Chronicles of a Canadian bishop who backed the wrong horse... twice
Recently it was reported[1] that the former Bishop of Victoria (Canada), Remi De Roo, has published an autobiography, Chronicles of a Vatican II Bishop, which proudly relates incidents of dissenting with Catholic teaching and his subsequent clashes with Church authorities.
[Image: remi_de_roo_memoirs.jpg]

In 1962, Bishop De Roo was at the age of 38, the youngest Canadian bishop at the Second Vatican Council - today at the age of 88 and now retired, he is one of the oldest surviving council fathers from the Dominion.

After the Council, De Roo became the darling of Canadian progressives and enjoyed the reputation as one of their strongest and vibrant voices - which often got him in trouble with the Vatican.

He was a public advocate for a married priesthood, a female priesthood and readily gave support to dissident nuns in the United States (predecessors of today's "Nuns on a Bus") as well as a host of liberation theology and social justice notions. But perhaps Bishop de Roo's most dissenting role was in leading the Canadian episcopal resistance against Pope Paul VI's Humanae Vitae via the infamous Winnipeg Statement - a document that continues to exert a profound negative influence on Canadian Catholics.

The liberal Winnipeg Statement was published in 1968 as "church policy" despite that a conservative majority still existed within the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops. So how did this manage to happen? In his essay written 20 years later, Msgr. Vincent Foy explains in Tragedy at Winnipeg[2] how an incautious majority allowed a convinced minority to take away the higher ground, which we summarize here.

It began with a barrage of shells from the media, which one-sidedly praised the priests and bishops favoring “freedom of choice”, while those prelates who wanted to return to follow the pope (Humanae Vitae) were simply silenced and refused access to the newspapers’ columns. The chorus was the same: “Freedom of Conscience! Allow the sacraments to your contracepting faithful!”
Then, some avant-garde authorities frontally attacked the outer bastions. Mention is made of Cardinal Leger of Montreal who prudently advocated that fecundity should be a duty pertaining to the state of matrimony as a whole rather than to an individual act. He said: "Confessors are assailed by doubts. They no longer know what to answer." In some dioceses, as in Toronto in 1964, confessional norms contrary to Church teaching were given. There was betrayal from within, and from high places as well as low.

At Winnipeg on September 27, 1968, 75 Canadian Catholic bishops’ were present to act as the theological commission of bishops. But, besides them, who were by and large conservative and thus would uphold the pope’s teaching, there were consulters or "experts" - all dissenters from Humanae Vitae. They were brought into the process not only by way of consultation, but more importantly in composing the actual text. Hence the Canadian bishops were dealt some cards from a stacked deck. No wonder then, that the final draft of the Winnipeg Statement contained an ambiguous assertion that, in case of “a clear conflict of duties”, each was in his right to follow his good conscience!

The reporters certainly understood what was at stake. They spoke of the “Canadian Credo”, of a “true Canadian Church” in the deepest sense of the word. Some saw through the ambivalence of the text:

The whole section (Par.17) is a prime example of double-think, which is the ability to hold two diametrically opposed views in one's mind at the same time and believe both of them.[3]

Since the infamous Winnipeg conference, a contraceptive mindset contrary to the moral teachings contained in Humanae Vitae have spread throughout Canada. The children of the contraceptive mentality are many and depraved: adultery, fornication, venereal disease, homosexuality, pornography, radical feminism, sterilization, violence, child abuse, corrupt family life education, abortion and euthanasia. It has been the occasion of many invalid marriages. While many Catholic believe they have a right to "Follow Your Conscience" which practically translates as "I have the right to exclude children by contraception for a time or until I am ready, or forever." Thus we find in Canada (as elsewhere too) that the sacred institution of the Catholic family and its contingent morality has been bankrupted.

In his Chronicles, Bishop de Roo self-lauds his achievements on the behalf of the liberal cause in the Canadian Church. Yet his book ultimately ends on a losing streak. Having satisfactorily retired as Victoria's longest-serving bishop in 1999, only one year later he was faced with (another) bankruptcy of his own making: that of his former diocese through a failed investment in Arabian horses. The ageless moral lesson here is: one loses when one backs the wrong horse.


1 Information source and quotes from a LifeSiteNews article of November 8, 2012, "Disgraced Canadian prelate recounts heated exchanges with two popes".

2 Msgr. Foy is a Canadian theologian known for his defense of the Church's teachings against artificial contraception. His essay was originally published in Challenge Magazine in 1988 and is now available at LifeSiteNews.

3 Ibid, p. 9.

Isn't it nice to know that this bishop is retired. Don't you thing he needs a long rest?
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(11-22-2012, 02:21 AM)GottmitunsAlex Wrote: he is one of the oldest surviving council fathers from the Dominion.

Wait! aren't they the evil guys in Star Trek Seep Space 9!?

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