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.

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.
On April 19 the Catholic Church Pope Benedict XVI will celebrate the fifth anniversary of Pope Benedict XVI’s election as pontiff. And, yes, we mean celebrate. Contrary to the smears rampant in the secular media of late, there is much to applaud about the first half decade of Benedict’s papacy.

The mainstream tendency, of course, is to try to define Benedict by the sinful deeds of abuser priests and see-no-evil bishops of the past 30 years. And that is a shame because the vicious headlines and apparent “get-Benedict” mentality rampant in the media can cause even faithful Catholics to become blind to the achievements of an active and productive Pope.

April 1, 2010

Mideast Christians

The passion, death and resurrection of Christ focusses our attention each Easter on the cradle of Christianity, the Middle East. It is where the earliest Christians gave witness to the first Easter, where the faith was nurtured and from where it spread out to all corners of the Earth.

This Easter, we are once again asked to pray for the Christians who remain in this troubled region and particularly for those who have been forced to flea persecution to seek refuge in neighbouring nations. Those that remain in their homeland often live in fear. Their numbers are dwindling. Those that have fled usually live as refugees in deplorable conditions. A small number have found refuge in welcoming nations such as Canada and the United States.

There is widespread concern that, at the current exodus rate, within a generation Christianity will be virtually extinct in the land where Christ walked and in the surrounding region where His disciples first spread His message. Many believe a Holy Land purged of Christians is imminent and unavoidable. The faithful are being forced to leave explicitly because they are Christian, because they believe in the message of Easter, in the risen Christ.