For many years the Right to Life movement has struggled valiantly to limit abortions here and abroad. Thousands of good people have invested time and energy in this life concern.On the other hand critics have said that too many “pro-lifers” were simply anti-abortion and inconsistent in their understanding of “the seamless garment approach” made famous by the late Cardinal Joseph Bernadin of Chicago.Many have hurt their cause by openly dismissing poverty, war and environment (non-human life) as irrelevant. Many have openly supported political parties which have eviscerated the Catholic principle of the common good.
The folllowing letter written by Tim O’Connor a religion teacher in Stratford Ontario partially addresses the radical inconsistency of a “pro life” group which has invited a speaker who actually suggested that somebody should drop a nuclear bomb on Iran, a bomb which would destroy life in utero, men and women who create and sustain life and the environment which would be leached of life.
Dear Bishop Fabbro,
My name is Tim O’Connor and I am a parishioner at Holy Name Catholic Church in St. Marys and a teacher at St. Michael Catholic Secondary School in Stratford. I am fairly sure that we share some common friends as I attended St. Michael College School in Toronto and spent many years at Columbus Boys’ Camp where I developed good friendships with Bob Holmes,
Paul Rybicki, Dwyer Sullivan and a number of other Basilians and former Basilians.
I am writing about two speakers who were invited to speak in our diocese.
The first speaker is Jim Loney. It is my understanding that Jim was recently de-invited by the diocese. If I am wrong, please correct me.
If this is the case, I am terribly disappointed. Jim Loney is a prophet. He is a person of peace and a tremendous inspiration to so many people in these times of great turmoil and conflict in our world. As you know, Jim has also worked tirelessly on behalf of the poor and homeless through his work with the Catholic Worker Organization, Christian Peacekeepers and
Columbus Boys’ Camp. His ordeal in Iraq last year has led many of us to reconsider Jesus’ invitation to love our enemies. My family joined many others at a number of marvellous prayer services and peaceful demonstrations in Toronto where the issue of illegal detainees was thoughtfully and creatively raised.
When Jim was released, I was thrilled. I was so happy that my friend was returning and I couldn’t wait to greet him and to learn from his experiences.
At a time, when his release and return should have been celebrated, he got to face a whole, it seemed that the most significant news to many people lay in the fact that Jim announced that he was gay. A short time later, the Ontario Catholic Youth Leadership Camp closed. This camp provided a
Catholic leadership experience for high school students across the province. I am proud to have been a staff member and the circumstances and cover-up surrounding its closing are absolutely shameful. I am disappointed that while many people spoke on behalf of the Knights of Columbus, so few chose to speak on behalf of the dedicated staff who worked tirelessly for fourteen years to develop and outstanding faith-filled program. The alleged re-evaluation of the program has included absolutely no dialogue with present staff.
Now, apparently, he is not welcome to speak in our area. Frankly, I find this very distressing and quite unjust. I understand the church’s teaching on homosexual relationships; I believe it has been the topic of several homilies and open letters in my parish. However, Jim is not speaking about his presonal relationship or same-sex marriage; he is speaking about non-violence and love of enemies. There are few
individuals who could speak with more authority on this topic.
If we are going to insist that all speakers be perfect role models in every way, I would think that many others would be de-invited as well. This brings me to the second speaker who was advertised at last Sunday’s liturgy – Mr. Michael Coren. Apparently, Michael Coren is the speaker ofhonour at the annual dinner of the Stratford Right to Life. He is advertised on a number of flyers that appear in our churches as a “noted
Well, this noted pro-life speaker wrote a column in which he called for a pre-emptive nuclear strike against Iran. I kid you not. His entire editorial can be found at the following link:
It is surely obvious now to anybody with even a basic understanding of history, politics and the nature of fascism that something revolutionary has to be done within months — if not weeks — if we are to preserve world peace. Put boldly and simply, we have to drop a nuclear bomb on Iran. …..
The tragedy is that innocent people will die. But not many….
It would seem to be that this may be an opportunity to apply some of the censorship that has become the norm. Perhaps we should not be advertising for a pro-life event that features a speaker who publicly calls for a nuclear attack on another nation.
I am obviously quite biased as I present my concerns. It seems unfair to me that a person of peace is publicly rejected because of his sexual orientation while another individual who uses his notoriety to publicly call for an act of war is invited to speak at a pro-life event. I urge you to reconsider Jim’s deinvitation and I also encourage you to challenge the presence of Michael Coren at an event that focuses on the right-to-life.
Thank-you for taking the time to listen to my concerns!
St. Michael Catholic Secondary School