|Fr. Alphonse de Valk, C.S.B.|
CONGRATULATIONS TO FR. DE VALK:
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.