John Westen

Same-sex “marriage” advocate Gregory Baum lauded by Canadian Catholic media

John Westen
John Westen
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TORONTO, 22 October, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Liberal Catholic press-people have recently touted a man some call Canada’s leading dissenter since the 1960s - former Catholic priest Gregory Baum - because of his role as an expert, or peritus, to the Canadian bishops at Vatican II.  Baum, an advocate of homosexual ‘marriage’ and sex outside of marriage and contraception, was lauded by Fr. Thomas Rosica of Salt and Light TV, Michael Swan of the Catholic Register and also given free reign in the pages of the Scarboro Foreign Missions magazine.

Had he merely publicly rejected Catholicism, Baum would not have been as grave a danger to the Church and especially its moral teachings.

Despite the automatic excommunication he incurred for marrying an ex-nun while still a priest, Baum continued to speak lovingly of Jesus and the Gospels as he repudiated many of the principles of faith and morals revealed by Christ and in Sacred Scripture.  One of the tools of repudiation was the dissenting Catholic New Times newspaper co-founded by Baum and other dissenters in 1976 and eventually prohibited from one diocese after another.

Such two-facedness led one of Baum’s contemporaries, canon lawyer Monsignor Vincent Foy, to consider Baum as having “done more than any person to harm the Church in Canada…” In an article sent into LifeSiteNews late last week, Foy recalls other concerning aspects of Baum’s history and even makes claims about “His Marxist background and activities”.

On his regular “Witness” program on Salt and Light TV, Fr. Rosica begins the October 7 interview by lauding Baum. “Professor Gregory Baum, it’s a great joy for us to have you on set with us for Witness on Salt and Light Television,” says Rosica.  (See trancript of entire interview here)

Although Fr. Rosica notes, “Gregory we’ve known each other for a long time…,” the Salt and Light CEO fails to mention Baum’s decades-long dissent from the teachings of the Church.  Fr. Rosica astonishingly goes on to state, “I’ve certainly admired very much your theology, your writings but also your love of the Church, your love of Christ, and you helped to keep alive not only the spirit of the Second Vatican council, but also the authentic teaching of the Council … you remain a faithful, deeply devoted Catholic, love Jesus, the Church, the Eucharist.”

During the interview, Fr. Rosica also sets up a dichotomy between what he calls those like Baum, who in his terms engage in “great theological search”, and those he calls “crusaders of orthodoxy.”

Fr. Rosica sees in those orthodox, the “pseudo-orthodoxy” who “are among the most unhappy and sad and angry that I’ve ever met.” In contrast he concludes the intimate television interview, saying to Baum, “Gregory, I want to thank you, You have been for me and continue to be a real model of hope - Gaudium et Spes - joy and hope.”

In his October 7 column in the Catholic Register, associate editor Michael Swan turns uncritically to Baum for comment on Vatican Council II, without ever noting his dissent, in two separate articles, The Church’s past weaved into the future and Canadian influence unmistakable at Vatican II.

Swan’s failure however is mitigated in the Register by a column by Fr. Raymond de Souza, wherein it is noted that Baum is a dissenter. Fr. de Souza’s corrective reads:

The presence of Gregory Baum, the former priest who at one time had a rewarding career proposing that the Church was wrong on just about every issue in which her teaching clashed with secular culture, set off alarm bells for those easily alarmed. He too was a peritus at the council. But at nearly 90 years old, Baum is a lion no longer. More than a theological force, he is now of principal interest as a relic of a time when the future of the Church was going to be an abrupt break with her past. Baum and his companions thought that Vatican II meant a new Church, adapted to the times and taking its lead from the ambient culture. The idea that the ambient culture of the late 1960s and 1970s was a special repository of wisdom was just one fatal flaw in that scheme.

The danger in touting Baum uncritically can be seen when he was given free reign in the Jan - Feb, 2012 edition of Scarboro Foreign Missions magazine. In the article he criticizes the Catholic Church for its failure in the kind of ‘dialogue’ he believes it should have - namely one that encourages the dissenting positions he embraces. Baum wrote:

In 1968 Paul VI published the encyclical Humanae Vitae condemning all forms of artificial birth control without an antecedent dialogue with the bishops and their people. In subsequent years, the Vatican controlled the world synod of bishops: its agenda and its final report were produced by the Roman Curia. Soon the bishops’ conferences were deprived of their teaching authority, and diocesan bishops were told to control the diocesan synod, determine their agenda and demand that people obey the present Vatican teaching. In the 1990s Catholics holding a position in the Church’s organization, including bishops, had to take an oath of fidelity to papal teaching, abolishing dialogue on this high level. The sad consequence of this opposition to dialogue has been the loss of the Church’s authority. Empirical research has shown that most church-going Catholics do not follow the papal teaching on sexual ethics. While Catholics have great respect for their hierarchical superiors, they do not necessarily follow their teaching.

Baum goes on to express his “great disappointment.”  In conclusion he presents his vision of the Church void of her moral teachings as the hope for the future - a future he says was wanted by Jesus Himself. “Faith in the Gospel continues to produce vital movements in the Church, groups of Catholics committed to social justice, protecting the environment, practicing meditation, developing theological insights, working for peace, serving the weak and the sick, supporting community development - and in doing so, welcoming God’s kingdom coming into the world,” says Baum.

However, as LifeSiteNews Canadian Bureau Chief Patrick Craine notes in his opinion piece today, “The truth is that all of the Church’s work in the social sphere is rooted in her moral outlook.”

Craine concludes: “The division facing the Church … is not “pro-life” vs. “social justice,” or unborn rights vs. the dignity of the poor. It’s a division between those Catholics who embrace the Magisterium and those who do not, between those who would have the world conform to Christ and those who would have Christ conform to the world, between those who would cling to the Cross amidst the blistering storm of the age and those who prefer to go along for the ride.”


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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.”

Click "like" if you want to defend true marriage.

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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