OTTAWA - The president of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops has written Prime Minister Stephen Harper, raising a number of concerns in the wake of a failed motion to restore the traditional definition of marriage.

Response to terrorism can be taken from holy books

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Fr. Bob Holmes and Shabir AllyTORONTO - Muslim cleric and scholar Shabir Ally's message to high school students with questions about terrorism is that theology matters.

Ally took about 200 high school students from across the Greater Toronto Area through a quick tour of the history of Muslim thought about war and peace. The students were at the University of St. Michael's College, University of Toronto, for the annual Brebeuf Social Justice Symposium on Dec. 15. Students from half a dozen Catholic schools converged downtown to question a variety of speakers gathered to address the topic  "When faith meets terror."

High school students have mixed feelings about Ontario's mandatory World Religions course

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TORONTO - Instead of reflecting on the tradition of a Hindu marriage ceremony, Grade 11 World Religion students at Bishop Allen Academy in Toronto reflect on the question: "Why do I have to take this course?"

Insiders not surprised at Archbishop Collins' posting to Canada's largest diocese

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TORONTO - The man who is about to become one of the most powerful churchmen in Canada has no interest in the trappings of power.

Archbishop Thomas Collins has been a success as a seminary professor and rector, as a bishop in northern Alberta and as a metropolitan archbishop in Edmonton. Church insiders are not surprised Collins was appointed to lead Toronto, Canada's largest and richest Catholic diocese by Pope Benedict XVI on Dec. 16.

After 16 years, Cardinal Ambrozic retires as head of archdiocese

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Cardinal Aloysius AmbrozicTORONTO - With the appointment of a replacement, began last week to say his goodbyes to the flock he has led as archbishop for 16 years.

The cardinal said his last noon Mass at St. Michael's Cathedral as archbishop of Toronto Dec. 17, using the occasion to thank all those who had worked with him and for him. And on Dec. 19, he presided over a Christmas thanksgiving Mass with staff at the Catholic Pastoral Centre.

Homeless, poor not forgotten on Christmas Day

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Toronto Good Shepherd CentreTORONTO - For most people in our society, Christmas is a joyful time spent with family. But for the homeless, it's not a celebration they can relate to.

Bioethics conference examines health

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What health means will be thoroughly examined by the Canadian Catholic Bioethics Institute at its 2007 conference in Halifax this coming May.

Manitoba implements no-sweat policy

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WINNIPEG - The first province to impose minimum labour standards for the clothes its government buys is Manitoba.

Captives offer forgiveness to Iraqi captors

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James LoneyA year after they were snatched from the streets of Baghdad and repeatedly threatened with death over 118 days, the surviving three members of a kidnapped Christian Peacemaker Teams have forgiven their kidnappers and asked the Iraqi court to show leniency to the men about to stand trial for the crime.

Good Shepherd opens Christmas Store

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HAMILTON, Ont. - For the past 14 years the Good Shepherd food bank in Hamilton transforms into a Christmas Store for the month of December.

Charities feel pinch as province starves agencies of money

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Michael FullanTORONTO - Catholic Family Services — Peel-Dufferin delivers one of the best bargains the Ontario taxpayers ever got.

The agency deals with family breakdown, the after-effects of child abuse, violence against women and more among 1.2 million people living west and northwest of Toronto. For the region's adult survivors of child abuse, the agency collects $53,000 of provincial government funding and magically transforms it into $250,000 in front-line counselling services to some of the most tragically damaged people in our midst.