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 dozen bishops and faith leaders representing a clear majority of Canadian Christians, plus an organization representing Canadian Muslims, has accused Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney of fostering “hostility towards refugees” and fueling xenophobia.

A Nov. 12 letter from faith leaders to Prime Minister Stephen Harper takes issue with Kenney’s assertion that the refugee system has been slowed by “bogus” claims.

{mosimage}TORONTO - Whether Canadian officials in Afghanistan knew that Afghan detainees would be tortured once handed over to the Afghan army, or merely suspected that they might be, Canadians may have involved themselves in the intrinsic evil of torture, according to Catholic theologians.

Government denials which claim Canadians had no concrete evidence of specific cases of Canadian detainees being tortured don’t absolve Canadian officials of moral complicity in torture, said Lee Cormie, professor of Christian ethics at Toronto’s University of St. Michael’s College.

{mosimage}The axe that landed on KAIROS , ending 35 years of Canadian International Development Agency funding, has left Canada’s Catholic development organization and others wondering, who’s next?

“It gives all organizations in the development community... pause right now to wonder what’s going on,” said Michael Casey, executive director of the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace.

{mosimage}TORONTO - Heavy condemnation of Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his Conservative government for its pick-and-choose approach to protecting Canadians facing the death penalty abroad came up repeatedly during the third annual Cities for Life protest in Toronto.

“We now have, for the first time in more than 50 years, a Prime Minister and a government who support the death penalty, who believe in the death penalty,” said James Lockyer, director of the Association in Defense of the Wrongly Convicted

{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.