WATERLOO, Ontario, January 20, 2011 ( – An Ontario Catholic college in the Diocese of Hamilton is set to host a talk Friday by two controversial men who are known for opposing the official teachings of their Church on issues such as contraception and homosexuality.

Gregory Baum and Bishop Remi De Roo will speak at St. Jerome’s University on “The Promises of Vatican II.”  Baum, a former priest, attended the council as a ‘peritus,’ or theological expert, and Bishop De Roo is one of the few surviving ‘Council Fathers.’

Baum has long opposed the Catholic Church on issues such as contraception, homosexuality and priestly celibacy.  He helped rally opposition to Pope Paul VI’s encyclical Humanae Vitae, which reiterated the Church’s condemnation of contraception.

He was a prominent activist for same-sex “marriage,” and was co-founder of the liberal Catholic New Times, which sought to undermine Catholic teaching from its inception in 1976. He has also long disparaged priestly celibacy, and, in fact, himself married a divorced former nun without having sought laicization, or permission to cease acting as a priest. 

Bishop De Roo, on the other hand, has been a featured guest at conferences run by the group Call to Action, which seeks to alter Church teaching on a range of issues, such as the male priesthood, priestly celibacy, contraception, and homosexuality.  He is a trained ‘Enneagram’ teacher, which a section of the Vatican, the Pontifical Councils for Culture and Interreligious Dialogue, in a joint document, named as an example of the modern gnostic New Age movement.

In 1999, reports Catholic World News, he was ordered by the Vatican to cancel a speaking engagement at a conference for the International Federation of Married Catholic Priests.

An announcement for the upcoming event describes the Second Vatican Council as a “‘bringing up to date’ of the church,” which “gave life to the church’s new teachings on ecumenism, human rights, and the work of the church in the modern world.”

Noting that the Council has “often met opposition”, it says the two speakers will “reflect on the legacy and the unfinished agenda of the Second Vatican Council.”

John Paul Meenan, Professor of Theology at Ontario’s Our Lady Seat of Wisdom Academy who opposes the views of Baum and De Roo, said that he believes “the real ‘unfinished agenda’ of us as Catholics should be to read and apply the [Council’s] documents in the light of the beautiful and indefectible faith and tradition of the Catholic Church.”

While the Council did indeed aim at an “updating,” he said, “some, unrealistically, hoped this would lead to a change in perennial Church doctrine.”

“One will look in vain in the documents of Vatican II for anything new or radical: The teachings are all in accord with the Church’s Tradition,” he explained.  “The aim of Vatican II, as Benedict XVI stated in his recent interview Light of the World, was to translate what the Church has always taught into the language of the modern world.”

At a similar event the two gave in 2009 at St. Paul’s University, Baum accused the Vatican and “conservative” Catholics of undermining the implementation of Vatican II.  “A conservative movement, sponsored by the Vatican itself, remains attached to the old paradigm, overlooks the bold texts of the conciliar documents and tries to restore the Catholicism of yesterday,” he said, according to the Catholic Register. “Vatican II may suffer neglect for a certain time, but as an ecumenical council it cannot be invalidated.”

At the same event, Bishop De Roo accused Rome of centralizing and “playing down” national churches and bishops’ conferences, and said that the Vatican has many who are “prisoners of the Enlightenment,” overemphasizing the mind to the exclusion of the heart and body.

He encouraged, further, more contributions from female theologians, saying that the Church needs to get “outside of patriarchal boxes.”

St. Jerome’s University is not unfamiliar with criticism for hosting Catholics who disagree with their Church on key issues.  For example, in 2002, they hosted a keynote on faith and public life by pro-abortion former Prime Minister Joe Clark.  In 2003, they honoured posthumously Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, the father of legalized abortion in Canada, hosting a keynote by pro-abortion former Prime Minister John Turner. did not hear back from St. Jerome’s or the Diocese of Hamilton by press time.

Contact Information:

Most Rev. Douglas Crosby, O.M.I.
Bishop of Hamilton
700 King Street West
Hamilton, ON L8P 1C7
Tel: (905) 528-7988
Fax: (905) 528-1088
E-mail: [email protected]