Thursday, September 30, 2010

Ottawa to appeal prostitution ruling

Good news. The federal government will appeal the Ontario Superior Court decision earlier this week striking down key provisions of anti-prositution legislation.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Catholic Civil Rights League condemns prostitution ruling

Joanne McGarry
Joanne McGarry of the Catholic Civil Rights League comments on the overturning of aspects of the prostitution law: "We are most concerned about the educational effect of this decision.  A single judge has determined that what was previously understood to be illegal is no longer illegal, at least in Ontario. Are we prepared as a society for the unintended consequences of what may now follow?"

That pretty much sums things up.

Why we need anti-prostitution laws

Courtroom One GavelImage by Joe Gratz via Flickr
Ontario's Superior Court of Justice has struck down key provisions of the country's prostitution laws as unconstitutional and suggests the federal government "fashion corrective action."

The Ontario government is considering an appeal, but the question isn't even worth debating. Do it. Women caught up in trafficking and slave-like conditions need every law they can get.

When Canada's abortion laws were struck down in 1988, the Supreme Court of Canada urged Ottawa to come up with legislation that was constitutional-challenge proof. The government was unable to and then gave up trying. This decision could have the same impact on women that the abortion decision had on the unborn. Appeal and if necessary redraft the legislation.

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Chalice sponsors wanted says visiting deacon


Deacon Ron Jenkins of Chalice Canada will visit three Vancouver churches and a number of archdiocesan schools to spread the word that $33 a month can save the life of a child living in poverty.

He will speak at all Masses at Holy Name of Jesus Church on Oct. 2 and 3, at Star of the Sea Church in White Rock on Oct. 9 and 10 and at Holy Rosary Cathedral on Oct. 16 and 17. For more information, contact Pat Deppiesse at the Vancouver Archdiocesan Mission Appeal Office at 604-443-3228.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Seattle gets a new archbishop

Pope Benedict XVI has named Bishop James Peter Sartain (pronounced SAR-tin), 58, of the Diocese of Joliet, Ill., as the new Archbishop of Seattle.
As required by church law, Archbishop Alex J. Brunett submitted his resignation to the Holy Father on turning 75 in January 2009. Archbishop Brunett’s resignation has now been accepted and he will serve as apostolic administrator of the archdiocese until Archbishop Sartain’s installation as the ninth bishop and fifth Archbishop of Seattle.

Vianney, the play

The countdown to the arrival of Saints John Vianney and Bosco is in the homestretch. The two saints' relics will be here next week. Visit www.rcav.org/relics. You'll also find a schedule for Vianney, the one-man play on the life of the Cure of Ars. Tickets are a reasonable $10 or $25 for an entire family! You can view a video of the play at www.bccatholic.ca. Look for the Multimedia window on the right and click Vianney.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Theology of the Body expert coming to Vancouver

Calling all fans of Pope John Paul II's Theology of the Body. Christopher West will present a "Freedom to Love" conference from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at St. Patrick's Parish in Vancouver on Oct. 2. Archbishop J. Michael Miller will offer Mass at 8 a.m. Tickets are $40 with a workbook provided. Contact Couples for Christ at 604-270-9463 or visit www.bc.cfc.ca/prolife.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Twenty Something -- The B.C. Catholic's monthly young adult column

Christina Capecchi is the author of the young adult column "Twenty Something," which appears on The B.C. Catholic website. Be sure to read her monthly.

Teenager beatified

Join the live satellite transmission from Rome of the beatification of Chiara "Luce" Badano at the Shrine of Our Lady of Divine Love in Rome at the Focolare Centre, 842 Lighthouse Court, Coquitlam, on Sept. 25 at 10 a.m. The 18-year-old who died in 1990 was a shining light of faith who began to help the poor while she was still a child. At the age of nine, she embraced the Focolare Movement. Many were led to the Catholic faith because of her acceptance of her disease and her complete reliance on God to help her.
Chaira Luce was proclaimed Venerable in 2008. In 2009, Pope Benedict XVI recognized a miracle obtained through her intercession. For more information about attending the beatification, call 604-468-2871 or go to ffvancouver@shaw.ca. Please bring your own lunch.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Public invited to Oct. 3 papal honours Mass at Holy Rosary Cathedral

Holy Rosery Cathedral pipe organImage via Wikipedia
Details of the Oct. 3 Mass at Holy Rosary Cathedral, where papal honours will be given to 21 women and men from the Archdiocese of Vancouver, have been finalized. The Mass will be concelebrated by Archbishop J. Michael Miller and priests of the archdiocese, and the public is welcome to attend.

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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Pope Benedict XVI in the United Kingdom

Salt and Light TV will be carrying live coverage of Pope Benedict XVI’s Apostolic Journey to the United Kingdom starting tomorrow morning, Sept. 16, at 2:30 a.m. PT with the arrival of Pope Benedict in Scotland. It wraps up four days later Sept. 19 when the Holy Father departs from Birmingham for Rome. The Pope's full schedule, courtesy of Salt and Light, can be found here.

Kids get medals

Fifth Annual Altar Server Awards held at HRC.

Altar servers from across the Archdiocese of Vancouver were invited to Holy Rosary Cathedral on Sept. 11 to celebrate Mass with Archbishop Miller.

Two representatives from each parish were chosen to receive medals, certificates, and a book about the lives of saints in a special ceremony.

The annual event is put on by the Serra Club of Vancouver and the Serra Club of the Fraser Valley West.

Watch for a full story in The B.C. Catholic newspaper and check back to the website to see a slide show presentation of the award winners.

Father Raymond J. de Souza now contributing to The B.C. Catholic


Father Raymond J. de Souza joins The B.C. Catholic this week as a regular contributor. Father de Souza is a columnist for the National Post newspaper and a well known commentator on topics ranging from the Church and economics, to politics and sports. We're delighted to have him join us. Read his first column here.

St. John Bosco 101

Don BoscoIIImage via Wikipedia
With the relic of St. John Bosco coming to Vancouver in a few weeks, here's a chance to prep on Salesian spirituality. The Salesians of Don Bosco (or the Salesian Society, originally known as the Society of St. Francis de Sales) encourage works of charity to care for young and poor children. This talk, entitled Salesian Spirituality: the Life of Don Bosco, is hosted by Father Joseph Occhio and includes Don Bosco's disappointments, Don Bosco and Newspapers (!), and Don Bosco and Confession.
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Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Big brains didn't beat each other up

Battle fizzles out as Larry King misses opportunity.


My colleague Paul Schratz already commented in this space on the big physics vs. metaphysics showdown between Stephen Hawking and Fr. Robert Spitzer that was set to explode on the small screen last week on Larry King Live.

In the end, the portended brouhaha was more ha-ha than brou, but Father Spitzer made some good points in the little time he was given.

What astounded me was the amount of airtime Larry gave to Deepak Chopra. It seemed that every time Leonard Mlodinow made a statement, or Larry read a quote from Stephen Hawking, Larry appealed to Deepak for sage wisdom. (Video here, full transcript here.)

As an interviewer, Larry King dropped the ball. What could've been a great debate between physicist Mlodinow and metaphysicist Fr. Spitzer (after it turned out Hawking's bit was only a pre-arranged interview) turned into a treatise on the spirituality of Deepak as it pertained to quotes from Hawking.

Which brings me to a funny bit of video I found on YouTube about Deepak (to use the video-poster's title) "getting owned" by a man in the audience when he asked Deepak a question. It's also funny to see the blond panelist's reaction when the audience is in hysterics.

Generous stewardship celebrated at papal honours Oct. 3

Mark your calendars for Oct. 3. On that day, 21 men and women will step forward during ceremonies at Holy Rosary Cathedral to receive awards approved by Pope Benedict XVI for unstinting service to the Vancouver Archdiocese.

Dementia expected to rise with aging boomers

Tapestry Foundation for Health Care in Vancouver is offering a series of free talks geared to dealing with Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia. The first in the three-part Dialogue on Aging - Public Presentation Series is Thursday night, Sept. 17, at 7:15 p.m. Hear Dr. Hilde Lindemann from Michigan State University discuss how to inform someone they have dementia, deal with personality changes, and resolve family clashes over treatment. The event is at the Vancouver Convention Centre, 1055 Canada Place (New West Building). Two more presentations on caring for the elderly are planned with seniors' care experts from Providence Health Care and from across North America. Details will appear in upcoming issues of The B.C. Catholic.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Father Spitzer: the antidote to Stephen Hawking's faulty logic

C.S. Morrissey, assistant professor of philosophy at Redeemer Pacific College in Langley, has this review of Father Robert Spitzer's new book, and says it's the remedy to the faulty presentation of Stephen Hawking.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Father Spitzer pulls his punches

Father Robert Spitzer, SJ
CNN's Great Debate last night on the origins of the universe turned out to be something of a Fake Debate.

Larry King led a discussion about Stephen Hawking's latest creation theory by starting with a pre-recorded interview with Hawking, then turning to a panel consisting of Hawking's co-author Leonard Mlodinow, New Age author Deepak Chopra, and Father Robert Spitzer, SJ, (founder of Healing the Culture).

It was a frustrating experience seeing Father Spitzer forced to compete for air time against extended Hawking quotes plastered on the tube, elaborated on by Mlodinow, with an abundance of Deep Chopraisms not worth pondering for anyone outside his fan club.

Maybe Father Spitzer realized he was the only one with heavy artillery at this pea-shooting contest, but his reticence to engage the nonsense being thrown about left him playing second fiddle.

I've seen Father Spitzer blow away a room full of lawyers with his discourse on law and the faith. Come on, Father, you're a Jesuit! Next time, take no prisoners.
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Friday, September 10, 2010

Body Worlds: this time with embryos and fetuses

BERLIN - MAY 06:  Gunther von Hagens poses nex...Image by Getty Images via @daylife
Great, look who's back, and just in time for Halloween. It's Body Worlds, and this time Science World's "incredible exhibit" promises even juicier material, at least judging from the website's "Caution for sensitive viewers: eyes and genitals remain. A section of the exhibition highlights prenatal development, and includes embryos and fetuses." There's always been an issue about where Dr. Gunther von Hagens obtained his corpses, who supposedly gave consent before they died. Maybe the executed Chinese prisoners he's used in the past consented before taking their last breath, but it's not clear how the embryos and fetuses gave permission. Here's the statement the Archdiocese of Vancouver released last time this ghoul show was in town. Nothing's changed.
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Thursday, September 9, 2010

Intellectual fireworks set to explode Friday

Physics and metaphysics battle Friday night on Larry King Live.

Larry King is set to host one of his most intellectual interview/debates in his 25-year history. And probably one of the most interesting.

On Friday night, physicist Stephen Hawking will face-off against meta-physicist Fr. Robert J. Spitzer, SJ. Both men have new books out that argue opposite sides about the beginnings of the universe.

(I blogged about Stephen Hawking's new book in this space a few days ago.)

Hawking's book, The Grand Design, argues that the universe was created from nothing while Fr. Spitzer's book, New Proofs for the Existence of God: Contributions of Contemporary Physics and Philosophy, says that new scientific discoveries are proving more and more that God exists.

Not surprisingly, Fr. Spitzer has already rebutted some of the claims in Hawking's book in an essay called The curious metaphysics of Dr. Stephen Hawking.

The debate should prove to be highly fascinating. (Stephen Barr over at First Things has also weighed in with an intersting piece called Much Ado About “Nothing”: Stephen Hawking and the Self-Creating Universe.)

Larry King Live airs at 9 p.m. ET/ 6 p.m. PT on CNN.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Cardinal J. H. Newman in Nat'l Post

English cardinal closer to sainthood.


Conrad Black had an interesting piece in the National Post last Saturday on Cardinal John Henry Newman. Black wrote about the tremendous importance Newman's beatification brings to the Christian world.

Black also wrote that Cardinal Newman will be the first "Englishman recognized by the Roman Catholic Church as a saint since the 17th Century." (He may well be one day, but Cardinal Newman won't be canonized - recognized as a saint - on this trip, he will only be beatified.) Nevertheless, Cardinal Newman's beatification is significant for England.

Later this month Pope Benedict XVI will visit England and Scotland for four days from Sept. 16 to 19. (An official website has been set up for his trip and it's a pretty good resource.) This will be the first papal visit to Britain since Pope John Paul II's six-day tour in 1982.

The ceremony for Cardinal Newman is set for Pope Benedict's last day in England. From the official visit site:
 "John Henry Cardinal Newman will be beatified by Pope Benedict XVI in the Archdiocese of Birmingham on 19 September 2010. This great Victorian Catholic theologian, much loved the world over, will be declared "Blessed". The miracle required for Cardinal Newman’s beatification was officially recognised by the Holy See on 3 July 2009."

Locally in the Archdiocese of Vancouver, Archbishop Miller will celebrate a special Mass for the Beatification of Cardinal Newman at St. Ignatius of Antioch Parish in Vancouver at 10 a.m. on the same day the ceremony will take place in Archdiocese of Birmingham.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The Theology of the Body comes to St. Jude's

Father Alan Boisclair will offer the first of an 11-week course on Pope John Paul II's Theology of the Body on Thursday evening, Sept. 16, from 7-9:15 p.m. at St. Jude's Church in Vancouver, 2953 East 15th Avenue. The fee is $40 a person and includes the text of Man and Woman He Created Them - A Theology of the Body. To register, call the Respect Life Office at 604-683-0281.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

St. John Vianney relics schedule released

The relics of St. John Vianney, including his incorrupt heart, will be in Vancouver next month. Visit the relics website for details of where and when, as well as parishes where the play Vianney will be performed.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Hawking hocking new book

Book attempts to answer oldest philosophical question
The National Post has a story today about Stephen Hawking's new book "The Grand Design," which he has co-written with a U.S. physicist. I like that he called it design. I wonder if Hawking gets the irony?

Fr. Raymond de Sousa had a great piece on this issue in the Post back in June. In the article, called Physics vs. metaphysics, knowledge vs. wisdom, Fr. de Sousa writes about Hawking's visit to the New York and his interview with Diane Sawyer. In that interview Hawking asks, "I want to know why the universe exists, why there is something greater than nothing?"

It seems Hawking answered his question, the oldest of philosophical questions, after pondering the enigma for a mere two months. (Or, if his book was already completed and going to press, he already had his answer and neglected to enlighten Sawyer.)

In The Grand Design, Hawking writes, "Because there is a law such as gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing. Spontaneous creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing, why the universe exists, why we exist."

I'm no physicist, but I wonder how, in Hawking's "void of nothingness," a law of gravity appears and then wills a void of zilch to create a universe so wide and vast and full of so much matter that even miniscule parts of it are impossible to comprehend?

Fr. de Sousa continues, "We have very powerful telescopes, but even the most powerful cannot tell us what there was before there was anything to see. The microscope can allow us to observe the atom, but what instrument can measure love or liberty or justice?

He closes with: (The search for wisdom) "begins with the realization that there are realities which our eyes alone, even extended by the telescope and microscope, cannot see."

Maternal health? Not so much

Bev Oda
What on earth is the Conservative government up to with its maternal health program?

After steadfastly refusing to include abortion in the program, it now seems the government is willing to provide money for abortion in countries -- as long as it's legal.

International Co-operation Minister Bev Oda, who is in charge of delivering the $1.1-billion program, has just returned from Africa with a new spin on the program. She said in an interview that Canada would support abortion infrastructure, if asked. "As long as it is legal within the country and it's a legal procedure ... if we were asked to help in that way, we would do that."

Not only is that a direct reversal of the Harper government's previous stance, it now turns out Ottawa is  providing money to an agency that provides illegal abortions in Africa.

Prime Minister Harper needs to step forward, have a talk with his minister, and make clear his government's principles on human life.

Kelowna marks Protect Human Life Week

Kelowna's reputation as a pro-life stronghold continues with Mayor Sharon Shepherd again proclaiming Protect Human Life Week in the city Sept. 25-Oct. 3. The initiative includes public events such as the Walk for Life fundraiser, the Okanagan Pro Life Film Festival, and of course the annual Life Chain. Visit Pro Life Kelowna for more information.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Catholic schools in B.C. can keep half-day kindergarten

Half-day kindergarten will continue to be an option for parents and students in independent schools in British Columbia, reports Malin Jordan. The Ministry of Education has confirmed that half-day kindergarten will continue to be funded if independent schools wish to employ that model. The decision doesn't necessarily mean every Catholic school will retain half-day kindergarten.

Justice aborted for Linda Gibbons

Toronto SunImage via Wikipedia
The Toronto Sun has a column about pro-lifer Linda Gibbons, who has spent years behind bars for "getting too close to a private abortion clinic while walking on a public sidewalk. Gibbons is back in court Thursday.
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