Toronto, ON April 17, 2022 – Christ is risen! Indeed, He is truly risen!
How challenging it must be for our Ukrainian brothers and sisters to find the joy of the risen Christ this Easter. But the risen Christ takes on the sins and failings of our world and transcends and directs us to our eternal reward. We continue to pray for Ukraine and for peace in Europe and for peace in the world.
Back on February 12, 2016, the CCRL’s Executive Director Christian Elia was interviewed by CTV News as part of their coverage on Pope Francis’ then historic meeting with Russian Patriarch Kirill, a meeting and ecumenical gesture that was viewed as being 1000 years overdue. Elia focused on the prospect that the meeting may have presented a step toward Christian unity.
At that time, over six years ago, we received several emails and phone calls from Ukrainian Catholics, including a few Ukrainian Canadian priests who in charity and fraternity warned us of our naiveite vis a vis Patriarch Kirill. The Patriarch maintains an abnormally strong perception of a Russian Orthodox national church which for him includes Ukraine, that facilitates the subjugation of Ukrainian Catholics and some Orthodox Christians who do not fit into the Russian nationalist paradigm. We continue to reflect on these troubles, and the role that ongoing disputes within our churches have on the prolongation of an unjust war. We cherish our Ukrainian Canadian supporters and friends, and we earnestly pray for how we can be supportive in helping our brothers and sisters in need.
There is, however, much tumult in the world including here at home. We are emerging from two years of lockdowns, restrictions, and mandates, which have affected Catholics in our daily lives and in our ability to worship.
In a recent B.C Catholic article, Phil Horgan spoke in response to the announcement of an extensive review launched by the provincial government in British Columbia to assess the responses to the pandemic. He noted “the inadequacy of the outreach [to faith communities] by medical officers and questioned the extent to which those authorities took seriously religious freedom”, a theme recognized by B.C.’s Chief Justice Christopher Hinkson, in one of the court applications heard by him.
It has been close to one year since the discovery of alleged unmarked graves near former residential schools. Those issues require closer scrutiny, and for fair treatment in the media of the church’s role. We need to pray for victims of residential schools in Canada, and for all victims of church abuse. But we must be prudent to recognize that legitimate concerns about residential schools and the Church are not to be exploited as a forum to engage in gross misinformation and anti-Catholic bigotry. Executive Director Christian Elia made that point in a recent article covered by the Canadian Catholic News and printed in both The B.C. Catholic and the Catholic Register.
We continue to enhance our Church Attacks database. In any given year the greatest period of attacks on our Catholic churches is during the Easter season. As we celebrate our Risen Lord, other forces conspire to harm us. We will continue to work in defence of the Church and Catholic teachings, and we will always claim our right to the public square that we share with all Canadians. We will have our highs and our lows, but we will never despair as the great victory has already been achieved.
Let us show courage and fortitude as we fight the battles and bear witness.
Christ is risen. Indeed, He is truly risen! Alleluia, alleluia!
We appeal to those of you who are financially able to help us in our mission by sending a donation to the CCRL by clicking here or by mailing a cheque to the CCRL at 2305 Bloor Street West, Toronto, ON, M6S 1P1, or by calling the office at (416) 466-8244 or 1-844-722-2275 (CCRL).
About the CCRL
Catholic Civil Rights League (CCRL) (www.ccrl.ca) assists in creating conditions within which Catholic teachings can be better understood, cooperates with other organizations in defending civil rights in Canada, and opposes defamation and discrimination against Catholics on the basis of their beliefs. The CCRL was founded in 1985 as an independent lay organization with a large nationwide membership base. The CCRL is a Canadian non-profit organization entirely supported by the generosity of its members.
To donate to the CCRL, please click here.
For further information:
Christian Domenic Elia, PhD
CCRL Executive Director