In an open letter to Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Canada’s bishops are calling for the the federal government to develop a national anti-poverty strategy.

CCCB“We invite Canadians today to join us in calling on our federal government to emulate the efforts of many provincial governments and develop a national anti-poverty strategy,” said the Oct. 15 letter from the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops.

“Today, most new wealth is going to those who already have more than enough. Inequality is increasing in Canada. The growing rich-poor gap is threatening the economic and political power of our middle class and our treasured participatory democracy.”

Kamloops' Bishop Monroe remains in intensive care after assault


Bishop David MonroeKAMLOOPS - Kamloops Bishop David Monroe suffered severe head and body injuries when he was attacked Oct. 22 by a man he was comforting in the rectory of Sacred Heart Cathedral.

At press time, Monroe was in serious but stable condition at Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops.

“It was the most brutal beating I have ever seen,” said Kamloops Vicar General Msgr. Jerry Desmond,  who administered the sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick to the bishop two hours after he was admitted to hospital.

Police were called to Sacred Heart Cathedral when the bishop was found bleeding profusely in the rectory after admitting a man apparently unknown to him. At around 10 p.m., the alleged assailant encountered a parishioner outside the cathedral next to the rectory and requested a priest. Monroe admitted the man to the rectory by the front door and led him into the kitchen.

Kamloops bishop in intensive care after beating

Bishop MonroeKAMLOOPS, B.C. - Kamloops Bishop David Monroe, 69, has been removed from the Intensive Care Unit of Kamloops Royal Inland Hospital, where he continues to recover after being viciously beaten at Sacred Heart Cathedral Oct. 22.

Fr. Vincent Asomugha said on Oct. 24 that Monroe remains in intensive care in a "step-down unit." There is no indication when the bishop will be leaving the hospital. Reports said he suffered severe trauma to the face and head and other cuts and injuries.

"He recognizes people and can say his name but that is about it," Msgr. Jerry Desmond told the Vancouver Sun. "It's that serious."

The attack in the cathedral rectory took place about 10:15 p.m., and Kamloops RCMP arrested a 30-year-old man several hours later. He was to appear in court Oct. 25 to face assault-related charges.

Catholic aid for Pakistan flood relief hits $6 million

Pakistan floodTORONTO - Canadian Catholics have raised more than $3 million to help flood victims in Pakistan while the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace has been chosen to help deliver $2 million in extra emergency flood relief.

The $3 million raised for Development and Peace by Oct. 13 is eligible for matching funds from the federal government, transforming it into $6 million worth of aid.

Toronto parishes played a big part in the fund-raising drive, putting $463,000 in ShareLife’s emergency relief account in time for federal matching grants. Money has continued to trickle in after the Oct. 13 deadline, and ShareLife reported $466,113 in funds for Pakistan as of Oct. 18.

D&P, life and family issues on tap at CCCB plenary

CCCB and D&POTTAWA - Life and family issues and the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace are among the hot issues Canada’s bishops will tackle at their annual plenary Oct. 25-29.

The secretary general of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) expects a positive result and a “new climate of confidence” once the bishops respond to the recommendations of two special ad hoc committees.

“Both committees have worked extremely well and they have excellent results to report,” said Msgr. Pat Powers.

Australian Saint's roots run to Nova Scotia

Blessed Mary MacKillopTORONTO - When Blessed Mary MacKillop is canonized Oct. 17 by Pope Benedict XVI, her life and good works will not only be commemorated in her homeland of Australia. Canadian relatives will celebrate the occasion with joy and prayer for a rebellious saint with family ties to Nova Scotia.

At the Holy Redeemer Convent in Sydney, N.S., a special Mass in honour of  Australia’s first saint will be attended by her distant cousin, Sr. Margaret MacKillop, of the Congregation of Notre Dame. MacKillop, 96, says she’s overjoyed to have a saint in the family.

Nuncio aims to fill offices that will empty over next few years

Archbishop Pedro Lopez QuintanaOttawa - Canada’s new apostolic nuncio is looking for holy men to fill the many episcopal offices that will become vacant in the next few years, especially in Quebec.

Archbishop Pedro Lopez Quintana, who arrived in Canada last February,  said he is not looking for a person who can do everything, “because that is impossible.

“The bishop has to be first of all a holy man,” the archbishop said in an interview.  A bishop has to know how to work with advisors and collaborators.

Quebec bishops issue warning about euthanasia

euthanasiaOttawa - Quebec’s Catholic bishops have cautioned members of the Quebec National Assembly to observe the law and to diligently prosecute cases involving euthanasia and assisted suicide.

In a brief to a commission holding public hearings on euthanasia and assisted suicide, the Assembly of Catholic Bishops of Quebec (AECQ) reminded the Quebec National Assembly of its obligation to enforce the Criminal Code.

Pro-lifer slowing down

Jack Barbara WillkeThe annual International Pro-life Conference is coming to Ottawa from Oct. 28 to 30, and it is likely to be one of pro-life advocate Jack Willke’s last international appearances.

Willke, president of both the International Right to Life Federation and Life Issues Institute, has been experiencing health problems of late.

“I’m past 85 now and I’ve just been hospitalized,” Wilke told The Catholic Register from his office in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Target johns in prostitution debate, urges MP

Conservative MP Joy SmithOTTAWA - An Ontario court decision striking down three key prostitution laws shows the need for a national debate on the issue that includes looking at laws to prosecute johns, says Conservative MP Joy Smith, an expert on human trafficking.

Smith has urged her government to study Swedish laws which have tackled the problem by prosecuting the clients of prostitutes, the johns. Sweden reduced prostitution by 30-50 per cent from 1999-2004 and substantially cut the number of women trafficked into the country, she said.

Euthanasia forces target Quebec

Margaret SomervilleOTTAWA - International pro-euthanasia forces see Quebec as a vulnerable beachhead for legalizing euthanasia in Canada and then spreading across North America, warns Margaret Somerville.

Somerville, founding director of McGill’s Centre for Medicine, Ethics and Law, and others are keeping an eye on Quebec, where a legislative committee is holding public hearings on euthanasia.