential Reflections on the Catholic Intellectual Tradition

May 28, 2021

By Dr. Michael W. Higgins, President and Vice-Chancellor of Corpus Christi-St. Marks at UBC Pope Francis has begun a consultation process around synodality to culminate with the General Ordinary Roman Synod scheduled for the Fall of 2023.  A bold and much welcome initiative. The re-introduction of the synod as part of the ecclesiastical apparatus of […]

My Soul is fading away, overwhelmed by acedia (Ps 119:28)

May 21, 2021

Pontifex Minimus Blog Months of isolation, online classes, meetings, and family gatherings, and reduced social contact have shrunk the breadth of our horizons considerably. The monotony of the routine is seeping in: pray, work, eat, sleep, repeat. And while the availability of vaccines represents a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel, it […]

Antigonish Activist: The pragmatic idealism of Fr. Gregory MacLeod

May 6, 2021

By Dr. Michael W.  Higgins, President and Vice-Chancellor of Corpus Christi-St. Mark's at UBC Special to Commonweal In his December 2, 2020, entry for the ecclesial blog Go, Rebuild My House, Myroslaw Tataryn, a theologian and Byzantine Catholic priest, captures the essential pragmatism of the Bergoglian vision: “Francis asks us to be Christ in the […]

Pontifex Minimus Blog: Presidential Reflections on the Catholic Intellectual Tradition

April 30, 2021

By Dr. Michael W. Higgins, President and Vice-Chancellor of Corpus Christi-St. Marks at UBC In a recent panel discussion with Nuala Kenny and David Coppola—the former a medical doctor and the latter a theologian—on compassion and courageous leadership in our time, I emphasized the high importance of imagination in our lives, how it needs to […]

The Church Needs the Laity: The Wisdom of John Henry Newman

April 23, 2021

Pontifex Minimus Blog: Presidential Reflections on the Catholic Intellectual Tradition By Dr. Michael W. Higgins, President and Vice-Chancellor of Corpus Christi-St. Marks at UBC   This week my book, The Church Needs the Laity: The Wisdom of John Henry Newman, had its e-launch.  Well, actually it was more in the nature of a webinar and […]

Pontifex Minimus Blog: Presidential Reflections on the Catholic Intellectual Tradition

April 16, 2021

By Dr. Michael W. Higgins, President and Vice-Chancellor of Corpus Christi-St. Marks at UBC A few years ago a British weekly publication of established pedigree and impressive global influence highlighted the top 100 Catholics in the United Kingdom.  A bit unusual, admittedly, given that the criteria were not especially clear, but it was instructive seeing […]

Pontifex Minimus Blog: Presidential Reflections on the Catholic Intellectual Tradition

April 9, 2021

By Dr. Michael W. Higgins, President and Vice-Chancellor of Corpus Christi-St. Marks at UBC I had a number of books I wanted to read during the Easter holidays—some entirely appropriate to the Holy Week season and some a bit of a stretch—and I was successful in finishing all of them before ambling back to my […]

Pontifex Minimus Blog: Presidential Reflections on the Catholic Intellectual Tradition

April 1, 2021

By Dr. Michael W. Higgins, President and Vice-Chancellor of Corpus Christi-St. Marks at UBC Good Friday for Christians is the time of the bloodied wood, the time of shattered bones, sheared flesh, and supreme physical agony. It is the dark time. And when we look for parallels, historical analogues, contemporary referents, we are not without […]

Pontifex Minimus Blog: Presidential Reflections on the Catholic Intellectual Tradition

March 26, 2021

By Dr. Michael W. Higgins, President and Vice-Chancellor of Corpus Christi-St. Marks at UBC   We often, and with considerable justification, fret over the disengagement of our youth from the church: their minimalist approach to membership, their quiet as opposed to radical disaffiliation, the drift that turned into a flood.   There is an array […]

Pontifex Minimus Blog: Presidential Reflections on the Catholic Intellectual Tradition

March 19, 2021

By Dr. Michael W. Higgins, President and Vice-Chancellor of Corpus Christi-St. Marks at UBC Many years ago now, when I was an academic dean at St. Jerome’s University in Waterloo, Ontario I received a call from an agent inquiring whether I would serve as a consultant for a film currently in production.  Because I had […]

Pontifex Minimus Blog: Presidential Reflections on the Catholic Intellectual Tradition

March 12, 2021

By Dr. Michael W. Higgins, President and Vice-Chancellor of Corpus Christi-St. Marks at UBC Debates around MAID (Medical Assistance in Dying) and the pending revisions and amendments to Bill C-7 are raging across the land.  And so they should be.  This is a matter of the highest consequence as it pertains to what we, individually […]

Silence in the Desert within a Desert

March 5, 2021

Pontifex Minimus blog This week’s blog is an imported piece and perfectly suitable for Lenten reflection.  It is by Charlie Gillespie, a friend and former colleague, who is the newest contributing member to the weekly Go, Rebuild My House blog of Sacred Heart University.  This blog is international in its composition—American, Canadian, Irish, English, and […]

The curse of clericalism: The Catholic Church must act now to address the sins of the past

February 26, 2021

By Dr. Michael W.  Higgins, President and Vice-Chancellor of Corpus Christi-St. Mark's at UBC Pontifex Minimus blog Special to the Globe and Mail on February 22, 2021 In just one week in January, it seemed as if all the grief and shame was unleashed again. Every media outlet was covering one story after another about […]

Pontifex Minimus Blog: Presidential Reflections on the Catholic Intellectual Tradition

February 19, 2021

By Dr. Michael W. Higgins, President and Vice-Chancellor of Corpus Christi-St. Marks at UBC I was in the office of Paul Baumann, the former editor of Commonweal and my own editor on several occasions, when the subject of Christian Wiman came up.  I had just finished reading My Bright Abyss: Meditation of a Modern Believer […]

Pontifex Minimus Blog: Presidential Reflections on the Catholic Intellectual Tradition

February 12, 2021

By Dr. Michael W. Higgins, President and Vice-Chancellor of Corpus Christi-St. Marks at UBC For my last birthday my wife, Krystyna,  gave me a book that she had read and that she especially treasures.  She thought I would benefit from reading it as well.  And she is right.  It is an extraordinary book by an […]

Pontifex Minimus Blog: Presidential Reflections on the Catholic Intellectual Tradition

February 5, 2021

By Dr. Michael W. Higgins, President and Vice-Chancellor of Corpus Christi-St. Marks at UBC Robert Doran, the Jesuit theologian and longtime teacher, died on January 21 of a brain infection in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  We were friends—periodic in our connections and shared interests and convictions—but friends nonetheless. We first met while my colleague, Doug Letson, and […]

The Goodness of Poetry in Desolate Times

January 29, 2021

There is a guest blog entry for this week’s Pontifex Minimus blog. Jennifer Reek is a former colleague and dear friend currently living in Santa Fe, New Mexico.  Her special academic interest is the multivalent relationship between the imaginative and spiritual sensibilities.  She has a graduate degree from Regis College in Toronto and a doctorate […]

The unassuming Catholicism of Joe Biden prepares him well for the hard journey ahead

January 19, 2021

By Dr. Michael W.  Higgins, President and Vice-Chancellor of Corpus Christi-St. Mark's at UBC Pontifex Minimus blog Special to the Globe and Mail on January 15, 2021 It is often observed that U.S. president-elect Joe Biden wears his emotions on his sleeve. His capacity for empathy is on ready display. But it is not the […]

PONTIFEX MINIMUS: PRESIDENTIAL REFLECTIONS ON THE CATHOLIC INTELLECTUAL TRADITION

January 15, 2021

BY DR. MICHAEL W. HIGGINS, PRESIDENT AND VICE-CHANCELLOR OF CORPUS CHRISTI-ST. MARK'S AT UBC A dear friend and colleague from my days as President of St. Thomas University in Fredericton, Tony Tremblay, sent me a piece he had written for the Fall 2020 issue of the Journal of New Brunswick Studies.  In this short piece/reflection […]

Pontifex blog: Pier Giorgio Di Cicco, poet of the boundaries

January 8, 2021

By Dr. Michael W.  Higgins, President and Vice-Chancellor of Corpus Christi-St. Mark's at UBC Special to The Tablet. Published January 2, 2021 A master of the love lyric, a jazz trumpeter, an internationally-respected municipal consultant and a one-time Augustinian friar who became a parish priest in small-town Ontario. There has never been a diocesan priest […]

Pontifex Minimus Blog: Presidential Reflections on the Catholic Intellectual Tradition

December 18, 2020

This is the last entry for the year. The next blog posting will be in the second week of January 2021. A new year; a new hope; an ending to our global horror; a fervent farewell to plague. The liturgical year and the chronological year do not always mesh. Sometimes there is creative conjunction, and […]

PONTIFEX MINIMUS: PRESIDENTIAL REFLECTIONS ON THE CATHOLIC INTELLECTUAL TRADITION

December 4, 2020

BY DR. MICHAEL W. HIGGINS, PRESIDENT AND VICE-CHANCELLOR OF CORPUS CHRISTI-ST. MARK'S AT UBC Students everywhere struggle with the Zoom mode of learning. They understand that it is an essential alternative, in this our year of plague,  to the conventional mode of knowledge exchange—the querying and probing that we associate with the ideal act of […]

PONTIFEX MINIMUS: PRESIDENTIAL REFLECTIONS ON THE CATHOLIC INTELLECTUAL TRADITION

November 27, 2020

BY DR. MICHAEL W. HIGGINS, PRESIDENT AND VICE-CHANCELLOR OF CORPUS CHRISTI-ST. MARK'S AT UBC We live in a cynical time.  Deeply distrustful of authority—all authority—and because we have in great measure been disappointed, disillusioned, and disabused by these various bodies, we have come to a point in time when we accept little at face value.  […]

PONTIFEX MINIMUS: PRESIDENTIAL REFLECTIONS ON THE CATHOLIC INTELLECTUAL TRADITION

November 20, 2020

By Dr. Michael W. Higgins, President and Vice-Chancellor of Corpus Christi-St. Mark's at UBC It was with a combination of surprise and sadness that I read a detailed and generous obituary in Thursday’s Globe and Mail of the death and legacy of the Montreal priest, John Walsh. His death was sudden and the impact in […]

PONTIFEX MINIMUS: PRESIDENTIAL REFLECTIONS ON THE CATHOLIC INTELLECTUAL TRADITION

November 13, 2020

BY DR. MICHAEL W. HIGGINS, PRESIDENT AND VICE-CHANCELLOR OF CORPUS CHRISTI-ST. MARK'S AT UBC On November 10 the Secretariat of State of the Holy See issued its exhaustive Report on the Holy See’s Institutional Knowledge and Decision-Making Related to Former Cardinal Theodore Edgar McCarrick. Clocking in at a whopping 449 pages with some 1400 footnotes […]

PONTIFEX MINIMUS: PRESIDENTIAL REFLECTIONS ON THE CATHOLIC INTELLECTUAL TRADITION

November 6, 2020

By Dr. Michael W. Higgins, President and Vice-Chancellor of Corpus Christi-St. Mark's at UBC Erik Varden, the newly-installed Bishop-Prelate of the Catholic Territorial Prelature of Trondheim, Norway, is an extraordinary leader.  Immediate past Abbot of Mount St. Bernard Abbey in Leicestershire, England, he is a young, very young, Trappist monk who is the author of […]

Pontifex Minimus Blog: Pope Francis sparks revolutionary love, yet again – this time for gay people

October 30, 2020

By Dr. Michael W.  Higgins, President and Vice-Chancellor of Corpus Christi-St. Mark's at UBC Special to The Globe and Mail Published October 22, 2020 A few years ago, I attended a Vatican event on assignment with my late friend Peter Kavanagh, a lawyer, CBC producer and the co-author of my book Suffer the Children unto […]

PONTIFEX MINIMUS: PRESIDENTIAL REFLECTIONS ON THE CATHOLIC INTELLECTUAL TRADITION

October 23, 2020

By Dr. Michael W.  Higgins, President and Vice-Chancellor of Corpus Christi-St. Mark's at UBC  Pope Francis’s new text takes aim at a dangerous global threat – Donald Trump Talk about bad timing. The recent encyclical by Pope Francis, Fratelli Tutti, had a far from auspicious launch. It appeared at the same time as he sacked […]

PONTIFEX MINIMUS: PRESIDENTIAL REFLECTIONS ON THE CATHOLIC INTELLECTUAL TRADITION

October 16, 2020

By Dr. Michael W.  Higgins, President and Vice-Chancellor of Corpus Christi-St. Mark's at UBC          Fratelli Tutti, the latest document to emerge from the pen of Pope Francis, is a substantive examination of humanity’s desperate need for meaningful connection, for human communion, for a shared grasp of those values that enrich us as individuals and […]

PONTIFEX MINIMUS: PRESIDENTIAL REFLECTIONS ON THE CATHOLIC INTELLECTUAL TRADITION

October 9, 2020

By Dr. Michael W.  Higgins, President and Vice-Chancellor of Corpus Christi-St. Mark's at UBC          It is clear that relations with mainland China are fraught. The geopolitical situation is hazardous and seemingly insurmountable. Diplomacy has collapsed into shouting matches; polemical argument supplants reasoned argument.         But there may be an avenue we haven’t explored and it […]

PONTIFEX MINIMUS: PRESIDENTIAL REFLECTIONS ON THE CATHOLIC INTELLECTUAL TRADITION

October 2, 2020

By Dr. Michael W.  Higgins, President and Vice-Chancellor of Corpus Christi-St. Mark's at UBC     Former Canadian prime minister, John Turner, died in September and among the many tributes, homage, political commentaries, post mortems, and personal reflections that have been published or aired many have spoken of his devout Catholicism.  One is never quite sure […]

PONTIFEX MINIMUS: PRESIDENTIAL REFLECTIONS ON THE CATHOLIC INTELLECTUAL TRADITION

September 25, 2020

By Dr. Michael W.  Higgins, President and Vice-Chancellor of Corpus Christi-St. Mark's at UBC One of the most celebrated of Catholic novelists, Graham Greene, is also one of the most controverted figures in Catholic letters, or indeed English literary life period.  As novelist and biographer A. N. Wilson recently noted, “for some, [Greene] was the […]

PONTIFEX MINIMUS: PRESIDENTIAL REFLECTIONS ON THE CATHOLIC INTELLECTUAL TRADITION

September 18, 2020

By Dr. Michael W.  Higgins, President and Vice-Chancellor of Corpus Christi-St. Mark's at UBC     As we begin a new year of learning, although much compromised by our global pandemic, it is well to remember that this year may prove nonetheless to be a year of epiphany, a year when we happen upon a book […]

PONTIFEX MINIMUS: PRESIDENTIAL REFLECTIONS ON THE CATHOLIC INTELLECTUAL TRADITION

September 11, 2020

By Dr. Michael W.  Higgins, President and Vice-Chancellor of Corpus Christi-St. Mark's at UBC     Many of the titans of industry—Reed Hastings of Netflix and Jeff Bezos of Amazon—delight in their success by pointing to various criteria they deploy to ensure a workforce of faithful votaries working at optimal strength in well-oiled machines.     They […]

Pontifex Minimus: Presidential reflections on the Catholic intellectual tradition

September 4, 2020

By Dr. Michael W. Higgins, President and Vice-Chancellor of Corpus Christi-St. Mark's at UBC What follows is a slightly longer rumination than what I intend as a weekly blog entry, but the topic is especially germane, and so I have rationalized a greater length. We all listen attentively, eagerly, often with anxiety, and sometimes with […]

Pontifex Minimus: Presidential Reflections on the Catholic Intellectual Tradition

August 28, 2020

By Dr. Michael W. Higgins, President and Vice-Chancellor of Corpus Christi-St. Mark's at UBC Emma Donoghue, the Irish novelist now resident in London, Ontario, has just published her latest novel, The Pull of the Stars, in the midst of a plague.  The timing couldn’t be better and the marketing people have maximized the opportunity presented to […]


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