Wednesday, November 23, 2005

The Hireling Report #22

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Tuesday November 22, 2005

St. Boniface Archbishop “Wiggling” with Ambiguous Statement on Stephen Lewis Award

By Hilary White

ST. BONIFACE, November 22, 2005 ( - After requests from pro-lifers and Catholics to revoke an award to the infamously anti-Catholic abortion crusader, Stephen Lewis, neither St. Boniface General Hospital nor the Archbishop of St. Boniface has backed away from the decision. Lewis is being offered the prestigious 2005 International Award for his “work in the fight against HIV/AIDS in Africa,” according to a press release from the Catholic hospital.

Lewis is indeed prominent for his international work, but his prominence is as a leader in the cause for abortion, contraception and mass sterilization programmes and his implacable enmity for Catholic teaching on the sanctity of life, the dignity of sexuality and the human person. He made the pro-life hall of infamy when the current edition of Canada’s national pro-life newspaper, the Interim, included him in the top ten of those “who have most helped lead the moral assault on Canada.”

Archbishop Emilius Goulet of St. Boniface Archdiocese and a member of the hospital’s board, disclaimed responsibility for the decision in a letter to Manitoba pro-life leader, Maria Slykerman saying, “I was not personally consulted on this matter and I don’t remember that this topic was ever brought up at a Board meeting.”

Mrs. Slykerman of Campaign Life Coalition Manitoba had written to the archbishop requesting that the decision be rescinded, but the bishop’s response has left more confusion than clarity and the award is going forward.

Mrs. Slykerman received two responses from Archbishop Goulet the first of which said that he understood the objections to Stephen Lewis being honored by a Catholic institution. He suggested that Mrs. Slykerman write to the hospital board members with her concerns. “A letter from Campaign Life Coalition Manitoba might be more convincing to these boards than anything else,” Archbishop Goulet wrote on October 12.

When published an article on the issue, Mrs. Slykerman said that letters and phone calls started coming in and she suspects also to the Archbishop’s office. His second letter said that “many people have expressed their disagreement regarding the decision,” and reiterated that he “had no part in the decision.”

However, Archbishop Goulet refused to condemn the award or make any effort to stop it, saying only that it was “unfortunate” that the granting of a Catholic award to Stephen Lewis “appears to have an ambiguous connotation.”

Despite Mrs. Slykerman’s having informed the archbishop of Lewis’ long history of support of abortion and contraception, Goulet refused to address the problem, saying instead that “the granting of an International Award is a legitimate means to show our common effort in relieving human suffering.”

The archbishop did not expand upon what “common effort” it is possible for a Catholic institution to have with one of the Church’s most outspoken self-declared enemies, however.

Commenting to, Mrs. Slykerman said that she had been shocked by the Archbishop’s confusing and lifeless statement. She said, “It’s certainly very different from the first letter he sent me.”

She commented, “I think he is trying to wiggle out of this. He must have been getting fed up with the letters coming into his office on the subject, but he’s not saying anything himself.”

Lewis is a major player in the UN AIDS response, a cornerstone of which is the denunciation of Catholic teaching on chastity and fidelity within marriage. As Deputy Executive Director of UNICEF, Lewis was in a policy position there when the Vatican withdrew its support from the UN children's fund for its promotion of abortion and contraception in 1996.

Archbishop Goulet did not return calls from by press time.


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