Lynda Hurt’s May 7 column in the Toronto Star attacked the Catholic Church’s rejection of abortion (see my June article “Advocacy journalism”). She interviewed Marjorie Maguire, a dissenting Catholic with a PhD in religious studies, presenting her as a “devout and practicing Catholic, ” indeed, as a “Catholic theologian.”
On May 21, in another column, she used the authority of “Father Gregory Baum of St.Michael’s College” to defend Maguire’s views, after a series of protests went to the Star concerning the distortions presented in the earlier column. When I wrote the Star detailing Baum’s position, the letter was edited severely and the published version merely acknowledged that Gregory Baum himself is a dissenter from Church teaching.
For the record, it should be stated that Gregory Baum is outside the Church. After contradicting various points of Christian doctrine and morals over a period of ten years, Baum’s views on morality were publicly rejected by Toronto’s Archbishop Philip Pocock when Baum (in February 1976) attacked the Vatican Declaration on Sexual Ethics. Stated the Archbishop, “Father Baum’s published reactions are contrary to official Catholic doctrine and may not be followed as either the teaching on the practice of the Catholic Church.” (Catholic Register, May 13,1976)
Subsequently, Father Gregory Baum abandoned his religious order, the priesthood and his vow of celibacy, without obtaining the (minimum legal) permission of the Church, then or since. In other words, he has never been “laicized.” This means that he is excommunicated.
Violent porn now ”public enemy #1”
According to the Toronto Star (May 23) Ontario’s chief censor says violent pornography has become public enemy Number One. It’s “the enemy within… invading our living rooms, our families and our neighborhood stores,” the head of the Ontario Film Review Board told a meeting of Kiwanis at the Royal York Hotel recently.
Mary Brown, who said she has screened more than 12,000 films in her six years in office, put the blame for increasingly violent “new pornography” on foreign filmmakers, particularly those from the United States.
“Foreign commercial interests are force-feeding us a product that poisons, corrodes and ultimately destroys” our family-oriented society, she said. Mrs. Brown stated (once more), that in extensive research done in 22 countries, “the results are unequivocal: media –depicted violence can affect attitudes and behavior.” A whole generation of Canadians, she said, are growing up “exposed unguided” to violent and pornographic material: “It is a generation that increasingly accepts anti-social strategies to solve problems.”
The chief censor criticized those who defend pornography on the grounds that censorship has no place in a democracy.
“I see the intellectual elite and civil libertarians caught up in the debate on censorship. But they forget about reality or even recognize that the problem exists.”
She also suggested that, because only 15 percent of Canadians are regular moviegoers, most people are not aware of how bad film violence and pornography has become in the last decade.
Tribute to a dedicated pro-lifer
The founder of the Woodstock and District Right to Life was recently honored at the annual dinner of the association.
Mary Schadenberg was presented with 10 red roses representing 10 years of “unfailing dedication” to the pro-life cause. The president of the association, Howard Bingham, presented Mary with a pendant watch with a red rose on its cover. The tribute was paid to Mary last April.
Euthanasia proponents publish newsletter
Proponents of euthanasia in Ontario now publish a newsletter called Dying with Dignity. Its May 1985 issue is volume 2,no.2. Temporary chairman of the Toronto branch is Prof. Nowell-Smith who is returning to England. The latter appeared on Community Television on March 19 and also addressed the Medical Society of the University of Toronto in the same month.