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From Michael Anderson re Fr. Prieur controversy.

I have just received your biannual fundraising letter and regret to inform you that I cannot, with a clear conscience, support your magazine. The reason for this is Msgr. Vincent Foy's attack on Fr. Michael Prieur's reputation in Catholic Insight (Sept. 2005). Reading the gross over-simplifications and jumps in logic caused me great sadness as they seem to objectify negatively a priest I have come to know and respect.

I am a seminarian at St. Peter's Seminary and have known Fr. Prieur for nearly five years. He is one of the most positive and supportive people I have ever met. This article's criticism paints a contrasted picture to the true man based on a single topic. Although it (i.e. the Winnipeg Statement) is highly debated in the Canadian Church my contention is not theological. It is of a professional nature. If a person's first introduction to Fr. Prieur were this article they might be led to believe that he was making excuses for a contraceptive lifestyle. This is in fact far from the truth. I personally witnessed his defence of the Church's teaching on family planning last year when he participated in a panel discussion at King's University College (London, ON). The college community was in an uproar over the dismissal of a student R.A. (Residential Assistant) who was distributing condoms in the dorms. In this case Fr. Prieur was quite clear about the Church's position on birth control and recreational sex. Even when he was being laughed at by some of the students, he did not waver, nor did he try to make light of the situation. It was inspiring to see a priest take this stand.

I have never doubted the credibility of your writers until this was published. As I have known him, Fr. Prieur is greatly concerned with orthodoxy and loves the Church deeply. He has dedicated his life to the Church. His continued involvement in the formation of priests is the best example of this. Because I know the man I found the words in Msgr. Foy's article far too strong and uncharitably judgmental. Simply put, Msgr. Foy has unnecessarily and publicly attacked Fr. Prieur. This is offensive to me and a blatant contradiction to the long-held philosophical tradition of the Church. Secondly, these statements were made by Msgr. Foy outside of a forum in which a response could easily be made. For this reason, I believe that you have allowed your readers to be misled by publishing only one side of this argument. Capitalizing on ignorance, as was done in this article, is more akin to the behaviour of a tabloid like the National Enquirer, which is never mistaken for creditable journalism.

In the end, Msgr. Foy claims that what Fr. Prieur has done "is enough to make angels cry," but stopping brother from attacking brother is what Jesus came to do. So long as Catholic Insight stands by the slanderous words and misleading tone against Fr. Michael Prieur, I cannot stand behind it.

London, ON

Msgr. Foy responds:

In his letter to Catholic Insight of October 24, 2005, Michael Anderson, a seminarian at St. Peter's Seminary, London, accuses me of an attack on Fr. Michael Prieur's reputation. My article on Fr. Prieur (see Catholic Insight, Sept. 2005: "Fr. Michael Prieur and the Winnipeg Statement") was not intended as an attack on his reputation but on his teaching. That teaching on Humanae vitae and in defence of the Winnipeg Statement is in grave error. That error has been publicly proclaimed in lectures, seminars and in a marriage preparation text and needs to be publicly refuted.

There is no doubt that Fr. Prieur has many fine qualities and has taught much that is true and good. That does not justify the teaching of grave moral error. Michael Anderson says that my article is based on a single topic. That is true, but false teaching on that one topic can, if widespread, destroy society, the Church, the family and souls. That is a work in progress in Canada.

Michael Anderson says that Fr. Prieur is greatly concerned with orthodoxy. He is orthodox when he teaches what the Church teaches. He is not orthodox in defending the moral relativism and proportionalism of the Winnipeg Statement of the Canadian Bishops.

Apparently Michael Anderson has not been rightly taught about Humanae vitae. He says, to the Editor of Catholic Insight: "You have allowed your readers to be misled by publishing only one side of this argument." There is only one side: that of the Church's teaching on human life with the authority of Christ (Humanae vitae, n. 6).

Michael Anderson writes that "stopping brother from attacking brother is what Jesus came to do." Yet he applies to me a number of phrases which sound like brother attacking brother. In my article he finds "gross over-simplification and jumps in logic;" "words uncharitably judgmental." I am accused of "capitalising on ignorance" and "slanderous words and misleading tone." I am not told precisely the foundation of these judgements.

Certainly Our Lord used strong language in rejecting error and evil. He used the term "whitewashed sepulchres." He did not hesitate to rebuke his apostles. Even to Peter He said, "Get thee behind me, Satan." Yet this was divine charity. Charity can rebuke as well as praise, frown as well as smile.

We ought to Fray that the glorious Truth about human life and love be taught without compromise at St. Peter's Seminary and to Michael Anderson.
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Publication:Catholic Insight
Article Type:Letter to the Editor
Date:Dec 1, 2005
Previous Article:From Cort Freeman re Shea article.
Next Article:From Deacon Daniel Dauvin re Msgr. Foy.

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