News/Canada

OTTAWA - The Catholic Organization of Life and Family (COLF) has called the status quo on abortion “intolerable” and calls not only for “legislative reform” but also a “great cultural renewal.”

In its latest publication, “The Unborn Child: a gift, a treasure and a promise,” COLF describes respect for life as a “gauge of civilization” and warns that when the right to life is not fully protected “other rights are sooner or later mocked.”

It points out that in Canada there is no legal protection for the unborn child.

Bishops: Canadians experience 'worrisome erosion' of religious rights

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OTTAWA - Canada's Catholic bishops have published a defense of freedom of conscience and religious freedom as these universal rights come under increasing threat around the world.

The Catholic community and other religious groups are "experiencing a worrisome erosion" of these freedoms, said Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops president Archbishop Richard Smith in an open letter introducing the "Pastoral Letter on Freedom of Conscience and Religious freedom" published May 14 at www.cccb.ca.

(Right-click and save-as to download the letter as a PDF)

Disgraced former bishop Raymond Lahey dismissed from clerical state

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OTTAWA - Raymond Lahey, the former bishop of Antigonish, has been dismissed from the clerical state.

His dismissal comes due to his conviction last year of possessing child pornography for the purposes of importation to Canada. He pleaded guilty in an Ottawa courtroom May 4, 2011 to the charges and served eight months in prison before being released Jan. 4.

Pope knights Canadian Jew and 96-year-old Jesuit

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MONTREAL - It is rare to meet a real-life knight today. It is even rarer to meet someone knighted by the Pope. So it is truly extraordinary to meet a papal knight — who is also Jewish.

Canada can now boast of one Jewish papal knight. Montreal interfaith pioneer Victor Goldbloom was welcomed into the Vatican’s Order of St. Sylvester on May 10 at a reception organized by the Canadian Centre for Ecumenism.

Canada turns blind eye to cluster bomb treaty

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Banning cluster bombs but then allowing Canadian pilots to drop them, Canadian soldiers to transport them and Canadian commanding officers to order them into the battlefield makes no sense, says the man who negotiated Canada’s participation in the Convention on Cluster Munitions.

Former arms treaty negotiator Earl Turcotte, who led Canada’s effort to negotiate the Convention on Cluster Munitions, is warning Canada has misrepresented its signature on the 2010 treaty by proposing enabling legislation with very wide exceptions.

"Sex: A Tell-all Exhibition" draws fire from Catholic rights league

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OTTAWA - The Catholic Civil Rights League has written to the Canadian Heritage Minister to ask him to review the funding of a controversial sex exhibit aimed at adolescents at the Canadian Museum of Science and Technology.

Sex: A Tell-all Exhibition, opened May 17 at the Ottawa museum and runs till year’s end.

“Based on information from the museum’s own web site (www.sciencetech.technomuses.ca), as well as on information provided to a local contact during a preview, I find this material is far too advanced and detailed for the age group for which it is intended, and in any case has little if anything to do with the museum’s stated mandate ” wrote League executive director Joanne McGarry to Heritage Minister James Moore.

March for Life breaks record, draws nearly 20,000 people to Parliament Hill [w/ video]

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OTTAWA - The National March for Life drew almost 20,000 people to Parliament Hill May 10, making it the noisiest, youngest and most densely packed gathering in the March’s 15-year history.

An estimated 60 per cent of marchers were under 30, marching on the theme “Abortion Hurts Everyone.”

Marchers arrived on the Hill around noon to find police had barricaded about one-quarter of the lawn, reserving it for pro-abortion demonstrators. This forced the March for Life participants to crunch together, shoulder to shoulder, though only about 50 people appeared to represent the other side. The lawn reserved for pro-abortion demonstrators remained empty, as the counter-demonstrators formed a thin but noisy line along a section of the metal barricade.

Archbishop Prendergast blasts lies that support abortion at March for Life 2012 mass

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OTTAWA - Ottawa Archbishop Terrence Prendergast blasted the false sense of personhood that results in abortion on demand in Canada.

“We need to challenge the false idea that abortion is merely a private, personal decision,” the archbishop said in a homily at one of several Masses in conjunction with the National March for Life May 10. “The truth is, abortion hurts everyone — the developing child in the womb, the mother, the father, the extended family, the community and even our culture.

Pro-life effort looks to take baby steps

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A grassroots pro-life movement is hoping to spark a review of abortion laws in Canada through open debate with local MPs, all while maintaining a fair and open discourse for all sides on the issue.

“I’m pro-life from conception,” Mike Schouten, campaign director of the weneedalaw.ca web campaign, told The Catholic Register. “I also recognize that in the current situation in Canada there’s obstacles in our way that prevent us from having a law that bans all abortions. That’s simply just not going to happen right now.”

Schouten said the campaign aims to take an incremental approach.

Vincentians aid Attawapiskat

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A house is just a big container. It’s what you put in it that makes it a home. The St. Vincent de Paul Society at St. Kevin’s in Val Therese, Ont., knows the difference.

The Vincentians inspired parishioners at St. Kevin’s and their fellow Vincentians around the province to contribute $24,000 to help furnish pre-fab houses going to the native community of Attawapiskat, Ont.

Hamilton religious honoured for 50 years service to the Church

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HAMILTON, ONT. - Some 650 people paid tribute to 13 priests and religious who have a combined 650 years of consecrated service to the Church as the Serra Club of Hamilton held its annual Celebration of Priesthood and Religious Life Dinner May 1.

The 13 each marked 50 years since beginning their religious lives and have pursued greatly varied paths in ministry over that time. Three School Sisters of Notre Dame who were honoured, for example, are currently serving in Ghana, South Sudan and Fort Good Hope, N.W.T., while one priest has acted as a high school teacher and principal, and another as an advisor to the Retrouvaille marriage encounter ministry.