mcqueen cloughTORONTO - Leaning on the expertise of six lay people, including three women, the archdiocese of Toronto has declared redress, accountability and pastoral care aren’t just words or theories but concrete realities in cases of sexual abuse.

Members of the committee that worked on revising the Toronto Church’s 20-year-old sexual abuse policies told The Catholic Register the new norms represent incremental rather than radical change, and that new Church law won’t by itself make the problem go away.

“I would like to say that we think the problem is solved,” said clinical psychologist Dr. Philip Dodgson of the Southdown Institute. “I’m afraid that it’s something that is part of society, not just the Church. The protocol that we’ve written up will need to be reviewed and updated as new knowledge and better procedures are acquired.”

Lack of abortion doesn't harm maternal health

Ian GentlesTORONTO - Countries that have banned abortion in the last 20 years have experienced greater improvements in maternal and infant health than countries that allow abortion on demand, said Ian Gentles.

Speaking to an audience of about 50 at the deVeber Institute's annual public lecture Oct. 14 at the University of St. Michael's College on the topic of improving maternal and child health, the York University and Tyndale University College  professor was joined by Dr. Robert Walley, founder of Matercare International and student intern Genevieve Bonomi.

Street Haven celebrates 45th anniversary in photos

street havenTORONTO - The face of homelessness is increasingly becoming the face of women, according to Street Haven at the Crossroads, a non-profit agency serving homeless women in Toronto.

For its 45th anniversary, Street Haven will draw attention to this as it presents its “Women and Homelessness” exhibit on Oct. 28 at the City of Toronto Archives. The exhibition has been curated and designed by Master of Museum Studies graduate students Cynthia Roberts and Vanessa Fleet, and University of Toronto professor Jennifer Carter.

David Onley applauds courage at Caritas event

OnleyWOODBRIDGE - More than 500 people packed The Jewel Banquet Centre for the 22nd annual Caritas Project's “Together Event” on Oct. 17.

Lieutenant Governor of Ontario David Onley, the keynote speaker, spoke of the stigma associated with disabilities and the need to overcome it.

“Like other disabilities, addiction has no record for age, gender or culture,” Onley told the 550 people, including some provincial and federal politicians and Vaughan mayoral candidate Maurizio Bevilacqua.

Toronto revises abuse protocols

Archdiocese of Toronto crestTORONTO - With an emphasis on transparency, clarity and compassion, revised policies and procedures regarding allegations of misconduct, released Oct. 15 by the archdiocese of Toronto, now explicitly include misconduct by lay employees and volunteers.

According to the much-anticipated document — “Policy and Procedure for Cases of Alleged Misconduct” — all employees and volunteers of the archdiocese are subject to the same strict policies that govern clergy and religious. The revised regulations also reiterate the archdiocese’s zero-tolerance policy for abuse, unequivocally define what constitutes abuse and underscore that the policy extends to all vulnerable persons, including minors or “persons of any age” afflicted with physical, mental, emotional or spiritual handicaps.

Australian Saint's roots run to Nova Scotia

Blessed Mary MacKillopTORONTO - When Blessed Mary MacKillop is canonized Oct. 17 by Pope Benedict XVI, her life and good works will not only be commemorated in her homeland of Australia. Canadian relatives will celebrate the occasion with joy and prayer for a rebellious saint with family ties to Nova Scotia.

At the Holy Redeemer Convent in Sydney, N.S., a special Mass in honour of  Australia’s first saint will be attended by her distant cousin, Sr. Margaret MacKillop, of the Congregation of Notre Dame. MacKillop, 96, says she’s overjoyed to have a saint in the family.

St. Anthony's celebrates a century of worship

St. Anthony’s parishToronto - The very first sermon ever preached at St. Anthony’s on Bloor Street West was about social justice.

“The dedicatory ritual completed, Mass was celebrated by Rev. Fr. Coyle of the Church of the Holy Family. Rev. Fr. Roach preached the sermon, pointing out the relationship of the Roman Catholic Church to the social and economic problems of the day,” wrote the Empire and Mail on Sept. 25, 1922.

Nuncio aims to fill offices that will empty over next few years

Archbishop Pedro Lopez QuintanaOttawa - Canada’s new apostolic nuncio is looking for holy men to fill the many episcopal offices that will become vacant in the next few years, especially in Quebec.

Archbishop Pedro Lopez Quintana, who arrived in Canada last February,  said he is not looking for a person who can do everything, “because that is impossible.

“The bishop has to be first of all a holy man,” the archbishop said in an interview.  A bishop has to know how to work with advisors and collaborators.

Veterans Affairs reaches out to homeless vets

Dion MacArthurTORONTO - Veterans Affairs has come to The Good Shepherd mission in downtown Toronto looking for vets. And they’re finding them.

In her first two weeks as the Veterans Affairs case worker at The Good Shepherd, Dion MacArthur had already identified 15 homeless vets ranging in age from mid-30s to mid-80s, having served Canada in missions from Afghanistan to the Second World War.

Church opposes industrial process of in vitro fertilization

In Vitro FertilizationTORONTO - Vatican officials aren’t being churlish killjoys or displaying their fearful medieval mindset when they object to the Nobel committee giving the world’s most prestigious science prize to the inventor of in vitro fertilization, Fr. Joseph Tham told an audience of about 70 people in Toronto’s Holy Family parish Oct. 6.

“It’s difficult to explain to people, Catholics included, why IVF is wrong,” said Tham.

Before entering the priesthood, Tham became a medical doctor at the University of Toronto. He now teaches at Regina Apostolorum University’s school of bioethics in Rome.

Quebec bishops issue warning about euthanasia

euthanasiaOttawa - Quebec’s Catholic bishops have cautioned members of the Quebec National Assembly to observe the law and to diligently prosecute cases involving euthanasia and assisted suicide.

In a brief to a commission holding public hearings on euthanasia and assisted suicide, the Assembly of Catholic Bishops of Quebec (AECQ) reminded the Quebec National Assembly of its obligation to enforce the Criminal Code.