Last week's bulletin shared an invitation to the annual Archbishop's dinner, a fundraiser for the diocese, on September 25. The banquet is the second of its kind; it is to be held at the Westin Hotel and the price is $125 per plate.
Guest speaker is Premier Stephen McNeil, a practising Catholic, 11th child out of 16, and leader of the Liberal Party of Nova Scotia.
Why is that a problem?
McNeil first sought election in 1999, but was defeated. During that election McNeil indicated in a questionaire provided by the campaign life coalition that he was pro-life. In 2013 a spokesperson for McNeil said his views had evolved since 1999 and he was no longer pro-life. He ran again in 2003 and was elected to the Nova Scotia House of Assembly.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stephen_McNeil
And from his Twitter feed:
- Stephen McNeil I support a woman's right to choose. A Liberal government would continue to protect that right in our province. http://politwitter.ca/page/retweeted/province/ns/date_start/2013-09-19/date_end/2013-09-20
Looking forward to the 27th Annual
@HalifaxPride Parade today. Hope to see you there. #Halifax - from his Twitter page on July 26, 2014
No doubt an outstanding Catholic. Fully practising, practising his Catholic faith while separating his personal beliefs from his political stand. How many times have we seen this before? A public figure who sacrifices his conscience for political gain.
There is a letter writing campaign started to McNeil and to Archbishop Anthony Mancini letting them know that this is not acceptable. It is hoped that the Archbishop just might be embarrassed into "disinviting" Premier McNeil to the banquet and finding someone more suitable.
It is the Archbishop's duty as chief Shepherd of the Halifax/Yarmouth diocese to speak privately with McNeil about his departure from Catholic values in his political life. Perhaps AB Mancini doesn't know about McNeil's public stand on abortion and the gay lifestyle. Perhaps someone else in his office arranged this event.
Certainly to have the current Premier be your speaker will draw in people who would never attend the Archbishop's annual dinner. There will probably be many people there whom we never see in church attending anything Catholic. But at $125 a plate, this is a deal since the usual charge to hear McNeil speak at a banquet is $300.
I wrote to the Archbishop, telling him that my husband and I would not be attending. I am hoping that he will be inundated with mail that will catch him by surprise and that he will rethink this decision. How can this not be seen as an endorsement of the Liberal Party by the Catholic Church of Halifax?
But then the Canadian clergy have always been in bed with the Liberal Party. Pierre Trudeau was closely tied to many bishops in the Church. And it bears noting that Canada is the only country where abortion was made legal and expanded during the office of Catholic prime ministers, Trudeau,Chretien, Mulroney, Turner to name those governing during those turbulent years.
If not, perhaps we should attend and other observant Catholics too, in order to have an opportunity to ask Mr. McNeil a question:
How do you manage to speak out of both sides of your mouth at the same time?