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“Santo subito!” they shouted in the days after his death — “Sainthood now!” for Pope John Paul II.

If ever existed someone worthy of exemption from the Vatican’s five-year waiting period before initiating a cause for sainthood, Pope John Paul II was it.

That seemed obvious to thousands of mourners who filled the streets after John Paul’s death in 2005. So, too, was it clear to his successor, Pope Benedict XVI, who steered John Paul onto an express lane to sainthood that will bring the quickest beatification in the history of the modern Church.

Safeguard liberty

By Catholic Register Editorial
World religionsThe right to religious freedom is the first of human rights. With those unequivocal words, delivered to diplomats from around the world, Pope Benedict XVI proclaimed a cause that has become fundamental to his papacy. Religious freedom is being battered in many parts of the world and, with few leaders speaking out, Benedict has become the staunchest voice in the denunciation of religious persecution and intolerance.

All people of religion should applaud him. 

The theme of religious liberty has appeared often recently in Benedict’s public comments, but perhaps never as forcefully as Jan. 10 during the Pope’s annual address to the Vatican diplomatic corps. The Holy See maintains diplomatic relations with 178 nations, as well as the European Union and observer status with the United Nations. Addressing the diplomatic corps at the start of each year, the Pope outlines the Vatican’s position on an important international issue, anything from peace to the environment to world trade.

A Haitian solution

By
Haiti new generationHaiti’s late-afternoon earthquake last Jan. 12 devastated the impoverished nation in less than 60 seconds. Twelve months and many promises later reconstruction has barely begun.

That sad reality is a reflection of Haiti’s political fragility and the world’s inability to rapidly respond to a catastrophe that killed an estimated 230,000 people, injured 300,000 more and left more than one million homeless. As Haitians mark the first anniversary of the tragedy it remains imperative that the international community neither forget nor abandon them. 

This edition of The Catholic Register includes a nine-page section that revisits Haiti one year after the 7.0 earthquake focused world attention on the shattered nation. Associate editor Michael Swan went to Haiti to report on whether the world has lived up to promises made in the aftermath of the quake, when the international community pledged $5.7 billion in aid. Canadians sent more than $200 million in emergency relief, much of it collected through Catholic charities.

A Church under attack

By
Polp fatimaThe year 2010 will be remembered as months when religious intolerance repeatedly made the news and Catholics were often asked to stand up for their faith.

Perhaps a similar sentiment is expressed at the close of many years. But for various reasons these calls to action seemed more pressing in 2010 and were embodied in four stories that shaped the headlines in the Catholic press.

Peace and joy

By
nativityEvery December the media runs stories on corporations or individuals who deliver bah-humbugs regarding the religious truth of Christmas. And without fail many Christians take the bait and allow anger and frustration to dilute their sense of peace and goodwill of the season.

As an example, this year a billboard battle has erupted on either side of the Lincoln tunnel connecting New Jersey and New York City. On one side, a group calling itself American Atheists purchased space to declare: “You Know it’s a Myth. This Season, Celebrate Reason.” Across the river, the Catholic League responded with a billboard that proclaims: “You Know it’s Real. This season, Celebrate Jesus.”

Fix the system

By
Canada has a moral obligation to provide asylum to refugees fleeing persecution. And Parliament has a duty to enact tough laws to target smugglers and human traffickers who exploit these people.

On those broad points, Canada’s Catholic immigration minister, Jason Kenney, and Canada’s bishops are in agreement. So it is distressing to see them at odds over Bill C-49, proposed legislation that would hit smugglers with mandatory jail time and nail ship operators with strict penalties.

Pray for life

By
babyIt was a welcomed coincidence that the inaugural worldwide Prayer Vigil for All Nascent Human Life occurred as The Register was preparing our annual issue dedicated to Life and Family.

At the request of Pope Benedict XVI vigils were held Nov. 27 around the world. It was an extraordinary undertaking and many bishops commented that they could recall nothing like it in the history of the Church.

A human Pope

By
Pope Benedict XVIAs the marketing agencies might put it, this is the Pope like we’ve never seen him before.

The release last week of the book Light of the World: The Pope, the Church and the Spirit of the Times reveals a relaxed, flexible, sensitive, sometimes insecure pontiff not afraid to admit mistakes or  contemplate his frailty. If Pope Benedict XVI’s previous academic writings demonstrate his intellectual prowess, Light of the World reveals his human side.

Bring back decency

By
no swearingAmerican comedian George Carlin earned celebrity in the 1970s with a standup routine that saluted   seven words you can never say on television. But, regrettably, time proved Carlin wrong. Many of those profane words are now routinely heard in Canadian family rooms during TV prime-time hours.

That is hardly news to anyone who spends even a few minutes each evening watching TV. But a study out of Los Angeles by an advocacy group called the Parents Television Council (PTC) shows how startling far society’s decency metre has swung.

No questions about Anglican bishops

By
 Rt Rev'd Andrew Burnham SSCWith the stroke of a pen, the Catholic Church gained five new shepherds on Nov. 8 when a quintet of Anglican bishops resigned from their troubled Church to be welcomed by the Vatican.

We often see athletes change teams, musicians change record labels, tycoons change banks, but bishops don’t change churches. Not usually. So what should we make of this bold decision?

Stop the slaughter in Iraq

By
Baghdad coffinsIt’s long past time the world opened its eyes to the horrors being inflicted on Middle East Christians and, in particular, the forgotten faithful of Iraq. It’s time to sit up and take action to end their suffering.

The slaughter in Baghdad last week of more than 50 Sunday worshippers, including priests, women and children, inside Our Lady of Salvation Church was just the latest outrage in a litany of kidnappings, murders and bombings that began shortly after Saddam Hussein was deposed by the 2003 American invasion of Iraq. Hundreds, if not thousand, of Christians have died.