LONDON, Ontario, February 10, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Canada’s largest Catholic newspaper has criticized an Ontario Catholic educational foundation’s “significant misstep” in hosting abortion proponent Stephen Lewis for a fundraiser dinner next week, despite major opposition from Catholics and a rebuke from the local bishop.
“Of course Lewis is an unsuitable headliner for a Catholic event,” wrote the Catholic Register in a February 9th editorial. “His anti-Church approach makes him ill-suited for a Catholic pedestal. That seems obvious. Yet organizers don’t seem to get it.”
The London-based Monsignor Feeney Foundation for Catholic Schools is hosting Lewis’ talk on February 16th, lauding him as a “celebrated humanitarian” in advertising. The event has sparked coverage in local and national media after a major backlash from Catholics. The foundation has defended their decision, even after a meeting with London Bishop Ronald Fabbro, whose office called the event “imprudent.”
“Basically what we say is that even though he holds those views, the Foundation doesn’t agree with them,” Mary Anne Foster, the foundation’s executive director, told LifeSiteNews January 20th.
“[Lewis] is an expert on Global Health, Poverty, Children and Education, and Christians should be open to learning from him on that level,” reads a statement on their website.
“No one disputes that Lewis is a serious humanitarian, experienced administrator and fine orator,” writes the Catholic Register. “But that’s hardly the point. Not only has Lewis repeatedly ridiculed the Pope and derided Church teaching on the most fundamental questions of life, he has become an international flagbearer of the anti-Church cause.”
“When the media seeks a negative comment on the Pope, they call Lewis confident he won’t disappoint,” they add. “He can no more distance himself from that persona than a zebra can whitewash its stripes and call itself a horse.”
At the Cairo International Conference on Population and Development in 1994, Lewis attacked the Vatican for opposing abortion and contraception, calling its statements “torrents of thinly veiled misogyny.” He’s said that Pope Benedict XVI is “living on the moon” in regards to his opposition to condoms in the fight against HIV/AIDS. The pope’s stance is “sending a message which ultimately kills people,” says Lewis, and presents “another example of complete indifference to the vulnerability of women, who are so hugely and disproportionately affected by HIV/AIDS.”
In 2001, Bishop James Wingle, former Bishop of St. Catharines and then-Bishop of Yarmouth, objected to Lewis giving a keynote address for the Catholic Health Association of Canada. He said the organization “ought not to lend support to people who have positions contrary to Catholic teaching,” and that he would “counsel them to be more sensitive in their picks in the future.”
“It is an on-going concern for the whole Church that in all the things we do that we do not convey ambiguous or confusing messages,” the bishop added.
Most Rev. Ronald Peter Fabbro, C.S.B.
Bishop of London
1070 Waterloo Street
London, ON N6A 3Y2
Tel: (519) 433-0658 #224
Fax: (519) 266-4353
E-mail: [email protected]