Friday, July 24, 2009

Vancouver archbishop supports CCODP review

Vancouver Archbishop J. Michael Miller, CSB, says he “strongly supports” steps being taken in the Archdiocese of Toronto to prevent future controversies involving the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace.
Archbishop Miller has not yet announced whether he will release more than $130,000 collected from parishes during the recent Share Lent Sunday collection for CCODP. He is studying the Toronto response, as well as the report on CCODP’s funding activities in Mexico. See this week's B.C. Catholic for the full story.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

A first for The B.C. Catholic

With the coming issue of The B.C. Catholic we start something we've wanted to do for a long time: introduce non-English content for the benefit of non-English-speaking Catholics in the Archdiocese of Vancouver.

We're now carrying Pax Sinica (Chinese Peace), a new weekly column by Father Anthony Ho, assistant pastor of St. Patrick’s Parish in Vancouver. Father Ho will address matters spiritual, catechetical, and pastoral, writing in the traditional Chinese that most Hong Kong residents are familiar with.

Father Ho’s column will appear in a new expanded spiritual section entitled Focus on Faith. An English translation will appear alongside the Chinese.

The time is ripe, as the archdiocese embarks on a number of new evangelization initiatives, largely stemming from the archdiocesan synod that was itself a response to the immigration that has so enriched our diocese.

We have a new website, new offices of evangelization, social justice, and communications, and in coming issues you’ll read about an ambitious plan to have The B.C. Catholic making its way into most archdiocesan homes.

We’re long overdue in reaching out to our non-English-speaking Chinese Catholics. We hope that this effort to provide something in their first language is an opportunity for entire households to benefit from The B.C. Catholic for the first time.

Pope's letter lost in translation

An excellent analysis of the Church in China: The Pope Translated into Chinese. With Too Many Errors, which says the letter Benedict XVI wrote in 2007 to the Catholics of China has been gravely misunderstood, according to Cardinal Zen. All to the advantage of the communist authorities, and their plan to subjugate the Church. To correct the problem, a new guide document has come from Rome.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Over the moon

In 1981 the first lunar rocks were made available to non-US educators and Peter Vogel at Notre Dame was the first to be licensed to display them. From The B.C. Catholic, November 29, 1981:

Friday, July 17, 2009

Pope Paul, Pope John & Apollo - The B.C. Catholic, July 23, 1969

For the 40th anniversary of the lunar landing

The push for death

It's hardly scientific, but a Globe and Mail poll shows just how much support there is for Canada's euthanasia movement. Watch next week's B.C. Catholic for coverage of the push -- yet again -- for assisted suicide in Canada.

One Small Step is an organization that is producing some very effective TV ads in the cause of life. Take a look at this new one, especially timely as it marks the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing in July 1969. Says President Brian Burch, "In the early 1960’s, walking on the moon seemed like an impossible feat. But in less than 10 years, we did it. Reflecting on this historic achievement, I am more hopeful than ever that the movement to protect all human life can also be accomplished. We too must set our sights on OUR goal. And get there."

Pope injures wrist in bathroom fall

Pope Benedict XVI is on the mend after a fall yesterday. Don't forget to say a prayer for him.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Postcards for the 'Ledge'

Copy of the postcard Campaign Life Coalition is asking people to fill out as the group challenges B.C.’s law censoring all abortion information at hospitals.

Here's the PDF to download.

How many abortions a year? No one knows.

B.C. abortion under challenge

Campaign Life Coalition of British Columbia has announced it will use B.C.'s Freedom of Information Law to show it is in the "public interest" for the Information and Privacy Commissioner to override the censorship provisions of Bill 21 and order the release of abortion-related information.

Requests have already been sent to several B.C. hospitals for statistics from their locations. "As the process develops and our requests for information are denied, we will be using all of the appeal processes available to us to gain this information," said John Hof, president of Campaign Life Coalition B.C.

"The public has a right to know if medical service delivery is being abused by repeat abortions: if follow-up is being done on women who abort at local clinics and then show up at area hospitals with complications from their abortions: if underage children are having abortions without parental consent or notification."

Among other things, Bill 21 mandated which hospitals around the province would provide abortions. It also entrenched an outright ban on the release of any local abortion statistics, complication rates, ages of those seeking abortion, their previous abortions, even including any background information on lobbying or policy formation.

Hof said Bill 21 basically censored the release of any and all abortion-related information by amending the Freedom of Information Act.

Pro-life spokesman Ted Gerk said Bill 21 was "an attempt by the government of the day to silence their critics on abortion policy ... if you take away the right to know what is happening on a public policy issue, you shut down the ability of your political opponents to debate you."

Former NDP Attorney General Colin Gableman caused a scandal in 1994 when it was discovered that he had filed a false affidavit in a B.C. court over secret meetings he had had with the B.C. Coalition for Abortion Clinics.

Subsequently it was discovered, through freedom of information requests, that the government was plotting with abortion clinics and their political supporters to stifle abortion-related protests, creating a situation where "the chief law-enforcement arm of government was working for one side of a public policy issue," said Gerk.

Gerk noted the irony of hospitals being forced to do abortions, while the public is not allowed to know how many, as well as other information related to abortion complications, deaths, or live births after late-term abortions.

"Bill 21 denies any interested persons from knowing the truth about abortion delivery in B.C.," he said.

Supporters of the effort are being asked to visit Facebook and search for Stop Abortion Censorship, or visit

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Did he or didn’t he?

From Deborah Gyapong (CCN):

Only days before Prime Minister Stephen Harper's audience with Pope Benedict XVI, the big story upstaging his efforts to keep G8 countries from introducing more stimulus measures to the economy concerns whether he ate the Communion host at former Governor General Romeo LeBlanc's funeral or pocketed it.

A spokesman for the Prime Minister's office insists the he did eat it, but the fact that Harper is a Protestant has some blogs and online stories in a tizzy. A video of the "act" is up on YouTube and "inconclusive."

Of course, the timing, so close to his audience with the Pope adds some extra "scandal" to the story. The Prime Minister, however, did not rise to go receive Communion. Instead, Archbishop Andre Richard went over to him and offered it. Some, like my press gallery colleague CFRB Ottawa Bureau Chief Brian Lilley, have suggested the archbishop is the one to blame.

I tried to make it an early night last night back at Casa Santa Brigida, the lovely convent where I am staying, but I was told this morning this issue was the talk of the Ottawa-based journalists after they returned to Rome from L'Aquila. In fact, there was even a joke circulating that when the Prime Minister meets with the Holy Father on Saturday he will hand the Host to him and say, "I think this belongs to you."

Talk of the "scandal" or "faux pas" continued to be the talk over breakfast this morning at the media hotel's beautiful rooftop terrace. When I arrived, several journalists asked me to explain why the Communion issue was such a big fuss, and why the big deal if the Prime Minister did pocket it. They seemed to think the whole thing was a little silly, especially the insistence on the part of Senator Noel Kinsella that he saw the Prime Minister consume the host.

Some journalists were relieved they did not have to cover this story; others were surprised at how big it has become. It was one of the most popular stories on the Globe and Mail's website.

I tried to explain that maybe it's a bit of inside baseball for Catholics, but non-Catholics are not supposed to receive Communion. In fact, even Catholics who do not believe in Christ's Real Presence are, from a theological point of view, putting themselves in spiritual danger by receiving it.

I also noted that it is a big deal on whether the host is consumed on the spot, as there are concerns about sacrilege if someone were to take it away and perhaps use it in another ritual. I have even seen a priest stop someone who was departing from the communion rail with a host and insist it be consumed.

One journalist asked whether it was just politeness to offer Communion to a prime minister or any guest in the church. The host is not a symbol, I explained, but the Body of Jesus Christ.

I asked the PM’s press secretary Dmitri Soudas about the uproar. Here’s what he said:

"The Prime Minister was sitting at the front of the church. The priest, the archbishop, conducting the service approached the front row and offered Communion to the Governor General, her husband and then offered it to the Prime Minister.

"The Prime Minister accepted it and then he consumed it. "It's totally absurd for anybody to say he did not consume it."

The YouTube video shows the PM hesitating. The camera moves away. I asked why the hesitation.

"He was holding his program in his hand. He just put the program down and then he consumed (the consecrated host)."

Soudas also noted that Senator Noel Kinsella, the Senate Speaker, has confirmed that he saw the Prime Minister consume the host.

Asked whether the Prime Minister is aware that it is a scandal for non-Catholics to receive Communion, he said:

"The Prime Minister is Christian and in this specific case, the archbishop offered it to the Prime Minister and he consumed it."

By the way, this morning I awoke with the birds and made my way by bus to St. Peter's Basilica before all the tourists arrive. At 7:30 a.m. St. Peter's Square was nearly vacant, just the odd pilgrim and a couple of tour groups with bright identifying sashes. Inside, priests were presiding at mass at numerous side chapels. The awe-inspiring basilica was nearly empty of tourists, making it a much more prayerful experience. Through a grate in the floor came the sounds of chanting from the crypt where popes are buried.

The G8 has really fouled up traffic and bus routes, especially around the American Embassy, which is just down the street from the media hotel, making it really difficult to get around the city, even by cab. When I was trying to get back to the convent, I had to try to persuade the cab driver to make a U-turn because I had just left an area that was blocked by police as a big motorcade drove right onto Piazze Navone. I couldn't see whose it was. I imagine a lot of first ladies are out shopping and sight-seeing. And when the U.S. President moves anywhere, streets close, helicopters hover overhead, and traffic stops.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Encyclical for a G8 summit

From Deborah Gyapong (CCN):

Greetings from Rome! Police are everywhere, perhaps anticipating some demonstrations coinciding with the 2009 G8 Summit, which is taking place in L’Aquila, about a 90 minute drive from the city.

We arrived last night aboard the Prime Minister's plane. It was my first time accompanying the PM on any kind of airborne jaunt, so just going aboard the dark grey airbus from the Canada Reception Centre was an adventure. There are from 30 to 40 journalists on the trip and a number of RCMP officers and personnel from the Prime Minister's office facilitating us.

Though I had filled out the forms, I did not receive accreditation for the G8, which is just as well, because once you go L’Aquila you are pretty well stuck there at the media centre until the buses start returning at the end of the day.

The media are staying at the Marriott Grand Flora, a fine hotel in a swanky part of Rome not far from the Borghese Gardens. They have a nice suite set up with Internet Access, telephones, a printer plus cold beverages and airconditioning in the hotel. That's where I am now, having just printed off Pope Benedict XVI's latest encyclical Caritas in Veritate. I am not staying here but at Casa Santa Brigida, a much more affordable convent about a 20 minute bus ride away.

Our plane got in about 10:30 p.m. Rome time. We got off the plane via a shaky staircase and waited until the Prime Minister and his family got off a similar portable staircase at the front. We could not get on our buses until after the helicopter lifted off, taking Mr. Harper to L’Aquila. Last April, a severe earthquake devastated the area, killing almost 300 people and leaving another 60,000 homeless. The Italian Prime Minister decided to hold the G8 meetings there as a sign of solidarity.

This morning, Harper toured the earthquake devasted area. He also announced a $5 million contribution towards the building of a Canadian Cetnre for youth at the University of L'Aquila.

"The people of Canada, and especially Canadians of Italian descent, are proud to stand with the people of Italy as they rebuild after this tragic disaster," Harper said in a statement. "This facility will provide students from L'Aquila , as well as those from Canada and around the world, with a place to learn and exchange ideas."

"This centre will also serve as a testament to the enduring bond of friendship between Canada and Italy.”

Italian-Canadian and Canadian businesses have also contributed to the relief efforts in the region.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Pope’s new encyclical makes news around the world

As expected, the Pope’s new encyclical is big news around the world. Here’s how some bishops have been marking the release of Caritas in Veritate.

See the massive web banner on the Pope’s home page.

Archbishop Nichols, Diocese of Westminster. (His Grace just received the pallium with Archbishop Miller)

Cardinal George
& the USCCB.

Ottawa Archbishop Terrence Prendergast

Archdiocese of Toronto

The Bishops conference of England and Wales is planning a conference Oct. 21 “to explore the Papal Encyclical and Catholic Social Teaching in today’s market economy.”

Archbishop Zollitsch & the German Bishops’ Conference.

Pope's Encyclical may help set G8 Summit agenda

Ethical values are needed to overcome the current global economic crisis as well as to eradicate hunger and promote the real development of all the world's peoples, says Pope Benedict XVI in his new encyclical, Caritas in Veritate (Charity in Truth).

Given the world economic situation, you can count on this encyclical getting plenty of media attention. Already the Financial Times says the Pope is helping to set the agenda at the G8 Summit starting in Italy tomorrow with his call for more redistribution of wealth.

Our national bureau chief Deborah Gyapong is covering the summit and will be filing from Rome. Watch The B.C. Catholic for coverage.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Tuesday Nights in Delta: Theology On Tap

If I lived in Delta, I know where I'd be Tuesday nights in July: at the
Delta Lion Pub.

Immaculate Conception Parish Young Adults are launching Theology on Tap for young adults at the Delta Lion Pub every Tuesday of July at 7:30. It's a chance for young adults (19-40) to gather in a comfortable pub setting and hear Catholic speakers on "Love, God & Relationships," with Q&A and fellowship.

What is Theology on Tap? If you crossed Cheers with catechism class, you'd get a taste of Theology on Tap, where you can pose your most nagging Catholic questions in a relaxed atmosphere.

To find out more about Theology on Tap, take a look at where it's explained. And to sample TOT
in action, here's Boston Cardinal O'Malley stepping up to the pilsener plate:

The speaker this week is Kyle Neilson, from the Archdiocese of Vancouver's Office of Religious Education, specializing in RCIA and adult faith
formation. Kyle graduated from the Franciscan University of Steubenville with a Master's in Theology.

Pass the word to any young adults you think might be interested.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Good Catholic Eatin'

Vancouver is known for its superb restaurants, but did you realize 50 years ago there was a Catholic guide to restaurants? From the pages of The B.C. Catholic.

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