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Parish priest and bishop stand fast. (News in Brief).

Medicine Hat, AB--Celina Ling had planned to get married at St. Patrick's Church here on September 21. However, after an article in the Medicine Hat News identified her as the Planned Parenthood representative in the city, Father John Maes, parish priest of St. Patrick's, informed her that, as her job and views put her in direct conflict with Church teachings, he would not be able to conduct the wedding ceremony.

When Ling took this announcement back to the Medicine Hat News to give this "shocking" story some publicity, Fr. Maes simply stated: "Once I learned that Celina Ling was employed by Planned Parenthood and her position on this central issue was contrary to that of the Church, I had to discharge my duty to the Church."

When the News contacted Calgary's Catholic Bishop Fred Henry, it was astonished to hear that Ling could be excommunicated for her "pro-choice" stand. Said Bishop Henry: "I don't know the extent of her counselling activity, but anyone who is involved in the deliberate and successful effort to eject a non-viable fetus automatically incurs that excommunication."

The bishop said he was consulted about Maes' decision not to marry the couple, adding: "She's got to resolve the conflict she's in right now, and part of that is she's got to walk away from Planned Parenthood."

The fact that the Ling incident was broadcast around the country (e.g., Globe & Mail, Aug, 28/02) made Bishop Henry say: "We're not into a consumer religion. There are certain basic tenets, and if someone disagrees with those they separate themselves from the body of believers. They are the ones that have the problem, not the Church. This may be a wake-up call for many Catholics, and shows that you cannot simply pick and choose. You can't have it two ways."

The News recorded that, after all the hubbub, Celina Ling wasn't surprised to hear of her possible excommunication after all. "I don't think it's sunk in that I'm not Catholic anymore, even though that's the box I've checked since I was seven years old. It's sad, but I don't want to belong to a Church that does this anyway." Ling will be married on the same September date except that it will be before a Justice of the Peace. Her boyfriend is not a Catholic (Medicine Hat News, Aug, 27-29/02).


It's heartening to see a parish priest and a bishop stand fast. A decade ago, a similar astonishment hit the media when Archbishop Adam Exner, then of Winnipeg (now Vancouver), informed a Red Deer nurse who intended to get married in Winnipeg while taking up employment in Morgentaler's Winnipeg abortuary, that she could not get married in a Catholic Church and that, if she took the position, she would fall under automatic excommunication.

The Church's opposition to Planned Parenthood, an anti-life and pro-abortion agency which in the United States runs over one hundred abortuaries, has been consistent. In 1976, then Archbishop of Toronto Philip Pocock pulled the Toronto Catholic agencies out of the United Way because the latter had decided to assist Planned Parenthood financially. Subsequently, the Archdioceses of Vancouver and Edmonton, and the Diocese of Calgary, did the same.
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Title Annotation:Celina Ling is banned from marriage in Catholic church over association with Planned Parenthood
Publication:Catholic Insight
Geographic Code:1CANA
Date:Oct 1, 2002
Previous Article:Dissent in schools. (News in Brief).
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