{mosimage}KAIROS and it’s supporters have reacted with shock, dismay, anger and bewilderment at being called anti-Semitic by Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney at a conference in Jerusalem.

“We have de-funded organizations, most recently, like KAIROS who are taking a leadership role in the boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign” against Israel, Kenney told the Global Forum for Combatting Anti-Semitism Dec. 16.

Charitable donors try to alleviate world poverty

{mosimage}More than half of Canadians who give to charity are trying to do something about poverty and international development, according to an Ipsos Reid poll that probes Canadian patterns in giving.

The 51 per cent of Canadians who chose to make their charitable donations to agencies that work in international development and poverty trails only the medical category which attracted 77 per cent of donors. Poverty and international development outpaced third-place environmental causes, which attracted 31 per cent of donors.

Rosary, faithful family, friends lead priest to altar

{mosimage}The Montreal diocese received an early Christmas present in the form of its newest priest, Fr. François Charette.

Charette, 31, was ordained for the diocese Dec. 11 after a 13-year journey that began with a conversion of heart, involvement in a pontifical lay community, parish work and missionary work in Latin America.

Bells ring, drums beat for deal on climate change

{mosimage}In Kingston, Ont., church bells rang in solidarity with others around the world Dec. 13 to encourage a just deal against climate change at the United Nations climate summit in Copenhagen.

The Sisters of Providence had encouraged 14 churches, temples and mosques in the Kingston area to join in with the global call for 350 bell tolls, meant to represent the 350 parts per million which scientists have said is the safe upper limit for carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. If worshippers did not have bells to clang, they were encouraged to offer alternative awareness activities.

Canadian senate latest to call for action on poverty

{mosimage}A behemoth, 300-page report with 78 recommendations, the result of two years study and testimony from more than 175 witnesses, has anti-poverty activists hoping Canadians may start thinking and talking about poverty and how to solve it.

In From the Margins: A Call to Action on Poverty, Housing and Homelessness was tabled in the Senate Dec. 8. The government will have 150 days to respond to its findings and recommendations once Senators finish commenting on it in January.

Flu restrictions for Mass in Toronto lifted

{mosimage}TORONTO - You can shake hands at Mass again in Toronto.

As the threat of the H1N1 flu virus retreats, Archbishop Thomas Collins has removed temporary restrictions that asked people to bow or otherwise make the sign of peace without shaking hands. He’s also cleared the way for people to begin receiving communion directly on the tongue again.

St. Vincent de Paul volunteers find a way to help

{mosimage}TORONTO - Society of St. Vincent de Paul volunteer Dave McLewin starts his car on a chilly December morning and prepares for a Christmas season visit with clients.

“Business is certainly up,” he remarks during the drive to Nickeisha Hitchman’s apartment.

Recipients in St. Basil’s Society of St. Vincent de Paul outreach program are up by 70 per cent since 2006, said McLewin, 71 and in his fourth year as a volunteer.

Tree sales aid Out of the Cold

{mosimage}TORONTO  - It’s been a Christmas tradition for the Flanagan family for the past 15 years: Selling Christmas trees for the Out of the Cold program.

Volunteer Sonny Flanagan says he and his family are raising funds for a much-needed program in the city.

KAIROS reapplies for CIDA funding

{mosimage}KAIROS is willing to reapply for Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) funding, but the ecumenical justice organization wants to know the new ground rules.

“We’ve already spent six months on this proposal and discussions around this proposal, understanding that this was an excellent proposal and we got an excellent evaluation right in the middle of our work,” said KAIROS executive director Mary Corkery.

At a brief meeting with CIDA Minister Bev Oda, KAIROS “didn’t learn very much,” Corkery said.

Toronto nativity scene plaque honouring pro-life hero caught up in politics

{mosimage}TORONTO - Activists with Campaign Life Coalition were shocked to find themselves accused of playing pro-life politics with Christmas. All they wanted to do was honour an aging, beloved priest, said the head of Campaign Life’s Gethsemene Ministries.

“I was quite surprised,” Suresh Dominic told The Catholic Register.

After written complaints reached Mayor David Miller’s office, city officials asked Dominic to remove a sign from the back of the creche display in front of Old City Hall. The sign on a laminated 8X11 sheet of paper said the statues in the scene had been anonymously donated in honour of “pro-life hero Fr. Ted Colleton.”

Bishop Lahey's case postponed until the new year

{mosimage}OTTAWA - Bishop Raymond Lahey, who was expected to appear in an Ottawa courtroom Dec. 16 on charges of possession and importation of child pornography, has had his case postponed until Jan. 13.

A lawyer for the former bishop of Antigonish, N.S., asked for the postponement for procedural reasons.