{mosimage}OTTAWA - The Second Vatican Council represents a "paradigm shift" in the Catholic Church that remains irreversible despite conservative efforts to undermine it.

That was the message of “hope” two living witnesses of the council brought to the Vatican II in Canada conference at Saint Paul University Oct. 15.

Quebec survey shows specialists favour euthanasia

{mosimage}In response to a poll showing three-quarters of Quebec medical specialists would likely favour legalized euthanasia, Catholic groups say Canada must improve its end-of-life care.

The groups were responding to an Oct. 13 survey by the Quebec Federation of Medical Specialists which suggests that a majority of those surveyed are in favour of supporting legalized euthanasia.

Canadian Tamil community in crisis

{mosimage}TORONTO - There’s a mental health emergency in Toronto’s huge Tamil community.

Addictions and alcoholism, depression, family violence, post-traumatic stress disorder and suicides haunt the community as people struggle to cope with death and disappearance of their families back home in Sri Lanka.

The extraordinary stress on Toronto’s 150,000 Sri Lankan Tamils dates back to the Christmas 2004 tsunami that wiped out whole villages in the largely Catholic coastal areas. But just as Toronto’s Tamils began to recover from the grief of burying family and friends and seeing the places they grew up obliterated by the sea, the war then intensified along the same coastal strip.

Canadian needy are not seeing an end to the recession

{mosimage}TORONTO - Economic experts may say the recession is over, but unemployed workers are still bearing the brunt of the economic crisis, say directors of Catholic-run agencies.

Good Shepherd Centre executive director Br. David Lynch said the centre has been “seeing more and more people than we’ve ever seen before.” He says there has been a 46-per-cent increase in demand for meals this year at his downtown shelter. The centre is serving an average of 1,100 daily meals and snacks, compared to 800 last year.

Lahey’s body language, travel record prompt computer search

{mosimage}Bishop Raymond Lahey’s evasive behaviour coupled with a passport stamped with exotic locations known for child pornography prompted a Canadian Border Services agent to examine the contents of his laptop.

Lahey, 69, faces charges of possession and importation of child pornography in the form of “graphic computer images.”

Euthanasia debate appeals to few Canadian politicians


{mosimage}OTTAWA - A sea of empty chairs on the floor and a virtually empty gallery greeted Bloc Quebecois MP Francine Lalonde’s opening speech on the first hour of debate on her bill to legalize assisted suicide Oct. 2. 

Only about 20 MPs were present, scattered along the margins.

“My conviction has grown stronger, and that is why I am introducing an amended bill on the right to die with dignity, Bill C-384,” said Lalonde. 

CIDSE backs D&P over abortion allegations

{mosimage}Internet-based allegations that the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace financed partners who have lobbied in favour of legalized abortion are a non-issue, the general secretary of the world-wide alliance of Catholic development agencies told The Catholic Register.

None of the Catholic development agencies in Europe — many of whom work with some of the same partner organizations in Latin America, Africa and Asia as Development and Peace — has been accused of collaborating with organizations that support legalized abortion, said CIDSE general secretary Bernd Nilles in a phone interview from Montreal.

Suspicion about Lahey raised 20 years ago

{mosimage}OTTAWA - As Antigonish parishioners coped with the “pain and anxiety” of the arrest last week of their former Bishop Raymond Lahey on charges of possessing and importing child pornography, a retired Newfoundland priest said he reported Lahey for possessing pornography 20 years ago.

Acting on information from a boy who had visited Lahey’s residence in the mid-1980s, when Lahey was still a parish priest, Fr. Kevin Molloy went to former St. John’s Archbishop Alphonsus Penney in 1989 to report some “bad news with respect to Bishop Lahey,” Molloy recounted in an Oct. 6 interview. Molloy said he subsequently phoned Lahey and told him of the allegation.

Religious Hospitallers of St. Joseph pioneers still after 350 years

For Sr. Marilyn Larocque things that were true, essential and necessary 350 years ago are just as true, essential and necessary today.

Larocque and her religious community, the Religious Hospitallers of St. Joseph, have been celebrating the 350th anniversary of their arrival in Canada this year, and discovering how much they are in sync with their founders.
“We’re still pioneers,” said Larocque. “Our founder Jerome (Le Royer de la Dauversiere) and our first sister (Venerable) Marie de la Ferre, they were pioneers.”

Back then the RHSJs pioneered by establishing hospitals and teaching in the first schools in New France. There are new needs today, and therefore the sisters are pioneering new ministries.

Religious leaders challenge G20

{mosimage}Before world leaders gather for their G20 summit in Muskoka next year, world faith leaders will be at the University of Winnipeg to pray that the world’s rich countries get their act together.

The G20 are on track to achieve 51 per cent of the Millennium Development Goals — promises made in 2001, by the G8, which was replaced on Sept. 25 by the G20. World leaders promised to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger, achieve universal primary education, promote gender equality, reduce child mortality, improve maternal health, fight AIDS, ensure environmental sustainability and establish a new global partnership for development by 2015. The 2010 World Religions Summit aims to remind the G20 of the unfilled promises.

Canadian fertility rates up, but still not high enough

{mosimage}More women are having more babies, but still not enough to sustain Canada’s population, reports Statistics Canada.

The latest numbers are from 2007 and show a 3.7-per-cent increase in births over 2006. It’s the fastest increase in the birth rate since 1989.

The question for some observers is whether the uptick in births has anything to do with public, government policy.

“I don’t think there’s any government policy that can come around and change this way of thinking,” said Andrea Mrozek, the Institute for Marriage and Family Canada’s manager of research. “For decades now we’ve been told that we don’t need a lot of kids — kids are economically a burden, it’s difficult, it’s expensive, will there be day care? — all these sorts of things. I think it’s too late. You can’t turn around now and say, ‘By the way, we think you should have lots of kids.’ ”