An analysis of the 30 most read stories on shows an enduring and overarching concern with human rights, religious liberty and the struggles of minorities in Canada and around the world.

Religious rights and lives in 2017 captured attention of Register’s online readers

  • December 28, 2017

Rights, art, liturgy and life captured the attention of Catholic Register readers in 2017.

An analysis of the 30 most read stories on shows an enduring and overarching concern with human rights, religious liberty and the struggles of minorities in Canada and around the world. 

Five stories in the rights and religious liberty category, topping all subject areas in total online readership.

The rights and religious liberty category included international wire service stories reporting on the Catholic defence of Jehovah's Witness in Russia  and the Chinese government’s tightening grip over the Church on China’s mainland, even while Beijing negotiates with the Vatican for normalization of relations.

But Catholic Register stories written in Canada about Canadian rights and religious freedom issues also generated interest.

The most read included a report from Ottawa about opposition to the M-103 motion which directed Parliamentarians to study Islamophobia in Canada, a story about the religious freedom struggles of Muslim women who for religious reasons cover their hair and face, and a brouhaha over attempts by the Ontario’s Law Society to force lawyers to “create and abide” by statements of non-discrimination upholding diversity and inclusion for gays and others.  

Clashes over artistic vision, or even calm consideration of art and religious subjects, were big news in 2017. Among the best read were six stories that covered everything from outrage over a giant robotic spider which climbed down from Ottawa’s Notre Dame Cathedral, a New York fashion gala based on Catholic contributions to the textile arts,
a feature on Catholic themes in contemporary cinema, a profile of an Ontario man who has for years modelled as Jesus for sculptor Timothy Schmaltz, recent back-and-forth over the Vatican’s Christmas creche display which features the corporal works of mercy and the firing of long-time St. Michael’s Choir School conductor Dr. Jerzy Cichocky.

Register readers have a consistent interest in the lives of priests, vocations to the priesthood and the inner workings of the Catholic hierarchy.

Among the top reads in that category were a story on a request by Franciscans to allow brothers to act as superiors within the order and a rundown of the 11 graduates of St. Augustine’s Seminary who were ordained last spring.

Life issues are always a concern for Catholic Register readers. Outrage over Ottawa’s plan to earmark $650 million of overseas development aid for promoting abortion largely in African and Latin American countries where the practice has been both legally and culturally rejected topped the list.

Liturgical news, from the opportunity to pray before a first class relic of St. Francis Xavier to reconsecrating Canada to Mary on Canada Day also attracted views.

Lives lived are always fascinating. The most read obituaries this year included one for internationally renowned Vatican II theologian Gregory Baum and the story of the humble, too-short life of St. Catharines priest Fr. Trevor Plug who pastored the parish at St. Albert’s Church from a wheelchair.

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