- Rev. Msgr. Vincent Foy in his One Hundred and First (101st) Year
- Important Dates, Events and Accomplishments in the Life of Msgr. Vincent Foy
- Moral and Legal Rights and Obligations of Catholics Regarding Harmful Sex Education
- Letter to Cardinal on Fully Alive, March 30, 2015
- 76th Ordination Anniversary, June 3, 2015
Top Posts & Pages
- Rev. Msgr. Vincent Foy in his One Hundred and First (101st) Year
- From Winnipeg to Fully Alive
- Notes on Gregory Baum; By Their Fruits you Shall Know Them. By Monsignor Vincent Foy
- The Betrayal of those with Homosexual Tendencies
- The Encyclical Humanae Vitae: Charter of Life and Love. Reflections on the Tenth Anniversary
Msgr. Foy is a retired priest and canon lawyer of the Archdiocese of Toronto. He was born in Toronto, Ontario on August 14, 1915, second of a family of eight children. He attended Holy Name Catholic Elementary School and De La Salle High School in Toronto. In 1933 he entered St. Augustine’s Seminary and was ordained on June 3, 1939 by Archbishop, later Cardinal McGuigan. He was sent for post-graduate studies to Laval University in Quebec City where he took a doctoral course in Canon Law. In 1942 he was appointed Vice-Chancellor of the Archdicoese of Toronto and Secretary of the Toronto Archdiocesan Matrimonial Tribunal. In 1947, he was named the Secretary of the new Toronto Regional Tribunal, which he served later as Defender of the Bond and Judge. In 1957 he was named Presiding Judge of the Regional and Archdiocesan Tribunals. In the same year he was named a Domestic Prelate by Pope Pius XII. In a part time capacity for many years he was Director of Catechetics of the Archdiocese of Toronto.
He is a founder and honorary member of the Canadian Canon Law Society.
He was named pastor of his natal parish of St. John’s in Toronto in 1966 and was there until 1973. He then served as pastor of Holy Martyrs Church in Bradford and St. Patrick’s Church in Phelpston. In 1977 and 1978 he lived in Rome in an advocacy capacity. He served as chaplain for 25 years of the Pro Aliis Club and was chaplain also of the Legion of Mary, has helped religious orders and convents and been active in other groups including the Fellowship of Catholic Scholars.
Msgr. is the oldest priest in his Archdiocese and the only surviving priest of the class of 1939 of St. Augustine’s Seminary. For decades he has fearlessly articulated and defended the teachings of the Church – in a time of moral and doctrinal chaos in the Church in Canada. He is best known for his untiring defense of Catholic teachings on marriage and family life, Pope Paul VI’s encyclical Humanae vitae. His efforts have earned him a papal commendation and the Pro-life Man of the Year Award. On June 3, 2014, he celebrates his 75th year of his ordination to the holy priesthood.
Getting ready for my 75th Ordination Anniversary, age 98
Written for the Cardinal Ambrozic Houses of Providence Newsletter:
On June 3, 2015, I celebrated my 76th Anniversary of Ordination to the Priesthood and on August 14, 2015, I celebrated my 100th birthday. In light of this, I was asked to submit something for the Providence newsletter.
I am now the longest-ordained diocesan priest ever in the history of the Archdiocese of Toronto (and possibly in Canada) and the oldest diocesan priest in the history of the Archdiocese of Toronto (Source: “A Calendar of the Deceased Bishops, Priests and Deacons of the Archdiocese of Toronto”).
Since 2010, after six months in the hospital on feeding tubes and recovering from five surgeries in one month, I have been a resident at the Cardinal Ambrozic Houses of Providence. I enjoy living alongside other priests and laity. I am very grateful for all the Providence Healthcare staff, volunteers and residents have done for me.
At Providence, I am able to continue to live my number one joy: daily, I can celebrate Mass with the other priests for the residents in the chapel here. I am also grateful that there is a chapel on my floor.
I am possibly the least likely of my graduating class of priests to survive. I was near death on many occasions.
In the 1940s, I contracted a case of tuberculosis that left me out of commission for over two years. I once came close to dying of pneumonia but was saved by the new medication (penicillin) administered every four hours for ten days. When I was on vacation as a young priest, I was involved in a serious car accident but narrowly avoided hitting a tree. I can’t help but wonder what would have happened if someone hadn’t saved me and my cousin from a runaway raft while we were playing in Lake Simcoe as young boys. I once changed my plans and missed a plane crash. In 2009, I was on and off life support several times. I’ve had tracheotomy and feeding tube reversals.
Against the odds, I lived a long life and have been able to serve God and the Church.
I experienced a variety of priestly duties. With a doctorate in Canon Law, I spent time working in the Archdiocese of Toronto’s marriage tribunal, served as Vice Chancellor, Director of Catechetics, pastored a number of parishes, was chaplain of several groups and spiritual advisor. I co-founded the Canadian Canon Law Society. For many years, I was the head of the Provincial matrimonial tribunal.
While I was working at the Marriage Tribunal, an archbishop from Rome visited Toronto and asked for a tour of the tribunal. Years later, he became Pope Paul VI. I like to joke that if I had known he was going to be the pope, I would have offered him a cup of coffee!
I have also tried to be an advocate of life and the pro-life cause. In June of 2015, Eternal Word Television Network premiered a documentary on my life (Monsignor Vincent Foy: Champion for Life).
About 90 years ago, I was going to lose my mother to double pneumonia. She was fighting for her life at Toronto’s St. Michael’s Hospital after giving birth to my sister Doreen. I begged God to spare her life. “If my mother recovers,” I prayed, “I will do my best to become a priest.” My mother recovered and I remained true to my promise; a promise that I kept a secret for the duration of my mother’s life.
During my priesthood, saying Mass has been my greatest joy.
Some of my writings can be found at: “The Selected Writings of Msgr. Vincent Foy”: http://www.msgrfoy.com.
- 1832 Ireland, Birth of Nicholas Foy, my grandfather after whom I was named.
- Nicholas Foy came to Canada by himself as a refugee on a boat during the famine in Ireland (when he was about 12 years old). Later he brought over his brother George, who has the largest cemetery monument in Ontario constructed at Mount Hope cemetery. It took twenty horses to pull it up Yonge St.
- 1880 Canada, birth of my father, Edward Basil Foy. He died at age 86 in 1968.
- 1885 Birth of my mother, Josephine Walburgis Schnitzler in Ontario, Canada. Her parents were born in Canada. They were dead by the time I was born in 1915. Her grandparents immigrated from Alsace-Lorraine (between France and Germany).
- 1886 Nicholas Foy (born 1832) died of pneumonia, lived at 28 St. Alban’s Street, my aunts were Elizabeth and Babe and my uncle was John.
- 1911 Death of Mary Foy, my grandmother (widow of Nicholas Foy). Her sister was my Aunt Delphine and her brother was my Uncle Jim.
- 1912 My parents Edward Foy and Josephine Schnizler were married at St. Francis parish (originally on Queen St.). They had 8 children.
- August 14, 1915 I was born at home on 53 Dixon Avenue, Toronto, ON, Canada to Josephine and Edward Foy.
- I was second oldest of eight Siblings who were named Edward, Jack, Mary, Frank, Doreen, Jimmy, and Shirley.
- Baptized at St. John’s Church, Toronto on August 29, 1915. Fr. Williams who baptized me is the first priest buried at St. Augustine’s Seminary.
- The Foy family moved to 40 Fulton Avenue, Toronto, 1918.
- Attended Holy Name Catholic Elementary School in Toronto, was top student of his class, 1921-28
- First Holy Communion, Holy Name Catholic Church, Toronto, 1922 Age 7. “My classmate Jack Mitchell was killed that summer. He fell down Riverdale Park Hill and hit his head. All six pall bearers, including myself, became priests (Jack Miller, Andy Pinfold, Armand Desaulniers, Murray Allen, and another who joined the mission society).”
- Honours Matriculation, De La Salle Catholic High School in Toronto, top student of his class, 1928-33
- Confirmed at Holy Name Catholic Church, 1928
- St. Augustine’s Seminary, top student of the class, 1933-39
- Ordained to the deaconate one year before priesthood, June 1938
- Ordained to the priesthood, June 3, 1939, age 23 (received two month age dispensation)
- Note: “One of my classmates was Murray Allen, brother of Bishop Allen. We were both from Holy Name parish, were ordained together and offered our first Masses on the same day at Holy Name parish. I offered at 10am and he offered at 11am.”
- Assistant, St. Catherine’s Church, St. Catherine’s Ontario, June-Sept 1939
- Was sent for post-graduate studies, completed three-year doctoral course in Canon Law and graduated Summa Cum Laude (with top honours), Laval University, Quebec, 1939-42. The courses were given in Latin and all of my classmates spoke French.
- Assistant at Chancery Office, St. Michael’s Cathedral, Archdiocese of Toronto, Summers of 1939-42
- Appointed Vice-Chancellor “in Spiritualibus”, Archdiocese of Toronto and Secretary of the Toronto Archdiocesan Matrimonial Tribunal, 1942
- On sick leave recovering from tuberculosis with a collapsed lung in the hospital in Hamilton, Ontario and San Gabriels, New York, 1944-46
- Resided at St. Michael’s Cathedral, Toronto, 1946-66
- Named the Secretary of the new Toronto Regional Matrimonal Tribunal (which covered the formal cases of the dioceses of Toronto, Hamilton, Peterborough, Sault Ste-Marie, London and Kingston), 1947
- Was appointed and served as Defender of the Bond (Defensor Vinculi), 1948-53
- Appointed and served as Vice Officialis (Judge), 1953-57
- Named Presiding Judge (Officialis) of the Regional and Archdiocesan Tribunals for all cases, 1957-1966
- Named a Domestic Prelate (Monsignor) by Pope Pius XII, Oct 15, 1957
- Co-founder and honorary member of the Canadian Canon Law Society, 1965–present
- Named and served as pastor of my natal parish of St. John’s in Toronto, 1966-1973
- Served as pastor of Holy Martyrs of Japan Church in Bradford and then St. Patrick’s Church in Phelpston, 1973-1977
- Lived in Rome in an advocacy capacity, 1977-1978
- In addition to other assignments, was appointed for many years in a part-time capacity as Director of Catechetics, Archdiocese of Toronto.
- Upon “retirement” Monsignor continued his priestly ministry selflessly to serve the people of God and focused on prayer, avid spiritual reading and study including Catholic subjects, languages, health; writing booklets, articles, letters, and books (on pro-life and pro-family issues, orthodoxy, Catholic education & catechetics, liturgy, personal memories, biographies, obituaries, hobbies) and doing as much pastoral work as possible as spiritual director, confessor, advisor and preaching.
- Served as chaplain for 25 years of the Pro Aliis Club. He was also chaplain of the Legion of Mary, helped religious orders and convents, promoted Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration and has been active as a member of other groups including the Fellowship of Catholic Scholars.
- Received award for “Most Conscientious Legion of Mary Director We Have Ever Known” (50 years ordained, age 74), 1989
- Continued to reside independently and to drive a car into his nineties and consistently scored 100% on written driving test.
- After attending a Call to Holiness conference in the USA and hearing Mother Angelica, Fr. John Hardon and other orthodox Catholic speakers, he helped found and has been a director of the Canadian chapter of Call to Holiness, since 1990s
- Bishop Roman Danylak presented him with a 60th Ordination Anniversary Papal Blessing from John Paul II, 1999
- Received a Human Life International Award of Excellence that included a large replica of an unborn child, 1999
- Received the Pro-life man of the year award
- Original hymn “A True Priest” first written in honour of Msgr Foy, 2004
- Received a “Priests for Life Meritorious Service Award in Recognition of Outstanding Service in the Pro-Life Cause”, May 2009
- Celebrated 70th Ordination Anniversary at age 93, June 3, 2009
- Informed he would die within a few days, but instead chose to undergo and survived five surgeries within one month. Spent six months in hospital recovering from life support, a tracheotomy, feeding tube, hernia repair, partial hip replacement/repair, peritonitis, punctured colon and a colostomy. Had quite a miraculous recovery with tracheotomy, feeding tube and MRSA virus reversals. Since then, lived with a colostomy and recently had prostate surgery, 2009-2010
- Started his own website msgrfoy.com and posted a selection of his writings, 2014
- “Enjoyed” and suffered from poor health for much of his priesthood, contracting tuberculosis, became legally blind in one eye, had cataracts, lost partial hearing due to a viral infection, got hypothyroidism and underwent a botched tonsillectomy which led to frequent choking attacks.
- On June 3, 2014, as far as we have been able to discover, became the first known diocesan priest worldwide ever to celebrate his 75th year of ordination to the holy priesthood. Could not find an international database to confirm or deny this.
- On June 7, 2014, at his 75th ordination anniversary Mass and celebration, Cardinal Thomas Collins preached the homily and presented a papal blessing and message of commendation and gratitude from the Papal Nuncio on behalf of the Pope.
- On June 3, 2015 celebrated his 76th Ordination Anniversary as a diocesan priest, still possibly a worldwide ecclesiastical and Guiness World record.
- June 3, 2015 EWTN television premiere of the documentary “Msgr. Vincent Foy – Champion for Life”
- In 2015, in his 100th year of age Monsignor Foy is the only surviving priest of the Class of 1939 of St. Augustine’s Seminary and retains the title as the oldest diocesan priest in his diocese and the only priest to reach 76 years of ordination in the Archdiocese of Toronto and possibly Canada and worldwide.
- “Fearlessly articulated and defended the teachings of the Church through a time of moral and doctrinal chaos, especially in Canada. Best known for his untiring defense of Catholic teachings on marriage and family life and Pope Paul VI’s encyclical Humanae vitae”.
- Msgr. Foy hopes to be remembered for his: “Fidelity to the Church and to the teachings of the Church… and trying to live that fidelity. We must stay with Peter. Living the truth means that we are living with Love and in Love.”
I continue to receive complaints and questions about the grave problems with the Ontario Liberal government’s Ministry of Education new revised Health & Physical Education (HPE) curriculum (which includes sex and same-sex education) that they plan to implement in September 2015 and the existing Ontario Bishops’ Fully Alive sex-education curriculum.
Some links to the new HPE sex-ed curriculum
For decades the Ministry has had guidelines for HPE courses that includes a sex-education component, but this revised curriculum is much worse.
You can see that there are things in these curriculum guidelines that are morally permissible including physical fitness, “Healthy Eating” etc. The sex-ed (“Human Development and Sexual Health”) content is problematic.
HPE courses are required in elementary school. In secondary school, one credit in this subject area is necessary in order to obtain a high school diploma. After one high school credit, which could be enough to seriously harm a teenager, this course is an optional subject.
Morally Offensive sex-ed Curriculum
Parts of the new HPE curriculum are more dangerous and morally offensive. For example, the teaching of the false ideology of gender fluidity is false and harmful. God made us to be and we are born and will remain in only one of two genders, either male or female.
Yoga (part of the Hindu religious practise) is taught as part of the curriculum. The Vatican and others, including exorcists, have warned against the practice of Yoga exercise as an entry-way into the occult and the New Age.
Campaign Life Coalition Exposes and Objects to sex-ed Curriculum
A pamphlet produced by Campaign Life Coalition entitled “Ontario’s Health and Physical Education HPE Curriculum 2015” lists problems with the ministry curriculum including it: usurps parental rights as primary educators of their children; attacks and undermines childhood as a time of growth and development; is age-inappropriate; terms are false, inadequate and biased; advocates a mechanical view of sex without any moral content; introduces concepts at too early an age; creates family conflict, alienates children from their families; scripts of teacher-student prompts are “gay” propaganda; calls or self-censorship of teachers etc.
Catholic Civil Rights League Objects to sex-ed Curriculum
The Catholic Civil Rights league objects to aspect of the Ontario curriculum:
Lifesitenews Reports on Protests to sex-ed Curriculum
Lifesitenews has been covering this problem in many articles. There have been parental and other petitions against it.
A massive protest took place with many groups and individuals from a wide variety of faiths and cultures including Parents as First Educators who are opposed to this abusive curriculum:
There was also a protest in Ottawa to have funding allocated towards the schooling of parental guardian’s choice, including homeschooling.
REAL Women of Canada Objects to sex-ed Curriculum
Real Women of Canada has made the following press releases:
I consulted Catholic civil lawyer, Gwen Landolt, who also prepared the following statement:
Constitutional Position of Catholic School Boards in Regard to the Ontario Sex-Education Curriculum
Gwendolyn Landolt June 29, 2015
REAL Women of Canada
I have now had the opportunity to review all the relevant material on this critical issue of the proposed Ontario sex-education curriculum. My conclusions are as follows:
1. I would be hesitant to accept any conclusion that only the Catholic School Boards have the sole decision-making authority on the sex education curriculum. Rather, it seems, there are other members of the Catholic establishment who would also be involved in such a decision. This would include the Institute for Catholic Education (ICE), Bishops, Directors of Education, Superintendents, as well as the Catholic School Trustees. Also, in 2014, a controversial Divisional Court case Erazo v. Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board provided relief to a family, who wished to withdraw their children from religious studies, Mass and religious retreats at a Catholic high school in Brampton. This decision relates to the exemption of non-Catholic students attending Catholic Schools as provided by the Education Act. The Education Act also, however, describes schools as “communities”. All children are part of this Catholic “community” and are expected to participate in the life of the community, including in the school’s curriculum, provided always that the school’s curriculum is based on a Catholic perspective. If the curriculum in the Catholic Schools fails to provide a Catholic perspective, then Catholic parents have the right to withdraw their children from the curriculum, and to challenge the curriculum’s acceptance in the Catholic school.
This right was apparent in Daly et al v. Attorney General of Ontario (1999) when individual separate school supporters, together with the trustees, brought an application before the Ontario Court of Appeal. In its Judgment, the Court refers to the aim of a Catholic school as being the creation of a community of believers with a distinct sense of the Catholic culture.
2. Both Premier Wynne and Education Minister Sandals have also indicated that parents can withdraw their children from aspects of the program they found problematic. It is significant, however, that the latter have stated that some aspects of the new curriculum cannot be opted out, since they deal with human rights issues and equality, such as homosexual rights, same-sex families, etc. In other words, they claim, children cannot be exempted from these so-called aspects of the curriculum, i.e. human rights provisions (National Post, February 23, 2015). In this context, Catholic boards have played a “wait and see” approach.
3. It would appear, however, that the statements by the provincial officials prohibiting the withdrawal of children on some human rights matters, are in conflict with the constitutional right of Catholic schools. This is because defining an issue as a “human right” does not mean that these issues must be accepted by the Catholic Boards, if they are in conflict with Catholic teachings and offend its “distinct sense of the Catholic culture”.
4. The Ontario Education Act was amended in 2006 (when Kathleen Wynne was the Minister of Education) to provide that the Minister may establish policies, guidelines and standards with respect to equivalent learning and require boards to develop and offer equivalent learning opportunities to their pupils.
This section also goes on to provide that the Minister may designate . . . programs, courses of study or other activities that are approved for the purpose of equivalent learning.
This provision appears to give extensive jurisdiction to the Minister as to whether a course is “equivalent” or not to that which was provided by the Ministry. In other words, any sex education course developed by the Catholic School Boards could be subject to the approval of the Minister.
5. This latter provision appears to conflict with Sections 1(4) and 1(4.1) of the Education Act which provides that the Education Act cannot adversely affect any right or privilege guaranteed by Section 93 of the Constitution Act (1867) which provides as follows:
93. In and for each Province the Legislature may exclusively make Laws in relation to Education, subject and according to the following Provisions:
(1) Nothing in any such Law shall prejudicially affect any Right or Privilege with respect to Denominational Schools which any Class of Persons have by Law in the Province at the Union;
(2) All the Powers, Privileges, and Duties at the Union by Law conferred and imposed in Upper Canada on the Separate Schools and School Trustees of the Queen’s Roman Catholic Subjects shall be and the same are hereby extended to the Dissentient Schools of the Queen’s Protestant and Roman Catholic Subjects in Quebec;
(3) Where in any Province a System of Separate or Dissentient Schools exists by Law at the Union or is thereafter established by the Legislature of the Province, an Appeal shall lie to the Governor General in Council from any Act or Decision of any Provincial Authority affecting any Right or Privilege of the Protestant or Roman Catholic Minority of the Queen’s Subjects in relation to Education;
(4) In case any such Provincial Law as from Time to Time seems to the Governor General in Council requisite for the due Execution of the Provisions of this Section is not made, or in case any Decision of the Governor General in Council on any Appeal under this Section is not duly executed by the proper Provincial Authority in that Behalf, then and in every such Case, and as far only as the Circumstances of each Case require, the Parliament of Canada may make remedial Laws for the due Execution of the Provisions of this Section and of any Decision of the Governor General in Council under this Section.
Further, Section 29 of the Charter of Rights provides that there can be no abrogation or derogation from any rights or privileges guaranteed under the Constitution of Canada in respect of “denominational, separate or dissentient schools”.
The recent Loyola High School v. Quebec (Attorney General) 2015 decision of the Supreme Court of Canada dealt with a similar issue of ministerial approval of an “equivalent” program from a Catholic high school, in respect of the implementation of the Quebec Ethics and Religious Culture curriculum. That case stands for the proposition that a private Catholic school retains the right to teach its own faith from its own Catholic perspective, rather than some purported “neutral” perspective, in accordance with the freedom of religion provisions in the Charter of Rights. This decision relates to a private Catholic School, but the principle is the same in regard to public funded Catholic Schools, in regard to freedom of religion, and is consistent with and confirms denominational rights pursuant to S.93 of the Constitution Act (1867).
Consequently, I would be of the opinion that the Catholic Schools can not be compelled to implement the Ontario sex education curriculum.
It is noted that this conclusion is contrary to the opinion dated June 2, 2015, provided by the lawyer, Nadya Tymochenko, of the law firm of Miller Thomson directed to the Halton Catholic District School Board. In this latter opinion, Ms. Tymochenko stated that the Minister of Education, pursuant to Section 230(a) of the Education Act could issue a Directive to the Catholic Board to comply with the sex education program and, if failing to do so, this could result in a “an Order of Cabinet vesting control of the school board in the Ministry of Education”.
I would strongly disagree with this latter conclusion for the constitutional reasons stated above, as well as for the problem that would arise should the Ministry try to do so, as this would give rise to perceived intolerance and religious insensitivity.
The opinion of Ms. Tymochenko which was directed to the Halton Catholic District School Board, also concluded inter alia that parents need only be “consulted”, but cannot be a part of the decision on the sex-education curriculum.
In view of these questionable conclusions by Ms. Tymochenko, I would recommend that the Ontario Bishops obtain an opinion from independent legal counsel on these matters.
It would be my opinion that the Catholic School Boards are not required under the Constitution to implement those parts of the Physical Education & Health (which includes sex-education) curriculum that are contrary to Catholic teachings.
If the Ministry of Education should try to force the issue (which I very much doubt it would do), the Catholic authorities could protect themselves by way of seeking an injunction, or, interestingly enough, follow the two-step remedial procedure provided in Section 93 of the Constitution Act 1867 which is as follows:
(a) Appealing this decision to the Ontario Cabinet (Governor General in Council); and
(b) If the Cabinet does not duly execute the provisions of Section 93 of the Constitution Act 1867, then the matter be referred to the Parliament of Canada to make remedial laws for the execution of Section 93 of the Constitution Act 1867.
It is doubtful, however, that a federal cabinet would want to be drawn into such a controversial issue.
As stated above, however, I very much believe it would not come to this. The Catholic Boards hold a very strong position under Constitutional Law.
REAL Women of Canada
Opinions of Catholic Civil Lawyer, Geoff Cauchi
I also consulted a Catholic civil lawyer, Geoff Cauchi, who gave the following five comments from a secular and legal perspective:
- “The Denominational Rights belong to a ‘Class of persons’, being all of the Catholic Electors in each board, collectively. These rights may be asserted and/or defended by the Trustees, on behalf of the Class of Persons. The Catholic Bishop is only one of the Catholic Electors, presuming that he is registered as one. In my opinion, the Denominational Rights could also be asserted by any single Catholic Elector, or group of them, in legal proceedings in a court of law.”
- “A Bishop has no secular authority whatsoever in this process. All he can do is advise the Trustees on what they should do, if anything, to adapt the curriculum as written by the Ministry to make it consistent with Catholic teaching. ICE, similarly, has no authority at all in this process. It could provide advice to the individual Boards, but each Board has the sole decision-making authority and responsibility on this, and can accept or reject its advice.”
- “A single Catholic Elector, including a Catholic Bishop, has no legal status under the Education Act to implement curriculum in schools governed by the Education Act. Only School Boards have that authority. That said, a single Catholic Elector, including a Bishop, could commence a legal action for a declaration by a court that the Ministry of Education does not have the constitutional authority to prevent a Catholic School board from adapting a prescribed curriculum to make it consistent with Catholic teaching.”
- “All of the Bishops’ ‘rights’ and obligations are limited to those in the Code of Canon Law. The Bishop has the right and duty to oversee all Catholic schools to make sure they are authentically Catholic, but this has nothing to do with the civil law.”
- “When the curriculum was announced, I would have preferred to see the Bishops stand up in public and correctly state the civil law obligation of the Trustees to assert and defend the Denominational Rights of all Catholic Electors, and then tell the Trustees that they also had a moral duty, as Catholics, to do so.”
According to Canon Law
As a Catholic Canon lawyer, I will note below Church laws governing Catholic education and schools that are given in Canons 793-806.
Catholic schools were established to be Catholic and must be faithful to Catholic teachings. We need to provide and restore faithful Catholic Education and courses.
Catholic Bishops, Schools Boards, Trustees, teachers and parents all have serious moral obligations to be faithful to Catholic teachings.
In Catholic schools, Catholic teachers are required to teach the Catholic faith and are not to teach anything against the Catholic faith. This often depends on what they are advised to do by their bishop, board and trustees and how well a Catholic teacher knows and teaches only content that is in accordance with Catholic teachings.
Of signal importance is Canon 804.2 which states “The local ordinary is to be careful that those who are appointed as teachers of religion in schools, even non-Catholic ones, are outstanding in true doctrine, in the witness of their Christian life and in their teaching ability.”
In Canon 805, we are told that in his own diocese the local ordinary has the right to appoint or to approve teachers of religion and, if religion or moral considerations require it, to remove them or to demand that they be removed. Teachers who are not faithful in their religious practice should be removed. There should be no compromise in this matter.
Religion should certainly be the primary subject in Catholic schools.
All teaching should be in accord with the Catholic Catechism. Bishops can state and advise that the new curriculum is not in line with Catholic teachings and cannot be implemented, as it is, in Catholic schools. Bishops sometimes make mistakes.
As it is, if the revised Ministry of Education curriculum is not stopped or rejected, for Catholic schools/boards/teachers, it must be “adapted” or only parts could be implemented in adherence to Catholic teaching. Basically, all of the parts that are immoral and that don’t comply with Church guidelines would have to be omitted or strictly adapted to reflect and in line with only Catholic teaching.
The minutes from the Archdiocesan clergy meeting recorded that only a small percentage of the new curriculum would be implemented since most of it is morally offensive to religious persons.
Catholic school boards and trustees must not follow advice and implement subject matter if it goes against Catholic teachings. For Catholic elementary schools, adding anything to the existing Fully Alive program will not correct this flawed approach and program.
The group appointed by the bishops to prepare their recommendations to school boards regarding adapting the new sex ed curriculum, ICE, has a sad track record of providing the inappropriate and harmful Fully Alive program.
I continue to recommend that the “Fully Alive” family life (sex) education program currently used in Ontario Catholic elementary schools be removed since it is harmful and not faithful to Church guidelines, by teaching explicit sexual information to children before puberty. As another Canadian bishop once stated: All that is necessary can be taught in the context of the Sixth and Ninth Commandments with formation and teaching in the virtues of chastity and modesty and the means of grace through the solid Faith and Life religion series and are treated magnificently in the second and third parts of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. The proper authority in the area of family life education should be with the parents.
Please see my previous postings in 2015 and earlier for detailed letters and information on what is wrong with Fully Alive and how it is not in accordance with the Church’s guidelines on family life education.
The moral and legal rights of the Catholic Church, schools, parents, teachers and students to uphold the Catholic faith must be defended and protected by the Church, Bishops, Catholic school boards, trustees, government, parents and students. The government’s Ministry of Education cannot force Catholic school boards and teachers to teach any immoral course content related to a false concept of human rights.
Rev. Msgr. Vincent Foy, PH, JCD
Warning: content from the Fully Alive program contained in the second link below is offensive and contains sexual content that is not suitable for children. It is only being provided as evidence of what is wrong with this sex education series that is still currently being used in Catholic elementary schools in Ontario, Canada in 2015.
For adults only – please do NOT click on and open the following link with information and diagrams from the Fully Alive program, unless you are an adult. It contains sexual content that is harmful:
For Catholic elementary schools, adding anything to the existing Fully Alive program will not correct a flawed approach and program.
I was also informed recently that “the Institute for Catholic Education (ICE) who have been appointed to update Fully Alive already wrongfully worsened this harmful curriculum years ago to classify homosexuality as a ‘normal teenage emotion’.”
Here are some recent articles on the problems of classroom sex-education:
Note: Since I wrote the above letter, I found out that, in most of English Canada, the “Born of the Spirit” religion series will be replaced by the “Growing in Faith Growing in Christ” series, for grades 1 through 8 in Catholic schools. The whole series will be available by December of 2018. I have not seen this new series yet.
Today I was asked if, on June 3, 2015, will 76 years as a diocesan priest qualify me in any way for the Guinness World Book of Records?
Although permission was properly obtained by EWTN to record and televise the attached, I was told that due to time constraints in the 1/2 hour TV documentary they are premiering on my 76th Ordination Anniversary, the producers were only able to include the beginning of this homily, so it is posted here:
At this time, I am reminding myself of the introduction to “A Spiritual Autobiography” by Servant of God, Fr. John Hardon SJ (1914-2000). He wrote: “If there is one autobiography that has deeply shaped my life, it has been the story of St. Augustine. He credits himself only with the commission of his sins. He credits God with whatever good he has done.”
In agreement with that statement, I give all glory and honour and credit to God and thank him for 76 years of priestly ordination coming up on June 3, 2015.
Fr. Hardon helped found the:
Marian Catechist Apostolate (an excellent catechetical program for any diocese to use) http://www.mariancatechist.com
Real Presence Eucharistic Education and Adoration Association http://www.therealpresence.org
Eternal Life http://www.lifeeternal.org
He often warned: “Unless we recover the zeal and the spirit of the first century Christians – unless we are willing to do what they did and to pay the price they paid, the future of our country, the days of America are numbered.”
At the present time, in many countries the Church is in grave danger because of the contraceptive mentality and many other evils. To save the Church, many reforms are necessary. I am listing some suggestions for this purpose.
Build a Culture of Life
Father John Hardon SJ (died Dec. 30, 2000) was surely one of the greatest theologians of the last century. Near the end of his life he gave a lecture entitled “The Greatest Moral Responsibility: to convert the Contraceptive Mentality.” The Contraceptive mentality has led to the suicidal birthrate in many parts of the Church. The Church cannot survive where the suicidal mentality prevails. A number of factors are involved in countries where there is a suicidal birthrate. Chief of these is the use of contraception.
- We need to overcome the contraceptive mentality.
- Be strongly pro-life, pro-family, pro-chastity, pro-modesty in every diocese, family and parish.
- Have faithful and regular pro-life preaching in all parishes: the doctrine of the Church on Humanae vitae should be taught two or three times a year.
- Catholic hospitals (and medical professionals) should not permit and must be ordered to stop doing direct sterilizations, allowing the prescription of contraception, abortion referrals etc. in accordance with Canon Law. Otherwise, the hospitals should not be called Catholic.
- The encyclical Humanae vitae must be known and taught by every seminary professor.
- Priests must only be given faculties to hear Confession when they show in their Jurisdiction Examination that they adhere to the teaching of Humanae vitae.
- In pre-nuptial instruction, the couple must be taught and assent to practice the Church’s teaching on Humanae vitae.
- In marriage counseling the doctrine of Humanae vitae must be taught.
- Catholic physicians, medical professionals, nurses and societies of these professions must be taught and must teach and adhere to Catholic teachings.
- Catholic sexual ethics and morality must be preached and taught, in accordance with Catholic teachings on marriage, homosexuality, fornication etc.
- It helps to have a place where faithful Catholic books and pamphlets are available for sale.
- Of help also is a lending library where good books are on loan.
- Have societies/groups e.g. altar society, children, youth, adults, a group to visit the sick and those in hospitals.
- A social affairs committee could help to arrange such matters as parish picnics, welcome to new parishioners and special events.
- A committee could help with inter-parish affairs.
- A parish history group could be formed to make regular reports.
- Male members could be encouraged to join the Knight of Columbus or other men’s groups.
- A considerable help would be annual retreats with a visiting speaker, perhaps one week given for male and one for female parishioners.
- Use all the means of social communications in a digital age.
- Have parish websites with Mass times and other orthodox information.
Provide Authentic Liturgy and Sacred Architecture
- Every Church should have a statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary, St. Joseph and other statues and the Stations of the Cross.
- Restore central Tabernacle placement and Communion rails, including cathedral.
- Have a chapel or Altar for Exposition and Eucharistic Adoration.
- Implement Ecclesia Dei with more parishes to also provide traditional sacraments.
- Therefore, train seminarians also to provide the Sacraments in the traditional Latin Rite.
- Priests can celebrate Mass ad Orientum, facing the Tabernacle/Altar to worship God with the congregation.
- Renew Holy Communion on the tongue and rescind Communion in hand.
- For Novus Ordo Masses, in accordance with liturgical regulations, only allow extraordinary ministers for extraordinary circumstances.
- Restore Sacred Music and Gregorian Chant to have “pride of place”.
- Provide a Parish Book of Chant i.e. http://media.musicasacra.com/books/pbc_2nd.pdf
- Have choirs in the choir loft whenever possible. In every church there should be a place for an organized choir.
- Use the organ when possible.
- Recite the St. Michael the Archangel prayer after Masses to protect from and combat evil.
- As one of the ways to encourage vocations to the priesthood, only allow/have Altar Boys.
- Have the Rosary and prayers of the Divine Office in parishes.
Be faithful and orthodox
- Faith and morals do not change. A Catholic hierarchy must be doctrinally faithful.
- Put the salvation and sanctification of souls as a priority.
- Request an Oath of Fidelity and Profession of Faith be made by all clergy, religious, seminarians (and teachers of the Catholic Faith) in accordance with Canon Law.
- If I were a member of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, I would invite all members to unite and make a statement specifically revoking the former erroneous CCCB Winnipeg Statement. If no supporters, I would issue my own statement stating that it is invalid and must not be used anywhere.
- Instruct pastors to give homilies on moral and doctrinal teachings of the Church.
- Defend marriage: only true annulments should be granted (not “catholic divorces”).
- A condition for receiving Holy Communion is being in the state of grace. Therefore, Catholics living in a state of sin (e.g. who were validly married in the Catholic Church, then divorced and then remarried outside the Church without an Annulment) cannot be permitted to receive Holy Communion until they right their condition and repent.
- The Church is the guardian of Divine Law. The Church cannot change Divine Law or Church Doctrine/Dogma (i.e. the Church cannot marry a man to a horse). Pastoral practise must be in accordance with the Truths of Divine Law (Dogma/Doctrine). For example, Catholics should be in a state of grace to receive Holy Communion. This cannot be changed. The Church can only change Ecclesiastical Law (e.g. increasing the number of witnesses at a Catholic marriage) and Liturgical Law (e.g. insisting that a wedding take place at a Mass).
- Promote true ecumenism/evangelization (try to convert non-Catholics to the Catholic Faith).
- Bishops should reject any government mandate that contradicts Catholic moral teaching.
- Invite only authentic religious congregations to establish foundations. (The average age of declining religious left in Canada is 80 years old).
Renew Consecration and Devotion to Mary
- Consecrate myself, the diocese, country, Russia and the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary and try to live it.
- Promote the praying of the Rosary in parishes, families, schools etc.
- Promote total consecration to Jesus through Mary in parishes, families, schools etc..
The laws governing Catholic education and schools are given in Canons 793-806.
Provide and Restore faithful Catholic Education and curriculums:
- Of signal importance is Canon 804.2 which states “The local ordinary is to be careful that those who are appointed as teachers of religion in schools, even non-Catholic ones, are outstanding in true doctrine, in the witness of their Christian life and in their teaching ability.”
- In Canon 805 we are told that in his own diocese the local ordinary has the right to appoint or to approve teachers of religion and, if religion or moral considerations require it, to remove them or to demand that they be removed. Teachers who are not faithful in their religious practice should be removed. There should be no compromise in this matter.
- Religion should certainly be the primary subject in Catholic schools.
- Prayer should be said at the beginning of teaching. Along with the manner for going to Confession, prayers should be taught and known e.g. the Rosary, the Angelus etc.
- All teaching should be in accord with the Catholic Catechism.
- Remove the “Fully Alive” family life (sex) education program currently used in Ontario Catholic schools. It is harmful and not faithful to Church guidelines, by teaching explicit sexual information to children before puberty. As another Canadian bishop once stated: All that is necessary can be taught in the context of the Sixth and Ninth Commandments with formation and teaching in the virtues of chastity and modesty and the means of grace through the solid Faith and Life religion series and are treated magnificently in the second and third parts of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. The proper authority in the area of family life education should be with the parents.
- Remove the “Born of the Spirit” religion series (also currently used in Canadian Catholic schools).
- Replace the above two programs with a faithful catechism in all Catholic schools and parish RCIA etc. For example the “Faith and Life” religion series available at http://www.ignatius.com, the “Catechism of the Catholic Church”, and the Marian Catechist program (http://www.mariancatechist.com).
- The rights of the Catholic Church, schools, parents and teachers to uphold and teach the Catholic Faith should be protected by bishops and governments.
Restore and revive the use of the Sacraments
A thriving Church makes full use of the Sacrament of Penance. At one time four confessionals at St. Michael’s Cathedral in Toronto were kept busy on Saturday afternoons from 4:30-6:30pm. After a break for supper they were again kept busy from 7:30-9pm. They were intermittently busy until 10pm. Children in primary schools went to confession monthly. Now confessionals are often without penitents and sometimes children go a year without confession.
- It is important to speak and teach on the benefits of this great sacrament.
- Times for Confession should be greatly lengthened. Encourage increased Confession times.
- Frequent Confession should be promoted even if there is not mortal sin. The benefits of frequent Confession of devotion should be encouraged when there is no serious sin.
- Taught at all levels should be the manner of Examination of Conscience. Very often the examination of conscience is taught with no mention of the difference between mortal and venial sins and the necessity of confessing the number of times when mortal sins are committed. All school children should be taught how to make a good confession and encouraged to confess frequently.
- A detailed, thorough and proper Examination of Conscience, should be published, provided and promoted for children, youth and adults. It helps to have an examination in the past tense, noting what is mortally sinful, and stating that the number of times when mortal sins are committed should be confessed. If the person is not sure how many times or if it is really not possible for them to remember, then they should give an approximate estimate of that number (e.g. about once a week for a month, “multiple” times).
- All deliberate sexual arousal outside of marriage is objectively mortally sinful.
- Stop sacrileges, Holy Communion is not for those in mortal sin.
Obligatory Attendance at Mass:
The Church cannot thrive where there is not general attendance at Sunday Mass.
- It is necessary that the importance, beauty and meaning of the Mass be taught in the parishes and at Catholic schools.
- Parents should be taught the obligation of seeing that their children attend Sunday Mass.
- Children and young people should be taught to encourage their parents to attend Sunday Mass. It is obvious that many parents neglect the duty of seeing that their children attend Mass. Likewise, it is evident that many parents do not consider Sunday Mass a grave obligation. What is said about Sunday Mass attendance likewise refers to when Saturday evening Mass attendance is permitted to fulfill the Sunday obligation.
- It is helpful if Missals are possessed by parents and children.
Frequent Communion/daily Mass:
- Encourage frequent Holy Communion.
- By making daily Mass available at times convenient to the laity, perhaps ensuring that there is an early morning or evening Mass in each parish or family of parishes, more people will be able to attend daily Mass.
Provide extended Eucharistic Adoration
- Establish Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration, extended exposition up to 24 hours a day, “in every parish and Christian community” as requested by Pope John Paul II. Chapels can be set up in a room in the church basement, vestibule, main floor, rectory or have the exposition in the main body of the Church. Help is available to start or organize this program in parishes (e.g. schedule a missionary).
- Revive Forty Hours devotions in parishes.
Be faithful to and implement Canon Law
- In accordance with Canon Law, excommunicate public obstinate heretics after warning.
- In accordance with Canon Law, refuse Holy Communion to pro-abortion politicians.
- In accordance with Canon Law, bishops and clergy who are public unrepentant dissenters must be disciplined and suspended when required.
- In accordance with Canon/Moral Law, where it becomes evident that there are practicing unrepentant homosexuals (or lesbians) in clerical or religious states, they must be removed from active ministry. Every case is different and to be judged individually.
Reach out to and save the Youth
- There should be parish youth groups and activities.
- This includes Holy Hours of Eucharistic Adoration, confession, catechesis, prayer and the Rosary, praise/worship, formation in all virtues especially chastity and modesty, vocational discernment, exposure to authentic religious congregations, pro-life, social and other events.
- A one word homily is “Repent”.
- Love God, yourself and others.
- Live according to the Ten Commandments and Catholic teachings.
- God is merciful. Be merciful, yet don’t fall into the sin of presumption.
- Have peace with God, within yourself and with others, in your family and in the world.
- Know God and the Catholic Faith. Believe in and trust God. Live your Faith. Study the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
- Be faithful to the Church teachings including Humanae vitae – never use artificial contraception and be pro-life.
- Frequent the Sacrament of Confession (weekly, monthly).
- Frequent Holy Communion (daily Mass when possible).
- Pray with your heart: daily Rosary, the Divine Office, Scripture reading, Grace before and after meals, basic prayers.
- Live out and be totally consecrated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the Sacred Heart of Jesus: “To Jesus through Mary”.
- Wear the Brown Scapular. Our Lady promised to St. Simon Stock that whoever dies wearing it shall not suffer eternal hell.
- Do orthodox spiritual reading, Scripture, lives of the Saints, Papal Encyclicals etc.
- Practice penance, mortification, fasting and other forms of self-denial/discipline.
- Have a blessed Crucifix, sacramentals, holy water and holy pictures in your home.
- Have devotion to the Saints, Holy Angels and your Guardian Angel.
- Discern vocations to the priesthood, deaconate, religious, consecrated or eremitical life, consecrated virginity, the single state, or married life.
- Belonging to faithful groups and movements for the laity are helpful to fulfill the universal call to holiness.
- Be prepared for death and your final judgment at all times.
Msgr. Vincent Foy, May 27, 2015
The television premiere of the 1/2 hour documentary “Msgr. Vincent Foy, Champion for Life” will air on Eternal Word Television Network on Wednesday, June 3, 2015 (my 76th Ordination Anniversary) at 3am and 6:30pm ET and in a repeat broadcast on August 14, 2015 (my 100th birthday) at 3am and 6:30pm. Thanks to EWTN, Dunn Media & Entertainment and all who helped with this production. It can be viewed live on EWTN’s channel or online via the EWTN website.
Professional copies may be ordered from EWTN through the link below for $10 (from which I make no profit):
MSGR. VINCENT FOY: CHAMPION FOR LIFE