March 20, 2000
volume 11, no. 56
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NEWS & VIEWS     Acknowledgments
Articles provided through Catholic World News and Church News at Noticias Eclesiales and International Dossiers, Daily Dispatches and Features at ZENIT International News Agency. CWN, NE and ZENIT are not affiliated with the Daily CATHOLIC but provide this service via e-mail to the Daily CATHOLIC Monday through Friday.

Hate Crime Charges Ruled Out

    MONTREAL, MAR 16 (ZENIT).- It has been a little over a week since a group of feminists came into Montreal's Mary Queen of the World Cathedral shouting anti-Catholic slogans and littering it with sanitary napkins, condoms, and women's underwear. Nonetheless, the media in Montreal has been oddly silent about the matter.

    On March 13, Mark Steyn wrote in Toronto's "National Post" about his quest to find the event in the local Montreal paper. The attack was, in fact, reported, but not on the front page, nor in section A at all. A small one-paragraph article was placed on page C9 among the classified ads, the adults-only classified ads, according to Steyn. Apparently the other English-language Montreal paper, "The Globe and Mail," didn't even print that much about it.

Hate Crime?

    Montreal police charged the seven persons they apprehended with "unlawful assembly," declining to apply such laws in the criminal code as "disrupting a clergyman in the performance of his duties," "interrupting persons assembled for religious worship," "nuisance," "mischief to property," and "theft." Testimony of witnesses would indicate that all of these took place, and all carry a stiffer penalty than unlawful assembly. (Two were charged with assaulting a police officer, however, and another with obstruction.)

    Police ruled out applying Montreal's "hate crimes" law from the start. A spokesman pointed out that the statute exempts discourses made "in good faith, attempting to establish by argument an opinion on a religious subject."

    These vandals burnt crosses on the steps of the cathedral, shouted slogans, and painted the altar with the phrase "Neither God Nor Master" and a pillar outside the cathedral with "Religion, a Trap for Fools." This was, however, judged to be simply an "argument about religion."

    Another "National Post" editorial on March 9 concluded that "Anti-Christian hostility is one of the last acceptable bigotries in Canada. It is observable not only in the bigots and thugs who attacked the cathedral, but also in the federal bureaucrats who instructed mourners at the Swissair crash site to make no mention of Jesus Christ, and in the Ottawa tax department's decertification of Christian charities while secular charities retained their tax-free status."

    Meanwhile, workers at the cathedral have cleaned up the mess. Father Jean-Pierre Couturier, vicar of the Cathedral, thanked Catholics around the world for their prayers, and continued his ministry.

    Dr. Ian Hunter, professor emeritus of law at the University of Western Ontario, summed up his March 12 editorial saying, "There is one reaction to all this that is not understandable -- at least not rationally -- and that is the one that the Church will exemplify, forgiveness. Why? Because even greater indignities were heaped upon Him whom the Church glorifies, and His response was 'Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.' " ZE00031620


March 20, 2000
volume 11, no. 56

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