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}A behemoth, 300-page report with 78 recommendations, the result of two years study and testimony from more than 175 witnesses, has anti-poverty activists hoping Canadians may start thinking and talking about poverty and how to solve it.

In From the Margins: A Call to Action on Poverty, Housing and Homelessness was tabled in the Senate Dec. 8. The government will have 150 days to respond to its findings and recommendations once Senators finish commenting on it in January.

{mosimage}KAIROS is willing to reapply for Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) funding, but the ecumenical justice organization wants to know the new ground rules.

“We’ve already spent six months on this proposal and discussions around this proposal, understanding that this was an excellent proposal and we got an excellent evaluation right in the middle of our work,” said KAIROS executive director Mary Corkery.

At a brief meeting with CIDA Minister Bev Oda, KAIROS “didn’t learn very much,” Corkery said.

{mosimage}More than half of Canadians who give to charity are trying to do something about poverty and international development, according to an Ipsos Reid poll that probes Canadian patterns in giving.

The 51 per cent of Canadians who chose to make their charitable donations to agencies that work in international development and poverty trails only the medical category which attracted 77 per cent of donors. Poverty and international development outpaced third-place environmental causes, which attracted 31 per cent of donors.

{mosimage}Fuller, deeper and more meaningful prayers for Christian unity in Catholic parishes has to begin with the Jan. 17 to 24 Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, say Catholics who have worked on preparing and promoting the annual event.

“It’s the prime event in terms of ecumenical work together, prayer together,” said  Jonas Abromaitis of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops. Abromaitis is commission secretary to the Episcopal Commission for Christian Unity, Religious Relations with the Jews and Interfaith Dialogue.

{mosimage}On peace and on climate change Canada isn’t measuring up to Pope Benedict XVI’s vision for peace on Earth and good will toward men, according to life-long Conservative and retired Senator Doug Roche.

The Pope’s message for World Day of Peace links progress toward peace to climate change and environmental degradation. The Vatican headlined the message “If you want to Cultivate Peace, Protect Creation.”

{mosimage}Though he has been attacked in the street, had to be moved to a safe house and is now so depressed he only speaks in whispers, a 14-year-old refugee stranded alone in Accra, Ghana, still does not qualify for urgent or expedited processing, according to Immigration Canada officials handling the case. (See - Tamil refugee boy in immigration limbo.)

If the Canadian High Commission in Accra manages to process the boy refugee in the standard 37 months it takes to get through the paperwork, the boy will be 18 when he is finally reunited with his surviving family in Toronto.

{mosimage}KAIROS and it’s supporters have reacted with shock, dismay, anger and bewilderment at being called anti-Semitic by Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney at a conference in Jerusalem.

“We have de-funded organizations, most recently, like KAIROS who are taking a leadership role in the boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign” against Israel, Kenney told the Global Forum for Combatting Anti-Semitism Dec. 16.

{mosimage}Another step, however minor, toward canonizing Pope Pius XII has got Canadian Jews wondering, why now?

The Dec. 19 Vatican declaration of Pope Pius XII’s “heroic virtues” has prompted the Canadian Jewish Congress to remind Canadian bishops that many Jews still harbour doubts about the war-time pope’s record.

{mosimage}As February dawned the Games were already on for British Columbia Catholics getting ready to welcome Olympic athletes, media and fans for the XXI Winter Games.

“I was in the athletes’ village this morning, just making sure everything is set up for Mass tomorrow morning,” Msgr. Jerry Desmond told The Catholic Register  just days before the opening ceremonies.

In the next 20 years Canada is expected to be less Christian, and a little less religious.

According to Statistics Canada, the most dramatic change in Canada’s religious landscape will be an increase in the number of Muslims. Muslims currently make up 35 per cent of all non-Christians. By 2031 they will be half of the non-Christian population.