|One day after a LifeSiteNews.com story exposed the fact that a Ukrainian Catholic priest in Toronto had backed the nomination of a pro-abortion federal politician, the local Ukrainian Catholic bishop publicly reprimanded the priest. On April 3, LifeSiteNews.com reported that at a March 26 Liberal party meeting to nominate Michael Ignatieff held at Christ the Good Shepherd Parish St. Michael’s Ukrainian Catholic Church in Etobicoke, the church’s pastor, Fr. Terry Lozynsky, seconded the pro-abortion and pro-gay “marriage” Liberal’s nomination.
On April 4, Bishop Stephen Chmilar, Ukrainian bishop of Toronto and Eastern Canada, acknowledged the incident and noted that, “As a direct result of Fr. Terry’s actions, numerous e-mails regarding the propriety of that action came to our office.” Chmilar’s press release noted that, “Fr. Terry was called into our office to explain his actions and we pointed out to him that based on Canon Law, at no time is any of our clergy to be part of, or deemed to be associated with, any political party except in the judgement of the eparchial bishop, if a particular law so states the need to protect the rights of the church or to promote the common good requires it.”
Furthermore, Chmilar wrote: “It was also acknowledged that by promoting Mr. Ignatieff, that indirectly he was promoting the political stance on abortion and gay rights legislation that the candidate has.”
Chmilar said he has reprimanded Lozynsky and reported that a letter to all clergy “informing them of the current statutes and regulations regarding involvement in any political process will be sent and reinforced.” In a letter signed by Lozynsky that accompanied the press release, the priest wrote his fellow Ukrainian Catholics saying, “I humbly apologize for the problems and embarrassment that I have caused our bishop and you, my brothers and sisters.” Lozynsky, a personal friend of Ignatieff’s, explained that his actions were not meant as an endorsement of the anti-life and anti-family stands of the MP and former Liberal leadership candidate.
In his letter, Lozynsky wrote: “I categorically state here that my moral values are the same as the church I represent. I do not support same-sex ‘marriages,’ nor do I support any form of abortion … Unfortunately, my actions were seen in the eyes of many as one of me supporting not only the political party, but Mr. Ignatieff’s position as mentioned above. I do not support any political party and as I stated, I do not support Mr. Ignatieff’s position on these matters.”
Jim Hughes, national president of Campaign Life Coalition, said he was delighted with the swift reaction of Chmilar. He congratulated and thanked the bishop “for taking such prompt action in light of the scandalous situation.” Hughes added that, “Bishop Chmilar’s immediate response has demonstrated the great respect for life and family that is held by the Ukrainian Eparchy.”
Hughes also said he hoped Lozynsky would “use his influence to bring his friend Mr. Ignatieff to a true understanding of the sanctity of life and family and his responsibility to protect both in the political arena.”
A version of this article originally appeared April 4 at LifeSiteNews.com.