Toronto Archbishop Thomas Collins' apostolic visit to the Irish archdiocese of Cashel and Emly started off with a reality check on the harm done by priests who abuse their position of trust for sex.

"Even one priest gone wrong causes immense harm, and throughout the world priests have done unspeakable evil," Collins told a penitential service at Thurles Cathedral in County Tipperary on Jan. 16.

Collins' visit is in the wake of the sexual abuse scandal that came to light in the Irish Church. It was mandated by Pope Benedict XVI last March.

Hollywood takes liberties with exorcism rite

ExorcismTORONTO - Exorcisms have always piqued the Hollywood imagination and provided a steady source of material for filmmakers in the horror genre. And with a new movie set for release Jan. 28, plus a reality-TV series on exorcists, Hollywood is once again entering the battleground of good versus evil.

The Rite, a horror film featuring Anthony Hopkins, is based on a book by journalist Matt Baglio about the accounts of an American exorcist. Meanwhile, the Discovery Channel is working on a reality show called The Exorcist Files.

Fr. John Horgan, a scholar on exorcisms and pastor at Vancouver’s Sts. Peter and Paul parish, was a consultant to the 2005 movie The Exorcism of Emily Rose, a movie loosely based on an actual case in Germany.

He cautions that Hollywood versions of exorcism usually provide a “liberal” interpretation of the actual rite. Scenes of “being chained and tied up has nothing to do with the Catholic rite of exorcism,” he said.

Jantzi stock index trailed TSX in 2010


Mining and banking helped end 2010 on a positive note for investors who care about the environment, labour and community standards and transparent corporate governance. But over-all, ethical investors lost ground relative to conventional stock indices.

The Jantzi Social Index grew 11.95 per cent in 2010. That trailed the 13.84-per-cent growth in the S&P/TSX 60 and 17.61 per cent in the S&P/TSX Composite.

Gay rights trump conscience rights in Saskatchewan


The right of gay couples to be married free from discrimination trumps the freedom of religion and conscience rights of Saskatchewan’s marriage commissioners, the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal has ruled.

A unanimous decision released by the court Jan. 10 said any scheme that would allow marriage commissioners to refuse service to gay couples “would perpetuate disadvantage and involve stereotypes about the worthiness of same-sex unions.”

Quebec policy takes religion out of daycare

QuebecOTTAWA - A new Quebec policy that prohibits religious instruction, prayer, singing or ritual in state-funded daycares is imposing the state’s ideological approach to religion on religious education, warns a Catholic parents’ group.

Catholic-run daycares will no longer be allowed to have “specific Catholic teachings, which in itself is a great deprivation to the children,” said Jean Morse-Chevrier, chair of the Association of the Catholic Parents of Quebec (APCQ).

Children who believe in Jesus love to say prayers or sing songs to Jesus, she said. “They won’t be allowed to do that. They can’t say grace together.”

“Children spend a lot of time in daycare, but they can’t sing little Christmas songs. At Easter they can’t talk about Jesus rising from the dead, nothing, even if the parents want that,” she said.

Changes to national Jewish group could affect interfaith dialogue

Canadian Jewish CongressAfter more than 30 years of official dialogue and 60 years of nurturing a genuine bond, Christians and Jews in Canada may be looking at a new relationship as the organization which has represented the Jewish side in the dialogue is either phased out of existence or significantly reorganized.

The Canadian Jewish Congress, the 91-year-old organization that represents the interests of most Canadian Jews, could cease to exist as early as June. That doesn’t mean Catholics won’t have a Jewish partner in the dialogue next year, but it may mean a more limited focus on Israel and related political issues, Catholic and Jewish dialogue partners told The Catholic Register.

Dr. Victor Goldbloom, who has participated in official Christian-Jewish dialogue in Canada since the first body was established in 1977 — and unofficially since he became a friend of Cardinal Paul-Emile Leger in Montreal in the 1950s — said there’s no indication a new Jewish organization would seek to replace Jewish representatives in Christian-Jewish dialogue.

Though Goldbloom fears a more narrow and partisan organization may replace the CJC, he doesn’t believe a more intense focus on lobbying and advocacy will change interfaith relationships. Goldbloom praised the Catholic side in the dialogue as “rock solid” despite the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. 

Prendergast conducts first phase of Irish Apostolic Visitation

Archbishop Terrence Prendergast, S.J.OTTAWA - Ottawa Archbishop Terrence Prendergast, S.J., came with “attentive ears and discerning heart” as he conducted the first phase of an Apostolic Visitation to the Tuam archdiocese in Ireland Dec. 13-19.

Prendergast was one of four foreign cardinals and archbishops appointed by Pope Benedict XVI last spring as Apostolic Visitor to address the Irish clergy abuse scandal and its impact on the Church in Ireland. Boston’s Cardinal Sean O’Malley visited the Dublin archdiocese in late November, Toronto Archbishop Thomas Collins is expected to visit Ireland’s Cashel and Emily archdiocese in late January or early February and Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, Westminster’s archbishop emeritus, is scheduled to visit the Armagh archdiocese in mid-January.

Chalice gives kids a chance in life

Fr. Pat CosgroveIn the 25 years since he became a priest, one accomplishment Fr. Pat Cosgrove looks back on with particular fondness is the establishment of Chalice.

“When I started doing this, I never thought that we needed another developmental organization in the world,” Cosgrove told The Catholic Register. “What I really thought we were doing was expressing God’s love and passion for the poor and I still feel that more than anything else. We try to give Catholics in Canada a way to express their faith and their love for Christ.”

Not your grandmother's natural family planning

ultrasoundTORONTO - Former mountain bike racer Leslie Greene isn’t your typical advocate for natural family planning. The United Church member is a natural family planning (NFP) practitioner with Toronto’s Marguerite Bourgeoys Family Centre who supports the Catholic Church’s teachings favouring natural methods of achieving or avoiding pregnancy, and is against birth control pills and artificial fertility treatments.

Greene prefers to steer clear of the NFP label. Instead, she says it’s more accurate to call it “fertility care,” a natural method of looking after a woman’s reproductive health.

Bruinooge believes Roxanne's Law still has some life in it

Conservative MP Rod BruinoogeOTTAWA - Roxanne’s Law may have gone down to defeat, but Conservative MP Rod Bruinooge sees signs a version of his anti-abortion coercion bill might succeed some day.

“I was not too disappointed,” said Bruinooge, who chairs the Parliamentary Pro-life Caucus, after the 178-97 defeat Dec. 15 of Bill C-510.

Roxanne’s Law would make it a crime to coerce a woman into having an abortion. It was named for a constituent in Bruinooge's Winnipeg riding who was beaten with a hockey stick by three men and left to die in a snow bank because she refused to have an abortion. Bruinooge said he “learned a lot about Canada” in telling her story, which also attracted international interest.

Ignatieff onside with transgender bill

Michael IgnatieffOTTAWA - Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff stunned many pro-family Catholics when he threw his support behind the so-called transgender “bathroom” bill now before the House of Commons.

Party leaders do not generally vote for private members’ business, but Ignatieff rose to vote “Yea” for  Bill C-389, which passed report stage 143-136 on Dec. 8.

“Well, you know, we’re the party of the charter,” Ignatieff told journalists afterwards.