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

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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.

Pro-lifer slowing down

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Jack Barbara WillkeThe annual International Pro-life Conference is coming to Ottawa from Oct. 28 to 30, and it is likely to be one of pro-life advocate Jack Willke’s last international appearances.

Willke, president of both the International Right to Life Federation and Life Issues Institute, has been experiencing health problems of late.

“I’m past 85 now and I’ve just been hospitalized,” Wilke told The Catholic Register from his office in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Target johns in prostitution debate, urges MP

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Conservative MP Joy SmithOTTAWA - An Ontario court decision striking down three key prostitution laws shows the need for a national debate on the issue that includes looking at laws to prosecute johns, says Conservative MP Joy Smith, an expert on human trafficking.

Smith has urged her government to study Swedish laws which have tackled the problem by prosecuting the clients of prostitutes, the johns. Sweden reduced prostitution by 30-50 per cent from 1999-2004 and substantially cut the number of women trafficked into the country, she said.

Interim tag removed from Durham CFS director

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CFS DurhamCatholic Family Services of Durham found what it was looking for was already there. The family counselling agency dropped the word “acting” from Elizabeth Pierce’s title, making her the new executive director.

Pierce takes over an agency with a $1.3-million annual budget, 19 regular employees and three contract counsellors. Catholic Family Services of Durham deals with families from the eastern edge of Toronto to the Bowmanville area, and as far north as Port Perry. She has been with the agency for more than 14 years, mostly working as senior counselling program manager.

Padre Pio relics entrusted to church named in saint’s honour

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Padre Pio WoodbridgeWOODBRIDGE, Ont. - A humble Franciscan from a little town in southern Italy had them singing and dancing in the aisles in Woodbridge Sept. 23.

The overcapacity crowd that came out to greet three relics of St. Padre Pio and inaugurate a new church named after the 20th-century Italian saint broke out in frequent applause as Archbishop Thomas Collins baptized their new church.

Euthanasia forces target Quebec

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Margaret SomervilleOTTAWA - International pro-euthanasia forces see Quebec as a vulnerable beachhead for legalizing euthanasia in Canada and then spreading across North America, warns Margaret Somerville.

Somerville, founding director of McGill’s Centre for Medicine, Ethics and Law, and others are keeping an eye on Quebec, where a legislative committee is holding public hearings on euthanasia.

Court quashes access to information on D&P

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D & P and LifesiteTORONTO - The Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace obtained a Federal Court injunction Sept. 12 to block an access to information request for the names and funding levels regarding its nearly 200 partner organizations in Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa and Asia.

The request was made to the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) by LifeSiteNews, an online news organization that has published a series of articles over the past 18 months alleging links between Development and Peace-funded partners and pro-abortion lobbying in Mexico, Bolivia, South Africa and Nigeria. Development and Peace has denied those allegations and an investigation into five of its Mexican partners by the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops cleared the Catholic aid agency of wrongdoing while also warning it to be more prudent in selecting its partners. LifeSite called that investigation “deeply flawed.”

Campaign launched to raise awareness of TCDSB elections

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In the lead-up to Catholic school trustee elections, a group of former trustees, teachers and parents is leading a campaign to raise awareness and encourage Catholic supporters to vote on Oct. 25.

“Lately, the reputation of our board has been badly tarnished in the public eye, and the Minister of Education found it necessary to place the Toronto Catholic District School Board under supervision. It is a time for healing. It is a time for change,” said former principal Mary Ellen Lawless at a Sept. 26 press conference outside St. Paul's Basilica. Lawless is a member of the new group C.U.R.B., Catholics United for a Responsible Ballot.

“It is imperative that we reunite the parent, teacher, principal, priest, trustee and the total Catholic community in carrying out the aims of Catholic education and the mission of the Catholic school,” Lawless said in a statement. The group urged Toronto's Catholic voters to get to know the issues and their trustee candidates as their “right and privilege to do so.”

Bishop Crosby to leave the Rock for Hamilton

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Bishop CrosbyPope Benedict XVI named Bishop Douglas Crosby as the new bishop of the diocese of Hamilton Sept. 24. Crosby will replace the retiring Bishop Anthony Tonnos who has led the diocese since 1984.

“I’m very pleased and honoured by the appointment,” said Crosby, who remains administrator of the diocese of Corner Brook and Labrador until he is installed as bishop of Hamilton at the Cathedral of Christ the King on Nov. 8.

Born in Marathon, Ont., in the diocese of Thunder Bay, all of Crosby's ministry as a bishop has been done in Newfoundland and Labrador. Installed as bishop of Labrador City-Schefferville in 1998, he was also installed as bishop of St George’s, Nfld., in 2003 and retained responsibility for the former diocese. Then, following a realignment of the boundaries of the two dioceses, he became bishop of the diocese of Corner Brook and Labrador in 2007.

A new home for Padre Pio

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New Padre PioThe mostly Italian parish of Padre Pio in Woodbridge welcomed relics of St. Padre Pio as they inaugurated their new church Sept. 23. It was no small affair, with an overflow crowd peering in the windows from the parking lot to see Archbishop Thomas Collins baptize and anoint the new church.

Photos and commentary by Michael Swan