{mosimage}OTTAWA - The sudden resignation of Truth and Reconciliation Commission chair Justice Harry LaForme has surprised and disappointed both Catholic and aboriginal leaders.

The commission was formed as a result of the Indian residential schools settlement agreement and has a five-year mandate to allow former students and others who participated in the schools to tell their stories.

Cistercian named Canada's newest bishop

{mosimage}OTTAWA - Pope Benedict XVI has appointed Abbot Yvon Moreau of the Cistercian Abbey of Oka, Que., to the episcopate in Quebec.

Bishop-elect Moreau will succeed retiring Sainte-Anne-de-la-Pocatière Bishop Clément Fecteau, who turned 75 in April. Canon law requires bishops reaching their 75th birthday to offer their resignation.

Pro-life protest lands Linda Gibbons in jail


TORONTO - Just two days after being released from a prison in Milton, Ont., at the end of September, longtime pro-life activist Linda Gibbons was ready to return to jail.

And she did, a week later, on Oct. 8. She was to appear before a judge in October.

Giving thanks to Good Shepherd Centre

{mosimage}TORONTO - James Douglas calls himself one of the Good Shepherd Centre’s success stories, and it’s hard to argue with the man.

More than three years ago he arrived in Toronto with too much money in his wallet and a thirst much deeper than his pockets. The money was from an insurance settlement. He had left Los Angeles looking for a connection with his family, hoping for a new start. What he found was the downtown bars and soon realized just trading Toronto for Los Angeles wasn’t going to change his life. He had been drinking long enough to know it was the one constant.

Faith communities have role to play in making peace

{mosimage}TORONTO - If people of faith are serious about peace, they ought to be serious enough to read, understand and promote the United Nations’ doctrine for promoting peace in the post-9/11 world, retired senator and former United Church moderator Lois Wilson told an interfaith gathering at the University of Toronto Oct. 7.

“We have social and political responsibilities,” Wilson insisted to a small group that included imams, rabbis, priests, ministers and scholars of world religions gathered for a conference on “Religions’ Role in Keeping Peace: Responses to A Common Word Between Us and You.”

Honour still being challenged

{mosimage}TORONTO - An Order of Canada recipient who founded an orphanage for girls in Haiti is continuing his legal challenge to the federal government over Dr. Henry Morgentaler’s award nomination, even though the controversial pro-abortion activist received the country’s highest civilian honour on Oct. 10.

Frank Chauvin, a retired police detective from Windsor, Ont., launched a judicial review application in late July to the Federal Court of Canada through lawyer Gerard Charette. Toronto lawyer Phil Horgan is also helping with the case.

Stock market causes chaos with charities

{mosimage}TORONTO - Plunging prices on Bay Street and Wall Street aren’t just a problem for the stock market. Since changes in tax laws governing gifts of stock in 2006, stock market joy has been joy for charities — and stock market trouble will be trouble for charities, including churches.

Beginning in May 2006, donors have been able to deduct 100 per cent of the value of any donations of stock to a registered charity up to a value of 75 per cent of their net annual income. If their gift exceeds that 75-per-cent threshold the donor can carry forward the deduction for up to five years.

Canadian prelates spark Synod debate

{mosimage}VATICAN CITY - The bishops representing Canada here at the Synod of Bishops on Scripture have been gratified by the reception their words have received during the three-week long gathering taking place here.

Though more than 200 interventions (short presentations) have now been read at the Synod, Ottawa Archbishop Terrence Prendergast, S.J., can confidently expect that his topic will be discussed during the assembly’s subsequent phases. His thesis echoed those of several other bishops: that an overemphasis on historical-critical biblical scholarship has deprived students of the spiritual sense of Scripture.

ShareLife ready for tough year

{mosimage}TORONTO - When times get tough, the tough get going. That isn’t the theme for this year’s ShareLife corporate campaign, but it could well be.

ShareLife launched its annual campaign to raise funds from the Catholic business community in Toronto Oct. 9 as headlines in newspapers around the world continued to trumpet the gloomy news about economic crisis, bank bailouts and plummeting stock prices.

U.S. Catholic views documented in Knights survey

{mosimage}WASHINGTON - American Catholic voters in 2008 tend to be more moderate and less liberal than U.S. voters as a whole, according to a survey commissioned by the Knights of Columbus and released Oct. 14.

“A plurality of Catholic voters, 39 per cent, are Democrats, and 45 per cent describe themselves as moderate. Only 19 per cent say they are liberal,” the survey said.

Social justice and the new evangelization

{mosimage}TORONTO — Since Pope John Paul II launched the term “new evangelization” on a visit to Latin America 25 years ago theologians, pastors and catechists have been trying to more fully understand what a new evangelization entails.

Pastor and theologian Bishop Claude Champagne believes the new evangelization has a lot to do with social justice. The auxiliary bishop of Halifax will outline just how justice and evangelizing are connected in the 2008-2009 Scarboro Missions Lecture. The lecture will be delivered twice — Nov. 21 at 7:30 p.m. at St. Jerome’s University in Waterloo, and the next day at 10 a.m. at Scarboro Missions, 2685 Kingston Rd., Scarborough.

The Oblate bishop taught missiology, the branch of theology which researches missionary work, at Saint Paul University in Ottawa until he was called to the episcopacy in 2003.