HAMILTON, Ontario, October 30, 2006 ( -Â The Hamilton diocese has refused to fund an ecumenical conference featuring peace activist James Loney, who has been a vocal critic of the Catholic Church’s teaching against homosexual activity.

“We have a general policy that we don’t sponsor events where a person has publicly disagreed with key teachings of our Catholic faith,” said Most Rev. Gerard Bergie, auxiliary bishop of the Hamilton diocese.

“Mr. Loney has publicly disagreed with the church’s teaching with regard to homosexuality.”

James Loney became a public figure during the time he was held as an Iraqi hostage last year. He revealed his homosexuality during the publicity furor accompanying his eventual safe return from Iraq last spring.

Further media coverage followed his subsequent accusations of sexual discrimination against the Catholic Knights of Columbus—Loney accused the Knights of closing down a youth camp he had worked at because of his revelation of homosexuality. The Knights denied the accusations.

Although claiming to be a Roman Catholic, Loney expressed a profound dislike of Church-related activities such as prayer and Sunday Mass, in an article entitled “Confessions of a Spiritual Couch Potato” written in 2005.

“I avoid prayer like the plague—the kind where you stop, sit or kneel, do nothing but be, even if for only ten minutes. It’s agony-in-the-garden every time; the easiest thing is to let the cup pass. The thought of fasting nauseates me, and as for Sunday mass—that weekly spiritual reboot and virus check—well, let’s just say I’ve accumulated a significant inventory of mortal sins.”

The Hamilton diocese has contributed about $500 per year to the annual Challenge For Change conference, organized by interdenominational groups. Loney’s work with the Christian Peacemaker Teams led to his billing as the speaker for this years’ conference, The Price of Peace.

Bishop Bergie said Loney’s work as a peace advocate is not in dispute, “but the question is whether we’re going to be a co-sponsor of an event with regard to someone who has publicly criticized the church.”

To contact the Hamilton diocese:

700 King Street W. Hamilton, ON.,
  L8P 1C7
  [905] 528-7988
  [905] 528-1088 (fax)

[email protected]Â

See previous LifeSiteNews coverage:
  Former Iraq Hostage Accuses Catholic Knights of Homosexual Discrimination