Friday, October 19, 2012

A tribute to a Canadian Christian hero

Fr. Alphonse de Valk, C.S.B.
On Thursday night, October 17, 2012 a tribute dinner was held to honour and celebrate the life of Fr. Alphonse de Valk. He recently resigned his position as editor of Catholic Insight magazine. Like Fr. Ted Colleton he staunchly fought against abortion and defended traditional Catholic teaching especially on life, family, marriage and human sexuality. He was the editor of the Chelsea Journal, The Interim and finally Catholic Insight. Canadians should know more about this pro-life, pro-Christian hero. His seminal book, Morality and Law in Canadian Politics: The Abortion Controversy, is the best historical analysis on how abortion became a legislated reality in 1969. It should be mandatory reading in every Catholic high school and university in the country. Catholic Insight deserves to be in all parishes across the country. Everyday For Life Canada was present at the dinner and here's my humble message for this Christian hero and to all pro-lifers:

It’s truly an honor to pay tribute to a priest and pro-life, pro-truth hero! It's a great pleasure and a privilege to write a few words of admiration and gratitude. There are so many things that could be said, and so we will focus on sharing just two important characteristics about the man and the priest we are celebrating.

One important Christian quality of Fr. de Valk can be found in the words at the top of the page of each editorial he wrote for Catholic Insight. The words are from John 8: 32: “The truth will make you free.” The presence of over three hundred pro-life people at last night's dinner was to honor a life that has never been afraid to write the truth, to speak it, to share it, but above all to live it and to bring it to the public square.

The other Christian characteristic we learned about Fr. de Valk came from our brief conversations about writing style. Who could have known that the four kinds of sentences we learned about in school: the interrogative, the exclamatory, the declarative and the imperative, would one day help me to understand someone’s character. Well, during the last four years as we battled in print against the Immoral madness of “equity and inclusive" education and Bill 13, I contributed a number of articles to Catholic Insight for publication. When Fr. de Valk wanted to make changes, he would call and directly say, “Lou, it’s a good piece, but you’re asking too many questions. It’s a sign of uncertainty. We should change some of your questions into statements.” You see he is always interested in clearly stating the truth, not in an article’s clever style or interesting diction.  He has never been afraid to preach and write editorials about the difficult and central issues of out times: freedom of religion, freedom of speech and freedom of conscience.

Fr. de Valk,  you have taught us that as Christians we have a duty to defend the innocent, the unborn and the voiceless lives of those who cannot speak for themselves to the very end. Sadly, our society has embraced the legal fiction that forces us to live in a culture of death and lies... the lie, for example, that what is growing in a mother's womb is not a child.  So this tribute to you, to a man and to a priest is our duty and privilege because your life has been a great example to us to never, never, never give up in our struggle for truth. We must fight on for the truth, and God willing we will, because you have been there to help as a leader and a good shepherd. Your life witness has shown us how to fight the good battle with our pro-life magazines, with our coalitions, with our speeches, our money, our votes,  our presence, our sacrifices, our faith and with our prayers.

Courageously and without compromise you have not been afraid to bring the pro-life issues and the truth to the secular arena. You have shown us that the battle must go on until there’s victory. And if we never raise the white flag to the forces of lies, if we continue to fight regardless of the cost and if we refuse to surrender until God and a new culture of life prevail in Canada and the world, it’s because of people like you, of priests like you. Thank you for your outstanding work of witnessing to life, to Catholic education, to truth, to family, to marriage and mostly to God. We pray that God continues to bless you as you take the spiritual battle for life and truth into your days of retirement into what Milton called “Tomorrow’s fresh woods and pastures new.” Fr. de Valk, thank you for being who you are. May God continue to bless you, and finally, we love you.


  1. As always Mr. Iacobelli, you have the ability to be clear, concise and honest. I had the privelege of attending last nights tribute dinner for Fr. Alphonse De Valk and I could not have put into words any more clearly the integrity this righteous priest has consistently stood for. My wife and I were truly humbled being in the presence of so many other Pro-Life heroes and supporters yesterday evening. To be able to honour such a noble and courageous individual who has fought the good fight on behalf of those who are the most vulnerable was a true gift. I am in awe of Fr. De Valk's courage and tireless efforts, to speak the truth and withstand the attacks for so many years in the face of those who condemn him for opposing the greatest holocaust in mankinds history. You truly are a saint among men Fr. De Valk. May the Good Lord in heaven continue to bless you with the strength of faith in God, the wisdom of always speaking the truth and good health for many years to come. A humble witness, Andrew Ezman.

  2. Andrew. I'm sure Fr. de Valk will appreciate those wonderful words that come from the heart. I'm also certain that they will help encourage him to carry on fighting for the truth and for the voiceless during his years into "retirement" or better his new phase in restoring a culture of life in Canada. Thank you for sharing.