Peter Baklinski

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Catholic chaplains/principals promote summer camp run by dissidents, gay activists: parents protest

Peter Baklinski
Peter Baklinski
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Correction: This article originally stated that James Loney had “sued” the Knights of Columbus for homosexual discrimination. This is incorrect. Loney publicly accused the Knights of discrimination, but did not launch a lawsuit. We regret the error.

BANCROFT, Ontario, 9 January, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Concerned pro-family leaders and parents are wondering why the Ontario Catholic Principals’ Council as well as the Ontario School Chaplains association are promoting a non-denominational “social justice” camp to students run by dissident Catholics and homosexual activists.

Camp Micah, which operates every August near Bancroft, Ontario, is a six day “ecumenical camp” that seeks to form young people to become the future leaders in “faith and justice,” according to the camp’s director.

The camp’s leadership team includes a laicized Catholic priest and three pro-gay activists, one who performs homosexual ‘marriages’, another who is a practicing homosexual and vocal critic of Catholic teaching on homosexual activity, and a third who leads a gay-straight alliance in a public school.

The FAQ on the camp’s website tells students not to be concerned if they “don’t go to church on Sunday” since “some of us [staff] don’t go to church every Sunday either”. While camp officials write that they are “passionate about the gospel of peace and justice”, the name of Jesus doesn’t appear anywhere on the camp’s website.

Leaders for renewal in Catholic education, pro-family leaders, and parents have called promotion of the camp at Catholic schools a “great scandal”, “disturbing and totally unacceptable”, and problematic.

Camp Micah’s staff

Camp Micah’s director and founder is Dwyer Sullivan, a 75 year-old laicized Catholic priest and former Basilian. Sullivan, now married, is a retired Catholic high school teacher who taught in the areas of social justice and world religions. 

Camp Micah staff include Monica Moore, a minister at Affirming United, a branch of the United Church of Canada. Affirm United exists to work for the “full inclusion of people of all sexual orientations and gender identities in The United Church of Canada and in society.” Moore, who believes that issues on sexual morality are decided by a majority vote, has officiated at numerous same-sex ‘weddings’ at her various posts.

Staff also include James Loney, a homosexual activist who received international renown after being held hostage in Iraq for several months while working with Christian Peacemaker Teams in 2005. However, he is also known for having accused the Ontario Knights of Columbus for alleged homosexual discrimination in 2006 after the group ceased financing the Ontario Catholic Youth Leadership Camp where Loney was an employee for several years. Loney alleged at the time that the Knights specifically closed the camp because of his post-Iraq public revelation of being gay. The Knights stated that they closed the camp to “review” its “mandate and effectiveness.”

Loney, a lapsed Catholic who lives with another man in Toronto, wrote in a 2005 article titled “Confessions of a Spiritual Couch Potato,” that he “avoid[s] prayer like the plague—the kind where you stop, sit or kneel, do nothing but be, even if for only ten minutes. It’s agony-in-the-garden every time; the easiest thing is to let the cup pass. The thought of fasting nauseates me, and as for Sunday mass—that weekly spiritual reboot and virus check—well, let’s just say I’ve accumulated a significant inventory of mortal sins.”

The camp’s program director is Colleen Barrett, a staff advisor for the Gay Straight Alliance at Jacob Hespeler Secondary School in Cambridge, ON.

Sullivan told the Catholic School Chaplains of Ontario association in a meeting last year that the province and all those present at the meeting would “benefit” from having students “engaged in the kind of leadership for justice and faith that Camp Micah teaches.”

A call to Camp Micah director Dwyer Sullivan for comment was never returned.

Endorsing Camp Micah

The Catholic School Chaplains of Ontario have endorsed the camp on their website, calling it a “retreat/camp experience for our young people based on the values of peace and justice.”

The Catholic Principals’ Council of Ontario endorsed the camp in a 2010 newsletter, calling the camp a place that “challenges youth to reflect on their personal leadership gifts, builds community and models leadership skills for transforming the world.”

Various Catholic high schools throughout the province have promoted the camp online or in newsletters, some calling it the “best leadership camp for Catholic high school students in Ontario.”

Saint Paul Catholic High School in the Niagara region pointed out in a 2012 newsletter that a “number of students” from Niagara Catholic District School board have attended the camp in the past, adding that “it has been an amazing opportunity to build Christian leadership skills which then strengthened the school faith community upon their return.”

Pro-family leaders and parents react

One Ontario Catholic school system teacher, who wishes to remain anonymous, told LifeSiteNews that it comes as “no surprise” that “leaders in our schools are supporting a social justice leadership camp where three prominent members of staff are publicly at odds with Church teaching”.

The teacher said that supporting the camp reflects the “desire by some in the system to encourage staff and students to ignore the Church’s authority and to ‘promote change’ so as to change the Church”.

Jack Fonseca, program director for Campaign Life Coalition, said that “this camp isn’t training youth to be faithful Christians at all, but rather, left-wing political activists.”

Andy Pocrnic, a Catholic father from Ottawa, called it a “great scandal” to have a camp promoted by Catholic principals and chaplains that is “staffed by gay activists.”

“When parents send their kids to Catholic schools they expect whatever is being promoted within those schools to be in harmony with the Catholic faith,” he told LifeSiteNews. “Instead, we find these leaders actively undermining that faith and betraying their duty to protect the children in their care.”

Suresh Dominic of Campaign Life Catholics called the camp’s promotion in Catholic schools “disturbing and totally unacceptable”.

Kim Galvao, head of Concerned Catholic Parents of Ontario, called social justice camps like Camp Micah problematic for their propensity to turn young people against the Catholic Church and its teachings on sexual morality.

Galvao said her own experience in social justice groups as a young high school student led her to “doubt” that the “Catholic church was doing the right thing in terms of social justice.”

“My experience in social justice caused me to question the church’s teaching not only on contraception but on many other aspects that lead to confusion and doubt.”

Galvao wondered why it appears that “at every turn [Catholic] educators are trying to undermine what Catholic parents are trying to teach their children.”

“Who’s side are they on? What’s the point of being Catholic if this kind of camp is the kind of extra curricular activities we are giving our children. This should be boycotted at all cost.”

Galvao suggested that Catholic principals and chaplains should “look at other camps that come from a Catholic perspective” and that “support” Pope Benedict’s teaching that working for peace in the world includes working to end to abortion and protect true marriage and the family.


Contact info:

*NOTE: See Composing Effective Communications in Response to LifeSiteNews Reports

Catholic School Chaplains of Ontario
David McNorgan, President
Cathedral CSS
30 Wentworth St. N.
Hamilton, ON L8L 8H5
Ph:  (905) 522-3581, x3020
Email david.mcnorgan@csco.ca

Catholic Principals’ Council of Ontario
Carole Allen, President
400 - 161 Eglinton Ave. East
Toronto, ON M4P 1J5
Ph: (416) 483-1556
Email president@cpco.on.ca

Thomas Cardinal Collins, Archbishop of Toronto
Catholic Pastoral Centre
1155 Yonge Street
Toronto, Ontario, M4T 1W2
Ph: (416) 934-0606, ext. 609
Email archbishop@archtoronto.org


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Quebec groups launch court challenge to euthanasia bill

LifeSiteNews staff
By LifeSiteNews staff

As announced when the Quebec legislature adopted Bill 52, An Act respecting end-of-life care, the citizen movement Living with Dignity and the Physicians’ Alliance against Euthanasia, representing together over 650 physicians and 17,000 citizens, filed a lawsuit before the Superior Court of Quebec in the District of Montreal on Thursday.

The lawsuit requests that the Court declare invalid all the provisions of the Act that deal with “medical aid in dying”, a term the groups say is a euphemism for euthanasia. This Act not only allows certain patients to demand that a physician provoke their death, but also grants physicians the right to cause the death of these patients by the administration of a lethal substance.

The two organizations are challenging the constitutionality of those provisions in the Act which are aimed at decriminalizing euthanasia under the euphemism “medical aid in dying”. Euthanasia constitutes a culpable homicide under Canada’s Criminal Code, and the organizations maintain that it is at the core of the exclusive federal legislative power in relation to criminal law and Quebec therefore does not have the power to adopt these provisions.

The organizations also say the impugned provisions unjustifiably infringe the rights to life and to security of patients guaranteed by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the Quebec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms. They further infringe the right to the safeguard of the dignity of the person, which is also protected by the Quebec Charter.

In view of the gravity of the situation and the urgent need to protect all vulnerable persons in Quebec, they are requesting an accelerated management of the case in order to obtain a judgment before the Act is expected to come into force on December 10, 2015.


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Colorado baker appeals gvmt ‘re-education’ order

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By LifeSiteNews staff

A Colorado cake artist who declined to use his creative talents to promote and endorse a same-sex ceremony appealed a May 30 order from the Colorado Civil Rights Commission to the Colorado Court of Appeals Wednesday.

The commission’s order requires cake artist Jack Phillips and his staff at Masterpiece Cakeshop to create cakes for same-sex celebrations, forces him to re-educate his staff that Colorado’s Anti-Discrimination Act means that artists must endorse all views, compels him to implement new policies to comply with the commission’s order, and requires him to file quarterly “compliance” reports for two years. The reports must include the number of patrons declined a wedding cake or any other product and state the reason for doing so to ensure he has fully eliminated his religious beliefs from his business.

“Americans should not be forced by the government – or by another citizen – to endorse or promote ideas with which they disagree,” said the cake artist’s lead counsel Nicolle Martin, an attorney allied with Alliance Defending Freedom. “This is not about the people who asked for a cake; it’s about the message the cake communicates. Just as Jack doesn’t create baked works of art for other events with which he disagrees, he doesn’t create cake art for same-sex ceremonies regardless of who walks in the door to place the order.”

“In America, we don’t force artists to create expression that is contrary to their convictions,” added Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Legal Counsel Jeremy Tedesco. “A paint artist who identifies as homosexual shouldn’t be intimidated into creating a painting that celebrates one-man, one-woman marriage. A pro-life photographer shouldn’t be forced to work a pro-abortion rally. And Christian cake artists shouldn’t be punished for declining to participate in a same-sex ceremony or promote its message.”

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In July 2012, Charlie Craig and David Mullins asked Jack Phillips, owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop, to make a wedding cake to celebrate their same-sex ceremony. In an exchange lasting about 30 seconds, Phillips politely declined, explaining that he would gladly make them any other type of baked item they wanted but that he could not make a cake promoting a same-sex ceremony because of his faith. Craig and Mullins, now represented by the American Civil Liberties Union, immediately left the shop and later filed a complaint with the Colorado Civil Rights Division. The case now goes to the Colorado Court of Appeals as Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Craig.

“Jack, and other cake artists like him – such as those seen on TV shows like ‘Ace of Cakes’ and ‘Cake Boss’ – prepare unique creations that are inherently expressive,” Tedesco explained. “Jack invests many hours in the wedding cake creative process, which includes meeting the clients, designing and sketching the cake, and then baking, sculpting, and decorating it. The ACLU calls Jack a mere ‘retail service provider,’ but, in fact, he is an artist who uses his talents and abilities to create expression that the First Amendment fully protects."

Celebrity cake artists have written publicly about their art and the significant expressive work that goes into the artistic design process for wedding cakes.


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Prisoner of conscience Mary Wagner appeals her conviction

Tony Gosgnach
By Tony Gosgnach

TORONTO -- As promised, Mary Wagner has, through her counsel Dr. Charles Lugosi, filed a formal notice of appeal on numerous points regarding her recent, almost two-year-long court case that ended on June 12.

Justice Fergus O’Donnell of the Ontario Court of Justice rejected every application made by the defence – including for access to abortion center records, public funding, standing for a constitutional challenge and for expert witnesses to be heard – before he found Wagner guilty and sentenced her to five months in jail on a charge of mischief and four months on four counts of failing to comply with probation orders.

He further levied two years of probation, with terms that she stay at least 100 metres away from any abortion site. However, because Wagner had spent a greater time in jail than the sentence, she was freed immediately. She had been arrested at the “Women’s Care Clinic” abortion site on Lawrence Avenue West in Toronto on August 15, 2012 after attempting to speak to abortion-bound women there. She then spent the duration of the trial in prison for refusing to sign bail conditions requiring her to stay away from abortion sites.

Wagner is using the matter as a test case to challenge the current definition of a human being in Canadian law – that is, that a human being is legally recognized as such only after he or she has fully emerged from the birth canal in a breathing state.

Wagner’s notice states the appeal is regarding:

  • Her conviction and sentence on a single count of mischief (interference with property),
  • Her conviction and sentence on four counts of breach of probation,
  • The order denying public funding,
  • The order denying the disclosure of third-party records,
  • The order denying the admission of evidence from experts on the applicant’s constitutional challenge concerning the constitutional validity of Section 223 of the Criminal Code,
  • The order denying the admission of evidence from experts concerning the construction of Section 37 of the Criminal Code,
  • The probation order denying Wagner her constitutional rights to freedom of speech, freedom of expression, freedom of conscience and freedom of religion on all public sidewalks and public areas within 100 metres of places where abortions are committed,
  • And each conviction and sentence and all orders and rulings made by O’Donnell.

In the notice of appeal, Lugosi cites numerous points on which O’Donnell erred:

  • He denied Wagner her constitutional right to make full answer and defence.
  • He denied Wagner her right to rely on Section 37 of the Criminal Code, which permits “everyone” to come to the third-party defence and rescue of any human being (in this case, the preborn) facing imminent assault.
  • He decided the factual basis of Wagner’s constitutional arguments was a waste of the court’s time and that no purpose would have been served by having an evidentiary hearing on her Charter application because, in the current state of Canadian law, it had no possibility of success.
  • He misapplied case law and prejudged the case, “giving rise to a reasonable apprehension of bias and impeding the legal evolution of the law to adapt to new circumstances, knowledge and changed societal values and morals.”
  • He accepted the Crown’s submission that it is beyond the jurisdiction of the courts to question the jurisdiction of Parliament legally to define “human being” in any manner Parliament sees fit.
  • He ruled Section 223 of the Criminal Code is not beyond the powers of Section 52 of the Constitution Act, 1982.
  • He ruled Section 223 of the Criminal Code does not violate the Preamble to, as well as Sections 7, 11(d), 15 and 26, of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
  • He denied Wagner standing to raise a constitutional challenge to the validity of Section 223 of the Criminal Code.
  • He ruled that Section 223 of the Criminal Code applied generally throughout the entire Criminal Code and used it to deny unborn human beings the benefit of equal protection as born human beings under Section 37 of the Criminal Code.
  • He denied the production and disclosure of third-party records in the possession of the “Women’s Care Clinic” abortion site, although the records were required to prove Wagner was justified in using reasonable force in the form of oral and written words to try to persuade pregnant mothers from killing their unborn children by abortion.
  • He denied Wagner the defence of Section 37 of the Criminal Code by ruling unborn children did not come within the scope of human beings eligible to be protected by a third party.
  • He ruled Wagner did not come within the scope of Section 37 because she was found to be non-violent (in that she did not use physical force).
  • He ruled the unborn children Wagner was trying to rescue were not under her protection.
  • He denied Wagner the common-law defences of necessity and the rescue of third parties in need of protection.
  • He denied Wagner public funding to make full answer and defence for a constitutional test case of great public importance and national significance.
  • He imposed an unconstitutional sentence upon Wagner by, in effect, imposing an injunction as a condition of probation, contrary to her constitutional rights of free speech, freedom of expression, freedom of conscience and freedom of religion.

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Among the orders Lugosi is seeking are:

  • That an appeal be allowed against conviction on all counts and that a verdict of acquittal be entered on all counts,
  • That Section 223 of the Criminal Code be found unconstitutional  and contrary to Section 52 of the Constitution Act, 1982, as well as the unwritten constitution of Canada,
  • That the sentence be declared unconstitutional and contrary to Section 52 of the Constitution Act, 1982, and the unwritten constitution of Canada or that a new trial be conducted, with Wagner permitted to make full answer and defence, be given standing to make a constitutional attack on Section 223 of the Criminal Code, with the admission of expert witnesses,
  • That the Women’s Care Clinic abortion site be made to produce third-party records pertaining to patients seen on August 15, 2012 (when Wagner entered the site),
  • And that there be public funding for two defence counsels at any retrial and for any appeal related to the case.

No date has yet been established for a decision on the appeal or hearings.

A defence fund for Wagner’s case is still raising money. Details on how to contribute to it can be found here.


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