TORONTO, Ontario, May 9, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Ontario’s “premier” conference for Catholic educators this October will host a keynote address by Stephen Lewis, who is infamous for his public denunciations of the Catholic Church and particularly its effort to promote a culture of life.
The When Faith Meets Pedagogy Conference, for Catholic educators and community partners from across the province, is set to take place October 27-29, 2011 at the DoubleTree by Hilton Toronto Airport Hotel.
Lewis will open the event with a keynote address on Thursday, October 27.
The conference is organized by the Catholic Curriculum Corporation (CCC), which 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.”
LifeSiteNews spoke with event planner Betty Goulden, who directed questions to the CCC’s executive director Michael Bator. LifeSiteNews did not hear back from Bator by press time.
Lewis was at the centre of a controversy in the Diocese of London, Ontario in February when he headlined a fundraiser for the Monsignor Feeney Foundation for Catholic Schools. Bishop Ronald Fabbro’s office called Lewis’ invitation “imprudent” and the Catholic Register, Canada’s largest Catholic paper, said it was a “significant misstep.”
“Of course Lewis is an unsuitable headliner for a Catholic event,” the paper wrote in a February 9th editorial. “His anti-Church approach makes him ill-suited for a Catholic pedestal. That seems obvious. Yet organizers don’t seem to get it.”
Distinguished as the first Canadian politician to propose the legalization of abortion in 1966 while a member of Ontario’s NDP, Stephen Lewis has become infamous for his public attacks on the Catholic Church’s efforts to promote a culture of life. At the Cairo conference on population and development in 1994, he slammed the Vatican for opposing abortion and contraception, calling their statements “torrents of thinly veiled misogyny.”
Also a major advocate of condoms, Lewis has said that Pope Benedict XVI, in opposing condoms in the fight against HIV/AIDS, is “sending a message which ultimately kills people.”
“His words were, frankly, irresponsible and damaging and it was like inviting death,” he said.
On the same issue, he has said that the pope is “living on the moon,” and presents “another example of complete indifference to the vulnerability of women, who are so hugely and disproportionately affected by HIV/AIDS.”
In 2001, Bishop James Wingle, former Bishop of St. Catharines and then-Bishop of Yarmouth, objected to Lewis giving a keynote address for the Catholic Health Association of Canada. He said the organization “ought not to lend support to people who have positions contrary to Catholic teaching,” and that he would “counsel them to be more sensitive in their picks in the future.”
“It is an on-going concern for the whole Church that in all the things we do that we do not convey ambiguous or confusing messages,” the bishop added.
Contact information for all Ontario bishops can be found here.
Trish Kings, Chair of Executive Council
Catholic Curriculum Corporation
730 Courtneypark Drive West
Mississauga, ON L5W 1L9
E-mail: [email protected]