SAN FRANCISCO, April 23, 2004 ( – Reginald Bibby, Canada’s leading observer of religious trends, has found in a recent study that acceptance of homosexuality in Canada runs parallel to the general abandonment of religious practice. The decline in the number of faithful Catholics has especially contributed to the growing acceptance of homosexuality.

Bob Harvey of CanWest News Service reported in the April 17 Calgary Herald that The University of Lethbridge sociologist Bibby was to present a paper today to the Pacific Sociological Association in San Francisco that finds a link to lack of religious education and awareness and sympathy with the homosexual agenda. Bibby points out that although a mere 25% of the US population is Catholic compared to Canada’s nearly 50%, the opposition to the gay movement against the traditional family is much stronger in the US than here.

It would seem logical that with such an overwhelmingly Catholic population the opposition to those acts which the Catholic religion identifies as “gravely disordered” would be proportionately stronger. However, Bibby says that, while those Catholics and evangelicals who regularly attend church in the U.S. and Canada hold similar opinions, the number of Canada’s highly committed Catholics is shrinking, particularly in traditionally Catholic Quebec. Managing Director Steve Jalsevac, responding to Bibby’s findings, notes that Msgr. Vincent Foy, a Catholic theologian, predicted in 1968 that the permissive attitude of the Canadian hierarchy towards Catholic sexual teachings would undermine the very idea of morality in sexual matters among Catholics. In 1968, the Canadian bishops issued a response to the then highly controversial document upholding the traditional teaching on birth control, the Papal encyclical, Humanae Vitae. In it, the bishops famously wrote that “whoever honestly chooses that course which seems right to him does so in good conscience.”

In 1968 Foy predicted, “âEUR¦to permit such dissent will in the end produce more defecting priests, laity to support them, contempt for the Church, contempt for authority, situation ethics, proud subjectivism and a marxist-like existentialism.” Since 1968, says Jalsevac, most, if not all, of these predictions of Catholic behaviour are seen by many observers to have come true and orthodox Catholic spokespersons have for years persistently pointed to the Winnipeg Statement as a main source of the decline of belief and morality among Canadian Catholics.

In a recent article in Catholic Insight magazine, Msgr. Foy confirms, “largely as a result of the Winnipeg permissiveness, Canadian theologians and others have felt free to dissent from the Church’s teaching not only on contraception but on a wide spectrum of magisterial teachings, e.g. on homosexuality, the ordination of women, on the fundamental option, even on abortion.”

Jalsevac says orthodox Catholic historians and commentators emphasize that the bishops’ statement was taken in the press at the time and by many Catholics as a carte blanche permission to accept the modern trend toward liberalization of morality. Now, says Bibby, by 2000, only 32 per cent of Canadians said same-sex relations were always wrong, as compared to 59 per cent of Americans.

In August of 2003, Thunder Bay priest Fr. Scott Gale was in the news over his public opposition to the Church’s teaching on homosexual unions. In an interview with Fr. Gale, using classic Winnipeg Statement thinking, spoke of the “primacy of conscience” to defend his actions. Fr. Gale’s superior, Bishop Fred Colli, did not discipline Gale and also used Winnipeg Statement theology when he told local media, “He (Fr. Gale) wasn’t out to malign the church but wanted people to make a decision based on a well-informed conscience and that’s what the church expects everyone to do”.

Current Prime Minister Paul Martin, who has also been supportive of the gay activist agenda, and is touted as a ‘devout’ Catholic, used the Canadian theological aberration in a response to a question about the gay “marriage” issue. Martin justified the morality of his position by stating in September 2003, “This is an issue that I’ve had to wrestle with and I must say this has not been an easy decision”.

See Msgr. Vincent Foy’s 1988 detailed article “Tragedy at Winnipeg”.

See Msgr. Vincent Foy’s October 2003 article “Fifty Reasons Why the Winnipeg Statement Should be Recalled”.