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{mosimage}It was bound to happen but it nonetheless came as a shock to hear doctors endorse the position that, when other treatments fail, it may sometimes be acceptable to simply kill the patient.

In effect, that is the position of the Quebec College of Physicians in a policy paper that says euthanasia can be an ethical and viable option for doctors when a patient, facing “imminent and inevitable” death, is suffering extreme pain. As put by one doctor: “We are saying death can be an appropriate type of care in certain circumstances.”

Fr. Raby inspires

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{mosimage}Truth be told, the decision to publish a book of memorable Register columns by Msgr. Tom Raby was made before Pope Benedict XVI proclaimed this as the Year For Priests. But when The Little World of Fr. Raby, 1980-2007 arrived from the printer it was obvious we could not have selected a better project to celebrate the priesthood.

So, yes, there is excitement at The Catholic Register this month. The gentle words of wit and wisdom from Msgr. Raby, beloved Register columnist for almost 60 years, are back among us.

Just about anyone who has read our paper in the last half century will recall “The Little World of Fr. Raby,” the title atop his popular column that graced more than 2,000 issues of the paper. Failing health forced Msgr. Raby, then 88, to retire his column in 2007. But through the efforts of Managing Editor Mickey Conlon, Raby’s prose has been revived in a book that borrows the title of his popular column.

Protect yourself againt Swine Flu

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{mosimage}As the great procrastinator Hamlet might have put it: To vaccinate or not to vaccinate, that is the question.

With cases of H1N1 influenza (a.k.a. the Swine Flu) on the rise and deaths beginning to mount, millions of Canadians apparently remain unconvinced that immunization is necessary. Polls indicate that up to half the population either distrusts the evidence of an impending health crisis or doubts the safety of the vaccine and will not vaccinate. Health officials are ringing the alarm for a coming pandemic, but skeptics are seeing a hot-air balloon and a boy hiding in the rafters.

Understanding, respect

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{mosimage}Talk about timing. As the stunning news of Pope Benedict XVI’s bold initiative to bring traditionalist Anglicans into the Catholic Church was starting to spread on Oct. 20, the Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada was rising to address the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Anglican Archbishop Fred Hiltz had been invited to the annual Bishops’ Plenary in Cornwall, Ont., to reflect on ecumenism. He applauded the progress over the years in inter-faith relations, affirmed his personal commitment to the cause of ecumenism and spoke optimistically of a future in which Anglicans and Catholics would work more closely together because the theology and history of the two churches share much in common.

Ease Tamil anxiety

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{mosimage}Throughout May their faces of anger and defiance were displayed on nightly newscasts and in daily newspapers. Canadian Tamils took to the streets by the thousands to demand that the federal government intervene in an apparent slaughter of Tamil civilians as the civil war in Sri Lanka came to a violent end.

Five months later, an investigation by The Catholic Register’s Michael Swan has uncovered a “mental health emergency ” among a Tamil community that is now grieving dead loved ones and despairing over family that have disappeared but may still be alive in squalid Sri Lankan refugee camps.

Our shame is not yet behind us

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{mosimage}In August Bishop Raymond Lahey was applauded for finalizing a multi-million-dollar settlement that would bring some measure of justice to men who were victims of childhood sexual abuse at the hands of Nova Scotia clergy. Last week, having resigned as bishop of Antigonish, Lahey surrendered to police to face charges of possessing and importing child pornography.

How is a faithful Catholic to reconcile these two events. How do we respond to yet another sexual-misconduct scandal involving clergy and children? What are we to make of a bishop who is a champion of abuse victims one day and an alleged abuser the next?

Progressive step

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{mosimage}The most recent casualty of the global financial crisis is the economic organization widely blamed for causing the near-collapse of the world economy. The G8 has been retired from its role as caretaker of world finances, giving way to the G20, a younger, more inclusive organization that comprises nations from every region in the world.

This historic transfer of power, which occurred Sept. 25 at a G20 summit in Pittsburgh, marks  a significant — and welcomed — evolution in world relations. The G8, forged during the Cold War as an economic alliance of mostly rich, Western nations, had become an anachronism in a world in which emerging economies in Asia, Africa and South America have been playing a greater role in global affairs.

As American President Barack Obama put it in his closing remarks in Pittsburgh: “We can no longer meet the challenges of the 21st century economy with 20th-century approaches.” That meant finding a place at the table for the likes of China, India, Indonesia, Brazil, Australia and South Korea.

No need for Canadian election this year

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{mosimage}There are times when it is proper for a minority government to fall and for the country to go to the polls to settle a matter of public urgency.

Absent some pressing issue, however, the electorate has a right to expect politicians in a minority Parliament to set aside partisan differences and work collaboratively to provide good and productive government. A willingness to co-operate should be even more profound during tough times.

Care for our dying

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{mosimage}It is a sad reflection on society when Parliament is ready to consider euthanizing the terminally ill or chronically suffering rather than working to find ways to care for them.

But that’s exactly what is happening in Ottawa as Bill C-384, a private-member’s bill that would legalize euthanasia and assisted suicide, makes its way on to the Parliamentary docket. This is the third time Bloc Quebecois MP Francine Lalonde has introduced legislation that would amend the Canadian Criminal Code on this subject and, even if a fall election thwarts this attempt, there will almost certainly be a fourth try when Parliament eventually reconvenes.

The right decision

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{mosimage}The Canadian Human Rights Commission does important work in battling discrimination and ensuring work place equality. But it has no place as the nation’s censor and should be stripped of its power to police and prosecute matters pertaining to hate speech.

That is the position of several civic groups, Catholic organizations and media outlets that have asked Parliament to lop some tentacles from the CHRC. The Catholic Women’s League is the most recent group to join the debate, passing a resolution last month that urged Ottawa to diminish the CHRC’s authority.

Save Arrowsmith

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{mosimage}The new supervisor of the dysfunctional Toronto Catholic District School Board will be among the busiest administrators in the province this fall, but we hope Richard Alway finds time to consider the displaced students of the mothballed Arrowsmith program.

Alway was appointed by the Ontario government last month to succeed Norbert Hartmann, who had been appointed a year earlier with a mandate to balance the books of the disgraced TCDSB. Hartmann delivered a balanced budget and then resigned. He leaves behind a board that is in better fiscal health but otherwise remains sickly.