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Mrs. DalyMarkham, Ont. - Alyce Daly is 96 but she vividly remembers the special visits Brother André, Canada’s new saint, made to her family’s home in the 1920s. But, she adds apologetically, she doesn’t recall any miracles.

What she does retain are fond memories of a saintly man sitting in the parlour and at the dinner table in the family home on Curzon Avenue in Toronto’s east end. The Dalys lived just steps from St. Joseph Church, and outside its doors people lined the sidewalks and spilled into a nearby park to glimpse or touch the famous Miracle Man of Montreal.

Brother André was devoted to the father of Jesus and the many miracles attributed to Brother André were, he always maintained, the work of St. Joseph.

Toronto trustees should step up or get out

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Toronto school board voteMany parents are exiting Toronto’s all-candidate Catholic school-trustee meetings feeling angry and frustrated that their voices are not being heard. And who can blame them?

In too many cases, as Ontario’s Oct. 25 municipal elections draw near, discussions at these meetings are being deliberately diverted from the years of flagrant misspending, self-serving decision making and sad-sack management by members of Toronto’s dysfunctional Catholic board.

Brother André: Celebrating Canada's newest saint

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Brother AndréOn October 17 Brother André, founder of Montreal's St. Joseph's Oratory, will become just the second Canadian-born saint when he is canonized at a Vatican ceremony presided over by Pope Benedict XVI. To celebrate the event, The Catholic Register has produced its own homage to the life of this remarkable man.

In a series of articles and photos, we have examined the life and legacy of Brother Andre, a poor, illiterate, orphan who, after moving between several menial jobs, was accepted by the Congregation of Holy Cross in Montreal where he lived a remarkable life of faith, hope and charity until his death in 1937. He is credited with hundreds of miraculous healings and, through his determined efforts, became the driving force behind construction of the spectacular St. Joseph Oratory atop Mount Royal in Montreal.

Unfortunate ruling on prostitution laws

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In striking down three prostitution laws an Ontario judge sparked a firestorm of debate about various legal and safety issues related to the so-called world’s oldest profession. But, at heart, prostitution is a moral issue and until society stops running from that fundamental truth no court decision or legislative amendment will make the streets safer for the women trapped in this dehumanizing lifestyle.

Keep our word

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maternal healthWith much fanfare a decade ago, international leaders unveiled a noble 15-year blueprint  to reduce world suffering. The ambitious plan, named Millennium Development Goals, heralded significant reduction in poverty and hunger, expansion of primary education and gender equality, investment in child and maternal health and HIV/AIDS, and achievement of environmental sustainability.

It was a bold undertaking launched before 9/11 sent many richer nations to war and before international financiers sent the world into recession. Without those crises, the challenge was daunting. With them, it became Herculean.

End the debate

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euthanasiaQuebecers have seldom felt obligated to be in step with the rest of Canada, so the road show currently marching across La Belle Province is no surprise.

The Quebec government has been holding public hearings across the province on euthanasia and assisted suicide. Ostensibly, this is a fact-finding tour but the name of the committee betrays its true sentiment. It is called the “Dying with Dignity Special Commission,” implying, of course, the odious notion that euthanasia and assisted suicide bring dignity to death.

Let's be clear about G8 maternal and child health plan

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Bev OdaCanada’s maternal and child health plan raised $5 billion in public and private funding and was endorsed in June by all the G8 members. The program to save the lives of tens of thousands women and children in developing nations was one of few highlights from the summer’s outrageously expensive gathering of world leaders.

Despite pressure from many quarters, the government of Stephen Harper took the commendable position that none of Canada’s $1.1-billion contribution would be channelled into abortion. That position didn’t sit well with all our allies. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton thundered that “you can not have maternal health without reproductive health and reproductive health includes contraception and access to legal, safe abortions.” She, and others, were persuasive to the extent that Canada eventually included family planning into the program but drew the line at abortion.

Into the lions’ den

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Pope and WilliamsPope Benedict XVI will land in Britain on Sept. 16 and when commentators suggest preparations are almost complete what they really mean is the lions are being ushered into the den.

In this case, the lions would be all those individuals, groups, politicians and, of course, the media who are licking their chops at the prospect of getting their claws into Benedict XVI on home soil.

In only the second papal visit to Britain since Henry VIII split with Rome in 1534, and the first since Pope John Paul II drew huge crowds in 1982, Benedict will meet with the Queen, other political and religious dignitaries and be serenaded by Susan Boyle. But the crescendo will be the beatification Mass of Cardinal John Henry Newman in Birmingham on the final morning of the four-day tour.

Show compassion towards refugees

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Refugee boatIt has been said that on the question of refugees and immigration there are no easy answers. That’s probably true in the sense that “easy” implies there can be a public consensus, intelligent policy and seamless implementation and oversight. But admitting there are no easy solutions to migration issues needn’t mean the way forward is unclear.

Responding recently to an ongoing expulsion of Roma immigrants from France, Pope Benedict XVI reminded Catholics that compassion and tolerance must always guide our thoughts and actions when confronted by people in need.

Deal us out of internet gambling

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internet gamblingWithin two years anyone in Ontario with access to the Internet and a credit card will be able — and probably encouraged — to gamble in a government-run online betting parlour.

Cash poor and morally hobbled, the provincial government of Dalton McGuinty intends to bring legalized online gambling to Ontario by 2012 despite fears about dire social and spiritual consequences. To put this in language his betting public will appreciate, the premier’s decision is as unwise as drawing to an inside straight.

Honour Sr. Roach

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Sister Simone RoachThe Church has received little good news of late so we should take a moment to celebrate last month’s announcement that Sr. Simone Roach has been named to the Order of Canada.

Admittedly, this editorial is a few weeks late and might not have come at all but for some second guessing being directed towards Sr. Roach. There is a school of thought that holds that Sr. Roach — and, for that matter, all Catholics — should refuse the Order of Canada because two years ago it was given to abortionist Henry Morgentaler. Not to diminish the shame of that decision, but it seems unfair to tar Sr. Roach with Morgentaler’s brush.