Christian values at odds with a secular world

By  Innocent Madawo, Catholic Register Special
  • November 10, 2006
TORONTO - The Catholic Church and Canada's public institutions seem to be on a collision course, according to the Catholic Civil Rights League (CCRL).

The CCRL held its annual general Meeting Nov. 2 at which its year review report bemoaned the disregard of true Christian values by the government and the castigation of Catholic teachings by the media.

In clear reference to the contentious gay marriage law, the guest speaker, William Gairdner, chairman of Enshrine Marriage Canada, wondered at Canadian society's shift from what he termed "organic democracy to radical democracy."

Gairdner said organic democracy espoused family values while radical democracy exaggerated the importance of the rights of the individual. He said that eroded the self-renewal concept of a community through marriages between men and women for the purposes of procreation.

"Our sexual order in relation to marriage and procreation was, until about a year ago, rounded in four traditional, legal and moral prohibitions based on number, gender, age and incest. You (can) only marry one person at a time, only someone of the opposite gender, never someone beneath a certain age and not a blood relation.

"All four measures protected and promoted a proactive society and they are in the process of dissolving," said Gairdner.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper's Conservative government was voted into power in part because it promised to hold a free vote in the House of Commons on the gay marriage law. That vote is expected some time in the near future.

In a joint end-of-year report, CCRL president Phil Horgan and executive director Joanne McGarry said the media have unfairly criticized the church.

"From the glamourized lies of The Da Vinci Code to the more humdrum misinformation that fills the media whenever the church is in the news, anti-Catholic defamation is almost as accepted in Canada as a bad weather forecast.

"The League continues to combat anti-Catholic defamation whenever possible through education, positive dialogue and, when required, through protests," the report said.

Horgan and McGarry said the church's position ran counter to that of the mainstream media, which seemed to treat the "bizarre" as normal.

"Public debate involving (such issues as) abortion, bioethics, euthanasia and our basic understanding of marriage and family all have a tendency to pit faithful Catholics against a secular mindset," they said.

Highlights of the League's advocacy work in the 2005-2006 year included lobbying Parliament to defend laws compatible with Christian values and intervening in court challenges in support of religious freedom.

For instance, the CCRL intervened in the case of British Columbia teacher Chris Kempling, who is appealing a penalty imposed on him by the B.C. College of Teachers when he wrote letters to newspapers criticizing homosexual conduct.

(Madawo is a freelance writer in Toronto.)

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