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Good News in Controversy

By Dr. Jeff Mirus (bio - articles - email) | Jul 09, 2005

It is no doubt immature to be gleeful at the discomfiture of others, but three of last Friday's Catholic World News stories did at least make me smile.

First there was the report that Fr. John Lemire, pastor of St. Patrick's in Cobalt, Ontario has denied communion to Charles Angus, a Catholic Member of Parliament for the NDP party, after Angus voted to support same-sex marriage Bill C-38. Fr. Lemire had warned Angus as early as January of the Church's stand on such matters, and he rightly told the press this was not a matter of personal whim but of Canon Law. He has the full support of his bishop, Paul Marchand of Timmins.

Angus expressed outrage, but the extent of his Catholicism is readily gauged by his statement that he had been to Mass only a couple of times in the past six months anyway.

Second, we have the delicious prospect of pro-lifers being paid damages for being unlawfully removed from a public sidewalk outside a high school in Long Beach, California, where they were distributing literature to educate students about abortion. US District Court Judge Edward Rafeedie ruled that the school district and city had violated the pro-lifers' constitutional right to free speech, freedom from unlawful arrest, and freedom from unlawful search and seizure.

The City of Long Beach agreed to pay four protesters $105,000. Long Beach Unified School District agreed to pay $25,000. Let's see, that's $32,500 per person for a day's work. Being pro-life is looking up.

Third and finally, acting US Ambassador to the United Nations Anne Patterson sent a formal letter of complaint to the President of the General Assembly taking exception to the exclusion of conservative and pro-life non-governmental organizations from recent consultations. It seems that only leftist NGOs have been handpicked to make speeches to the General Assembly as members prepare for the upcoming Millennium Development Summit. These speeches have emphasized the need to include among the Millennium Development Goals "reproductive health" and "reproductive rights", code phrases for abortion on demand.

This is, of course, politics as usual, but it is refreshing that the US government, which is the chief financial supporter of the UN, does not like it.

I hasten to add that it is not the discomfiture of those brought up short which makes me chuckle. It is simply the good news about good people having the courage to uphold good principles.

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