{mosimage}TORONTO - Science can't adequately explain the role of God in the universe, says Fr. George Coyne, S.J., the former director of the Vatican Observatory who, at one time, was referred to as “the pope's astrophysicist.”

But as a religious believer, the American professor said he is able to answer the question of God's role.

Toronto trustees forced to repay questionable expenses

{mosimage}TORONTO - Alcoholic drinks, Internet gaming and personalized vehicle licence plates were some of the $30,000 worth of questionable expenses charged to taxpayers by Toronto Catholic District School Board trustees, according to a Nov. 12 audit report.

The report by Ernst & Young, which did not identify trustees by name, said $914,013 of the $943,783 in trustees' total expenses from Dec. 1, 2005, to May 28, 2008, were deemed eligible. Eligible expenses included Internet connection charges, office furniture, charitable donations and advertising expenses, the report said.

Canada and the 'Sheen Affair'

{mosimage}In 1952, Canadian and American culture collided over an unlikely cleric — Bishop Fulton Sheen. It was the dawn of the TV era and Sheen's Life is Worth Living had made him the most watched priest on television in the United States. But in Canada, for several years the CBC refused to broadcast the program. Find out why in this podcast of the Eighth Annual Somerville Lecture on Christianity and Culture.

This lecture was presented Nov. 6 at the Newman Centre, in the University of Toronto campus. It featured Dr. Mark McGowan, principal of the University of St. Michael's College, Toronto. He is well-known for his analysis of church affairs and as author of Waning of the Green: Catholics, the Irish and Identity in Toronto, and Michael Power: The Struggle to Build the Catholic Church on the Canadian Frontier.

The Somerville lecture is sponsored by The Catholic Register in co-operation with the St. Jerome's Lectures in Catholic Experience and the Newman Centre.

Click the arrow to hear the audio.

Theology matters

{mosimage}TORONTO - Theology students have an important role to play in a society that continues to advocate relativism, Professor Edward J. Monahan told graduating students from the University of St. Michael’s College at its Nov. 8 convocation.

Monahan  and two other professors — William J. Smyth and Janine Langan — were awarded with honorary doctorates, the Doctor of Sacred Letters.

Faith has place in politics

{mosimage}WINNIPEG - Any anthology of Christian writing in Canada cannot help but examine the intersection of faith and politics. In Northern Lights, readers can examine this through the eyes of someone who has lived it for almost three decades.

After almost 30 years as a member of Parliament, United Church Minister Bill Blaikie has taken on a different campaign — to encourage Christians to talk to each other, and the world, about who they are.

Hallways Of Heroes

{mosimage}During Veteran's Week (November 5 - 11) the names and pictures of Canadian soldiers who lost their lives in WWI will be displayed in the hallways of Iona Catholic Secondary School in Mississauga. Every student and staff (1200 people) will receive the name of one of these soldiers and a poppy sticker on November 10. On this day students and staff will be asked to find the name of the soldier that matches the name they were given and place the poppy sticker on it as a means of acknowledging and honouring that soldier for paying the ultimate sacrifice.

Ontario students recognized for leadership

{mosimage}TORONTO - A total of 181 students from Ontario Catholic schools were honoured at the 25th annual Father Patrick Fogarty Awards dinner Oct. 25.

Ontario needs to learn Newfoundland's lessons

{mosimage}An article in the Oct. 12 issue begins with the headline, “Silence will doom Catholic schools.” It describes the view of an Alberta constitutional lawyer, Kevin Feehan. As one who has been involved in the Ontario school question since 1962, I say, “It depends.”

If, in a year or two, Ontario Catholics get worked up so that even a few shout, “We’ll show them that Catholics won’t be pushed around,” it will make headlines and we lose our own schools. They enrol 660,000 students today. The entire system will disappear just as it did in Newfoundland in 1998.

Split-grade system needs to be reworked

{mosimage}TORONTO - The provincial cap on primary class sizes needs to be more flexible to avoid having too many split-grade classes that can cause disruptions in classrooms, say some Ontario Catholic school boards.

The Hamilton-Wentworth, London and Toronto Catholic school boards are calling for more flexibility to the policy.

Parent group calls for trustee resignations

{mosimage}TORONTO - In the wake of a long-awaited audit report of Toronto’s Catholic school board, at least six school trustees who will be repaying the  board for “inappropriate expenses” should resign, according to a Catholic parents’ group.

The Greater Toronto Catholic Parent Network also says that the twice-delayed provincial audit won’t restore public trust and confidence in the Toronto Catholic District School Board.

Catholic education has value of a pearl

{mosimage}TORONTO - Catholic education is like a “pearl of great price” which must be treasured and protected, says Hamilton Auxiliary Bishop Gerard Bergie.

“If we believe that Catholic education is a pearl of great wisdom, we need to guard it,” Bergie said in a keynote address to a packed auditorium of more than 1,300 teachers Oct. 24 at the 13th annual When Faith Meets Pedagogy conference that ran Oct. 23 to 25. The conference at Toronto’s DoubleTree Hilton was organized by the Catholic Curriculum Co-operative, which includes 17 Ontario school boards, the Ontario English Catholic Teachers’ Association and the Catholic Principals’ Council of Ontario.