Deborah Gyapong, Canadian Catholic News

Deborah Gyapong, Canadian Catholic News

Deborah Waters Gyapong has been a journalist and novelist for more than 20 years. She has worked in print, radio and television, including 12 years as a producer for CBC TV's news and current affairs programming. She currently covers religion and politics primarily for Catholic and Evangelical newspapers.

OTTAWA - Quebec could be headed for a fiscal collapse like that threatening Greece if it doesn’t re-examine its social programs, says a new study by the Institute of Marriage and Family Canada.

“There are real reasons to be concerned about the sustainability of the rather ambitious Quebec welfare state,” say the authors of A Quebec Family Portrait released Nov. 7.

“Without substantial fiscal restructuring, the province may not be able to afford to maintain the extensive social benefits it currently offers families.”

OTTAWA - Human trafficking may soon join the list of crimes such as terrorism or child sex tourism that can be prosecuted in Canada even if the offence was committed in another country.

Conservative MP Joy Smith has multi-party support for her latest anti-human trafficking private member’s bill C-310, which had its first of two hours of debate Oct. 25. It would amend the Criminal Code to add human trafficking to the list of offences by Canadians or permanent residents that can be prosecuted here if committed abroad.

OTTAWA - Representatives of 30 faith communities and organizations have asked politicians to mine the world’s religious traditions for the spiritual resources to meet the climate change crisis.

“Climate change is a global crisis and requires global solutions that put the well-being of all people first — especially the most vulnerable,” said the Canadian Interfaith Call for Leadership on Climate Change, issued after a meeting here Oct. 23 and 24 organized by Citizens for Public Justice (CPJ).

OTTAWA - Christian observers with an interest in Canada’s courts are pleased — so far — that the latest picks for Supreme Court of Canada justices have shown no record of judicial activism on the bench.

Justice Michael Moldaver, a former Ontario appellate judge, and Justice Andromache Karakatsanis, a former Ontario government civil servant, were sworn in Oct. 27. A public ceremony will take place Nov. 14.

“They don’t have a judicial history of being activists,” said REAL Women of Canada national vice president Gwen Landolt, a former Crown prosecutor. REAL Women frequently intervenes in cases involving moral issues. “They have been strictly interpreting the law in their decisions.”

OTTAWA - Canada’s Catholic bishops remain confident in the renewal of the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace (CCODP), despite concerns about “hysteria” and “misinformation” on both sides.

At the close of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) annual plenary Oct. 17-21 in Cornwall, Ont., the CCCB’s new president Edmonton Archbishop Richard Smith said the bishops expressed a desire for CCODP to continue “as a vibrant institution that operates within our Catholic identity.”

OTTAWA - The new English translation of the Roman Missal was unveiled to Canada's Catholic bishops as they met for their annual plenary in Cornwall, Ont., Oct. 17-21.

On Oct. 17, Bishop Pierre Morissette, outgoing president of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB), presented Archbishop Pedro Lopez Quintana, apostolic nuncio to Canada, with the second copy of the new missal. The missal’s first copy will be delivered to the Holy Father when Archbishop Richard Smith, the CCCB's new president, and members of the executive visit Rome in November.

Smith said the launch of the new missal provides a “great opportunity” for liturgical catechesis on the mystery of the Eucharist, the mystery of Real Presence that goes beyond the changes in the words and gestures that will begin on the first Sunday of Advent.

OTTAWA - Alexandria-Cornwall Bishop Paul-Andre Durocher looks to Jesus on the road to Emmaus as a model guiding him in his new appointment as archbishop of Gatineau, a major Quebec See opposite Ottawa in the National Capital Region.

Just as Jesus asked the travellers on the road what they were talking about and what concerned them before he opened up the Scripture and broke bread with them, Durocher sees his task as one of discovering the hungers and spiritual needs of the people in his new archdiocese and hearing their stories.

Fluent in French and English, Durocher said that despite his familiarity with the Franco-Ontarian community, he expects to encounter some cultural differences in Quebec. A “different style of belonging to the Catholic Church” has developed in Quebec over the last 40 years, he said. The great majority consider themselves Roman Catholic, but it “is not typically exhibited by weekly attendance at Mass.”

OTTAWA - A new research centre at Ottawa’s Saint Paul University will study the contribution Canadians made to Vatican II as well as how the Council has shaped religious communities here.

A year before the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council, the Research Centre for Vatican II and 21st Century Catholicism launched Oct. 13. It will examine ecumenism and interreligious dialogue in contemporary society and look at issues of progress and decline in the Catholic community.

OTTAWA - Controversy surrounding the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace (CCODP) continued to dog Canada’s bishops as they began their annual plenary Oct. 17-21 in Cornwall, Ont.

On day one of Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops' gathering of 90 bishops from across Canada, a Quebec pro-life group dropped off a 400-name petition demanding a complete review of CCODP, while the editor of, whose coverage has fuelled much of the controversy, was asked to leave the premises.

OTTAWA - Hate-speech language in human rights codes is “impossibly vague” and has a chilling affect on robust debate, lawyer Iain Benson argued before the Supreme Court of Canada.

“The place for hate speech is in the Criminal Code,” said Benson.

He was arguing Oct. 12 on behalf of William Whatcott in a religious-freedom case that is challenging the constitutional validity of clauses in provincial and federal human rights acts that prohibit expression “likely” to harm groups by exposing them to hatred, contempt or discrimination.