2007 in review

  • December 21, 2007


  • Vatican spokesperson Fr. Federico Lombardi criticizes the execution of Iraq’s deposed leader, Saddam Hussein, saying it could ignite more violence in the wartorn nation.

  • The Ontario Court of Appeal accords equal rights to three parents in a child custody case — the biological parents and the mother’s lesbian partner. The Alliance for Marriage and Family says the ruling is the latest step to redefine traditional understandings of family.

  • Kingston Archbishop Anthony Meagher dies after his courageous four-year battle against cancer. Bishops, clergy and Catholics heap praise and admiration upon Archbishop Meagher after hearing the news.

  • The federal government announces $270 million in funding over the next two years for the fight against homelessness, the Supporting Communities Partnership Initiative, as well as $256 million for repairs to housing for low-income earners and the disabled.



  • Progress is made in the Vatican’s fractured relations with China, as Pope Benedict prepares a letter addressed to Chinese Catholics.

  • The diocese of Victoria successfully appeals an $8.5 million award to a Seattle businessman over a land investment gone wrong. Joseph Finley had sued the diocese and then Bishop Remi De Roo after a speculative land deal and Arabian horse venture fell through.

  • Catholic Register readers say farewell to The Little World of Fr. Raby as the popular columnist is derailed by health woes. Msgr. Tom Raby had been writing his column for The Register for more than 40 years.


  • Claims by a Toronto filmmaker to have found Jesus’ tomb are dismissed by archeological and biblical experts, calling the claims old news and circumstantial evidence.

  • The Ontario Superior Court dismisses an application by parishioners of Ottawa’s St. Brigid’s Church to quash the archdiocese’s decision to close the parish and sell the heritage building.

  • A tour of relics of St. Anthony makes a two-day stop in Toronto on its North American tour of Franciscan parishes.

  • The Peace Garden at Toronto’s Nathan Phillips Square will be saved, though relocated, as part of the square’s redesign.

  • Canadian philosopher Charles Taylor is honoured with the Templeton Prize for a lifetime of writing about the spiritual reality of modern culture.


  • A student gunman takes the lives of 32 Virginia Tech students before turning his gun on himself. Catholic churches join with other faiths in comforting friends and families of the victims.

  • Pope Benedict XVI announces plans to broaden permission to use the Tridentine Mass.

  • Bishop Richard Smith is named Edmonton’s new archbishop. Smith will replace Archbishop Thomas Collins who has moved to Toronto.

  • Six Ontario public school boards pass motions calling for the amalgamation of Catholic school boards with the public system.

  • Ontario’s bishops come to the defence of the elderly, disabled and chronically ill, releasing a statement calling for Canadians to oppose calls for euthanasia and assisted suicide.


  • The Army of Mary is deemed schismatic by Cardinal Marc Ouellet for ordaining five deacons, a final act of defiance toward the church.

  • Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe warns his nation’s Catholic bishops they are on a “dangerous path” in criticizing the government, responding to a letter that said Zimbabwe is in deep crisis because of its “overtly corrupt” leadership.

  • The Catholic Women’s League of Toronto passes a resolution calling for the restoration of prayer in all schools.

  • Chinese Cardinal Joseph Zen visits Chinese parishes in Toronto, saying he seeks normal relations between China and the Vatican.


  • Pope Benedict XVI canonizes four new saints, St. George Preca of Malta, St. Simon of Lipnica of Poland, the Netherlands St. Charles of St. Andrew Houben, and St. Marie Eugenie de Jesus Milleret of France.

  • St. Francis Xavier University Professor Shiraz Dossa accuses the school and Antigonish Bishop Raymond Lahey of “Islamophobia” for condemning his participation in an Iranian conference on the Holocaust.

  • The Pope names three new Canadian bishops — Coadjutor Archbishop J. Michael Miller for Vancouver, Archbishop Brendan O’Brien in Kingston, Ont., and Eparch Kenneth Nowakowski for the Ukrainian eparchy of New Westminster, B.C. He also accepts the resignations of Hamilton Auxiliary Bishop Matthew Ustrycki and Eparch Severian Yakymyshyn of New Westminster.

  • Mississauga’s Holy Name of Mary Secondary School is set to become a private school in 2008 after the Felician Sisters terminated its lease with the Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board.


  • Pope Benedict broadens the use of the Latin Mass based on the 1962 Roman Missal. In a four-page apostolic letter to the world’s bishops titled Summorum Pontificum he said the Tridentine Mass should be made available in every parish where groups of faithful desire it.

  • The wish to abolish abortion in Canada topped the CBC’s Great Canadian Wish List on Facebook with 9,543 votes.

  • At age 45, Msgr. Michael Mulhall becomes one of Canada’s newest and youngest bishops. The Pope appointed him bishop of Pembroke, Ont.

  • Jean Vanier Catholic Secondary School in Toronto holds a memorial for alumni Cpl. Stephen Bouzane, 26, who died alongside two comrades, Sgt. Christos Karigiannas and Pte. Joel Vincent Wiebe, when their unarmoured vehicle hit a roadside bomb southwest of Kandahar, Afghanistan.


  • Turkey’s Islamic-oriented party wins with an overwhelming victory. Bishop Luigi Padovese, apostolic administrator of Anatolia, Turkey, predicts Catholics might demand some of the reforms Muslims ask for such as greater freedom of expression.

  • Cardinal Jean-Marie Lustiger dies at age 80 after having been the voice of French Catholics as former archbishop of Paris for nearly a quarter century. The Jewish convert to Catholicism left his mark, having promoted Christian-Jewish and Christian-Muslim relations and speaking out against anti-Semitism.

  • Ontario’s Conservative leader John Tory promises to fund all religious schools, proposing it will cost $400 million.

  • Pro-life advocate Fr. Edward Colleton, CSSp, retires after 67 years or priesthood and returns home to Ireland.

  • The beatification process starts for Toronto’s Sr. Carmelina Tarantino of the Passionist Sisters of the Cross.


  • Zimbabwe Archbishop Pius Ncube resigns to spare the “church any further attacks” while he faces adultery allegations. His supporters accuse the regime of President Robert Mugabe of orchestrating the affair.

  • A book about Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta’s writings on feeling abandoned by God creates a flurry of interest and media speculation. Missionaries of Charity Father Brian Kolodiejchuk wrote Mother Teresa: Come Be My Light to promote her cause for sainthood, which is released Sept. 4 on the 10th anniversary of her death.

  • Cardinal Marc Ouellet excommunicates the Quebec-based Army of Mary movement when a Catholic priest in the movement ordains six new priests. The movement bases its teachings on the mystical visions of an 86-year-old woman who claims to be a reincarnation of the Virgin Mary.

  • An Ipsos-Reid Poll shows government funding for religious education has emerged as the top issue facing Ontario voters in the 2007 provincial election campaign. The majority oppose the Conservative proposal.

  • The New York based religious order Sisters of Life opens its first Canadian chapter in Toronto.

  • The province of Ontario hands back financial control to the Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board after settling a feud over the board’s multi-million dollar deficit.


  • Anglican and Catholic bishops release a document stating both Christian traditions should work toward common goals, but be realistic about differences.

  • Pope Benedict completes his second encyclical Spe Salvi, a meditation on Christian hope.

  • Pope Benedict names 23 new cardinals representing 15 countries and five continents.

  • Quebec bishops add their voice to the debate on reasonable accommodation, urging Quebecers to welcome immigrants and respect everyone’s rights, particularly freedom of religion.

  • Ontario Catholics are under new pressure to justify public funding for their schools following three months of faith-and-education debates leading into the election early in the month that saw Dalton McGuinty’s Liberals win with a solid majority.


  • The Pope meets with King Abdullah Aziz of Saudi Arabia for the first ever meeting between a pope and a Saudi ruler.

  • Canadian bishops were “energized” after meeting with the Pope. Archbishop James Weisgerber, president of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, led a small delegation to the Vatican for a 20-minute private meeting to talk about the problem of secularization and the situation of aboriginal peoples in Canada.

  • Pope Benedict appoints two new bishops. Montreal’s Auxiliary Bishop Anthony Mancini moves to Halifax and Grand Falls Bishop Martin Currie takes over in St. John’s.

  • The collapse of Catholicism in Quebec is responsible for the province’s profound anxiety over the reasonable accommodation, said Cardinal Marc Ouellet as he weighs into the debate over how the province should respond to the demands of religious minorities in a brief to the Bouchard-Taylor Commission. Ouellet’s assessment of Quebec’s spiritual void, defense of Christian history and warning about the threat of fundamentalist secularism should be heeded by the rest of Canada, say religious freedom experts.

  • Ouellet made the headlines two weeks later for apologizing to the people of Quebec for the sins of the provincial church leaders regarding sexual abuse, discrimination against women and homosexuals, anti-Semitism and racism.

  • The City of Toronto honours the Sisters of St. Joseph of Toronto with a French and English plaque commemorating 150 years since founding the former House of Providence, now Providence Healthcare.


  • The word “schism” is increasingly being used to describe the state of affairs among Canadian Anglicans. About 300 Anglicans who reject same-sex marriage and prefer more traditional theology held a two-day conference in Burlington, Ont., to discuss the future of the Anglican Church in Canada.

  • The decision to deny parole to Robert Latimer, who murdered his 12-year-old disabled daughter Tracey in 1993, was welcomed by disability groups while the media showed sympathy.

  • Toronto hosts the First International Symposium on Euthanasia, drawing in more than 300 anti-euthanasia advocates from North America, Europe and Australia to define common goals to curb a growing push to legalize euthanasia and assisted suicide.

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