News/Canada

Canadian bishops are once again facing embarrassing questions about an overseas organization that received funding from the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace (D&P).

This time, the issue involves a Haitian organization, APROSIFA, that allegedly dispenses free contraceptives and promotes access to abortion, according to an online report.

Dynamic women show their faith at Mississauga event

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TORONTO - In the Bible, there are many women reaching out and evangelizing, says Catholic writer Dorothy Pilarski.

To encourage the same kind of leadership today, Pilarksi is holding the third annual Dynamic Women of Faith conference on March 24.

“I want to introduce women that have a lively faith so others can be inspired by these leaders,” said Pilarski, author of the provocative book Motherhood Matters.

Christian groups seek end to prostitution

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OTTAWA - As a battle over Canada’s prostitution laws wends its way through the courts, some Christian groups are campaigning to abolish prostitution.

Last year, an Ontario judge struck down Canada’s prostitution laws as unconstitutional, agreeing with the prostitutes who brought the case that the present laws endanger their security of person, forcing them to work on the streets or unable to seek help from police. The decision is under appeal.

CNEWA puts Syrian projects on hold

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OTTAWA - The violence plaguing Syria has forced the Catholic Near East Welfare Association (CNEWA) to put many of its projects there on hold, even though Christians so far do not seem to have been specifically targeted.

But support for Iraqi Christians who fled to Iraq, many of whom struggle to survive in the slums of Damascus, is still ongoing, said CNEWA Canada national director Carl Hétu.

North Bay parishioners take case over church closures to the Apostolic Signatura

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Former parishioners of Corpus Christi and St. Rita's parishes in North Bay, Ont., are taking their case against closing their churches to the highest court in the Church.

The Corpus Christi-St. Rita's group will appeal to the Apostolic Signatura to have the diocese of Sault Ste. Marie maintain the two buildings for some form of sacred use. Last year the group asked the Congregation for the Clergy to rule that their churches had been improperly reduced to profane use to facilitate their sale. The Congregation for the Clergy ruled against the North Bay group in February.

Family, charity, compassion must be priorities in 2012 budget process, EFC says

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OTTAWA - The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada (EFC) is urging the federal government to make families, compassion and charities priorities in its upcoming 2012 budget.

Though the national association for Evangelical Christians does not usually engage in pre-budget consultations, it stressed that “a budget is fundamentally a moral document.” In a budget, political leaders “decide what is ‘right and wrong’ for public expenditure, and as such biblical principles are relevant to the budgeting process.”

The budget should shore up the key building blocks of Canada, it said.

MPs vote unanimously to fulfill Shannen’s dream

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OTTAWA - Shannen Koostachin had a dream for “safe and comfy” culturally sensitive schools for First Nations children like herself.

On Feb. 27, a vote in the House of Commons brought that dream closer to reality.

The House of Commons voted unanimously to “adopt Shannen’s Dream” by declaring First Nations children’s “equal right to high-quality, culturally relevant education” and to provide the necessary policy changes, consultation and funding support to make a First Nations’ education system “at a minimum” equal in quality to provincial systems.

Parents fight to save Kingston school

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After educating Catholic youth for 60 years in the Strathcona Park community in Kingston, Ont., the doors to St. Paul Catholic Elementary School, among others, may permanently close following the local school board’s accommodation review process.

But there is a voice to St. Paul which is not letting the school be put to rest quietly. Shortly after word filtered out in 2011 that St. Paul could be among the schools targetted for closure by the Algonquin and Lakeshore Catholic District School Board, Sarah Mignault and several other concerned community members began the Save St. Paul Action Committee.

Hamilton fundraiser a success

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About 900 guests filled all four halls inside Hamilton’s Carmen’s Banquet Centre Feb. 25 to sip cocktails, enjoy a four-course meal and bust a move at the Bishop’s Charities Dinner Dance.

The annual event with Bishop Douglas Crosby helps raise money for a number of charities.

Organized by the Knights of Columbus’ Fred Miscio, with help from fellow members, this year marked the 27th anniversary of the annual event which Miscio coined successful as always.

London diocese severs ties with Assumption fundraising company

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WINDSOR, Ont. - The diocese of London has fired the company charged with raising funds for an extensive restoration and expansion of Windsor’s oldest and most historic church, Our Lady of Assumption.

In a statement posted on the diocese’s web site Feb. 22, the diocese and Assumption Church stated they were “not satisfied with the results achieved so far and have decided to end our relationship with” Philanthropic Management Consultants Inc. (PMC) to manage a $9.8-million campaign to pay for the restoration.

Truth and Reconciliation Commission seeks more government co-operation

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Churches need to define how they're going to help repair the damage residential schools did to aboriginal culture in Canada and the federal government must cough up the millions of documents that future historians will need to tell the story of Canada's effort to assimilate First Nations' people, says the interim report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada.

The report marks the halfway point of the five-year mandate of the commission. It warns that government reluctance to provide full and meaningful access to Library and Archives Canada records threatens the mandate of the commission. The TRC intends to go to court to force greater government co-operation.