Religion is part of the fabric of Canadian society; Canadians hold a plurality of beliefs. The most recent census data (from the 2001 census) show that Christianity remains the most widely held and practiced religion with Roman Catholics in the majority at 43.2 %. People of non-Christian faiths make up a tiny percentage of the population: Muslims 2.0 %, Jewish 1.1 %, Hindus 1.0 %, Sikhs 0.9 %, Buddhist 1.0 %. Freedom of belief and conscience is enshrined in Canadian law; it is guaranteed in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms in section 2 Fundamental Freedoms. That said, it is important to note that religion is a matter of private conscience. Canada is a secular nation-state. There is no state religion in Canada. Religious belief is something one chooses; no one is forcing you to adhere to a particular set of ideas and the rules of any specific religious institution. Issues are arising in the present over the accommodation of religious folk in the secular, public realm of Canadian society. Continue reading
Newman House and the seat of Saint Thomas More Parish where I was welcomed as a young gay man and confirmed as a Roman Catholic in 1986.
A chapter of a Roman Catholic organization called Courage has turned up at the University of Toronto Newman Centre in Saint Thomas Aquinas Parish. Courage is an organization that counsels chastity for homosexual persons. While this teaching is in keeping with Church doctrine, it is really quite unreasonable and unrealistic to expect gay people to choose either a life of solitude or a relationship without intimacy. This teaching is disputed by many Roman Catholics, gay and straight. Dignity, for example, is a Roman Catholic organization with chapters across the world that works for acceptance of gay people in the Church. Here is a link to Dignity Canada: http://www.dignitycanada.org/. Continue reading