It is with great concern that we have to inform our readers that LifeSiteNews Canada has been hit with a lawsuit – by a Catholic priest of all things!
Regular readers of LSN will need no introduction to Fr. Raymond Gravel – he’s the Quebec priest and former Member of Canada’s Parliament who, as we reported, said on a radio interview in 2004: "I am pro-choice and there is not a bishop on earth that will prevent me from receiving Communion, not even the Pope."
Then, in 2008, he defended the awarding of Canada’s highest civilian award to the country’s ‘father of abortion’ – arch-abortionist Henry Morgentaler! During his political career he was rated as ‘pro-abortion’ by the political arm of the pro-life movement. He has also repeatedly and publicly criticized his church’s teachings on homosexuality and abortion.
Even though LifeSiteNews reports have overwhelmingly reported on what Fr. Gravel himself has publicly said, he is suing us for libel. Among other things, he argues that he isn’t pro-abortion, but he has said in the past that he is “pro-choice.”
He’s demanding $500,000 in damages – which, coincidentally, is a full year’s budget for us. That would put LifeSiteNews out of business!
It is difficult enough for LifeSiteNews to keep afloat financially, even at the best of times. But with the downturn in the economy it has become harder than ever. Fighting this lawsuit adds a potentially very large and currently impossible extra financial burden.
This lawsuit also comes at the same time that attacks on the free speech rights of pro-life, pro-family and Christian citizens and media have been increasing all across the West.
It is vitally important that LifeSiteNews win this case – not just for our sake, but for the sake of the whole movement. We simply cannot let the opponents of life and family shut down one of the few media voices that upholds the right to life and the sanctity of marriage and the family.
The very fact that Fr. Gravel feels he has to sue LSN is proof-positive of just how much LSN is needed. Writing about LifeSiteNews.com in Le Devoir on April 20, 2009, Fr. Gravel said that when his bishop received a letter from the Vatican "which forced me to retire from political life," attached to the letter "was a file almost exclusively in English made up of negative comments about me … which came from those ultra-conservative media." He even complained about LifeSiteNews during a speech on the floor of the House of Commons!
And then, more recently, Fr. Gravel was removed from a position as a chief catechist for his diocese. In his motion Fr. Gravel suggests that the articles by LSN caused him to lose this responsibility.
Despite the fact that LSN has made it clear that we wish no harm to Fr. Gravel, and that, in fact, we are concerned for his wellbeing, he has launched a suit that could severely, even permanently disrupt our life- and culture-saving work.
Already our staff have had to dedicate several full days’ work just to responding to his charges – and that’s before the case has even really begun. The first preliminary hearing is this Thursday in Joliette, Quebec.
While the amazing Thomas More Society of Chicago has offered to help us in this case, there is only so much they can do. The case will have to be fought in the Quebec courts, and the Thomas More Society is a U.S.-based organization.
Thus, we have been forced to hire professional Canadian legal help. And as anyone who knows the first thing about lawsuits knows, legal fees can mount…fast.
At this difficult time, we must once again turn to our ever-faithful supporters. The only way we can withstand this attack is with your help.
We are confident about the truthfulness and professionalism of our reporting on this matter and are determined to fight and win against this unjust lawsuit. Will you join us?
Will you also appeal to others that you know to help us at this time of extra special need?
How can the Diocese of Joliette allow this to go on?
How can the Vatican allow this to go on?
Somebody stop this madness!
A Catholic priest suing for being criticized?
If you can't criticize the Catholic Church or its clergy, who can you criticize?
I hope that Canadian bishops out there step out to the plate and make a statement. They cannot allow this madness to continue. They should be speak out against Fr. Raymond Gravel and his SLAPP suit tactics.
By the way, who is funding Fr. Raymond Gravel? He's not funding this by himself.
Update: I'm getting a lot of searches for "Raymond Gravel" all of a sudden.