OTTAWA - Toronto Archbishop Thomas Collins urged Catholic school trustees not to compromise fidelity to the Catholic faith as they face government pressure to adopt policies contrary to Church teaching.

Speaking to the annual conference of the Canadian Catholic School Trustees’ Association in Ottawa Sept. 23, Collins exhorted everyone involved in Catholic education to become disciples of Christ and to fully participate in the New Evangelization, which he described as proclaiming the Word in places where the Gospel has been forgotten and God has been squeezed out.

“We are marinated in secularism,” he said, urging those present to take a look at the working document for the upcoming Synod on the New Evangelization called by Pope Benedict XVI.

Published in Education

As we gather to mourn Cardinal Ambrozic, and to celebrate this Funeral Mass for the repose of his soul, our consciousness of the Providence of God, and our faith in the Risen Lord, brings us consolation and hope in this time of sorrow.

Death reminds us all of the fragility of earthly life, and of our need to place our hope in the Lord alone, he who guides us on our pilgrimage through this vale of tears to the house of the heavenly Father. When we come together in the solemn rites of mourning of the Church, of our family of faith, we are ourselves strengthened through the Word of God, and through the Eucharist, and through our renewed awareness that when the time comes for each of us to die, we too will come before the Lord supported by the prayers of our brothers and sisters in Christ.

Cardinal Ambrozic died the day before the feast of St Monica, the mother of  St Augustine, patron of the seminary which was such an important part of his life. In his Confessions, Augustine writes of the death of his mother, and tells us that as Monica was dying, she made only one request of her son: “One thing only do I ask of you, that you remember me at the altar of the Lord, wherever you may be.”

Published in Canada: Toronto-GTA

ROME - Vatican representatives have completed the first phase of an investigation of major Catholic institutions in Ireland, ordered by Pope Benedict XVI to examine the response of Irish Church authorities to the clerical sex abuse scandal.

A statement from the Vatican press office June 6 said that apostolic visitators to four metropolitan dioceses, as well as seminaries and religious institutes, had turned over their reports to the competent Vatican agencies. Among the visitators were Toronto Archbishop Thomas Collins and Ottawa’s Archbishop Terrence Prendergast, S.J.

In the coming months, the statement said, bishops and leaders of religious orders will receive notices on what they should be doing “for the spiritual renewal” of the Irish Church.

The visitation was announced by Pope Benedict in March 2010 in a pastoral letter to Irish Catholics after an independent report showed widespread and historic abuse of minors on the part of Church figures in the overwhelmingly Catholic country. The report accused authorities of covering up and enabling a “culture of secrecy” regarding the problem.

Published in International

TORONTO - A leaked private e-mail between two Australian bishops that was critical of Toronto Archbishop Thomas Collins briefly threatened to halt the process of forming a Catholic Anglican ordinariate in Canada.

The message from Traditional Anglican Communion primate Archbishop John Hepworth to Melbourne’s Catholic Bishop Peter Elliott accused Collins of “the wanton destruction of their (Anglican Catholic Church of Canada) communities, the absolute disregard for their ecclesial integrity, and the brutish manner in which these edicts are being communicated.” Hepworth said that he and Anglican Catholic Church of Canada Bishop Peter Wilkinson would immediately place “on hold” further steps toward creating an ordinariate in Canada.  

Collins has been put in charge of the processes of forming an ordinariate for ex-Anglicans in Canada under the terms of the 2009 apostolic constitution Anglicanorum Coetibus.

In a statement posted to the archdiocese of Toronto’s web site May 16, Collins said his job was to offer the terms of Anglicanorum Coetibus to any and all former Anglicans, not just the Traditional Anglican Communion, of which the Anglican Catholic Church of Canada is a member.

Published in Canada

MISSISSAUGA, Ont. - Toronto Archbishop Thomas Collins has asked Canadians interested in joining a personal ordinariate for former Anglicans to signal their intention to join in writing by May 31.

He told the Anglicanorum Coetibus Conference held in Mississauga March 24-26 he wanted to “clarify the commitment” of individuals to find out “who wants to proceed, understanding exactly what it means.”

Collins, who is the episcopal delegate representing the Holy See in the formation of a personal ordinariate for former Anglicans within the Catholic Church, stressed the importance of individual conscience and that each individual have “fully informed consent to this.”

Though May 31 is not a deadline and Anglicans can commit to joining later, Collins said he wanted to provide the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith with an idea of preliminary numbers.

Published in Canada: Toronto-GTA

TORONTO - Toronto Archbishop Thomas Collins’s monthly lectio divina sessions have provided the inspiration for his new book, Pathway to our Hearts: A Simple Approach to Lectio Divina with the Sermon on the Mount.

The archbishop started lectio divina when he was the archbishop of Edmonton because he thought it was important for bishops to speak the Word of God to the people. Collins continued these sessions when he came to Toronto, and he runs lectio divina monthly at St. Michael’s Cathedral.

An audience of about 50 people was on hand for the launch of the book at the Catholic Pastoral Centre March 11.

Published in Canada: Toronto-GTA

DUBLIN - Boston Cardinal Sean O’Malley reportedly will tell Pope Benedict XVI that the Catholic Church in Ireland is “on the edge” of collapse due to the fallout from clerical abuse scandals.

O’Malley is one of several senior prelates — including Toronto Archbishop Thomas Collins and Ottawa’s Archbishop Terrence Prendergast, S.J. — charged by Pope Benedict with carrying out an apostolic visitation of the Irish Catholic Church following a series of highly critical judicial reports that revealed abuse by priests and a widespread culture of cover-up for decades among Church leaders.

Published in International

Toronto Archbishop Thomas Collins' apostolic visit to the Irish archdiocese of Cashel and Emly started off with a reality check on the harm done by priests who abuse their position of trust for sex.

"Even one priest gone wrong causes immense harm, and throughout the world priests have done unspeakable evil," Collins told a penitential service at Thurles Cathedral in County Tipperary on Jan. 16.

Collins' visit is in the wake of the sexual abuse scandal that came to light in the Irish Church. It was mandated by Pope Benedict XVI last March.

Published in Canada

TORONTO - Toronto Archbishop Thomas Collins will meet with abuse victims and lead a penitential service in the course of a two-week visit to the archdiocese of Cashel and Emly in Ireland.

Collins’ apostolic visit to Ireland, which began Jan. 13, was mandated by Pope Benedict XVI’s March 19, 2010 pastoral letter to the Catholics of Ireland. Along with Collins’ visit to Cashel and Emly, Ottawa Archbishop Terrence Prendergast, S.J., has visited the archdiocese of Tuam, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, archbishop emeritus of Westminster, England, will visit Armagh and Boston’s Cardinal Sean O’Malley is visiting Dublin. The program of apostolic visitation to Ireland also includes a trip by New York’s Archbishop Timothy Dolan to Ireland’s seminaries, and a delegation of religious visiting the religious orders.

Collins will lead a penitential service in the Cathedral of the Assumption in Thurles on Jan. 16 at 3 p.m. Thurles is about an hour-and-a-half drive west of Dublin.
All of the apostolic visitors to Ireland will meet with victims, with a particular emphasis on meeting individuals and families.

Published in Canada: Toronto-GTA

Below is the compete text of the address given Oct. 28 by Toronto Archbishop Thomas Collins at the annual Cardinal's Dinner in Toronto.

On behalf of Cardinal Ambrozic, I am happy to welcome you to the 31st annual Cardinal’s Dinner. Let us all keep Cardinal Ambrozic in our thoughts and prayers, asking God’s blessing upon him in his years of retirement.

This dinner is an occasion for all of us from within the Archdiocese of Toronto, and from the wider community, to come together in fellowship, and to help raise money to support many worthy charitable organizations. Over the years, more than $5.5 million dollars has been raised to help those in need. I thank Mr Daniel Sullivan for chairing this year’s Cardinal’s Dinner.


Published in Canada: Toronto-GTA

VATICAN CITY - Pope Benedict XVI named 24 new cardinals on Wednesday but there were no Canadians on his list that included 10 Italians and two Americans.

It was widely anticipated that the Pope would name a Canadian to the body whose primary responsibility is selecting the pontiff.

Currently, Montreal archbishop Jean-Claude Turcotte is the only cardinal residing in Canada. In August, Cardinal Marc Ouellet took an important position in the Vatican. In January, former Toronto archbishop Cardinal Aloysius Ambrozic of Toronto turned 80 and became ineligible to vote in papal conclaves.

Published in International

VATICAN CITY - As the special synod for the Middle East confronts the situation of Christians in the Middle East, Canadian and American bishops, too, are part of the equation as they come to the aid of Middle East Christians in North America.

The Catholic Church in Canada has always reached out to people in need, said Archbishop Thomas Collins of Toronto. The archdiocese itself has been helping refugees of every ethnicity and country of origin since the 1840s, he said.


Published in International

Two Canadian archbishops will be among Vatican officials discussing upcoming apostolic visitations with Irish archbishops over that nation's sexual abuse scandal in the Church.

The meeting will take place Oct. 5-6 at the offices of the Congregation for Bishops and be chaired by Cardinal Marc Ouellet, the former archbishop of Quebec City, said Ottawa Archbishop Terrence Prendergast, S.J., who along with Toronto's Archbishop Thomas Collins is among the apostolic visitors named by the Vatican.

Published in International

SAINTE-ANNE-DE-BEAUPRE, QUE. - Cardinal Marc Ouellet affirmed his unqualified commitment to the Gospel as he bid his farewell to the Quebec archdiocese Aug. 15 before heading off to assume a new role at the Vatican.

At his last public celebration of the Eucharist before departing to Rome, the new Prefect of the Congregation for Bishops acknowledged some people may have been hurt by some of his words in public debate or some of his pastoral decisions.

In recent months, Ouellet has faced a wave of negative attacks in the news media for his forthright stance in defense of human life from conception, even in cases of rape.  

Published in Canada

TORONTO - For Toronto’s Archbishop Thomas Collins the fate of Iraqi Christians trapped in Syria, Jordan and Lebanon isn’t just another tough case in an unfair world full of too much heartbreak. For him, this one is personal.

Collins has written to his fellow bishops across Canada about the fate of Iraqi Christian refugees, asking them to encourage refugee sponsorship in their dioceses. He has urged pastors in Toronto to get their parishes involved in sponsoring refugees.

But it’s more than words. He’s also sponsoring a refugee family himself.

Published in Canada: Toronto-GTA