Human Rights Beef with Catholics
Zenit ^ | 02/05/2008 | Pete Vere
Posted on 02/05/2008 4:39:43 PM PST by Unam Sanctam
Catholic Insight, a Canadian magazine known for its fidelity to Church teachings, has been targeted by the Canadian Human Rights Commission for publishing articles deemed offensive to homosexuals.
The commission has been investigating the Toronto-based publication since homosexual activist Rob Wells, a member of the Gay, Lesbian and Transgendered Pride Center of Edmonton, filed a nine-point complaint last February with the government agency in which he accuses the magazine of promoting "extreme hatred and contempt" against homosexuals.
Father Alphonse de Valk, the founder and editor of Catholic Insight, disagrees the accusations. "Wells took three pages of quotes out of context," he told ZENIT.
The Basilian priest added that Catholic Insight "bases itself on the
Church's teaching and applies it to various circumstances in our time." He
noted that some of the statements that allegedly promoted hatred and contempt
against homosexuals were taken from recent
Other types of statements published by Catholic Insight on the topic of
homosexuality include political statements, medical studies, news reports and
other studies. Many of the articles concerned addressed the campaign in
"The basic view of the Church is that homosexual acts are a sin, but we love the sinner," said Father de Valk, adding that opposing same-sex marriage is not the same as rejecting homosexuals as persons.
The priest said that homosexual activists are broadly defining opposition to homophobia as opposition to any homosexual act: "They maintain that the whole Catholic Church is homophobic."
The complaint against Father de Valk is just one of several complaints
against Christians that
Once any one of the commissions has completed its investigation, it may then
pass the case along to its respective human rights tribunal for adjudication.
The process favors the complainant over the accused, claim Father de Valk and other Christian critics of the commissions and tribunals. There is no cost to the one who files a complaint, and the commission provides legal support to the complainant. In contrast, the accused must pay his legal costs.
Additionally, contrary to the English legal tradition, there is a reverse onus requiring the accused to prove his or her innocence. "There's a presumption of guilt," said Bishop Fred Henry of Calgary, who himself was subject to two complaints before the Alberta Human Rights Commission in 2005 after publishing a pastoral letter defending the traditional definition of marriage earlier that same year.
"I really feel that we are into a crisis situation here where we are experiencing a trumping of religious freedom," said Bishop Henry.
The prelate describes Father de Valk as "an orthodox, very straight-forward individual."
He said that Catholic Insight's studies have been in-depth and in keeping
with Catholic teaching, but given
Bishop Henry feels that
"So when you have very clear definitive teaching with respect to marriage and what marriage is all about, and with homosexuality as intrinsically disordered and contrary to natural law, closing sexual relations to the gift of life, I don't see where Catholics can say anything else that what our traditional teaching is."
"That is not a very popular, politically correct expression of views in our society," the bishop said. "If you can knock down that and kind of bring the Catholic Church to its knees, I would think the opponents would be very pleased to do so."
Bishop Henry lays part of the blame with an activist judiciary that has read "sexual orientation" into the section of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms that protects against discrimination. "And further, they're reading in 'sexual practices,'" said the bishop.
Christian groups have a losing record before
In 2000, the Ontario Human Rights Commission fined Scott Brockie, a
Protestant print-shop owner, $5,000 for declining to print, on moral grounds,
homosexual-themed stationary. The same tribunal fined
Carmen Grigoire, an official spokeswoman for the Canadian Human Rights Commission, would not discuss the complaint against Father de Valk when contacted by ZENIT. The commission is investigating a similar case against the Christian Heritage Party, a political party co-founded by pro-life Catholics and Protestants. The complaint against the party was also initiated by Rob Wells.
Both Bishop Henry and Father de Valk point out that while Catholics have limited their criticism to homosexual acts, many homosexual activists have made statements openly promoting hatred toward Catholics without being investigated by Canada's human rights commissions. "There is a distinct lack of reciprocity in how Catholics react," Bishop Henry said.
In the end, Bishop Henry feels that