News/Canada

OTTAWA - Former Antigonish Bishop Raymond Lahey was sentenced to 15 months in prison Jan. 4, but will be released today as he has received a two-for-one credit for time served.

The Crown had sought an 18- to 22-month sentence.

Lahey has already served eight months in prison after pleading guilty to possessing child pornography for the purposes of importation to Canada in May. He was imprisoned after pleading guilty on his own request.

Psychiatrist says disgraced Bishop Lahey not a pedophile

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OTTAWA - Disgraced Bishop Raymond Lahey engaged in a number of homosexual “one-night stands” before settling into a 10-year relationship with a man, according to testimony Dec. 19 at Lahey’s sentencing hearing on child pornography charges.

Court also heard that Lahey has an addiction to Internet pornography but is probably not a pedophile and poses a next-to-zero chance of offending sexually or violently against children, according to a forensic psychiatrist. Dr. John Bradford, who examined Lahey, said Lahey has gay sadomasochistic fantasies where he is the submissive partner, although Lahey claims he has never acted on them.

The former Antigonish bishop, 71, pleaded guilty last May to possession of child pornography for the purpose of importation. He opted to go directly to jail before sentencing and has served seven and a half months.

Bishops move ahead on two-stage pastoral plan for life and family

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OTTAWA - The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) will proceed with a pastoral plan for life and family that will launch nationally in 2013 after a preparatory year in the dioceses.

In a mid-December letter to his brother bishops, CCCB President Archbishop Richard Smith confirmed the CCCB’s Permanent Council has given the proposed plan a green light after reviewing the practical aspects of the decisions made at the bishops’ annual plenary meeting in October.

“I am happy to confirm that we will proceed, as we had all agreed, with the elements of the pastoral plan for 2013 and for a preparatory year during 2012,” Smith wrote.

Pope clears way for Kateri Tekakwitha’s canonization

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When Canada’s first aboriginal saint is canonized, it will be an answered prayer for native people across Canada and beyond.

“There’s a natural sense of pride and joy,” among native people said Whitehorse Bishop Gary Gordon.

On hearing the news that Pope Benedict XVI had cleared the way for Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha to be canonized, perhaps as early as spring 2012, Gordon planned to phone his old friend Steve Point, the Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia. Point is a former elected chief of the Skowkale First Nation.

Hopes fade for Canadian Anglican ordinariate

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TORONTO - As hopeful Anglo-Catholic parishes across Canada completed two months of catechetical study Dec. 18, dreams of a Canadian Catholic ordinariate for ex-Anglicans are fading.
"We had hoped, of course, we would have our own Canadian ordinariate, but we realize our numbers may not warrant it," Bishop Carl Reid, Anglican Catholic Church of Canada auxiliary bishop, told The Catholic Register.

An American Anglican ordinariate will be inaugurated Jan. 1. About 2,000 former Episcopalians (as Anglicans are known in the United States) have asked to be received into the Catholic Church through provisions of the Anglicanorum Coetibus apostolic constitution.

The number of Canadian break-away Anglicans seeking a place in the Catholic Church has declined in the two years since Pope Benedict XVI issued Anglicanorum Coetibus, an apostolic constitution intended to provide for groups of Anglicans entering the Catholic Church but retaining significant elements of Anglican liturgy.

The main body that had been seeking union with the Catholic Church, the 28 parishes of the Anglican Catholic Church of Canada, split into two non-geographical dioceses Nov. 26. The pro-diocese of Our Lady of Walsingham contains parishes still engaged in the process for entering the Catholic Church. The remaining parishes in the diocese of Canada are taking a wait-and-see approach to the process, said Reid.
Substantial numbers of ACCC members have also left the Church as the prospect of joining a Catholic entity has taken shape.

"A number of our people who weren't clear when they joined us of our intention to seek unity — even though it is in our foundational documents, our constitution — when unity became not only a possibility but a reality they just sort of left," said Reid. "That reduced our numbers from what they were two years ago."

ACCC members in the pro-diocese of Our Lady of Walsingham understand that a handful of parishes, averaging between 20 and 30 members and spread across the country, can't justify a bishop and diocesan structure involved in an ordinariate, said Reid. They are waiting for word on just how they will be accommodated, he said.

Toronto Archbishop Thomas Collins, in charge of guiding the process in Canada, declined to comment.

"There are still some key details being worked out right now and, as you can imagine, this is a sensitive file," said archdiocese of Toronto spokesman Neil MacCarthy in an e-mail.

Among the issues being worked out are the final resting place of ACCC clergy. Where 67 Anglican priests in the United States have submitted dossiers seeking Catholic ordination and 35 have received a nulla osta, or initial approval, from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, none of the Canadian Anglican clergy who have applied have heard back from Rome.

"We're clearly further behind in the process than the Americans and the Australians," said Reid.

Without clergy, Anglican parishes accepted into the Catholic Church can't function, said the bishop.

Despite difficulties and uncertainty, the Our Lady of Walsingham Anglican Catholics remain hopeful, Reid said.

"Our people fully understand the divine mandate expressed by our Lord in John 17 'That they may be one.' And that's what's driving this whole process," he said. "Our remaining people here at the Cathedral (of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Ottawa) are committed to the process and understand the importance from the perspective of what God's wish is, not what ours is."

North Bay Knights show that Jesus is the reason for the season

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North Bay’s Knights of Columbus are distributing 1,200 pins to parishioners this Advent to make sure they remember the reason for the season.

“They’re about an inch-and-a-half in diameter and it has ‘Christmas’ at the top and ‘birth of Christ’ at the bottom and a picture of the Holy Family,” said Donald Halsall, financial secretary of the North Bay Council 1007, which was chartered in 1905.

“It’s to remind our Christians what the real meaning of Christmas is. We get wrapped up in gifts… but we should be remembering the purpose of Christmas is the birth of Christ,” said Halsall.

Mary as mother-to-be enshrined in statue at Charlottetown basilica

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CHARLOTTETOWN, PEI - A project begun a couple years ago to affirm the value of the family and the importance of unborn life has resulted in a statue of the Blessed Virgin as a pregnant young woman erected in Charlottetown’s St. Dunstan’s Basilica. 

Named Our Lady of Hope, the statue was a collaborative effort between the local Knights of Columbus, Catholic Women’s League and PEI Right to Life.

“I can’t tell you how delighted I was when I was approached with this suggestion,” said Charlottetown Bishop Richard Grecco, who gave his blessing to the project.

Supreme Court reserves decision on Linda Gibbons' pro-life activism

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OTTAWA - Lawyers for oft-arrested pro-life demonstrator Linda Gibbons argued before the Supreme Court of Canada Dec. 14 that using the criminal courts to stop her protests is like using a butcher’s knife where a scalpel would be more appropriate.

Attorney Daniel Santoro told the land's highest court that criminal courts should not be used to enforce an injunction made by a civil court, an injunction that has been used to jail Gibbons repeatedly. Instead, violations of civil injunctions or orders made by family courts or human rights tribunals should go back to the civil courts for enforcement, where there are a wider variety of remedies, including the lifting of the injunction.

Native poverty abounds on more than reserves

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TORONTO - Shocking, shameful poverty among Canada’s native people goes far beyond the remote Northern Ontario community of Attiwapiskat. Native poverty is walking the streets and crowding the basement apartments of Canada’s largest cities, according to a new report by St. Michael’s Hospital researcher Dr. Janet Smylie.

Smylie gathered detailed health information from 790 aboriginal Canadians living in Hamilton, Ont., and discovered the greatest, most prevalent risk to their health is poverty. Almost 80 per cent of respondents to Smylie’s survey reported an annual income of less than $20,000 per year.

New Senate report calls for First Nations’ education reforms

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OTTAWA - Senator Gerry St. Germain knows first-hand the role a good education can play in lifting people out of poverty and despair.

“I grew up in a Métis community where there wasn’t much hope, and there wasn’t a very strong light at the end of the tunnel,” St. Germain said in an interview.

The senator had an aunt who “sort of grabbed me out and helped our family educate me.”

John Paul II DVD raises funds for Ottawa basilica

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William Zlepnig was flabbergasted when he saw a stamp exhibit dedicated to Blessed John Paul II on display in Ottawa last April. He liked it so much he decided to sponsor the creation of a DVD that would keep the exhibit alive forever while at the same time helping to raise money for the restoration at St. Patrick’s Basilica.

“The basilica did a whole restoration outside and it’s (cost) up in the millions of dollars,” Zlepnig, a member of the St. Patrick’s Basilica Knights of Columbus, told The Catholic Register.

Titled A Stamp Tribute to John Paul II, about $4 or $5 of every DVD sold will go towards the restoration fund, he said.