Canon Lawyer Peter Vere covers Fr. Alphonse de Valk, a Basilian priest and pro-life activist known throughout Canada for his orthodoxy who is currently being investigated by the Canadian Human Rights Commission (CHRC).
What was Father de Valk’s alleged ‘hate act’?
Father defended the Church’s teaching on marriage during Canada’s same-sex ‘marriage’ debate, quoting extensively from the Bible, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and Pope John Paul II’s encyclicals. Each of these documents contains official Catholic teaching. And like millions of other people throughout the world and the ages – many of who are non-Catholics and non-Christians — Father believes that marriage is an exclusive union between a man and a woman.
The response from Mark van Dusen, a media consultant and spokesperson for CHRC, shocked me. I have interviewed van Dusen in the past and he has always struck me as an honest person willing to field tough questions on behalf of the commission. If he feels an accusation against the commission is hogwash, he states so plainly. If he feels the CHRC and its personnel are being unfairly tainted, he states so boldly.
Yet van Dusen did not dismiss the question out-of-hand as I thought he would. “We investigate complaints, Mr. Vere,” he said, “we don’t set public policy or moral standards. We investigate complaints based on the circumstances and the details outlined in the complaint. And …if…upon investigation, deem that there is sufficient evidence, then we may forward the complaint to the tribunal, but the hate is defined in the Human Rights Act under section 13-1.”
In other words, individual Jews, Muslims, Catholics and other Christians who, for reasons of conscience, hold to their faith’s traditional teaching concerning marriage, could very well be guilty of promoting hate in Canada. The same is true of any faith community in Canada that does not embrace this modern redefinition of one of the world’s oldest institutions — a redefinition that even the highly-secularist France rejects.
He also goes on to mention an interesting tidbit in the Mark Steyn trial this week.
Additionally, a message posted to a popular Catholic internet forum has reportedly made its way before the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal. The alleged poster, who is an American writing from America, was commenting on an article written by Mark Steyn – a Canadian author who now lives in New Hampshire. The tribunal accepted this posting as evidence that Steyn promoted “hatred”. While the website is never mentioned by name in news reports – referred to only as “a Catholic website” — a source at the tribunal told me, off-the-record, that the website was Catholic Answers.
While the claim is unconfirmed as of this writing, the controversial Mark Steyn article, over which the British Columbia hearing is being held, was posted to the Catholic Answers message forum. Moreoever, popular Jewish-Canadian blogger Ezra Levant, who is blogging live from the hearing, and who is the subject of his own human rights commission complaint, published a description of the unnamed Catholic forum. Several details match, including the screen names of two participants to the Catholic Answers forum discussion of Steyn’s article.
Imagine that! Canada’s human rights tribunals are now attempting to prosecute a case against an American resident, based upon what an American citizen allegedly posted to a mainstream American Catholic website. What passes for mainstream Catholic discussion in America is now the basis for a hate complaint in Canada.