Friday, June 29, 2012

Flawed on abortion funding

Bishops urge Congress to fix health law flaws after high court decision
A woman opposed to the administration's health care reform law speaks shortly after the U.S. Supreme Court decision.
This Catholic News Service story discusses the ramifications of a court decision on the U.S.'s Patient Protection Act, with particular reference to the moral issues for Catholics.

The U.S. Supreme Court's June 28 decision upholding the health reform law makes it even more urgent for Congress to act to fix the law's "fundamental flaws" on abortion funding, conscience protection, and immigrants' access to health care, the U.S. bishops said. The court found that although the individual mandate in the 2010 health reform law does not pass constitutional muster under the Commerce Clause of the Constitution, it can be upheld as an acceptable exercise of Congress's taxing powers.
In a 65-page opinion announced by Chief Justice John Roberts, five members of the court upheld the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in full but limited the federal government's right to withhold its share of Medicaid funding from states that do not expand the health program for the low-income and disabled as mandated by the law.
Sister Carol Keehan, president and CEO of the Catholic Health Association, said she was pleased that the health-care law "has been found constitutional and will remain in effect." The Daughter of Charity noted that CHA had submitted friend-of-the-court briefs urging the court to find in favour of the individual mandate and the Medicaid expansion.
For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Liechtenstein's monarchy fears loss of veto

Catholic royal family waits for outcome of July 1 referendum
Prince Hans-Adam II is one of the world's most powerful monarchs. (Liechtenstein Tourism
According to Maclean's magazine, the citizens of the Principality of Liechtenstein will have an official say on whether their monarch can veto referendum results July 1.
Liechtenstein's official flag.
The voting cycle began when Prince Hans-Adam II, the ruler of Europe's fourth smallest country, threatened to overturn a referendum to legalize abortion in the country.
However, he dropped that threat when the vote failed to pass. The Alpine tax haven is sandwiched between Switzerland, and Austria

Catholics make up 80 per cent of the population (36,000). Read the full story here.

Priest talks man to man at St. Mary's

Father Larry Richards speaks to a male-only crowd of more than 800
Father Larry Richards gives his "Be a Man" presentation to over 800 men at
St. Mary's Church June15. Nathan Rumohr / The B.C. Catholic.
Recently I attended the "Be A Man" talk by Father Larry Richards at St. Mary's Church. The straight-talking, no-nonsense priest said real men love, pray, and serve God:
The less a man expresses his love to his loved ones, the wimpier he is, said Father Larry Richards. 
"If you can't tell your wife and kids you love them, then you are a wimp!" Father Richards said during a presentation called "Be a Man" at St. Mary's Church June 15. 
Father Richards is a leading voice in reclaiming the Catholic male identity. The presentation is part of the archdiocesan effort, organized by the archdiocese's Office of Evangelization, to encourage male Catholics to rediscover their God-given manhood.
Read the full story at The B.C. Catholic website.

Same-sex parenting study shows less rosy picture

University of Texas study says children raised by same-sex couples worse off
The homepage of The New Family Structures. a U. of Texas study of the family (www.familystructurestudies.com.)
Deborah Gyapong of Canadian Catholic News reports that a new report released by the University of Texas has raised eyebrows. The New Family Structures study has a large sample size of 15,000 Americans aged 18-39, making it more statistically representative of the U.S. national picture.
The study looks at behaviour rather than identity and asks respondents “if their biological mother or father ever had a romantic relationship with a member of the same sex.” Regnerus was able to find in his sample 175 children who were raised in homes where the mother had a lesbian relationship, and 73 from homes where the father had a homosexual relationship.
He found children raised in the same-sex-relationship homes did less well than children of biologically intact families on a range of outcomes: they were more likely to do poorly in school; to report lower mental and physical health; to experience depression; to be sexually molested; to experience unemployment or part-time employment as adults; to have been in trouble with the law. 
Andrea Mrozek, the Institute for Marriage and Family Canada (IMFC)’s research manager says the study was not claiming a cause and effect relationship. “The study does not attempt to address the 'why'; it does not assert causality,” she said.

Read the full story on The B.C. Catholic website.

Fortnight for Freedom

Washington rally brings 2,000 together in support of religious freedom

This Catholic News Service story shows that Americans holding out for religious freedom are still loyal to their country; in the photo the Catholics at the rally are saying the Pledge of Allegiance to their country.
In prayerful celebration, more than 2,000 Catholics from all regions of the Archdiocese of Washington gathered June 24 as part of the local church's "fortnight for freedom" campaign in support of the United States' "first and most cherished freedom," religious liberty.
The U.S. bishops dedicated June 21 to July 4 as days to encourage Catholics nationwide to focus on prayer, education, and action in defence of religious freedom. Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl of Washington was joined by Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, the apostolic nuncio to the United States.
For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Fox News reporter joins Vatican press corps

Journalist hired for new Holy See post of senior communications adviser
Greg Burke, former Fox correspondent in Rome, will work in the Vatican's Secretariat of State. (CNS)
Carol Glatz of Catholic News Service reports that the Vatican has hired a layman to communicate the Church's message to major media outlets.
Burke, a native of St. Louis, said he'll make sure everyone at the Vatican "stays on message." He has spent the past 24 years based in Rome as a journalist, the last decade with Fox News.
A good example of a past media storm that could have been avoided was during Pope Benedict XVI's speech on Islam in Regensburg, Germany, in 2006. The Holy Father quoted a medieval Byzantine emperor, who said the prophet Mohammed had brought "things only evil and inhuman."
There might have been no problem, but as a talk televised to the world, "in a sound-bite, headline culture, it's a whole different thing," Burke pointed out.
Despite the Vatican's communication challenges, he said the Church "still has a great message" that needs to get out there. "It's a message of spread the love, which often gets lost in a lot of the static."
Read the full story here.

Islamist elected in Egypt

Christians cautious about Mohammed Morsi's victory


Here is a Catholic News Service story about the election of a new president in Egypt.
Christians expressed caution about the election of Islamist Mohammed Morsi, the chairman of the Islamic Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party, as Egypt's new president, saying they hope he will follow through on his pledge "to be a president for all Egyptians."

"We have to accept Morsi and now we will see what he will do," said Michel Agram, a 45-year-old worshipper at the Melkite Catholic Church in Cairo's Heliopolis district June 24. "Not all Egypt wants Morsi. You can see that from the results," Agram said of the narrow 882,000-vote margin of victory over Ahmed Shafiq, the last prime minister under ousted President Hosni Mubarak. "I hope he (Morsi) knows this and acts accordingly."

The election of Morsi, 60, has fed fears among Christians and more liberal Muslims that the Islamists will use their political mandate to impose conservative restrictions on dress and behaviour.
 For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Canada no longer a safe haven for sex traffickers

Anti-human-trafficking bill passes the Senate
Conservative MP Joy Smith

The B.C. Catholic
has a story from Deborah Gyapong, Canadian Catholic News's eye on Ottawa, about the upcoming passage of MP Joy Smith's anti-trafficking bill:

Bill C-310 will receive royal assent June 28 and become law.
It makes human trafficking an extra-territorial offence under the Criminal Code, thus allowing Canada to prosecute citizens and permanent residents for human-trafficking offences committed in other countries where there might be weak laws, inadequate policing, and/or ineffective justice systems.
Read the full story at The B.C. Catholic website.

Vatican says vocations are a family affair

New guidelines say parents should be careful not to block vocations
The Archdiocese of Vancouver's newest priest, Father Pablo Santa Maria, (second
from right) with his sister Ana (left) father Pablo, mother Maria, and brother Humberto.
Father Santa Maria credits his journey to the priesthood to an authentic Catholic upbringing.
Special to The B.C. Catholic.
The B.C. Catholic has a story from Catholic News Agency about the Vatican's suggestions to Catholic families to encourage vocations:

Parents should be careful not to block their son’s calling to the priesthood, new Vatican guidelines on promoting vocations say.
“Even though a sense of respect for the figure of the priest is cultivated in Christian families, it is still noticeable, especially in the West, that they have a certain difficulty in accepting that their child may have a vocation to the priesthood,” says the document launched by Cardinal Zenon Grocholewski, head of the Congregation for Catholic Education, at the Vatican June 25.
However, “if families are animated by a spirit of faith, charity, and piety they become, as it were, an ‘initial seminary,’ and they continue to offer favourable conditions for the birth of vocations.”
Read the full story at The B.C. Catholic website.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Good Catholics or dissenters?

Conference titled Vatican II: For the Next Generation, will examine signs of today's times

Catherine Clifford
A conference in Ottawa Sept. 27-29 marking the 50th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council will examine how to "hand on the Gospel today" in light of Vatican II's teachings, said Catherine Clifford, a Saint Paul University theology professor and an organizer of the conference. The conference will be titled "Vatican II: For the Next Generation."

The conference line-up has drawn some controversy, however. The SoCon.ca blog has launched an online petition that blogger John Pacheco hopes will reach 200 names before he sends it at the end of June to Apostolic Nuncio Archbishop Pedro Lopez Quintana.

The letter urges the nuncio to advise Cardinal Peter Turkson, the president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, who is to give a keynote address, to avoid the "scandal" of appearing at a conference of "dissenters."

For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

Friday, June 22, 2012

'Christian group' attempts to sabotage effort for religious freedom

Leaked email from Faith in Public Life tells reporters to reject the view that there is a 'war on the Catholic Church'
John Gehring of Faith in Public Life. CNA


I'm sure the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops anticipated a backlash over their efforts to fight President Obama's anti-Catholic policies like the HHS mandate, but I don't think they anticipated the backlash to come from other Christians.

Catholic News Agency (CNA) is reporting that a secret email by John Gehring, Catholic program director for the liberal Faith in Public Life group, reveals an effort to undercut the "Fortnight for Freedom" campaign:

Bill Donohue, President of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, released the e-mail detailing the campaign on June 18. He said a copy of the e-mail had been leaked to him.
Donohue said “fair minded persons” may disagree with the religious freedom effort “but there is something unseemly going on when those who work for a George-Soros-funded group are quietly providing talking points to the media.”
FYI: George Soros is a campaign donor to Barack Obama.

CNA went on to report that the email encouraged the press:
to “ask critical questions” about the bishops’ “sweeping claims” in light of a “charged political backdrop” ahead of the 2012 election.  It noted that both the June 8 “Stand Up for Religious Freedom” rallies and the June 21 - July 4 “Fortnight for Freedom” campaign include Catholic dioceses.
 Gehring also wrote that the "war on religion" is a "fiction" made up by the bishops.
It classified as “fiction” U.S. bishops’ conference president Cardinal Timothy Dolan’s statement that the administration is “strangling” the Catholic Church. Gehring also suggested news media ask whether bishops should be concerned about the religious freedom campaign “becoming politicized in an election year.”

Church must remain 'obstacle' to fully secular culture

'Fortnight for Freedom' begins in U.S.
Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore delivers the homily during the opening
Mass for the U.S. bishops' "fortnight for freedom" campaign at the Basilica
of the National Shrine of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Baltimore
June 21. The two-week period will emphasize Church teaching on religious freedom.
Tom McCarthy Jr. / CNS.
The B.C. Catholic has Catholic News Service's coverage of the opening Mass of the "fortnight for freedom" campaign:
On the eve of the feast day of St. Thomas More and St. John Fisher, Baltimore Archbishop William E. Lori held up the two martyrs as a source of inspiration for American Catholics during a Mass June 21 launching the U.S. bishops' much-anticipated "fortnight for freedom." 
"Their courageous witness of faith continues to stir the minds and hearts of people yearning for authentic freedom, and specifically, for religious freedom," he said. 
With the hope of drawing greater attention to the weakening of religious freedoms in America, the U.S. bishops called for the fortnight for freedom, which lasts through July 4, to be 14 days dedicated to prayer, education, and public action.
Read the full story at The B.C. Catholic website.

Benches memorialize St. Francis of Assisi students

School seats dedicated to Andrew and Matthew Moeller, killed in tragic car accident in 2009
The Moeller family sit on the bench dedicated to Matthew Moeller: father Geoff (left), mother Maria, and their children Lorenzo (front left) and Karl.
Nathan Rumohr / The B.C. Catholic.
Recently I had the privilege of attending the special blessing of a bench dedicated to two former students at St. Francis of Assisi:
It was another step in the healing process for the Moeller family and their community at St. Francis of Assisi Elementary School June 1, as students, faculty, and parents gathered to honour Andrew and Matthew Moeller. 
The brothers died Nov. 29, 2008, in a car accident which also paralyzed their brother Karl. As 2012 would have been the year of Andrew's Grade 7 graduation, the school raised money to build and dedicate benches to keep alive the memories of Andrew and Matthew.
 Read the full story at The B.C. Catholic website.

Healing after adultery

Couple shares testimony of hope


This story by CCN writer Deborah Gyapong tells of a marriage recovering from the adultery of one partner. Healing can be possible, even if the affair results in a pregnancy and the baby's biological father is of a different race.

Audrey and Bob Meisner, co-hosts of the Winnipeg-based Christian program "It's a New Day," told a conference at Saint Paul University recently the public fall from grace was difficult and painful, but God not only healed their marriage but also gave them a deeper experience of Christ's love.

"Today is your day of breakthrough," he told the multi-racial gathering of more than 50 couples from evangelical, Catholic, French, and English backgrounds at Covenant Marriage Conference sponsored by Denver-based Family Foundations International June 7-9. "Today is your tipping point. God desires to fix the things in your life that seem unfixable."


For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Pope speaks about Syrian conflict

Holy Father says the international community must act swiftly and decisively to end the violence in Middle Eastern country
The wreckage of a police car is seen after a device exploded in Aleppo, Syria, June 19.
George Ourfalian / CNS.
The B.C. Catholic has a story from Cindy Wooden of Catholic News Service about Pope Benedict XVI's views on the Syrian conflict:

The Pope expressed his prayers and hopes for peace in Syria during a meeting June 21 with Catholic Church representatives from throughout the Middle East, including the nuncio to Syria and the president of Caritas Syria, and with leaders of Eastern Catholic churches.
The representatives and leaders were at the Vatican for a meeting of the Vatican's coordinating body for church funding agencies that assist Eastern Catholics and Catholics throughout the Middle East.
Read the full story at The B.C. Catholic website.

94-year-old sister to lead Canada Day Parade

Sister Ada Toner hasn't let age stop her from being involved in her community
Sister Ada Toner will be the honorary parade marshal in
Fort Saskatchewan’s Canada Day parade at the age of 94.
Chris Miller / CCN.
The B.C. Catholic has a story from Chris Miller of The Western Catholic Reporter about an outstanding Saskatchewan sister who is 94:
After many years of serving schools, parishes and retreat centres across Canada, Sister Ada Toner was “deemed too old and too deaf to do anything.” 
Anyone who made such claims has since been proven wrong. Never a shrinking violet, in her 60s, she strapped on a helmet and rode the highways on the back of a motorcycle. For her 70th birthday, she went up in the skies in a hot-air balloon. 
Sister Toner, 94, is still active in Fort Saskatchewan’s Our Lady of the Angels Parish, and spends her hours visiting hospital patients and leading grieving sessions for prisoners at the Fort Saskatchewan jail.

Read the full story at The B.C. Catholic website.

Writers talk about living with same-sex attraction

Former gay activist says Catholic teaching on same-sex attraction is distinct from other denominations' teachings
Theresa and Alan Yoshioka share a laugh at Catholic After Hours May 27. They
spoke about same-sex attraction and noted how the Catholic pastoral approach to
same-sex attraction differs from the classical "ex-gay" approach.
Special to The B.C. Catholic.
The B.C. Catholic has a story about a former gay activist who has learned to live a Catholic life while dealing with same-sex attraction:

In the eyes of the world, a Catholic with same-sex attraction has two options: live "out and proud" with a homosexual identity, or sit in the pews silent and isolated.
Alan and Theresa Yoshioka say there's a third alternative: acknowledge your SSA and receive support to live chastely. And they're helping to reach some of the Church's most vulnerable members.
The Yoshiokas, who are writing a book about the whole Church being called to support persons with SSA, recently brought their message of hope to the archdiocesan pastoral centre, high school classrooms, parishes, Catholic After Hours, and the Vancouver chapter of Courage/EnCourage.
Read the full story at The B.C. Catholic website.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Nuns bus around U.S. denouncing budget cuts

Sisters tour around America to promote faith, family, and fairness
Sister Simone Campbell, executive director of Network (right) listens, June 19,
as Tia, a client of Maria House, which provides emergency transitional housing
 for women, explains how proposed federal budget cuts would affect her future
during a stop by the "Nuns on the Bus" tour in Dubuque, Iowa.
Sister Carol Hoverman / CNS.
The B.C. Catholic has a story from Catholic News Service about Nuns on the Bus tour, which is taking aim at proposed budget cuts in the U.S. affecting struggling Americans:
The big colorful bus sponsored by Network, a Catholic social justice lobby group from Washington, stopped in Dubuque June 19, the second day of its tour through nine states to alert people to how cuts in the proposed Ryan budget would harm those already struggling. 
The 15-day tour, dubbed by its organizers as "Nuns on the Bus: Nuns Drive for Faith Family and Fairness," stopped at the parking lot of Maria House, which provides emergency transitional housing for women, to highlight the work of Catholic sisters and their collaborators whose ministries serve the poor.
Read the full story at The B.C. Catholic website.

Canada has a problem with charity, says Christian think tank president

Declining number of Canadians are involved in giving and volunteering to charities, according to Cardus
Cardus President Michael Van Pelt at an Ottawa reception June 13 featuring a talk on charity.
Deborah Gyapong / CCN.
The B.C. Catholic has a story from CCN's Deborah Gyapong about Canada's less than charitable attitude towards charities:
Charitable organizations in Canada have a political problem, which has resulted in less contributions and volunteers, says the president of a Christian think tank devoted to the renewal of civil society.
“A declining number of people are giving less—less time, less money, less of themselves—to their neighbours, their communities, and their country,” said Cardus president Michael Van Pelt, June 13, at a reception drawing politicians, lobbyists, and charitable organizations. “And nothing, at the moment anyway, seems to be on the horizon to change that.”
Read the full story at The B.C. Catholic website. 

Ninety is now the new 80 for senior citizens

UBC doctor explains medical advances in treating age-related diseases with activity
Dr. Larry Dian (left) chats with Jane Johnston, a receptionist at the Tapestry
Foundation, at Vandusen Gardens in Vancouver, May 31, after his lecture on
successful aging. Alistair Burns / The B.C. Catholic 
Alistair Burns's latest article finds out why 90 is now the new 80:

Can 90 years old be the new 80 for seniors? So contended Dr. Larry Dian, a specialist in geriatric medicine and a clinical professor at UBC, when he presented his findings on the subject May 31 at Vandusen Gardens in Vancouver. His lecture was titled, "Successful Aging: Is 90 the new 80?"
"There are plenty of healthy 80-year-olds but fewer healthy 90-year-olds. Living into one's 90s depends on a lot of factors beyond our control," said Dr. Dian.
His thesis maintained that for many people who live to an old age, three keys things were apparent: a healthy lifestyle, an upbeat personality, and what he termed luck: good genetics drawn from one's gene pool.
Read the full story at The B.C. Catholic website.

Archdiocese asks parishioners for West African aid

Second collection for emergency appeal July 22
18 million Africans are at risk of starvation by September. (CCODP) 

The Archdiocese of Vancouver will have a special collection for the looming crisis in West Africa Sunday, July 22. According to the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace, the emergency appeal is needed to respond to the serious food shortage and drought in countries such as Mali, Niger, and Burkina Faso.

More than a million children are estimated at risk of severe malnutrition in the region.

To donate directly to the CCODP's emergency relief fund, click here.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

UK poll finds low support for 'gay marriage' legalization

Britain's gay population largely apathetic to mandate
Pope Benedict XVI walks with British Prime Minister
David Cameron in Birmingham, England, in a
September 2010 photo. Cameron intends to recognize
same-sex unions as marriage, something  which is not a
priority for the country's same-sex community.
Carl Court / CNS.
The B.C. Catholic has a Catholic News Agency story about a poll that shows Brits aren't behind Prime Minister David Cameron's crusade to legalize gay marriage:
A recent poll in the United Kingdom found that most gay, lesbian, and transgendered people in the country do not support homosexual “marriage,” despite Prime Minister David Cameron’s intent to legalize it.

 
The survey – conducted from April 27 to May 20 by the firm ComRes for Catholic Voice – showed that only a minority of the British homosexual population considers the legalization of gay marriage to be a priority. Nearly half of those surveyed said Cameron’s plan is more about making his party appear compassionate than about a conviction on the issue. 
Read the full story at The B.C. Catholic website.

Catholic thinker speaks from the heart at Star of the Sea

Sun News broadcaster breaks his pulpit bully persona to talk about God's miraculous signs of love
Michael Coren.
Recently I attended a talk by Sun News host Michael Coren at Good Shepherd Church in White Rock:
Michael Coren usually defends his faith with cerebral weaponry. The star of Sun TVs "The Arena" often uses his hard-line Catholic intellect to battle both religious and secular opponents in intellectual battles royal. 
His understanding of the faith can sometimes make him seem arrogant or condescending, traits Coren proudly jokes about on his show. 
But he put down his theological and intellectual weaponry June 2 and spoke to a group of Catholics at Star of the Sea Parish.
Read the full story at The B.C. Catholic website.

Bishops react to court's decision to strike down euthanasia laws


Vancouver archbishop says ruling 'reflects a distorted view of equality rights' 
Anti-euthanasia protesters stand outside the B.C. Supreme Court June 15, minutes after Justice Lynn Smith ruled in favour of physician-assisted suicide. Nathan Rumohr / The B.C. Catholic.
The B.C. Catholic has the national reaction to the recent B.C. Supreme Court ruling challenging Canada's euthanasia laws. CCN's Deborah Gyapong reports:
Bishops and others have expressed dismay over a June 15 B.C. Supreme Court decision to strike down Criminal Code provisions against euthanasia and assisted suicide.
"I strongly urge the government to appeal this extremely flawed and dangerous ruling," said Archbishop J. Michael Miller, CSB, of Vancouver in a statement released the day of the decision. 
The government has until July 16 to file a notice of appeal.
Read the full story at The B.C. Catholic website. 

Monday, June 18, 2012

Dan Brown's precedent lives on in 'Vatileaks'

Vatican Secretary of State criticizes 'unethical' journalists

Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone says many journalists covering the "VatiLeaks" scandal are trying to imitate author Dan Brown. (CNS)

Francis X. Rocca of the Catholic News Service reports that the Vatican Secretary of State has blamed an ongoing scandal over leaked documents on some journalists having a spirit of hostility toward the Catholic Church.
"Many journalists continue to invent fables," said Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone. Vatican judges were investigating leaks to Italian journalists, including letters to the Pope and encrypted cables from Vatican embassies.
The Church "is an unambiguous point of reference for innumerable persons," he pointed out. "Some try to destabilize it and shatter this rock, this 2,000-year old institution that continues to carry out its proper mission of witness."

Noting that the publication of private letters violates the Italian constitution's guarantee of a right to privacy, he lamented that stories of the Church's extensive charitable works have been "intentionally ignored or erased" amid heavy press coverage.
Read the full story here on The B.C. Catholic website.

Archdiocesan clergy enjoy night out on the town

Annual Padre Night raises money for Corpus Christi College
(John Ng / Special to The B.C. Catholic)
The Knights of Columbus hosted over 50 Lower Mainland priests for a catered dinner at the Columbus Circle dinner hall on Granville Street June 4. Msgr. Pedro Lopez-Gallo was honoured with thunderous applause when it was mentioned that he was celebrating the diamond jubilee of his ordination.

Also, Knight Tom Kearney won the 50 / 50 jackpot, $245; he quickly donated his winnings to further Catholic education at Corpus Christi College. 

Msgr. Mark Hagemoen, president of the college, gratefully accepted the cash.

Reforming faith and politics

Preston Manning believes faith is necessary in an ethical society and should be part of public life
Archbishop J. Michael Miller, CSB, and Preston Manning chat during a break at
the 2009 Focus on Life gala dinner sponsored by Signal Hill. Manning said the
abortion debate is being "reframed" with the advances in genetics and
medical science. Malin Jordan / The B.C. Catholic.
Recently I had a chance to talk to former Reform Party leader Preston Manning about the lack of faith in the public square:

"People of faith should be involved in the political process," Manning told The B.C. Catholic in a recent interview. "Jesus sent out His disciples to do public work." 
Manning said people talk about faith only in general terms, and try to ignore it when it comes to public policy. "The biggest difficulty is legitimizing faith in the political arena."
Read the full story at The B.C. Catholic website.

Politicians pan poverty, believe it or not

Members of all parties form Anti-Poverty Caucus

Here is a story from Canadian Catholic News reporter Deborah Gyapong relating that once again, nobody wants to be left out of a group saying that poverty is bad, even immoral.

Politicians across party lines in both the House of Commons and Senate launched the all-party Anti-Poverty Caucus (APC) June 12 to examine ways to fight poverty.

Senator Art Eggleton, a former Liberal cabinet minister and mayor of Toronto, one of three people co-chairing the event he hosted, said the number of poor people is as large as the population of the Atlantic provinces plus Saskatchewan, and "One in four of those are children."

He noted that former NDP Leader Ed Broadbent, before leaving politics, led a campaign to eliminate child poverty by the year 2000, yet "We've got double-digit child poverty today."


For full story see The B.C. Catholic website.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Benedictine nun leaves legacy to archdiocese


Sister Regina Krushen remembered through her art
Archbishop J. Michael Miller, CSB, blesses the icons of St. Michael the Archangel and Our Lady of Tenderness (inset) May 27 at Holy Rosary Cathedral. They were painted by the late Sr. Regina Krushen, OSB. Nathan Rumohr / The B.C. Catholic.
I was fortunate enough to attend the blessing in which the archbishop blessed two icons by artist Sister Regina Krushen, who has a unique back story:
Born Mary Jennifer Krushen in 1959, Sister Krushen worked as a model before feeling the call of the contemplative life. 
"God can call you from wherever you are," said Sister Ancilla Armijo, OSB, a close friend of Sister Krushen. "Sister Regina enjoyed being a model, but her mother's death in 1985 awakened other possibilities." Sister Armijo said the trying experience allowed Sister Krushen to evaluate the meaning of her life. She said Sister Krushen felt compelled to draw closer to God and she became enthralled with the Benedictine lifestyle at Westminster Abbey in Mission. 
Later, she chose to join the Benedictine nuns of the Abbey of St. Walburga in Virginia Dale, Colorado. "This was where God wished me to live out the rest of my life," she said after her first visit to the convent in 1991. She entered the Abbey in 1992.
Read the full story at The B.C. Catholic website.


U.S. bishops forge a Catholic economic action plan

Draft proposal on the struggling economy approved during spring meeting in Atlanta
New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, addresses the bishops at their annual mid-year meeting June 13 in Atlanta. Michael Alexander / CNS.
The B.C. Catholic has a story from Dennis Sadowski of Catholic News Service about an expected economic paper about the troubled U.S. econonomy by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops:
Titled "Catholic Reflections on Work, Poverty and a Broken Economy," the message would advance the bishops' priority of human life and dignity to demonstrate the new evangelization in action, explained Bishop Stephen E. Blaire of Stockton, Calif., chairman of the Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development. 
The bishops voted 171-26 during their spring meeting, June 13, in Atlanta to move ahead with a draft of the document. It is expected to be ready in time for a final vote at the bishops' fall meeting in November.
Read the full story at The B.C. Catholic website.

New shepherd for Moncton

Bishop Valery Vienneau begins duties June 30
Archbishop Valery Vienneau
Catholic News Service reports that Pope Benedict XVI has named Bishop Valery Vienneau of Bathurst, New Brunswick as archbishop for Moncton:
Archbishop Vienneau, 64, had led the Diocese of Bathurst since 2002.  
Born in Cap-Pele, he earned degrees in philosophy and in education from the University of Moncton and taught in public schools for nine years. He later entered the seminary, studying in Ottawa, and was ordained to the priesthood in 1982 for the Archdiocese of Moncton.

Read the full story at The B.C. Catholic website.

B.C. judge legalizes euthanasia and assisted-suicide

Court ruling carves up the law, allowing exceptions to legalized killing
Anti-euthanasia protesters stand outside the B.C. Supreme Courthouse
June 15. Nathan Rumohr / The B.C. Catholic.
The B.C. Supreme Court has ruled that outlawing physician-assisted suicide goes against the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
Dr. Will Johnston, coordinator of the Euthanasia Prevention
Coalition B.C. speaks to reporters outside the B.C. Supreme
Courthouse. Nathan Rumohr / The B.C. Catholic.

Judge Lynn Smith ruled in favour of a coalition of pro-physician-assisted suicide plaintiffs, June 15, and found that a prohibition of physician-assisted suicide "deprives the plaintiffs of their section 7 rights inconsistently with the principles of fundamental justice." She continued:
First, the legislation is overbroad.  Second, the legislative response – an absolute prohibition – is grossly disproportionate to the objectives it is meant to accomplish.  

Smith's ruling gives Parliament one year to draft legislation as the ruling suspends declaration of invalidity.

Gloria Taylor's lawyer Joseph Arvay tells reporters his client is relieved
 with the court's decision.  Nathan Rumohr / The B.C. Catholic.

Gloria Taylor, who suffers from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and one of the five plaintiff`s, was emotional and relieved with the decision, as she was granted an constitutional exemption. She is allowed to seek physician-assisted suicide under "specified conditions."

Read more at The B.C. Catholic website.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Vatican warns of 'green protectionism'

Position paper praises Rio+20 for environmental awareness but denounces technological solutions taken by nations
Brazilian army soldiers patrol the Copacabana beach June 11 ahead of the U.N. Rio+20 Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio de Janerio June 20-22. Delegates will gather at the summit to try to map a sustainable course for the world's 7 billion people. Ricardo Moraes / CNS.
With the environmental conference Rio+20 on the horizon, Cindy Wooden of Catholic News Service summarizes the Vatican's position on environmental issues:
As the international community looks for ways to protect the environment while promoting development, it must keep the good of human beings and the protection of human dignity as its central goals, according to the Vatican. 
Among the points it makes in a position paper for the upcoming U.N. Rio+20 Conference on Sustainable Development, the Vatican warns that efforts to promote a "green economy" of environmentally friendly goods and services could lead to "green protectionism," rewarding technologically advanced countries and hurting the poor.
Read the full story at The B.C. Catholic website.

Canadian cardinal represents Pope in Ireland

Cardinal Marc Ouellet asks for forgiveness on behalf of Holy Father
Canadian Cardinal Marc Ouellet, left, and Archbishop Charles Brown, apostolic nuncio to Ireland, visit the "penitential beds" containing the remains of Celtic monastic life at Lough Derg in County Donegal, Ireland, June 12. John McElroy / CNS.
Catholic News Service reports Canadian Cardinal Marc Ouellet met with several victims of sexual abuse while in Ireland attending the International Eucharistic Congress:
The cardinal spent about two hours meeting with victims on Station Island, then celebrated Mass in St. Patrick's Basilica, said a statement by the Catholic Communications Office. 
During his homily, the cardinal told victims that the pope asked him to "come to Lough Derg and ask God's forgiveness for the times clerics have sexually abused children, not only in Ireland but anywhere in the church."

Read the full story at The B.C. Catholic website. 

Panel tackles emotional issues of Christians in Holy Land

Archbishop Miller among panelists who discuss topics raised by Salt and Light TV's documentary Across the Divide
Carl Hetu, director of the Catholic Near East Welfare Association (far left), Father Thomas Rosica, CSB, Salt and Light CEO, and Brother Jack Curran from Bethlehem University (far right) listen to a comment by Archbishop J. Michael Miller, CSB. The archbishop said Catholics should work to bring about a positive change in the Holy Land. Malin Jordan / The B.C. Catholic.
Recently The B.C. Catholic attended the premier of Salt and Light TV's documentary Across the Divide. After the movie, a  panel consisting of Archbishop J. Michael Miller, CSB; Father Thomas Rosica, CSB, CEO of Salt and Light Television; Brother Jack Curran, vice-president of development at Bethlehem University; and Carl Hetu, national director of the Catholic Near East Welfare Association, discussed the contentious issues facing the Holy Land:
Each member of the panel gave their respective opinions on Christian interests in the Middle East. 
Father Rosica called the Holy Land the Mother Church. "We have a great responsibility as Catholics to support it, since it's small; it's a holy remnant, it's suffering. And Bethlehem U. is a branch of peace." One of the ways Salt and Light has reached out is through documentaries "to feature the living stones" of the Holy Land.
 Read  he full story at The B.C. Catholic website.

Forced adoptions done under good intentions

Msgr. Pedro Lopez-Gallo explores the complicated history of forcing women to give up their children
Msgr. Pedro Lopez-Gallo describes the history of forced adoptions in Canada. BCC file photo.
Msgr. Pedro Lopez-Gallo explores forced adoptions in his latest contribution to The B.C. Catholic:

My readers must surely be aware of the recent initiative by the National Post (March 10, 2012) to investigate the excesses committed against unwed mothers who were forced into giving up their babies for adoption.
Over a hundred such women have reported the cruelty they suffered when there was no legal procedure to ensure they were given a chance to exercise their consent. 
These incidents occurred some 40 or 50 years ago when abortion was illegal and the Charter of Human Rights was under approval by the United Nations but had not yet been implemented. Some of these women now want to incriminate religious institutions that operated maternity shelters and facilitated adoptions under duress or against the will of the unmarried mothers.
Read the full comment at The B.C. Catholic website.

Pope fields message of genuine joy for Euro 2012

Church 'does not remain indifferent' to popular sporting event
Young soccer players present Pope Benedict XVI with a ball in 2005. (CNS)
Hosted by Poland and Ukraine, the top 16 footballing nations across the pond are striving to win the Henri Delaunay Trophy. Meanwhile, the Holy Father has blessed the quadrennial European soccer championship.

The papal message was translated from Polish into English by the Vatican newspaper, L'Osservatore Romano:

My beloved predecessor Blessed John Paul II said sports are a 'significant vehicle for personal development and in building a more human society.' A sense of brotherhood, honesty and respect for one’s body — virtues that are undoubtedly essential for every good athlete — help to build a civil society where antagonism is replaced by healthy competition.
Team sports are an important school for teaching a  sense of  respect for others, the spirit of personal sacrifice, and how to overcome the logic of individualism and selfishness, in order to make room for the logic of brotherhood and love, which alone can enable the promotion — at all levels — of the true common good.
 Read the full story here.

Archbishop Miller addresses audience at International Eucharistic Congress in Dublin

Communion with Christ founds priestly ministry, says Vancouver shepherd
Archbishop J. Michael Miller, CSB, speaks at the International Eucharistic Conference in Dublin, Ireland, June 13. Photo courtesy of Saltandlighttv.com.
The B.C. Catholic has Archbishop J. Michael Miller, CSB's speech from the International Eucharistic Congress in Dublin. The archbishop focused on how the priesthood and the Eucharist are intertwined:

The Eucharist, as we have been hearing throughout these grace-filled days, is a gift that the Lord continues to give to us, so that might have “life, and life in abundance” (Jn 10:10). Without the Eucharist, we would die of hunger, for it is through this saving sacrifice of Christ made present on our altars that we enter into communion with him and with one another in the Church. 
This afternoon’s catechesis focuses on ordained priests, those chosen instruments (cf. Jn 15:16) whom the Lord has delegated to feed his people with the Bread of life (cf. Jn 6:35-59). I begin by affirming that the ministerial priesthood is born from the Eucharist, is directed to the Eucharist and bears fruit because of the Eucharist. In this presentation I will make three major points about the priesthood: first, ministerial priests are at the service of the priesthood of all the faithful; second, priests are men of communion called to foster unity and healing in the ecclesial community; and third, priests, as servants of the Eucharist, provide the laity with the strength to carry out their mission in the Church and in the world.

Read the full comment at The B.C. Catholic website.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Canadian Auto Workers' union opposes life caravan

Pro-abortion union plans counter protests
The New Abortion Caravan drives down a B.C. highway in an undated photo. The trucks are painted with abortion images on the sides and back. The Canadian Auto Workers' union is protesting the Caravan. BCC file photo.
The Canadian Auto Workers' Union (CAW) is opposing the "New Abortion Caravan" sponsored by Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform (CCBR). The Caravan will be spending the final month of their tour in Manitoba and Ontario protesting abortion and representatives from the union will be there meet them and counter-protest.

"An organization known as the CCBR want to take away our (abortion) rights using fear, guilt, and shock tactics," said Julie White, CAW director for women's programs.

White praised the work of the original Abortion Caravan from 1970 that comprised 17 feminists who drove around the country preaching the message of abortion. The feminists used shock tactics. They tied a coffin full of coat hangers to the top of one of the cars to represent women killed from botched abortions. They also burned an effigy of then Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau.

CAW also denounced Conservative MP Stephen Woodworth's personhood Motion M-312. The motion seeks to set up a special parliamentary committee to investigate the 400-year-old definition of a person, which currently states that a human has no legal rights until complete birth.

statement on CAW's website by White and CAW national president Ken Lewenza said the union opposes the motion:
Women and men alike watched in disgust as Conservative MP Stephen Woodworth's motion, supported by a number of his colleagues, called into question the ability of women to make choices over their own bodies. M-312 proposes the creation of a Parliamentary Committee to examine whether the Criminal Code definition of "human being" should be expanded to include fetuses. In effect, the motion opens the door for the criminalization of abortion and the revival of the long concluded debate over women's reproductive rights and autonomy over their own bodies. 
Stephanie Gray, CCBR executive director, released a statement saying that CAW isn't respecting members among the 200,000 person union who might be pro-life:
“I find it shocking that the largest private worker’s union in the country is using its union dues to advocate for abortion. Participation in this union is mandatory, and yet people like CAW president Ken Lewenza are using the union dues of pro-life auto workers to advocate for Canada’s status quo as the only Western democracy to have no abortion restrictions. Canadians are forced to fund abortion with their tax dollars, and now CAW members are being forced to advocate for it with their union dues.  What does abortion have to do with workplace issues for autoworkers?   It is unfortunate that Ken Lewenza has no respect for his employees’ freedom of conscience.”
Gray said the CCBR seeks to redeem history with The New Abortion Caravan by retracing the steps of the original Caravan only this time proclaiming a message of life. The Caravan is part of the CCBR's effort to end abortion in Canada.

Read more at The B.C. Catholic website.

Life altering story shared at pro-life gala dinner

TV host shares her brokenness for Signal Hill
Laura-Lynn Tyler Thompson speaks to the audience at Signal Hill's Focus on Life fundraiser gala dinner about her journey and the time she almost adopted twins to stop an abortion. Nathan Rumohr / The B.C. Catholic.
Recently I attended Signal Hill's Focus on Life fundraising gala dinner where keynote speaker Laura-Lynn Tyler Thompson, host of the Evangelical Christian TV program the 700 Club Canada, said she almost adopted twins to stop an abortion:
"I had been working with high-risk youth for five years and they have become my purpose and joy," she said. One of the girls in the program told Thompson about a friend who was set to have an abortion. Thompson asked why the girl was choosing abortion and learned it was because she was carrying twins. 
"I knew this would be a very tough situation for this girl," Thompson said. After thinking about the situation for two days, Thompson decided to do something radical to save the babies. "I texted this girl and told her I would adopt the twins. Maybe this is the one shot these babies have!"
Read the full story at The B.C. Catholic website.

Pope reflects on 'ethical economy' for Europe

Polish University Centre studying Ratzinger letters, thoughts, ideas
The Pope talks to students at the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy on June 12, 2012. (Photo credit: L'Osservatore Romano) 
The Holy Father's legacy has expanded with the announcement of a new think tank in Bydgoszcz, Poland, dedicated to pondering his life's work. The think tank first covered how the Church approaches economic issues.

Tarcisio Bertone for L'Osservatore Romano, reports:
If the Church deals systematically with social and economic topics (as she has since Leo XXIII's Rerum Novarum); she does not do so because she possesses special economic skills but rather because she is an “expert in humanity”, as Paul VI liked to say.
The Church is not afraid to add her own voice to the great human questions on the truth about man and his future, which also include questions about the economy.
Human dignity and natural ethical norms, in the light of faith and reason, are the two “beacons” which, in the social magisterium and in the thought of Benedict XVI, illuminate the main route to take to operate correctly in today's complex world, offering trustworthy hope to men and women.
Read the whole article here.

D&P seeks to feed needy in heart of West Africa

Food crisis in Sahel region expected until September
A girl carries water from a well in the village of Synthiane Ndiakri, Mauritania, June 1. U.N. agencies estimate that 18 million people in West Africa's Sahel region are at risk of hunger because of drought, conflict and rising food prices. Susana Vera / CNS.
Alistair Burns reports about the efforts of the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace to raise awareness of a potential food crisis in West Africa:
Imagine if two months from now, half the population of Canada, or 18 million citizens, were starving to death. For the impoverished peoples of West Africa, that horrible nightmare could soon become the stark reality. 
"It's a huge chance for disaster this summer," said Guy Desaulniers, emergency relief officer for the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace (CCODP). "Last year's harvest was poor, the start of the rainy season turned into a prolonged drought, and many of these countries are arid regions. The chance for the next harvest isn't until September." 
He warned "a pre-emptive food strike" has to start in June. Unless major media organizations in North America and Europe start broadcasting the immense need for financial aid from the First World, then the circumstances will quickly spiral out of control in countries such as Burkina Faso, Gambia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal, Chad, northern Nigeria, and northern Cameroon, he added.
Read the full story at The B.C. Catholic website.

Catholic environmentalists head to Rio

Groups to advocate for world sustainability
A man takes picture of national flags fluttering at Copacabana Fort in Rio de Janeiro June 11. Delegates will gather for the U.N. Rio+20 Conference on Sustainable Development June 20-22 to try to map a sustainable course for the world's 7 billion people. Ricardo Moraes / CNS.
Catholic organizations will be among many from around the world who will gather in Rio de Janeiro, June 20-22, for the U.N. Rio+20 Conference on Sustainable Development. Lise Alves of Catholic News Service details some of the objectives the Catholic groups hope to see from the conference:
Three sets of people will be in Rio: world government officials, nongovernmental organizations of the U.N. system -- including some representatives of religious -- and civil society groups, which include social and religious groups. These groups will be trying to find solutions to three main challenges: controlling climate change; designing a new architecture of global governance; and moving to a new model of civilization.
 The Vatican will be represented by Sao Paulo Cardinal Odilo Scherer, Pope Benedict XVI's special envoy to the Rio+20 conference. 
Among these nongovernmental organizations and institutions are several Catholic-based groups. For instance, members of the international alliance of Catholic development agencies, CIDSE, are expected not only to host one of the official side events on the right to food and climate, but also will help organize several workshops at the People's Summit.
Read the full story at The B.C. Catholic website.

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