On 26 April last the world lost a great pro-life advocate, and a fearless and outspoken defender of the unborn. I am referring to the sad news that Fr. Edward Colleton, CSSp (Fr. Ted, as he was best known) has died, R.I.P. He has been called ‘the pro-life giant’, and a video dedicated to his life and work (you can see it on the LifeSite website) calls him ‘The Lion in Winter’.
Fr. Ted was born in Ireland. He entered the Holy Ghost Order as a young man, and he was ordained a priest in 1940. Following his ordination, he was sent to work on the missions in Kenya. Having worked there amongst the people for thirty years, following his outspoken criticism of some government policies the president, Jomo Kenyatta, expelled him from Kenya. Fr. Ted’s Superiors then sent him to Canada where he worked ever since that time – with the exception of an occasional return to Ireland. Jim Hughes, the national president of the Canadian Campaign Life Coalition, has said of Fr. Ted that ‘he was a wonderful example, giving everything he had for the unborn and vulnerable. He never rested.’
In a tribute to him, Niamh Uí Bhriain, of the Life Institute (Ireland), has written:
‘God rest you, Fr. Ted. May a host of others rise to take your place.’
Just over a year ago (12 April 2010) I wrote the following about Fr. Ted in my blog:
‘The great pro-life priest, Fr. Ted Colleton, CSSp, who spent many years working in Kenya, during the course of an interview some years ago said that:‘“I was in Kenya for 30 years with the people there and I was teaching. I was the principal of schools there and pastor in charge of missions and I had never – this was 40 or 50 years ago, I had never heard of an abortion being committed in Africa … I had never heard of an abortion being committed, the idea of killing a baby. This was among Africans who didn’t believe in the church, maybe didn’t believe in Christ, but they all believed in God. I never met an African who was an atheist.”
‘Since his time in Kenya, Fr. Colleton (who is now about 97 years of age) has lived and worked in Canada where on numerous occasions he has been arrested and imprisoned for his pro-life work.’