{mosimage}TORONTO - The Earth needs to be treated as a sacrament given to each other because “time is running out,” said Fr. Pier Giorgio di Cicco.

Poverty goes beyond economic theory

{mosimage}TORONTO - Andrea Duffield, mother of three and raising them on her own the last five years, knows what poverty is. She’s suffered the humiliations and frustrations of not being able to send her kids on class trips, having to quit a job because it pays less than it costs to keep her kids in day care, having to quit a college nursing program that might have led to a good job but the combination of day care and text books left her with no money for groceries.

Rediscovering the faithful disciple Paul


{mosimage}TORONTO - Ever since the risen Christ asked “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” and the blinded young Pharisee answered “Who are you, Lord?” the church has had to deal with the difficult Saul of Tarsus, St. Paul the Apostle.

To mark 2,000 years since his birth in Asia Minor (modern-day Turkey), Pope Benedict XVI has designated June 28, 2008, to June 29, 2009, the Year of St. Paul.

Human faces of poverty tell the story of Jesus


{mosimage}TORONTO - When Jesus told His disciples they would have the poor with them always the operative word was "with." Jesus knew He would leave, but the poor would take His place — always with His disciples.

Most of us fail to live up to Jesus' vision. The poor are not with us at all. They live separate lives, apart from the mainstream — out of sight and out of mind. Because that's the way we like it. The poor make us uncomfortable.

More study needed on HPV vaccine


{mosimage}TORONTO - Thousands of reports of adverse effects from a vaccine used to protect against cervical cancer raise further questions about a controversial mass vaccination program for young women in Canada, says the head of a Catholic bioethics group.

Touted as a vaccine for women, Gardasil, which is made by Merck Frosst Canada Ltd., is the first vaccine developed to prevent cervical cancer caused by certain strains of human papillomavirus, also known as HPV, which is a sexually transmitted virus. But a soon-to-be-released report by the U.S. Centres for Disease Control and Prevention says close to 10,000 people reported adverse effects to Gardasil.

Touring France is a spiritual journey


{mosimage}Our family spent 25 days in France this summer kayaking down the Rhone, climbing the Eiffel Tower, lying on the beach and feasting on French food and drink.

As fun as all this sounds, some of the most satisfying moments of our trip were watching our two girls (ages 12 and 10) form a deeper appreciation of their Catholic heritage.

The spirituality of politics

{mosimage}TORONTO - Guidance for participation in Canadian political life can be found in the church’s social teachings, but that doesn’t mean there is a simple formula for voting, according to Catholic observers interviewed by The Catholic Register in advance of the Oct. 14 federal election.

“We do not believe people are just individuals. We really are about working for the common good,” explains Ottawa-based Jesuit Father William Ryan. “That’s the basic premise. We’re social beings. . . . We believe that you’re social by nature, and for that reason you’re political.”

More study sought for HPV vaccine


{mosimage}TORONTO - As several Catholic school boards across Canada prepare to offer the vaccine targeting cervical cancer this year, recent reports suggest a need for more studies.

In a Sept. 1 editorial in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, Dr. Neal A. Halsley said cases of severe adverse reactions among Australian children to Gardasil — the vaccine targeting the human papillomavirus, also known as HPV, which can cause cervical cancer — was five to 20 times higher than for other school-based vaccines. Of the 12 suspected cases, eight were confirmed as anaphylactoid reactions. There were 269,680 vaccine doses administered in Australian schools starting in April 2007.

Rehab centre puts Catholicity front and centre

{mosimage}WOODBRIDGE, Ont. - Vita Nova is one addictions rehabilitation centre that isn’t shy about its Catholic colours. On the staircase wall of the building’s main entrance hangs a large painting of a young woman, head in hands, with a statue of Mary in the background facing away.

Franca Carella, the centre’s founder, explains that the painting, the handiwork of a former client at the Woodbridge centre, expressed the artist’s struggle with faith while battling addiction — in her case, the belief that Mary had turned her back on her.

Spirituality a key step in addiction recovery

{mosimage}TORONTO - For many people suffering from addiction, the belief in a higher power, or the belief that such a higher power actually cares for them, is often a difficult concept to grasp, addictions counsellors say.

Feelings of shame and guilt because of the hurtful things they have done or said during their addiction can make it difficult for recovering addicts to forgive themselves. The concept of a Creator who loves them and wants to help them seems very unlikely.

Alberta boards deny access to HPV vaccine

{mosimage}CALGARY - Two Catholic school boards in Alberta have refused to allow an in-school vaccination to guard against a sexually transmitted disease that can cause cervical cancer.

In September Calgary Catholic District School and St. Thomas Aquinas school board, south of Edmonton,voted against making the human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccination available in its schools.