Patrick Craine

Toronto Cardinal under fire after barring pro-homosexual priest from speaking in archdiocese

Patrick Craine
Patrick Craine

TORONTO, April 10, 2013 ( - The Archdiocese of Toronto is taking flak this week after barring a priest known for opposing Church teaching from speaking in the diocese.

Franciscan Fr. Michael Crosby, a self-styled reformer who calls for women’s ordination and acceptance of homosexuality, among other things, as part of a top-down overhaul of the Church, will be the speaker at the Canadian Forum on Theology and Education from April 22-23. He will offer seven talks over the two days.

The event was originally scheduled to take place at the office of the Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board, but has been moved to a non-Catholic venue in the Diocese of Hamilton after the Toronto Archdiocese said the event did not meet its protocol for talks by visiting clergy and laity, which requires that they be “theologically sound” and “support Catholic teaching on faith and morals.”

The forum, which has been organized annually for the last three decades, is explicit in its intention to challenge Church teaching. “The signs of crisis [in the Church] are evident,” reads its website. “It is felt in the ‘sex abuse scandal’, in the issues of women’s ordination, mandatory/optional celibacy, married clergy, and the questions these issues have raised about internal structures of authority and clerical culture.”

The website adds that the forum “will be an experience that helps teachers, chaplains, parents and priests learn how to respond to this challenge. Students’ concerns and distrust of ‘Catechism’ answers; teachers’ oft-unspoken questions; parents’ misgivings about their childrens’ faith and priests’ uncertainties about the content of pastoral letters and homilies are all grist to the mill at Forum.”

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The forum is endorsed by the Ontario English Catholic Teachers Association (OECTA), which advertises it and is hosting a wine and cheese as part of the event. Organizer John Quinn says most of the attendees will be “teachers in Catholic schools.”

In a set of blog posts, Quinn accuses the Archdiocese of “suppressing healthy Catholic dialogue” and calls on Catholics to complain to Cardinal Thomas Collins.

He says the decision was “arbitrary” and amounts to the Archdiocese establishing an “Index of Forbidden Dialogue.” He complains that the Archdiocese’s protocol for visiting speakers has “absolutely no transparency,” with no explanation offered for the decision.

But Quinn also cites an email by Matthew Sanders, executive assistant to the Archdiocese’s Chancellor of Spiritual Affairs, which indicates that Fr. Crosby’s faculties to speak “were rescinded upon learning of the nature of the subjects he is coming to speak on.” 

According to Quinn, Fr. Crosby was given permission to speak in a letter of Dec. 3rd, 2012, but that permission was later revoked.

Based on Quinn’s recounting of the events, it appears that in between the initial letter of permission and the revocation, Quinn had run afoul of the Archdiocese for organizing a meeting of priests in an effort to launch a Toronto chapter of the Detroit-based group Elephants in the Living Room. The organization is run by priests of the Detroit Archdiocese and is dedicated to Church "reforms" that diverge from Catholic teaching.

Quinn says he had tried to organize a meeting on Feb. 28th of priests from the Archdiocese of Toronto and the Dioceses of Hamilton, St. Catharines, and Peterborough with representatives of the Elephant group. But, he says, he received an e-mail on Feb. 21st from the Archdiocese of Toronto’s Chancellor of Spiritual Affairs, Rev. Ivan Camilleri, alerting him that the group is “not in good standing in the Archdiocese of Toronto,” and the office “in no way supports” the opening of a chapter in the Archdiocese.

The controversy was reported by the Toronto Star on Saturday in a story that appeared to paint the Archdiocese’s move as a denial of free speech.

“It’s not uncommon for Catholic clergy, laypeople and theologians to be denied platforms in Catholic institutions if their ideas do not conform to prescribed teaching — a practice some see as being at odds with societal values of free speech and open dialogue,” wrote journalist Leslie Scrivener.

But Archdiocesan spokesman Bill Steinburg insisted to LifeSiteNews that they are “not stifling free speech” and highlighted a quote he had given to the Toronto Star.

“For someone to officially represent the church (as a priest does), the presenter’s message must be consistent with the norms of the church, which are clearly spelled out,” Steinberg said.

To contact Cardinal Collins:

Catholic Pastoral Centre
1155 Yonge Street
Toronto, Ontario, M4T 1W2
Telephone: (416) 934-0606, ext. 609
Fax: (416) 934-3452
Email: [email protected]

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Steve Jalsevac Steve Jalsevac Follow Steve

Today’s chuckle: Rubio, Fiorina and Carson pardon a Thanksgiving turkey

Steve Jalsevac Steve Jalsevac Follow Steve
By Steve Jalsevac

A little bit of humour now and then is a good thing.

Happy Thanksgiving to all our American readers.

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Building of the European Court of Human Rights.
Lianne Laurence


BREAKING: Europe’s top human rights court slaps down German ban on pro-life leafletting

Lianne Laurence
By Lianne Laurence

STRASBOURG, France, November 26, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – The European Court of Human Rights ruled Thursday that a German regional court violated a pro-life activist’s freedom of expression when it barred him from leafleting in front of an abortion center.

It further ruled the German court’s order that Klaus Gunter Annen not list the names of two abortion doctors on his website likewise violated the 64-year-old pro-life advocate’s right to freedom of expression.

The court’s November 26 decision is “a real moral victory,” says Gregor Puppinck, director of the Strasbourg-based European Center for Law and Justice, which intervened in Annen’s case. “It really upholds the freedom of speech for pro-life activists in Europe.”

Annen, a father of two from Weinam, a mid-sized city in the Rhine-Neckar triangle, has appealed to the Strasbourg-based European Court of Human Rights at least two times before, Puppinck told LifeSiteNews.

“This is the first time he made it,” he said, noting that this time around, Annen had support from the ECLJ and Alliance Defense Fund and the German Pro-life Federation (BVL). “I think he got more support, better arguments and so I think this helped.”

The court also ordered the German government to pay Annen costs of 13,696.87 EUR, or 14,530 USD.

Annen started distributing pamphlets outside a German abortion center ten years ago, ECLJ stated in a press release.

His leaflets contained the names and addresses of the two abortionists at the center, declared they were doing “unlawful abortions,” and stated in smaller print that, “the abortions were allowed by the German legislators and were not subject to criminal liability.”

Annen’s leaflets also stated that, “The murder of human beings in Auschwitz was unlawful, but the morally degraded NS State allowed the murder of innocent people and did not make it subject to criminal liability.” They referred to Annen’s website,, which listed a number of abortionists, including the two at the site he was leafleting.

In 2007, a German regional court barred Annen from pamphleteering in the vicinity of the abortion center, and ordered him to drop the name of the two abortion doctors from his website.

But the European Court of Human Rights ruled Thursday that the German courts had "failed to strike a fair balance between [Annen’s] right to freedom of expression and the doctor’s personality rights.”

The Court stated that, “there can be no doubt as to the acute sensitivity of the moral and ethical issues raised by the question of abortion or as to the importance of the public interest at stake.”

That means, stated ECLJ, that “freedom of expression in regard to abortion shall enjoy a full protection.”

ECLJ stated that the court noted Annen’s leaflets “made clear that the abortions performed in the clinic were not subject to criminal liability. Therefore, the statement that ‘unlawful abortions’ were being performed in the clinic was correct from a legal point of view.”

As for the Holocaust reference, the court stated that, “the applicant did not – at least not explicitly – equate abortion with the Holocaust.”  Rather, the reference was “a way of creating awareness of the more general fact that law might diverge from morality.”

The November 26 decision “is a quite good level of protection of freedom of speech for pro-life people,” observed Puppinck.

First, the European Court of Human Rights has permitted leafleting “in the direct proximate vicinity of the clinic, so there is no issue of zoning,” he told LifeSiteNews. “And second, the leaflets were mentioning the names of the doctors, and moreover, were mentioning the issue of the Holocaust, which made them quite strong leaflets.”

“And the court protected that.”

Annen has persevered in his pro-life awareness campaign through the years despite the restraints on his freedom.

“He did continue, and he did adapt,” Puppinck told LifeSiteNews. “He kept his freedom of speech as much as he could, but he continued to be sanctioned by the German authorities, and each time he went to the court of human rights. And this time, he won.”

ECLJ’s statement notes that “any party” has three months to appeal the November 26 decision.

However, as it stands, the European Court of Human Rights’s ruling affects “all the national courts,” noted Puppinck, and these will now “have to protect freedom of speech, recognize the freedom of speech for pro-lifers.”

“In the past, the courts have not always been very supportive of the freedom of speech of pro-life,” he said, so the ruling is “significant.”

As for Annen’s pro-life ministry, Pubbinck added: “He can continue to go and do, and I’m sure that he does, because he always did.”  

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A vibrant church in Africa. Pierre-Yves Babelon /
Pete Baklinski Pete Baklinski Follow Pete

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‘Soft racism’: German Bishops’ website attributes African Catholics’ strong faith to simplemindedness

Pete Baklinski Pete Baklinski Follow Pete
By Pete Baklinski

GERMANY, November 26, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) --  The only reason the Catholic Church is growing in Africa is because the people have a “rather low level” of education and accept “simple answers to difficult questions” involving marriage and sexuality, posited an article on the official website of the German Bishops' Conference posted yesterday. The article targeted particularly Cardinal Robert Sarah of Guinea, the Vatican's prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and ardent defender of Catholic tradition.

First Things blogger Leroy Huizenga, who translated a portion of the article, criticized the article's view as “soft racism.”

In his article, titled “The Romantic, Poor Church,” editor Björn Odendahl writes: 

So also in Africa. Of course the Church is growing there. It grows because the people are socially dependent and often have nothing else but their faith. It grows because the educational situation there is on average at a rather low level and the people accept simple answers to difficult questions (of faith) [sic]. Answers like those that Cardinal Sarah of Guinea provides. And even the growing number of priests is a result not only of missionary power but also a result of the fact that the priesthood is one of the few possibilities for social security on the dark continent.

Huizenga said that such an article has no place on a bishops’ conference website. 

“We all know that the German Bishops' Conference is one of the most progressive in the world. But it nevertheless beggars belief that such a statement would appear on the Conference's official website, with its lazy slander of African Christians and priests as poor and uneducated (Odendahl might as well have added ‘easy to command’) and its gratuitous swipe at Cardinal Sarah,” he wrote. 

“Natürlich progressives could never be guilty of such a sin and crime, but these words sure do suggest soft racism, the racism of elite white Western paternalism,” he added. 

African prelates have gained a solid reputation for being strong defenders of Catholic sexual morality because of their unwavering orthodox input into the recently concluded Synod on the Family in Rome. 

At one point during the Synod, Cardinal Robert Sarah urged Catholic leaders to recognize as the greatest modern enemies of the family what he called the twin “demonic” “apocalyptic beasts” of “the idolatry of Western freedom” and “Islamic fundamentalism.”

STORY: Cardinal Danneels warns African bishops to avoid ‘triumphalism’

“What Nazi-Fascism and Communism were in the 20th century, Western homosexual and abortion ideologies and Islamic fanaticism are today,” he said during his speech at the Synod last month. 

But African prelates’ adherence to orthodoxy has earned them enemies, especially from the camp of Western prelates bent on forming the Catholic Church in their own image and likeness, not according to Scripture, tradition, and the teaching magisterium of the Church. 

During last year’s Synod, German Cardinal Walter Kasper went as far as stating that the voice of African Catholics in the area of Church teaching on homosexuality should simply be dismissed.

African cardinals “should not tell us too much what we have to do,” he said in an October 2014 interview with ZENIT, adding that African countries are "very different, especially about gays.” 

Earlier this month Belgian Cardinal Godfried Danneels, instead of praising Africa for its vibrant and flourishing Catholicism, said that African prelates will one day have to look to Europe to get what he called “useful tips” on how to deal with “secularization” and “individualism.” 

The statement was criticized by one pro-family advocate as “patronizing of the worst kind” in light of the facts that numerous European churches are practically empty, vocations to the priesthood and religious life are stagnant, and the Catholic faith in Europe, especially in Belgium, is overall in decline.

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