Features/Features

{mosimage}Christmas centres on the Nativity, the birth of Christ who came into the world to save us from our sins. There would be no birth, of course, if there were no mother. As the poet Coventry Pattmore has remarked, Mary is  “Our only Saviour from an abstract Christ.” 

If there is a secondary message that Christmas brings, yet one that is still intimately tied to the first, it is the motherhood of Mary which, in turn, serves as the model for all motherhood. This message takes on greater significance in an age in which motherhood, in many instances, is routinely eviscerated into a  “choice.”

Some biotech advances playing God, Vatican says

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{mosimage}VATICAN CITY - A new Vatican document warned that certain recent developments in stem-cell research, gene therapy and embryonic experimentation violate moral principles and reflect an attempt by man to “take the place of his Creator.”

The latest advances raise serious questions of moral complicity for researchers and other biotech professionals, who have a duty to refuse to use biological material obtained by unethical means, the document said.

School boards choose 2009 leaders

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{mosimage}TORONTO - Most Ontario Catholic school boards have chosen their leaders to guide them into the next year, with one notable exception.

The Toronto Catholic District School Board, which has been under a provincial government-appointed supervisor since a controversy erupted over trustee spending last year, has postponed its board elections until January.

Halton's helping hands for Haiti

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{mosimage}BURLINGTON, Ont. - The children at St. Mark’s Catholic Elementary School learned a lesson about social justice and Christian love recently. It was that they should share from their abundance with their much poorer fellow students in Haiti.

The school was one of 49 in the Halton Catholic District School Board that are being introduced this fall to Helping Hands from Halton Catholic: the Solidarity-Haiti Project.

Campus pro-life battles are about free speech

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{mosimage}TORONTO - Tensions on Canadian university campuses have intensified this year as pro-life clubs continued fighting for status while others were denied funding.

Yet, while only half a dozen of the 40 or more pro-life clubs on campuses across Canada have butted heads with their student unions, many are worried that the silencing of pro-life speech has expanded to a threat against freedom of speech in general.

Trustees call for changes in special ed funding

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TORONTO - The underfunding of programs for special education and high needs students as well as “short-lived” declining enrolment grants are serious concerns for many Catholic school boards, says the Ontario Catholic School Trustees’ Association.

In a Nov. 18 financial brief to Ontario Education Minister Kathleen Wynne, the association said while special education grants total almost $2.1 billion, many school boards “continue to express serious concerns about the ongoing gap between the cost of current programs and services for students and special needs and current funding levels.”

OECTA targets bullying

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{mosimage}TORONTO - Bullying should be labelled a workplace hazard to make schools safer, says a proposal made to provincial legislators by the Ontario English Catholic Teachers’ Association.

But the proposal isn’t suggesting that Catholic schools are more dangerous than any other workplace, said Elaine MacNeil, president of OECTA.

Calgary Pro-life defies university

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{mosimage}CALGARY - Despite being threatened with arrest, suspension and even expulsion by school officials, members of Campus Pro-life at the University of Calgary erected the controversial Genocide Awareness Project display outside the university on Nov. 26 and 27.  

The university’s stance against the controversial display was that the GAP display “would likely trigger acts of violence” and that by refusing to comply with the university, the pro-life group was trespassing on private property, said lawyer Paul Beke in a letter to CPL. The GAP campaign shows graphic images of the results of abortion, as well as pictures of the development of a fetus.

At a Nov. 26 press conference, Leah Hallman, president of CPL, said: “Arrest us, charge us, expel us, do what you want with these bodies of ours, but for every pro-lifer who suffers for the cause, perhaps, just perhaps, another life will be born into this world.”

Preparing for the coming of Christ

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{mosimage}TORONTO - With Christmas approaching, it’s important not to lose sight of the preparation that should come beforehand — and this doesn’t just mean picking out the right presents and decorations.

Fr. Vito Marziliano, pastor at All Saints parish in Toronto’s west end, has tried to make the Advent season really one of spiritual preparation for his parishioners by offering workshops to help them prepare their spiritual “inn” for Christ.

No charges pending against Catholic trustees

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{mosimage}TORONTO - Ontario's education minister says a 15-day police review into Toronto Catholic school trustee expenditures concluded that no trustees will face criminal charges.

Kathleen Wynne told The Catholic Register she's satisfied with the amount of time it took police to review trustees' expenses, which were released in a Nov. 12 audit report by Ernst & Young.

Market meltdown less harsh on social investments

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{mosimage}TORONTO - The September apocalypse on Wall Street and Bay Street is no surprise to religiously and socially motivated investors, who are now contemplating their place in the post-meltdown economy.

“Socially responsible investing is going to be very well positioned coming out of this crisis,” said Jantzi Social Index founder Michael Jantzi.