During the run-up to the Conference last week, liberal newspapers and blogs, relying on a SPLC attack piece against the Fatima Center, initiated an all-out media blitz intended to dissuade the Conference's keynote speaker, Ron Paul, from attending the event. When Paul gave no indication of backing out, however, the media rhetoric began to border on the hysterical, with some reports even going so far as to accuse the former congressman himself of being an anti-Semite.
Dismissing the outrageous charge against the Fatima Center as nothing less than Catholic bashing during an interview on MSNBC, Dr. Paul proceeded to attend the Conference as planned, and in fact brought down the house on Wednesday evening with a powerful, hour-long speech that evoked frequent applause and was interrupted by several standing ovations.
"Jesus is the Prince of Peace," Paul reminded his audience, and together we must all "stand for peace," even with those who don’t share our religion or "agree with us on every issue."
The Conference boasted an impressive international roster of speakers and attendees, which included the Patriarch from Syria, several members of Parliament, bishops from all around the world, pro-life legends such as Joe Sheidler, politicians, newspaper publishers such as Michael J. Matt of The Remnant and John Vennari of Catholic Family News, Canadian media personalities, journalists with permanent accreditation at the United Nations and hundreds of distinguished guests.
When it became clear that Ron Paul would not be intimidated by the SPLC attack campaign, a few far-Left groups threatened on-site protests of the Conference. Those treats were taken seriously enough to warrant a police presence at the Scotiabank Convention Center in Niagara throughout the week.
In the end, not a single protester showed up and nor, for that matter, did anyone from the "outraged" liberal press-- an odd turn of events that left many attendees questioning if anyone in the media had ever actually taken the Southern Poverty Law Center's hysterical fear mongering seriously. After all, if the Conference were really organized by the “largest group of anti-Semites in North America" (according to the SPLC) why didn't a single reporter stop by to check it out? Obviously, there was never anything substantive to the SPLC's libelous charges, and the local media folks knew it.
In the above photo Dr. Ron Paul can be seen chatting with Fr. Gruner, who is seated next to His Beatitude Mar Ignatius Joseph III Younan, the Syrian Catholic Patriarch of Antioch, who flew in from Syria for the Fatima Center's Conference. Quite obviously the Fatima Conference was a major success, with the added dimension of having exposed the Southern Poverty Law Center as the proverbial little mouse that roared.
God bless Ron Paul and all of the speakers and dignitaries—Catholic and non-Catholic—who refused to be bullied by the SPLC, and instead came together for genuine dialogue and to send a powerful message of peace to the world at the very moment when peace is needed most.
More on this story in the next issue of The Remnant.