Archbishop CollinsTORONTO - In the wake of the abuse scandal rocking the worldwide Church, Toronto Archbishop Thomas Collins will convene a committee of experts to examine and update the archdiocese’s  protocols for dealing with priestly misconduct.

Collins made the announcement in a pastoral letter read at Masses in parishes throughout the archdiocese the weekend of April 17-18.

Euthanasia bill defeated in House of Commons

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EuthanasiaOTTAWA - Canada’s MPs have overwhelmingly rejected assisted suicide and euthanasia.

Bloc Quebecois MP ’s private member’s Bill C-384 went down to a resounding defeat April 21 by a vote of 228 to 59.

All save one Bloc Quebecois MP supported the motion, while all the Conservatives present, including Prime Minister Stephen Harper, voted against it. Most Liberals and NDP MPs also voted against the bill, including NDP Leader Jack Layton. Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff was not in the House for the vote, but told journalists earlier in the day he did not support it.

Conservatives won't support abortion coercion bill

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Rod BruinoogeOTTAWA - The Conservative government will not support MP Rod Bruinooge’s bill to prevent women from being coerced into having abortions, giving the private member’s bill little chance of passing.

The Winnipeg South MP, who chairs the all-party Parliamentary Pro-Life Caucus, introduced Bill C-510 into the House of Commons April 14. The  Conservative backbencher told journalists the next day he had support from members of other parties as well as from within Tory ranks.

Toronto Peace Garden move doesn't please all

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Toronto City HallTORONTO - Some supporters of Nathan Phillips Square’s Peace Garden say moving one of Toronto’s monuments to peace away from the centre of the square as part of a facelift is like pushing to the side the message of nuclear disarmament.

The move is part of the City of Toronto’s $42.7-million, two-year Nathan Phillips Square Revitalization Plan.

Order of Canada recipient Setsuko Thurlow, who survived the 1945 Hiroshima nuclear bombing as a 13-year-old, says she’s “disappointed” about the relocation.

Archdiocese of Toronto to review, update abuse protocol

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Archbishop CollinsTORONTO - The archdiocese of Toronto, in the wake of the abuse scandal the worldwide Church finds itself embroiled in, will examine ways to update its procedures in dealing with such cases.

Archbishop Thomas Collins made the announcement through a letter read during the homily at Masses in parishes throughout the archdiocese the weekend of April 17-18.

Cardinal Bertone sees link between homosexuality, pedophilia

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Cardinal BertoneVATICAN CITY - The Vatican secretary of state told reporters in Chile that no serious study has ever shown a connection between celibacy and pedophilia, but many psychologists and psychiatrists believe there is a connection between homosexuality and pedophilia.

Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, who was visiting Chile April 6-12 to participate in events marking the country’s bicentennial and to demonstrate Pope Benedict XVI’s solidarity with victims of a Feb. 27 earthquake, made the remarks to reporters in Santiago.

Canadian bishops share concerns on abuse

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CCCBOTTAWA - Following a poll indicating that 54 per cent of Canadians believe the Vatican has perpetuated a culture of silence on clerical sex abuse, Canada’s Catholic bishops issued a statement saying they share concerns about sexual abuse and continue to improve protocols to deal with the issue.

The survey, conducted by Ispos Reid, also said eight per cent of Canadians over 18 claim to personally know someone sexually assaulted by a priest. However, 37 per cent of Catholics believe Pope Benedict XVI is being unfairly targeted and 80 per cent believe the proportion of abuser priests is small.

Letter from Pembroke bishop doesn't indicate a cover-up of sex abuse complaint

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Bernard PrinceOTTAWA - A lawyer representing the Pembroke diocese says the church was “upfront and proactive” in dealing with a complaint of sexual abuse by a priest and followed the wishes of the victim in not calling police.

Attorney Charles Gibson was responding to recent publication of details from a 1993 letter sent from the Pembroke bishop to the Vatican’s ambassador. Media reports suggested the letter showed there was a high-level church cover-up to avoid scandal.

Muted and maligned voices: Public Justice and the Canadian Church

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{mosimage}On March 19 The Catholic Register sponsored a lecture in the 2009-2010 Somerville Lecture series at St. Jerome’s University. The lecture, titled “Muted and maligned voices: Public Justice and the Canadian Church,” was delivered by Joe Gunn, executive director of Citizens for Public Justice. Below is an abridged version of his address.

On Oct. 17, 1996, the United Nations’ International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, Canadians turned on their evening newscast to hear CBC anchor Peter Mansbridge begin with these words:

“Good evening. A blistering attack on governments across the country today, from Canada’s Roman Catholic bishops. The issue is poverty. The bishops accuse governments of using the most vulnerable people in society as human fodder in the battle against deficits. And the bishops weren’t the only ones speaking out…”

The bishops were holding their annual plenary gathering in Halifax. Before they began the meeting, however, the bishops of the Social Affairs Commission gathered with a roomful of local activists, including Pam Coates, a United Church member and president of the National Anti-Poverty Organization.

To the assembled media, the bishops released their pastoral letter at Hope Cottage, a church-run soup kitchen in the downtown core. People living in poverty spoke, so it wasn’t only the bishops who got the microphone. And after the press conference, the media accompanied the men in black to serve lunch and eat together at the soup kitchen.

Caritas campaign aims for $1 million

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{mosimage}TORONTO-After a dispute with its landlord forced the Caritas Foundation out of its headquarters of the past 16 years, the North York Catholic charity hopes to raise $1 million to build its own centre.

More than 400 people gathered at its biggest annual fundraising gala to date on March 27 at The Royalton Banquet Hall.
All proceeds of the black tie, $200-a-ticket event were donated to fund Caritas’ work with recovering addicts and individuals with mental illness.

The event raised the largest amount of donations in its five-year history, with $100,000 being pledged towards Caritas’ work.

Newman to reach out to commuter students

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{mosimage}TORONTO-The Newman Centre will be launching a new initiative to assist its chaplaincy outreach to students at the University of Toronto.

Fr. Michael Machacek, pastor and executive director of the Newman Centre parish and chaplaincy at the university’s downtown campus, said the new initiative will address the chaplaincy needs of the Monday-to-Friday commuter students and provide more programs and activities during the daytime such as faith-sharing and socials.

There are also plans to raise the Newman Centre’s profile within the university and get the word out about its student outreach, he said.

Plans for the new initiative will be unveiled at the April 13 annual Newman Foundation fundraising dinner. The event, called “Getting to Know Newman,” will feature a personal tour of the centre and information about its outreach and spiritual programs.