22 February 2011


I. Headline: "Monsignor Feeney Foundation presents... An Evening with Stephen Lewis". Byline: "Celebrated Humanitarian: Stephen Lewis is one of Canada's most influential commentators of social affairs, international development and human rights. He has been named by TIME magazine as one of the 100 most influential people in the world (he was cited in the category which included The Dali Lama, Bill Gates, Oprah Winfrey and Nelson Mandela)". Where: Hilton Hotel, 300 King Street, London, ON. When: Wednesday February 16, 2011, Cocktails at 6 pm, Presentation at 7 pm. Cost: Tickets $45 each... So splashed the poster for Steve. Query: Why did a Catholic foundation sponsor this enemy of the Roman Catholic Church?

Before diving into this affair, let's provide a brief backgrounder. Prior to his current incarnation as cause célèbre humanitaire, Steve played two significant roles in his global campaign against human life. First, as politician. As a young man, his entry dans le monde started with a "clerical position" at the Socialist International. His socialism, no doubt, was inculcated by his father, one time National Secretary of the Cooperative Commonwealth Federation. The CCF was Canada's Communist party before morphing into the Fabianst NDP. The fact that Steve twice dropped out of law school, from the University of Toronto and the University of British Columbia, was irrelevant for his qualification as a future prominent politician. CCF leader and eugenicist Tommy Douglas, CBC's "greatest Canadian", made sure of that. He became NDP Member of Parliament in Ontario in 1963 and it was as early as 1965 that Steve the atheist was promoting the legalization of abortion.[1] He was NDP Leader from 1970 to 1978. The second role was as diplomat/broadcaster. From 1984 to 1988 he was the Canadian Ambassador to the UN. During the 1980s he was also a regular a political panelist on the most boring radio program ever produced in the history of humanity: CBC's Morningside with Peter Gzowski. Finally, from 1995 to 1999 he was Deputy Director of UNICEF, thus interassociated with his later self-named The Stephen Lewis Foundation. Humility is not a trait endemic to this B-grade secular messiah.

III. Just one more aside, on Steve's familial cohorts. His wife Michelle Landsberg is a notorious activist and columnist at The Toronto Star. For decades she's penned tracts against the Catholic Church, being particularly vicious against the pro-life movement. Landsberg is also a good friend of "professional Catholics". In 2007 the Ontario English Catholic Teachers Association (OECTA) asked her to be keynote speaker at its biennial conference.[2] To be sure, there's something very Sidney and Beatrice Webb about these two.[3] Also note that their son Avi Lewis, formerly of the CBC via the nepotistic gateway, is now a program host at Al-Jazeera. To top things off, his wife is popular author Naomi Klein, proponent of Eurostyle socialism, hater of free markets.[4] This isn't the Brady Bunch.

IV. It was with Steve's CBC Massey Lectures in 2005, and its resulting book,[5] that The Stephen Lewis Foundation (an NGO that financially supports HIV/AIDS groups in Africa) really started to mete itself out, as in the endorsement of abortion, "safe sex", condoms, including the unproven notion that male circumcision mitigates HIV risk.[6]. Given this agenda, it was inevitable that Steve's anti-Catholic bigotry would emerge during the Pope's visit to Africa in March 2009, whereupon B16 acuminated:
The problem of HIV/AIDS cannot be overcome with mere slogans. If the soul is lacking, if Africans do not help one another, the scourge cannot be resolved by distributing condoms; quite the contrary, we risk worsening the problem. The solution can only come through a twofold commitment: firstly, the humanisation of sexuality, in other words a spiritual and human renewal bringing a new way of behaving towards one another; and secondly, true friendship, above all with the suffering, a readiness - even through personal sacrifice - to stand by those who suffer.[7]
The international media, of course, went bonkers and quickly pounced on Pope Benedict. Steve, too, got in on the action and, lo!, the vilifications spewed from this so-called humanitarian: "The Pope is living on the moon - every stitch of scientific evidence says condoms are the best preventative measure we have against the virus... another example of the complete indifference to the vulnerability of women".[8] Not according to a liberal professor at Harvard, who (rather surprisingly) came to B16's defence after the media onslaught.[9] Later in a November 2009 the Globe & Mail quoted Steve as saying the "Pope's words are simply not to be taken seriously on the issue. People are too smart to be taken in". Benny must have really gotten on Steve's nerves as the latter was still bemoaning in 2010, stating that the former is "sending a message which ultimately kills people... His words were, frankly, irresponsible and damaging and it was like inviting death".[10] Let's see, invocations of "kills people" and "death" yet he is pro-abortion... Logic is not one of Steve's preponderating faculties.

V. Flashfoward now to 2011, London, Ontario. Last January the London Free Press announced the speaking gig sponsored by the MFF.[11] The reporter, a certain Herman Goodden, perhaps amused by the whole affair, prefaces the article by indicating Steve was "selected by Eve Ensler, author of The Vagina Monologues, as one of the world's foremost feminists". Qualifiers, you know. Although denouncing MFF, Goodden finds Steve's work to be "commendable". Fellow LFP reporter Jennifer O'Brien was euphoric, referring to Steve as "one of Canada’s best orators"[12] Maybe she was having a flashback to her Tigerbeat reading days when Sean Cassidy was king. Even LFP blogger and dissident Catholic Kathy Rumleski offered congratulations to the MFF for its sponsorship. Poor thing, she deems the Church's teachings "frustrating", "sad", "I do not think I'm going to hell because I don't agree with everything taught in the Church".[13] Such a profound and singular theological cogitation! Further, just consider the adulations Steve's received after the February 16 speech: "...amazing energy ...very engaging ...Powerful. Phenomenal ...You're struck by his passion."[14] Surely, they must all be right. For goodness sake, the Sisters of St. Joseph in London were advertising Steve's talk. Sr. Margo Ritchie had the vapours:
There was controversy about Lewis's visit because he holds views on abortion that run counter to official Catholic teaching. Our challenges are too great and our potential too awesome to let our energy be drained away by focusing on differences. The fact that many on our planet, and in our city, struggle for daily survival needs to be front and centre for us.
Do you think Sr. Margo wears a habit? And lest we forget, the Prairie Messenger provides a link to The Stephen Lewis Foundation.

VI. Now it's not as if Steve doesn't have a history of commingling and confabulating with like-minded "professional Catholics". Go back to 2001 and observe that the Canadian Catholic Health Care Association (CCHA) invited him to be keynote speaker at its annual conference.[15] Apparently, everybody loves Steve. Nonetheless, the question must be posed as to why the MFF sponsored this anti-Catholic bigot. Obviously, apostasy and heresy are existent therein. An editorial at the Catholic Register, stating the MFF's choice as a "significant misstep", nevertheless claims that it "can be commended for almost three decades of achievement".[16] Achievement at what specifically? This is an assertion. It cannot be corroborated since it's based only on viewing the website, consisting of a scant five or six pages with no historical data on past sponsorships. What is interesting are the rationalizations proffered by MFF Executive Director Mary Anne Foster. A LSN report quotes her as saying:
Basically what we say is that even though he holds those views [anti-Catholicism, verbal attacks on B16], the Foundation doesn’t agree with them... No. We're not endorsing that... He is an expert on global health and Christians should be open to learning from him just on that level. He's only coming to speak here in London about poverty, children, and education. That's all he's speaking about... We've already told him that those are not up for discussion and they are not going to be part of any speech... If people have asked, we've, you know, basically what we're hoping is the same thing, that he's just here to speak on poverty, children, and educational issues. Most people are happy with that. Ninety percent of the people that have purchased tickets are Catholic.[17]
When you read statements like this, do you ever wonder who the hell these people are? What motivates them? How did they acquire their positions? The answer to the latter no doubt involves inserting one's proboscis up another's behind. However, this entire controversy is mere surface noise, a symptom of something noisome operative within. Accordingly, we now turn our gaze to the chancery office at the Diocese of London.

VII. After complaints about Steve's appearance were made to Bishop Ronald Fabbro, here is what Diocesan Gatekeeper Mark Adkinson said to the Catholic Register:
The bishop indicated that the choice was imprudent, but he verified that the foundation does not endorse Stephen Lewis' views on Catholic teaching, which they have stated publicly, and that they are solidly committed to their Catholic identity. Further, Stephen Lewis will not speak on any matter where he contradicts Church teaching.[18]
Thus it is confirmed that Foster, as quoted above (from a January 20 LSN report), was regurgitating triangulations originating from the chancery office (Adkinson's statement was given in a February 2 article). Wonder how that phone conversation went? Here, triangulation is not meant just in the political sense of being above and beyond a position. It is also meant in a mathematical sense. +Fabbro is a mathematician. He has Bachelor's and Master's degrees in Mathematics. Therefore his approach is not so much as an administrator than as a scientist, and a cool customer at that. Very important. Also noteworthy: he is a multi-decadal friend of fellow Basilian Fr. Thomas Rosica, CEO of Salt+Light TV. Watch the grandstanding here. Fabbro's half-assed response to the controversy, i.e. "the choice was imprudent", divulges cowardice and/or complacency on an issue necessitating strident outspokenness on the part of a bishop. But this is no surprise. He is, after all, a member of The Star Chamber. Given Steve's combinatorial anti-life/pro-abortion/antinomian stance, it is ironic (but really despicable) that Fabbro is a member of the CCCB committee for Catholic Organization for Life and Family (COLF), whose stated mission is "to build a culture of life and a civilization of love by promoting respect for human life and dignity and the essential role of the family". Somewhat at variance with Steve's worldview, wouldn't you say?

VIII. Party alignment in general is illustrated in how the Diocese responded to the Catholic press. Although Gatekeeper Adkinson offered time to comment for the Catholic Register, he refused speaking to LifeSite News when contacted. Moreover, Ian Hunter at Catholic Insight wrote about his concern of Steve's appearance both to Fabbro and MFF. No reply. Very telling. But this is not the end of the story. For there was another celebrity gala in +Fabbro's diocese on February 16, 2011. Same city. Same evening. Stay tuned for the sequel in the next post.


1. CI Staff, "UNICEF and Catholic Schools", Catholic Insight, April 2003, vol. XI, no. 4. LINK

2. A. de Valk, "The Assault on the Family", Catholic Insight, September 2007, vol. XV, no. 8. LINK

3. N.J. White, "Michelle Landsberg, Stephen Lewis speak in Toronto", The Toronto Star, February 11, 2008. LINK

4. See N. Klein, No Logo (New York: Picador USA, 2000). This is Klein's most famous book. Praise for it from the Guardian and the Socialist Review says enough.

5. S. Lewis, Race Against Time: Searching for Hope in AIDS-Ravaged Africa (Toronto: House of Anasi Press, 2005).

6. Lewis attempts to justify HIV reduction by male circumcision in this video. A countering position can be found in Doctors Opposing Circumcision: HIV Statement, "The Use of Male Circumcision to Prevent HIV Infection". Includes many references to the scientific literature. LINK

7. "Pope Replies to Questions from Journalists", Vatican Information Service, March 18, 2009. LINK

8. I. Hunter, "Catholic foundation sponsors talk by Canada’s leading Catholic-basher", Catholic Insight, January 2011, vol. XIX, no. 1. LINK See also A. de Valk, "The Pope on condoms and the AIDS crisis", Catholic Insight, May 2009, vol. XVII, no 5. LINK

9. "Harvard Researcher agrees with Pope on condoms in Africa", Catholic News Agency, March 21, 2009. LINK

10. D. St. Pierre, "Pope's message will kill people, says Stephen Lewis", The Barrie Examiner, 2010 (exact date not indicated). LINK

11. H. Goodden, "Lewis, Catholic Church odd bedfellows in local speaking gig", London Free Press, January 29, 2011 (last updated). LINK

12. J. O'Brien, "Lewis lightning road", London Free Press, February 4, 2011. LINK

13. K. Rumleski, "Congrats to the Monsignor Feeney Foundation for inviting Lewis", London Free Press (blog), February 4, 2011. LINK

14. K. Dubinski, "Lewis speaks out on global poverty", London Free Press, February 17, 2011. LINK

15. A. de. Valk, "Scandal in Hamilton", Catholic Insight, June 2001, vol. IX, no. 6. LINK

16. "The wrong choice", Catholic Register (editorial), February 9, 2011. LINK See also P.B. Craine, "Canada’s largest Catholic paper slams Stephen Lewis invite", LifeSite News, February 10, 2011, LINK

17. Quoted in P.B. Craine, "Catholic group hosting abortion advocate Stephen Lewis knew about his views", LifeSite News, January 20, 2011. LINK

18. Quoted in P.B. Craine, "Ontario Bishop: Stephen Lewis talk for Catholic group 'imprudent'", LifeSite News, February 2, 2011. LINK


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