Editorial by John-Henry Westen

TORONTO, October 1, 2009 ( – On Saturday, September 25, Monsignor Mario Paquette, the General Secretary of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, informed that our offer of dialogue with the bishops of Canada at their upcoming October 19-23 Plenary meeting was declined. (LSN) responded to the request for dialogue contained in a June 29 report from the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops. Bishops Martin Currie and François Lapierre, co-authors of the report, stated: “We make an urgent appeal to the leadership of Lifesite News that it establish an open and fruitful dialogue …We also hope there will be a means for frank and transparent dialogue between Lifesite and the Bishops of Canada.”

On July 22 LSN offered “to make a brief 15-minute presentation and be available to answer questions for as long as the Bishops wish, at the Plenary Assembly of the Bishops in Cornwall this October.” 

LSN co-founders Steve Jalsevac and I informed the Bishops that we gratefully accepted the offer of dialogue. “As from the beginning of this matter, policy is to remain open and eager for dialogue with the bishops of Canada.  We hope and pray to be able to assist in any way to facilitate an informed and just conclusion to the very serious issues at stake in this matter regarding Development and Peace,” we wrote.

In his email of September 27, Msgr. Paquette wrote: “I wish to inform you that the Executive Committee of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, at its meeting of 8-9 September, decided that the October 2009 Plenary is not a useful forum for a dialogue to be undertaken with representatives of LifeSite.”

The email continued: “The reasons for this are not only that the Plenary agenda is already set, … but also because the Executive wishes to continue its consultations with the other Bishops about whether it would be opportune for a structured approach to a dialogue with LifeSite and, if so, what might be a suitable mechanism.”

Msgr. Paquette suggested that more information on the matter may be available after the Bishops Conference Executive meets in December.
Two persons who will be addressing the conference have caused considerable controversy in recent weeks.  Salt and Light CEO Fr. Thomas Rosica  is to address the bishops, as is Richard Gaillardetz, a theologian who saw US President Barack Obama as the “pro-life candidate” in last year's presidential election.