News/Canada

{mosimage}TORONTO - In a protest against the award of the Order of Canada to abortion doctor Henry Morgentaler, a community of priests has returned its orders given to two well-known colleagues.

The Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate — Assumption Province announced Dec. 8, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, that they were returning the awards given to Frs. Anthony Sylla and Michael Smith.

Ontario religious step up poverty-reduction demand

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{mosimage}TORONTO - The people who started Ontario’s first free hospitals, ran the orphanages and founded schools that were once a ticket out of poverty are appealing to the government and people of Ontario to take up their fight and get serious about poverty reduction.

Thirty Ontario religious orders, representing hundreds of Sisters, Fathers and Friars, are publishing an open letter to the government and people of Ontario. The letter urges them to set hard targets for poverty reduction and enshrine them in law.

Charities expect an uncertain year

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{mosimage}TORONTO - For charities that rely on big donors, the stock market crash has made uncertainty the first principle of budgeting as they face a new year.

“Obviously Covenant House and every other charity are looking at their plans and how to approach this kind of time,” said Covenant House spokesperson Rose Cino. “Everyone is in the same boat. Would that we all had a crystal ball.”

Parliament should repeal hate crimes section in act

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OTTAWA - An independent consultant has recommended Parliament repeal the hate crimes section of the Canadian Human Rights Act.

“The use of censorship should be confined to a narrow category of extreme expression — that which threatens or justifies violence against the members of an identifiable group, even if the violence that is supported or threatened is not imminent,” wrote University of Windsor law professor Richard Moon in a $50,000 report the Canadian Human Rights Commission commissioned five months ago.

Child poverty strategy demanded of government

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{mosimage}OTTAWA - A coalition of anti-poverty groups joined MPs from the opposition parties Nov. 21 in demanding a comprehensive national child poverty strategy.

At a Parliament Hill news conference, Campaign 2000 released its annual report card, showing 760,000 Canadian children — one out of nine — live below the poverty line. The report card coincided with ongoing debate on the Speech from the Throne where the minority Conservative government laid out its agenda for the 40th Parliament.

Aboriginal reconciliation on Pope's mind

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{mosimage}OTTAWA - Canadian bishops raised the need for reconciliation with aboriginal peoples and Canada’s growing secularization during a meeting with Pope Benedict XVI Nov 8.

“There is a way faith is being pushed more and more to the margins,” said Winnipeg Archbishop James Weisgerber, president of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, noting Canadians “seem to be required to leave their faith behind them when they enter the public realm or they will be discounted.”

Conservative grassroots favour freedom of expression

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{mosimage}OTTAWA - Grassroots Conservatives want Ottawa to gut the Canadian Human Rights Commission’s power to investigate and punish free expression complainants deem hateful or discriminatory.

At the Conservative Party’s second policy conference in Winnipeg Nov. 13-15 delegates passed resolution P-203 to “remove authority from the Canadian Human Rights Commission and Tribunal to regulate, receive, investigate or adjudicate complaints related to Section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act.” Subsection 13.1 of the Act is the so-called thought crimes provision that allows the commission to investigate anything that is “likely” to expose a group or individual to hatred or contempt. No proof of harm is necessary and truth is no defence under this subsection.

Faith in a war zone

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{mosimage}TORONTO - It wasn’t the kind of assignment he had been used to, but Capt. Joseph Nonato says his mission in Afghanistan so far has been an eye-opening spiritual journey.

“My favourite times are when we can have an open discussion about faith, prayer and belief,” he wrote in an e-mail to The Catholic Register from Kandahar.

Indian violence linked to colonization

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{mosimage}TORONTO - The roots of the recent anti-Christian violence in India have some links to the early missionary work of Christians in the country, says a British scholar of Christianity in India.

“The behaviour of the Europeans was seen as abhorrent by the population of southern India. Converting people was also seen as abhorrent,” said Anglican Rev. Paul Collins, an associate professor of theology at England’s University of Chichester, at an Oct. 30 lecture at the University of St. Michael’s College.

Canada must correct understanding of freedom, Pope says

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{mosimage}VATICAN CITY - A correct understanding of freedom is needed to revive a true culture of life in Canada that respects human dignity, Pope Benedict XVI said.

"Catholicism represents an essential cornerstone in the framework of Canadian society," he said in an Oct. 30 audience with Canada's new ambassador to the Vatican, Anne Leahy, who presented her credentials.

Rosaries offered to soldiers

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{mosimage}WOODBRIDGE, Ont. - Two hundred rosaries and prayer cards will soon be on their way to soldiers in Afghanistan, with the hopes of being able to send more.

On Oct. 26, Rev. Grahame C. Thompson, assistant area chaplain for the Headquarters of Land Forces Central in Toronto, accepted the blessed items on behalf of the Canadian Armed Forces from St. Padre Pio parish in Woodbridge, Ont.