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False profits (Svend Robinson; Gregory Baum; Anthony Padovano; Hedy Fry).

1. Svend Robinson

LONDON, ON--King's College, a Catholic College at the University of Western Ontario, continues to invite prominent speakers with anti-Catholic views to address its students. Some years ago its "social justice centre" invited Marion Boyd, Ontario's former NDP Attorney General, a pro-abortion feminist and champion of "gay" laws, to lecture at one of its symposiums. Protests to the college and its chancellor, the Bishop of London, were to no avail.

In the following year the same college organization invited Judy Rebick, former Morgentaler spokeswoman and then president of NAC, the anti-life and anti-Catholic National Action Committee on the Status of Women. Again, protests were set aside.

This year King's College asked "gay" Member of Parliament Svend Robinson to speak. Catholics who care about truth once more mounted a protest. On the 21st of March, 29 people turned up at the college for a peaceful but determined picket against this latest false prophet. Ostensibly there as part of a student activist symposium on "challenging power and poverty," the NDP member for Burnaby, B.C. used the occasion to lobby for the "rights" of homosexuals. The picket was organized by longtime pro-life activist Jake MacKenzie after his earlier appeal to Bishop John Sherlock of London to stop the event met with no success. "Happy indeed is the man who follows not the counsel of the wicked" (Ps 1:1).

2. Gregory Baum

Toronto-- On May 6, 1996, at Toronto University's Catholic Newman Centre, Gregory Baum, 74, Catholic dissenter of nineteen sixties and seventies fame, delivered a lecture on his experience during the Second Vatican Council before a small audience of older people. Well before the event people wrote or telphoned the Centre questioning why this man had been invited.

Much to the astonishment and annoyance of Newman's director, Father Tom Rosica, on the day of the lecture a group of two dozen protesters appeared, handing out flyers which documented how Professor Baum, an excommunicated priest, had done the Church much harm in the past. Their point: he should never have been invited to speak at a Catholic institution.

"That's pure madness in those flyers," Toronto's Catholic Register (May 27) reported Fr. Rosica as saying. The director called the police, ostensibly to "restrain" the picketers, but when the former showed up in strength in response to the alarm call they found the protesters perfectly peaceful and left them to their business.

Fr. Rosica also claimed that the Archdiocese had expressed no objection. And indeed, the Toronto archdiocesan Chancellor of spiritual affairs, Fr. John Murphy, was reported by the Catholic Register as saying that "banning" Baum would be inappropriate on a university campus "where this type of exchange is normal." Earlier in the year, on January 17, Baum also spoke at Regis College, the Jesuits' Toronto theologate. That, too, had been protested in vain.

Comment

To "ban" a speaker is one thing but to invite a false prophet is another. What is at issue here is not the banning but the invitation. Professor Baum also gave a lecture at the University's Department of Philosophy and no picketers appeared there. Why then at the Newman Centre? Because Newman, as a Catholic Centre, ought not to invite people who habitually contradict Church teaching. When it does do so, Catholics may reasonably assume that those who extend the invitation share the speaker's contested views or do not consider them harmful. The picketers on the other hand follow St. Paul's advice: "We proclaim the truth openly and command ourselves to every man's conscience before God" (2 Cor 4:2).

Who is Gregory Baum?

Baum recently retired as Religious Studies professor at Montreal's McGill University. He attended the Council (1962-1965) as a "peritus" (expert) on ecumenism, then a new approach to relations among different faiths.

Refusing to restrict himself to this area, the recent Jewish convert from agnosticism soon began to contradict Catholic teachings, chiefly in moral theology. He played an international role in preempting the Pope's and the Church's study of the moral status of artificial contraception by encouraging people not to wait in using it; and when its use was condemned, by contradicting Pope Paul V (On Human Life, 1968). (This and other matters were described in detail by Msgr. Vincent Foy in the above- mentioned flyers.)

By the end of the sixties Baum switched to the study of sociology and from then on measured Church practice and doctrine by human standards. The St. Michael's College professor became an idol of the Toronto media, who treated him as the Catholic oracle in Canada. He appealed to them mostly because of his dissent from Catholic moral teaching, first on contraception, then on homosexuality.

Baum's 1974 article on homosexuality in the U.S. Catholic weekly Commonweal (February 15)was used as a handout by homosexual activists throughout North America for almost two decades. In it he argued, first, the theme developed earlier by others that the biblical references condemning sodomy were really references to lack of hospitality; and, secondly, that Catholic teaching would change and endorse homosexuality within a few years.

Father Baum was excommunicated automatically under the existing (1917) Code of Canon Law for sinning grievously by abandoning his vocation and "attempting" to get married while still a functioning priest.

A few months ago, in April 1996, Professor Baum confirmed that his views have changed little when he publicly encouraged Federal Justice Minister Allan Rock to go ahead with Bill C-33, adding "sexual orientation" to the Canadian Human Rights Act, despite the Church's opposition and rejection of the measure.

3. Anthony Padovano

Saskatoon, SK--In its summer schedule for July 1996, Queen's House Retreat and Renewal Centre in Saskatoon included a public lecture by Anthony Padovano ("The Roman System, the Catholic Church and personal conscience") plus his four-day workshop ("From Christ to here: Church history and theology"). In an earlier visit there in December, 1995, he conducted an Advent workshop.

Once more one must ask: why is this man invited to give Catholic retreats? Padovano is a former priest from Chicago and heads the anti- Vatican group of such priests, Corpus. In 1995 he spoke in Montreal, where he likened the Catholic Church to the former totalitarian Soviet Union (see C.I., Nov '95, p. 12).

In May of 1996 he was the keynote speaker for the "Concerned Canadians" group (CCCC) of dissenters in Toronto who, for the second year in a row, quite properly, were refused permission to meet on Catholic school premises. Our contributing editor, Kathline Nitsch, reports as follows:

The Church according to Padovano

From the Acts of the Apostles we discover that the Church is "not born out of obedience to the directives of Jesus Christ," but the experience and intuition of the disciples who were left with "nothing to guide them except for their memories, parables and their gatherings together." Matthew 16:18, where Jesus tells Peter he is the Rock on which he will build his Church, is "not central" and we're free to ignore it.

The institution of the first seven deacons demonstrates that the early Church was a democracy, allowing the election of its ministers by the community.

In Acts 10, the "movement of the Church into the Gentile world" was Peter's decision alone, based on his vision. He justifies his baptism of Cornelius to the Jerusalem Council by appealing, "not to Jesus, but to the Spirit," which had made clear to him that he "must not call anyone unclean." Next to this climactic decision, the decision to ordain married priests or women is "Lilliputian," and the Church's refusal a sign of "evangelical paralysis."

In the community of the Spirit, "it wasn't necessary to be male, from the right tribe or educated" to be a minister, since it was the Spirit who would "tell them who their ministers should be." St. Paul's list of gifts in 1 Cor. 12 and Romans 12 teaches us, says Padovano, that the idea of one of those ministers having "ascendancy over another or validating the others was unknown.... Validation came from the community," not the bishops.

In the light of this passage, it's an offence against God to pray for vocations, since we're really only praying for "male celibates, not vocations across the spectrum." A ministerial crisis occurs only "when you stop looking at the community" and "artificialize" the idea of vocation.

How did the early Church lose its innocence? It ended when Constantine legalized the Church and transferred many pagan temples to the Christians. Until about 313, Christians celebrated Eucharist in each other's homes around a table. With the acquisition of the "basilicas," intimacy was lost and the congregation became estranged from the people "up there on the dais." Liturgy became theatre, the role of the people being to look on passively. At this point the Church and clergy became identified as holy and everyone else as secular.

Padovano's July 7 lecture in Saskatoon was reported and summarized in Saskatchewan's Catholic weekly Prairie Messenger as a serious contribution to Catholic thought well worth the readers' attention ("We need to recover sense of church as community," July 22, '96).

Its main points: the Church is "about a person and a relationship," not about a "Roman system [which] never becomes the Church"; the Roman system is centralized power and rigidly enforced law, hangovers from the Roman Empire; the reign of God is within each person and "needs no validation by a hierarchy"; Jesus had no interest in the institutional Church: it is not the Church but the faith that is indestructible; with the "Roman system" one loses one's conscience and the Church as community; and, finally, leaving the Church may be necessary to save your conscience.

One may ask again, why is somebody who spouts this rubbish invited to give lectures and Catholic retreats? One must assume again that the retreat director holds similar views as, apparently, does the editor of the PM (Fr. Andrew Britz) who refers to the article approvingly in his accompanying editorial.

4. Hedy Fry

Claire Heron, national president of the Catholic Women's League has invited Hedy Fry, M.D., 55, Liberal MP for Vancouver Centre, to speak at its national convention in Toronto August 20. Born in Trinidad and educated at St. Joseph's Convent, Dr. Fry did her medical training in Dublin, Ireland. Formerly the parliamentary secretary to the Minister of Health, she is currently Secretary of State for Multiculturalism and for the Status of Women.

Fry fully supports the Canadian government's international agenda for women's empowerment, gender equality, and reproductive "rights." She is pro-abortion, supports Prime Minister Chretien's initiative to legalize euthanasia (with "safeguards," of course), and sees the advancement of gay and lesbian rights as paramount to her position as a woman of colour.

The invitation was revealed when Dr. Fry told Liberal stalwarts in Toronto she would be available to meet with them.

Mrs. Heron, of Victoria, B.C., when asked why she would invite this anti-life MP said, "It's time to start building bridges." But CWL members who heard about it were upset and angry. On August 8th, the appointment had been cancelled because of "scheduling problems."
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Publication:Catholic Insight
Date:Sep 1, 1996
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Previous Article:Newfoundland's tragedy.
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