Abortion activist to be given keynote platform at Canadian Catholic university
ANTIGONISH, Nova Scotia, September 20, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – An outspoken abortion advocate and venomous critic of Christianity will give the keynote address at a gala dinner for one of Canada’s oldest Catholic universities.
Coady International Institute at St. Francis Xavier University in Antigonish, Nova Scotia is giving the platform to radical feminist Michele Landsberg, wife of global abortion activist Stephen Lewis, at its 10th anniversary gala dinner on October 16, to be held at The Westin Nova Scotian hotel in Halifax.
Organizers of the gala dinner are hailing Landsberg as a “fearless advocate for women and children” and “one of Canada’s best known feminists and social justice activists.”
The Bishop of Antigonish, Brian Dunn, told LifeSiteNews that while St. Francis Xavier was founded by the Diocese 160 years ago, it has formally distanced itself from the Church for the last ten years.
Landsberg, as a columnist for the Toronto Star for 25 years, regularly wrote caustic pieces attacking the pro-life movement, advocating for abortion rights, attacking Christianity, and promoting the normalization of homosexuality.
In one 1999 vitriolic column Landsberg denigrated members of the Catholic pro-life group Human Life International as "purveyors of hate and violence" and "true fascists."
Landsberg decried the "single-minded moral supremacism" of those who call abortion “murder” in a 1998 column. “Will no priest or minister publicly resolve to stop the indoctrination of youth to view abortion as murder,” she wrote at that time. “Will none of them repent of their excesses, will none call a halt to their sickeningly manipulative campaigns of ‘precious little feet,’ their fake ‘documentaries’ about screaming fetuses?”
In a 2002 column Landsberg strongly supported the anti-Catholic group Catholics for a Free Choice for peddling condoms to young people at Toronto World Youth Day.
Landsberg’s books do the two-step with her columns.
Click "like" if you are PRO-LIFE!
In her 1985 book “Women & children first: a provocative look at modern Canadian women at work and at home,” Landsberg wrote that at age twelve she “began to write rambling ‘essays’ defending free love, railing against marriage and babies, and dissecting male bias.”
On the killing of children in a mother’s womb she wrote that while she respects the person “who chooses never to have an abortion”, it is an “affront to human freedom and good sense” for “religious fanatics and arrogant male supremacists to assume the right to rule our bodies and our lives”.
At one point Landsberg wrote: “Now it is time, not for affirmative action for women, but for the de-privileging of men.”
At an event last January commemorating the 25th anniversary of the striking down of Canada's abortion law, Landsberg equated the act of killing a baby through abortion to masturbation. She called Canada’s arch abortionist Henry Morgentaler an “important hero of mine.”
The Coady Institute at St. Francis Xavier University is named after Rev. Dr. Moses Coady, who helped fight the poverty afflicting farmers, fishers, miners and other disadvantaged groups in Eastern Canada in the 1920s. Dr. Coady endorsed six principles that became the foundation for what is known as the Antigonish Movement. The last principle states that the “ultimate objective of the movement is a full and abundant life for everyone in the community."
LifeSiteNews.com asked Dr. John Gaventa, director of the Coady Institute, if he thought Dr. Coady himself would support the Institute's choice of Landsberg as keynote speaker. Replying on behalf of Gaventa by email, Coady’s Media and Communications Director Richard Perry wrote: “We do not screen our guest speakers based on their personal opinions on other issues not related to our educational mandate.”
Perry called Landsberg’s invitation “very relevant to us” since “women's leadership” is a “central theme within our educational programming” that helps “empower women here in Canada and abroad”.
Bishop Dunn told LifeSiteNews that for the last ten years or so, St. Francis Xavier has “described itself as a university with a Catholic heritage and a Catholic character,” and so “it is not a Catholic university in any sense and it is not bound by Ex corde ecclesiae.”
The bishop is listed as chancellor on the university’s website and offered a benediction at the 2013 spring convocation. He told LifeSiteNews, however, “The bishop’s role with the university used to be chancellor, but there is a transition in this.”
“We are continuing to work on the Catholic character of the university. As a result my influence on decisions at the university is minimal,” he said. “Furthermore, The Coady International Institute has some connection with St FX, but in reality it is a separate entity. Thus, this annual fund raising event, namely, Coady Celebrates, is something organized by the Coady with even less input from me.”
The Bishop said that in his Diocese there are “groups who bear witness to and continue to support a culture of life through actions and words.”
“With Pope Francis, I believe our Church needs to continue to be a church that welcomes, not one that condemns, a Church that welcomes and receives by keeping the doors open, a church that finds new roads, that is able to step outside itself and go to those who do not attend Mass, to those who have quit or are indifferent,” he said. “Since God accompanies persons, we must accompany them, starting from their situation. It is necessary to accompany them with mercy.”
“Coady Celebrates” organizers promise a “unique event” that will attract around 500 guests from business, government and social sectors.