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.

{mosimage}OTTAWA - U.S. President Barack Obama’s first visit to Canada struck some positive notes on the environment and on trade, say Catholic observers.

But Campaign Life Coalition focused on the one issue that was not on the agenda of the Feb. 20 working visit: abortion.

OTTAWA - Unprecedented momentum is building towards a nuclear weapon-free world and the opportunity must not be lost, says Douglas Roche.

“This is certainly the most opportune moment that I have experienced in my lifetime for real concrete movement towards the elimination of nuclear weapons,” former senator Roche told journalists after an April 9 meeting with Stephen Harper.
{mosimage}VATICAN CITY - A long-awaited papal encyclical, a G8 summit and Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s first audience with a Pope converged on the decision to send me to Rome July 7-11, aboard the prime minister’s Airbus.

Once I arrived, I discovered the Holy Father would greet each one of the media individually after Harper’s audience. What a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity! To meet not only Christ’s vicar here on Earth but my favourite theologian. But what would I wear? Someone told me I should wear a head covering and closed-toed shoes. Do not have them.

{mosimage}VATICAN CITY - The Communion controversy that upstaged Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s trip to the G8 summit in Italy was not brought up in his July 11 private audience with Pope Benedict XVI.

Harper, in an exclusive interview with CCN, said the controversy was driven by “people who want to cause embarrassment in religion and drive a wedge between Protestants and Catholics.”

{mosimage}OTTAWA - From soldiers on the ground, to special arrangements for Haitian immigrants, to gifts of cash, the Canadian government has mobilized a multi-pronged disaster-relief effort in Haiti.

At an Ottawa news conference Jan. 19, International Development Minister Bev Oda announced a $60 million contribution to the United Nations appeal for Haiti. This includes $39 million towards food and the security for food distribution and $15 million to UNICEF’s health, water and sanitation programs.

{mosimage}OTTAWA - Anglican groups around the world are responding to Pope Benedict XVI’s offer to come into communion with the Catholic Church, with Canadian groups expected to make similar requests soon.

Anglican Church in America (ACA) bishops and Anglican Use Roman Catholic parish representatives announced March 3 they have jointly requested the establishment of a Personal Ordinariate in the United States. Requests have been sent from the United Kingdom, Australia and elsewhere.

TORONTO - The success of churches and faith-based organizations in providing disaster relief and fighting world poverty is one of “the greatest overlooked stories of our time,” said veteran journalist Brian Stewart.

{mosimage}TORONTO - Jesuit Father Frederico Lombardi urged Catholic media to highlight the positive and beautiful in Christian life, but at the same time not to duck the responsibility to recognize and denounce evil.

Bev OdaOTTAWA - An internal background document distributed to members of the Conservative caucus about the KAIROS funding controversy reveals another clue why a $7-million funding request from the ecumenical social justice organization was denied.

The document’s first talking point states: “Our government supports funding to deliver aid and tangible results for the people of developing countries, not subsidizing advocacy.”

In other words, funding is not available for what might be considered community organizing and activism, such as supporting advocacy groups in the developing world whose mandate is to empower disadvantaged people, push for better living conditions or lobby for indigenous rights or environmental protection.
The Catholic mayor of Saguenay, Que., is appealing for donations to help him fight a Quebec Human Rights Tribunal ruling that ordered him to stop opening council meetings with a prayer.

Mayor Jean Tremblay said he will appeal the decision all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada.

“We make a prayer, all the council, since the beginning of the city 150 years ago,” said Tremblay in an interview from Saguenay of the 20-second prayer said before the opening of council meetings.

Tremblay has also refused to heed an order to remove a crucifix and a small statue of the Sacred Heart from council chambers.

“We don’t agree with that because those objects for some people that means our faith, for some others our culture, for some other our tradition,” he said.