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March 18, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) – On March 5, 2011 The National Post published a full-page article regarding the lawsuit by Fr. Raymond Gravel against LifeSiteNews. The article extensively quoted Fr. Gravel, Fr. Thomas Rosica and LifeSiteNews editor John-Henry Westen. Subsequently, on March 8, the Post published in full and without edits a letter from Westen regarding LifeSiteNews concerns about the article and especially the imbalance of having two clergy who are severe critics of LifeSiteNews extensively quoted with only John-Henry Westen, who was constrained by legal requirements, quoted in support of LifeSiteNews.

Many LifeSiteNews readers wrote to the Post with comments about its article, but the Post letters editor made a decision to not publish any of the letters other than John-Henry Westen’s. For this reason LifeSiteNews asked readers to email us copies of the letters they sent to the Post and we would attempt to publish as many as possible.

LifeSiteNews published its own response to certain aspects of the article on March 10.

Following is the first batch of letters received from LifeSiteNews readers that were rejected by the National Post.

Please note that some letters were edited for length and other considerations.

* Disclaimer: The letters published below are the opinions of the individual authors only and do not necessarily represent the views of LifeSiteNews.com.

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LifeSiteNews is no exception

Graeme Hamilton’s March 5th article on Father Raymond Gravel’s suit against LifeSiteNews.com discusses two areas that are always subject to “political correctness”  or censorship: abortion and homosexuality.  Those who engage in the public square and are not on the side of cultural deconstruction, discuss these topics with courage. They can expect negative labeling, invective, generalizations and, increasingly, lawsuits. LifeSiteNews is no exception.

I have been a reader of this on-line news service for many years.  What the readers of LifeSiteNews.com have in common is not religion per se, but a concern for issues which are symptomatic of cultural decline in the West.  Its articles are well argued, presented with charity, and have the support of many readers, including high-profile Catholics, Protestants and Jews in Canada and the U.S.  Yet not one of these, and not one contributor to the service was asked for comment.  Only the editor-in-chief, John-Henry Westen, was contacted to contribute, but he cannot speak freely due to the legal proceedings underway.

Far too one-sided, Mr. Hamilton.

John Harris
College Instructor (ret)
Delta, British Columbia

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Truths blindly ignored

I have read Mr. Graeme Hamilton’s article Two solitudes (NP, Mar.5, 2011) with a resigned amazement at how certain elementary truths and logical conclusions are blindly ignored in our contemporary public discourse. Abortion was condemned by the Church as far back as the 3rd century AD (in the Didache, conservatively dated thus) and this absolute condemnation has never been mollified or made conditional.

Since being pro-choice means to take abortion into account as one of the possible choices, such a stance clearly goes against the Church’s teaching on the subject. If Father Gravel considers abortion allowable at all, how then can he say that he is not pro-abortion? This is the point the LifeSiteNews has been making over and over again. Moreover, Father Gravel’s claim to have his life as a priest made more difficult by the LSN’s exposures is rather weak, considering that his apparent support for abortion in itself puts his priestly status into jeopardy. The Holy See’s previous admonitions have made this quite clear. All in all, I find Father Gravel’s lawsuit without merit and I hope the courts will see it this way, too.

Mariusz Wesolowski
Vancouver, B.C.

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Two Solitudes?

I am fascinated how, all of a sudden within the Catholic Church we find “two solitudes.”  Being part of the Catholic Church, for us, is not a solitude.  I think that the greater solitude is that of father Gravel, who represents descendent Catholics, a rather small group, who do not wish to adhere to the teachings of the church. History shows many who decided to oppose the church but had the integrity and honesty to form their own church.

To us, Father Gravel does not represent the Catholic church.  He represents Father Gravel.  His opinions are often contrary to that of the church. Of course, a win of $500,000, from his law-suit, would go some way in financing the forming of a new church, but not a Catholic church.

It might be of benefit to the National Post and its’ readers, for an open minded and balanced investigative reporter to investigate past public statements made by Mr. Gravel, that have led to the present situation. You might find that his present stance of his statements are not supported by his past public opinions. As Catholics we are just seeking the truth.

Guy and Agnes Lepage
Courtenay, B.C.

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Labels such as extremist

The article (NP, March 5th) from Graeme Hamilton concerning the lawsuit between Lifesite and Fr. Raymond Gravel fell short of the journalistic standards of insight and rigour that I have come to expect from the National Post. The underlying issue is a clash between Christian orthodoxy and an accommodation to the world characteristic of many in the Roman Catholic Church in Canada today. In such a clash, resorting to labels such as extremist is an unhelpful rhetorical tactic and a plea to seek the middle ground sounds a bit like an admonition to beat one’s wife only one day a week. I have read Lifesite articles for several years and can attest that they are models of factual, low-key reporting.  I look forward to seeing a more balanced coverage of the issue in the NP. 

David A. Kahn
Ottawa

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To be anti-abortion in Canada is to be a pariah

I enjoy your publication for its refreshing content, compared to just about any other paper in Canada. I studied journalism at Carleton in the ‘70s, and I’m appalled at how one-sided your coverage of this issue is. I was taught that opinions should be on the editorial page, and news reporting should be objective. It is obvious to me that LifeSiteNews was unable to comment because they have not yet presented their defence in court. I have found them to be courteous, objective, and fair. They take great pains to urge anyone writing on their behalf to refrain from harshness, invective and angry words.

Despite his protestations, it is equally obvious, in my opinion, that Fr Gravel is pro-abortion. To be anti-abortion in Canada is to be a pariah, to be a target of “Human Rights Commissions”, and to be considered anti-women. Consider, however, the stupidity of a country that is giving public money towards eliminating potential citizens, while staring them in the face is the ageing of the population, and, ultimately, extinction.

In the proud tradition of the journalism that I was taught, I do hope you can write an objective and fair story of the favour that LifeSiteNews is trying to do for our country.

Raymond Taylor
Edmonton AB

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“faithful” or “unfaithful”

It is convenient – but confusing – to portray, as this article does, positions pitting “two extremes of Canadian Catholicism against each other”. And equally, to frequently use descriptors such as “liberal”, “conservative”, “ultra-conservative”. They are used, I think, to distract from the real problem: are the activities “faithful” or “unfaithful”, for surely these are the only criteria which merit application to any given issue?

“Canadian Catholicism”, although it may contain some truth, is itself a contradiction. There is one Catholicism and the teaching is presented with simplicity and clarity by the Church’s teaching authority.

Confusion arises because, while the teaching should be known and understood by most (all?) Catholics, it is not. There is the sense that even those in very public positions, don’t read comprehensively. As Pope Benedict recently remarked, ” … documents, which are hardly ever read by anyone.”

I have known those involved in the Pro-life movement and LifeSite, some as personal friends, for many decades. They are knowledgeable, faithful and considerate. Fr. Rosica would do well to soul-search and emulate, rather than unleash his undeserved criticism of “unthinking activism”.

David Hogg
Toronto, ON

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Revealing past comments

The article “Two Solitudes” was unfortunately quite unbalanced. With regards to LifeSiteNews, its reporting is of a very high standard, objective and always charitable. This news service has been invaluable in helping me keep up to date on the events that are shaping our culture and which are often overlooked by the mainstream media. Fr. Gravel and Fr. Rosica are simply upset because their dissent to the teachings of the Catholic Church are being exposed by LifeSiteNews. Unfortunately, dissenters will always characterize outspoken faithful presentations of Catholic teaching as extreme, especially when it is spoken of in relation to their activities. This should come as no surprise to anyone. With regards to who uses the highly-charged, insulting, and uncivil language, one needs to look no further than Fr. Gravel’s and Fr. Rosica’s past comments regarding LifeSiteNews to see who’s guilty on that front.

Andy Pocrnic
Ottawa, Ontari
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LifeSiteNews an invaluable tool

I disagree with Fr. Rosica’s depiction of LifesiteNews. I have found it to be an invaluable tool that keeps me informed of all the dangers of the culture of death in our society. I commend LifesiteNews for their great service to the pro-life movement.

Reverend Louis Di Rocco
Pastor, Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish Marmora, Ontario and Sacred Heart of Mary Parish Madoc, Ontario

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The culture wars

When Lifesitenews is labeled as “fanatical” and “extreme” by those who wear the roman collar, it underscores how disconnected some clerics have become from teachings of their own church.  As a member of parliament, Fr. Gravel has a public record that many Canadians were fascinated to learn about. Lifesitenews covers issues which would not be otherwise see the light of day. Who would know about Fr. Gravel, outside his locality, if it were not for Lifesitenews? Reporting of news worthy issues is what a news service is about.  Canada needs a news service which tackles the ‘culture wars’ in the nation and the churches.  I applaud Lifesitenews.

Bill Murphy
Sault Ste. Marie, Ont

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Claim is untrue

To the Editor,

On March 5, 2011, the National Post published a full page article on the law suit by Fr. Raymond Gravel against LifeSiteNews. There was not one quote from the large number of Catholics and others who appreciate LifeSiteNews. Quoted extensively was a severe critic of LifeSiteNews, Father Thomas Rosica. Father Rosica of Salt and Light, in commenting on LifeSiteNews’ criticism of the Church’s decision to celebrate a funeral Mass for Edward Kennedy, despite the Senator’s record of supporting abortion rights, said the following: “At best, the activity of LifeSite is a form of unthinking activism akin to a shooting gallery … more often they leave a vast trail of collateral damage, character assassination, and destruction of reputations of good people, including Cardinals, Bishops, priests, religious and community leaders.”

As a Catholic physician involved in the protection of the life of the unborn for over forty years, I know this claim to be untrue.

John B. Shea, MD FRCP(C)
Toronto, Ontario

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All too common attitude

Your article covering the lawsuit launched by Fr. Raymond Gravel and Lifesitenews is representative of the all too common attitude concerning Catholicism, namely, that Catholics, simply by holding firmly to defined Church teaching are somehow extreme and that others holding a contrary view may in some way still be considered members in good standing.  While there is room for prudential judgment in such areas as Capital punishment or the legitimacy of a given war, there are articles of faith and morals in which defined and consistent Church teaching makes dissension impossible if one wishes to remain in good standing with the Church.

The Church’s body of belief is ably set out in the Catechism approved by Pope John Paul II, a volume which significantly narrows the divide between the “two extremes” by clearly stating what it means to be a Catholic. Lifesitenews, while not pleasing to everyone, has been a great tool for me in my ministry, by exposing ideologies and trends which I consider as I lead my flock along the Catholic path.

Rev. Richard Kowalchuk
Thunder Bay, ON

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