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 - Halifax Auxiliary Bishop Claude Champagne, 61, has had a life-long passion for the Catholic Church’s mission and the New Evangelization — words Pope John Paul II used to describe evangelization equipped to meet the challenges of the modern world.

Champagne’s passion may be a reason why Pope Benedict XVI appointed him bishop of Edmundston, N.B. , Jan. 5 after accepting the resignation of Bishop Francois Thibodeau, 69, for health reasons.

{mosimage}OTTAWA - Canada’s law against polygamy may soon face a religious freedom challenge now that British Columbia has charged members of a breakaway Mormon sect.

Winston Blackmore, one of two men charged with polygamy under Canada’s Criminal Code, has told news media his religious freedom is under attack.

{mosimage}OTTAWA - The federal budget proved disappointing for social justice organizations hoping for more direct help for the poor and more focus on renewable energy.“There were tax cuts that help a number of Canadians,” said Citizens for Public Justice (CPJ) executive director Joe Gunn after the government introduced its budget Jan. 27. “But for the poorest and most vulnerable, those too poor to pay taxes, there’s not much for them. These are the people the Christian community serves and hold dearest in our hearts,” he said, noting that “at time of recession they will suffer the most.”

Laurel Rothman, national co-ordinator for Campaign 2000, a national anti-poverty campaign aimed at eliminating child poverty said the budget contained “virtually nothing for low-income families,” especially 760,000 children living in poverty and their mothers.

{mosimage}OTTAWA - Three Catholic MPs from the New Democratic Party have written Pope Benedict XVI to express their “deep concern” over the “reinstatement” of Society of St Pius X Bishop Richard Williamson, who is a Holocaust denier.

“We respectfully question the wisdom of welcoming back into the College of Bishops a man who has both systematically denied and maliciously minimalized the atrocities committed by Hitler’s Germany against the Jewish inhabitants of Central and Eastern Europe between the late 1930s and 1945,” wrote MPs Charlie Angus, Tony Martin and Joe Comartin in an e-mail to the Pope Feb. 5, followed up by a hard copy sent via the apostolic nunciature.

{mosimage}OTTAWA - Canada’s Catholic bishops will support the National March for Life , taking place May 14 on Parliament Hill.

“We want to support it because it is a good thing,” said Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops president Archbishop James Weisgerber.

Campaign Life Coalition president Jim Hughes welcomed the news.

{mosimage}OTTAWA - The federal government should consider the damage done to unjustly accused innocent parties by complaints to the Canadian Human Rights Commission, says the editor of Catholic Insight magazine .

Basilian Father Alphonse de Valk wrote to Justice Minister Rob Nicholson in a Feb. 2 open letter, responding to the Moon Report’s recommendation to repeal the controversial subsection of the Canadian Human Rights Act that allows the rights commission to investigate hate speech. The CHRC commissioned the report from University of Windsor Professor Richard Moon last year.

truthCommission.jpgOTTAWA - The Truth and Reconciliation Commission looking into Indian residential schools, stalled by the resignation last October of its chairman, is now looking for new members.

On Jan. 30, Indian and Northern Affairs Minister Chuck Strahl announced that all parties to the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement have agreed on a process to choose a new chair and new commissioners.

“A selection committee chaired by Justice Frank Iacobucci will work closely to find the best candidates in the most efficient manner,” Strahl said in a statement. “It is expected this process will move forward quickly.”

{mosimage}OTTAWA - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition — Canada executive director Alex Schadenberg says euthanasia advocates see momentum on their side.

Washington State legalized assisted suicide in a plebiscite held during the last U.S. presidential election. Schadenberg pointed out this was the first referendum to pass of the many attempts in the 10 years since Oregon passed its assisted suicide law.  

{mosimage}OTTAWA  - Five Canadian cities kicked off 40 Days for Life vigils of fasting and prayer to end abortion to coincide with Lent.

Ottawa, Toronto, Montreal, Winnipeg and Edmonton have joined more than 175 American cities in maintaining prayer vigils outside abortion clinics and hospitals. The 40 Days campaigns began in the United States four years ago.

{mosimage}OTTAWA - Groups on opposing sides of the same-sex marriage debate have joined forces to oppose the legalization of polygamy.

“We feel (polygamy) would be a very backward step for our nation,” said Institute for Canadian Values founder Charles McVety, who joined Canadian Family Action Coalition president Brian Rushfeldt and Muslim Canadian Congress president Farzana Hassan at a news conference March 3 on Parliament Hill.