February 14, 2011
VANESSA SANTILLI
THE CATHOLIC REGISTER

LONDON, ONT. — Pro-life supporters are not impressed the Monsignor Feeney Foundation, a London-based Catholic education organization, is hosting international AIDS activist and pro-abortion supporter Stephen Lewis at its Feb. 16 fundraiser.

Mary Ellen Douglas, national organizer with Campaign Life Coalition, said she doesn't think Lewis is an appropriate speaker, given that he holds many views that are opposed to basic Catholicism.

"He's a complete proponent on the global scale of abortion and just the statements he's made about the Holy Father should be enough to keep him out of any Catholic institution," Douglas said.

In 2009, Lewis was quoted in the media saying, "The pope is living on the moon," in response to Pope Benedict's condemning the use of condoms as a solution to the AIDS crisis in Africa.

Mark Adkinson, director of communications for the London Diocese, said Bishop Ronald Fabbro received a number of complaints about the upcoming talk because of Lewis' public positions against Church teaching.

"The bishop met with members of the foundation as well as the director to bring these concerns to them," he said.

IMPRUDENT CHOICE

"The bishop indicated that the choice was imprudent, but he verified that the foundation does not endorse Stephen Lewis' views on Catholic teaching, which they have stated publicly, and that they are solidly committed to their Catholic identity.

"Further, Stephen Lewis will not speak on any matter where he contradicts Church teaching."

Herman Goodden, a concerned Catholic in London, said there are a good number of Catholics in the London Diocese who have been sending letters to both Fabbro and the foundation.

A good part of what Lewis stands for "is directly opposed to Vatican and Church social and moral teaching," he said.

The foundation refused comment when contacted by The Catholic Register, and referred to its website. A statement on the website said that Lewis will be speaking specifically on poverty, children and education here and abroad.

Christians should be open to learning what Lewis has to say about global health, poverty, children and education, the statement said.

The foundation was established in 1983 as an independent, charitable organization to enhance Catholic education in London and area.