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}TORONTO - More than 60 religious organizations, many of them ecumenical and many of them Catholic, have backed a petition asking Ottawa to halt deportations of U.S. soldiers who have come to Canada to avoid serving in Iraq.

The online petition sponsored by the Quakers asks Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Citizenship and Immigration Minister Diane Finley to create a policy to allow conscientious objectors to stay in Canada. The petition cites the June 3 advisory vote of Parliament which would have allowed American soldiers to stay in Canada as permanent residents.

{mosimage}TORONTO - Toronto’s Catholics are on pace to double the number of refugees they sponsor in 2008, but they face increasing frustration over Iraqi refugees tangled in red tape in Damascus.

It now takes the better part of two years for privately sponsored Iraqi refugees to be processed through the Canadian consulate in Damascus.

{mosimage}TORONTO - Shareholders trying to nudge corporate boardrooms in a more ethical direction had one of their most successful springs ever.

Spring is when most companies hold annual general meetings, reporting their accomplishments and future plans directly to shareholders, electing new boards of directors and voting on shareholder proposals. This year the Vancouver-based Shareholder Association for Research and Education (SHARE) tracked 171 shareholder proposals.

The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops has a draft of a statement on the 2008 federal election, and the bishops plan to discuss it before going public perhaps as early as next week.

{mosimage}TORONTO - "The politics of poverty must be part of this election," said Mike Creek, spokesman for Voices from the Street, a Toronto advocacy organization that puts poor people in front of media cameras and microphones.

The 25 in 5 Network of more than 100 churches, unions and social agencies delivered a report Sept. 8 at Queen's Park outlining minimum demands for a provincial poverty reduction plan, but much of what they had to say was aimed at federal politicians as they headed out for the first full day on the campaign trail.

{mosimage}The Jesuits’ new home for novices is exactly where it needs to be, according to novice master Fr. Eric Oland.

“Something that has been a hallmark of the Jesuits from the very beginning is that we go to places where there is the greatest need. Yes, the church is very challenged in Quebec at the moment. But I can say from personal experience there are glimmers of hope and glimmers of change,” Oland told The Catholic Register during the opening week of a new combined novitiate for English and French Canada in Montreal’s Cote-des-Neiges district.

{mosimage}TORONTO - As the Taliban issued an explicit threat against Canadian aid workers and killings of NGO staff reached record levels in Afghanistan, the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace said it remains committed to its work with women’s groups straddling both sides of the Afghanistan-Pakistan border in the zone of conflict.

Tough-on-crime election promises released this week by the Conservative Party don't much impress the Church Council on Justice and Corrections.
The Interfaith Social Assistance Reform Coalition isn't shy about criticizing the federal Conservatives while the election is on. In an editorial in it's September newsletter the Ontario coalition of faith communities takes the Conservatives to task.

Religion and politics are constant bedfellows, so it's no surprise that Catholics aren't the only ones weighing in on this election. Among the religious voices raised in the early going of the short, six-week campaign, Muslims and Jews each have their concerns.