Wednesday, June 29, 2011

CCCB pastoral letter on same-sex attraction

"Cultivate virtuous friendships"

The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops' (CCCB) Commission for Doctrine recently released a pastoral letter titled "Pastoral Ministry to Young People with Same-Sex Attraction."

"As Bishops, we wish to address the pastoral needs of adolescents and young adults who question
their sexual identity or experience feelings of same-sex attraction," the letter states.

The letter covers topics that include human sexuality in God's plan, fostering chastity, distinguishing inclinations from actions, cultivating virtuous friendships, as well as advice to pastors, parents, and educators.

The end of the document also letter lists some several Church documents on same-sex attraction, which are all available at the Vatican website.

Please see the B.C. Catholic website for a story on the pastoral letter as well as upcoming related stories.

My life, my body, my choice, says grandmother

Euthanasia issue coming before the courts again?

A B.C. woman suffering from ALS, a condition which her doctors say will eventually kill her, is vowing to fight for the rights of Canadians afflicted with a terminal illness to determine when and how they will die.

Gloria Taylor
Gloria Taylor from Kelowna has joined a lawsuit filed by the B.C. Civil Liberties Association to overturn Canadian laws that make it illegal to counsel, aid, or abet anyone to commit suicide.

"I don't want anyone prosecuted for anything after my death for something all Canadians should have the right to determine for themselves," Taylor told a Vancouver radio host on June 29.

Watch for Euthanasia Prevention Coalition director Alex Schadenberg to comment soon.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Wicked games

Top U.S. court stops ban on violent video games
Doom, the original bad-boy of violence in gaming

The country's highest court agreed with a federal court’s decision throwing out California’s rules preventing the access of violent video games to minors. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Sacramento said the law violated minors’ rights under the First and Fourteenth amendments.

The majority ruling in the case, Brown v. Entertainment Merchants Association, stated that video games, like books. plays and movies, are protected under the aforementioned sections of the Bill of Rights.

How Canada's "best" judges opened the door to abortion for a generation

For over 23 years Canada has had no laws protecting life

Justice Bertha Wilson was the first
female judge on the Supreme Court
of Canada. She ruled in favour of
controversial abortion specialist
Dr. Henry Morgentaler
 An entire generation has now grown up with the right and power to freely dispose of unborn life. January 28 marked the 23rd anniversary of a landmark Supreme Court of Canada decision, which has led to Canada being the only Western country without abortion regulations.

It was 1988, and Canada's legal entities were defining the four year old Charter of Rights and Freedoms. It was on that January day the Charter was tested, and it sure didn't represent the rights of the unborn.

The case surrounded Dr. Henry Morgentaler, who has been at the centre of the abortion debate in Canada for over 40 years. After being arrested in 1970 and 1983 for obstructing Canada's abortion laws to his benifit, Morgentaler appealed to Canada's highest court. Both charges were previously acquitted by a trial jury, but overturned by the Quebec Court of Appeal (1970) and the Court of Appeal for Ontario (1983.)

The Supreme Court of Canada heard Morgentaler's appeal for the 1983 charge. Morgentaler and two of his associates were arrested in Toronto for opening an abortion clinic. They performed abortions on women who didn't obtain a hospital committee certificate. Back then the law stated that women can only obtain an abortion if three or more doctors agreed the pregnancy was a danger to the woman's health.

Dr. Henry Morgentaler beside NDP Leader Jack Layton.
Morgentaler was given the Order of Canada in 2008
for his abortion activism
Canada's highest court started hearing the case in 1986. Two years later five of the seven panel justices ruled in favour of Morgentaler. He and his lawyer argued that the provisions in the criminal code were contradictory to the rights guaranteed by the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Their main argument was section seven, which states, "Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of the person and the right not to be deprived thereof accept in accordance with the principles of fundamental justice."

"The right to liberty contained in s. 7 guarantees to every individual a degree of personal autonomy over important decisions intimately affecting their private lives. The question then becomes whether the decision of a woman to terminate her pregnancy falls within this class of protected decisions. I have no doubt that it does," said Bertha Wilson, one of the five judges who ruled in favour of Mongentaler along with Justices Jean Beetz, Willard ("Bud") Estey, and Chief Justice Brian Dickson.

Justices William McIntyre and Gérard La Forest were the two justices who ruled against Mongentaler. They believed this decision allowed the courts to decide on a topic that should be decided by parliament.

"The proposition that women enjoy a constitutional right to have an abortion is devoid of support in the language of s. 7 of the Charter or any other section," said McIntyre commenting on his decision.

"The solution to this question in this country must be left to Parliament. It is for Parliament to pronounce on and to direct social policy. This is not because Parliament can claim all wisdom and knowledge but simply because Parliament is elected for that purpose in a free democracy and, in addition, has the facilities - the exposure to public opinion and information - as well as the political power to make effective its decisions."

All seven Supreme Court Justices were hopeful parliament would enact legislation clearly defining abortion law in Canada. However after 17 attempts, and five different governments over 23 years, no legislation has been passed. Leaving the Courts landmark Morgentaler ruling the final word on Canada's abortion laws, or lack thereof.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Curriculum exemptions poorly understood says CCRL director

Parents clash in Burnaby over teachings on homosexuality
Ministry directives misleading says Sean Murphy

The Catholic Civil Rights League is telling parents with children in public schools that the "real policy" of the Education Ministry is to accommodate alternative curriculum delivery in all subjects.

Murphy said the Education Ministry and the Ministry of the Attorney General are being "less than candid" with schools on the issue. If any materials suggest the moral acceptability of same-sex conduct and relationships, all parents such as the group in Burnaby who are against teaching that homosexuality is a viable lifestyle, have the right for their children to be offered alternative teaching.

Teachers and principals who have been misled on the Education Ministry's policy on providing "common-sense accommodation similar to the policy on animal dissection" may find themselves open to litigation, Murphy warned.

Postal workers in Vancouver protest back-to-work legislation

CUPW members and others picket downtown office

After the senseless destruction on Georgia St. June 15,  hundreds peacefully gathered in front of the Canada Post building today with a purpose: to protesting the federal government's back-to-work legislation for members of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW), who had been locked out by their employer.

The area around the front steps of the building was packed with CUPW members as well as many sympathetic members of other unions. Organized labour representatives spoke to the crowd, before a small marching band led the group in a rendition of "Solidarity Forever," followed by picketing around the building with the band in the front.

Provincial Opposition leader Adrian Dix was one of the speakers at the rally, who reminded the protesters that they may be going back to work, but their fight has just begun.

"This isn't over," he said. "It isn't over by a long shot. We're going to continue the fight together for equality, for justice, for the rights of workers."

See The B.C. Catholic for a story on the Church and the Canada Post strike.
Workers gathered in front of the downtown Canada Post office.

CUPW members and others picketed the Canada Post office.

The picketers were led by some colourful musicians.

Calling all VanLovers

Everything's waiting for you Downtown

The Downtown Vancouver Business Improvement Association (DVBIA) has launched a new project to promote business in the downtown core affected by the June 15 riot.

DVBIA's VanLovers Appreciation Map, made in partnership with the mayor's office, encourages Vancouverites and other Lower Mainland residents to show their appreciation for the city by shopping downtown, particularly at businesses directly impacted in the riot.

The Facebook page associated with the map also features photos of the post riot cleanup.

Listed on the map is Holy Rosary Cathedral, where the windows at Rosary Hall were smashed.

It's a question of choice

To pastor a flock or to raise tomatoes?

Msgr. Robert Stern

"Not everyone who wears a sari and golden bangles is a Hindu," and not everyone who speaks Arabic is Muslim.

There is an agency of the Catholic Church centred in Rome that struggles to help North Americans realize these facts. The Catholic Near East Welfare Association has been headed by general secretary Msgr. Robert Stern, an American from New York, for the last 24 years. The tall, spritely, 78-year-old is handing over to Msgr. John Kozar, another American, and retiring.

He has an interesting take on the exodus of Christians from the Middle East. It's not true that there are no more Middle East Christians, he said. "They are alive and well" and contributing to society and the Church, "it's just that they're living in a different place," not the Middle East, said the monsignor.

CNEWA had a role in the November 2010 Synod of Bishops on the Middle East. Established in 1926 by Pope Pius XI, the association serves the churches and peoples of the Middle East, Northeast Africa, India, and Eastern Europe, areas where there are indigenous and ancient Eastern-rite churches and where Catholics are a minority.

Its programs focus on formation of clergy, religious and lay leaders, building religious and social service institutions, caring for children in need, and humanitarian aid and development.

Archbishop Terrence Prendergast, SJ, of Ottawa chairs CNEWA Canada.

The retiring Msgr. Stern said he hopes to continue to put to good use his knowledge and expertise about the Middle East and Eastern churches, or "I can run off and raise tomatoes. Whatever God wants."

Sunday, June 26, 2011

God in Preston and New York

Scenes of faith and devotion to reflect on during the Feast of Corpus Christi

Remember the Hallelujah flash mob that now has over 33 million views? Or the pro-life flash mob that surprised the people at a Walk for Choice rally in Chicago? Now here's a very different kind of "flash mob" -- a Eucharistic one that has gotten mixed reactions from Catholics in the blogosphere. Some find it very moving and inspiring, while others are wondering if the Blessed Sacrament is given proper reverence in this type of public event. What do you think?

Tim Drake of the National Catholic Register has transcribed the litany of Christ's titles recited by the friar before the crowd.

Another timely video for the Feast of Corpus Christi is God in The Streets of New York City. "The monstrance which is used to carry the Blessed Sacrament is one of six that were blessed by Pope John II before his death to mark the celebration of the Year of the Eucharist. God In The Streets of New York City depicts the contrast between the everyday chaos of the busy streets -- complete with traffic, construction and police cars -- and the peaceful presence of Jesus. There is always an opportunity to meet Jesus face to face. It poses the question: Will you recognize him?" - Grassroots Films

Friday, June 24, 2011

Catholicism made in China

China ordains bishops without Vatican approval

The Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association (CPCA), the government controlled church in the PRC, announced that it wants to ordain more than 40 bishops to fill vacancies in dioceses.

The Vatican has deemed the ordinations "illicit," and Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said this represents "a grave violation of freedom of religion and freedom of conscience."

Diplomatic ties between the Vatican and China were cut 60 years ago when the Holy See, along with much of the rest of the international community, recognized the Nationalist Chinese regime in Taiwan as the legitimate government of China.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Pro lifers found guilty for protesting

Two prominent activists convicted for entering the "bubble zone" outside local abortion clinic
Cissy Von Dehn (right) in handcuffs after June 19,2009
protest outside a Commercial Drive abortion mill

Pro-lifers have been dealt a serious blow with the convictions of two prominent activists in Vancouver. The decision was handed down on Monday to Don Spratt and Cissy von Dehn. They were initially arrested on June 19, 2009 for entering "the Bubble Zone" outside an abortion mill on Commercial Drive.

Spratt and Dehn were handing out copies of copies of the Provincial Government's Access to Abortion Services Act or more commonly the "Bubble Zone Law." They also wore sandwich board signs warning those around to be careful "you can be arrested under Bill 48."

The controversial law states that vulnerable women have a right to obtain abortion without any interference from protesters. Protesters are not allowed within thirty feet of any abortion centre.

Mr. Spratt and Mrs. von Dehn will appeal this decision. Both are sentenced to two years of probation with Spratt receiving $1000 fine.

Before sentencing Mr. Spratt made a statement quoting Prime Minister Diefenbaker when he introduced the Canadian Bill of Rights in 1960.

“I am a Canadian, free to speak without fear, free to worship in my own way, free to stand for what I think is right, free to oppose what I believe is wrong, free to choose those who shall govern my country. This heritage of freedom I pledge to uphold for myself and all mankind.”

He also quoted Abraham Lincoln in regards to right and wrong.

“Abraham Lincoln said, ‘You cannot have the right to do what is wrong’, and ‘If slavery is not wrong, then nothing is wrong.’ I say, 'If abortion is not wrong, nothing is wrong; and we cannot have a right to choose to do wrong'.”

Reach out and touch faith

iPope pilot project targets a wider demographic

The Vatican is lending out iPod Touch devices at St. Peter's Basilica in a pilot project to attract a more tech-savvy demographic and reduce noise from tour groups.

The iPods feature a specially designed app allowing users to access facts and high resolution pictures of the basilica’s art and architecture. Users will be able to use the iPod to zoom in on these images.

“Basically, we have taken an iPod, we've filled it with plenty of content, with history, with everything you need to know about the basilica," Rosa Maria Mancini, a spokeswoman for Opera Romana Pellegrinaggi, told AP. "You can discover it piece by piece."

Father Caesar Atuire, CEO of the pilgrim agency running the project, said users of the iPods will also be able to download restricted images from the Vatican Library not usually available to the public.

“It is designed to appeal to wider audience than the usual churchgoer,” Father Atuire told the Associated Press.

World Refugee Day warnings

Beware "hardening attitudes" towards refugees says Archbishop on the World Day for Refugees June 20
Archbishop Veglio

Archbishop Antonio Maria Veglio, speaking on Vatican Radio, said that refugees fleeing conflicts in their country should not be blamed for those conflicts.

The archbishop lamented growing anti-migrant sentiment in countries around the world and he invited "civil authorities and all people of good will to ensure refugees are welcomed and given dignified living conditions as they await the change to return freely and safely to their own countries."

Vancouver's Archdiocesan Office of Service and Justice advises pastors on refugee sponsorship. The archdiocese helped to resettle over 130 refugees in parish-based programs 2008.
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Riots and life lessons

Riot the ultimate "teachable moment" 
Leanne Hurley with five young Canucks fans

When the post-hockey game rioting broke out in the centre of Vancouver, everyone was shocked, including teacher Leanne Hurley who had attended the game.

In the aftermath, Hurley and her fellow teachers at St. Joseph's Elementary are using the fallout to teach students some life lessons about actions and consequences.

"We're talking about 'mob mentality' and how your life can change forever from one decision made in the heat of the moment. Irresponsible actions reflect on yourself, your family, and your school community."

The time is now, Hurley advises parents and teachers, to sit down with children to share their reactions to the riot. "It's the ultimate 'teachable moment.'"

Read the full story in an upcoming edition of The B.C. Catholic.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Solar power popemobile not a bright idea

Pontif looking for trade-in or best offer

When looking for a new car, many people try to balance style, safety, and fuel efficiency, and Pope Benedict XVI is no different.

Mercedes-Benz is developing a new custom hybrid vehicle which will contain a rechargeable lithium-ion battery for cruising and waving to the faithful, as well as a gas engine for higher speeds.

The Pope was reportedly interested in having a completely solar-powered popemobile, but the plan was deemed unsafe in the event of an emergency, if the pontiff needs to make a quick exit.

The current popemobile, a modified Mercedes-Benz ML430, costs approximately $552,000 (CAD)

Click the link for a list of the top 10 popemobiles.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Do Androids pray electric rosaries?

Catholic app maker broadens their smartphone market

The famous Confession: Roman Catholic App is now available for the Android phone market.

The app was created by Little i Apps, which makes mobile applications "with a Catholic twist," and is part of their eVotions series of applications.

The company says their prayer applications are designed for "tech savvy Catholics," and are loaded with image galleries, streaming videos, and push notifications for praying novenas.

They also have common prayers, introductions by well known Catholics, and writings on the tradition and histories of the saints and blesseds.

Tiny state; huge influence

'People of faith and good will can move mountains'

Julieta Valls Noye
Vatican city may be the world's smallest state, but its influence ranks up there with that of the largest states, as a story on The B.C. Catholic's website explains in detail.

It points out how Pope Benedict XVI keeps up to date about all that's going on everywhere. Meeting six new ambassadors recently, one of whom was the Syrian one, he spoke somewhat obliquely about events in that country, indirectly reproaching the Syrian government for its crackdown which has left thousands dead.

The Pope also spoke to them of what he calls "human ecology," a theme he returns to quite often.

One member of the U.S. embassy to the Holy See is just leaving for another high appointment, deputy executive secretary at the State Department in Washington. Julieta Valls Noyes, deputy chief of mission for three years, came to public attention when Wikileaks revealed U.S. cables from its embassy. Her career does seem to be still flying high.

She explained why the Vatican is so important for international diplomacy, and added, "If there's one lesson I've learned, it's that people of faith and good will can move mountains."

Friday, June 17, 2011

Faith lost in Canucks, faith lost in city

B.C Catholic Reporter caught in 2011 riot

This is what '94 must have felt like. Minus the cell phone cameras.

I witnessed two heartbreaks on Wednesday June 15. First I saw my team, the Vancouver Canucks go against the signs, my prayers, and themselves to up-chuck a 4-0 Game 7 loss to the Boston Bruins. Then this reporter watched in horror as the city began to implode.

The Canuck's appeared to serve as a catalyst to start the riot, but to be honest it started much earlier then that.

I arrived at Hamilton and Georgia around 4:30p.m and the crowd was already riled up. I attempted to meet some friends but just getting through the mass of humanity was a challenge unto itself.Compared to Games 5 and 6, this crowd was hostile, pushy, and just plain mean. There seemed to a be a much different vibe for this game, and I thought to myself as I tried to make my way through the people: "if we don't win tonight, there will be a riot."

Stunned!!! Was is it because of the riot or Game 7?
I didn't end up meeting up with my friends, as it was just too difficult to move through the people. So I settled on the sidewalk of Library Square with a view of the big screen on Georgia and Homer.

Things got a little better from there. The patch I was in was filled with a few families and fun loving Canuck fans. I even met a cute Catholic girl amongst the ranks.

"Maybe things will improve," I thought. Then Game 7 was played, or more accurately forfeited. From there the crowd turned from positive to negative in a hurry. Families knew something was up, taking their kids from the crowds about midway through the 3rd period. 

I then received a text message from one of my buddies. I asked where he was and he said by the riot. I walked around the corner of Georgia and Homer to witness a pick-up truck being set on fire. We met up and went down near the CBC building to see the chaos begin. There were very few police officers amongst the hostile rowdies.

Innocent families rushed away and were replaced by men in their twenties sporting bandannas and masks. It seemed these men weren't even part of the Game 7 festivities, but were laying dormant, waiting for chaos to begin and then charged towards the crowd like the Barbians against the Romans.

I found refuge at my sister's apartment in Yaletown and waited until the cops took back the city before heading home.

The police did a marvelous job considering they were outnumbered by the rioters. I saw no police abuse and any hostility shown by the VPD was against rioters that engaged them first.

After writing two blogs earlier in these finals about the Canucks being God's team, I felt betrayed by the team's loss. However God sees all and maybe Vancouver needs to grow up first before we are blessed with a championship team which would truly resemble a championship city.


People write on walls, stick notes on police car with messages for Vancouver after riot
Click to enlarge

Hundreds of Vancouverites and visitors to the city have filled a police car parked on Granville Street with sticky notes containing thank you messages for the Vancouver Police Department for their response to the June 15 riot. Reaction to the handling of the situation by police has been mixed.  Some people have been critical of what they believe was lack of police presence especially during the looting of several businesses downtown.

The Church is the message?

Marshall McLuhan's faith under the magnifying glass

The Walrus has written an article on Canadian philosopher and scholar Marshall McLuhan to commemorate what would be his 100th birthday this year.

The article discusses how influential his theories on media and technology continue to be and how his work was connected to his faith.

McLuhan, most famous for coining the phrases "the medium is the message" and "global village," was a devout Catholic convert.

The writer, Jeet Heer, suggests that "although (McLuhan) joined the Church as a refuge (from modernism), his faith gave him a framework for becoming more hopeful and engaged with modernity."

"His faith made him a more ambitious and far-reaching thinker," Heer writes. "Belonging to a Church that gloried in cathedrals and stained glass windows made him responsive to the visual environment, and liberated him from the textual prison inhabited by most intellectuals of his era."

For those who watched the rather cerebral first video, here is a moment of brevity and levity:

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Adding injury to insult

Riot erupts following Canucks loss
What remains of a car set ablaze during the riot.
Photo by Nathan Rumohr / The B.C. Catholic

As if Vancouverites didn't have enough to feel bad about.

Following the Vancouver Canuck's defeat to the Boston Bruins in last night's Stanley Cup Finals, acts of violence and destruction erupted in the streets of downtown Vancouver.

Vancouver Police Chief Jim Chu gave a press conference this morning where he blamed the majority of the destruction on "criminals, anarchists, and thugs."

“There was a group of people that were criminals and anarchists that were bent on causing that destruction,” he said. “They came prepared – they had incendiary devices, they had weapons, they had a plan, they had objectives.” 

The police made close to 100 arrests last night and intend to make more, as people continue to contribute pictures identifying perpetrators.

“We are fully committed to tracking down these criminals, and arresting them for their crimes,” he said. 

Crowd gathered around George St. June after the Stanley
Cup Finals. Photo by Nathan Rumohr / The B.C. Catholic
The VPD has requested people with photos or video of the riots submit them to help with the investigation. Photos can be sent to

"Hang on to that footage; there's no other time in history where there's more cameras out there so it's going to be of use," VPD Constable Jana McGuinness said.

Mayor Gregor Robertson and Premier Christy Clark both toured downtown in the aftermath of the riot today. The mayor said last night will not deter the city from holding big celebrations in the future.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Vatican Wars storms the net

New game lets you vote for the Pope

SGR Games, LCC, has recently released the beta version of their new game Vatican Wars, according to a story on business wire.

In the game, players are divided into two teams based on their opinions on topics that include abortion, same sex marriage, the ordination of women, and birth control.

The goal of each team is to ensure that a player from the other team is not elected Pope.

“We did extensive surveying of Catholics before launching the game and were surprised to find that 80% of Catholics surveyed supported creating a game where they could debate these topics,” said Cheyenne Ehrlich, Founder of SGR. “It will be interesting to see if that’s because they want to elect a liberal Pope or because they want to prove that Catholics are unified and conservative on these issues.”

The company has also made PriestVille, which tries to teach players about Catholicism and the priesthood in a fun way.

Canucks down to a Hail Mary

Our Father, who art in Rogers Arena, Hockey be thy name.
Thy will be done, the cup will be won, on ice, as well as in the stands.
Give us this day, our hockey sticks, & forgive us our penalties,
as we forgive those who cross-check against us.
Lead us not into elimination, but deliver us to victory.
In the name of the fans,
in the name of Lord Stanley,
in the name of the CANUCKS.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Connecting the Dots with Joy Smith

Vote YES on Kildonan-St. Paul MP Joy Smith's website to support a National Action Plan to Combat Human Trafficking in Canada.

Joy Smith (c) marches with anti-human trafficking group

Smith, who was behind the introduction of Bill C268 to amend the Criminal Code for sentencing those engaged in the trafficking of persons under 18, is calling her Action Plan "Connecting the Dots."

Human trafficking laws need to be enforced to combat the exploitation of vulnerable Canadians, says Smith whose work is getting strong endorsement from law agencies and victims groups across Canada.

Almost 2,000 gather, dance at Vatican

Pope celebrates anniversary of blessed Romani's martyrdom

On June 11, almost 2,000 Romani people were granted a private audience with Pope Benedict XVI to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the martyrdom of Ceferino Giménez Malla of Spain. Giménez is the first Romani person to be beatified.
During his speech at the Vatican, the Pope addressed the discrimination, past and present, that Romani people have experienced throughout Europe.

"You are a people who in past centuries have not had nationalist ideologies, have not wanted to conquer land or dominate other people," he said. "Your history is complex and sometimes painful....Through the centuries you have known the bitter taste of a lack of hospitality and sometimes of persecution like in World War II."

"Europe's conscience cannot forget such pain," the Pope added. "May your people never again be the target of anger, rejection and disdain."

Monday, June 13, 2011

A Catholic water fight

A new Catholic issue is emerging in Italy

Now that the issue is affecting Italians, the Catholic Church is getting into the water ownership issue in a more emotional way than before. The country has just gone to the polls, and the outcome is expected any moment, about revoking an earlier privatization of water resources.

A number of religious fasted and prayed in St. Peter's Square a few days ago, asking God for the outcome to be the revoking of the privatization. They even had a huge banner: "Lord, help us save the water!"
Franciscans have urged prayer in defence of "Sister Water."

A number of Italian dioceses have signed a statement urging voters to make water a public resource.
The Pontifical Academy of Sciences has hosted scientific study sessions on water.

The Vatican's Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church says water cannot be treated as just "another commodity among many."

Blair keeps up on his reading

Former U.K. prime minister reads the Qur'an daily

Former U.K. prime minister Tony Blair said that he reads the Qur'an daily.

The devout Catholic said it's part of an effort to remain "faith-literate." He also said he reads the Bible daily.

"To be faith-literate is crucial in a globalised world, I believe," Blair said. "I read the Qur’an every day. Partly to understand some of the things happening in the world, but mainly just because it is immensely instructive."

As part of their story on Blair, the Globe and Mail has recently posted an online poll asking readers how often they read religious writings such as the Bible, Torah, and Qur'an.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Sorry girls, he's ordained

The Archdiocese of Vancouver welcomes Father Bryan Duggan

Among family, friends, and clergy, Father Bryan Duggan was ordained a priest today at Holy Rosary Cathedral.

He is the second priest to be ordained in the Archdiocese of Vancouver, after Father Pierre Ducharme, OFM, was ordained in May.

Deacon Pablo Santa Maria Watson, who was ordained two weeks ago, proclaimed the Gospel for his fellow Christ the King Seminarian.

Watch for a full story on The B.C. Catholic website.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Countdown to ordination

Deacon Duggan soon to be a priest

It's less than 24 hours until Deacon Bryan Duggan will be ordained into the priesthood by Archbishop J. Michael Miller, CSB.

The special ordination Mass will take place tomorrow at 10 a.m. at Holy Rosary Cathedral.

Holy Rosary is located at 480 Dunsmuir St, Vancouver.

Pilgrims in the news

Vancouver pilgrims featured on the official World Youth Day Madrid 2011 website
Screen shot of homepage
The Vancouver pilgrims featured in The Busy Catholic's June 3 post have hit the big time, getting their story and photos posted on the WYD 2011 website. Aiden Wickey, Crystal Wickey and Mark Ho talked to about their pilgrimage along the Camino de Santiago. For these young Vancourites on their way to World Youth Day in Madrid, embarking on the Camino is certainly a long detour in the right direction. Their journey will inspire both adventure and faith seekers.

Visit for WYD news, schedule, registration information, etc. Haven't decided on World Youth Day yet? Watch this inspiring video with footage from WYD 2008 in Sydney and music by Vancouver favourite, Matt Maher.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Armed group in Nigeria bombs Cathedral

Violence has killed hundreds in Nigeria since April
Members of Boko Haram

An armed group suspected of being members of Boko Haram set off bombs that destroyed St. Patrick's Cathedral and two police stations in Maiduguri, Nigeria, June 7.

“St. Patrick’s Cathedral was seriously damaged, windows and doors destroyed, the whole building was shaken to its foundations by the violence of the explosion,” said Bishop Oliver Dashe Doeme of Maiduguri.

The Islamic extremist group, which seeks widespread application of sharia law in the predominately Muslim nation, has also claimed responsibility for a number of other acts of violence.

They have carried out almost daily attacks in and around the northern capital since the re-election of President Goodluck Jonathan, a Christian from the south. Jonathan, the former vice president, first assumed office when former president Umaru Musa Yar'Adua, a Muslim, died May 5, 2010.

Boko Haram's targets have included politicians, law enforcement, and religious and traditional rulers opposed to its ideology, including Islamic leaders.

Tweets across oceans of time

Ask Archivist Day hits the Vancouver archdiocese
Ask Jennifer Pecho about Archbishop
William Mark Duke
on Twitter

Today is the first annual Ask Archivists Day, and the Archdiocese of Vancouver's Archives department is getting in on the action.

The day was organized by a pair of archivists in the Netherlands and Denmark and will take place on Twitter with hundreds of archivists from around the world participating.

B.C. Archives, the City of Vancouver Archives, and the Archives Association of British Columbia (AABC) are among the local groups participating.

At 9 a.m. the archdiocese's own Jennifer Pecho started answering questions on Twitter on behalf of the AABC, along with AABC vice-president Courtney Mumma.

To ask her a question, find Pecho on Twitter, @Hollingergirl and use the hashtag #AskArchivists.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Healing and the human heart

Are people better or worse off for knowing us?

Dr. Carol Taylor
On July 27, U.S. bioethicist Dr. Carol Taylor will ask pastoral care workers and volunteers to answer that question during her presentation "Healing Presence: You're Nobody 'Till Somebody Loves You" at the Inn at the Quay, 900 Quayside Drive in New Westminster.

Sponsored by the Catholic Health Association of B.C., the day-long workshop is $90 per person. Register by downloading a form at or call 604-524-3427.

Asian food and Rome, what's the connection?

Fundraiser to help send students to Rome
Gianina Nava, Brandon Nam, and Francis Apacible
hope you are hungry for Asian food

Three lucky students will experience a once in a lifetime event when they visit Rome in October. They will join Sister Beth Ann Dillon, DSMP to witness the Canonization of her order's founder, Blessed Luigi Guanella

Gianina Nava, Brandon Nam, and Francis Apacible of Archbishop Carney Secondary have a close relation with the Sister through their involvement with Vanspec.

Vanspec is an organization that teaches children with disabilities about the Catholic faith and they rely on volunteers.

To help with the cost, the student's parish Our Lady of Fatima will be hosting it's 11th annual Asian Dinner and Dance. They have served at the parish as alter servers.

The Asian Dinner Dance takes place June 18th. Tickets are $40 dollars and available through the parish office at 604-936-2525.

Dig Deacon Duggan

Another deacon to become a priest in the Archdiocese

The Archdiocese of Vancouver will soon have it's newest brother in the priesthood, with the ordination of Deacon Bryan Duggan June 11.

Archbishop J. Michael Miller, CSB, will celebrate this special ordination Mass at Holy Rosary Cathedral at 10 a.m.

After his ordination, Deacon Duggan will take on the role of assistant pastor at St. Mary's Parish in Chilliwack.

Holy Rosary Cathedral is in downtown Vancouver at 480 Dunsmuir St.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

A Charismatic Pentecost

A day of prayer, reflection, and cake

The Vancouver Catholic Charismatic Renewal Services is hosting a special celebration of the Pentecost June 11 at St. Matthew's Parish in Surrey.

The celebration begins at 10 a.m. with an opening prayer, followed by adoration of the sacrament and a blessing at 11 a.m.

Father Augustine Obiwumma will celebrate the Mass at 11:30 a.m.

At 12:30 p.m. everyone is invited to the Fireside Room for birthday cake, beverages, and fellowship.

St. Matthew's Parish is located at 16079 88 Avenue, Surrey.

Confused about marriage? You're not alone

Church teachings on marriage a mystery to many, says CFS counsellor.

Too often, says Catholic Family Services counsellor Roy MacIntyre, Catholics facing separation and/or divorce or wondering about an annulment are confused about what the Church teaches about marriage.

Lots of people, he said, feel like failures and stop going to church just when they need the comforts of the sacraments most.

There's a lot of misinformation out there, says MacIntyre. "We're going to try to fix that."

MacIntyre will address marriage issues on separation, divorce, and annulment at a workshop on June 18 at Immaculate Conception Parish in Delta from 10 a.m. to noon. The course fee is $10 a person. To register phone Catholic Family Services at 604-443-3220.
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Monday, June 6, 2011

Divorce: to be or not to be?

It's taken a long time: divorce now almost worldwide

In Spain, Catholic officials and the government have
clashed for years on issues such as abortion, divorce,
and marriage between same-sex couples. Above,
it's Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero
and Cardinal Antonio Rouco Varela of Madrid.

If it didn't start the downward slide, divorce came quite early in the worldwide move to contraception, abortion, acceptance of homosexual behaviour, condoms as a solution to transmission of AIDS, sex education for children by people other than their parents, and euthanasia. However, even divorce, after nearly a century, has not become worldwide – quite.

Voters in Malta approved a referendum to legalize divorce May 29. That doesn't mean divorce is legal yet, but it does mean the House of Representatives has to debate it, which may mean the writing is on the wall.

There is a bill being considered in the Philippines Congress that would legalize divorce. The bishops there are not happy about this.

The legislature in the Philippines is also considering a "reproductive health bill" that allows the use of contraception. The bishops in the country are even suggesting the non-payment of taxes if it passes.

If these two countries fall on the divorce issue, Vatican City will be the only country with no legal provision for divorce.

While it is sad to think there isn't more resistance to divorce being allowed by law, it is always slightly surprising to consider that considerably more than half of marriages DO survive, i.e., do not end in divorce.

Where divorce is allowed by law, individuals are given the chance to do what is right through their own choice, rather than because it is forced on them, which surely is meritorious.

Unfortunately it seems to be true that people's behaviour is quite affected by what their legislators have said, leading them into actions which do such harm to their own lives and the lives of so many others. It is so difficult for those in the midst of difficult situations to see clearly what really is best for them.
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