CALGARY, March 31, 2005 ( – Even in the face of two human rights complaints, Calgary Bishop Fred Henry is refusing to back down over his pastoral and public statements on same-sex marriage, in which he faithfully presented the Catholic Church’s teaching on homosexuality.

“Since homosexuality, adultery, prostitution and pornography undermine the foundations of the family, the basis of society, then the State must use its coercive power to proscribe or curtail them in the interests of the common good,” Bishop Henry said in a letter addressed to Catholics in his diocese in January. (see coverage)

In addition to the two separate human rights complaints by Calgarians Carol Johnson and Norman Greenfield were launched, Bishop Henry noted that his teachings have spurned a slew of angry letters and even death threats. He said that the death threats were reported to police, “I told them ‘in case something happens to me, you might want to look at these sources.’”

Speaking at a press conference Wednesday, Bishop Henry said firmly he would not back down from his teachings. “I stand by the letter, I wouldn’t change one comma, one iota of that letter.” He added, “It’s not going to change me – my job is to be bishop, a pastor, a teacher … church teachings are very clear on orientation with respect to sexuality – none of that can change.”

Bishop Henry said he was disappointed the Human Rights Commission had agreed to entertain the complaints at all, rather than simply dismiss them out of hand. “I assumed that the one who fields this would have looked at this and said this doesn’t stand,” Bishop Henry stated. “We cannot give credence to this.”

The bishop presented to the media a meticulous legal defense saying, “Freedom of religion and freedom of speech are foundational, and if we’re to have an honest debate in society, all the voices have to be heard, including that of the churches. I think I’m owed an apology for putting me through this rigmarole of harassment and intimidation and attempt to silence me.”

See previous coverage:

Human Rights Complaint Filed Against Catholic Bishop for Defence of Traditional Marriage



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