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

{mosimage}With a contentious debate looming on the parliamentary horizon, Archbishop James Weisgerber is urging his fellow bishops to awaken Canadian Catholics to the dangers in proposed legislation that would legalize assisted suicide and euthanasia.

 The wakeup call was issued by the president of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops in a letter addressed to bishops but with words intended for us all.

Supreme Knight optimistic pro-life voice is being heard

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PHOENIX, Arizona - Carl Anderson, Supreme Knight of the Knights of Columbus , has called on those who “say they want to reduce the number of abortions” to join with pro-life groups to implement a strategy that has proven results in reducing abortion by up to 90 per cent.

Fix Canada's refugee system

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{mosimage}New federal regulations that require travellers from Mexico and the Czech Republic to obtain visas to enter Canada will not fix the nation’s troubled refugee system. Yet this recently announced initiative of the Conservative government has the overwhelming support of voters, recording 69-per-cent approval in an Angus Reid poll.

Some might interpret that as a general rebuke of Canada’s open-door policy of providing safe haven for those forced to flee their homes due to persecution, war and violence, often ethnic or tribal in nature. But we suspect the opposite is the case.

Papal social encyclicals help to renew values

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{mosimage}From the Industrial Revolution to the Great Depression to the onset of the Digital Revolution, papal social encyclicals have erected guideposts to steer Catholics through the mazes of hardship that confront society.

Pope Benedict XVI has more than maintained that tradition with Charity in Truth, a sweeping encyclical that reinforces traditional church teachings while issuing bold challenges to world leaders to do a better job and to individuals to lead more charitable lives. (For full text: www.vatican.va/latest/latest_en.htm)

It won't go away

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{mosimage}The report is in but the final chapter may not yet be written regarding allegations that have swirled  around Development and Peace since March.

Amid charges that D&P was aligned with five Mexican groups that support abortion, the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops has concluded an investigation and exonerated D&P, according to CCCB president Archbishop James Weisgerber.

Give the gift of life

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{mosimage}There are currently 1,662 people in Ontario on waiting lists for organ transplants. At year’s end, in rough numbers, just 450 will have received a new organ, 1,150 will still be suffering and 62 will have died waiting for a donor.

The numbers are startling but, sadly, are nothing new. There has always been a huge gap between  demand and supply when it comes to human organs.

Deacon gives nun the gift of life

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TORONTO - You never know what you’ll spot in the parish bulletin. One Sunday last summer Deacon Michael Hayes read a plea from a woman seeking a liver donor to save her critically ill sister. He put down the bulletin, booted up his computer and sent an e-mail to his pastor.

Hail to the Chief

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{mosimage}Phil Fontaine is leaving the Assembly of First Nations in July after serving three terms since 1997 as National Chief. He will be missed. His accomplishments are many but perhaps Fontaine aptly summed up his own legacy in one succinct sentence: “We are now in a position to say we forgive.”

Fontaine’s years as National Chief were sewn together by a thread of reconciliation. That single theme — establishing harmony and friendship with the rest of Canada — dominated his tenure. Fontaine understood that a two-way relationship of fraternity and trust would only occur when First Nations peoples received a sincere apology for the many wrongs suffered over the decades. Then would come the difficult part: they’d have to forgive.

Under Fontaine’s leadership, reconciliation was a journey with three roads. First came a multi-billion-dollar compensation settlement between the federal government and First Nations people stemming from the national scandal of the residential schools. That was followed by last June’s apology in the House of Commons from Prime Minister Stephen Harper on behalf of all Canadians. Third came a Vatican audience at which Fontaine received an expression of sorrow from Pope Benedict XVI for the  conduct of some church members.

GM Canada worth saving

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{mosimage}History may record it as throwing good money after bad, but the governments of Canada and Ontario had little choice but to go blue-collar and join the Barack Obama assembly line to keep General Motors going.

As announced on June 1, the government of Canada contributed $7.1 billion and Ontario another $3.8 billion to an American plan to try to save General Motors. Taxpayers in Canada now own 11.7 per cent of the once-giant automaker.

Brian Mulroney was done in by pride

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{mosimage}At one point at the Oliphant commission, former prime minister Brian Mulroney shamelessly harrumphed: “I have never knowingly done anything wrong in my entire life.”

Sadly, he may have been telling the truth — not that he has never done anything wrong, but this vainglorious man, apparently lacking a civilized notion of propriety, may genuinely be unaware that egregious unethical behaviour is wrong.

Pope, the great communicator

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{mosimage}In an age of mass media and instant communication, Archbishop Thomas Collins recently did something rather radical.

Rather than send an e-mail or a tweet, instead of an update on Facebook or an upload on YouTube, Collins ventured into Yonge-Dundas Square in downtown Toronto and spoke directly to some 1,000 enthusiastic pilgrims.  They had gathered for an event called St. Paul in the Square, several hours of outdoor prayer and reflection that was highlighted by Collins giving a talk and leading the throng in Lectio Divina.