TORONTO, ON May 17, 2013 – The Catholic Civil Rights League is pleased to announce that it has chosen pro-life activist, writer and editor Father Alphonse de Valk, CSB, as winner of this year’s Archbishop Adam Exner Award for Catholic Excellence in Public Life. The award will be presented at the League’s annual dinner in Toronto May 30, which will feature a keynote address by Stephen Woodworth, MP, proponent of parliamentary Private Members’ Motion 312, which called for a parliamentary study examining Criminal Code provisions about when life begins.
“Through his outstanding witness to the pro-life message, both through protest and through his writing, Father de Valk has given powerful witness to the pro-life message and to the importance of free speech,” said League President Philip Horgan. “It’s an honour to recognize Father de Valk after his recent retirement and reflect on his many contributions to Catholic life in Canada. “
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Father de Valk, who co-founded the League in 1985 and was founding editor of Catholic Insight, a role he continued to fill until his retirement last year, said he is honoured to receive the award from the League. “The League has done a great deal to help the legal side of the pro-life and pro-family movement, and I am greatly honoured to receive this award from them.”
About Father De Valk
A graduate of the University of Toronto and ordained to the priesthood in 1965, Father de Valk spent the early part of his career teaching at schools including St. Thomas More College, University of Saskatchewan, and as principal of St. Joseph’s College, University of Edmonton. In Edmonton he began publishing booklets on individual aspects of the pro-life issue, usually 12 to 24 pages long. They included Church statements on contraception, abortion, sterilization, homosexuality, marriage and medical-moral issues. With a number of contributors, he stretched the series to 36, with a printing record of just over a million copies.
He went to work full time for Campaign Life Coalition in Toronto in 1984, and was editor of The Interim from 1987 to 1992. In October, 1985 he spent a night in the Toronto (Don) Jail for chaining himself to the gate of the Morgentaler Clinic. He continued to protest once a week for almost five years. In 1989 he was arrested nine times and charged with trespassing for violating the injunction against protesting outside the Morgentaler facility, eventually being fined $750 or two weeks in jail. Since then he has stopped witnessing at the site, but has not paid the fine or gone to jail.
Father de Valk co-founded the Catholic Civil Rights League in 1985, and the Ontario Family Coalition Party in 1987.
Father de Valk founded Catholic Insight magazine in 1993 with a special mission to inform, catechize and strengthen faithful Catholics to engage with the culture. He recognized that the intellectual, social and moral underpinnings of the culture of death were interconnected, with a seamless nexus between contraception, abortion, euthanasia and homosexuality. In 2006 he became part of the war against the excesses of human rights commissions when he was charged with hate speech by the Canadian Human Rights Commission, based on a complaint from an Edmonton activist about some writings critical of homosexual conduct, written during the debates about changing the definition of marriage. He was acquitted in 2009 but only after incurring significant legal expense.
Father de Valk retired as editor in the summer of 2012, and now resides at the Basilian farm in Beeton, Ontario.
About the Archbishop Exner Award
The League established the Archbishop Exner Award in 2004 to honour Archbishop Adam Exner, OMI, Archbishop Emeritus of Vancouver, upon his retirement and to recognize outstanding achievement in advocacy, education, life issues, media and culture and philanthropy. Previous recipients include:
*Michael O’Brien, artist and author, for creative work incorporating authentic Catholicism and Catholic teaching (2012)
* Michael Coren, author and broadcaster, for his outspoken defense of Catholicism in media (2011)
* Suzanne LaVallee of Quebec for leadership in education (2010)
* Frank Chauvin of Windsor, Ontario, founder of Haiti’s first orphanage for girls and initiator of an application for review of the process by which Henry Morgentaler was awarded the Order of Canada (2009)
* Dr. and Mrs. Andrew and Joan Simone of Toronto, co-founders of Canadian Food for Children, for services to philanthropy and international aid (2008)
*Campaign Life Coalition President Jim Hughes of Toronto for service to the pro-life movement (2007)
* J. Fraser Field of Vancouver, founder of Catholic Educators’ Resource Centre, for service to education (2006; awarded in 2007)
* The late Regina business leader Frederick W. Hill for philanthropy and community service (2005).
Catholic Civil Rights League (www.ccrl.ca) 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. CCRL was founded in 1985 as an independent lay organization and has chapters across Canada. The Catholic Civil Rights League is a Canadian non-profit organization entirely supported by the generosity of its members.
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