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Shock therapy for Canada.

The arrogant pronouncement of the three judges, McMurtry, MacPherson, and Gillese of the Ontario Appeal Court on June 10, 2003, has proved to be shock therapy for the country.

First, their legal decree kick-started a barrage of protests from the Evangelical-Protestant side, which resulted in town hall meetings and open protests in which Catholics happily participated. On the Catholic side, English-speaking bishops throughout Canada went on the offensive with pastoral statements and requests for homilies from priests and petitions to government and Members of Parliament from the faithful. The Ontario bishops took the lead by making its provincial secretariat under Tom Reilly a place for the exchange of ideas and planning of strategy.

The battle drawn

In mid-July, the Chretien administration--still unaware of the groundswell of opposition in the making--announced its decision to throw out the legal definition of marriage of a voluntary union of one man and one woman for life and replace it with that of a union between two persons. Then at the end of July, the Church at large entered the fray to the almost incoherent rage of the Globe and Mail. In Considerations ... about unions between homosexual persons, the Vatican set forth the principles which must govern the behaviour of politicians.

They, the document stated, "have the moral duty to oppose efforts to bring about same-sex marriage." To vote "in favour of a law so harmful to the common good is gravely immoral."

In harmony with this teaching, Calgary's Catholic bishop, Fred Henry, let it be known that he feared for the Prime Minister's eternal salvation. "I pray for the Prime Minister ... he's making a morally grave error and he's not being accountable to God." Throughout the month of August cartoonists resorted to the fires of hell as part of their illustrations. Alas, no one referred to the others destined for that place of whom the great Italian poet Dante Alighieri said, "the hottest place in hell is reserved for those who remain neutral in time of great moral crisis."

The polls

By August it was clear--to the astonishment and anger of some of the media and no doubt to that of certain politicians--that the unthinkable was thinkable. Same-sex "marriage" had split the Liberal party, public opinion was shifting, and the proposed legislation was in trouble. What bad been taken for granted in early June--namely that there wasn't any doubt that Canadians would accept same-sex marriage--was now in dispute.

A June 12 Globe graph--referring to a May 2003 poll--showed all provinces, except Alberta and Saskatchewan, in favour. Then the picture began to change. With a flood of letters, faxes, petitions, and e-mails arriving at theirs desks, MPs especially in Ontario and the Maritimes began to have second thoughts. Ontario, with 98 Liberal MPs out of a possible 103 seats in the province, provides the bulk of Mr. Chretien's Liberal majority of 171 seats in the House of Commons (total seats 304). On August 3, the Toronto Star reported that of these 98 Liberals only 16 supported the government's legislation, with 19 firmly opposed, and the rest undecided!

On August 8, the Globe and Mail's poll of all 171 Liberal Members of Parliament showed hat only 60 stood in support, with 48 against, and the rest undecided (27), "won't say" (29), and "unavailable" (7). Even some of the Cabinet Members and Parliamentary Assistants who are required to vote for government-sponsored legislation--some 60 or so MPs--had begun to waver.

A further poll of August 14 of all MPs of all five parties, showed 132 opposed, 109 in favour, and 63 undecided, for a total of 304 (Globe). On September 4, the National Post, updated this to 132 opposed, 111 in favour, and 61 undecided (Marriage Canada Poll).

The media

It must not be thought that S.S."M" (same-sex "marriage") supporters had sat still during this time. The two dailies most prominently in favour of S.S."M", the national Globe and Mail and Canada's largest circulation daily, The Toronto Star, worked overtime to defend it. During the two-and-a-half months between June 11 and August 31st, the Star printed seven editorials, and the Globe, no fewer than ten, the latter ranging from "Let them marry", and "Same-sex marriage and Parliament's duty", on June 12 and 18 respectively, to "How far will MPs go to torpedo a bill", and "Rights are rights", on August 20 and 23. Clearly, the editorial writers at the Globe are made of stern stuff. (Please note that despite what the Globe says, there is no gay right to marriage. See editorial)

Aside from the use of editorials, there are other ways to deal with opponents. One way is not to give them a voice. The Globe and CBC are very good at that.

A yet more refined way is to find defectors and dissenters especially in the one institution where the defection and dissent are grievous offences, the Catholic Church. On August 6, the Globe ran across page 3 the headline, "Priest defies Vatican same-sex stand." The article reported that Fr. Raymond Gravel of the diocese of Joliette, Quebec, had denounced--in a letter to the Montreal daily La Presse, the Vatican's position against same-sex marriage as "discriminatory, hurtful and offensive ... ", and that he also attacked "the church's hierarchy as outmoded and sick." Fr. Gravel claimed to know "lots of priests in Quebec who share his views, but they are afraid to speak out." The Globe devoted half-a-page to this with a large photo of Fr. Gravel.

The next day, the Globe's reporters--or its editors--repeated the Gravel story mixed in with the news that the Canadian Psychological Association had "condemned the Roman Catholic Church for issuing a controversial edict against same-sex "marriage" that also states it "is doing violence to children ... "

One week later, the papers had the "good fortune" of being able to report on the public dissent of Father Paul Lundrigan, of Goulds, Nfld. On August 10, this priest accused the Church of hypocrisy in his Sunday homilies at Mass in the two congregations he administers. "I will not perform same-sex marriages here, but I also will not encourage anyone to try to stop the government from allowing same-sex couples to do so elsewhere," he was reported as saying. The next Sunday, St. John's Archbishop Brendan O'Brien preached in his place at all three Masses making it clear that what the priest did was "totally unacceptable for a pastor." The priest's rebellion as well as the Archbishop's rebuke, were grist for the Globe's mill, grinding out articles seeking to undermine the Church's drive against S.S."M". Father Lundrigan's rebellion was a windfall, while the bishop's rebuke could be seen as another example of the Church's inquisitorial frame of mind.

The Globe's Toronto rival, the Toronto Star, would get an even greater scoop two weeks later. On Sunday, Aug. 24, it reprinted the full text of a homily by Father Scott Gale of Thunder Bay, ON, which was first printed in the local daily, the Chronicle Journal. Never ever has the Star published a priest's homily in the 30 odd years I have been reading the paper. But this one was obviously too good to let slip by.

Fr. Gale called for "dialogue, not dictates", and then proceeded first to run down the Church's credibility because of presumed errors of the past (women, slavery and harsh language); and then laid down a number of dictates of his own in favour of same-sex "marriage". A pro same-sex "marriage" newspaper can't do any better than that.

Here I have to add a personal note. As soon as I read Fr. Gales's homily on the Opinion page of the Sunday Star, I wrote a rebuttal and e-mailed it to the Chronicle Journal and the Star. I don't think the Thunder Bay paper ever printed it. However, in the case of the Star I had sent my copy to the Opinion page editor, and received a reply saying he didn't think the (lengthy) rebuttal was suitable, but if I wanted an opinion article of my own he would give me 750 words. So I composed the article "Under False Pretenses", being keenly aware that the Sunday Star's circulation is half a million copies. The article is printed in this edition as the editorial on page 3, and appeared in the Star on the Opinion page on August 31, nicely laid out with a big heading, immediately underneath two cartoons.

One final note: The Globe struck out against the Church once more on Labour Day, September 1, with a full page article entitled "Catholic Church in Closet Over Gay Priests in its Midst". Written by Maria Jimenez, an otherwise seemingly competent journalist, it was a grab bag of anecdotal evidence from some former Canadian priests now living the "gay" lifestyle, together with quotes from books here and there. The general purpose of printing this article seems to have been to discredit the Vatican's opposition to same-sex "marriage", by "showing" that the clergy is secretly 40% homosexual. What to say?

Well, first the Church's teaching on homosexuality stands on its own. Truth is truth no matter what. Secondly, this teaching (that the orientation is a disorder to be overcome, and that homosexual activity is a grave sin) applies to everyone including all priests. Third, priests who secretly participate in homosexual activity should resign from the priesthood. Fourth, the measures bishops have taken against future "sex abuse cases" apply to these secret homosexually active priests who have now been found out. Fifth, the Church will not change her teaching and morality does not evolve whereby what is bad yesterday is good today, as certain Canadian politicians believe. Now for some other brief notes.

Ontario Elections--October 2

The same-sex "marriage" issue affects even the Ontario voters. Just before calling the provincial election, Premier Ernie Eves repeated a statement made at the beginning of August, namely that, in his view, marriage should remain restricted to one man and one woman. Both opposition leaders, Howard Hampton of the NDP and Dalton McGuinty of the Liberals, bristled. Both favor same-sex "marriage". Said Hampton "Of course. I support the courts"

The Globe drew attention to Mr. McGuinty as a "devout Catholic". It stated "He supports same-sex marriages despite his long-standing devout faith in the Roman Catholic Church." It then quoted him as saying "My accountability is to a broader constituency than just Catholics. I represent people of many different faiths ... people look to their leaders to tell them what they honestly think is the right thing to do and let the chips fall where they might" (August 27, 2003).

Two years ago Mr. McGuinty announced that he would not tolerate any candidate for elected office in his party who did not support same-sex marriage. This "devout" Catholic also supports "freedom of choice" and legal abortions, which by itself places him outside the Church. In short, Catholics should not vote for McGuinty.

Notwithstanding Clause

As explained in the September editorial, the step following the much desired defeat of Mr. Cauchon's proposed legislation, is the application of the "Notwithstanding" clause. There is nothing extraordinary about that except that media pundits have convinced Liberal MPs that this is somehow scandalous or inappropriate. This is nonsense.

The Notwithstanding clause is part of the charter, namely section 33. Its very purpose is to end intolerable situations such as Canada is experiencing at the moment through the dictatorship of the courts. Parliament simply passes a bill exempting the federal Marriage Act from judicial interference under the Charter of Rights and repeat the process every five years. Law making must remain the preserve of Parliament only.


As a third step, MPs must call for a re-examination of the Charter and remove the ability of judges to read their private opinions into law. Over the last ten years, judges have interfered in every aspect of government ignoring the age-old tradition that the expenditure of money has always been--and must remain--the exclusive prerogative of the legislatures. To assign vast areas of Canada to Native Control; to order a municipality to provide for disabled students without reference to costs; to order the federal government to provide marijuana for AIDS patients and others; to reassign fishing, hunting or wood cutting rights as they see fit, or to order federal and provincial governments to spend millions every year in benefits and entitlements for the "gay" community is intolerable.

Points to remember

* Sexual orientation is not analogous to race, ethnic origin, color and sex, mentioned in Section 15 (1) of the Charter Rights

* Homosexual Activists (so-called "gays"), therefore, do not have a right to marriage.

* Homosexuals are not born that way. Homosexual activity remains a free act of the human will.

* Sexual orientation has never been defined.
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Article Details
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Author:de Valk, Alphonse
Publication:Catholic Insight
Date:Oct 1, 2003
Previous Article:Judges cannot change reality.
Next Article:The great divorce: Catholicism and politics.

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