CCRL dinner recognizes Dr. Robert Walley: a hero for life
|Dr. Robert Walley on the far right,
recipient of the Adam Exner Award
At the annual Spring Dinner on June 19, the Catholic Civil Rights League (CCRL) presented the founder of MaterCare International, Dr. Robert Walley with this year’s Archbishop Adam Exner Award for Catholic Excellence in Public Life. “The CCRL established the Archbishop Exner Award in 2004 to honour Archbishop Adam Exner, OMI, Archbishop Emeritus of Vancouver, upon his retirement and to recognize outstanding achievement in advocacy, education, life issues, media and culture, and philanthropy.”
The dinner, with about 150 participants, took place in Toronto at the Columbus Centre’s Sala Caboto Ballroom. The keynote speaker for the evening was Dr. Andrew Bennett, Canada’s first Ambassador for Religious Freedom and Head of the Office of Religious Freedom from 2013 to 2016. This was with the former Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his Conservative government. The current Liberal government has closed the office and pushes political correctness under the euphemism of “inclusive and diversity” policies.
CCRL President Phil Horgan said this about choosing Dr. Bennett:
In the many years of the work of MaterCare International, Dr. Robert Walley has been a shining light, and a true ambassador for Christ and His Church. MaterCare International has developed maternal and infant care projects in numerous developing nations, building hospitals and maternal care centres. The work has provided valuable and essential on the ground training for pregnant mothers and caregivers with assistance in high risk pregnancies. Matercare’s work has resulted in remarkable success in the reduction of maternal and infant mortality.
The Justin Trudeau Liberal government’s foreign policy doesn’t support the important and truly life saving projects done by organizations like MaterCare International. Canada today is big on exporting the culture of death through abortion and contraception. This is deceptively called “reproductive rights.” Instead, the League chose to recognize the great humanitarian and pro-life work being done by Dr. Robert Walley, his wife, Susan, and his beautiful family. This is faith in action. It’s what Canada 150 should be celebrating!
Here’s what Dr. Walley said about receiving the Exner award,
I will be most honoured to receive the Archbishop Adam Exner Award but do so on behalf of all those associated with the work for the Church done by MaterCare International. I will also be most happy to join the previous distinguished recipients.
Here’s a short biography of Dr. Walley:
Dr. Robert Walley was in born in Malta of British military parents and was educated in London England by the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (Cabrini Sisters) and by the De La Salle Brothers, and also in Pune, India for two years.
He qualified in medicine at London University in 1964. His residency training in obstetrics and gynecology began in London and continued at the University of Toronto. Dr. Walley is a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, a Fellow of the Royal College of Obstetrics and Gynecologists of England. He has a Masters degree in Population, Maternal and International Health from the Harvard School of Public Health. Dr. Walley was a professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Memorial University of Newfoundland Medical School from 1973 to 2003. In May 2009 Dr. Walley was appointed as the first Emeritus Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology by Memorial University of Newfoundland.
In 1985 Dr. Walley was appointed as a Consultor to the Pontifical Council for Health Pastoral Care by Pope John Paul II and served on the Council until 2002. Dr. Walley founded MaterCare International in 1997.
Dr. Walley has had a particular concern for the unacceptable levels of maternal and perinatal mortality and of obstetric and gynecological fistulae and the failure of the International Safe Motherhood initiative. His firsthand experience in western Africa, beginning in 1981, prompted him to initiate the formation of MaterCare International. This non-governmental organization is interdisciplinary and made up of obstetricians, gynecologists, midwives, bioethicists, administrators and many supporters around the world. MaterCare International is dedicated to improving maternal health care worldwide through new initiatives of service, training, research and advocacy based on the ethic that all mothers and babies matter.
Following a request from the west African bishops, Dr. Walley developed new approaches to the delivery of maternal health care in Nigeria, and Ghana, where he established an obstetric fistula hospital. He has conducted maternal needs assessments in Albania, Sierra Leone, East Timor and in Haiti. Dr. Walley developed a rural maternal health project in the Apostolic Vicariate of Isiolo, Kenya.
Dr. Walley has been invited to testify at hearings, at the Foreign Affairs Sub-Committee on Africa and Global Health of the US Congress, the Polish Parliament (the Sejm), the United Nations, to members of the Canadian and European Parliaments, the Republic of Georgia, the NGO Forum of the Holy See and most recently prior to the 2010 G8/G20 he was asked to meet with the Prime Minister’s senior policy advisor regarding the Canadian Government’s initiative to reduce maternal mortality and MaterCare International projects in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Dr. Walley has published on obstetrical and gynecological practice, conducted research into the treatment of post-partum hemorrhage in developing countries, produced educational training CDs on obstetric fistula and other public information videos on maternal health in developing countries. He has lectured widely internationally and participated in many media interviews.
Dr. Walley has received many awards for his work. On December 9, 2012, he was presented with the award Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice by the Archbishop of St. John’s on behalf of Pope Benedict XVI. This is the highest award given to a lay Catholic. On September 20, 2014, he was admitted to the Award of Honorary Doctor of Philosophy by the John Paul II Institute for Marriage and Family, Melbourne, Australia.
Dr. Walley has been married to Susan Mary, a nurse from Guernsey, Channel Islands, and they will celebrate their 51st wedding anniversary on June 30, 2017. They have seven children and 15 grandchildren. They have lived in St John’s, Newfoundland since 1973.
Dr. Bennett in his talk stressed the need for Christians to assert their beliefs in the public square. It’s not enough to pray and worship in private. Governments should respect the freedom of religion that citizens inherently have from the Creator. The just role of the state is to protect this right. Dr. Bennett referred to the Vatican II document titled, Declaration on Religious Freedom, Dignitatis Humanae. Perhaps Dr. Bennett’s main point is best summed up in this quotation from the document:
The family, since it is a society in its own original right, has the right freely to live its own domestic religious life under the guidance of parents. Parents, moreover, have the right to determine, in accordance with their own religious beliefs, the kind of religious education that their children are to receive. Government, in consequence, must acknowledge the right of parents to make a genuinely free choice of schools and of other means of education, and the use of this freedom of choice is not to be made a reason for imposing unjust burdens on parents, whether directly or indirectly. Besides, the right of parents are violated, if their children are forced to attend lessons or instructions which are not in agreement with their religious beliefs, or if a single system of education, from which all religious formation is excluded, is imposed upon all.
The evening was both inspirational and informative. Here’s a little more about the League:
(The) Catholic Civil Rights League assists in creating conditions within which Catholic teachings can be better understood, cooperates with other organizations in defending civil rights in Canada, and opposes defamation and discrimination against Catholics on the basis of their beliefs. The CCRL was founded in 1985 as an independent lay organization with a large nationwide membership base. The CCRL is a Canadian non-profit organization entirely supported by the generosity of its members.
We hope readers bring the good work of the League to their parish and help support what CCRL is doing to defend Catholic beliefs and civil rights. And try to attend next year’s dinner. It’s all part of our baptismal call and how evangelization can take place at the local level.