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.

{mosimage}Barack Obama has become a rock star of global politics, among the hottest tickets on the planet right now, but his support for abortion and stem-cell research made him an inappropriate choice to headline graduation ceremonies at a renowned Catholic institution.

The University of Notre Dame was dead wrong to invite Obama to speak at its commencement and to award him an honorary degree.

April 24, 2009

St. Francis' example

{mosimage}Franciscans from around the world have been converging on the Italian city of Assisi to celebrate the founding of the Order of St. Francis 800 years ago. But you don’t have to be a Franciscan to pay tribute to St. Francis of Assisi.

This devout, serene man devoted his life to battling poverty and social injustice and is honoured today as the patron saint of the environment and peace.

Eight centuries later, his relevance is undiminished. The causes he championed still fill headlines. The compassion he demonstrated still inspires followers.

{mosimage}These are difficult days for anyone looking for a job but as universities empty for summer, soon to be followed by high schools, it is appropriate to consider the plight of our youngest workers.

According to the latest figures from Statistics Canada, a staggering 357,000 jobs have been lost in this country since the noose of global recession was jerked around Canada’s economy last October. That is the largest five-month drop since the recession of 1982 and pushed Canada’s unemployment rate to a seven-year high of eight per cent.

{mosimage}On Dec. 21, 1967 then Justice Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau, addressing reporters on Parliament Hill, famously declared: “There is no place for the state in the bedrooms of the nation.” He was speaking specifically about gay rights and generally about an omnibus bill that, among many changes, proposed amendments to the Criminal Code to liberalize Canadian law related to homosexuality, divorce and abortion.

Trudeau became Prime Minister in 1968 and, under new Justice Minister (and fellow Catholic) John Turner, his 72-page omnibus bill, Bill C-150, became law on May 14, 1969. Abortion was decriminalized and permitted in prescribed situations.

{mosimage}Fr. Michel Lavoie, a native of Timmins, Ont., serves as a confrere at St. Anne’s Basilica in Jerusalem. Like all men of faith in the Holy Land, he prays that Pope Benedict XVI’s Middle East tour will help bring the troubled area closer to peace, because, without peace, Fr. Lavoie fears Christianity in the the land of Christ’s birth faces extinction.

“I’ve never met a Christian 35 years old or less who wants to stay,” said Lavoie. “They see no future for their children. I hope and pray that they will stay because I don’t want the Holy Land to become just a land of museums.”


{mosimage}In an age of mass media and instant communication, Archbishop Thomas Collins recently did something rather radical.

Rather than send an e-mail or a tweet, instead of an update on Facebook or an upload on YouTube, Collins ventured into Yonge-Dundas Square in downtown Toronto and spoke directly to some 1,000 enthusiastic pilgrims.  They had gathered for an event called St. Paul in the Square, several hours of outdoor prayer and reflection that was highlighted by Collins giving a talk and leading the throng in Lectio Divina.

{mosimage}History may record it as throwing good money after bad, but the governments of Canada and Ontario had little choice but to go blue-collar and join the Barack Obama assembly line to keep General Motors going.

As announced on June 1, the government of Canada contributed $7.1 billion and Ontario another $3.8 billion to an American plan to try to save General Motors. Taxpayers in Canada now own 11.7 per cent of the once-giant automaker.

{mosimage}At one point at the Oliphant commission, former prime minister Brian Mulroney shamelessly harrumphed: “I have never knowingly done anything wrong in my entire life.”

Sadly, he may have been telling the truth — not that he has never done anything wrong, but this vainglorious man, apparently lacking a civilized notion of propriety, may genuinely be unaware that egregious unethical behaviour is wrong.

{mosimage}There are currently 1,662 people in Ontario on waiting lists for organ transplants. At year’s end, in rough numbers, just 450 will have received a new organ, 1,150 will still be suffering and 62 will have died waiting for a donor.

The numbers are startling but, sadly, are nothing new. There has always been a huge gap between  demand and supply when it comes to human organs.

June 11, 2009

Hail to the Chief

{mosimage}Phil Fontaine is leaving the Assembly of First Nations in July after serving three terms since 1997 as National Chief. He will be missed. His accomplishments are many but perhaps Fontaine aptly summed up his own legacy in one succinct sentence: “We are now in a position to say we forgive.”

Fontaine’s years as National Chief were sewn together by a thread of reconciliation. That single theme — establishing harmony and friendship with the rest of Canada — dominated his tenure. Fontaine understood that a two-way relationship of fraternity and trust would only occur when First Nations peoples received a sincere apology for the many wrongs suffered over the decades. Then would come the difficult part: they’d have to forgive.

Under Fontaine’s leadership, reconciliation was a journey with three roads. First came a multi-billion-dollar compensation settlement between the federal government and First Nations people stemming from the national scandal of the residential schools. That was followed by last June’s apology in the House of Commons from Prime Minister Stephen Harper on behalf of all Canadians. Third came a Vatican audience at which Fontaine received an expression of sorrow from Pope Benedict XVI for the  conduct of some church members.