Paul Tuns:

Roman Catholic Bishop Nicola De Angelis, Bishop emeritus of Peterborough. Photo: Catholic Register

Outspokenly pro-life Roman Catholic Bishop Nicola De Angelis, Bishop emeritus of Peterborough and former Auxiliary Bishop of Toronto, died in Montefiascone, Italy on June 16 at the age of 84.

Nicola De Angelis was born in Sabina, Italy in 1939 and immigrated to Canada in 1967. He was ordained into the Sons of the Immaculate Conception in 1970 after attending St. Augustine’s Seminary in Toronto. He became a Canadian citizen in 1975 and would serve two terms as a school trustee for the Metropolitan Separate School Board.

He was named auxiliary to Archbishop Aloysius Ambrosic in 1992 and in 2003 was appointed Bishop of Peterborough. He retired in 2014 at age 75.

Bishop De Angelis told the National March for Life in 2012, “to be Catholic is to be unconditionally pro-life.” He explained: We cannot be neutral or remain as mere spectators … every crime against life is an attack on peace. Let’s respect and defend life, and we will have peace.”

In 2010, he restricted donations to the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace after LifeSiteNews revealed the organization was funding abortions overseas. Bishop De Angelis withheld 10 per cent of the Peterborough diocese’s donation to Development and Peace (D&P), and required those funds go to D&P partners in the developing world that were approved by the local bishop to ensure the organizations did not promote abortion.

As auxiliary bishop, he spoke out against the feminist March for Life which was being supported by the Catholic Women’s League and some bishops. Teresa Buonafede told LifeSiteNews that “He held firm that the Archdiocese of Toronto would not endorse the March for Women 2000 and he and many priests who were also vocal about this were criticized and maligned.”

Bishop De Angelis also publicly endorsed and participated in Life Chain.

Campaign Life Coalition president emeritus Jim Hughes told The Interim he knew Nicola De Angelis for 50 years and was his fundraiser for Fr. De Angelis’s hockey team at St. Sebastian’s parish in Toronto. Hughes recalled that “Bishop Nic” had “a great sense of humour” and “was the type of guy you could talk to.” He said Bishop De Angelis held the line on Catholic teaching wherever he was and spoke at numerous pro-life functions, including saying the Mass for the Unborn at St. Michael’s Cathedral in Toronto and organizing a pro-life event with the papal nuncio as Bishop of Peterborough.

Hughes recalls one time being at a rural church where Bishop De Angelis was visiting and saying Mass, when during the homily he turned to Hughes in the audience and asked “that March for Life last year, was there 20,000 or 25,000 people, I can’t remember.