On May 1 in Ottawa I had the pleasure of delivering a speech to politicians and others at the annual National Prayer Breakfast. Below is an abridged version of that address.

My topic is “Faith in our Common Life: Why Politics Needs Religion.” But permit me to say a few words first about why politicians need religion.

Exactly one year ago, many of you were in the final moments of a federal election campaign. It was a Sunday and the people’s verdict was to be rendered the next day. On a typical Sunday morning I am found in my parish on Wolfe Island, in the St. Lawrence River across from Kingston, but a year ago I was in Rome awaiting the pronunciation of a rather different judgment. Pope John Paul II was declared blessed.

Published in Fr. Raymond de Souza

OTTAWA - A Conservative backbencher is using a private member’s motion that could re-ignite the abortion debate in Parliament.

MP Stephen Woodworth, who represents the Ontario Kitchener Centre riding, tabled a motion Feb. 6 that Parliament appoint a special committee of 12 members to review the section of the Criminal Code that states a child becomes a human being “only at the moment of complete birth.”

Though Woodworth told journalists he was not addressing abortion in his motion, Justice Minister Rob Nicholson issued a terse statement, saying “The Prime Minister has been very clear, our government will not reopen this debate.”

Published in Canada

TORONTO - The separation of church and state is a concept engrained in the identity and culture of Western democracy as a means of protecting religion, not eliminating it, according to the Very Rev. Lois Wilson.

But that definition has become less and less believable, Wilson told a few dozen young adults gathered in downtown Toronto at a Theology on Tap event that questioned what role religion should play in forming the public policy of a secular state.

Published in Canada: Toronto-GTA

It is all too common (and often exasperating) when the ground beneath us shifts on morality issues and common decency. It is easy to shake our head and say, “This sort of stuff wouldn’t have happened in the Canada I grew up in.”

These shifts occur for many reasons, from the silent majority saying nothing about the latest “Politically Correct” silliness to politicians bowing to the pressure from small, but effective, special interest groups. Sadly, the courts are also to blame by too often protecting the rights of offenders ahead of the rights of victims and the community at large.

Published in Robert Brehl

OTTAWA - Dan McTeague, one of about a dozen staunchly pro-life Liberals who lost their seats in the May 2011 federal election, looks forward to the revitalization of the once powerful Liberal Party.

As one of more than 3,100 delegates at the Liberal Biennial Convention here Jan. 13-15, McTeague said he hoped the party will be able to reach out to all Canadians, including the Catholic and ethnic voters who were the former pillars of party support.

Political scientists have credited the Liberal defeats in 2006 and 2008 to a growing collapse of Catholic and ethnic voter support. Last May, the Liberals were demoted to third party status behind the NDP and the governing Conservatives. The Liberals elected only 34 MPs, though their numbers have grown by one with the recent defection of a Quebec NDP MP to the Liberal ranks.

Published in Canada