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Letters should be brief and must include full name, address and phone number (street and phone number will not be published).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

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.”

Lost opportunity

By

The Vatican has engaged the Irish government in an unpleasant war of words that is unlikely to help restore its battered image in that country.

At issue is a government report into Ireland’s sex-abuse scandal and the failure of Church hierarchy to identify and punish abuser priests. The “Cloyne Report,” released in July, asserts that the Vatican shares responsibility for the crisis with local bishops because it fostered a see-no-evil culture that reassigned, rather than punished, abuser priests. It also accused the Vatican of being “entirely unhelpful” to Irish bishops who sought to get tough on abuser priests.

If that wasn’t enough, Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny accused the Holy See of attempting to “frustrate” the enquiry and, in an unprecedented blistering reproach applauded nationally, he railed: “The Cloyne Report excavates the dysfunction, disconnection, elitism and the narcissism that dominates the culture of the Vatican to this day.”

Defender of faith

By

His Eminence Cardinal Aloysius Ambrozic never craved a public spotlight in life and would not have sought the widespread outpouring of affection accompanying his death. But it is entirely appropriate for the Catholic community to stop and prayerfully commemorate a life of unwavering faith and service that touched so many lives.

To those who didn’t really understand him — and, sadly, it seems there were many — Cardinal Ambrozic was the gruff, old-fashioned, uncompromising archbishop who led the archdiocese of Toronto for 16 years.  But to those he called friend or colleague, to the many poor and disadvantaged he quietly helped, to the thousands of new Canadians he welcomed with open arms, and to the champions of such causes as vocations, education, life and family, he was a wise, supportive and unfailingly kind pastor.

As head of Canada’s largest archdiocese, much of Cardinal Ambrozic’s ministry was conducted in public view. That was unavoidable. But despite the demands of his busy office, Cardinal Ambrozic quietly spent countless hours in parishes and schools, supported several lay movements and social-justice causes, and privately ministered to those on the fringes of society.  

Benedict’s WYD

By

They endured egg-frying heat, followed by lightning, howling wind and pounding rain. They slept on hard ground. Food and water was scarce. Washroom lineups were 90 minutes long. More than 2,500 of them were treated for heat-stroke and dehydration. And yet they stayed.

The overnight vigil and next-day Mass that closed World Youth Day in Madrid overflowed with 1.5 million pilgrims. Another 250,000 young people, including many of the 5,000 Canadians in Spain, were denied access for safety reasons to the crammed, dusty airstrip that served as the final meeting place of WYD. The staggering numbers exceeded all predictions.

By comparison, the crowd that attended and tried to attend the papal Mass was the size of last year’s entire 81-game attendance of the Toronto Blue Jays. The pilgrims came largely from Europe, but also in great numbers from North and South America, Asia, Africa and Australia. Almost all the nations on Earth were represented, drawn together in a celebration of fellowship and faith.

Attendees described the huge, peaceful crowds as “breathtaking.” They gathered in an area the size of 48 football fields. Pilgrims exclaimed there was nothing but joyous young people hoisting flags and banners for as far as the eye could see.

Aid for East Africa

By

During the summer months, when The Catholic Register reduces its publishing schedule to twice monthly, it can be a challenge to stay atop the news cycle because world events move so fast. Sadly, however, that is not a concern regarding the tragedy unfolding in East Africa.

There is no end in sight to the famine that has already claimed tens of thousand of lives in Somalia and threatens to spill over into Ethiopia, Kenya and South Sudan. The United Nations estimates that 11 million people are threatened by the deadliest situation in the region since the Ethiopia famine of 1984-85 killed one million people.

But particularly distressing about the current crisis is that it could have been lessened, if not altogether averted, had nations heeded several unequivocal early warnings. Famine does not happen overnight.  Experts have developed scientific models to forecast these types of natural crisis.   When drought was added to food shortages, rising costs and armed conflict already present in Somalia, the UN sent out an international SOS late last year. But even as the crisis alarms rang louder in recent months the international community stayed largely indifferent.