By John-Henry Westen
WINNIPEG, October 29, 2007 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A Catholic conference on social justice which took place last weekend was missing one of its featured speakers thanks to the work of Catholic pro-life activists and LifeSiteNews.com readers. The Social Justice Conference of the Archdiocese of Winnipeg took place over the weekend minus a man who gained fame by being taken hostage in Iraq and has used that fame to promote homosexuality, while professing to be Catholic.
Maria Slykerman, the President of Campaign Life Coalition Manitoba, had contacted Winnipeg Archbishop James Weisgerber over scheduled speakers James Loney, the homosexual activist and NDP MP Bill Blaikie an abortion advocate.
Many readers responded to a LifeSiteNews.com article which noted the controversy by contacting the Archdiocese with their concerns. (see coverage: https://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2007/oct/07101609.html )
Late last week Loney told the press that Archbishop Weisgerber called him to tell him not to attend the conference. The Archdiocese released a statement on the matter saying: “Since the invitation to speak was issued, the Archdiocese has become aware of Mr. Loney’s public opposition to the Church’s teaching on sexual morality. Once the Archdiocese became aware of the public dissent, the Archbishop had no choice but to ask him not to speak at the conference. Mr. Loney has not been excluded from speaking because of his personal life, which is a private matter.”
In comments to the CBC the Archbishop acknowledged receiving multiple complaints about Mr. Loney. “He’s being excluded because he takes public opposition to an important teaching of the Church,” said the Archbishop. “I keep hearing more and more objections, and I began to do some research and I realized that he has taken very public and very clear opposition to the Church’s teachings in this area.”
Mr. Blaikie however did not have his invitation to speak at the Catholic conference rescinded.
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has a policy, approved by the Vatican, which bans giving supporters of abortion and same-sex ‘marriage’ pedestals at Catholic events. “The Catholic community and Catholic institutions should not honor those who act in defiance of our fundamental moral principles,” it says. Adding, “They should not be given awards, honors or platforms which would suggest support for their actions.” (see coverage: https://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2004/jun/04062102.html )
Since his decision to cancel Mr. Loney, the Archbishop has been under intense media pressure. Mrs. Slykerman told LifeSiteNews.com she is contacting the Archbishop to thank him for avoiding scandal by cancelling Mr. Loney and to encourage him to take similar actions in the future for all speakers who would cause scandal.
To contact the Archbishop of Winnipeg, Most Rev. V. James Weisgerber Email –