We are not just material beings, but spiritual persons with a need for meaning, purpose, and fulfillment that transcends the visible confines of this world. This longing for transcendence is a longing for truth, goodness, and beauty. Truth, goodness, and beauty are called the transcendentals of being, because they are aspects of being. Everything in existence has these transcendentals to some extent. God, of course, as the source of all truth, goodness, and beauty, has these transcendentals to an infinite degree. Oftentimes, He draws us to Himself primarily through one of these transcendentals. St. Augustine, who was drawn to beauty in all its creaturely forms, found the ultimate beauty he was seeking in God, his creator, the beauty “ever ancient, ever new.”―Sister Gabriella Yi, O.P.

Bishop Lopes: A Pledged Troth. A pastoral letter on Amoris Laetitia.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Prayers Requested for the University of Victoria Catholic Students' Association

Please pray for the Catholic Students' Association (CSA) on the campus of the University of Victoria.

As regular readers of this blog know, the CSA is involved in litigation against the University of Victoria Students' Society (UVSS). In the Fall of 2012, the UVSS Board attempted to restrict CSA Charter protected activities on campus. Despite many attempts by the CSA to engage the UVSS Board in dialogue, the Board manipulated proceedings, cancelled meetings and continued to harass the CSA well into 2013. The CSA was forced to take legal action against the UVSS Board in order to restore respect for Charter rights on campus. This summer the UVSS Board, in a welcome gesture of goodwill, retracted its offending petition and subsequent actions that attempted to restrict CSA activities on campus. The Board's decision is a small but significant victory for inalienable rights on the campus of the University of Victoria, BC.

UVSS Board casts doubt on its commitment to freedom of speech and freedom of conscience and religion.

The UVSS has also continued to harass pro-life students. The UVSS is currently being litigated against by the pro-life club at UVic, Youth Protecting Youth (YPY). YPY is represented by the BC Civil Liberties Association. Despite a prior court action against the UVSS Board for engaging in similar actions, the Board has persisted in attacking YPY's Charter protected activities. A reasonable person can well understand, then, the concern over the UVSS Board's history of failing to abide by its own policies. The Board's failure to respect a legal judgement such as the one which prohibited harassment of YPY is enough to cast doubt on the Board's ability to maintain respect for inalienable rights, now and in the future.

The UVSS Board—a history of harassment.

The UVSS Board has repeatedly demonstrated a propensity to engage in harassment of individuals and clubs with whom it disagrees. There is nothing preventing a future UVSS Board from reversing a former Board's policy to respect the Charter rights of clubs and individuals. Without the force of the courts to deter the Board from misbehaving, there is little the current UVSS Board itself can do to ensure future boards respect the current board's decision to retract its petition to restrict CSA activities. And, as mentioned above, even if the court penalizes the UVSS Board for its actions, a renegade UVSS Board such as that witnessed by Catholic students and YPY members these past three or more years may still attempt to defy a legal injunction prohibiting discrimination and harassment by the UVSS Board. The UVSS Board has a history of attracting people who habitually resort to fascist behaviour, students who are enthusiastically willing to deny others their Charter rights. The UVSS Board's failure to abide by a provincial court's decision indicates that certain UVSS Board members think of themselves as above the law. Barring them coming to their senses, may God defend us if such students enter into politics or pursue a legal career.

The CSA would be right to pursue the current legal action against the UVSS Board in order to assist the Board to uphold all students' Charter rights and to deter future Board members from committing similar abuses of process and policy. If the CSA action against the UVSS Board proceeds, court costs will likely be charged to the representative of the CSA named in legal documents.

The CSA is assisted by Harper Grey LLP lawyers working pro bono and legal counsel is also provided by the BC Civil Liberties Association.

Please pray, too, for the lawyers on both sides of the issue and for the judge involved in the case. Pray especially for the UVSS Board, that they may demonstrate full respect for the inalienable rights of all members of the UVic community.

St. Michael the Archangel: pray for and defend the UVic Catholic Students' Association.

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