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The Catholic Register offers its readers dependable information and opinion as a joyful servant of God's pilgrim church.

Prior to the September hurricanes that devastated the Caribbean, Dominica was barely a blip on the radar of public consciousness.

Editorial: Canadian bishops are wise to take their time

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Despite several invitations and considerable speculation, a papal visit to Canada seems no closer today than it was 2 1/2 years ago when the topic first surfaced.

Editorial: Shame on MPs for walking out on nominee

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Status of Women Canada exists to promote women’s equality and “full participation” of women in the economic, social and democratic life of Canada. Among its many worthy objectives is to encourage women to become community and political leaders, active players in shaping a just society.

Compare that mandate to what happened Sept. 26 when MPs from the Liberal and NDP parties aligned to publicly shun a 30-year-old woman who was properly appointed as the chair of the House of Commons standing committee on the Status of Women. They walked out en masse minutes into Rachael Harder’s first meeting for the sole reason that, in the past, she has exercised her Parliamentary right to vote in support of pro-life motions.

It was an act of public shaming, of bullying, to be expected perhaps in a schoolyard but quite undignified among elected members. A committee that, above all else, should exemplify fairness, accommodation and tolerance, instead opted to belittle and stigmatize a woman because of a sincerely held belief of conscience.

The explanation given by Pam Damoff, who led the shunners, was that the chair of the committee “should be someone who is representative of the Supreme Court decision that was made in 1988.” If the MP is going to cite Supreme Court decisions, she should perhaps first read them. Harder, not Damoff, very much reflects the spirit of the infamous 1988 Morgen-taler ruling. None of the justices back then advocated for abortion on demand. Although they ruled aspects of the law at the time were unconstitutional, they agreed unanimously that the State has a legitimate right to legislate limits on abortion.

But Damoff is not stumbling alone in the dark. The Prime Minister claims to be an advocate of equality for women but apparently not equality among women. He defended the public shaming because, he said, the committee chair should be able to “unequivocally” defend women’s rights.

“That’s sort of the point of the status of women committee,” he said.

Actually, the point of the committee is to defend women’s rights and advance women’s causes across a broad spectrum, not to be a tunnel-visioned advocate of abortion. The committee should respect and represent the views of all women, and it should be a pit bull when a women’s Charter rights of freedom of conscience, belief, opinion and expression are under attack. It should never become the attacker.

It should also never fail to encourage young women of all political stripes and beliefs to become engaged in the democratic process. In that regard, the committee should be ashamed of how it demeaned Harder, an accomplished female millennial.

She should be held up as a role model for other intelligent, young women, not cruelly branded with a scarlet letter and shunned in an emptying room.

Editorial: Taxes must be fair

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Pay unto Caesar what is Caesar’s, said Jesus, yet few topics rankle people more than taxes.

Editorial: Liturgical caution

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Pope Francis caused a buzz in the Catholic world on Sept. 9 when he announced a relaxation of the Vatican’s stranglehold on liturgical texts in favour of sharing responsibility with local bishops.

Editorial: Nuclear ban elusive

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The mere thought of North Korea’s homicidal dictator possessing a nuclear bomb is terrifying. But as long as world powers cling to their nuclear arsenals, the spread of these weapons is inevitable.

Editorial: A test of compassion

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As Montreal Auxiliary Bishop Alain Faubert quite rightly puts it, there is nothing complicated about how we should respond to a summer influx of asylum seekers at Quebec’s southern border.

Editorial: Killing is no cure

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It was interesting to monitor the shock expressed around the world to recent news that Iceland has almost eradicated the birth of Down syndrome babies by prenatal tests and abortion.

Editorial: The face of mercy

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Pope Francis seldom misses an opportunity to explain the meaning of mercy. A Toronto cop recently demonstrated what it looks like.

Editorial: Catholic identity

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Regardless of where you stand on the nasty public spat involving the president of the University of St. Michael’s College and some school faculty, it seems fundamentally obvious that a Catholic institution of higher education should promote a visible and distinctly Catholic identity.