Dissenting priest goes to war against Archbishop Prendergast over D&P

In a war, you never expect your opponent to lie down and surrender. Sometimes it happens, but you’d better not bank on it. This post reports on the fierce counter-offensive that is being organized by liberal elements in the Catholic Church who want to stop the pro-life reforms at Development and Peace (D&P). Get ready for a fight, my friends.

In an earlier post, I explained how the bishops of Quebec appear to be seeking to sabotage the pro-life reforms at D&P. The article from Le Devoir that I quoted from featured a priest named Fr. Claude Lacaille. As I explained in that post, Fr. Lacaille is a prominent member of a dissenting group of Catholics that support homosexuality and a woman’s “right” to abortion, among other things. I didn’t worry too much about him at the time, but upon further research I discovered that he’s at the centre of efforts in the Church to stop reforms at D&P. He’s made a couple of disturbing public outings in that regard.

Archbishop Prendergast and Bishop Durocher are “arrogant”, “ignorant” and “inquisitorial”

The first rally cry from Fr. Lacaille to liberal Catholics came on April 5, just four days after Archbishop Prendergast’s heroic decision to cancel the visit to Ottawa of Fr. Luis Arriaga, the head of a Mexican NGO that endorses abortion advocates. His visit to the diocese of Alexandria-Cornwall was also cancelled by Bishop Paul-André Durocher. Fr. Lacaille sent a strongly worded email to his network of friends in which he exhorts them to rise up to defend D&P. You can read the entire email (in French) at this link. It was posted on the personal website of Fr. Raymond Gravel (surprise, surprise!). Fr. Lacaille laments that the cancellation of Fr. Arriaga’s talks are symptomatic of “censure, repression, silence and a lack of transparency.”

He then proceeds to blast the two bishops, especially Archbishop Prendergast.

Original French

My translation

Cette attitude arrogante et ignorante de certains pasteurs qui refusent à un illustre confrère jésuite de prendre la parole dans leur diocèse laisse perplexe. Il y avait eu des allégations contre le Centre PRODH il y a deux ans et deux évêques canadiens avaient été envoyés enquêter au Mexique; leur rapport concluait que les allégations étaient sans fondement. Ces allégations venaient d’un groupe de la droite catholique qui pourchasse systématiquement les projets d’aide internationale qui concernent la santé des femmes et ils ont harcelé les évêques les enjoignant de ne plus appuyer ces projets.

This arrogant and ignorant attitude of some pastors who refuse to let an illustrious fellow Jesuit speak in their diocese leaves me perplexed. There had been allegations against the Centre PRODH two years ago and two Canadian bishops were sent to investigate in Mexico; their report concluded that the allegations were without foundation. These allegations came from a group of the Catholic Right that systematically hounds international aid projects concerning women’s health and they have harassed the bishops, enjoining them to no longer support these projects.

What a brutal mischaracterization of these two bishops and of the entire pro-life movement. We all know that these bishops and pro-lifers are supportive of programs for women’s health as long as they abide by Church teaching and don’t involve atrocities like abortion. But Fr. Lacaille either doesn’t realize this or chooses to omit that tiny detail in order to better rally his troops. Never let the truth get in the way of a good story.

This shows how deeply divided the Catholic Church really is, even on something as basic as abortion. That’s why John and I keep wondering how on Earth we’ll avoid a schism. It also demonstrates the supreme gravity of the whitewash report of D&P two years ago, since it continues to be referenced to obfuscate the truth and justify funding for D&P. Lord have mercy on us.

But Fr. Lacaille wasn’t done smearing the two bishops and sounding the battle horns:

Original French

My translation

Il faut dénoncer ces deux pasteurs et les remettre devant leurs responsabilités de défendre la vie. Ceci n’est pas une idéologie moderniste, mais l’essence même du christianisme. Il faut dénoncer publiquement l’archevêque de Toronto et celui d’Alexandria pour cette attitude inquisitoriale.

We must denounce these two pastors and make them face their responsibilities to defend life. This is not a modernist ideology, but the very essence of Christianity. We must publicly denounce the Archbishop of Toronto and that of Alexandria for this inquisitorial attitude.

(Just to clarify, he made a typo by writing “Toronto” instead of “Ottawa.” His email has nothing to do with the Archbishop of Toronto.)

Note that he uses the word “inquisitorial”. As in The Inquisition. He equates the stripping of funding to pro-abortion groups with the Inquisition. Can you believe it? I can. Note how he defines the “very essence of Christianity”: to defend life. Christianity, in his view, is all about social justice. Classic.

He’s calling for a public denunciation of these two bishops. By whom? By other bishops, as he clearly explains later in the email. He wants liberal bishops to start a public war of words against Archbishop Prendergast and Bishop Durocher to reverse the pro-life reforms.

His whole argument is a bogus straw man, of course. Nobody in the pro-life movement has called for an end to social justice works in the Global South. We just want to make sure that the financial help goes to partners who use 100% of their resources for good works, with no cash and manpower being diverted to anti-life and anti-Catholic activities. Obviously, Fr. Lacaille presents no evidence to support his claims. We have lots for ours.

The rest of the email is somewhat bland. It’s peppered with cliché cheap shots against pro-lifers. Yawn. I’m not worried about my personal little feelings. But I don’t like seeing a good bishop being smeared for demonstrating heroic virtue. That’s unacceptable.

Fr. Lacaille ends his email with the cry “Let’s mobilize!”, before providing the email addresses of the two bishops, thus encouraging people to send their protests. I would encourage you to send the bishops words of affirmation and support instead.

Archbishop Prendergast has denied Christ

The second rally cry from Fr. Lacaille came last Friday, April 15, when he posted an article on a website called InterBible in which he equates Archbishop Prendergast’s actions to Peter’s denial of Christ. The article is entitled “Aurions-nous renié le Christ?” (Have we denied Christ?)

He starts with a quote from the article in Le Devoir that I referenced at the top of this post. The quote explains how funding for a D&P partner in Haiti has been denied. He then inserts the Gospel of Mark’s account of Peter’s denial of Christ (Mk 14:66-72). The very next sentence explains how Archbishop Prendergast “refused hospitality to a fellow Jesuit” and forbade him from speaking in his archdiocese. He says that Archbishop Prendergast “denied” and caused grave injury to the missionary work of his own congregation in Mexico. The use of the word “deny” (renier) is infrequent in Québec, but it’s the exact word used in the Gospel for Peter’s denial. It’s no coincidence. He’s clearly implying that the Archbishop denied Christ by stopping Fr. Arriaga.

Near the end of the article, just before calling for renewed support for D&P, Fr. Lacaille blames part of the plight of the poor in the Global South on the integrism of the religious Right, which adopts an anti-modernist conception of the world to “justify its economic, political and social violence.” Violence? Really? Perhaps he can identify some violence in the words of Archbishop Prendergast? Or of LifeSiteNews? Where’s the evidence?

Just like everybody else who has come to the defense of D&P over the last two years, Fr. Lacaille does not attempt to address the evidence against D&P’s partners. He completely ignores it. We shouldn’t be surprised.  Since this priest supports a woman’s “right” to abortion, why would such information about D&P’s partners be worth mentioning? The evidence remains intact, unchallenged, unrefuted and undeniable.

“And this is the judgement, that the light has come into the world, and people loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil. For all who do evil hate the light and do not come to the light, so that their deeds may not be exposed. But those who do what is true come to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that their deeds have been done in God.” (John 3:19-21)

The fact that this pro-choice priest has become the unofficial spokesperson for D&P’s counter-offensive says an awful lot about D&P, its culture and values.

Hang in there, folks. This war isn’t over. We have the momentum and our opponents seem desperate, but we must not let up one iota.

And we will stand side by side with our Archbishop during these difficult times.

3 thoughts on “Dissenting priest goes to war against Archbishop Prendergast over D&P

  1. Excellent post! Too bad the good Father didn’t remember his promise of obedience and RESPECT to Bishops. The sad part is, if he were arguing the other side of the debate, he would be hauled in and raked over the coals before being dismissed. In Quebec it seems that it’s OK and proper to argue from the left but not from a position of orthodoxy.

    Keep up the fight!! (and thank you for doing so!)

    Fr. Tim

  2. Hi Steve,

    Thank you for the excellent article. Not being fluent in french I would never have been able to understand what it was all about.

    The thing I find almost comical (in a really sad way though) is that this person somehow got through his Catholic education and seminary training without anyone ever pointing out the obvious: that he’s not a Catholic! He became a clergyman in the wrong church, and no one bothered to tell him!

  3. We’ve got to encourage Abp. Prendergast—we need a giant spiritual bouquet for him. He needs all the support we can give him.

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