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.

Strahl forgivenessOTTAWA - A national coalition of First Nations, Métis and Inuit leaders have offered forgiveness to Prime Minister Stephen Harper for residential schools’ abuses.

They presented the Prime Minister with the Charter of Forgiveness and Freedom, a formal response to Harper’s historic 2008 apology in the House of Commons for Indian Residential Schools. The response took place at the National Forgiven Summit here June 11-13 that drew thousands of residential school survivors, their descendants and well-wishers from across the country.

“We’re going to see Canada a healed nation and today we are much more healed than before because we have been able to come to a place where we can say ‘I forgive,’ ” organizer Kenny Blacksmith told the summit June 12.

“This is the hour of healing and restoration for all our people,” said Blacksmith, who spent 11 years in a residential school, before presenting Indian and Northern Affairs Minister Chuck Strahl with the charter.
Truth and Reconciliation Commission of CanadaOTTAWA - A group representing Catholic religious orders and dioceses involved in the Indian residential schools' system hope some of the positive and bright threads in an otherwise bleak tapestry will get a chance to be told as the Truth and Reconciliation Commission launched its first national event in Winnipeg June 16-19.

Catholic groups involved in running residential schools say they look forward to participating in the commission’s seven national events.

Grouard-McLennan Archbishop Gerard Pettipas, who chairs the Corporation of Catholic Entities Party to the Indian Residential Schools Settlement, announced June 15 he would be attending all four days of the commission’s Winnipeg event, with board members and members of Catholic religious orders that ran schools joining him.
Bloc Quebecois Leader Gilles Duceppe OTTAWA - Recent attacks by federal politicians on Opus Dei have raised concerns about efforts to drive Christians out of public life.

A number of Opposition politicians accused Opus Dei of being “fundamentalist,” right wing and “creepy” and having an undue influence on the Tory government, attacks that began after Msgr. Fred Dolan, Vicar for Opus Dei in Canada, spoke at a May 26 luncheon at the Parliamentary restaurant for MPs, Senators and Parliament Hill staff.

OTTAWA - Toronto Archbishop Thomas Collins and Ottawa's Archbishop Terrence Prendergast, S.J., are among nine church leaders who will join an apostolic visit to Ireland to help the Irish Church reeling from a sexual abuse crisis.

“It’s a common practice when there is a problem or a struggle or a difficulty of any kind for the Holy See to have a visitation,” said Collins.

 

Rod BruinoogeOTTAWA - The Conservative government will not support MP Rod Bruinooge’s bill to prevent women from being coerced into having abortions, giving the private member’s bill little chance of passing.

The Winnipeg South MP, who chairs the all-party Parliamentary Pro-Life Caucus, introduced Bill C-510 into the House of Commons April 14. The  Conservative backbencher told journalists the next day he had support from members of other parties as well as from within Tory ranks.
EuthanasiaOTTAWA - Canada’s MPs have overwhelmingly rejected assisted suicide and euthanasia.

Bloc Quebecois MP ’s private member’s Bill C-384 went down to a resounding defeat April 21 by a vote of 228 to 59.

All save one Bloc Quebecois MP supported the motion, while all the Conservatives present, including Prime Minister Stephen Harper, voted against it. Most Liberals and NDP MPs also voted against the bill, including NDP Leader Jack Layton. Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff was not in the House for the vote, but told journalists earlier in the day he did not support it.
{mosimage}OTTAWA-Canada’s Catholic bishops have written Prime Minister Stephen Harper asking him to urge Israel to relax security measures making it difficult for Orthodox and Catholic Christians to participate fully in Holy Week worship.

“While fully respecting and endorsing the right and need of Israeli citizens to be able to live in security, our conference is also aware that there are many people in the Middle East growing increasingly frustrated, impatient and even hostile because of various security measures imposed by the State of Israel,” wrote Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) president Bishop Pierre Morissette in a March 26 letter. “Thus ironically, today’s efforts to improve security may have the unintended but inevitable effect of spawning future insecurity.”

The Saint-Jérôme bishop told Harper that Christians in Jerusalem are finding it difficult to observe “the blessing of the fire at the Easter Vigil, from joining in morning prayer on Holy Saturday, and from processing to the Holy Sepulchre.”

{mosimage}OTTAWA - A Liberal motion to force the federal government to include abortion and contraception in its maternal health initiative was  defeated March 23.

Perceived by the Tories and Parliament Hill journalists as an attempt to drive a wedge between pro-life and pro-choice members of the Conservative Party, the motion backfired, even with the support of the New Democrats and the Bloc Quebecois, losing by a 144 to 138 vote.

OTTAWA - A leaked document that accuses Canadian “pro-life” groups of being militant, right-wing organizations that associate with violent factions has put the executive director of the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace (D&P) on the hot seat.

The document, a 10-page series of question-and-answers, was drafted by D&P to counter negative online media reports from a year ago, said executive director Michael Casey. It says “militant” pro-life groups and bloggers conspired in “concerted,” “organized” and “slanderous” attacks on D&P and it derides what are called “single-issue militant advocacy groups” that “continually misrepresent facts and distort reality to serve their purpose.”

Catholic clergy and young adults paused to adore the Blessed Sacrament on Parliament Hill May 23, during a eucharistic procession that began in Gatineau-Hull and ended at Ottawa’s Notre-Dame Cathedral.OTTAWA - A eucharistic procession across the Ottawa River to Parliament Hill May 22 provided a sign of the spread of a new youth movement’s from Quebec to the rest of Canada.

The Pentecost Eve procession crowned the May 21-24 Youth Summit/Montée Jeunesse here.  The summits began in the years leading up to the 2008 International Eucharistic Congress in Quebec City as a way of harnessing youth creativity and energy.  Now the Summits continue as a fruit of the congress.  The Ottawa summit was the sixth and the first held outside of Quebec.