The Catholic Register's weekly editorial appears here online (http://www.CatholicRegister.org/opinion/editorial) and in our print and digital editions.


Readers Speak Out

You can also write to the editor.

Write to The Editor:

Catholic Register, 1155 Yonge St., Toronto, Ontario M4T 1W2
FAX: (416) 934-3409
E-mail:editor@catholicregister.org

Letters should be brief and must include full name, address and phone number (street and phone number will not be published). Letters may be edited for length.

Also, speak to us digitally via Facebook (facebook.com/TheCatholicRegister) or Twitter (twitter.com/CatholicRegistr)

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

Bills introduced from the backbenches of Parliament are typically cast adrift unless the government opts to throw them a life preserver. So we applaud Justice Minister Rob Nicholson for tossing a lifeline to a private member’s bill that seeks repeal of Section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act.

Section 13 comprises the paragraphs of an otherwise worthwhile act that makes hate speech a punishable offence. Hateful language, however transmitted, is abhorrent and society has an obligation to combat it robustly. But Section 13, which evolved from legislation in the 1960s to silence racist telephone hotlines, is manifestly flawed and its repeal is long overdue.

Offering real hope

By

The Vatican is accustomed to accounts of miraculous recovery. But it didn’t take a miracle for Sharon Porter to captivate a recent gathering of cardinals, scientists, theologians and philosophers. Her story is not miraculous, just remarkable.

Porter suffers from systemic scleroderma, a dreadful auto-immune disease that causes hardening of the skin and internal organs, mobility problems and severe pain. There is no cure. But three years ago Porter’s own adult stem cells were used to rebuild her immune system and today she is virtually symptom free.

Why this matters in the Vatican is that, through the Pontifical Council for Culture, it recently signed a five-year, $1-million initiative with NeoStem, Inc., an American specialist in stem-cell research. Like the Church, NeoStem believes it is immoral — and unnecessary — to obtain stem cells by destroying embryos. It has aligned with the Church to promote adult stem cell research that is effective and ethical.

Opening doors

By

As anyone who has tried to sponsor a parent or grandparent into Canada can attest, our family reunification program is broken. So the immigration minister deserves credit for renovating it.

It’s unfortunate, however, that recent reforms announced by Immigration Minister Jason Kenney to reduce a backlog of reunifications could adversely affect other desperate immigrants and refugees. The reforms will make it easier for the parents and grandparents of new Canadians to come here, but asylum seekers, economic migrants and people seeking humanitarian exemptions into Canada will soon be competing for fewer spaces.

Celebrate life

By

The birth of a baby should always be a celebration of God’s will being done. But much of the joy accompanying the arrival of tiny Danica May Camacho on Oct. 31 was offset by joyless fretting about the future of the planet.

Danica May, born in Manila, was one of several babies symbolically presented to the world on Halloween as the planet’s population reached seven billion, according to the United Nations Population Fund. She was the second child born to Catholic parents who subsist on the meagre salary of a Filipino bus driver. Naturally, they were delighted to welcome a new baby into their family.

Canada has a role

By

The death of dictator Moammar Gadhafi has silenced the guns and heralded a homecoming for 600 Canadians who participated in NATO sorties over Libya. But Gadhafi’s brutal exit should not mark the end of Canadian engagement in the North Africa nation.

Like the days that followed the overthrow of repression in Iraq and Egypt, Libya is entering uncertain and potentially dangerous times, particularly for its religious minorities. In Iraq, Saddam Hussein’s removal sparked widespread persecution and a mass exodus of Christians. In Egypt, Hosni Mubarak’s overthrow has emboldened Muslim extremists to terrorize Coptic Christians.

Guard our freedoms

By

Jesus and His apostles and countless martyrs through the ages were executed for proclaiming their beliefs. Today, in many parts of the world, Christians are still killed for giving voice to religious conviction.

In 21st-century Canada, people of faith seldom face physical threats but, despite Charter guarantees of religious freedom, they risk being hauled in front of a human rights tribunal if a third party is offended by an expression of faith. In these quasi-courts, an accused person can be censured, fined, forced to apologize and ordered to pay their accuser’s legal fees.

Rally for life

By

On Oct. 22 a group of hopeful young Christians is holding a rally for people of all ages that deserves widespread attention and support.

The youth wing of Campaign Life Coalition will gather at Queen’s Park in Toronto to urge the provincial government to stop funding abortions with taxpayer money. The target of their protest will be the Ontario government, but the message should resonate with provincial governments nationwide.

Stand up for modesty

By

Even people who abhor the unrelenting sexualization of Western culture are generally reluctant to speak out on the topic. Who needs the attention? Who wants to be called a prude?

So there is a lesson for all in the simple protest of a Northern Ireland farmer who recently told pop superstar Rihanna to put on a shirt or get off of his land.

“I do not believe young ladies should have to take their clothes off to entertain,” he said. “I’m entitled to hold that opinion.”

Stand up for education

By

The biggest threat to Catholic education is not creeping secularism, political apathy or stressed government finances. It’s Catholic complacency.

When Catholics take their schools for granted, they lose them.

Fr. Leo English, a Redemptorist from Newfoundland, shared that warning in a recent speech.

“We took what we had for granted,” English told a Saskatoon audience. “This is an all-too common practice. Do not take what you have for granted, because there are storms everywhere.”

Answering the call

By

For many months the Horn of Africa has been desperate for life-saving rain but, now that rain seems imminent, it is dreaded.

The autumn downpours that may help next year’s harvest will first bring fall flooding, cholera, malaria, typhoid and other disease to tens of thousands of starving people wandering the countryside or crammed into squalid camps. Perhaps the only place on Earth worse than Somalia today will be Somalia tomorrow.

Untold thousands, mainly women and children, have already died in East Africa’s famine and the United Nations is forecasting 13 million perilously underfed people and 750,000 deaths before the grave-digging is done. An urgent UN appeal for $2.5 billion in international aid has been muffled by the noise of European debt problems and the possibility of another world recession. The UN is still $1 billion short of its fund-raising goal.

Challenging secularism

By

Thomas Dowd became the second youngest bishop in the world last week when, a day before his 41st birthday, he was ordained along with Christian Lépine as auxiliary bishop to the archdiocese of Montreal.

Dowd is affectionately known as the “Blogfather” because, for the past eight years, he has incorporated the Internet into his ministry. He is credited as Canada’s first priest to maintain a regular blog, and intends to keep blogging from his bishop’s office. As he said in a recent interview, he can’t give Communion over the Internet but he can build communion through digital technology.

“The Church is fundamentally a communication organization,” he said. “Jesus was a communicator par excellence. As a communication body, we need to use the latest and greatest ways to pass on the Good News.”