By Hilary White

Vision TV LogoTORONTO, January 9, 2006 ( – Vision TV, the Toronto-based broadcaster that bills itself as “Canada’s multi-faith and multicultural broadcaster,” is positioning itself as a leader in anti-Catholic media punditry. The broadcaster’s most recent round comes in the form of a programme on NDP MP Charlie Angus’ very public conflict with Catholic teaching on same sex “marriage.”

In July, Angus was told by his parish priest, Fr. John Lemire, that his support for the change in the definition of marriage would put him so seriously at odds with Catholic teaching that he could no longer receive Holy Communion. Angus, who has founded most of his political clout on his credentials as an active “Vatican II” Catholic, was incensed and went to the media, first in the Hill Times, Parliament Hill’s official paper, and now with a feature on Vision TV’s 360 Vision programme.

Calling the segment, “Cast Out,” 360 Vision characterized Angus as “a man of devout faith,” and a hero of social justice unjustly barred from his parish. The truth, however, is that Angus was told that he is welcome in the parish, but that his position on homosexual “marriage” put him profoundly at odds with his Church. This conflict, according to his parish priest, precludes him from reception of Holy Communion, the Church’s most important sacrament that is supposed to exemplify unity with Catholic teaching.

Fr. John Lemire, Angus’ pastor at Our Mother of Perpetual Help Parish in New Liskerd, told that knowing Vision TV’s reputation for bias, he had been reluctant to agree to do the show. He said that although the programme represented his views reasonably fairly, they had clearly taken a side. “You can tell that just from the title, “Cast Out.’”

The level of trust for media among Canadian Christians is not high. Fr. Lemire said, “If I didn’t say something, then all they would do is give even more of a negative spin. At least this way, there would at least theoretically be a 50% chance that something positive might come out of the programme.”

The ten minute programme, which airs again tonight at ten pm, Fr. Lemire said, was supposed to be more of a study on “when faith meets politics” but ended up being all about Charlie Angus and homosexual “marriage.”“The programme itself made Charlie look like the victim, Charlie and his family became the underdog. And in a contest between facts and emotions, emotions always win on TV,” said Lemire.

Vision’s position was clearly showing in October when 360 Vision produced a programme featuring Fr. Karl Clemens, a 63-year-old priest who declared that he was “gay.” The segment was followed by a vicious attack on the Catholic Church by regular program host Marianne Meed Ward who called the Church “diabolical” for its teaching on sexuality.

Meed Ward charged that the Vatican is “hunting people who have publicly admitted being gay.” She continued, “If (Jesus) were here now he and his whip would be in the Catholic Church, in any church where gays and lesbians aren’t welcome.”

Vision bills itself as a multi-faith broadcaster presenting “original programming that celebrates diversity and promotes understanding among people of different faiths and cultures.” A large portion of its funding, however, comes from sources that are at least nominally Catholic and many Canadian Catholics are under the impression that Vision is a Catholic broadcaster. In 2005, the National Catholic Broadcasting Council contributed over $700,000 Cdn to Vision to air their Daily Mass programme, the same year that the station produced its programme on Fr. Clemens and Meed Ward’s rabid attack on the Church.

Far from being Catholic, Vision TV has been drifting from a broadly liberal viewpoint that is merely generally unfavourable toward the Catholic Church to being openly anti-Catholic according to the editor of a Toronto-based Catholic magazine. Vision has featured previous shows on “gay priests” and “gay Catholics” that also attacked the Church including one that claimed the Catholic Church is the “Whore of Babylon” spoken of in the Book of Revelations, and that the Pope is the anti-Christ.

Vision also featured on its visually sensual Credo programme a self-congratulatory monologue by infamous Canadian abortionist Henry Morgentaler. During the visit of Pope John Paul II to Toronto in 2002, Vision TV carried commentary by Ted Schmidt, editor of the Catholic New Times, a magazine that has been denounced by Catholic laity and bishops for its flagrant anti-Catholic bias.

Fr. Alphonse de Valk, editor of Catholic Insight Magazine, told that Vision holds an openly double standard in its editorial policies on Catholic subjects. de Valk said Vision’s policy is that attacks on the Church are fine but attacks on any part of the liberal, post-modern agenda, including that of the homosexual political movement are not.

de Valk cited Vision’s upcoming 4 part series called the “Secret Files of the Inquisition,” a favorite subject for anti-Catholic polemicists since the 16th century. Calling the series, which is set to air in February, “an extraordinary four-part look at one of the darkest chapters in Christianity’s history,” Vision says the series is “a dramatic examination of religious intolerance and the drive to crush dissent and independent thought – historical themes that also have great resonance for us in the here and now.”

“With their programme on the Inquisition,” said de Valk, “Vision is clearly moving toward a more openly anti-Catholic stand.”

To express concerns:
  National Catholic Broadcasting Council
  21 Dunlop Street
  Richmond Hill, Ontario
  Canada, L4C 2M6

Toll Free: 1-888-383-6277
  Local: 905-884-6899
  Fax: 905-884-5164
  E-mail: [email protected]

Vision TV
  80 Bond Street, Toronto, ON
  Canada M5B 1X2
  Phone : (416) 368-3194

Read Vision TV media release:
  The Secret Files of the Inquisition

Read related coverage:
  Over $700,000 Catholic Church Funds to Canadian Anti-Catholic TV Network Questioned