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 - It may be tempting to ignore the Old Testament, or spiritualize its more bloodthirsty or seemingly contradictory stories, but wrestling with them can lead to a deeper understanding of the Gospel and the nature of the Triune God, says Scripture scholar Edith Humphrey.

Whether it is the story of Abraham being told to sacrifice his only son Isaac, God’s genocidal ban placed on some of the peoples who already inhabited the Promised Land or God portrayed as angry, jealous or vengeful, these difficulties have sometimes led to heresy and they continue to tempt Christians to avoid the Old Testament.

OTTAWA - The Catholic Organization for Life and Family (COLF) warns Canada is veering in a "dangerous direction" towards euthanasia and assisted suicide and urges Catholics to enter the public debate on end-of-life care.

"It is impossible to remain silent following the June 15 decision by Justice Lynn Smith of the Supreme Court of British Columbia in the Carter case," said COLF director Michèle Boulva in a July 4 release. "As citizens of a country which claims to be civilized, Catholics and all people of good will have the right and duty to counter any attempt to legalize euthanasia and assisted suicide, and also to promote palliative care and true compassion."

OTTAWA - A popular Ottawa priest who admitted last year to a gambling addiction was charged July 3 with one count each of theft, fraud, criminal breach of trust and laundering the proceeds of crime.

Fr. Joe LeClair, 55, will appear in court July 25 to answer the charges related to the financial administration of Blessed Sacrament parish in Ottawa's Glebe neighbourhood.

The Ottawa Police Organized Fraud investigation allege more than $240,000 in parish cheques were "misappropriated by the parish priest, Joseph LeClair," according to a July 3 news release, and "over $160,000 in cash revenues were unaccounted for." The investigation reviewed parish finances from January 2006 to May 2011.

OTTAWA - The Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace is drafting a policy to make decisions about overseas partners, especially if controversy arises, that will give the agency the final call concerning its non-Catholic partners in the global south.

It’s dubbed the “3D approach to partnership,” according to a joint news release June 18 from D&P and the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops. The 3Ds are dialogue, discernment and decision.

“Dialogue would include conversations by Development and Peace with its actual or proposed partners,” the joint release said. “Discernment includes the ways by which (D&P) liaises and dialogues with its partners and with the bishops of Canada as well as with local bishops in the global south.”

OTTAWA - Conservative MP Joy Smith’s second anti-human trafficking private member’s bill has passed the Senate with unanimous support.

Bill C-310 was to receive Royal Assent on June 28 and become law.

The bill makes human trafficking an extra-territorial offence under Canada’s Criminal Code, thus allowing Canada to prosecute citizens and permanent residents for human trafficking offences committed in other countries where there might be weak laws, inadequate policing and/or an ineffective justice system.

OTTAWA - Politicians across party lines in the House of Commons and Senate have launched the all-party Anti-Poverty Caucus to examine ways to fight poverty across Canada.

“I think we all understand the moral issues,” said Senator Art Eggleton, a former Liberal cabinet minister and mayor of Toronto, one of three co-chairs at the June 12 launch. “We all understand this is not right for our country.”

OTTAWA - Canada’s bishops have expressed dismay over a B.C. Supreme Court decision June 15 to strike down Criminal Code provisions against euthanasia and assisted suicide.

“I strongly urge the government to appeal this extremely flawed and dangerous ruling,” said Vancouver Archbishop Michael Miller in a statement released the day of the decision.

The government has until July 16 to file a notice of appeal.

OTTAWA - The House of Commons voted 153-136 June 6 to repeal  Section 13, the controversial hate-crimes provision of the Canadian Human Rights Act June 6, drawing praise from the Catholic Civil Rights League.

MP Brian Storseth’s private member’s Bill C-304 now moves to the Senate where it will be shepherded through by Conservative Senator Doug Finley.

OTTAWA - The federal government’s National Action Plan (NAP) to Combat Human Trafficking announced June 6 will be a “huge help” in battling modern-day slavery, said Conservative MP Joy Smith.

“I’m absolutely delighted,” said Smith, who participated in the NAP’s roll-out in one of several news conferences across the country. “This adds a new step toward combatting human trafficking in Canada.

OTTAWA - Conservative MP Stephen Woodworth's private member's Motion-312 has been postponed until the fall session because the MP's mother has been gravely ill.

"I know for the last month or so I have not been as effective as I should be on anything because my mother has been in such difficult straits and it's been weighing me down," said Woodworth.

Motion-312, which calls for the creation of a Parliamentary committee to examine the Criminal Code's definition of a human being in light of the latest science and medical evidence, was supposed to come to a vote on June 6.