SUDBURY, Ontario, December 21, 2012, (LifeSiteNews.com) – Pro-abortion Liberal leadership hopeful Justin Trudeau “surprised” students and staff at a Sudbury Catholic high school on Friday morning by showing up for his address despite weather-induced bus cancellations. But most of the students did not return the favor.
The school board had announced that the talk at St. Charles College would be cancelled if the weather was poor, so Trudeau was not expected after buses were cancelled Friday morning. But the school board says he made an “impromptu” visit and then agreed to offer his talk in the amphitheatre.
The school says they had originally expected around 1,000 students, but in the end there were only about 100 attendees, including staff.
Despite the weather, local Catholics showed up early Friday morning to protest, but left after the school principal and other staff members told them the event was cancelled.
“God is good. He spared 900 Catholic youth from being potentially influenced by Justin’s immoral views in support of abortion and homosexual marriage,” said Kevin Murphy, a Catholic ratepayer and one of the protesters who stood outside the board office and St. Charles College for four days.
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Suresh Dominic, a spokesperson for Campaign Life Catholics, a division of Campaign Life Coalition, who helped organize the protests, added, “We continue to disapprove of the board’s decision to allow Justin to speak at the school, but we are thankful for the weather that limited Justin’s exposure to only 100 people.”
Despite pro-life opposition, the event went ahead on the urging of Bishop Jean-Louis Plouffe who said it was “important” and would inspire students.
Trudeau “is not estranged from the Church in any way,” he told the school board in a statement, adding that “in many ways he can be a source of inspiration to the youth.”
But Teresa Pierre, president of Parents as First Educators, said in a press release that the bishop’s stance is inexplicable.
“How can we tell our children that they must obey the church’s teachings on marriage and the family when the church itself lionizes and brings into its schools people such as Justin Trudeau who publicly criticize those teachings?” she asked.
Pierre noted that Pope Benedict XVI has insisted politicians who support the “alleged right to abortion” should be denied Communion, and that the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has a policy forbidding Catholic institutions to grant these politicians a platform.
“The Canadian hierarchy is bound by the teachings of the Catechism of the Catholic Church (s. 2287) not to give scandal to the faithful,” she said. “For the bishops not to insist - as the U.S. church has done - that pro-choice politicians not be supported by church institutions and organizations has disheartened and scandalized residents of Sudbury and the wider church in Ontario.”
LifeSiteNews.com has been unable to get comment on the Trudeau event from the Sudbury Catholic District School Board after numerous attempts. School board chair Barry MacDonald told LifeSiteNews on Tuesday he was “not interested” in speaking to LifeSiteNews.
They have claimed there was no risk of scandal to the teens, because Trudeau would be focusing his remarks on youth leadership and so would not address points on which he opposes Church teaching.
But Murphy says “that’s ludicrous.” “There’s widespread public knowledge of Justin’s opposition to these Catholic teachings, so giving him a platform, regardless of the topic, can be interpreted by kids to mean that the Board is supportive of all that Justin stands for,” he explained.
Trudeau threw his hat into the federal Liberal leadership race in October and immediately assumed the role of presumed frontrunner. Five other candidates have officially registered so far. The leader will be picked April 14th.
The 40-year-old son of former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau has focused much of his campaign rhetoric on the need to engage youth. For years, he has built up a coalition of youth as a frequent speaker at schools, including Catholic schools across Ontario.
The Montreal MP complained to media in 2011 after Tory MP Dean Del Mastro questioned why he was so frequently invited to Catholic schools even though he openly opposes the Church’s teachings.
Trudeau said he was “surprisingly upset” that someone would accuse him of being a “bad Catholic.” “My own personal faith is an extremely important part of who I am and the values that I try to lead with,” he told the Canadian press at the time.
However, he admitted in 2009 that while he is a Catholic, he holds “political positions on gay marriage and on abortion that don’t at all resemble those of the Catholic Church.”
Earlier this year, Trudeau said he would support Quebec’s separation from Canada if Parliament moved to restrict abortion or same-sex “marriage.”
“I always say, if at a certain point, I believe that Canada was really the Canada of Stephen Harper – that we were going against abortion, and we were going against gay marriage, and we were going backwards in 10,000 different ways – maybe I would think about wanting to make Quebec a country,” he told Radio-Canada in February.
In June, he called the Catholic Church’s opposition to gay-straight alliances “repulsive” in a talk to high school students.