Events and Engagements

March for Life, Ottawa

On May 12, the Catholic Civil Rights League (CCRL) was pleased to extend its continued support for the national March for Life taking place in Ottawa with representation from across the country. The theme for this year’s march was #endthekilling

As in previous years, the CCRL’s executive director, Christian Elia, was present in Ottawa supporting the cause with media work, advertising support, and a financial donation on behalf of the CCRL. Christian participated in EWTN’s live coverage from Parliament Hill.

Alex Schadenberg Wins CCRL Archbishop Adam Exner Award

On May 9, the Catholic Civil Rights League (CCRL) was pleased to announce that it had chosen anti-euthanasia/assisted suicide activist Alex Schadenberg as winner of this year’s Archbishop Adam Exner Award for Catholic Excellence in Public Life.

CCRL Spring Dinner

On June 9, the CCRL hosted its annual dinner in Toronto. This year the keynote speaker was Douglas Farrow, Professor of Christian Thought at McGill University, holder of the Kennedy Smith Chair in Catholic Studies, and Project Director for Pluralism, Religion and Public Policy. He spoke about the concept of autonomy and autonomy and dignity as understood by society, reflected in the Supreme Court of Canada’s Carter decision and Parliament’s response in Bill C-14.

The CCRL Unveils Editorial Column at Featuring New Board Member Charles Lewis

On June 16, the League was pleased to announce the introduction of a new editorial column featuring its newest member of the board of directors, Charles Lewis.

Charles Lewis had been a close friend of the CCRL, giving the keynote address at our 2015 Spring Dinner. He has 36 years of experience in journalism and is currently a regular contributor to The Catholic Register. He was the religion reporter for the National Post until January 2014. He is a leading anti-euthanasia activist through his writing since 2007 and his relentless speaking engagements over the past four years.

It is with great pleasure that the CCRL provides a forum for all of our supporters and indeed all Canadians to read Charles Lewis on a regular basis at

Charles Lewis has contributed 15 editorials to date.

CCRL AGM 2016 with Guest Speaker George Weigel

On October 26, we held our Annual General Meeting (AGM) in the hall of Holy Rosary Church in Toronto, proceeded by Mass.

George Weigel, who received his MA from the University of St. Michael’s College is one of America’s leading Catholic public intellectuals. The renowned Catholic theologian is Distinguished Senior Fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, where he holds the William E. Simon Chair in Catholic Studies.

Mr. Weigel is the author or editor of over 20 books. His weekly column, “The Catholic Difference,” is syndicated to 60 newspapers.

He spoke of “The New Soft Totalitarianism” exploring the ways in which the Autonomy Project — the claim that the Imperial Autonomous Self stands at the center of the 21st-century civilization of the West — is rapidly becoming what Pope Benedict XVI once called the “dictatorship of relativism.”

He also discussed how meeting this challenge is integral to the New Evangelization, the Church’s grand strategy for the new century.

Christian Elia participates in Cardus Senior Fellows’ Symposium on The Nature of Religious Freedom as a Fundamental Freedom

On December 1 and 2, having been invited by CCRL friend and supporter, former ambassador Dr. Andrew Bennett, Christian participated in this symposium devoted to matters of freedom of religion and conscience in Canada and the United States. A paper was presented by 2016 CCRL Spring Dinner guest speaker, Prof. Douglass Farrow.

Selected Interventions and Press Releases


On January 13, the CCRL submitted to the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario (CPSO) that Interim Guidance on Physician-Assisted Death document violates a doctor’s Charter right to freedom of conscience and religion


On February 3, the Catholic Civil Rights League (CCRL) wrote an open letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Minister of Foreign Affairs Stéphane Dion in support of the Office of Religious Freedom and Ambassador Andrew Bennett. The CCRL called for the renewal of the office and its crucial mandate.

On February 11, executive director Christian Elia was quoted in the article, “Trudeau accused of ‘radical secularism’ over apparent plan to shutter religious freedom office” by Steve Weatherbe for LifeSite News.

On February 12, Elia was interviewed live on CTV News Channel as part of their coverage on Pope Francis’ historic meeting with Russian Patriarch Kirill, “1000 years in the making.”

Elia is further quoted extensively by Julia A. Seymour, writing for the World News Group in a February 22 article titled, “Canada contemplates closing its Office of Religious Freedom.”

On February 25, the CCRL strongly opposed the Parliamentary Committee’s Assisted Suicide/Euthanasia Recommendations


On March 24, the Catholic Civil Rights League (CCRL) wrote an open letter to the College of Nurses of Ontario (CNO) in opposition to Physician-Assisted Death: Interim Guidance for Nursing in Ontario on grounds that its main recommendation seriously violates a nurse’s freedom of conscience and religion.

Later that evening, executive director Christian Elia was interviewed by Brian Lilley on Ottawa’s CFRA News Talk Radio about euthanasia and assisted suicide and healthcare professionals’ conscience rights. That interview can be heard here.

In the evening of Easter Sunday, Elia was interviewed live on CTV News Channel regarding the Holy Father’s Urbi et Orbi message.


On April 1, president Phil Horgan was quoted extensively by Evan Wilt in a World News Group article titled, “Canada scraps religious freedom office.”

On April 5 Christian Elia was interviewed for the article, “New guidelines could force Ontario nurses to help euthanize patients” by Lianne Laurence for LifeSite News.


On May 2, the League sent the following submission to the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights regarding Bill C-14 and assisted suicide/euthanasia.


On July 27, the CCRL welcomed the ruling by the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal in Trinity Western University (TWU) v. the Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society (NSBS) while issuing a warning of future clashes of competing Charter rights.


On November 2, the CCRL issued the following release regarding the unanimous 5-0 decision of the BC Court of Appeal in favour of Trinity Western University (TWU) in its ongoing struggle against the Law Society of British Columbia (LSBC).

The League had acted as intervenors in the case alongside the Faith and Freedom Alliance (FFA) and the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Vancouver (RCAV), with the generous support of Archbishop Michael Miller.

Administrative and Development

Holy Week Emergency Appeal

July Newsletter and Mid-Year Development Appeal

December Newsletter and Year-End Appeal


Christian and Phil both maintain active engagements on matters in the media on all issues related to faith in the public square and anti-Catholic defamation.

Both Phil and Christian are quoted regularly in the Catholic Register, Canadian Catholic News, LifeSite News, and the World News Group, in addition to CTV News Channel, and CBC Radio.

Charles Lewis has contributed 15 editorial articles to Many of them have been widely circulated and discussed on social media.

Our Facebook and Twitter activity continues to grow.

A large part of the CCRL’s mandate is to work with the media in order to secure a fair and accurate hearing for Catholic positions on issues of public debate. Always faithful to the teachings of the Magisterium, we seek to help people understand relevant issues from a Catholic perspective.
We urge our supporters and friends to visit us regularly at and to follow us at @CCRLtweets.


About the CCRL

Catholic Civil Rights League (CCRL) ( assists in creating conditions within which Catholic teachings can be better understood, cooperates with other organizations in defending civil rights in Canada, and opposes defamation and discrimination against Catholics on the basis of their beliefs. The CCRL was founded in 1985 as an independent lay organization with a large nationwide membership base. The CCRL is a Canadian non-profit organization entirely supported by the generosity of its members.

For further information:

Christian Domenic Elia, PhD
CCRL Executive Director