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  - A New Brunswick newspaper has apologized for a July 8 story that wrongly accused Prime Minister Stephen Harper of pocketing Communion at a Catholic funeral.

The story also said a senior Roman Catholic priest had demanded the prime minister explain what happened to the Host.

{mosimage}CORNWALL, Ont. - The primate of Canada’s Catholic Church has welcomed the groundbreaking news that the Vatican has established a special canonical structure to bring disgruntled Anglicans into the church, but the primate of Canada’s Anglican Church predicted tensions may emerge.

The Vatican surprised Catholics and Anglicans alike on Oct. 20 with a bold announcement of a new apostolic constitution that will open the Catholic Church to Anglicans who are disenchanted by a liberal theology that permits women priests and a growing acceptance of gay marriage and openly gay bishops. Under the historic arrangement, Anglican priests who are married may be ordained Catholic priests, but married Anglican bishops will not be able to function as Catholic bishops. Anglicans will also be able to retain much of the Anglican liturgy that has been developed since Henry VIII split from Rome in 1534.

{mosimage}OTTAWA - Could the Catholic vote play a key role in the next federal election?

It did in the 2000 election when it helped Liberal Prime Minister Jean Chrétien win his third majority.

But Catholic support has plummeted by “a massive 24 per cent,” a study by McGill political scientists shows. Catholic voters, who have traditionally voted Liberal, contributed to the Conservative minority government victories in 2006 and 2008.

{mosimage}OTTAWA - Catholics who fight for freedom of speech and of religion are applauding a tribunal decision that declared the Canadian Human Rights Act censorship provision unconstitutional.

On Sept. 2, Canadian Human Rights Tribunal member Athanasios Hadjis concluded Section 13(1) and some other portions of the act are “inconsistent with s. 2(b) of the charter, which guarantees the freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression.” Section 13(1) says that material “likely to expose” various enumerated groups to hatred and contempt contravenes the act. There is no defense for truth or intent since the act merely looks at the effects on vulnerable minorities, even if there is no proof any damage has occurred.

{mosimage}OTTAWA - Antigonish Bishop Raymond J. Lahey turned himself in to Ottawa police Oct. 1 to face charges of possession and importation of child pornography.

He appeared in court later that day and was released on $9,000 bail and put under strict conditions that include staying away from the Internet. His next court date is Nov. 4. In the meantime, he must
stay in Rogersville, N.B.

{mosimage}OTTAWA  - The president of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops is urging Members of Parliament to choose good palliative care instead of assisted suicide or euthanasia.

As debate approaches for Bloc Quebecois MP Francine Lalonde’s private member’s Bill C-384, an Act to Amend the Criminal Code (right to die with dignity), Archbishop James Weisgerber took aim at the “misleading and unclear” terms framing the debate.

{mosimage}OTTAWA - The 40 Days for Life campaign of prayer, fasting and vigils outside abortion facilities kicked off in cities across the country on the eve of the Sept. 23 start to the campaign.

The movement, which originated in the United States, is gaining momentum and has spread to five provinces, with eight sites in seven cities: Fredericton, Halifax, Montreal, Ottawa, Kitchener, Ont., Winnipeg and two sites in Toronto.

{mosimage}Bishop Raymond Lahey’s evasive behaviour coupled with a passport stamped with exotic locations known for child pornography prompted a Canadian Border Services agent to examine the contents of his laptop.

Lahey, 69, faces charges of possession and importation of child pornography in the form of “graphic computer images.”

{mosimage}OTTAWA - A sea of empty chairs on the floor and a virtually empty gallery greeted Bloc Quebecois MP Francine Lalonde’s opening speech on the first hour of debate on her bill to legalize assisted suicide Oct. 2. 

Only about 20 MPs were present, scattered along the margins.

“My conviction has grown stronger, and that is why I am introducing an amended bill on the right to die with dignity, Bill C-384,” said Lalonde. 

{mosimage}OTTAWA - As Antigonish parishioners coped with the “pain and anxiety” of the arrest last week of their former Bishop Raymond Lahey on charges of possessing and importing child pornography, a retired Newfoundland priest said he reported Lahey for possessing pornography 20 years ago.

Acting on information from a boy who had visited Lahey’s residence in the mid-1980s, when Lahey was still a parish priest, Fr. Kevin Molloy went to former St. John’s Archbishop Alphonsus Penney in 1989 to report some “bad news with respect to Bishop Lahey,” Molloy recounted in an Oct. 6 interview. Molloy said he subsequently phoned Lahey and told him of the allegation.