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.

Debt doomTORONTO - A growing number of Canadian families are finding themselves on the losing end of the global financial meltdown.

At Catholic Family Services of Peel and Dufferin, counsellors have seen a 177-per-cent increase in the number of clients whose finances have fallen apart. In 2009-2010 the agency saw a 173-per-cent increase in couples and individuals at its door because of unemployment, housing or related issues.
Bishop John OkoyeTORONTO - There is a seminary with 1,100 men studying for the priesthood. Each year that one seminary turns out a graduating class of hundreds ready for ordination. Since it began with just six students in 1924, this seminary has produced more than 4,000 priests.

Though it may sound like fantasy to any North American Catholic who has visited the echoing halls of their own somewhat less populated seminaries, Bigard Memorial Seminary is a real place. And one of its former rectors believes it should be a resource for the entire Catholic Church, not only for the Metropolitan See of Onitsha in Eastern Nigeria.

Japanese lanternsElders and survivors took centre stage at Toronto's Hiroshima Day at the Peace Garden in Nathan Phillips Square.

They're asking world leaders to achieve nuclear disarmament before the generation that saw the first atomic weapon is gone.

Photos and commentary by Michael Swan


TORONTO - For Toronto’s Archbishop Thomas Collins the fate of Iraqi Christians trapped in Syria, Jordan and Lebanon isn’t just another tough case in an unfair world full of too much heartbreak. For him, this one is personal.

Collins has written to his fellow bishops across Canada about the fate of Iraqi Christian refugees, asking them to encourage refugee sponsorship in their dioceses. He has urged pastors in Toronto to get their parishes involved in sponsoring refugees.

But it’s more than words. He’s also sponsoring a refugee family himself.

G20 pro-life protestTORONTO - The G8 and G20 summits certainly attracted protesters. Pro-lifers Julie Abernethy and Seanna Magee weren’t going to be left out.

When Abernethy noticed a group of protesters with a pro-abortion banner walking through her downtown neighbourhood, she asked, “Is anybody representing our side?”
Michael PowerTORONTO - Bringing back the permanent diaconate was a spiritual stroke of Vatican II genius, according to historian Michael Power, one that traces its history to the Nazi death camp at Dachau.

Priests in Dachau — facing their deaths, resigned to their imprisonment and steeped in a near monastic routine of prayer and work — began to ask themselves what had gone wrong with the world and the Church, that saving sacrament of their world. They came to the conclusion that priests were living in isolation from the people of God and that the Church needed a way to break through.
Toronto DemonstrationTORONTO - On paper, the G20 and the Catholic Church want a lot of the same things. But they're not necessarily talking the same language.

"We've entered a world where the only language that matters is economics," said Redemptorist Father Paul Hansen after the motorcades of world leaders had left town.

The leaders of the world's 20 largest economies agreed to cut their government deficits in half by 2013 and stop growth of public debt relative to Gross Domestic Product by 2016 at the summit held in Toronto June 26-27. Voluntary financial constraints on government borrowing will allow poorer countries to participate in a healthier world economy, said the final G20 communique.
Catholics for PeaceTORONTO - There were more than 900 arrests, four police cars torched and Toronto's transit system shut down, leaving citizens fuming over what it all cost in dollars, frayed nerves and the reputation of Toronto the Good. But flashy pictures of burning cop cars distract from the real concerns raised by the majority of protesters, said KAIROS economics researcher John Dillon.

Everybody who made a principled stand on the issues in peaceful demonstrations during the G20 was tarred with the same brush as Black Bloc protesters who covered their faces and smashed windows, said Dillon. Out of an estimated 10,000 protesters, perhaps 150 were engaged in property damage, Dillon said.
Slovenian fansTORONTO - It started off so well for the Slovenians gathered in the parking lot of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal in the southwest corner of Toronto — painting faces, waving flags, blasting vuvuzelas and drinking Slovenian beer at 9:30 a.m. on June 18.

The Green Dragons of Slovenia at the World Cup in South Africa — and at the parish hall in Etobicoke — were ready to take on the Americans.
Bishop Thomas CollinsTORONTO - The Church has never called homosexual people objectively disordered and does not regard homosexuality as a sin, Archbishop Thomas Collins told the young adult group of St. Michael’s Cathedral.

“Since it (homosexuality) is not something chosen, it’s not a moral issue,” said Collins, speaking at an SMC Alive faith formation meeting June 13.

While being sexually attracted to people of the same gender is not a sin, turning that attraction into an all-encompassing identity and entering sexual relationships based on same-sex attractions directly contravenes the Christian value of chastity, said the archbishop. Same-sex attractions, which the Church calls objectively disordered, are a struggle and not an identity, he said.

“What I am is precious in God’s sight. To say you are one of your struggles — no, no, no. Do not let yourself be put into a box,” said Collins.