The annual March for Life in Ottawa on May 12 could be affected by the Alberta bishops’ decision to not take part in the Edmonton version of the march the same day. (Photo by Deborah Gyapong)

OTTAWA - Campaign Life Coalition has expressed disappointment at the Alberta bishops’ decision to forgo participation in the Edmonton March for Life.

The march takes place May 12, the same day of the Campaign Life-run National March for Life in Ottawa.  

“They should be there, supporting, participating and leading,” said Mary Ellen Douglas. 

But she noted that the fact the Alberta bishops were also involved in organizing the march might have been part of the problem. A pro-life march is not a Catholic event, as such, so it should not be run by bishops, she said.

REAL Women to intervene in appeal of ‘safe’ drug injection site

REAL Women national vice-president Gwen LandoltOTTAWA - REAL Women of Canada has been granted leave to intervene before the Supreme Court of Canada in the Vancouver safe drug injection site case to be argued May 11.

The pro-family, pro-life women’s organization is the only group among nine interveners that will argue on behalf of the federal government’s position that Ottawa has jurisdiction to control illegal drugs and that those laws should have a moral basis.

The federal government is appealing a 2010 B.C. Court of Appeal ruling, which dismissed an earlier government appeal, to close InSite, the supervised safe-injection site in Vancouver. InSite opened in 2003 under a temporary exemption from national drug laws and offers drug addicts a place  to inject drugs while connecting to health services. When the temporary exemption was set to expire, InSite went to the B.C. Supreme Court and won a permanent exemption.

Antigonish abuse settlement going as expected

Antigonish Bishop Brian DunnANTIGONISH, N.S. - The settlement of a class-action lawsuit filed against the diocese of Antigonish on behalf of victims of sexual abuse remains on track and is meeting its timelines.

“It is going the way we anticipated it going,” said diocesan spokesman Fr. Paul Abbass.

“The response of the parish and the generosity of the parishes in this pooling, albeit very difficult for them, has been very good.”

In August 2009, the diocese agreed to pay $13 million relating to sexual abuse cases dating back several decades. Then-Bishop Raymond Lahey announced the deal, shortly before being charged himself with importing and possessing child pornography. Lahey will be in court to face these charges next month.  

Ontario’s equity policy on tap at annual OCSTA conference

Ontario Minister of Education Leona DombrowskyTORONTO - The Ontario Catholic School Trustees’ Association conference takes place April 28 to 30 at the Fairmont Royal York in Toronto.

Ontario Minister of Education Leona Dombrowksy will be a keynote speaker at the conference on the opening day of the annual conference.

Among the topics conference speakers and participants will discuss will be the Ontario government’s equity and inclusive education strategy and how it applies to Catholic schools and how the strategy will be implemented in Catholic schools. The issue has caused controversy as Catholic school boards try to implement the strategy while staying true to the teachings of the Catholic Church.

Baby Joseph gets his tracheotomy

Moe Maraachli and his 14-month-old son, Joseph, are pictured in a St. Louis hospital room. Doctors performed a tracheotomy on the infant last night. (CNS photo/courtesy of SSM Cardinal Glennon Children's Medical Center)Doctors at a St. Louis hospital performed a tracheotomy March 21 on Baby Joseph, the seriously ill 14-month-old who has been at the centre of an international tug-of-war over end-of-life care.

It's a procedure the Maraachli family has fought for ever since the Ontario Superior Court ordered them to give their consent to remove their child's breathing tube on Feb. 18. He has a neurodegenerative disease and needs a breathing and feeding tube to survive.The family defied the legal order and the advice of London Health Sciences Centre doctors who said his condition would not improve with the procedure, would be "invasive" and futile.

“Following a thorough examination by a multi-disciplinary medical team of specialists from SSM Cardinal Glennon and Saint Louis University School of Medicine, along with extensive consultations with Joseph's parents and the SSM Cardinal Glennon ethics committee, we concluded that a tracheotomy was medically appropriate,” said the SSM Cardinal Glennon Children's Medical Centre in a statement.

KAIROS still seeks truth behind funding cut


KAIROSOTTAWA - The apparent disconnect between the Conservative government and CIDA public servants over funding of the ecumenical social justice group KAIROS may expose a much deeper underlying issue about overseas development.

“It would be helpful if the real reasons were put on the table,” said KAIROS executive director Mary Corkery March 18 after she testified before the House of Commons procedure and house affairs committee.

Corkery’s testimony followed a two-hour grilling of CIDA Minister Bev Oda on whether she had deliberately misled the House of Commons. Oda changed the recommendation to grant funding to KAIROS after CIDA officials had given their approval.

One of the key signals of an ideological shift is the government’s criticism of KAIROS for funding advocacy. Corkery said the Latin roots of the word “advocacy” mean the bringing forward of “the voices of the poor and the marginalized and those who are suffering human rights abuses from our point of view.”

D&P aims for $10 million with annual Share Lent campaign


OTTAWA - The Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace launched its annual Share Lent fundraising campaign here March 16 with the goal of raising $10 million.

Under the banner Building a World of Justice, the Canadian bishops' overseas development agency aims to collect $10 million across Canada to go towards more than 200 sustainable development projects it supports in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East.

The theme for this year’s campaign expresses the collective work of the many local organizations that D&P has supported over the last 40 years.

Ordinariates are meant to evangelize, witness to unity, says Dominican scholar

The Anglicanorum coetibus Conference hosted by Toronto Archbishop Thomas Collins.OTTAWA - The headline speaker at an historic conference March 24-26 in Mississauga, Ont., hopes Personal Ordinariates for Anglicans will flourish in the Catholic Church through an emphasis on mission and unity.

But Fr. Aidan Nichols, a Dominican priest and scholar who is an expert on Anglican Church history and patrimony, would have preferred the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum coetibus had gone further than the Personal Ordinariate structure it calls for and instead created “the Western equivalent of a Catholic Eastern Church.”

“That would have been my preferred option, chiefly because it would be better able to resist assimilation to the parishes of the Latin dioceses,” he said in an e-mail interview. “But if the ecclesial arrangement offered enables the 'patrimony' to be transmitted, that is the main thing.”

Money the obstacle as Atlantic School of Theology strike looms

Atlantic School of TheologyAs the legal strike deadline looms at 12:01 a.m. March 18, negotiators for the Atlantic School of Theology and its Faculty Association hope a March 21 meeting will put them on a path to a first contract between unionized librarians and professors and the school.

The big issue is money.

"The Atlantic School of Theology faculty is probably the most poorly paid faculty in Canada," said James Turk, Canadian Association of University Teachers executive director. "What they're being offered by the school is very, very little."

Salaries for academic staff with PhDs range from $41,000 to $103,470 for a full professor. The president of the university makes just over $100,000, plus taxable benefits of $26,606.

Graphic images force Alberta bishops out of March for Life


Archbishop Richard Smith

EDMONTON - The Alberta bishops will not participate in this year’s March for Life because organizers could not guarantee that placards displaying dead fetuses would not be present at the event.

Edmonton Archbishop Richard Smith, liaison bishop with march organizers, said the presence of images of aborted babies at the march is not consistent with the message the bishops want to portray about the dignity of human life. The graphic images “have started to become a predominant image in the march,” Smith said. Given that the Alberta bishops have been in the forefront of organizing the march, people could naturally assume that they have “given our blessing” to those images, he said.

This year’s March for Life is scheduled for May 12 and Smith said the bishops “will not stand in the way of anybody else participating.”

MPP honoured for efforts to recognize Ukrainian genocide

MPP Dave Levac with his Ukrainian Order of Merit. (Photo by Michael Swan)TORONTO - Not many people have been knighted for an act of remembering. Ontario Liberal MPP Dave Levac is one of the few, recently made a Chevalier of the Ukrainian Order of Merit for his efforts to have the genocide of Ukrainians in the 1930s officially recognized in Ontario.

In 2009 Levac pushed through the Holodomor Memorial Day Act, recognizing the fourth Saturday of each November as Holodomor Memorial Day. A Soviet government-engineered famine in Ukraine in 1932 and 1933, the Holodomor killed up to 10 million Ukrainians, as many as 25,000 a day at its peak in 1933.

Levac was presented with his Order of Merit medal at St. John the Baptist Ukrainian Catholic Church in Brantford, Ont., Jan. 21. It’s the highest honour awarded by the Ukrainian government.

“It humbles me,” said Levac.