Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Italians indignant at Court's attempt to ban crucifixes from schools

The European Court of Human Rights ruled today that Italian schools should remove crucifixes from classrooms, sparking uproar in Italy, where such icons are embedded in the national psyche.
The court ruling, which Italy said it would appeal, said crucifixes on school walls, a common sight that is part of every Italian's life, could disturb children who were not Christians. Italy has been in the throes of national debate on how to deal with a growing population of immigrants, mostly Muslims, and the court sentence is likely to become another battle cry for the centre-right government's policy to restrict newcomers. (Source)

In case you haven't been following European politics, this is just the latest intrusion of the "European government" into the internal affairs of individual member countries.  

As an economist, I support some of the initiatives that the European Union (EU) has brought.  I'm totally in favour of free trade and a common market.  I also can see the advantages of a monetary union and some harmonization of various economic and financial policies.  Such measures promote economic efficiency, facilitate capital and labour mobility (i.e. job opportunities) and lead to a general increase in living standards.  That was the original purpose of the EU.  

However, like any institution that acquires power and influence, it is easily hijacked by those common folks that suffer from the chronic condition called "Original Sin."  Over time, the EU has sought to expand

Human Rights Commission defends pregnant woman

Finally some sanity from our embattled "human rights commissions."

In this case, the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) ruled against an employer who fired a woman just because she became pregnant. Well done, OHRC.

That's the type of area where these commissions were initially designed to operate: obvious cases of blatant discrimination. Unfortunately, these commissions have strayed too far from their mandate and have become a "thought police".

I still think these commissions should be dismantled and I hope Tim Hudak does it. One good ruling by the OHRC doesn't offset the countless injustices they've perpetrated in the past and will continue to perpetrate until they're abolished.

Did Archbishop Lahey admit homosexual attractions?

The Globe and Mail published an article today on the latest developments in the accusations of child pornography against Archbishop Raymond Lahey.

I won't comment on whether he's guilty or innocent. I'll let the courts decide.  I just want to flag one sentence in the article:

He is alleged to have told one officer he is attracted to young men, aged 20 or 21, and that he had never done anything abusive to a child and would “never have any sexual interest in a person under 18.”


Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Is money all that matters to the CCCB regarding Development and Peace?

John Pacheco at SoCon or Bust just wrote another insightful article on the Development and Peace (D&P) scandal.  Click here to read it.

Media reports following the Plenary of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) had some coverage of the D&P affair, although we really don't know what happened because all the important discussions were held behind closed doors.

Among the public comments that we know of, Bishop Richard Grecco (Charlottetown) presented a report that whitewashed D&P of any wrongdoing. That part isn't surprising.  What shocked me was the report's assessment of the toll that this scandal has taken:

"Among the individual and regular monthly donors to DEVELOPMENT AND PEACE, we have had 34 individuals (of our 6,110 donors) cancel their monthly contributions as a direct result of the controversy, representing 0.5% of our donor database." (Source)

The reason that donations were so little affected is partly due to the fact that most pro-life Catholics stopped donating to D&P years ago because of other scandals.  

But there is a more fundamental issue here.  Is that how Catholic bishops should assess a controversy, by its financial cost?  

What about the sufferings of thousands of faithful Catholics that have become disillusioned and