FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 20, 2007
Catholic magazine target of human rights complaint
Canada’s national Catholic magazine of news, opinion and analysis has joined a range of other, prominent publications, groups and individuals who have recently become targets of human rights-based legal attacks.
The Canadian Human Rights Commission has advised Catholic Insight magazine that Edmonton resident Rob Wells has filed a nine-point complaint against it on the grounds of offence to homosexuals. The magazine’s editor, Father Alphonse de Valk, dismisses the complaint as unfounded and says he intends to contest it vigorously. He notes his publication adheres to the teachings of the Catholic Church on homosexuality, which are clear that persons with same-sex attraction must be accepted with respect, compassion and sensitivity and every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided.
At the same time, he adds that in a democratic country respecting freedom of the press and religion, a magazine such as Catholic Insight has the right and responsibility to report on, analyze and comment on the activities of any segment of society that is involved in lobbying and activism on issues of public policy, such as changing the legal definition of marriage, adoption rights, the reallocation of social benefits and other vital questions.
Father de Valk observes the text of Mr. Wells’s complaint consists of three pages of isolated and fragmentary extracts from articles dating back as far as 1994, without any context. This creates a misleading impression of the tone of the magazine’s overall coverage of the homosexual issue.
Mr. Wells, he notes, has an additional human rights action in progress against leader Ron Gray and his Christian Heritage Party and in 2006, launched an action against three Canadian websites. Both complaints have been over the issue of homosexuality.
Catholic Insight recently dealt with an unsuccessful attempt by a Toronto resident to strip it of its funding under Heritage Canada’s Publications Assistance Program, once again over alleged offence to homosexuals. Father de Valk says the magazine considers all of the actions against it to be trumped up and made with the intent to harass.