Fellowship of Catholic Scholars' Year in Review 2019


 Fellowship of Catholic Scholars

President & Editor: Professor Robert Berard, 643 Chestnut St. Halifax, Nova Scotia, B3H 3T3;                                                                                                                                                                                                           robert.berard@msvu.ca

       Treasurer: Dr. Patrick Redmond, 44 Augusta Drive Way, Markham, On, 

L6E 1B5; pmredmond@sympatico.ca

Other Executive Board Members: Dr. Paul Flaman, Dr. Kent Donlevy, Dr. John Liptay, Dr. Christian Elias, Dr. Celene Sidloski and Miriam Westen

2019 Year in Review

2019 Conference

The annual conference of the Canadian and American branches of the Fellowship of Catholic Scholars was held on Friday, September 27th through to Sunday September 29th. This was the first time a joint conference was held and attendees judged it to be a great success. The conference was held at the Double Tree by Hilton hotel in Montreal.

The theme of the conference was “Goodness, Truth and Beauty … and the Encounter with Evil”.

The speakers and their topics were stimulating and informative and all generated considerable discussion.  

There were four panels, two plenary addresses and concurrent sessions.

The panels were:

1. Philosophical and Theological Understandings of Evil. The speakers in the session were Dr. Matthews Grunt, Dr. Maria Fedoryka and Dr. R.J. Matava.

2. Beauty and Hope in the Midst of Evil. The speakers were Dr. David Clayton, Dr. Helen Tomko, and Dr. Marie Meaney.

3. Beauty and Evil in the Church and the World.  The speakers were Dr. Richard Sherlock, Dr. J. Kent Donlevy, and Dr. Cecil Chabot.

4. What Good can come from Evil?  The speakers were Dr. Christine Schintgen, Dr. Jennifer Martin and Dr. Lawrence Feingold.

Other talks were given by Dr. Richard Shaw and Mrs. Bridget Olver.  The plenary addresses were given by Dr. Douglas Farrow and Dr. Michael Sirilla.

Concurrent sessions were held in various academic specialties of canon law, history, literature & the arts, natural science, medicine and engineering, philosophy, social science and psychology and theology.

We had excellent attendance with probably one hundred people participating in the sessions. 

We hope to publish the papers in upcoming issues of the journal so you can enjoy reading them.


The college is pleased to announce the appointment of a new president, Dr. Ryan M. Williams.

The College now offers a Bachelor of Catholic Studies degree.

A new lecture series was established in honour of the recently retired president, entitled the Dr. Keith Cassidy Annual Lecture.  Fr. Joseph Koterski, S.J., noted philosopher from Fordham University, gave the 2019 lecture.

The College held their annual Wojtyla Summer Institute.  The theme was “The splendor of the Liturgy”.

Artist and writer in residence Michael D. O’Brien was presented with the John Cardinal O’Connor Award at the Sisters of Life Gala in New York City.

Fidelitas notes

The next two issues of the journal Fidelitas will be joint issues.  Thus, the Summer-Fall 2018 and Winter-Spring 2019 issue will be combined as will the Summer-Fall 2019 and Winter-Spring 2020 issue. This will allow us to be up to date in the issues.  Please note that we appreciate all article submissions.  If you, or someone you know would like to submit one, please do so.

Fidelitas now has a section on poetry. It will include occasional works of poetry. Teresa Bobrow has volunteered to be both Book Review Editor and Poetry Editor.

Awards for Former Members of the Executive

The executive gave awards to three former members of the board for their many years of faithful service. They are:

Teresa Bobrow served for twenty years on the executive.  In 1992, she was one of the founding members of the Fellowship of Catholic Scholars Canada.

Rev Dr. Robert Pelton served for many years on the Board.

Dr. Christine Schintgen also served for many years on the board.

We thank them for their valuable contributions to the executive and to the Fellowship of Catholic Scholars Canada over the years.

Facebook and LinkedIn links

Miriam Westen has set up Facebook and LinkedIn websites for the fellowship.  

The Facebook website is https://www.facebook.com/CatholicScholars/

If you have any special announcements or pictures to put on the Page that would be wonderful.  Please send them to Miriam at westenmiriam@gmail.com

The LinkedIn website is  https://www.linkedin.com/groups/8735740/

If you have any questions or comments on these websites, please contact Miriam at westenmiriam@gmail.com


Miriam Westen continues to work hard on the website.

Please visit it at https://www.catholicscholarscanada.com

A recent addition can be seen at https://www.catholicscholarscanada.com/2020/07/natural-law-is-indispensable-scholarly.html  

She notes that the website shows over 2,800 visits from across the globe - with the majority of visitors from the US - some from Germany, France, Russia, Ukraine, Poland, Hong Kong, Vietnam and of course Canada

Books Published

Christopher Zakrzewski has translated into elegant prose the Polish epic Pan Tadeusz by Adam Mickiewicz.  His translation was nominated for the Polish Book Institute’s prestigious Transatlantic Prize 2019

Kenton E. Biffert wrote a modern Catholic fantasy novel, The Chronicles of Sir Benedict: The Cult of Levi.

C. Gwendolyn Landolt, Patrick Redmond and Douglas A. Alderson have published From Democracy to Judicial Dictatorship in Canada: The Untold Story of the Charter of Rights, (The Interim Publishing Company: Toronto, 2019)

Media Initiatives

FCS member, William Brooks, has recently been engaged as an opinion contributor to The Epoch Times. Readers can find a collection of Bill's articles by googling: William Brooks / The Epoch Times.

Articles Presented

Dr. Ky Heinze presented a paper “Living in Biblical Narrative” in Washington, D.C. at a conference entitled Treasures New and Old: Christian Culture and Cultures in the Patristic Age.

Dr. Richard Shaw gave the inaugural St. Augustine Feast Day Lecture sponsored by the English Catholic History Association. The title was “ Bede, Augustine and the Gregorian Mission to Kent in the light of the earliest evidence”.

Articles Published

Dr. Richard Shaw,  “Bede’s Rhetorical use of dating formulas in the Historia ecclesiasticam”, Anglo-Saxon England.

Dr. Richard Shaw, “Bede Part 1, Fascicles 1-4, by George Hardin Brown and Frederick Biggs”, Journal of English and German Philology, 118.2 (Apr. 2019)

Dr. David Beresford and Dr. Armin Namayandeh, “Chironomidae of Fasheim Peninsula, Ellesmere Island”, Aquatic Insects, 40(1): 1-18; 2019.

Video Presentations

Dr. Kent Donlevy and Christopher Wells gave a talk entitled “Gay-Straight Alliances and Religious Schools: A Clash of Rights and Freedoms”.

It can be read at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bg9qwLwEHdl

Charitable Initiatives

Frankie Burg-Feret continues to run the Silent Children’s Mission, which helps the poorest of the poor in the third world. Frankie went to Guatemala for their annual medical mission trip. Their, their team of nineteen volunteers, including doctors, nurses and a pharmacist cared for 490 children and families. They supported projects in Malawi, Zambia and Haiti.  Their work has received the strong support of Bishop Robert Kasun, CSB, Auxiliary Bishop Toronto Central Region. Anyone wishing to donate can send a cheque to Silent Children’s Mission, RR#1 16060 Concession 8, Schomberg, ON L0G 1T0.  Frankie Burg-Feret can be a speaker at your events.  To contact her, call 416-418-0314.


Professor John Paul Meenan has a blog that will be of interest to members.  It is https://catholicinsight.com/ontarios-holy-lands-2/.

A recent entry is entitled “Holy Lands of Ontario”, which talks about the Irish in Ontario.

Catholic Civil Rights League

Dr. Christian Elia is the executive director of the CCRL.  In addition to presenting a paper at the conference of the FCS in Calgary, Christian has kept very busy defending Catholic rights in Canada.  The CCRL intervened in the Trinity Western University appeals. They intervened in the Ontario Divisional Court Case opposing the mandate of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario (CPSO) forcing doctors to provide an “Effective referral” in the event that they did not wish to participate in morally objectionable medical services, such as assisted suicide.  They are also participating in the appeal.  The CCRL also petitioned against the Trudeau Liberal policy required agreement with abortion to receive funding from the Canada Summer Jobs program. The CCRL intervened in the Highwood congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses v. Randy Hall. In this case, the Supreme Court agreed that private institutions are shielded from review of internal decisions.  If you would like to donate to the CCRL please contact Christian Elia at celia@ccrl.ca or 416-466-8244.

Links with the American Branch of the Fellowship

Those who have links with the American branch through joint membership should be aware that they can enjoy all the benefits of the American Fellowship, including full use of their website, www.catholicscholars.org. Your membership gives you access not only to the Member Directory, but also to other features only available to our members, such as publishing your own events, participating in our Media Experts group (approval by the Board is required), and joining Convention discussion groups. You can also share your research interests on our home page via your member profile.


Paul Vandervet passed away in August 2019.  He had been a lawyer in Brantford for 45 years.  He was very involved with the Brant Right to Life.  He was an active Deacon in the Ukrainian Catholic Church of St. John the Baptist (Eastern Rite). May he rest in peace.


David Davies has resigned from the fellowship.  He is in poor health.  We wish him the best.

Patrick Redmond