Green ChurchesTORONTO - More help is being offered to churches that want to do something about climate change.

The Montreal-based Canadian Centre for Ecumenism has launched the Green Church program to advise churches on ways to reduce their carbon footprint and lower heating bills. Joined with Toronto-based Greening Sacred Spaces, Green Church will offer certification to churches that achieve a high level of environmental awareness and act on it starting in April 2011.

Newfoundland Church going through purification process

Archbishop Martin CurriesTORONTO - Despite the challenges of an aging population, high unemployment and Newfoundland’s Catholic Church recovering from a painful chapter in its history, Archbishop Martin Currie of St. John’s and of Grand Falls, Nfld., says there is an opportunity to evangelize communities in a province with deep Catholic roots.

“I believe with all that has gone on in the Church, in some way it’s part of the mystery of God. God is trying to purify the Church,”  said Currie, who has served as a bishop for 10 years and 42 years as a priest.  

Whitehorse bishop finds an unexpected forum to spread the New Evangelization in Toronto

Bishop Gary GordonTORONTO - My wife and I were serving soup and sandwiches to university students at the Newman Centre on the campus of the University of Toronto when we first met Bishop Gary Gordon, the bishop of Whitehorse. We felt that we already knew the bishop because we had seen him featured in two fine documentaries on Salt + Light TV.

Strangely enough, the gathering was called “A Retreat in the City,” and Gordon came through the front door, rosy cheeked and carrying a back pack and looking as if he had just pulled himself off the Chilkoot Trail. It seemed to me that the last thing he would be seeking would be solace in the Big Smoke.

Election posturing looms over poverty issues

Rich poorTORONTO - With elections looming next year both provincially and nationally, political parties are jockeying to position themselves on poverty.

At Queen’s Park politicians made time to talk to the Interfaith Social Assistance Reform Coalition Nov. 18 and trade blows over who really cares about the poor. In Ottawa, opposition politicians ganged up on the Conservatives Nov. 17 to issue a 300-page report calling for a national poverty reduction strategy to support the half-dozen provincial plans.

Mission bishops descend on Toronto

cmicTORONTO - Four missionary bishops are in the archdiocese of Toronto in November to spread the word about the needs of Canada’s mission territories.

Bishop Vincent Cadieux, O.M.I., of Moosonee and Hearst in Northern Ontario, Bishop Fred Colli of Thunder Bay, Archbishop Martin Currie of St. John’s and of Grand Falls, Nfld., and Bishop Gary Gordon of Whitehorse have been visiting parishes around the archdiocese and will continue to do so until the end of the month.

Canadian charities fight transparency bill

charity under investigationTORONTO - A bill that would see Canadian charities forced to disclose the salaries of their highest-earning employees has run up against opposition from the charitable sector.

If passed, Bill C-470 will create some “serious issues” within the sector, say officials with various charities.

Charities have been fighting  to kill the bill since it passed second reading in the House of Commons on April 21 by a 280 to 3 margin. It is set to head to the Standing Committee on Finance by the end of November, where committee members can amend it before it goes to third reading.

Development and Peace fine tunes its funding protocols


Development and PeaceOTTAWA - The Catholic Organization for Development and Peace (CCODP) has announced changes to its funding protocols to ensure that no money goes to organizations that support abortion.

The changes come in the wake of year-old allegations that funds from CCODP had in many cases been funnelled to partners who were not adhering to Catholic teaching on life issues.

Abortion coercion bill up against stiff opposition

Rod BruinoogeOTTAWA - A bill that would make it a crime to coerce a woman into having an abortion faces a rough ride in the House of Commons.

During its first hour of debate Nov. 1, Rod Bruinooge’s private members’ Bill C-510 faced challenges from women MPs from the Bloc, Liberals and NDP who argued the bill would interfere with a woman’s “right to choose” abortion.

But Bruinooge, who chairs the Parliamentary Pro-Life Caucus, argued his bill protects women from being threatened and coerced into ending pregnancies they choose to keep.

Canadians have mixed feelings on euthanasia, new poll shows

EuthanasiaOTTAWA - A new opinion poll shows that Canadians have a deep ambivalence when it comes to legalizing euthanasia.

According to an Environics poll, while a clear majority of Canadians support euthanasia, an even larger number fear what might happen to vulnerable elderly people if it is legalized.

The poll, commissioned by LifeCanada, shows 59 per cent of Canadians support legal euthanasia but 63 per cent worry legalizing it would pressure elderly Canadians to accept it to reduce health care costs.

Bishop Monroe making strides in his recovery

Kamloops Bishop David MonroeKAMLOOPS, B.C. - Kamloops Bishop David Monroe is making a speedy recovery from a vicious assault when he was attacked Oct. 22 in the rectory of Sacred Heart Cathedral.

The bishop suffered severe head and body injuries after he opened the door to the rectory to the man who attacked him.

The bishops’ sisters have been in Kamloops since hearing of the attack the next day.

Bessette clan united by saint in the family

descendants at massMONTREAL - It was a huge reunion for St. Brother André’s family as more than 400 relatives came from near and far to attend a Mass and special gathering at St. Joseph’s Oratory on Oct. 31 to mark the rise to sainthood of their humble brethren.

It was another influx of people to an already busy shrine, which had received an estimated 9,000 pilgrims the previous day, as pilgrims were in town for an Oct. 30 celebratory Mass at Olympic Stadium in honour of St. Brother André being elevated to sainthood Oct. 17.