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 - Administrative backlogs, a marriage of convenience with the United States and compromised due process in Canada's refugee system have churches taking Canada's government to the Supreme Court and refugee advocates pushing politicians to live up to a law Parliament passed in 2001 and then re-passed this summer.

The Canadian Council of Churches, Amnesty International and the Canadian Council for Refugees will challenge Canada's Safe Third Country agreement with the United States at the Supreme Court of Canada.

{mosimage}PICKERING, Ont. - As he accepted the blessing of Jesuits and their friends at the end of a St. Ignatius Day Mass in Pickering, Ont. July 31, Fr. Jim Webb took up a "heroic, humble task" in imitation of the man who founded the Jesuits 474 years ago.

Webb officially became the provincial superior for the Jesuits of English Canada, taking over from Fr. Jean-Marc Laporte.

{mosimage}TORONTO - For the second time in just over a year, Montreal-born philosophy professor Charles Taylor is being honoured for a lifetime of thinking about modern life, multiculturalism and morality. Along with University of Toronto molecular biologist Anthony Pawson and University of California computer scientist Richard Karp, Taylor has been tapped for this year's Kyoto Prize, worth $460,000.

Last year Taylor, 76, was granted the $2-million Templeton Prize for Progress or Discoveries in Spiritual Realities. The Kyoto Prize is awarded by the Inamori Foundation for significant contributions to science, culture and the spiritual development of humanity.

{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.