Why are Canadians Forbidden
to Express their Church’s Teaching?
|One Courageous Priest Fights Back|
Fr. Alphonse de Valk
Catholic Insight, Editor
Remnant Editor’s Note: As The Remnant reported early this year, Canada’s national Catholic magazine of news, opinion and analysis has “joined a range of other prominent publications, groups and individuals who have recently become targets of human rights-based legal attacks,” reports Canada Free Press (Dec. 21, 2007). According to a January, 2008 report by Catholic Insight magazine, a nine-point complaint was originally filed by Edmonton resident Rob Wells with the Canadian Human Rights Commission in February of 2007. Among other things, Wells accused the magazine of portraying homosexuals as “violent” and “innately evil” and as child predators, blaming homosexuals for societal problems, and using inflammatory and derogatory language to create a tone of “extreme hatred and contempt.” (M. Alessio, 1/31/08 Remnant News Watch)
The magazine’s editor, Father Alphonse de Valk, is contesting Wells’ absurd accusations. I wrote to Father Valk recently to express my solidarity with him:
Dear Father de Valk:
We’ve been following the unjust campaign being waged against you and your magazine with both concern and interest. I am the editor of a national Catholic newspaper here in the States and feel quite sure that ‘our time will come’ soon enough. It’s only a matter of time before freedom of the Catholic press here in the States will be similarly curbed.
Things are bad now but bound to get worse. However, the example of faith and courage under fire you’ve been giving the rest of us during your ordeal has been nothing short of inspirational. Thank you, Father, for not folding under the intimidation tactics and for defending Christ’s truth as a true alter Christus.
Please let us know if we can do anything to help the cause. We’re front-paging the attack against Catholic Insight in the January 31, 2007 issue of The Remnant and have linked to your brilliant “Defending the Family and Freedom of Speech” on our website— www.RemnantNewspaper.com
Again, thank you, and may God give you strength and courage in the months and years ahead.
In Christo Rege,
Editor, The Remnant
In response, Father de Valk informed us that his situation has not changed. He also was good enough to forward his latest editorial on worsening conditions for people of faith in Canada. Clearly, this courageous Catholic priest is not backing down. Please pray for Father de Valk and all Catholics in ‘Catholic’ Canada. The outlook for our neighbors to the north is grim indeed, but, let’s not fool ourselves—our turn is indeed coming, unless that is, each and every one of us responds to this new “reign of terror” exactly as Father de Valk has—with courage, charity and unapologetic recourse to Catholic teaching.
Here, then, is Father de Valk’s fine Catholic Insight editorial, followed by my short comment on the Pilgrimage to Chartres which is to be held on May 9, 10, and 11. MJM
In the previous editorial I mentioned that in Canada, “opposing the homosexual lobby is a lonely task. Many Canadians are frightened, hostile, confused, or indifferent.” (C.I., March 08. p.3).
One reason for their “fright” is the Human Rights Commissions who have lent their authority to silence opponents of homosexual practice and coerce the non-compliant who simply desire to be left alone. One reason for media “hostility” is the notion that an all-encompassing tolerance is the supreme virtue and that any restriction on it must be seen as intolerance, the supreme vice.
Finally, the reason for “indifference and confusion” is that the Supreme Court has legislated sexual orientation to be a Charter right. This newly coined “right” was “read” into the Charter by Justice Peter Cory in 1995. This new right of equality now conflicts with existing (Charter) rights such as freedom of the press and of religion (illustrated by Gwen Landolt in C.I., March 08, pp.17-22).
The last point answers at once the question why it is important, indeed necessary, in Canada to resist: our rights as citizens are at stake. This is true not only for Catholics and Evangelicals, but also for the Greek Orthodox, orthodox Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus and anyone who holds to a traditional understanding of marriage in natural law, both as individuals and as supporters of such institutions as school, church, synagogue, mosque and temple. In order to understand why this is so, one must turn to the literature of the homosexual activists.
A good example is an article by André P. Grace & Kristopher Wells entitled, “The Marc Hall Prom Predicament: Queer Individual Rights v. Institutional Church Rights in Canadian Public education,” Canadian Journal of Education, 28, 3 (2005): 237-270. The article quotes dozens of sources by “queer” (their word) writers. The two authors of the article, therefore, may be said to represent the views of the activist homosexual community at large.
The article’s summary introduction reads as follows:
In 2002 Marc Hall’s principal denied him permission to take his boyfriend to his Catholic high-school prom. In examining the politicization of the ensuing prom predicament, we critique Catholicized education and what we perceive to be the Catholic Church’s efforts to privatize queerness as it segregates being religious from being sexual. We situate this privatization as the failure of the Catholic Church to treat vulnerable queer Catholic youth with dignity and integrity as the church sets untenable limits to queer (p. 238, bold mine).
The Catholic Church’s “institutional efforts to privatize queerness” is explained as – “to keep it hidden, invisible, silent, unannounced – in religion, education, and culture.” This is done, the authors note, “without regard for the broader public law,” as demanded by the Supreme Court ruling of 1995 which inserted sexual orientation as a new Charter right. The Church continues to ignore it.
The Church interprets everything from a “heterosexist” point of view. “In this light, heterosexism is the precursor of homophobia.” (240). It has a “pedagogy of negation” with an intention to “demean or dismiss or fail to protect (queer) youth.” The Church uses its constitutional denominational school rights (Section 93 of the Constitution Act, 1867) to block people’s rights.
The Church’s attempt to “privatize queer” is the equivalent of refusing that person “dignity and integrity” (242). The Vatican’s 1986 document, “The pastoral care of homosexuals” is referred to as the “Halloween Letter” (244). The Church places itself “above civil law” (245). The school’s rejection of Marc Hall’s request was “discrimination” (247). Both Bible and Tradition are “cultural technologies of control.” The Catholic religion is a “political force seeking power for itself” (249).
Marc Hall was a “victim.” His activism was “not planned but provoked.” Because Bishop Anthony Meagher did not accept tolerance according to Freire (which culminates in “inclusive education”), therefore he was “anti-democratic,” and “discriminatory” (253). The article concludes with the note that Catholic ideology is oppressive (261) and that, “Institutional churches have no business in the classrooms of the nation” (265).
Finally, the authors provide proof that they fully understand what it is they seek, when they approvingly quote from Deborah Britzman’s, “Is there a queer pedagogy?” (1995):
“Gay and lesbian demands for civil rights call into question the stability and fundamentalist ground of categories like masculinity, femininity, sexuality, citizenship, nation, culture, literacy, consent, legality [religiosity] and so forth… (p.2).
In short, the homosexualist view seeks the denial of the right to express publicly the Catholic Church’s teachings. Anyone who disagrees is hateful, bigoted and discriminatory.
The public should know what we are up against.