Federal Liberal Leader Candidate Justin Trudeau.
Credits: Mark Wanzel/The Barrie Examiner/QMI AGENCY
SUDBURY, ON -- An anti-abortion school trustee has retracted comments she made regarding Justin Trudeau's visit to a local Catholic high school this Friday.
“I just feel I’m not comfortable having Justin speak in a Catholic school in light of the fact that he is pro-abortion,” Estelle Scappatura, of the Sudbury District Catholic School Board, told LifeSiteNews.com, a religious, pro-life website, on Monday.
She told Northern Life community newspaper, “It's against the dogma of our church to be pro-abortion. That's just what I'm trying to protect — the teachings of our church.”
On Tuesday morning, Scappatura took back those comments.
“I’m retracting my statements,” she told QMI Agency. “I have no objections about Justin speaking at St. Charles College because we received a statement from the bishop’s secretary that the bishop has sanctioned Justin’s visit,” Scappatura said.
Bishop Jean-Louis Plouffe of the Diocese of Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., sent the statement earlier Tuesday, but was not available for comment.
“If the bishop feels Justin’s visit to the school is fine, I’ll go along with it,” Scappatura said.
Trudeau's speech at St. Charles College is being called a non-political event.
“The bishop is supporting the fact that we always have a range of speakers in our schools and he certainly supported Mr. Trudeau being a practicing Catholic and a good family man,” said Catherine McCullough, the board's director of education.
“(Trudeau will) be speaking about student leadership, empowering students to give back to the community,” McCullough said.
She said while the visit may be from a politician, it will not be partisan.
“Social justice is a huge issue in our schools and for our Grade 12 kids.... If they can have a charismatic speaker who can encourage them and give them enthusiasm for being involved as Canadians, then great, let’s do it,” McCullough said.
In an online report Tuesday, LifeSite quoted critics who remain opposed to Trudeau’s visit, including Jim Hughes, national president of Campaign Life Coalition.
“Mr. Trudeau has stated publicly that he is pro-abortion and pro-same-sex ‘marriage,’” Hughes said.
“He also ridiculed the Holy Father and the bishops when he stated that ‘We are the new generation, we don’t have to listen to old men and their old-fashioned ideas’ prior to the papal visit to Toronto.
“If this is a good practicing Catholic and a role model, then God help us all,” Hughes said.