News/Canada

{mosimage}TORONTO - It wasn’t the kind of assignment he had been used to, but Capt. Joseph Nonato says his mission in Afghanistan so far has been an eye-opening spiritual journey.

“My favourite times are when we can have an open discussion about faith, prayer and belief,” he wrote in an e-mail to The Catholic Register from Kandahar.

Indian violence linked to colonization

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{mosimage}TORONTO - The roots of the recent anti-Christian violence in India have some links to the early missionary work of Christians in the country, says a British scholar of Christianity in India.

“The behaviour of the Europeans was seen as abhorrent by the population of southern India. Converting people was also seen as abhorrent,” said Anglican Rev. Paul Collins, an associate professor of theology at England’s University of Chichester, at an Oct. 30 lecture at the University of St. Michael’s College.

Canada must correct understanding of freedom, Pope says

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{mosimage}VATICAN CITY - A correct understanding of freedom is needed to revive a true culture of life in Canada that respects human dignity, Pope Benedict XVI said.

"Catholicism represents an essential cornerstone in the framework of Canadian society," he said in an Oct. 30 audience with Canada's new ambassador to the Vatican, Anne Leahy, who presented her credentials.

Rosaries offered to soldiers

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{mosimage}WOODBRIDGE, Ont. - Two hundred rosaries and prayer cards will soon be on their way to soldiers in Afghanistan, with the hopes of being able to send more.

On Oct. 26, Rev. Grahame C. Thompson, assistant area chaplain for the Headquarters of Land Forces Central in Toronto, accepted the blessed items on behalf of the Canadian Armed Forces from St. Padre Pio parish in Woodbridge, Ont.

For-profit medicare a threat to system

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{mosimage}TORONTO - Canadian Medical Association president Dr. Robert Ouellet says he wants the private sector to take the pressure off medicare in Canada by running a parallel system of private clinics, but bioethicists and many doctors think the CMA president is blind to the science of public-versus-private health care.

Ouellet announced Oct. 21 he was leading a delegation to the United Kingdom, Denmark and other European countries to investigate how public and private health care exists side by side in those countries.

Quebec parents seek choice on religious education

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{mosimage}MONTREAL - Close to three-quarters of Quebec parents want the right to choose between a secular Ethics and Religious Culture program and denominational religious instruction for their children, suggests a new poll.

The poll by Leger Marketing on behalf of the Catholic Parents Association of Quebec was released Oct. 28. It found that 72 per cent of those surveyed agreed that parents should have a choice between denominational religious instruction and the new non-denominational course all Quebec schools — public and private — are being told to provide for students.

D&P pleas for Haitian aid

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{mosimage}OTTAWA - The Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace is seeking funds to help Haiti recover from a series of devastating hurricanes.

“This is the worst impact from hurricanes that we’ve seen in decades,” said Anne Catherine Kennedy, Development and Peace program officer for Brazil and Haiti.

Canadian Bishops sound alarm on Indian persecution

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{mosimage}OTTAWA - The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops wants Canada to express “grave concern” to India about Christian persecution and cut off funds if aid money supports persecuting groups.

“According to substantiated news reports, this past summer there have been pre-meditated mob attacks in the state of Orissa as well as in the states of Karnataka and Madha Pradesh,” bishops' conference president Archbishop James Weisgerber wrote in an Oct. 15 letter to Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

Ethical index takes a hit

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{mosimage}TORONTO - It was a bad month for just about all investors, but a little bit worse for ethical investors in September.

The Jantzi Social Index of 60 Canadian stocks chosen for their environmental, social and governance performance plummeted 15.3 per cent in September, compared with a 13.76-per-cent drop in the S&P/TSX 60 and a 14.45-per-cent slide in the S&P/TSX Composite.

Canadian income gap widens

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{mosimage}TORONTO - The rich are getting richer, poor are getting poorer and even the middle class is losing touch with wealthy Canadians, according to a new report from the Paris-based Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development.

After 20 years of declining inequality from the mid-1970s to mid-1990s, the gap between rich and poor has risen sharply in Canada since 1995, the OECD said in Growing Unequal, released Oct. 21. Canada is now one of the more unequal countries among the 30 rich nations who make up the OECD.

Truth and Reconciliation Commission chair's resignation "sad"

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{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.