OTTAWA – Following months of protest and the launch of several court challenges, the federal government has dropped the so-called “values test” from the application for Canada Summer Jobs funding, but many faith groups remain uneasy about new wording.

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Just like Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona and over 1,300 local churches and schools in the Philippines, Toronto’s St. Michael’s Cathedral was bathed in red light on Wednesday, Nov. 21 in solidarity with Christians around the world who have lost their homes, their families and even their lives to violence and persecution.

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There is something about distance, numbers and repetition that I have always found peculiar in terms of evoking reaction. I find this is especially true when thinking about anti-religious persecution.

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OTTAWA – Canada is being urged to give asylum to Asia Bibi and her family after Pakistan’s Supreme Court cleared her of blasphemy charges, resulting in widespread rioting by Islamic extremists.

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OTTAWA – Constitutional lawyer Albertos Polizogopoulos will represent an 83-year old Catholic priest who was arrested Oct. 24 for violating Ontario’s abortion bubble zone law.

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VATICAN – Sharing the same roots as their Jewish brothers and sisters, Christians cannot be anti-Semitic and must work to ensure anti-Semitism is banned from society, Pope Francis said.
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BEIJING, China – As part of an ongoing crackdown on religious practice in the country, Chinese authorities demolished two Catholic Marian shrines this week. The move comes just one month after the Chinese government signed an agreement with the Vatican regarding the appointment of bishops.
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HONG KONG – The recent agreement between the Vatican and China is a step towards the “annihilation” of the Catholic Church in China, Cardinal Joseph Zen, former bishop of Hong Kong, wrote in a New York Times op-ed published on Wednesday.
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The new Quebec government’s proposed assault on religious freedom by barring public wearing of overt faith markers is worrisome enough.

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VANCOUVER – Dehumanized. Spat on by a professor. Attacked. Assaulted.

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MEXICO CITY – An auxiliary police officer was shot dead at the Mexico City home of Cardinal Norberto Rivera Carrera in what authorities described as an unsuccessful attempt at robbing the retired churchman.
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HANOI, Vietnam – Vietnam has freed a well-known Catholic blogger and rights activist jailed two years ago for posting anti-government material on social media and forced her into exile in the United States.
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OTTAWA – A proposed law by Quebec’s new government that would ban religious symbols is a clear violation of fundamental rights, said Montreal’s archbishop and Canada’s former Ambassador of Religious Freedom.

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The State of Alabama has had a controversial relationship with the Ten Commandments. Not so much its teachings but its physical representation.

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OTTAWA – Experts warned religious freedom is at risk in Canada as it is no longer seen as a fundamental right but something that can be trumped by vague “charter values” and partisan politics.

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