Catholic Register Editorial

Catholic Register Editorial

The Catholic Register's editorial is published in the print and digital editions every week. Read the current and past editorials below.

July 28, 2010

The right call

Canada Census 2011The world has come a long way since Mary and Joseph went to Bethlehem to be counted in King Herod’s census. In our technological age, information and statistics shape our everyday living. Our personal information is digitally stored and used by everybody from the taxman, health providers and bankers to government licensing agencies that keep track of everyone from drivers to fishermen to hot-dog vendors.

There seems to be almost universal agreement that gathering detailed data is essential to a smooth-running society. But how far should governments go to collect a citizen’s personal information? That is the crux of a debate sparked by a federal announcement that Canadians will no longer face fines and possible jail time for refusing to complete the long-form version of the Statistics Canada census.
July 14, 2010

Crusading cardinal

Cardinal Jaime OrtegaEvery Sunday morning for seven years the Ladies in White attended Mass at Havana’s Santa Rita Church then marched in peaceful protest for husbands, fathers and sons locked up as political prisoners in Cuban jails.

For the most part, the marches were silent and easily ignored by the Castro government. Then last March, to mark the seventh anniversary of  the “Black Spring,” when 75 dissidents were arrested, hastily tried and harshly sentenced, the Ladies in White became bolder, marching into off-limit Havana neighbourhoods. The government dispatched agents to disrupt the marches and harass the women. That brought Cuba’s crusading 73-year-old cardinal into the fray. Cardinal Jaime Ortega celebrated Mass with the women at Santa Rita and then took up their cause with the government of President Raul Castro.
June 30, 2010

Progress made

Maternal HealthIf you look past the crazy billion-dollar price tag, the trampling of civil liberties and the street thuggery that marked the G8 and G20 meetings, it’s possible to see light in the summit tunnel.

Of course, ignoring the excesses is a challenge. To have almost a billion dollars spent on security and still see gangs of petty criminals terrorizing shopkeepers, torching police cars, smashing windows and drowning out legitimate peaceful protests is beyond scandalous. And to have police, in addition to arresting real criminals, round up hundreds of citizens solely because they lacked the common sense to stay indoors is appalling.
TRCC logoCanadians often express pride in building a nation that respects and celebrates cultural diversity. But as true as that might be today, our national back-patting takes a short view of history. For most of Canada’s existence, Ottawa directed a cruel policy at aboriginal peoples that is rightly likened to cultural genocide.

Canadians are being asked to confront that dark era at a series of public events organized by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission on residential schools. The first of seven meetings, held recently in Winnipeg, saw dozens of survivors and their families courageously step to a microphone and have their personal stories preserved as a paragraph in Canadian history.
June 17, 2010

Put people first

The billion-dollar cost for the upcoming summits of world leaders is obscene and the disruption the meetings will cause is outrageous. Ottawa is rightly being roasted on those scores. But the real tragedy from the gathering of G8 and G20 leaders is that, once again, there seems to be a famine of big ideas among the world’s most powerful statesmen.

We’re not so naive to believe there are quick fixes for a world that is broken in so many ways. Most of society’s problems are either made or exacerbated by man. That is true whether speaking about oil gushing into the Gulf of Mexico, war in Afghanistan, famine and disease in Africa, poverty among North American aboriginal peoples, blockades in Gaza and international financial turmoil. The list goes on.
June 10, 2010

Seeking truth

What is the role of Catholic media in modern society?

Several hundred journalists from across North America were invited to ponder that question during the  Catholic Press Association annual conference, held recently in New Orleans.  

These have been difficult days for the Church and challenging days for Catholic media. Not only has the news been filled with stories of clerical sexual abuse and alleged Church coverups, but the technology-challenged Church hierarchy has often stumbled in offering a timely defence or authoritative explanation of Church positions.

Instant communication in a digital age has put pressure on traditional media such as newspapers and television to rethink how they conduct business. The result is often a softening of fundamental values  as the old media strains to keep pace with the new, a manic technological beast of web sites, blogs and various social media tools that, collectively, disseminate information instantly but not always accurately.

fearThere is an unfortunate trend in Canada to try to deny religion its rightful place in the debating rooms of the nation.

We’ve seen this tendency manifest recently in the publication of an alarmist book about the so-called Christian right’s influence in Ottawa, in attacks on Cardinal Marc Ouellet for affirming Church teaching and, most recently, in shrill reaction after the head of Opus Dei accepted an invitation to dine on Parliament Hill with MPs.
Ottawa Peace TowerWhen children want to become magicians they are taught to say hocus pocus. When adults want to become politicians they are taught to say transparency and accountability. In both cases, the audience eats it up. Children, though, grow up to realize that people aren’t fooled by hocus pocus alone, while politicians never seem to learn.

Our elected representatives, regardless of party, are forever calling for  government to be more open and transparent. They understand that voters want to know what their government is doing, how it is doing it and what it costs. Simple, really.
abuseCatholics are angry about recent revelations of clerical sexual abuse for two reasons: crimes were committed against children by men ordained as priests and, in many cases over many years, bishops refused to protect children from known predators by removing abuser priests from ministry and calling in the police

The Vatican apparently understands why sexual abuse of children ignites such intense anger. But it seemingly struggles to comprehend why Catholics are so angry about crimes committed and covered up 20, 30 years ago. In recent years, after all, under then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger and now Pope Benedict XVI, the Church has enacted tougher protocols to empower bishops and involve police when crimes are suspected. Yet anger persists.
April 16, 2010

A plea for Iraq

Iraqi PrayerA generation ago Canadians opened their doors to more than 100,000 Vietnamese refugees. Today, thousands of Iraqi refugees need our help. And although many of them are Christian, that’s not the reason to get involved. As someone said, we’re not doing this because they’re Christian, we’re doing it because we are.

The April 18, 2010 edition of The Register contains a 12-page section that details the desperate plight of almost two million Iraqi refugees. More than 250,000 of them are Christians being persecuted solely because of their faith. We encourage you to read our special report and consider the hardship of people who have been forced to flee their homes after once-peaceful neighbourhoods became places of threats, assaults, kidnapping and murder.