2008 in review

  • January 5, 2009

The Catholic Register 012008


The 100th Week of Prayer for Christian Unity takes place Jan. 18-25. For a century, Christians have set aside a week to pray with Christ for unity.

The General Congregation of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) accepts the resignation of Fr. Peter-Hans Kolvenbach as superior general on Jan. 14. He had led the order for a quarter century.

The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops introduces new orientations to guide dioceses in updating their sexual abuse protocols . CCCB President Archbishop James Weisgerber says the orientations are “very clear” guidelines.

Times have changed as St. Elizabeth Health Care marks its 100th anniversary , but not the calling. St. Elizabeth’s Health Care is still providing home care to those in need in Ontario.

The Catholic Register 022408FEBRUARY

Canada’s military mission in Afghanistan should be focused on bringing peace, the CCCB says in a Feb. 14 public statement. The action plan should have “peace as the ultimate goal,” say the bishops.

Cuban President Fidel Castro steps down Feb. 19 after nearly a half-century in power. It has been five decades of often stormy relationships with the Catholic Church, though relations have improved considerably in recent years.

The Ontario Legislature, one of the last to open with the Lord’s Prayer , begins looking into an alternative way to open the legislature to reflect the diversity of the province. A few months later, the legislators decide to stick with tradition.

The Catholic Register 031608MARCH

Parishioners at Toronto’s St. Basil’s parish present a 1,400-name petition to city council demanding a delay to plans to erect two condo towers beside their church. Council, however, approves the project that will bring $34 million to the University of St. Michael’s College.

The Canadian government doubles its overall refugee sponsorship targets for Iraqis fleeing the war and persecution in their homeland. Up to 2,000 refugees will be accepted. The archdiocese of Toronto also doubles its refugee target .

The opposition claims victory over Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe in March 29 elections, but results are not announced. A political crisis ensues that leads to a power-sharing agreement signed in September between Mugabe’s Zanu-PF party and the Movement for Democratic Change. By year’s end, the agreement had still not been implemented.

The Catholic Register 040608APRIL

Benedict XVI makes his first visit as Pope to North America , starting a five-day trip to the United States April 15. He arrives in Washington and later visits New York, capped off with prayers at Ground Zero and a Mass at Yankee Stadium.

Dramatic hikes in prices in world food staples bring a crisis to poor nations throughout the world. Haiti, the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere, is especially hard hit, with a number of deaths attributed to rioting over food prices.

Judge Harry LaForme is appointed head of Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission that will hear the stories of Indian residential school survivors. LaForme is aboriginal himself, a member of the Mississaugas of New Credit First Nation.

The Catholic Register 051108MAY

Tens of thousands of people are dead or missing as Cyclone Nargis hits Myanmar May 3. Relief efforts are hampered by the nation’s military regime. 

A “culture of entitlement” at the Toronto Catholic District School Board is exposed in a Ministry of Education report. Trustees are taken to task for $900,000 in questionable expenses that leads to the province taking over the board.

Results of Quebec’s report on reasonable accommodation of minorities is released by commissioners Charles Taylor and Gérard Bouchard. The 37 recommendations promote open secularism and interculturalism that respects “the autonomy of (Quebec’s) various components.”


The Catholic Register 060808JUNE

On behalf of Canadians, Prime Minister Stephen Harper apologizes June 11 to former students of Indian residential schools. “The Government of Canada now recognizes that it was wrong to forcibly remove children from their homes, and we apologize for having done this,” Harper said.

Human rights’ complaints launched against Catholic Insight and Maclean’s magazines are dismissed by the Canadian Human Rights Commission. An anti-homosexual complaint was lodged against Catholic Insight, while Maclean’s was accused of an anti-Islam bias.

The archdiocese of Toronto, like the rest of the Catholic world, recognizes June 28, 2008, to June 29, 2009, as the Year of St. Paul. It is 2,000 years since the birth of the Apostle.

Thousands of pilgrims descend upon Quebec City June 15-22 for the 49th International Eucharistic Congress . Pope Benedict XVI delivers the homily via satellite to 55,000 gathered on the Plains of Abraham for the closing Mass.


The Catholic Register 072008JULY

It is announced July 1 that abortionist Henry Morgentaler will be honoured with the Order of Canada. A firestorm of protest greets the announcement.

World Youth Day attracts hundreds of thousands of young people to Sydney, Australia. At home, 400 young pilgrims get into the WYD spirit at Martyrs’ Shrine in Midland, Ont., at the Ontario Regional WYD event.

Fr. Jim Webb takes over as provincial superior for the Jesuits of Canada at a St. Ignatius Day Mass in Pickering, Ont., July 31.



Coming soon



Montreal Cardinal Jean-Claude Turcotte returns his Order of Canada to protest the appointment of Henry Morgentaler to the Order.

The economic meltdown currently being felt around the world swings into full gear as the U.S. House rejects a $700-billion bailout of the nation’s financial institutions.

The Canadian bishops hold their annual plenary meeting, with Assembly of First Nations Chief Phil Fontaine making a plea for reconciliation with the church. The bishops also issue a pastoral letter on the 40th anniversary of the papal encyclical Humanae Vitae.


The Catholic Register 100508OCTOBER

Bishops from around the world come to Rome for the Oct. 5-26 Synod of Bishops on the Bible . Quebec’s Cardinal Marc Ouellet is recording secretary for the Synod, with the theme “The Word of God in the Life and Mission of the Church.”

Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Conservatives win the Oct. 14 federal election , though the party returns with a minority government that is almost toppled within weeks by an opposition coalition.

Dr. Henry Morgentaler is invested into the Order of Canada , sparking another round of outrage from opponents of the decision.

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission looking into Indian residential schools is rocked by the resignation of chair Justice Harry LaForme . LaForme says the commission is doomed to fail because of differences among the commissioners.


The Catholic Register 111608NOVEMBER

Barack Obama makes history as the first African-American elected President of the United States.

The pro-life club at the University of Victoria, Youth Protecting Youth , is denied funding from the school’s student union. It’s the latest pro-life club on campuses across the nation denied funding because of its stance against abortion.

About 120 people are turned away for lack of space from a hugely successful Toronto conference marking the 40th anniversary of Pope Paul VI’s encyclical Humanae Vitae , which reaffirmed the church’s ban on artificial birth control.


The Catholic Register 122108DECEMBER

Irish singing sensations The Priests perform at Toronto’s St. Paul’s Basilica Dec. 1. Their CD tops the charts and they have signed a $1.9-million contract with Sony BMG.

The Ontario government launches its five-year plan to lift 90,000 people out of poverty, focusing on children.

The Vatican issues a 32-page instruction, Dignitas Personae (The Dignity of a Person),
warning that certain biotech advances violate moral principles.

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