.- A priest from Quebec has launched a $500,000 libel suit against LifeSiteNews Canada, a sum which the pro-life news provider says could shut it down.
Fr. Raymond Gravel, a former Member of Canada’s Parliament, suggests in his suit that articles from LifeSiteNews caused him to lose his position as a chief catechist in the Diocese of Joilette.
He has previously complained about the website. In April 2009 he said that when his bishop received a letter from the Vatican which forced him to retire from political life, an accompanying file was full of negative comments from “those ultra-conservative media.”
The priest’s suit also argues that he is not “pro-abortion,” while he has in the past said he is “pro-choice.”
“We wish no harm to Fr. Gravel, and that, in fact, we are concerned for his wellbeing,” LifeSiteNews’ editors John-Henry Westen and Steve Jalsevac said in response. It added the suit could “severely, even permanently, disrupt our life- and culture-saving work.”
The sum of $500,000 in damages is a full year’s budget for the website.
In 2008 Fr. Gravel defended awarding the Order of Canada, the country’s highest civilian award, to legal abortion crusader Henry Morgantaler. The priest has also repeatedly and publicly criticized Catholic teaching on homosexuality and abortion.
LifeSiteNews said the legal case adds “a potentially very large and currently impossible extra financial burden.”
“We simply have no money to spend on potentially crippling legal fees,” the LifeSiteNews editors added, noting that the suit comes at a time of increasing attacks on the free speech rights of Christians and pro-life, pro-family citizens.
“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 Thomas More Society of Chicago has offered its help in the case, but LifeSiteNews is seeking professional Canadian legal help and donations to fight the suit.