LONDON, February 21, 2005 ( – “The church’s teaching on homosexualityâEUR¦seems to us out of touch with growing scientific evidence on the nature of homosexuality itself.””âEUR¦Same-sex, loving and committed relationships and the sexual expression thereof can be holy and may even be sacramental.” A reader might be forgiven for assuming that the above quotes come from a leader of a homosexual activist group lobbying Parliament to legalize same sex ‘marriage.’ It might be considered unusual however, coming from a Catholic publication, but the authors of the quoted editorial claim to be running a Catholic newspaper, the Catholic New Times (CNT), which is published in Toronto.

CNT’s casual but persistent decades long dissent from Catholic teaching on major issues such as abortion, same sex ‘marriage’ and a female priesthood, is not news, but it is a source of constant scandal to many laity and faithful clergy. One such is Debbie Morlani, a parishioner and catechist at St. Peter’s Cathedral Basilica in London Ontario.

Mrs. Morlani, involved in youth and young adult ministry and in teaching potential adult converts, told that some younger people had approached her with doubts about their conversion after finding CNT in the back of their churches. “They see this anti-Catholic stuff; they don’t know it doesn’t represent the faith, and they start to wonder if they want to join a Church that says these things.”

Morlani said she was shocked to discover that nine out of thirteen parishes she contacted carried the leftist “social justice” paper. CNT, despite its long history of serious dissent, is in fact a staple publication in numerous Catholic parishes across Canada.

Morlani sent letters to the diocese regarding the pervasive presence of CNT in London’s parishes but received no response. Later she personally approached Ronald Fabbro, the bishop of London and a specialist in moral theology. She says, “He brushed me off, saying it was not his job to stop it, that people had to learn to discern the truth for themselves and that it would attract too much attention if he tried to intervene.” Given Bishop Fabbro’s activity in the fight against same-sex ‘marriage,’ it seems inexplicable that, as the bishop of the diocese, he would do nothing to curtail a magazine carrying the name “Catholic” that so blatantly opposes Church teaching. “He admitted it was ‘garbage,'” Morlani said. “But he said he wouldn’t do anything to stop it.” Morlani speculated that one reason CNT enjoys so much toleration in Catholic dioceses could be the paper’s habit of attacking in editorials any parish or diocese that has the temerity to cancel subscriptions. “Maybe that is what he meant by ‘attracting too much attention,'” she said. The natural question many Catholics have been asking is, “why has the New Times been allowed to get away with this for so many years?” One parish priest of the neighbouring St. Catherine’s diocese, when asked by if he would carry CNT in his parish said, “Absolutely not.” Fr. Paul MacDonald, pastor of St. Vincent de Paul parish in Niagara-on-the-Lake, said that other Catholic publications often dissent from Catholic teaching, but that CNT is different. “It is programmatically dissenting. It’s purpose is to undermine and cast aspersions on Catholic doctrines,” said Fr. MacDonald. Fr. MacDonald went on, “I can’t answer for the bishops, but as a pastor, whatever I put in the back of the church, or even allow to stay there, is in effect endorsed by me. There’s such a thing as truth in advertising. If the sign on the door says ‘Catholic Church’ people should be able to trust that they will find the Catholic faith within.” attempted to contact Bishop Fabbro and received the response from Ron Pickersgill, the diocesan media spokesman, that the diocese only officially endorses its own diocesan newspaper. “The Diocese of London, like most other dioceses, does not dictate to parishes what publications they may make available at the back of the church. The Diocese’s practice is to leave such decisions to its pastors and pastoral teams,” he said. spoke with Msgr. Vincent Foy, the respected canon lawyer, who said that it is indeed the bishop’s job to ensure that the publications available in a parish are not hostile to Catholic teaching.

Msgr. Foy wrote, in a letter that will appear in the April edition of the magazine, Catholic Insight, that “myriads” of documents, including the Code of Canon Law and the documents of the Second Vatican Council insist on bishops’ responsibility for the orthodoxy of publications in churches. “Even parents are warned of their obligation to see that no publications which jeopardise faith or good morals are permitted ‘to cross the threshold of their home.’ What of the obligation of parish priests and bishops?” he said.

Contact Bishop Fabbro: [email protected] 1070 Waterloo Street, London, Ontario N6A 3Y2 Telephone: (519) 433-0658 Fax: (519) 433-0011

Read Catholic New Times pro-gay marriage editorial: Read Bishop Fabbro’s letter asking Catholics to lobby against same sex unions: hw