Features/Features

{mosimage}Dear Readers,

In Ontario’s Catholic schools students, teachers, trustees, parents and administrators walk by faith, not by fear. The gallery of excellence on the following pages is testament to what faith can do with us, among us and for us.

There is a spectre of fear hovering over our history. Before Confederation immigrant Catholics knew the Anglican-controlled school system was a mechanism for their assimilation by the Protestant establishment. They knew very well the establishment held Catholic newcomers in contempt. At Confederation the danger of assimilation was real enough for Catholics to fight a political battle to ensure their education rights in the basic law of the new country.

As Catholic education rights were maliciously and illegally undercut after the First World War, Catholics relied on a secret weapon — religious sisters and brothers who would give their lives to ensure a Catholic education and to preserve the culture and spirituality which sustains the church. As high school became the new standard for a basic education after the Second World War, Catholic parents made financial sacrifices to give their children the necessary education in a Catholic context.

Winning the political and legal battle for full funding in 1984 and for more equal funding in 1998 hasn’t erased the spectre of fear. Today, Catholics worry about the bureaucratization of Catholic education, the focus on testing and measurement at the expense of free enquiry and intellectual growth, a funding formula that leaves boards in a financial straight jacket, falling enrolments everywhere but the suburbs surrounding Toronto and the failures of leadership which have become an embarrassment to us all.

Excellence is not founded in fear. Nor is it the product of worry. Examine especially the young faces in these pages. The excellence they have achieved is founded in faith, hope, love and charity.


Conversations with Calvin

By
{mosimage}TORONTO - Rev. Paul Bong Kyu Choi is not your grandfather’s kind of Calvinist. He’s definitely not Scottish, nor Dutch, and seems quite uninterested in the sort of dogmatic absolutism that translates into rules against dancing or contempt for Catholics trafficking in hocus-pocus spirituality and mystery.

The pastor of Toronto’s Holy Mountain Presbyterian Church is from Korea, where 19th-century Calvinist preaching swept the Asian nation and became the first widely successful brand of Christianity there. He is also working on his PhD thesis under Jesuit Father John Dadosky at Regis College. The Knox College student chose a Catholic thesis supervisor to deepen his understanding of iconic 20th-century Catholic monk and spiritual writer Thomas Merton.

Trustee to fight dismissal

By
{mosimage}TORONTO - Toronto Catholic District School Board trustee Oliver Carroll says he will fight his dismissa l from the board.

While Carroll withdrew a motion to appeal an Ontario Superior Court decision which found him guilty of conflict of interest charges scheduled for Feb. 18, he told The Register that he would be filing an appeal of the decision within a month, along with an appeal to stay on as trustee while the court hearings take place.

Campus pro-life groups regain status

By
{mosimage}The battle for freedom of speech on Canadian university campuses has resulted in two more pro-life clubs regaining status with their student unions. 

Choose Life McGill, the pro-life club at McGill University in Montreal, regained status Feb. 12, and Youth Protecting Youth, a club at the University of Victoria in British Columbia, rejoined the ranks of other ratified clubs Feb. 10.

Aid agencies seek recession relief

By
{mosimage}TORONTO - The fear, suffering and sacrifice on Bay Street are nothing but nicks and cuts compared to the body blows the poor will suffer in this recession, according to church agencies that serve single mothers, the homeless and families in distress.

“Recession is a really hard time for people on social assistance, obviously,” said Rosalie Hall executive director Alan Nickell. Rosalie Hall helps hundreds of young women every year as they face pregnancy without an adequate place to live, without a job and without prospects.

Faculty in revolt at St. Jerome's

By
{mosimage}Faculty at Waterloo’s St. Jerome’s University have voted no confidence in the school’s president and have begun talks with the Canadian Association of University Teachers about forming a union.

The crisis at the Catholic liberal arts college affiliated with the University of Waterloo began with the mass resignation of the St. Jerome’s chaplaincy team just before Christmas.

Following St. Paul to Cyprus

By
{mosimage}PAPHOS, Cyprus - When I visited Cyprus recently, St. Paul the Apostle was the furthest thing from my mind. I was looking forward to touring the island mythology claims as the birthplace of Aphrodite, goddess of love. It wasn’t until I reached the city of Paphos I was reminded Cyprus was Paul’s first stop on a phenomenal lifetime of evangelism. 

Around 47, accompanied by Barnabas and Mark, Paul introduced this beautiful island to a newer understanding of the word “love” in the person of Jesus Christ. That story is succinctly told in Acts of the Apostles: chapter 13:2-12. Barnabas, Paul and Mark are directed by the Holy Spirit to set out for Cyprus, which author H.V. Morton accurately describes as “a perfect blend of mountain and plain, of hills that slope to deserted bays half screened by olive trees.” After preaching in Salimas’s synagogues, they travelled to Paphos on the island’s luxuriant south coast, again preaching in Jewish synagogues.

The history of Lent

By

Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent, the period of penance, prayer and sacrifice that precedes the celebration of the resurrection of Christ. 

Since the earliest days of the church there is evidence of some form of Lenten preparation for Easter; but the duration and nature of this preparation took countless centuries to evolve and is still changing even today.  

Toronto trustee guilty of conflict of interest

By
{mosimage}TORONTO - An Ontario Superior Court judge has found Toronto Catholic school trustee Oliver Carroll guilty of conflict of interest charges and ordered his removal from the board.

But Carroll said he would be appealing the decision and will file a motion to stay on as trustee while the appeal is being processed.

Trustee infighting derails election of board chair

By
{mosimage}TORONTO - The Toronto Catholic District School Board will be without a chair and decision-making powers indefinitely until trustee infighting stops, says Ontario's education minister.

Kathleen Wynne told The Catholic Register that she supports the Jan. 28 decision of provincially appointed board supervisor Norbert Hartmann to suspend the appointment of a chair. Long-time trustee Angela Kennedy had been chosen chair, with Ann Andrachuk elected vice-chair, at a Jan. 22 meeting, but the choices were subject to Hartmann's approval.

Recession affects hospitals' ethical decisions

By
{mosimage}TORONTO - The world’s economic crisis hasn’t caught Catholic hospitals in Toronto unawares.

Although all Ontario hospitals are more than likely to encounter financial struggles this year, health care rationing and budget adjustments are all too familiar to Catholic institutions, said Hazel Markwell, executive director of the Centre for Clinical Ethics in Toronto.