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.

{mosimage}The Social Investment Organization grades the Liberals and the Conservatives with a D and an F on the issue of transparency for investors in Canada's stock markets.

The SIO gives top marks to the Greens and Bloc Quebecois and places the NDP in the middle. The Greens rate an A+, the Bloc a B+ and the NDP a B-.
October 10, 2008

Scarboro Missions at 90

{mosimage}TORONTO - The church doesn’t have a mission. Christ’s mission has a church. For 90 years the Scarboro Missions have been convinced the mission comes first.

At 10 a.m., Nov. 9, at the mission society’s main chapel, 2685 Kingston Rd. in Scarborough, Toronto Archbishop Thomas Collins will lead a Mass of thanksgiving for the 90 years Scarboros have been serving Christ’s mission. The missionaries will give thanks for the likes of Scarboro founder Msgr. John Fraser, first North American priest to take on missionary work in China, and Fr. Art MacKinnon, killed in the Dominican Republic in 1965 for standing up against arbitrary arrest and torture of young men in his parish.
{mosimage}TORONTO - Plunging prices on Bay Street and Wall Street aren’t just a problem for the stock market. Since changes in tax laws governing gifts of stock in 2006, stock market joy has been joy for charities — and stock market trouble will be trouble for charities, including churches.

Beginning in May 2006, donors have been able to deduct 100 per cent of the value of any donations of stock to a registered charity up to a value of 75 per cent of their net annual income. If their gift exceeds that 75-per-cent threshold the donor can carry forward the deduction for up to five years.
{mosimage}TORONTO - The rich are getting richer, poor are getting poorer and even the middle class is losing touch with wealthy Canadians, according to a new report from the Paris-based Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development.

After 20 years of declining inequality from the mid-1970s to mid-1990s, the gap between rich and poor has risen sharply in Canada since 1995, the OECD said in Growing Unequal, released Oct. 21. Canada is now one of the more unequal countries among the 30 rich nations who make up the OECD.
{mosimage}TORONTO - Canadian Medical Association president Dr. Robert Ouellet says he wants the private sector to take the pressure off medicare in Canada by running a parallel system of private clinics, but bioethicists and many doctors think the CMA president is blind to the science of public-versus-private health care.

Ouellet announced Oct. 21 he was leading a delegation to the United Kingdom, Denmark and other European countries to investigate how public and private health care exists side by side in those countries.
{mosimage}It's almost as if Pope Benedict XVI had Canada and its controversies in mind as he penned the first social encyclical of the 21st century.

By updating Pope Paul VI's encyclical Populorum Progressio, and making an explicit link between church teaching on economic development and Pope Paul's teaching on human sexuality, abortion and contraception — Humanae Vitae — it was as though Benedict had the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace in mind, said Michael Casey.

"It will certainly inform our discussions on policies and on our orientation. It will be stuff to work on over the next few months," said Casey, executive director of Development and Peace.

{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.

{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.”
{mosimage}The Corner Brook and Labrador diocese in Newfoundland has cut a cheque for $13 million and turned the page on a sexual abuse case that drove the diocese into bankruptcy.

The final payment to almost 40 men who had been abused as boys by a priest in several rural parishes was about $2 million less than originally envisioned in the settlement between victims and the diocese. But it avoided further court proceedings that would have delayed payment and eaten up the settlement in legal costs, said Bishop Doug Crosby.

{mosimage}TORONTO - Making a budget is about making moral choices, the social justice coalition sponsored by Canada’s Catholic, Anglican and Protestant churches said in a letter to Prime Minister Stephen Harper and the provincial premiers.

The global financial crisis happened because governments and corporations failed to take moral responsibility for the economy, according to a Jan. 23 letter from KAIROS to Harper and the premiers.