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}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.

{mosimage}TORONTO - Standing at the ambo of Toronto’s grand and historic St. James Anglican Cathedral in his impressive academic robes, Rev. Dr. Brian Stiller, Canadian Evangelical leader and president of Tyndale University College and Seminary, frankly confessed his pharisaical tendencies.

He was quick to point out that the Pharisees are the “good guys” — decent, honest, thoughtful, law abiding, tax-paying, religious people not unlike most regular church-goers in our own society.

{mosimage}TORONTO - Chants of "Palestine is ours/The Jews are dogs" and "Burn, burn Israel" had nothing to do with the vast majority of protesters at an event organized by the archdiocese of Montreal 's social action committee, said the director of the archdiocese of Montreal's social action office.

"To claim that this peaceful demonstration was pro-Hamas is to grossly misrepresent the views of the overwhelming majority of persons who marched on a cold Saturday afternoon," Brian McDonough told The Catholic Register.

{mosimage}The Supreme Court of Canada has turned back the Canadian Council for Churches , Amnesty International and the Canadian Council for Refugees , refusing to hear the organizations' arguments in favour of striking down Canada's Safe Third Country Agreement with the United States.

The Safe Third Country agreement between Canada and the United States stipulates that refugees who arrive first in the United States must make a refugee claim there and may not make a Canadian refugee claim at the land borders between two nations.

{mosimage}TORONTO - Catholic-Jewish relations are stronger than ever in the wake of statements by Society of St. Pius X Bishop Richard Williamson denying the Nazi murder of six million Jews during the Second World War, Canadian Jewish Congress co-president Rabbi Reuven Bulka has told The Catholic Register.

Following a Jan. 30 meeting with papal nuncio to Canada Archbishop Luigi Ventura, Bulka said there was no question of a breech in Catholic-Jewish dialogue in Canada.

{mosimage}A sharp policy turn away from Africa and away from the poorest countries has the development community wondering whether Canada is now using its foreign aid budget to promote trade and its security interests rather than help poor communities.

“We’re looking at this with a bit of a questioning eye to understand the rationale,” Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace executive director Michael Casey said.