{mosimage}OTTAWA  - Five Canadian cities kicked off 40 Days for Life vigils of fasting and prayer to end abortion to coincide with Lent.

Ottawa, Toronto, Montreal, Winnipeg and Edmonton have joined more than 175 American cities in maintaining prayer vigils outside abortion clinics and hospitals. The 40 Days campaigns began in the United States four years ago.

Sisters of Life step up pro-life efforts

Sisters of LifeTORONTO - The Sisters of Life have spent the past year-and-a-half discerning their role in Canadian society. Now, they will be teaming up with parishioners across the Toronto archdiocese to assist pregnant women in need.

The religious order, founded in New York in 1991, first established a Canadian presence in August 2007. Like other orders, the sisters take the traditional vows of poverty, chastity and obedience but take a fourth vow to “protect and enhance the sacredness of human life.” Most of the sisters are young, between the ages of 28 and 45. The age range for postulants in formation in New York is 22-32.

Pro-lifers must fight euthanasia momentum shift

{mosimage}OTTAWA - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition — Canada executive director Alex Schadenberg says euthanasia advocates see momentum on their side.

Washington State legalized assisted suicide in a plebiscite held during the last U.S. presidential election. Schadenberg pointed out this was the first referendum to pass of the many attempts in the 10 years since Oregon passed its assisted suicide law.  

Pope hears from Catholic MPs over Holocaust denier

{mosimage}OTTAWA - Three Catholic MPs from the New Democratic Party have written Pope Benedict XVI to express their “deep concern” over the “reinstatement” of Society of St Pius X Bishop Richard Williamson, who is a Holocaust denier.

“We respectfully question the wisdom of welcoming back into the College of Bishops a man who has both systematically denied and maliciously minimalized the atrocities committed by Hitler’s Germany against the Jewish inhabitants of Central and Eastern Europe between the late 1930s and 1945,” wrote MPs Charlie Angus, Tony Martin and Joe Comartin in an e-mail to the Pope Feb. 5, followed up by a hard copy sent via the apostolic nunciature.

Bishops lend support to March for Life

{mosimage}OTTAWA - Canada’s Catholic bishops will support the National March for Life , taking place May 14 on Parliament Hill.

“We want to support it because it is a good thing,” said Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops president Archbishop James Weisgerber.

Campaign Life Coalition president Jim Hughes welcomed the news.

Safe Third Country Agreement appeal fails

{mosimage}The Supreme Court of Canada has turned back the Canadian Council for Churches , Amnesty International and the Canadian Council for Refugees , refusing to hear the organizations' arguments in favour of striking down Canada's Safe Third Country Agreement with the United States.

The Safe Third Country agreement between Canada and the United States stipulates that refugees who arrive first in the United States must make a refugee claim there and may not make a Canadian refugee claim at the land borders between two nations.

Budget vigil begins March 2

{mosimage}TORONTO - The people who run the church-sponsored food banks, shelters and social agencies in Ontario want a better budget out of Queen’s Park, and they’re willing to pray for it.

Starting March 2 and continuing until Finance Minister Dwight Duncan brings down the 2009 budget, the Interfaith Social Assistance Reform Coalition will stage a prayer vigil on the front lawn of the provincial legislature. No date has been set for the budget, though it is widely expected in the third week of March.

Civil liberties' group sides with campus pro-lifers

{mosimage}TORONTO - Campus pro-life groups have gained an ally in their battle to be heard at universities across Canada.

The Canadian Civil Liberties Association has urged student unions at universities and colleges to not deny club status to groups that oppose abortion. The association made its view known in a letter sent to student unions across Canada in late January.

Human rights process damages the innocent

{mosimage}OTTAWA - The federal government should consider the damage done to unjustly accused innocent parties by complaints to the Canadian Human Rights Commission, says the editor of Catholic Insight magazine .

Basilian Father Alphonse de Valk wrote to Justice Minister Rob Nicholson in a Feb. 2 open letter, responding to the Moon Report’s recommendation to repeal the controversial subsection of the Canadian Human Rights Act that allows the rights commission to investigate hate speech. The CHRC commissioned the report from University of Windsor Professor Richard Moon last year.

Knights mark 100 years in Toronto


KofC.jpgTORONTO - Philip Walke remembers the day Toronto’s first subway cars ran. At 75 years of age, he has seen plenty of Toronto’s history, but also that of the Knights of Columbus’ Toronto Council 1388, which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year.

Many of these highlights for people living in the city of Toronto were also closely linked to the Knights, Walke said.

Currently acting as the council’s public relations director, Walke once worked on the Knights of Columbus Ontario state council as administrative assistant, sending out media releases. Although he started out on a Scarborough council, he later moved and joined the original Toronto council, the first council established in Toronto and the 11th in Ontario.

Montreal Social Action Office responds

{mosimage}In the article “Catholic protest not pro-Hamas, organizers say ” by Michael Swan (page 3 of The Register Week of Feb. 1, 2009), there are several statements in respect of the demonstration, held in Montreal on Jan. 10, that could lead to serious misinterpretations regarding the position of the Social Action Office of the Catholic archdiocese of Montreal.

The third paragraph begins with the following sentence: “McDonough did not publicly distance his office from slogans such as ‘There is no God but Allah and the jihadist is the beloved of Allah,’ and ‘O Nasrallah, o beloved, strike, strike Tel Aviv’ before  media reports and video of the demonstration went across Canada.” Yet, in a telephone interview with The Register on Jan. 19, I stated at least three or four times that the Social Action Office unequivocally opposes, rejects and condemns any slogans or placards that promote hatred for Jews and the destruction of Israel. This position, repeatedly asserted by me, appears only in the ninth paragraph, near the end of the article. Readers, however, will remain with the impression that I have refused to distance the Social Action Office from such anti-Jewish slogans.