Sheila Dabu Nonato, The Catholic Register

Sheila Dabu Nonato, The Catholic Register

Sheila was a reporter for The Catholic Register from 2008-2011.

A graduate of the University of Toronto's international relations program (M.A.) and Carleton University's School of Journalism (M.J.),  she has worked at The Canadian Press, CBC Ottawa, The Toronto Star, The Jordan Times and IRIN Middle East.

TORONTO - Lukasz Petrykowski is a Catholic apologist and lawyer who worries about the type of world his two boys will face when someday they become husbands and fathers.

Being a dad in the 21st century is like fighting a cultural battle against the gradual feminization of men in society, he says. He believes fatherhood is at a crossroads that threatens families as we know them today.

Petrykowski calls this a crisis of fatherhood. It stems from a gender debate about whether gender is merely “social construction” or is a God-given biological reality. Radical, feminist thinking suggests it is the former, a notion Petrykowski refutes.

He doesn’t subscribe to what he calls the “metrosexual myth.” The so-called metrosexual man is concerned with fashion and appearance, and incorporates a feminine nature to his masculinity which can include wearing makeup, nail polish and other beauty adornments previously only seen on women. Petrykowski and other Catholic dads say a way to address this crisis is through their Catholic faith and by holding steadfast to the traditional notion of fathers and husbands as guardians of the family and the Church.

Striking down Canada's anti-prostitution laws would violate the “fundamental moral values” of protecting human dignity, and would infringe on a woman's rights to liberty and security, lawyers representing the Catholic Civil Rights League told the Ontario Court of Appeal.

“Prostitution is antithetical to the fundamental values of Canadians,” said lawyer Ranjan Agarawal on June 16. He was representing the Catholic Civil Rights League, the Christian Legal Fellowship and REAL Women of Canada.

“Prostitution is immoral. It takes the most intimate human activity and commodifies it. It is that commodification that causes violence, drug use, the trafficking of women, the exploitation of women in the economic margins of society.”

The federal and Ontario governments are appealing an Ontario judge's decision that struck down some sections of Canada’s prostitution laws as being unconstitutional.

OAKVILLE, ONT. - It began with children writing to WW II war veterans and families of Canadian soldiers killed in Afghanistan.

Five years later, the letter-writing efforts of Grade 7 and 8 students at St. Dominic Catholic Elementary School has led to a memorial for Canadian soldiers highlighting Halton’s “Veteran’s Highway.” It is Oakville’s first memorial to include veterans from Canada’s mission in Afghanistan.

The Bronte Veterans Garden, located within Donovan Bailey Park, officially opened June 14 with the unveiling of two plaques placed at the base of a tree in memory of Cpl. Robert James Mitchell and Private Paul Parkin. Poppies will be planted between the plaques and a flower bed shaped like the Canadian flag will be grown at the garden.

Mitchell’s mother, Carol, visited the school from Owen Sound, Ont. after receiving letters and posters from St. Dominic’s students. Cpl. Mitchell died in Afghanistan in 2006. Other students wrote to Parkin, a World War II veteran and prisoner of war, to show their support and thank him for his service. Parkin, an Oakville resident who died in 2009, spent his last two Remembrance Days with the students at the school.

TORONTO - If Catholic teachers want time out of the classroom to campaign for Liberal or NDP candidates during this fall’s provincial elections, their union will pay for substitute teachers, said Ontario English Catholic Teachers Association president James Ryan.

“It’s up to the local units. They raised that as a possibility. They can do that if they decide,”  said OECTA President James Ryan.

Currently, OECTA is endorsing no Conservative candidates among the provincial politicians it labels “education friendly.”

But the political snub is actually the other way around, Ryan explained. According to Ryan, Conservative leader Tim Hudak has refused requests for a meeting.

TORONTO - Prostitution is an economic activity, not a constitutionally protected right, and public policy regarding prostitution is the responsibility of Parliament, a federal lawyer has argued in the Ontario Court of Appeal.

On the opening day of an appeal into a lower-court decision that struck down some sections of Canada’s prostitution laws, federal lawyer Michael Morris told the five judges that the state has no requirement to ensure a safe work environment for prostitutes.

“The ‘security of their person’ argument is based upon the argument that prostitution should be made more safe,” he said. “We say that requires they have a right to engage in prostitution in the first place.” No such right exists, he said.

Morris was challenging an Ontario Superior court ruling by Judge Susan Himel that said Criminal Code provisions that prohibit living off the avails, keeping a common bawdy house and soliciting for purposes of prostitution infringed the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

TORONTO - Campaign Life Coalition says the Ontario English Catholic Teachers’ Association’s choice of prominent gay rights advocate Ilana Landsberg-Lewis to speak at its upcoming conference is “outrageous” and “undermines” Catholic values.

Landsberg-Lewis will be one of the guest speakers at OECTA’s “Common Good Conference: The Soul of Teaching — Changing the Human Condition” which runs July 6 to 8 in Toronto. She is the executive director of the Stephen Lewis Foundation and daughter of Stephen Lewis, a former UN special envoy for HIV/AIDS in Africa and a renowned abortion advocate.

Landsberg-Lewis is not an appropriate speaker at a Catholic teachers’ conference because her views on abortion and same-sex marriage reject core Catholic teachings, said Jim Hughes, Campaign Life president.

“Every time one of the Lewises shows up, it undermines who we are as Catholics. There are many other speakers who can speak up on other positive topics that don’t outrage Catholic parents,” said Hughes. “This is another example of why Catholic parents feel they are being undermined by the Catholic teachers.”

TORONTO - After more than two years in prison, long-time pro-life activist Linda Gibbons was freed on June 3.

The 62-year-old great grandmother was in jail for the past 28 months for picketing a Toronto abortion clinic and violating a nearly two decades-old court injunction.

Gibbons was set free after Ontario Court Justice Mara Beth Greene granted her lawyer’s application requesting that she be released without conditions. She was issued a summons to attend court on Jan. 15, 2012.

Gibbons has always refused to sign a bail condition that orders her to abide by a 1994 temporary injunction barring pro-life activists from picketing, sidewalk counselling and interfering with access to abortion services or the “economic interests” of downtown Toronto clinics. But Gibbons has chosen to disobey by peacefully picketing outside abortion clinics. This has led to her 20 arrests for various Criminal Code offences leading to her spending 10 of the past 17 years in jail.

TORONTO - Providence Healthcare has named Josie Walsh its new President and CEO.

Walsh has more than 30 years of experience as a registered nurse, with many of those years in hospital management. Walsh joined Providence Healthcare in 2001 as Vice-President and Chief Nurse Executive. She is a Certified Health Executive with the Canadian College of Health Leaders.

Walsh will be at the helm of Providence Healthcare during the second year of its five-year strategic plan called “Time to Shine.” Walsh said the plan involves “developing strong partnerships to our care hospitals and community care access hospitals.”

TORONTO - Children at 13 parishes in Toronto are learning the basics of the faith in a language that they understand.

The young catechism students take part in the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, a ministry that originated in Rome in 1954 and has been catching on in Catholic parishes across North America. Scriptural scholar Sofia Cavaletti founded the approach and teamed with Gianni Gobbi, a Montessori education specialist, to develop an experiential and hands-on approach of learning for children.

“We meet them intellectually, spiritually, emotionally where they are,” said Kathleen Ennis, co-ordinator of the archdiocese of Toronto’s Catechesis of the Good Shepherd.

The catechesis emphasizes sacraments like Baptism and First Communion, and Jesus’ life, teachings and the mystery of the Resurrection.

TORONTO - An exhibit featuring a hand-written and illustrated biblical Scroll of Esther highlights the “bridge” between Christianity and Judaism, says Toronto-based scribe Laya Crust.

Crust wrote the Hebrew text of the Scroll of Esther on animal parchment using historical tools and materials. The scroll features 16 columns of Hebrew text and 32 full-colour illustrations in the style of 16th-century Persian art bringing to life the ancient story of Queen Esther. The exhibit opened at Toronto’s University of St. Michael’s College May 18 and runs until June 18.

“It was a very exciting and a wonderful way to connect with the (biblical) text and wonderful to know that it’s an ecumenical text that’s embraced by the Christian faith, by Christians around the world, as well as by Jews and has that additional bridge of religion and God,” Crust told The Catholic Register.