League responds to news coverage of Pope

TORONTO, February 21, 2013 – Media coverage of Pope Benedict’s resignation (or as it is formally known, renunciation of the papacy), has included a real mixture of good articles along with some needlessly negative, sometimes downright anti-Catholic vitriol, particularly from columnists and message board posts. To help improve balance, we have written to The Star, twice, regarding separate Rosie Di Manno columns, the Globe once regarding a news story, and later regarding a column by Gerald Caplan, CBC twice, once regarding a longish news story and again regarding This Hour has 22 Minutes (see below). Several other newspapers were contacted, including the Ottawa Citizen, St. John’s Telegram and Winnipeg Free Press. We also provided an article for The Citizen, by our Ottawa director Richard Bastien. Media interviews were given by President Phil Horgan, and directors Richard Bastien and Christian Elia, with CHCH and Sun Media respectively. The Caplan piece in The Globe was a particularly strong example of how anti-Church bias can produce line after line of half truths and innuendo. Everything from the “silence” of Canadian Cardinal Marc Ouellet in the sex abuse crisis to allegations of Church complicity in the Rwandan civil war, was all packed together to prove the Church has no soul. While our response is unlikely to be printed, League members might find it interesting so we’re including it here.   League press release Pope’s resignation opens door to media mythology, Michael Coren, Register, Feb. 24 Petition regarding Russell Peters Christmas Special CTV aired the special again this past December, despite protests last year about an offensive portrayal of the Virgin Mary. If you...

News story corrected; MPs seek police probe of live birth abortions

OTTAWA, ON February 1, 2013 – Three MPs, Maurice Vellacott, Leon Benoit and Wladyslaw Lizon, have asked the RCMP to investigate a number of late-term abortions that resulted in live births, following which the aborted child died. While this story has been available on blogs for several months, the letter and related discussion in the House of Commons began to be reported January 31. Unfortunately, Canadian Press, the news service on which most Canadian newspapers and broadcast outlets rely on for some of their national coverage, claimed in its story that the letter asked the RCMP to investigate “all abortions performed after 19 weeks of pregnancy.” We contacted CP immediately to express concern about the inaccurate reporting. It was corrected in a follow-up story the same day, and most of the outlets that ran the earlier story have now corrected it. We will be following this story closely due to the important issue it raises. Link to corrected news story: Investigate some abortions as homicides, Tory MPs ask RCMP, CBC, January 31, 2013. Link to MPs’ letter. MPs want investigation into possible homicide of babies born after botched abortions, Catholic Register, Feb. 4 2013...

CBC radio contest included Church as a “vote-off” option

OTTAWA, ON Nov. 2, 2012 – The CBC Radio One weekly program “Day 6” is having a contest called “Deep Sixed” in which people can vote for or against the elimination of several things, including Facebook, maple syrup, Bluefin tuna, the Catholic Church and “white people.” This was obviously intended as a joke, but we challenged why they would include the Church in a satirical contest of this kind. We encouraged our members to contact them about this bizarre choice, and suggested that “CBC funding” might be a better option! Following our protest, program managers said they had decided to remove the Church from the list, replacing it with a discussion of various countries’ economic...

League responds to prayer controversy

League responds to criticism of Winnipeg’s new police chief’s favourable views on prayer and organized religion: The Editor: It’s remarkable how quickly the religion-haters come out of the woodwork when any public figure indicates he is favourable to prayer, and/or to organized religion as a whole. Given that Sgt. Clunis’ follow-up comments make it clear that he was not proposing to replace standard policing methods with divine intervention, but rather was emphasizing the importance of community action, I must ask just what is the motivation of all the critics: Has such an approach been tried and found wanting? Should we rest easy knowing that the non-religious approach to crime has worked so well? Or is it merely that we should all distrust anyone who is public about religious belief? Whatever the reason, this incident has not brought out the best face of religious tolerance.   Joanne McGarry, Executive Director Catholic Civil Rights League –    Winnipeg Free Press letters, October 29,...

CBC “married Jesus” satire protested

TORONTO, ON, October 2, 2012 – The Catholic Civil Rights League has protested the satirizing of the Last Supper in the Sept. 28 episode of CBC’s “This Hour has 22 Minutes.” In a letter to the show’s producers, the League commented on the double standard often seen in portrayals of religious stories and caricatures. Based on the recent news story that some fragments of an ancient parchment refer to a “wife of Jesus”, the skit presented The Last Supper, as depicted in Da Vinci’s masterpiece, interrupted several times by a woman portrayed as Jesus’ wife.  One interruption, to the elevation of the wine including the familiar words of the consecration, was greeted with “…can’t this wait, I was in the middle of something.” In the League’s letter, Executive Director Joanne McGarry stated, “While… the discovery of a fragmentary parchment alluding to the possibility of a married Jesus was in the news recently, it’s hard to believe your writers could find no other incident in the life of Jesus where the humorous possibilities could be exploited in a non-offensive way. By instead mocking one of Christianity’s most revered Gospels, the foundation of the sacrament of Holy Eucharist, you are certainly upholding the principle that it’s okay to ridicule Christianity to a degree never contemplated for other religions. “There have been many violent responses to anti-Islamic “entertainment”. The fact that Christians only respond with the channel changer and with words does not make offensive portrayals  acceptable. Be assured that believers, and many other fair-minded Canadians, do not appreciate their tax dollars being spent on this type of entertainment.” Christians resigned to...

Vatican moves quickly to block German magazine’s offensive depiction of Pope

Pope Benedict XVI has taken legal action against the German satire weekly magazine Titanic and has managed to get a cease and desist order filed against it. In the afternoon on Tuesday July 10, 2012, Hamburg judges issued an urgent injunction forbidding Titanic to distribute the front and back pages of it’s July issue both in print form and online. – Vatican Insider article...