What could be the largest protest ever on the streets of Montreal has full Church backing. Earth Day protesters who gather next to the Place des Arts in downtown Montreal will be backed up by Church bells ringing from most of the city’s 230 Catholic churches.

Organizers are predicting the April 22 protests will draw more people than March demonstrations against a 75-per-cent tuition hike. The student protest brought about 100,000 onto Montreal’s streets. Earth Day has a broader appeal in Quebec than the tuition fee issue, said Green Church director Norman Levesque.

Published in Features

OTTAWA - Quebec’s Catholic bishops and the Catholic Organization for Life and Family (COLF) have expressed opposition to a Quebec committee’s recommendation to allow euthanasia under limited circumstances.

“While we are pleased that members of the commission recommend greater access to palliative care for all people, we disagree with the recommendations to change laws to recognize physician-assisted dying as appropriate end-of-life care,” the Assembly of Catholic Bishops of Quebec said in a statement. “Changing the terms ‘assisted suicide’ and ‘euthanasia’ to ‘physician-assisted dying’ does not change reality.”

Published in Canada

A Quebec legislative committee’s call for legalized euthanasia might be a grave danger to Canada’s health care system. Its immediate and unquestionable menace, however, is the damage it does to democracy.

For the moment, the Select Committee on Dying With Dignity’s all-party report presented March 22 to the province’s National Assembly is in parliamentary and pre-election limbo. There is reason to hope its mad demand for legalizing doctor-administered assisted suicide in Quebec by 2013 will be lost in the dust of politicians hitting the campaign trail.

Published in Peter Stockland

OTTAWA - Despite a “surprising” Supreme Court decision that won’t allow parents to exempt their children from Quebec’s mandatory Ethics and Religious Culture program (ERC), constitutional lawyer Iain Benson urges religious groups not to overreact to signs that parental rights are under threat.

On Feb. 17, Canada’s highest court ruled the ERC program doesn’t violate the religious freedom of Catholic parents because the parents — known as L and J in the decision — were unable to prove the course harms their children.

Published in Canada

OTTAWA - Most Quebeckers oppose the compulsory nature of the province's controversial Ethics and Religious Culture program (ERC), with 29 per cent saying it should be "scrapped altogether" in favour of improved mathematics or French-language courses.

In a Leger Marketing poll conducted for the Coalition for Freedom in Education (CLÉ), only four out of 10 Quebeckers want the controversial course to stay mandatory. A quarter would keep the course but make it optional.

The poll also discovered 55 per cent of Quebeckers would prefer the government introduce school vouchers that would allocate a fixed amount for educational funding per child that parents could use to choose the school they wish, whether public or private, CLÉ said in a March 7 news release.

Published in Education
February 28, 2012

Anonymity and ignorance

On Feb. 17, the Supreme Court of Canada rendered its decision on a case that tested the right of parents to exempt their children from Quebec’s Ethics and Religious Culture (ERC) course. The case attracted many intervenors because the decision could impact other cases that question the lengths government can go to impose curriculum against parental wishes.

About one month earlier, the Ontario Catholic School Trustees’ Association released a report, “Respecting Difference,” which set guidelines for promoting equity and respect for all students in Catholic schools. It followed months of controversy surrounding “gay-straight alliances” in Ontario’s publicly funded schools. While there are differences between the two scenarios, both concern a provincial government trying to impose a school policy despite objections from parents.

Published in Joanne McGarry

OTTAWA - Parents’ groups and organizations defending religious freedom have reacted with disappointment to a Supreme Court of Canada decision concerning the rights of parents to exempt their children from Quebec’s mandatory Ethics and Religious Culture (ERC) program.

Canada’s highest court ruled Feb. 17 the program does not violate the religious freedom of Catholic parents because they were unable to prove the course harms their children.

Published in Canada

Politicians given enough rope will invariably hang themselves, figuratively speaking of course.

Such is the case with Parti Quebecois justice critic Veronique Hivon, whose clamor for legalizing euthanasia and assisted suicide should, if there is any justice, now be choked off for good and all.

Madame Hivon came hard out of the chute to condemn Quebec Tory Senator Pierre-Hugues Boisvenu for his recommendation, later withdrawn, that our most notorious convicted killers be left alone in their cells with a length of state-supplied rope.

Published in Peter Stockland

OTTAWA - On Feb. 2, Pope Benedict XVI named new bishops to the Quebec dioceses of Trois-Rivières and Mont-Laurier upon accepting the resignation of their Ordinaries who had reached the retirement age of 75.

Bishop Luc Bouchard, who has been serving the bilingual northern Alberta diocese of St. Paul since 2001, has been named to Trois-Rivières, replacing Bishop Martin Veillette, while Bishop Paul Lortie, an auxiliary bishop in the Quebec archdiocese since 2009, will become bishop of Mont-Laurier, a diocese in southwestern Quebec, north of Gatineau, replacing Bishop Vital Massé.

Published in Canada

QUEBEC CITY - It used to be that Quebecers who wanted to hear good preaching or be instructed on right and wrong went to Mass on Sunday and listened to their priest. The clergy were the principle arbiters of public and private morality in all spheres of life in Quebec. They preached on everything from how to dress, who to consort with (or not) and what to read, think vote and so on.

One famous saying from this era — “heaven is blue and hell is red” — was a not-so-veiled reference to  vote Conservative in elections. The Church believed the “red” Liberals stood for secular reform and social change that would lead people away from their faith. And that’s what happened, people eventually voted red in order to hasten improvements in material living standards and, as predicted, what eventually followed was a widespread abandonment of faith in Quebec.

Published in Guest Columns

Bishop Noël Simard will return to his native Quebec to lead the Valleyfield diocese.

On Dec. 29, Pope Benedict XVI appointed the former professor of bioethics and moral theology to the Valleyfield diocese where he will be installed in mid-February.

Published in Canada

Pope Benedict XVI named two new auxiliary bishops to Quebec Dec. 12 to assist Archbishop Gerald Cyprien Lacroix in Canada’s first and oldest diocese.

The new bishops-elect are Fr. Gaétan Proulx, O.S.M., a Servite religious order member, and Fr. Denis Grondin Jr.

At a news conference in Quebec City carried on the diocese’s ECDQ TV network, Lacroix said he welcomed the Holy Father’s announcement with great joy. The archbishop described the men as pastors who are extremely well-equipped and experienced. He said they are “profoundly spiritual and rooted in the faith” as well as very rooted in the realities of everyday life.

Published in Canada

OTTAWA - In a decision with potentially serious ramifications for the Church, a Quebec bishop has been ordered to submit to questioning and hand over internal Church documents to defence lawyers acting in a lawsuit filed by a Quebec priest.

A Quebec judge has granted leave for lawyers to question Joliette Bishop Gilles Lussier as they prepare a defence in a defamation lawsuit filed last December by Fr. Raymond Gravel.

The priest is seeking $500,000 in damages from two pro-life organizations, LifeSiteNews.com (LSN) and Campagne Quebec-Vie, (CQV), and six journalists.

Gravel claims his professional reputation as a politician and Catholic priest was damaged as a result of 29 articles that described him variously as “pro-abortion,” “pro-homosexual marriage” or as a “renegade priest” who has made “heretical and anti-life statements.” Gravel contends he has “always been faithful to the teachings of the Magisterium of the Church.”

Published in Canada

Comment

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Fr. Raymond de Souza: Church offers fresh devotion through art 

I am looking forward to my next visit to Holy Family Church on King Street West in Toronto. It was my home for two years in the 1990s when I was a student at St. Philip’s Seminary, which is attached to the parish.

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Read the latest homily given by Pope Francis.

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