Features

{mosimage}When it comes to pro-life teachings in Ontario, most are casting their eyes to the Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic District School Board as a model.

Nearly six years ago, leaders established a board-run Culture of Life committee that has had its students interested in issues such as abortion, euthanasia and stem cell research ever since.

Red tape cut on generic AIDS drugs

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{mosimage}Adding Canadian-made generic drugs to the mix of affordable HIV and AIDS treatments could be good news for Africa, but it’s probably not enough to make a serious dent in the disease which kills more than two million people each year, says a Canadian Jesuit who works on AIDS in Africa.

“If Canadian sources are going to provide second-line generics at an affordable price — something few or no others are doing — it would be a reason for hope in Africa,” Jesuit Father Michael Czerny, executive director of the African Jesuit AIDS Network , told The Catholic Register in an e-mail, adding, however, that “Universal access to antiretrovirals (ARVs) is still a distant dream.”

Helping patients face a 'good death'

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{mosimage}TORONTO - A 13-year-old girl is battling cancer, but after nine years of treatment, her doctor has run out of medication options to beat the illness and help her stay alive.

An 85-year old woman suffers internal bleeding after taking medication for a long-term skin condition and asks her doctor to stop treatment and “let her die.”

Southern Ontario Catholic school boards pick new leaders

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{mosimage}TORONTO - In what appears to be a show of support for their embattled chair, a majority of Toronto Catholic District School Board trustees re-elected Angela Kennedy to the position at a Dec. 9 meeting.

Kennedy, who was first chosen as chair in January, is one of two Toronto Catholic trustees facing conflict of interest charges. She will be in Ontario Superior Court of Justice to answer to the charge Feb. 1. She is alleged to have voted on budgetary decisions despite having a son, who would potentially be affected by the decision, employed at the board.

Finding shelter at St. Clare Inn

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{mosimage}TORONTO - What are the chances an illiterate, alcoholic, drug addicted, bipolar, paranoid schizophrenic woman is going to pull it together, learn to read, hold down a job, stay on her medications and begin a mini-career as a stand-up comedian?

Linda Chamberlain is that woman, and at 60 she looks back at her 25 years of fear, despair and homelessness with disbelief. She also knows precisely what saved her life.

Struggling Catholic university students turn to chaplaincy

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{mosimage}OTTAWA - Many Catholic students at Carleton University turn to their faith as a coping mechanism as high tuition fees become increasingly stressful.

Michael Bingham, a first-year Computer Science student, acknowledged high tuition costs have made it very difficult and stressful for students. While his financial situation is not as grave as some, Bingham admits that with tuition being where it is, he could see himself “having a difficult time if I were in their situation.”

Building bridges between campus ministries

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{mosimage}For the first time ever, 12 Catholic movements and organizations met in Toronto to discuss how to “build the Body of Christ on campus” Nov. 30-Dec.1.

Bishop Fred Colli, representing the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops at the event, said the Canadian Catholic Campus Ministry board recognized the importance of talking about a comprehensive ministry that would better serve students.

Advent's spiritual gifts

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{mosimage}Bus terminals, train stations and airports tend to be drab and colourless places that people simply pass through — with the exception of the days preceding Christmas. At this time of year, waiting areas in the “arrivals” zone are marked by waving arms, smiling faces and warm hugs as travellers land into the arms of loved ones.

Want a rich Advent meditation? Just go to your local bus or train station and watch the scenes of reunion. Even though you don’t know any of the people you’re watching, you might find your own emotions rising up within you. And why is that? Because what we’re seeing touches our own deep longing and appreciation for relationships that bring us joy.

Just war theory obsolete in nuclear age, says Doug Roche

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{mosimage}TORONTO - A “theology of the street” put forward by retired Sen. Doug Roche could be the basis for Catholic participation in the peace movement, said Catholics for Peace spokesman Deacon Steve Barringer.

Delivering the annual chancellor’s lecture at the University of Toronto’s Jesuit faculty of theology, Regis College, Nov. 20, Roche proposed a Catholic response to modern warfare which would replace just war theory with a call to dialogue and peace building.

'Bio-cremation' cuts carbon footprint, backers say

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{mosimage}TORONTO - A good Catholic can pressure cook their dearly departed in an alkaline solution so that most of the body can be flushed down the drain before the remaining clean white bones are crushed into a white powder, put in an urn and buried in consecrated ground, according to a Catholic ethicist.

This technique for disposing of human remains is variously known as “alkaline hydrolysis ,” “bio-cremation” or “resomation.” Backers claim the process has a carbon footprint 20 times less than regular cremation. It’s not yet legal in Canada, let alone approved by any Canadian bishop, but Transition Sciences Ltd. is betting Canadians — including Catholics — will warm to the newest technology in mortuary science.

Boot camps set up for trustee candidates

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{mosimage}TORONTO - The countdown for next year’s province-wide Catholic trustee elections begins with two upcoming trustee training workshops in Toronto.

Toronto Catholic District School Board trustee Rob Davis plans to run a free “trustee boot camp” on Nov. 21 at the Catholic Education Centre. St. Augustine’s Seminary’s Institute of Theology will conduct trustee workshops starting in January.