Toronto, ON April 17, 2020 – The Catholic Civil Rights League (CCRL) mourns the loss of Fr. Alphonse de Valk, CSB who passed away yesterday in his 89th year.
Fr. de Valk was the 2013 recipient of the CCRL’s Archbishop Adam Exner Award for Catholic Excellence in Public Life.
He co-founded the League in 1985 and was founding editor of Catholic Insight, a role he continued to fill until his retirement in 2012.
CCRL President Phil Horgan says of Fr. de Valk’s legacy:
I was blessed to know and to be with Fr. de Valk on many occasions over the years. The League was pleased to honour him with our Exner Award in 2013, the year that section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act was repealed. I had acted as his counsel in defending him and Catholic Insight against charges of “hate speech” under that provision of the CHRA, which he successfully opposed.
Fr. de Valk was a passionate defender of life, and of free speech, and stood for a robust understanding of freedom of conscience and religion.
In October 1985, he spent a night in Toronto’s Don Jail following his arrest for chaining himself to the gate of the Morgentaler Abortion Clinic. Fr. de Valk 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 of the Morgentaler facility. He was eventually fined $750 or two weeks in jail. Fr. de Valk refused to pay the fine and he never went to jail.
Fr. de Valk was born on Easter Sunday, 1932. He died during the Easter Octave, and just prior to Divine Mercy Sunday. His witness to the Gospel of Life was always centred on his relationship with Jesus Christ, in his case, through the priesthood. May he be richly rewarded with the promises of the same Christ, our Lord.
Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him. May the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.
About the Archbishop Exner Award
The CCRL 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:
Fr. Anthony Van Hee, SJ, prolife activist through prayerful protest (2019)
Dr. Catherine Ferrier, Catholic physician, Physicians’ Alliance against Euthanasia (2018)
Dr. Robert Walley, founder of MaterCare International (2017)
Alex Schadenberg, anti-euthanasia/assisted suicide activist (2016)
Dr. Donald DeMarco, scholar, writer, seminary professor, and pro-life activist (2015)
Gwen Landolt, long time national Vice-President of REAL Women of Canada, pro- life advocate, promoter of the family in national and international circles (2014)
Fr. Alphonse de Valk, CSB, pro-life activist, writer and editor (2013)
Michael D. O’Brien, artist and author, for creative work incorporating authentic Catholicism and Catholic teaching (2012)
Suzanne LaVallee of Quebec for leadership in education (2010)
The late 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)
Fraser Field of Vancouver, founder of Catholic Educators’ Resource Centre, for service to education (2006)
The late Regina business leader Frederick W. Hill for philanthropy and community service (2005)
We appeal to any of you not financially impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic, who may wish to accomplish more almsgiving by sending a donation to the CCRL by clicking here or by mailing a cheque to the CCRL at 2305 Bloor Street West, Toronto, ON, M6S 1P1, or by calling the office at (416) 466-8244 or 1-844-722-CCRL.
About the CCRL
Catholic Civil Rights League (CCRL) (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. 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.
To donate to the CCRL, please click here.
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