Michael Swan, The Catholic Register

Michael Swan, The Catholic Register

Michael is Associate Editor of The Catholic Register.

He is an award-winning writer and photographer and holds a Master of Arts degree from New York University.

Follow him on Twitter @MmmSwan, or click here to email him.

April 9, 2009

Romance in the pews

{mosimage}TORONTO - Spring and a young man’s fancy turns exactly where you think it does, and so does a young woman’s. Anything wrong with that?

{mosimage}Canadian bishops are winging it to Mexico to speak with Mexican bishops and local non-governmental organizations, trying to get to the bottom of accusations the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace has funded groups lobbying the Mexican government for legal abortion.

Bishop Martin Currie of St. John’s, Nfld., and Bishop Francois Lapierre of Sainte-Hyacinth, Que., were scheduled to fly to Mexico on April 16 accompanied by staff from Development and Peace, CCCB general secretary Msgr. Mario Paquette and the outside eyes of Msgr. Carlos Quintana from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ secretariat for the church in Latin America. They planned to meet with representatives of five human rights organizations that LifeSiteNews.com alleges are promoting legalized abortion in Mexico.

{mosimage}A Canadian ecumenical agency working with subsistence farmers who face drought and starvation in rural Tanzania is enjoying record-breaking support, despite the recession.

The Canadian Foodgrains Bank raised $12.4 million in cash and crops in 2008-2009, $4 million more than its previous record.

“It was quite a remarkable year,” said Foodgrains executive director Jim Cornelius.

{mosimage}TORONTO - The ecumenical social justice agency KAIROS is dumping five of its 27 employees and trimming its programs to focus on two areas of work.

Staff cuts were triggered by falling revenues from foundations and churches hit hard by last fall’s stock market collapse, said KAIROS executive director Mary Corkery. But even without the dip in investment income KAIROS would have had to eventually trim its expenses, she said.

“It’s a long-term problem. It’s a structural problem,” Corkery said.


{mosimage}TORONTO - Before stock markets around the world crashed in September 2008, $609.23 billion  in Canada was invested with an eye on protecting the environment, treating workers and communities fairly and running the company openly.

Socially responsible investing principles captured 19.9 per cent of more than $3 trillion invested in Canada, according to the second biannual Canadian Socially Responsible Investment Review. While total SRI investments climbed 21 per cent between mid-2006 and June 2008, the ethically invested market share remained steady at just under 20 per cent.


{mosimage}TORONTO - Pro-life lawyer Geoff Cauchi thinks it’s a good thing Canada has no law on abortion.

“It’s easier to get people motivated, to get them involved, when you show them, ‘Look, there’s no law; people could have an abortion right up to birth.’ They get shocked and they’re motivated,” said Cauchi, who is on the boards of Alliance for Life Ontario and Life Canada .

In Cauchi’s view the worst thing would be the sort of abortion law England and most European countries have — legal, funded abortion up to 26 weeks, with some legal restrictions on the relatively few late-term abortions.

{mosimage}The Canadian Council of Churches added some new, Catholic blood at mid-May meetings in Ottawa and began to set the stage for the 2010 G8 meeting of the world's largest economies at the Deerhurst Inn in Huntsville, Ont.

The council admitted the Ukrainian Catholic Church as a full member and elected a new executive which includes a Roman Catholic bishop as vice president. The council now consists of 23 national churches representing 85 per cent of Canada's Christians.


{mosimage}Asking the federal government to develop a poverty reduction plan is just asking them to do their job, according to Citizens for Public Justice executive director Joe Gunn.

Gunn’s ecumenical social justice organization, along with a dozen other church, union and social action organizations have launched Dignity For All: The Campaign for a Poverty-Free Canada . The campaign aims to get the public and all federal political parties talking about a realistic plan for reducing Canada’s 10.8 per cent poverty rate.

{mosimage}A Peruvian archbishop is accusing the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace of supporting pro-abortion groups in his country.

In a letter dated May 28 but not sent until June 9, Archbishop Jose Antonio Eguren Anselmi, president of the Peruvian Conference of Catholic Bishops' Commission on the Family, Children and Life, tells Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops' president Archbishop James Weisgerber he is "personally concerned about any funding from Catholics of Canada to pro-abortion groups in Peru."

It's the latest turn in a controversy that began in February when LifeSiteNews.com accused Development and Peace of funding pro-abortion advocacy in Mexico.  

{mosimage}Canada Day celebrations will almost certainly praise this country as a tolerant, peaceable nation with a highly developed, secular and multicultural, democratic culture.

That wasn’t what St. Jean de Brebeuf had in mind when he established the first European settlement in Upper Canada in 1639. The mystic Jesuit priest and missionary had a vision of a Christian kingdom in the heart of North America — a theocracy, really — where European and Huron cultures would be mutually transformed by faith in Jesus Christ.

Brebeuf’s vision lasted just 10 years, and the Jesuits ended up burning down their tiny experiment at Sainte-Marie Among the Hurons near present-day Midland, Ont., in 1649 to prevent the village falling into the hands of the Iroquois (proxies for the Dutch, whose commercial interests in the fur trade opposed those of France).