CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. - Bishop J. Faber MacDonald, who served a number of Maritime dioceses over the years, passed away at the age of 80 in Charlottetown.

A Prince Edward Island native, Bishop MacDonald was ordained a priest for the diocese of Charlottetown at the age of 31. On Jan. 11, 1980, just nine days before his birthday, Pope John Paul II appoint the priest from P.E.I. bishop of the diocese of Grand Falls, Nfld. A little more than two months later he was ordained at St. Dunstan's Basilica in his home province.

Disappointment greets Quebec ERC ruling


OTTAWA - Parents’ groups and organizations defending religious freedom have reacted with disappointment to a Supreme Court of Canada decision concerning the rights of parents to exempt their children from Quebec’s mandatory Ethics and Religious Culture (ERC) program.

Canada’s highest court ruled Feb. 17 the program does not violate the religious freedom of Catholic parents because they were unable to prove the course harms their children.

Section 13 of human rights act one step closer to being repealed


Correction: This story has been updated as incorrect details were included in its first printing. The Register apologizes for its error.

OTTAWA - A private member's bill that would axe the controversial Section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act has passed second reading and will now go to committee for further study.

Conservative MP Brian Storseth's Bill C-304, which would repeal the so-called hate speech provision act, passed second reading by a 158-131 vote Feb. 15.

Bill 13 foists activism on Ontario schoolchildren


OTTAWA - An Ottawa-based think tank said mandating gay-straight alliances (GSAs) as part of Ontario government’s anti-bullying strategy will only force students into activism.

The Institute of Marriage and Family Canada (IMFC) warns of negative effects on freedom and equality if Ontario’s Equity and Inclusion Strategy forces students to move “beyond tolerance to acceptance and respect.”

“Diversity will only flourish in Ontario schools when students are encouraged to respectfully interact with different thoughts and opinions,” said the IMFC in its study entitled Ontario’s Equity and Inclusive Education Strategy Reviewed. [DOWNLOAD REPORT HERE]

Canadian Jesuits take comical poke at themselves with dinner-theatre production


TORONTO - Canadian Jesuits, with help from some high school students, are preparing to poke a little fun at themselves through a dinner-theatre production.

Jesuits Served Right: A Jesuit Dinner Theatre will be performed at Toronto’s Brebeuf College School Feb. 25. The project is part of the Jesuits’ celebration of 400 years in Canada.

Habs’ fans urged to go out on a wing and a prayer


MONTREAL - Can prayer assure your favourite NHL team a chance for a run at the Stanley Cup? An ad that is all tongue-in-cheek, taken out by the archdiocese of Montreal, is inviting hockey fans to give it a try.

In a city where the secular passion for hockey has been compared to a religion, the archdiocese has decided to ride the wave and sneak in a Gospel call to turn to God.

Looking back on Fr. Bedard’s ‘prophetic dimension’


OTTAWA - When the Companions of the Cross met for its General Assembly Jan. 30-Feb. 3 in Cornwall, Ont., the priests had their first chance to reflect on the impact of last year’s death of founder Fr. Bob Bedard.

“The passing of a founder, of a spiritual father in Christ, is a watershed for any community in the history of the Church,” said moderator Fr. Scott McCaig, who was re-elected Feb. 3 for a second six-year term as the order’s leader.

North Bay parishioners’ appeal to Vatican over church closures fails


There was nothing wrong with the sale and closure of two North Bay, Ont., churches in the judgment of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Clergy.

Former parishioners of St. Rita’s and Corpus Christi in North Bay had appealed to the Vatican to keep their churches open for some kind of religious purpose. While they acknowledged their bishop’s right to suppress the parishes, they disputed whether he was within his rights to sell the buildings and — in the language of canon law — reduce them to profane use.

Surprise knighthood from Pope Benedict XVI at Sacred Heart


Kingston Archbishop Brendan O’Brien, centre, and Peterborough Bishop Nicola DeAngelis, right, surprise Prof. Thomas T.H. Symons with a knighthood from Pope Benedict XVI.

Symons was made a Knight of St. Sylvester at the Feb. 3 inaugural convocation ceremony for Sacred Heart College in Peterborough. Symons helped found Sacred Heart, the new Catholic college affiliated with Peterborough’s Trent University. He was also a founder of Trent back in 1964 and chairs the board of trustees for Sacred Heart College.

D&P's Share Lent appeal launches


OTTAWA - Archbishop Richard Smith is inviting Catholics to open their hearts to those in need by contributing generously to this year’s Share Lent campaign.

The annual fundraising campaign kicks off Feb. 22 and runs through April 7. It is the major fundraiser for the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace, the Canadian bishops’ development agency, accounting for about 30 per cent of its annual budget.

Register delivery changes on the way


Next to printing a high-quality newspaper each week, there is nothing more important than getting The Catholic Register into the hands of our readers in a timely, cost-effective manner.

For many years, that has meant using Canada Post as our primary delivery method. But over the next few weeks The Register will cease using the mailman to deliver the paper to the vast majority of our readers.