Let's begin in Rome today where the Pope sent a personal message and greeting for the opening of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
In his message to the participants of the internationally acclaimed World forum, Pope Francis noted that the theme of this year's conference: “Creating a Shared Future in a Fractured World”, is very timely and that global leaders must implement policies that support the family and offer real opportunities for the growth and development of all people. "If we want a more secure future”, the Pope wrote, “one that encourages the prosperity of all, then it is necessary to keep the compass continually oriented toward 'true North', represented by authentic values.
The Pope's message was delivered by Cardinal Peter Turkson, prefect of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development.
The World Economic Forum is a non-profit foundation with an aim to promote entrepreneurship in the global public interest while upholding the highest standards of governance. It brings together people representing business, government, academia, and media who can promote positive change. For more information on the organization, you can visit their website listed below.
Here in Canada, Catholic leaders and other religious organizations are taking a stand against the new summer job policy implemented by the federal government, saying that this new policy is in direct violation of religious freedom, and infringes on the freedom of conscience. The Canada Summer Jobs program provides grants for small businesses, non-profit and public sector organizations to hire summer students.
Prime Minister Trudeau’s Liberal government has made it mandatory for all applicants of that program, to attest that both the job position and the applying organization, support the “right to access safe and legal abortions”. A right which incidentally doesn’t exist in the Canadian Charter.
The Canadian Catholic community and other religious groups are particularly dismayed at this requirement since the policy excludes any Catholic parish, charity or any pro-life organization, from participating in the hiring of a summer student under that program.
On Jan. 11, the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops issued a statement saying that this new summer job policy represents a violation of the guaranteed freedoms of religion, offered by Canada's Charter of Rights and Freedoms, under Section 2.
This attestation has already prompted a court challenge from a Toronto anti-abortion group and protests from churches and religious groups who say they can’t separate their beliefs from their core mandate, and thus can’t sign the attestation. Interestingly enough, even pro-abortion groups are now wanting a rewrite of the new policy, in light of its infringements. I will continue to bring you more on this story as it unfolds.
And finally, our very own Matteo Coifi from our Rome bureau office had a chance to talk to the Argentinian Ambassador to the Holy See about what it means for Argentina to have an Argentinean Pope and the impact it has on the Catholic community of that country. Here’s what he had to say.
That is all that for today. Join us again tomorrow when I bring you news and stories from the Perspective of a Catholic lens.