Toronto, ON March 22, 2019 – The Catholic Civil Rights League (CCRL) notes with alarm and despair this morning’s knife attack of Father Claude Grou, rector of St. Joseph’s Oratory in Montreal, while presiding at morning Mass.

We pray for Father Grou’s quick recovery.

The attacker appears to be known to police, and it is hoped that he is dealt with justly.

Thankfully, the provisions of s. 176 of the Criminal Code remain in place, despite an effort in 2017 to have the charge of causing a disturbance in a religious service removed from the Criminal Code. Section 176 prohibits obstructing a minister who is performing a religious ceremony. It further prohibits disturbing an assembly and disturbing the order or solemnity of a meeting.

It has been a week where a major armed attack occurred at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, where 50 people were killed, with scores of others injured.

Canada has seen such a monstrous attack as recently as January 29, 2017, where six individuals were killed, and many more injured, at the Islamic Cultural Centre, in Quebec City.

As we said in 2017, attacks at places of worship have no place in Canada or in any civilized society. We are especially distressed that such attacks in places of worship are increasing with alarm all across the world, as witnessed in every continent over the past few years.

We extend heartfelt sympathies to the families of the victims, and extend our prayers and condolences to our brothers and sisters of faith.

Canadians of all religious perspectives stand together to oppose such wanton violence, and the distress it is intended to place upon our places of worship.

Freedom of religion is the first enumerated fundamental right in our Charter for a reason. Attacks on a faith community at worship cut at the heart of our shared understandings as Canadians, and such aggressions have no place in our country.

Let us pray for each other.

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.

To donate to the CCRL, please click here.

For further information:

Christian Domenic Elia, PhD
CCRL Executive Director