OTTAWA – Parliament would be sending a “disturbing message” to Canada’s religious community if it eliminates a law that currently makes it an offence to disrupt a religious service, Cardinal Thomas Collins told a parliamentary committee.

Pope names auxiliary Chaldean bishop in San Diego to head Toronto eparchy

WASHINGTON – Pope Francis has appointed Auxiliary Bishop Bawai Soro of the Chaldean Catholic Eparchy of St. Peter the Apostle in San Diego as bishop of the Chaldean Catholic Eparchy of Mar Addai of Toronto.

Bishop Soro, 63, has been an auxiliary bishop of the San Diego-based eparchy since the pope named him to the post in January 2014. He was ordained as a bishop in 1984, two years after his ordination to the priesthood.

The appointment was announced Oct. 31 in Washington by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States.

The bishop, a native of Iraq who came to the United States as a refugee in 1976, has spoken about the plight of displaced Iraqi Christians for years.

This past summer, at a news conference in Washington, he said the current situation for Christians in the Middle East remains fragile, as they suffer at the hands of radical Islamic groups.

"It is very unfortunate that Iraq as a country still lacks the certain constitutional amendments that guarantee liberty and equality to all Iraqis," he said. "It remains our dream that the Christians will not be second-class citizens in their own native homeland, Iraq. But instead, they will hopefully soon have equal social, economic, political, lives and statuses just as all Iraqis have."

In an interview with Catholic News Service in 1992, he lamented the plight of more than 50,00 Iraqi Christian refugees who fled their country along with hundreds of thousands of Kurds to escape the destruction unleashed by the Gulf War and Iraqi military operations against Kurdish rebels that followed.

"The future is unknown for these people," he said. "Mainly, they sit down and wait; they don't know what to do with their lives."

And in a 2004 interview, he told CNS that Christians and ethnic minorities have always played a "significant and civilized role" in the progress of Iraq, and sees the unification of Christians as even more crucial today. But he noted that the number of Christians in Iraq is dwindling.

Catholic organizations scramble in wake of new 'bubble zone' law

Ontario’s bubble zone legislation has Catholic lawyers pondering courtroom strategy, Ottawa’s archbishop worrying about the annual March for Life and a pro-life counselling service looking for a new location.

Egyptian Jesuit looks for dialogue ‘based on truth’

Catholic-Muslim dialogue is a blind alley, says a prominent Egyptian Jesuit priest who headlined an Oct. 28 dinner in Toronto to support Christians in the Middle East.

Sisters are a driving force for fund to aid new refugees to Canada

WINDSOR, Ont. – She may have “retired” five years ago, but Sr. Helen Petrimoulx has never backed away from her commitment to refugees seeking a new life in Canada.

Drama teacher recovers from a rare form of meningitis

EDMONTON – Chris Zyp has been a drama teacher for more than 20 years, but even he wasn’t prepared for this epic.

Human trafficking in Canada documentary could be shown to schools and police nationwide

OTTAWA – While some progress has been made combating human trafficking in Canada more needs to be done, especially in educating the public, says former MP Joy Smith.

Canadian government urged to address all hatred

OTTAWA – If the government is going to confront anti-Muslim hatred it should also address hatred against other religious groups and minorities, said Canada’s former Ambassador of Religious Freedom.

York University professor earns Medal of Honour for building Catholic leaders

It was an unexpected surprise when Greg Rogers learned he would be receiving the Fr. Patrick Fogarty Medal of Honour for 2017.

Basic income can't be ignored, says Vatican expert

A basic income guarantee, such as the pilot project currently running in three Ontario communities, is not an infallible teaching of the Catholic Church, but it can’t be dismissed, one of the Vatican’s top economic advisors told an interfaith conference on basic income.

Use your faith to battle ‘coldness’ of the world, Cardinal Collins urges

Christians need to actively engage modern culture with "the profound wisdom of our faith tradition" to combat the emptiness and loneliness in our modern world, said Cardinal Thomas Collins.