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TORONTO, Ontario, May 31, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The organizers of a major conference for Catholic educators in Ontario have cancelled a keynote address by long-time abortion advocate Stephen Lewis, but are now set to welcome two top dissidents from the Church’s teaching on human sexuality instead.

LifeSiteNews reported last month that Lewis, who has become infamous for his public denunciations of the Catholic Church and its effort to end abortion, was scheduled to speak at the When Faith Meets Pedagogy (WFMP) Conference in Toronto from October 27-29.

But organizer Michael Bator, executive director of the Catholic Curriculum Corporation, told LifeSiteNews Tuesday that Lewis will not speak.  He confirmed that they have chosen Professors Thomas Groome of Boston College and Mary Jo Leddy of Regis College as keynote speakers instead.

Groome, a laicized priest who serves as professor of theology and religious education at Boston College, is an advocate of contraception, and has advanced views at odds with Church teaching on a range of issues, including female ordination.

A featured speaker at the WFMP conference in 1999 and 2003, Groome has also served as a member of the speaker’s bureau for Voice of the Faithful, a dissident group that numerous bishops have denounced and forbidden from meeting on Church property.

In his book Sharing Faith, as explained by his principal critic Eamonn Keane, Groome says “religious educators should approach the faith tradition with a healthy suspicion.”

In that book, he explicitly promotes religious education as a tool to spread dissent, recounting how he used his teaching method, called “shared Christian praxis,” to change the opinion of a group of women taking an adult education course to support women’s ordination.

Leddy, a lecturer in religion at Regis College who left the Sisters of Sion in 1994 after 30 years, was a main founder of the now-defunct Catholic New Times along with Gregory Baum.  From its inception in 1976, the paper was vocal in its opposition to official Church teaching, especially in the area of sexual morality and priestly celibacy.

LifeSiteNews asked Bator if his organization was concerned about scandal as result of its choice of speakers, and whether it would not be better to feature speakers who support Catholic teaching.

In response, he said, “The board is comfortable with its choice after consultation.”

The Catholic Curriculum Corporation represents a consortium of 17 Catholic district school boards in southern and western Ontario.  Its board also includes the Ontario English Catholic Teachers Association and the Catholic Principals’ Council of Ontario.  On its website, the CCC touts the event as Ontario’s “premier Catholic conference.”

Contact Information:

Contact information for all Ontario bishops can be found here.

Assembly of Catholic Bishops of Ontario

Most Rev. Thomas Collins (President)
Archbishop of Toronto
1155 Yonge Street
Toronto ON M4T 1W2
Phone:  416-934-0606 Fax:  416-934-3452
Email: [email protected]

Most Rev. Ronald P. Fabbro, c.s.b. (Vice-President)
Bishop of London
1480 Richmond Street
London, ON.  N6G 0J4
Phone: 519-433-0658 Fax:  519-433-0011
Email: [email protected]

Trish Kings, Chair of Executive Council
Catholic Curriculum Corporation
730 Courtneypark Drive West
Mississauga, ON
L5W 1L9
Phone: 905.564.8209
Fax: 905.564.8246
E-mail: [email protected]

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