News/Canada

{mosimage}OTTAWA - The federal government should consider the damage done to unjustly accused innocent parties by complaints to the Canadian Human Rights Commission, says the editor of Catholic Insight magazine .

Basilian Father Alphonse de Valk wrote to Justice Minister Rob Nicholson in a Feb. 2 open letter, responding to the Moon Report’s recommendation to repeal the controversial subsection of the Canadian Human Rights Act that allows the rights commission to investigate hate speech. The CHRC commissioned the report from University of Windsor Professor Richard Moon last year.

Montreal Social Action Office responds

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{mosimage}In the article “Catholic protest not pro-Hamas, organizers say ” by Michael Swan (page 3 of The Register Week of Feb. 1, 2009), there are several statements in respect of the demonstration, held in Montreal on Jan. 10, that could lead to serious misinterpretations regarding the position of the Social Action Office of the Catholic archdiocese of Montreal.

The third paragraph begins with the following sentence: “McDonough did not publicly distance his office from slogans such as ‘There is no God but Allah and the jihadist is the beloved of Allah,’ and ‘O Nasrallah, o beloved, strike, strike Tel Aviv’ before  media reports and video of the demonstration went across Canada.” Yet, in a telephone interview with The Register on Jan. 19, I stated at least three or four times that the Social Action Office unequivocally opposes, rejects and condemns any slogans or placards that promote hatred for Jews and the destruction of Israel. This position, repeatedly asserted by me, appears only in the ninth paragraph, near the end of the article. Readers, however, will remain with the impression that I have refused to distance the Social Action Office from such anti-Jewish slogans.

Truth and Reconciliation Commission getting back on track

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truthCommission.jpgOTTAWA - The Truth and Reconciliation Commission looking into Indian residential schools, stalled by the resignation last October of its chairman, is now looking for new members.

On Jan. 30, Indian and Northern Affairs Minister Chuck Strahl announced that all parties to the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement have agreed on a process to choose a new chair and new commissioners.

“A selection committee chaired by Justice Frank Iacobucci will work closely to find the best candidates in the most efficient manner,” Strahl said in a statement. “It is expected this process will move forward quickly.”

Catholic-Jewish relations still OK in Canada

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{mosimage}TORONTO - Catholic-Jewish relations are stronger than ever in the wake of statements by Society of St. Pius X Bishop Richard Williamson denying the Nazi murder of six million Jews during the Second World War, Canadian Jewish Congress co-president Rabbi Reuven Bulka has told The Catholic Register.

Following a Jan. 30 meeting with papal nuncio to Canada Archbishop Luigi Ventura, Bulka said there was no question of a breech in Catholic-Jewish dialogue in Canada.

Governments must take moral responsibility for economy

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{mosimage}TORONTO - Making a budget is about making moral choices, the social justice coalition sponsored by Canada’s Catholic, Anglican and Protestant churches said in a letter to Prime Minister Stephen Harper and the provincial premiers.

The global financial crisis happened because governments and corporations failed to take moral responsibility for the economy, according to a Jan. 23 letter from KAIROS to Harper and the premiers.

Budget ignores the poor, critics say

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{mosimage}OTTAWA - The federal budget proved disappointing for social justice organizations hoping for more direct help for the poor and more focus on renewable energy.“There were tax cuts that help a number of Canadians,” said Citizens for Public Justice (CPJ) executive director Joe Gunn after the government introduced its budget Jan. 27. “But for the poorest and most vulnerable, those too poor to pay taxes, there’s not much for them. These are the people the Christian community serves and hold dearest in our hearts,” he said, noting that “at time of recession they will suffer the most.”

Laurel Rothman, national co-ordinator for Campaign 2000, a national anti-poverty campaign aimed at eliminating child poverty said the budget contained “virtually nothing for low-income families,” especially 760,000 children living in poverty and their mothers.

Unity fruit of the Spirit

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{mosimage}TORONTO - Standing at the ambo of Toronto’s grand and historic St. James Anglican Cathedral in his impressive academic robes, Rev. Dr. Brian Stiller, Canadian Evangelical leader and president of Tyndale University College and Seminary, frankly confessed his pharisaical tendencies.

He was quick to point out that the Pharisees are the “good guys” — decent, honest, thoughtful, law abiding, tax-paying, religious people not unlike most regular church-goers in our own society.

Catholic protest not pro-Hamas, organizers say

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{mosimage}TORONTO - Chants of "Palestine is ours/The Jews are dogs" and "Burn, burn Israel" had nothing to do with the vast majority of protesters at an event organized by the archdiocese of Montreal 's social action committee, said the director of the archdiocese of Montreal's social action office.

"To claim that this peaceful demonstration was pro-Hamas is to grossly misrepresent the views of the overwhelming majority of persons who marched on a cold Saturday afternoon," Brian McDonough told The Catholic Register.

Polygamy charges may bring religious freedom challenge

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{mosimage}OTTAWA - Canada’s law against polygamy may soon face a religious freedom challenge now that British Columbia has charged members of a breakaway Mormon sect.

Winston Blackmore, one of two men charged with polygamy under Canada’s Criminal Code, has told news media his religious freedom is under attack.

Changing demographics a challenge for D&P

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{mosimage}OTTAWA - The biggest challenge the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace faces is “growing the movement,” says its new national council chair.

Demographics are changing and the Catholic population is “aging and diminishing,” said Pat Hogan, who was elected in December.

Champagne takes over Edmundston, N.B. diocese

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{mosimage}OTTAWA - Halifax Auxiliary Bishop Claude Champagne, 61, has had a life-long passion for the Catholic Church’s mission and the New Evangelization — words Pope John Paul II used to describe evangelization equipped to meet the challenges of the modern world.

Champagne’s passion may be a reason why Pope Benedict XVI appointed him bishop of Edmundston, N.B. , Jan. 5 after accepting the resignation of Bishop Francois Thibodeau, 69, for health reasons.