January 20, 2020 update: Unplanned filmmakers made a statement to LifeSiteNews in which they criticize the 44 professors for needing to be told that “fetal dismemberment is intrinsically evil.” The full comment has now been included in this report.
LONDON, Ontario, January 17, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – Forty-four faculty members from a Catholic university in Canada have demanded the school apologize for allowing campus ministry to show the wildly successful pro-life film “Unplanned.”
“Unplanned” is a movie about the life of former Texas Planned Parenthood center manager Abby Johnson and recounts how she quit her job in 2009 after having a conversion and renouncing abortion. Its debut across Canada, as well as the United States and worldwide, was met with protests, including two Canadian cinema owners receiving death threats, as reported by LifeSiteNews here.
The film was screened at King’s University College on January 9.
The demand for an apology came in a letter from faculty members this past Wednesday and was addressed to college Principal David Malloy. It described what the faculty called the “furor and fear” expressed by the school community over the fact that the pro-life film was screened on campus.
“The public endorsement of an anti-abortion stance at King's University College by the Director of Campus Ministry is of great concern to the viability of our institution as we work to recruit and maintain excellent students, staff and faculty,” the letter stated.
In response, Malloy said the school “does not have any official position on abortion,” despite the fact that it claims to be a Catholic institution.
In his statement, Malloy makes clear that King’s official position (but not that of its campus ministry) is indifferent and, ultimately, not full supportive of the pro-life cause.
“The presentation of the film and the belief of life beginning at conception is the stance of Campus Ministry and not of King’s as a whole. King’s employees, faculty and students do not need to prescribe to the tenets of the Catholic Church. King’s does not have a position on abortion,” said Malloy in his statement. Read in full here.
Unplanned filmmakers Cary Solomon and Chuck Konzelman told LifeSiteNews that only one apology is necessary.
“The professors of Kings University College have asked for an apology, and here is one from the filmmakers. We are sorry that it has to be explained to the professors of a Catholic University that fetal dismemberment is intrinsically evil. We sincerely hope that among the professors calling for the apology, there are none from the theology or philosophy departments,” they said.
LifeSiteNews reached out to Diocese of London Bishop Ronald P. Fabbro but had not received a response. LifeSiteNews inquired why a Catholic post-secondary institution associated with the diocese is not pro-life and does not follow Church teaching about the grave evil of abortion.
Despite not receiving a response from the Diocese of London, LifeSiteNews did receive an email comment from Fr. Michael Bechard, pastor and chaplain for King’s University Campus Ministry.
“Campus Ministry, supports without reservation, the sanctity of life from conception until natural death,” he said. “The movie screening last week was part of the Veritas Series for Faith and Culture and was attended by students, staff and members of the broader community. Following the film, we had a challenging but necessary conversation where individuals with varying points of view were allowed the opportunity to express their thoughts on the movie and on the complex realities surrounding abortion. I am grateful to work in an institution that supports the Catholic intellectual tradition and the need to have critical conversations about uncomfortable truths.”
The faculty members in their letter also demanded an apology from Fr. Bechard, stating he used his influence to promote the screening of “Unplanned” at the school.
King’s has a history dating to 1954 and bills itself as “a Catholic, liberal arts university college.” It is listed on the Diocese of London’s website under the Catholic Colleges & Universities tab. Recently, its Veritas Series for Faith and Culture hosted pro-LGBT Jesuit Fr. James Martin, who presented “Showing Respect and Welcome to LGBT People in the Church.”
Most Rev. Ronald P. Fabbro, C.S.B.
Diocese of London
1070 Waterloo Street
London, Ontario, N6A 3Y2
Online contact here
Dr. David C. Malloy
Principal – King's University College
at Western University Canada
266 Epworth Avenue
London Ontario, Canada N6A 2M3
Email: [email protected]