Thursday, June 28, 2012

Let's have Catholic MyGSAs: Maria Goretti Saintly Alliances

St. Maria Goretti
The provincial government with the passing of Bill 13 has legislated that all schools in Ontario, public and Catholic, must have Gay/Straight Alliances, GSAs, if students and staff make a request to have such a group in their school. On some school board websites these clubs are already referred to as MyGSAs. The government decreed and all boards have supposedly agreed that these clubs may prevent bullying.

One of the best ways to do this in our Catholic schools is to establish our version of MyGSAs, and call them, Maria Goretti Saintly Alliances (MGSAs). Maria knew a great deal about being bullied and sexually abused. Her mother and father worked as simple sharecroppers. She was born in 1890 and died in 1902 in Ferriere, Italy. It was her neighbour 20 year-old Alessandro Serenelli who verbally and sexually abused her on several occasions. This all happened before her 12th birthday. Maria resisted the sexual advances and threats by saying to the bully, "But what are you doing Alessandro? God is not pleased, you will go to hell." One day Alessandro's sexual urges took possession of him, and he ended up stabbing Maria 14 times because she refused his evil desires.

Maria didn't die immediately after the attack. In the final hours of her life, she forgave Alessandro. Her family and those who knew her were shocked at what happened, but they were also moved by her act of forgiving the man who had tried rape and take her life. She is an extraordinary example of Christian charity from someone so young, so pure and innocent. St. Maria Goretti is the patron saint of young women, purity, chastity, forgiveness and of rape victims. She had the courage to withstand moral evil. This is the ethical standard we must offer our young people today. 

It is no accident that Maria's body recently visited a number of churches in Toronto. It normally rests in a shrine in Nettuno, Italy. Considering all the emphasis of late on promoting a very over-sexualized school curriculum, it was very appropriate that while in the city she was taken to St. Maria Goretti Catholic School and parish in Scarborough. She was also brought to other communities where there were long lineups to see her and visitors prayed into the night hours.  Pope Pius XII canonized Maria in 1950. The Pope spoke of her as a martyr with an extraordinary Christian virtue. Her mother was present when she was declared a saint. 

We encourage any student, parent, teacher and school principal to implement the spirit of Bill 13 and start MGSAs, Maria Goretti Saintly Alliances in every Catholic school as the new school year begins in September. If there's a parent council in your school put this idea on the agenda. Present the idea to school trustees. Contact the director of education and the superintendent and principal of your school and tell them you want this association started in your neighbourhood school. With the help of God's grace,  your parish priest will announce this initiative your church's weekly bulletin. Use your creativity to spread the good news to young students about chastity and purity. Lastly, why not lead by example and establish the group yourself. Remember this can be done at school, but you can also do it in your parish and if possible your place of work.

What would these saintly school alliances do?

We can use the Catechism of the Catholic Church to guide us in establishing the moral principles behind the new Maria Goretti Saintly Alliances. These schools groups could promote a whole new vision of human sexuality as proposed by the Blessed John Paul II in his Theology of the Body. Here are some suggestions and you can add your own:

1. They would promote and defend the Catechism, starting with the Sixth Commandment: Thou shall not commit adultery;
2. They would accept the teaching that, "When God created man, he made him in the likeness of God male, and female he created them, ..."
3. They would accept the belief that, "Sexuality affects all aspects of the human person in the unity of his body and soul. ... Everyone, man and woman, should acknowledge and accept his sexual identity. Physical, moral and spiritual difference and complimentarity are oriented toward the good of marriage and the flourishing of family life;"
4. They would promote the idea that students aspire and live the vocation of chastity as "an apprenticeship in self-mastery;"
5. The alliances would respect the integrity of the person at all times;
6. The alliances would foster the realization that chastity involves both the integrity of the person and the integrity of the gift of self. They are gifts from God;
7. They would learn and evangelize to other students about the various offences against chastity: avoid lust, masturbation, fornication, pornography, prostitution, rape and homosexuality. They would promise to avoid these offences in the technology they use and in the magazines, films, television programs, videos and the songs they listen to.
8. They would pray daily for St. Maria Goretti to help them to live the vocation of chastity.

St. Maria Goretti's feast day is celebrated on July 6. St. Maria Goretti, pray for us. 

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The war on the freedom to be Christians is global

The majority of American Catholics have now come to the conclusion that religious liberty and freedom of conscience are under attack in their country. The American bishops have come to the same decision. A national initiative of prayer and devotion called, Fortnight for Freedom has been declared from June 21 to July 4, 2012. This is to raise awareness against the Obama administration's proposed Health and Human Services, HHS, mandate which would force all employers to buy insurance for their workers. The coverage includes such services as contraceptives, abortion-inducing drugs and sterilizations that are contrary to Catholic teaching.

Christophobia seems to be increasing the world over. In Canada, did you know that citizens already have the mentioned services paid for through our health coverage? It's called the Canada Health Act. Even if your religious beliefs are against paying for abortion with our tax money, the federal government gives Canadians no choice in the matter. All Canadians by law must support the culture of death. Here are some other examples of how Christian freedom is under attack. In Ontario, there has been the recent legislation known as Bill 13 and Bill 33 that will no doubt undermine the authority of parents and Catholic schools when it comes to the Church's teaching about the human person, human sexuality and the family. 

In Quebec, all elementary and high school students are legally forced to take the generic ethics and religious culture course. Should parents want an exemption to teach their children Catholicism or direct their moral education, they are not legally allowed to do so. This is what the Supreme Court of Canada says.  In British Columbia, a judge recently gave legal permission to a woman to take her own life through assisted-suicide. Moreover, she gave our elected MPs in the House of Commons a year to prepare legislation which would give those who want to commit suicide or assisted-suicide the right to kill themselves or have a doctor do it. This sordid and insane mess can too easily become all very legal and very professional. We have it with abortion. I leave the larger human consequences of this moral absurdity to the reader. And, if such a law is approved it will be difficult for doctors or nurses to refuse to do assisted-suicides because the law would make it essentially illegal to say no to killing a person. 

Let's, instead, turn to the sanity of prayer. Let's join our brothers and sisters in America and pray with them for true religious liberty and freedom of conscience. As baptized Christians, we have the responsibility and calling to do so. We are all soldiers for Christ. So, we pray together with all Christians: "O God ... Give us aid against the foe, for worthless is the help of men." (Psalm 60) Here's the prayer that has been written for the Fortnight for Freedom asking God to protect religious freedom in the United States, and surely we can add in Canada and the rest of the world. Let's say it every day or pray the Rosary or whatever you're inspired to do to spiritually fight back.

Prayer for the Protection of Religious Liberty
O God our Creator,
Through the power and working of your Holy Spirit,
you call us to live out our faith in the midst of the world,
bringing the light and the saving truth of the Gospel
to every corner of society.
We ask you to bless us
in our vigilance for the gift of religious liberty.
Give us the strength of mind and heart
to readily defend our freedoms when they are threatened;
give us courage in making our voices heard
on behalf of the rights of your Church
and the freedom of conscience of all people of faith.
Grant, we pray, O heavenly Father,
a clear and united voice to all your sons and daughters
gathered in your Church
in this decisive hour in the history of our nation,
so that, with every trial withstood
and every danger overcome—
for the sake of our children, our grandchildren,
and all who come after us—
this great land will always be "one nation, under God,
indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."
We ask this through Christ our Lord.
Amen.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Holy See's message to the UN Rio+20 Conference: End the politics of death and embrace life

From June 20-22, 2012 the United Nations held a conference on sustainable development in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil. The speech  given by the head of the Holy See Delegation at this Rio+20 Conference, Cardinal Odilo Pedro Scherer made the all important point that true sustainable development is not possible if it leaves out the protection of life and the family. Cardinal Scherer is the special envoy of Benedict XVI. This is the message that the entire West needs to embrace in order to build a sustainable future. Everyday for Life Canada shares this message of hope with its readers courtesy of Zenit news service. Here's the entire address:
* * *
"Madame President,
Excellencies,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

"My delegation warmly thanks the Government of Brazil for hosting this important Conference on sustainable development, expresses gratitude to the people of Brazil for their warm hospitality, and is pleased to participate in this timely gathering of representatives of the international community meeting at this significant juncture in human history.

"Now is the opportune time to address the many threats to the human family and its earthly home posed by the persisting injustice of hunger, poverty and underdevelopment which continue to plague our societies. It is the firm hope of the Holy See that this opportunity may provide the occasion at last to set aside the hermeneutic of suspicion underpinning partisan self-interest and protectionism in favour of a true solidarity between us, especially with the poor. This is the time to commit ourselves to a more just distribution of the abundant goods of this world and to the pursuit of a more integral development which corresponds to the dignity of every human being.

"For the Holy See, this requires above all maintaining the proper relation of the means to its end. Standing at the centre of the created world is the human person - and, therefore, also at the centre of sustainable development, as affirmed by the First Rio Principle. Each individual human life, from conception until natural death, is of equal value and dignity.

"Any new model of development, such as the "green economy," must be anchored in and permeated by those principles which are the basis for the effective promotion of human dignity, namely: responsibility, even when changes must be made to patterns of production and consumption; promoting and sharing in the common good; access to primary goods including such essential and fundamental goods as nutrition, health, education, security and peace; solidarity of a universal scope, capable of recognising the unity of the human family; protection of creation linked to inter-generational equity; the universal destination of goods and the fruits of human enterprise; and the accompanying principle of subsidiarity, which permits public authorities at all levels to operate in an efficacious manner for the uplifting of each and every person and community.

This is all the more marked in international relations where application of these principles between and within states favours an appropriate transfer of technology, the promotion of a global commercial system that is inclusive and fair, as well as respect for obligations in aid-for-development and the determination of new and innovative financial instruments which place human dignity, the common good, and the safeguarding of the environment at the centre of economic activity. The unique and fundamental role of the family - which the Universal Declaration of Human Rights declares the fundamental group-unit of society - deserves special mention here because education and development begins in the family, where all these principles are transmitted to and assimilated by future generations so that their members assume their proper responsibility in society.

"The right to water, the right to food, the right to health and the right to education are intrinsically linked to the right to life and to the right to development. Therefore, we must be bold in affirming them, and equally resolved to safeguard the evident reality that these rights are at the service of the human person. The risk of obscuring this correct relationship seems particularly to be the case in the right to health, where the promotion of a conception of health can be observed that profoundly menaces the dignity of the human person. Imposing death upon the most vulnerable human lives - namely, those in the safest sanctuary of their mothers' wombs - cannot conceivably be brought under the nomenclature of health-care or simply health. This performs no true service to authentic human development or its true appreciation; indeed it constitutes the greatest violation of human dignity and unjustifiable disservice because development, at all stages of life, is at the service of human life.

"Madame President,
The ongoing economic and financial crisis has risked undermining the great progress made in recent decades in technological and scientific development. Engaging such problems honestly and courageously will challenge the international community to a renewed and deepened reflection on the meaning of the economy and its purposes, as well as a renewal of models of development which will not allow the 'why' of development to be overwhelmed by the urgent 'how' of technological solutions.

This examination must include not merely the economic or ecological state of health of the planet, but must also require taking stock of the moral and cultural crisis, the symptoms of which are now evident in all parts of the world. This is undoubtedly a complex challenge to confront, but the Holy See stresses the importance of moving from a merely technological model of development to an integrally human model which takes as its point of departure the dignity and worth of each and every person. Each individual member of society is called to adopt a vocational attitude which freely assumes responsibility, in genuine solidarity with one another and all of creation.

"Madame President,
In conclusion, Madame President, it is people who are charged with stewardship over nature; but as with everything human, this stewardship necessarily possesses an ethical dimension. In the discharge of this right and duty, a just solidarity with our fellow human beings is always implicit, including those yet to be born. This requires of us a duty towards future generations who will inherit the consequences of our decisions. In this regard, this Conference provides an opportunity for governments to come together to help chart a course for advancing development for all people especially those who are most in need.

Once again, Madame President, we express our gratitude for the leadership of Brazil in hosting this Conference, and sincerely hope that this will help promote the future that together we all need.
Thank you."

This is the pro-life message that our Prime Minister Stephen Harper should be listening to and every Canadian politician at all levels of government federal, provincial and municipal if they truly want to build a sustainable Canadian economy for now and the future. Every other economic or social priority is to be merely concerned with the futile agenda of rearranging furniture on the Titanic.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Is Dalton McGuinty a 21st Century Duplessis?, Part I

St. Thomas More
(Note to our readers: This two-part blog entry is written by lawyer Geoff Cauchi.  Everyday for Life Canada is pleased to share this special posting with our readers. We thank Mr. Cauchi for the insightful historical legal background and the ramifications of Bill 13 for public education and for religious liberty in Ontario. The content is also important reading for every Canadian who believes in the freedom of religion, in a Christian/Catholic education and in parental rights.) 


“That, in the presence of expanding administrative regulation of economic activities, such a step and its consequences are to be suffered by the victim without recourse or remedy, that an administration according to law is to be superseded by action dictated by and according to the arbitrary likes, dislikes and irrelevant purposes of public officers acting beyond their duty, would signalize the beginning of disintegration of the rule of law as a fundamental postulate of our constitutional structure” Roncarelli v. Duplessis, [1959] S.C.R. 121, per Rand J.

With the passage of Bill 13 – Accepting Schools Act --- Premier Dalton McGuinty has completed his mission to plunge the province of Ontario into a profound constitutional crisis in public education the likes of which this country has not seen since the “Manitoba Schools Question” at the end of the 19th century.

At a Gay Pride event in Toronto on the weekend of July 2-3, 2011, Premier Dalton McGuinty  assaulted the sensibilities of the Catholics of Ontario by having MPP Glen Murray (Toronto Centre) deliver, on his behalf, an address that signaled his intention to use his office to force all school boards, even Catholic ones, to establish and maintain “student support groups for LGBT students”. And by “student support groups”, he means groups under the leadership of individuals who will most certainly urge attendees to reject Catholic teaching on the subject of homosexuality. A school system with a constitutionally protected and mandated authority to persuade its Catholic students to adopt a Catholic lifestyle cannot tolerate such a result.  Bill 13, which comes into force on September 1, 2012, now puts the force of civil law behind this political agenda.

The Premier now exposes his government to an appeal of a political, as opposed to a “legal” nature, to the Governor General in council, under subsection 93(3) of the Constitution Act, 1867. He has also exposed himself, his office, the Ministry of Education, and school boards, trustees, and administrators who capitulate to his coercive orders to a variety of legal actions.  In this piece, I wish to focus on his potential personal liability to faithful Catholic electors, principals and teachers based on the tort of misfeasance of public office.
     
In Odhavji Estate v. Woodhouse, [2003] 3 S.C.R. 263, 2003 SCC 69, Justice Iacobucci, speaking for Supreme Court of Canada, summarized the elements of this tort in the following passage: “I am of the opinion that the tort of misfeasance in a public office is an intentional tort whose distinguishing elements are twofold: (i) deliberate unlawful conduct in the exercise of public functions; and (ii) awareness that the conduct is unlawful and likely to injure the plaintiff. Alongside deliberate unlawful conduct and the requisite knowledge, a plaintiff must also prove the other requirements common to all torts.  More specifically, the plaintiff must prove that the tortious conduct was the legal cause of his or her injuries, and that the injuries suffered are compensable in tort law.”  (para. 32)  

The Premier said: “I know that [the groups] have been controversial in some schools. We need to move beyond that….And I am proud that effective this September, high school students who want their school to have a student support group for LGBT students will have one … This is not a matter of choice for school boards or principals. If students want it, they will have it.”  [Lifesitenews.com, July 4, 2011].

One of the most important cases in Canadian constitutional legal history is the 1959 case of Roncarelli v. Duplessis. There are interesting similarities between the impugned conduct of Maurice Duplessis in his capacity as the Attorney-General of Quebec in that case, and Mr. McGuinty’s current attempt in his capacity as Premier of Ontario to bully the Ontario Bishops and the Catholic Schools into forcing their Catholic teachers to establish and supervise either “Gay Straight Alliance” groups, or groups that operate under a different title but which have the same sinister and unlawful purpose, which is to “get inside” the existing, presumably Catholic, belief system of the attending students and replace it with one more in line with the political ideology of gay activists. This gay activist effort is unconstitutional, as well as sinister and unlawful, because the Premier is putting the entire weight of the Government of Ontario behind it, and in the process running roughshod over the denominational rights of faithful Catholic electors under section 93 of the Constitution Act, 1867.

In Roncarelli, the plaintiff operated a restaurant and the Quebec Liquor Commission, without prior notice to him, one day announced that his liquor license was cancelled. It was not disputed that the license was cancelled because he “was an adherent of a religious sect or group known as the Witnesses of Jehovah” and for the purpose of preventing him “from continuing to furnish bail for members of that sect summoned before the Recorder’s Court on charges of contravening certain city by-laws respecting the distribution of printed material.” At that time, the Jehovah’s Witnesses in Quebec had been carrying on an active campaign involving the distribution of printed pamphlets and other material that was offensive to many Christians, and Catholics in particular.   Justice Abbott of the Supreme Court of Canada said he had “no doubt that at that time many believed this material to be seditious.”

It was also not disputed that the Manager of the Quebec Liquor Commission would not have cancelled the liquor license of Mr. Roncarelli but for the order and authorization of Duplessis, who occupied the office of Attorney-General for Quebec, and who had no statutory power to interfere in the administration or direction of the Quebec Liquor Commission.

On appeal of the case to the Supreme Court of Canada, the Court held that Duplessis was personally liable in damages to Mr. Roncarelli. Justice Rand said: “The act of [Duplessis] through the instrumentality of the Commission brought about a breach of an implied public statutory duty toward [Mr. Roncarelli]; it was a gross abuse of legal power expressly intended to punish him for an act wholly irrelevant to the statute, a punishment which inflicted on him, as it was intended to do, the destruction of his economic life as a restaurant keeper within the Province. Whatever may be the immunity of the Commission or its member from an action for damages, there is none in [Duplessis]. He was under duty in relation to [Mr. Roncarelli] and his act was an intrusion upon the functions of a statutory body.   The injury done by him was a fault engaging liability within the principles of the underlying public law of Quebec.” 

In Odhavji Estate, the Supreme Court of Canada said: “Although Roncarelli was decided at least in part on the basis of the Quebec civil law of delictual responsibility, it is widely regarded as having established that misfeasance in a public office is a recognized tort in Canada.” ( per Iacobucci, J. at para. 19). In Roncarelli,  Justice Rand said:  “It was urged by Mr. Beaulieu [Duplessis’ legal counsel] that [Duplessis],  as the incumbent of an office of state, so long as he was proceeding in ‘good faith’, was free to act in a matter of this nature virtually as he pleased.” Justice Rand summarily dismissed this argument, insisting that carrying out a statute according to its intent and for its purpose in “good faith” does “not mean for the purposes of punishing a person for exercising an unchallengeable right; it does not mean arbitrarily and illegally attempting to divest a citizen of an incident of his civil status.”  

Justice Abbott said: “I have no doubt that in taking the action which he did, [Duplessis] was convinced that he was acting in what he conceived to be the best interests of the people of his Province but this, of course, has no relevance to the issue of his responsibility in damages for any acts done in excess of his legal authority. I have no doubt also that [Duplessis] knew and was bound to know [emphasis added] as Attorney-General that neither as Premier of the Province nor as Attorney-General was he authorized in law to interfere with the administration of the Quebec Liquor Commission or give an order or an authorization to any officer of that body to exercise a discretionary authority entrusted to such officer by the statute.”

Justice Martland said: “Is…. [Duplessis’] position altered by the fact that apparently he thought it was his right and duty to act as he did?   I do not think that it is.  The question of whether or not his acts were done by him in the exercise of his functions is not to be determined on the basis of his own appreciation  of those functions, but must be determined according to law.  [Duplessis] apparently assumed that he was justified in using any means he thought fit to deal with the situation which confronted him.  In my view, when he deliberately elected to use means which were entirely outside his powers and were unlawful, he did not act in the exercise of his functions as a public official.”
 The Lessons of  Roncarelli Applied to McGuinty’s Promotion of the Equity and Inclusion Education Policy (the “EIE”)

Duplessis claimed to be a member of the Catholic Church. Premier McGuinty has also claimed to be a member of the Catholic Church, although, judging by his actions in recent years, I doubt that he claims to be anything more than a nominal Catholic. Duplessis had an animus against Jehovah’s Witnesses because they were publishing what today would have been called hate literature directed at Catholics and the Catholic Church, and tried to do something to stop it.Today, Premier McGuinty has an animus against his own Church and its teachings on the subject of homosexuality, and takes the ideological position that its approach to persons who claim a same-sex attraction causes such persons harm.   He therefore has sided with a special interest group, the gay activists, against his own Church and its schools, in their effort to gain access to Catholic students for the purpose of propagandizing them in the group’s ideological and political positions.
      
Like Duplessis, Premier McGuinty thinks he has the right to “do as he pleases” to accomplish his political goals. McGuinty signaled his intent to use, as Duplessis used, unlawful means to accomplish them, and then carried out that intent. There are many elements of the EIE itself (the offensive curriculum requirements, the infringement on the parental right to receive notice of bullying events at the school, the requirement to refer students to external organizations that mock, ridicule, and/or reject Catholic teaching, the requirement to discipline students for repeating, supporting or promoting Catholic teaching on homosexuality), that the Catholic schools have the constitutional right to amend to make them consistent with Catholic teaching,  but his declared intent to force Catholic schools to comply with one particular requirement ---- that they establish and maintain student-led support groups modeled on the Gay Straight Alliance Groups promoted by gay activists ----is especially egregious governmental conduct.  (Please go to Part II for the conclusion of this blog entry)


Geoff Cauchi, LL.B.

Is Dalton McGuinty a 21st Century Duplessis?, Part II

St. John Fisher and St. Thomas More
The Evidence of Deliberate Unlawful Conduct

If, as Mr. McGuinty insists, Catholic school principals will have “no choice” in the matter is not sufficient evidence that his conduct is “deliberate”, I don’t know what is. Surely Mr. McGuinty is “bound to know” that his Gay Pride statement contradicts the assurances given by the Provincial Legislature in the Religious Freedom Act, R.S.O. 1990, which says that the “free exercise and enjoyment of religious profession and worship, without discrimination or preference, provided the same be not made an excuse for acts of licentiousness, or a justification of practices inconsistent with the peace and safety of the Province, is by the constitution and laws of this Province assured to all Her Majesty’s subjects within the same.”

Surely Mr. McGuinty is “bound to know” that every authority given by the Education Act (Ontario) is required by law to be “exercised in a manner consistent with and respectful of the rights and privileges guaranteed by section 93 of the Constitution Act, 1867 [“Section 93”] and by section 23 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.” [ss. 1(4) and (4.1)]. These rights and privileges are incidences of the civil status of every faithful Catholic separate school ratepayer in the Province of Ontario.

Surely Mr. McGuinty is “bound to know” that clauses 230.19(1)(a) and 257.52(1)(a) of the Education Act (Ontario) demonstrate that the Ontario Legislature concedes that the jurisprudence on the scope of Section 93 means that the Government of Ontario and its agents, including the Minister of Education and the Premier, have no authority to “interfere with or control…the denominational aspects of a Roman Catholic Board.”

Surely Mr. Guinty is “bound to know” that the Section 93 jurisprudence, boiled down to its bare essence, means that “section 93(1) of the Constitution Act, 1867 guarantees denominational school boards in Ontario the right to fair and equitable funding, and to control over the denominational aspects of their education program, as well as those non-denominational aspects necessary to deliver the denominational elements”: Ontario English Catholic Teachers’ Assn. v. Ontario (Attorney General), [2001] 1 S.C.R. 470, 2001 SCC 15. These boards owe a fiduciary duty to their faithful ratepayers to properly exercise this power of control on their behalf.   

Surely Mr. McGuinty knows that student-led groups are either part of the curriculum of a school (his Ministry of Education’s own documents describe their activities as “co-curricular”), and therefore that their activities are denominational aspects of a Catholic school’s educational program, or (at the very least) non-denominational aspects of its education program that a Catholic board must have the right to control to ensure that they do not contradict Catholic teaching. This control is necessary, because if their activities contradict what is taught in the more formal part of the curriculum, they will undermine the judicially recognized aim of Catholic schools, which is to lead Catholic students to accept the Catholic faith.

Surely Mr. McGuinty knows that his government’s Human Rights Commission has been misleading educational authorities in the Province of Ontario when its representatives tell them, in connection with the promotion of the EIE, that the requirements of the Human Rights Code (Ontario) “trump” the provisions of the Education Act (Ontario), and, by implication, the denominational rights of Catholic electors and parents under Section 93.  In fact, explicit provisions of the Code say exactly the opposite [see section 19].

Surely Mr. McGuinty is “bound to know” that the courts have consistently “read down” the anti-discrimination provisions of provincial human rights codes to make sure that they are consistent with Section 93 and that they recognize that a service provider like a Catholic school board has a right to NOT associate with persons who do not share its Catholic beliefs.

Surely Mr. McGuinty is “bound to know” that the Supreme Court of Canada has confirmed, on several occasions, that when Catholic school boards legitimately exercise their denominational rights, the exercise of those rights is immune from Charter challenge or scrutiny [see Gosselin (Tutor of) v. Quebec (Attorney General), 2005 SCC 15, [2005] 1 S.C.R. 238, and the other cases referred to therein].

In light of all these things Mr. McGuinty is “bound to know”, he cannot legitimately claim that he has lawful authority to coerce Catholic boards to comply with the “GSA” requirement on the ground that if he fails to do so, the Ministry of Education and Catholic boards will be exposed to Charter and Code claims from disgruntled students who claim to have a same-sex attraction.

I wrote this piece as the feast days of Saints Thomas More and John Fisher were approaching.   Whether or not Dalton McGuinty will ever be held accountable for what he has done will depend on whether or not the Catholic bishops, the separate school board trustees, and the faithful Catholic teachers and ratepayers have the guts to challenge him and his government in the courts. Mr. McGuinty seems to be confident that no such saints can be found among us in the 21st century.


Geoff Cauchi, LL.B.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Does your parish have a pastoral plan?

One of the things that has come out of our battle, in Ontario, with the Equity and Inclusive Education Strategy and Bill 13 is that many of our parishes had no knowledge of what was happening and no plan to fight back. Without a clear strategy it's difficult to promote and defend the faith as a family of believers. The first apostles were stronger by the very fact that they were a faith community with a mission to evangelize. Did any diocese, including the archdiocese, in this province have a plan to communicate the moral dangers to Catholic education inherent in the "Equity" policy and later the legislation known as Bill 13 to parishes and to schools? Did the Catholic boards have a plan to combat the "Equity" policy? What about our trustees? If any of them did, it was not effectively shared with the faithful in the pews, the parent councils and at board meetings. As a result, our response was weak, often disorganized and ineffectual.

The lesson learned here is that we need as a community of faith to have a plan to effectively live, defend and spread our faith, in our schools, in our families and in our parishes. This is particularly important as we celebrate the upcoming Year of Faith. Why not make this project a personal, parish or family objective? In order to help us renew and deepen our faith, Pope Benedict XVI has sent us an Apostolic Letter of love called, Porta Fidei; the year will also mark the 50th anniversary since the publication of the Vatican II documents, and twenty years of the release of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Our plan could begin simply by reading this letter. If you were to receive a love letter from your father, would you leave it unread?

Pope John Paul II, on the very day on which he closed the Holy Door for the Holy Year, January 6, 2001, he issued a brand new document entitled Novo Millennio Ineunte, As We Enter the Third Millennium. In this magnificent apostolic letter, the Holy Father gave his pastoral plan to the whole universal Church at the dawn of the new millennium; he emphasized seven pastoral priorities. The plan can be easily applied to local parishes and archdioceses. It was the Holy Father making a proposal to the Church to spiritually renew itself. Of course to implement any part or the entire plan will require a collaborative effort with our pastors and other Church leaders. But first we do need to think about developing a spiritual map to get us there, and then look for ways to make it work. Here's the seven pastoral priorities:

1. Holiness
2. Prayer as a reciprocal conversation with God
3. The centrality of the Eucharist in Catholic belief and practice
4. Frequent confession
5. To live by grace and by the Spirit
6. Frequent meditation on the Scriptures and the New Catechism
7. The new evangelization

Any informed Christian/Catholic individual, family and school that was trying to follow and live even to a minimum standard the first six parts of this pastoral plan would have recognized the moral problems with the "Equity" policy and Bill 13, from the very beginning. The fact that the government was able to pass this new policy in all school boards and then approve Bill 13, shows that most of us were either badly informed, not practicing the first six parts of this pastorasl plan or a combination of both. We leave the answer in God's hands. However, the forces of secularism in Ontario and in the rest of Canada are organized and will not go away any time soon. One of the ways in which Christians/Catholics can recover a sense of direction on this earthly pilgrimage is to try to establish and follow a spiritual plan to rebuild and to rediscover the faith.

We need to pray for God's grace to help us with every step we take. We must look to Christ's life on earth and His plan for human salvation as the perfect example. In the next posting, we will look at some of the specific details for doing this. We welcome your comments and suggestions as to how this initiative can best work for our families, our schools and our parishes: "For where two or three meet in my name, I am there among them." (Mt. 18: 20)






Monday, June 18, 2012

Bill 55 undermines environmental protection

It seems that this Liberal government will not stop at attacking the psychological well being of our children with the passage of Bill 13, they also want to pass Bill 55 that would see the undoing of many of the legal regulations now in place to protect the environment and this province's natural resources.

According to a Greenpeace report, the current distraction about a summer election, the media spin on this and the focus on a balanced budget are designed to make sure there's little transparency about Bill 55 so as to allow the proposed legislation to pass. Together Greenpeace, the David Suzuki Foundation and Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society Wildlands league and Ontario Nature have urged the Liberal government and the other two major parties to work together so that there are legal rules in place to continue to protect the environment and Ontario's species.

By putting these environmental changes in an omnibus budget, a document containing 325 pages, the government can more easily avoid any public debate on the issue and hide the details about how Bill 55 will scrap several environmental protections. Surely many of the changes would be debated and challenged under Ontario's Environmental Bill of Rights. But if you avoid the debate, the government also avoids any disagreements and changes. You can be sure that if an election were called, the Liberals would never mention anything to do with Bill 55 because the very idea of trying to deceive the electorate would surely not help them get re-elected. Too often politics is the ugly art of deception.

The future of Ontario rests on having clean lakes and lands and the protection of wildlife and wilderness so that our children, grandchildren and great-grandchilren can enjoy them too. This attitude is truly about a sustainable future. A good life comes from trying to live it virtuously. But to do this requires that we have laws to protect the environment: we need to protect the human body at all stages, other forms of animal life and nature. God's good earth is both our womb and our tomb. Human beings have no right to defile or to destroy the wonder, the gift and beauty of God's work. This is why every abortion committed is a sin: We kill God's creation. Polluting the physical environment we show disrespect for God's work.  If we are good stewards of God's creation, we will naturally have the uncontaminated resources to nourish our bodies with clean water, good food, healthy air and appreciate the grandeur of Ontario and Canada's pristine wilderness.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church on respect for the integrity of creation is very instructive about this: "The seventh commandment enjoins respect for the integrity of creation. Animals, like plants and inanimate beings, are by nature destined for the common good of past, present, and future humanity. Use of the mineral, vegetable, and animal resources of the universe cannot be divorced from respect for moral imperatives. Man's dominion over inanimate and other living beings granted by the Creator is not absolute; it is limited by concern for the quality of life of his neighbor, including generations to come; it requires a religious respect for the integrity of creation." (2415)

Saturday, June 16, 2012

The Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary: saying yes to life



As we celebrate the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary, we recall these words of St. Luke, "Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart."(Lk:2:19) Our Blessed Mother "kept" the Word of God in her heart by saying yes to the word of God. She carried in her womb the Word made flesh for nine months. She said, "Yes" to life twice: to human life and to divine life. She obeyed and gave birth to her beloved Son allowing her pregnancy to change her life and the life of the whole world forever.

Let's thank God for the wonderful gift of life and for her Son's work of Salvation by his Incarnation, his death and his Resurrection. We thank God for the Blessed Virgin Mary and we pray that through her intercession one day Canada will end the culture of killing the unborn and that like Our blessed Mother all mothers and fathers will welcome every life into the world. We hope you listen to and enjoy this beautiful and song called, "Let Me Live" and sung by the wonderful voice of tenor David Parkes. May the Holy Spirit inspire us all to embrace life from conception to its natural end. In her praise, Blessed be the great Mother of God, Mary most holy.

Friday, June 15, 2012

The time has come to take a decisive stand

The Judgment of Solomon
As a retired Catholic teacher and parent, I cannot see how anyone including some of our bishops can say that the controversial sections of Bill 13 aren’t contrary to the Catechism or that it can be accommodated with Catholic teaching. It's sad that some Catholic leaders agree with one MPP who recently said, "that Catholic schools can operationalize Bill 13." In the world of politics, nearly all things are possible. In the world of natural law and morality, only the truth counts. Of course, in the fluid game of politics anything can be implemented, rationalized and in this case we can even legislate gay/straight alliances in Catholic schools and claim they comply with the teaching of the Church. But GSAs by definition contradict Catholic teaching and the very meaning of personhood and family.

What's the Catechism for if we aren't ready to live it and defend it? The Toronto Catholic District School Board was the only board, thanks to parental input and their hard work in mobilizing the community, to pass two amendments to the "Equity and Inclusive Education Strategy:One was the protection of denominational rights and the second the teaching of the Catechism. It doesn't matter how many trustees, school board officials, MPPs and Ontario English Catholic Teachers Association representatives say that Bill 13 is compatible with Catholic teaching. It's not. Bill 13 cannot be reconciled with Catholic teaching because students, parents and staff are legally forced to accept numerous sexual orientations, GSAs and the promotion/acceptance of the LBGT lifestyle. GSAs are now approved school clubs, but a Bible club or its distribution by the Gideons have already been rejected as unacceptable school activities.

If Bill 13 were truly inclusive and diverse as its proponents claim, then it should include and respect the Catholic position and other cultural views of human sexuality, the person and marriage. Regrettably, it doesn't. Bill 13 discriminates against people of faith and anyone who dares to disagree with it. The politicians have passed Bill 13 for political reasons. The very least they could have done in the process is not insult Catholic parents, Christian parents sending their children to public schools and the rest of the electorate by telling them the truth about the legislation: It undermines and contradicts Christian beliefs and parental rights. It's Christophobic and anti-Christian at heart.

Bill 13 has also been very divisive. Surely the politicians are aware of this. If this weren't so, we would not have had so many protests, including two at Queen's Park, and dozens of presentations before the Standing Committee on Social Policy against this misguided bill. The Catholic Church and  even the Protestant Separate school Board in Penetanguishene should invoke section 93 of the Constitution and challenge Bill 13 in the courts to reclaim their denominational rights before the school year opens in September. If we go on with business as usual, we also must stop pretending we have Catholic schools, except of course for the names of saints and martyrs on most of the buildings.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Fighting Christophobia

On June 11, 2012, the Pan-Orthodox Association of Greater Hamilton and the Eastern Orthodox Clergy made a presentation before the Hamilton Wentworth District School Board's trustees and superintendents. The topic: bullying and bullying prevention strategies  to protect Christian students. Father Geoffrey Korz, Dean of Ontario for the Orthodox Church in America, and General Secretary of the Pan-Orthodox Association of Greater Hamilton was the presenter. Many parents were also present at the meeting. Warning: In the first part of the video there's some camera movement, but for the most part it's quite steady and audible.

Please watch the entire video because the address given is very well researched and eloquent. Fr. Korz's presentation to the HWDSB makes a solid effort based on facts to defend the rights, equality and safety of Christian students. With statistical evidence, he urges the board to fight against Christophobia. In the interest of fairness and justice, there's a need for the board to develop, like they have done for self-identified LGBT, (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) an anti-bullying initiative for Christian students who are bullied because of their faith. Fr. Korz goes on to describe an eight point plan that will similarly protect Christian and all other students. He is asking for no more than what Bill13 and the "Equity and Inclusive Education Strategy" will do for students who express one or more of the sexual orientations.

For parents who are thinking of what they can do now that Bill 13 is law, this presentation offers a  number of practical strategies. The ideas can be easily used and modified for a school parent council and to develop a parish/family strategy to push back so that Christian students and students from other cultures have the same rights afforded to them as the LGBT students. We thank Fr. Korz and the association he represents for taking a leadership role in defending not only Christian students, but all students against all kinds of bullying, not limited to sexual orientation.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Premier Dalton McGuinty: meet the new theologian and philosopher

Bill 13, the Accepting Schools Act, which changes the Education Act is now law in Ontario. The process began with the Equity and Inclusive Education Strategy, issued in 2009. It was issued with the government guise to combat bullying and create safe and welcoming school environments so that all students could succeed. However, for too many parents the three year battle has been nothing but divisive, deceptive and anti-education.

Bill 13 has put different cultures, religions and especially the Catholic Church and how it runs its schools on a collision course with gay rights. Bill 13 legally authorizes students to establish homosexual clubs in schools, including separate schools. The underlying political issue was often lost in the debate over the name of the clubs and the actual meaning of "Equity and Inclusive" education, but Premier Dalton McGuinty, Laurel Broten, Minister of Education and now the law make it clear that the clubs, the GSAs, must be called what they are: gay/straight alliances and any number of sexual orientations are now legally protected.

Even Cardinal Thomas Collins must have been surprised when the government stood firm by announcing there would be no negotiating on the name of the GSAs in Catholic schools. The government set the LGBT agenda from the beginning and in the end they made no changes, regardless of the countless meetings with the Archdiocese, parents, cultural representatives and other concerned groups. Mr. McGuinty went so far as to reject the Respecting Difference document which was the Catholic answer to GSAs. He didn't even listen to the dozens of presentations before the Standing Committee on Social Policy asking the government to amend Bill 13. In the end, the bill passed without any substantive changes.

In response, His Eminence released a public statement about his concerns over GSAs, but without a formal pastoral plan to combat the issue from the beginning, the official Catholic response respectfully was late in coming and not much more than capitulation. Here's, as reported in LifeSite news are the Cardinal's words: "Recognizing that the Accepting Schools Act is now the law, Catholic partners will seek, as we have always done, in a way that is in accord with our faith, to foster safe and welcoming school communities." Other bishops have also supported this seemingly paradoxical position.

Like the Ontario bishops the Catholic trustees and Catholic unions have gone on record saying they will try to implement Bill 13 in a Catholic context; Catholic leaders don't plan a legal challenge to this law. Given this accepting attitude from our hierarchy, the faithful in the pew who for the most part have not been informed, must be asking: What are our leaders prepared to defend if not the very freedom of religion, of Catholic schools, of conscience and of parental rights? If our Catholic leaders believed that they could negotiate with the government, the passage of Bill 13 without any changes should dispel that wishful thinking. It was this attitude of acceptance and accommodation that allowed the "Equity and Inclusive Education Strategy" to begin entering our schools as far back as 2009. It all began with a mere policy memorandum sent to school boards, but now it's all supported by law in Ontario.

Mr. McGuinty has gone so far as to say that there are higher values for him to defend and not just those that are Christian or from other religions or cultures. He believes that once Bill 13 is fully implemented in Catholic schools, parents and Catholic leaders, will come to understand the social significance of the legislation. When as a society we completely accept all sexual orientations, we will have a stronger and more integrated society. Parents and school leaders must simply comply with students who wish to start and be part of GSAs. So, our premier has made himself more than a political leader: He's now preaching as a self-appointed Liberal theologian and philosopher: One's "belief"about the acceptance of all sexual orientations trumps Christian values and all other rights, including parental rights. Should you any doubts whatsoever, just check with Bill 13.

According to the premier, one's sexual orientation must now be legally recognized and elevated to the level of a "religion", even if ironically it's a godless belief. But there's more: If Ontarians don't accept this "inclusiveness", this belief in the socially constructed sexual orientations and GSAs, then you just may be charged and taken to court, and if you're a doubting student, expelled from school. We have the premier to thank for this new legislated "religion". That it discriminates against Christians and their 2,000 years of faith tradition since it essentially teaches the legal commandment: "We are all equal, but some 'orientations' are more equal than others" is of little concern to him. He's both judge and jury.

Unlike McGuinty's dictatorial approach, the Catholic schools are not forcing their beliefs on anyone. They and other cultural groups never chose to bully those who disagreed with their views. The legal and political battle was declared on them by this minority government. Catholic schools are attended by students whose parents choose a Catholic education for their children. This is simple democracy. It's a choice not a law. Don't be mislead by the lie that one school system will save money. It won't because in educating the same number of students the cost will not be significantly reduced. The argument that it will cut the education budget is both distracting and political.What Catholics and other cultural and religious groups fought for during the long "Equity" battle was for the space and the freedom in Ontario to live their faith. We got the answer from the government: Bill 13.

As to what we can do, we will conclude with an appropriate quote from the Decree on the Apostolate of the Laity, one of the Vatican II documents. The message is especially directed to the laity: "There is a very urgent need for this individual apostolate in those regions where the freedom of the Church is seriously infringed. In these trying circumstances, the laity do what they can to take the place of priests, risking their freedom and sometimes their life to teach Christian doctrine to those around them, training them in a religious way of life and a Catholic way of thinking, leading them to receive the sacraments frequently and developing in them piety, especially Eucharistic devotion. While the sacred synod heartily thanks God for continuing also in our times to raise up lay persons of heroic fortitude in the midst of persecutions, it embrace them with fatherly affection and gratitude." (17) Amen to that!



Sunday, June 10, 2012

The International Eucharistic Congress for 2012 opens in Ireland

Archbishop of Dublin, Martin Diarmuid
To help us celebrate the solemnity of Corpus Christi, here's the opening address, from Vatican Radio, made by Archbishop Diarmuid Martin for the 50th International Eucharistic Congress. The event opens in Ireland today and runs to June 17, 2012.

"Gaudet Mater Ecclesia: Our Mother the Church rejoices. These were the first words of the homily preached at the opening of the Second Vatican Council by Blessed Pope John XXIII, almost fifty years ago. Today the Church in Ireland rejoices. It rejoices not in triumphalism or external festivities. It rejoices in the gift of this Eucharistic Congress which has been attentively prepared throughout the length and breath of Ireland through prayerful reflection on the great Mystery of our Faith: the sacrificial death and the life-giving resurrection of Jesus, present in the Church wherever the Eucharist is celebrated and worshipped.

"The Church in Ireland rejoices today in the presence of pilgrims from many parts of the world who witness to the universality of our Catholic faith and who show their faith-filled fellowship and solidarity with the Church in Ireland. Through your presence, Cardinal Marc Ouellet, we experience our special bond in faith with the See of Peter and we renew our affection for Pope Benedict XVI, successor of Peter. The Catholic community in Ireland rejoices in the presence of brothers and sisters of other Christian denominations who join with us in prayer reflecting that real - if not yet complete - communion among us through our common baptism.

"Above all the Church in Ireland rejoices in the gift of the Eucharist itself, the presence among us of Jesus Christ, our Saviour, given for us, poured out for us, in a sacrifice of love. The Church in Ireland is a Church on the path to renewal. The fifty years since the Second Vatican Council have brought many graces to the Church in Ireland. The message and teaching of the Council still constitute the blueprint for our renewal. But those fifty years have also been marked with a darker side, of sinful and criminal abuse and neglect of those weakest in our society: children, who should have been the object of the greatest care and support and Christ-like love. We recall all those who suffered abuse and who still today bear the mark of that abuse and may well carry it with them for the rest of their lives. In a spirit of repentance, let us remember each of them in the silence of our hearts.

"The Church in Ireland is on the path to renewal. It will be a lengthy journey. It requires renewed and vigorous New Evangelization, a renewal in faith and in coherent and authentic witness to that faith in the world and in the culture in which we live. In these days of Eucharistic devotion our aim is quietly yet confidently to rebuild and deepen that sense of communion which is the mark of the followers of Jesus. We pray for Christian parents. We pray for those who witness to their faith in shaping society in education and in working for a truly caring society. We pray for all our parishes and Christian communities.

"We pray for a renewal in priestly life and in religious life, as we also give thanks to God for the presence among us of great priests and religious men and women who love the Church, who love their calling and who give generously of their lives following Christ. We pray for all lay people who exercise ministry in the Church. We pray that young Irish people will be led to know the happiness and fulfilment, the joy and the hope, the call to love and commitment that comes from an encounter with Jesus Christ.

"The Church in Ireland is on the path to renewal. The Church is not ours to redesign; it is gift that we receive from the Lord with the guidance throughout history of the Holy Spirit and following the example of Mary and the saints. We look forward in hope. We do not rely on our own talents. We are sure that in our efforts of renewal we are never alone. The Eucharist is food for our journey, inviting us to emulate the self-giving love of Jesus who gave himself for us. Gaudet Mater Ecclesia. May the Church in Ireland rejoice, as Lord renews in all of us the joy of our calling to Communion with Christ and communion with one another."

These are very encouraging universal words from our Mother Church, and they are so appropriate here in Ontario as parents fight for the freedom of Catholic education, raise their children in the faith, have a say in the public square and be part of the building of the Common Good. We pray for the success and the safety of the pilgrims attending this year's Eucharistic Congress.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Catholic Civil Rights League Honours Michael O'Brien

Phil Horgan, President, Joanne McGarry, Executive Director
with past award recipient Frank Chauvin
On June 7, 2012, the Catholic Civil Rights League held their annual dinner and honoured artist, author and Catholic thinker Michael O'Brien. He was this year's winner of the Archbishop Exner Award for Catholic Excellence in Public Life. This is the League's way of recognizing individuals who have done exemplary work in advocacy, education, life issues, media, culture and philanthropy. Past recipients include Toronto's Michael Coren, author and broadcaster, for his staunch and unapologetic defence of Catholicism; Suzanne LaVallee of Quebec for her leadership in education; Frank Chauvin of Windsor, Ontario, founder of Haiti's first orphanage for girls and for initiating the review process of the Order of Canada after it was given to Henry Morgentaler, and Dr. Andrew and Mrs. Joan Simone of Toronto, co-founders of the Canadian Food for Children, for services to philanthropy and international aid.

The Catholic Civil Rights League's mandate is to create societal conditions so that Catholic teaching can be better understood in the public square and opposes defamation and discrimination against Catholics because of what they believe. The evening began with a tribute to Tom Langan, one the League's founding members, past-president and President Emeritus since 2004, who died on May 25.

After Mr. O'Brien was presented with his award, he briefly addressed those present with some profound and insightful thoughts about the faith and the current spiritual battle against Christianity. He said that all his works have been an attempt to show the eternal beauty of every human being and the true story of man. He reminded us that we cannot forget our Christian/faith narrative otherwise we risk forgetting our conception of who we truly are.  In so doing, our forgetfulness will be our ruin. Souls are being lost because of a toxic culture that hides man's true identity and calling. The world needs the Catholic voice, founded on Jesus our spiritual rock, to defend, to nourish and make possible the future of mankind. We must always remember that God is our Father and grieves over abortion, euthanasia and all sins against life. We must be the voice and witness to His truth, to His love and to His grace. A standing applause followed.

Author Michael O'Brien is known the world over for his novel Father Elijah: An Apocalypse. His most recent book is Father at Night. He was born in Ottawa in 1948. His non-fiction books include these titles: A Landscape with Dragons: The Battle for your Child's Mind, and Harry Potter and the Paganization of Culture. Mr. O'Brien is also an internationally renowned artist. His works are now found hanging in many places like churches and monasteries all over North America, Europe, Africa and Australia.

He also has completed a number of publications with his paintings and reflections, such as The Mysteries of the Most Holy Rosary, painting's for John Paul II's Biblical Way of the Cross, as well as The Family and the New Totalitarianism.  Many of his books have been bestsellers in the Catholic and secular world. He has written extensively on how current children's books and films paganize young readers. His works have been translated into many languages. He is married to Sheila and they have six children. We encourage you to visit his website at studiObrien.com.

League President Philip Horgan had this to say about Mr. O'Brien, "Through his ability to engage strong Catholic themes in his writings and the unique religious imagery in his paintings, Michael has given a powerful witness in the world of art and literature, and his work has given spiritual enrichment to countless individuals.  It is an honour to recognize Michael's work and give our supporters an opportunity to meet him."

The evening keynote address was delivered by professor Robert Ventresca, chair of the History department at King's University College, London, Ontario and author of a yet-to-be released biography on Pope Pius XII. His talk centred on how the Catholic faith is often poorly portrayed in the public square and the media. Professor Ventresca stressed the importance of learning to distinguish myth from facts in order to best present the Catholic view. Facts and religion do and must go together. He used the conflicting historical views of Pope Pius the XII regarding his efforts to fight Nazism and save the Jews and others both in Italy and the rest of the world. An example of Catholic myth making at the expense of truth can be found, according to Ventresca, in John Cornwell book, Hitler's Pope. In order to present Catholicism in its proper light, the historian and others need to debunk the myths and reveal the truth which is too often complex and cannot be reduced to caricature or sometimes outright lies.

The Catholic Civil Rights League is to be congratulated, encouraged and supported for providing a forum for Catholicism and for defending the faith in the public square. So we thank the League and pray for its continued success, and we conclude with an appropriate thought from Mr. O'Brien that in evangelizing the truth and love of the Gospel we come to know who we are and are meant to be.