Centre for Inquiry

Centre for Inquiry

July 15, 2013 15:36 ET

Canada Deserves Better Than Pope John Paul II Day: National Organization for Atheists

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - July 15, 2013) - The Centre for Inquiry's Petition to the Senate to Oppose Pope John Paul II Day (Bill C-266) surpassed 2500 signatures in its first week.

CFI is troubled that the late pontiff enjoyed a free pass unavailable to most other candidates for such a naming honour. The sponsor of the Bill, Conservative MP Wladyslaw Lizon, provided a hyperbolic description of Pope John Paul II as a champion of free speech, democracy, and inclusivity, that went unchallenged.

"Pope John Paul II ruled the last absolute monarchy in Europe," said CFI President Kevin Smith. "During his reign he spoke approvingly of censorship for religiously offensive speech, punished nonconforming Catholics, and demeaned secularism as a 'culture of death'."

Lizon argued John Paul II deserves unique recognition due to his championship for human rights, a commonality between the Pope and Canada, stating "We [Canada] are currently a party to seven major international human rights conventions."

"In fact, the Pope refused to sign two of those very conventions, putting him in the company of countries like Somalia and Iran," said Smith. "Meanwhile, John Paul II failed to provide mandatory annual reports on Vatican compliance with the Convention on the Rights of the Child." The Pope's betrayal of trust and dereliction of duty in the global child sex abuse scandal is well known.

"Canada has named days in honour of only three other individuals: two Canadian Prime Ministers and Raoul Wallenberg, who helped rescue tens of thousand of Jews from Nazi-occupied Hungary," said Smith. "Simply put, Canada deserves better."

Contact Information