Sunday, May 20, 2007

Open Letter to Calgary Bishop Frederick Henry From Vote Life, Canada! Re GAP Display By CCBR

Open Letter to Calgary Bishop Frederick Henry
from Vote Life, Canada!

May 21, 2007

RE: Recent Decision to Suppress GAP Display of the Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform

Your Excellency,

Sadly, previous efforts to appeal to His Excellency on the matters contained in this letter have been met with curt dismissals and in the last instance discourteous tones, and without the least effort to address any of the detailed concerns or the cases presented. It is a tragic moment when a Christian’s appeal to the Bishop on such a life and death issue goes unaddressed and even demeaned.

Your Excellency, day after day, year after year, the killing of the Unborn continues unabated in Canada. After nearly 40 years of legalized child killing in Canada, concerned Canadians seem to be left with no other alternative than to believe that little can be done and the evil must be accepted. However, Vote Life, Canada! insists that the lack of decisive action by Catholic Bishops, who are moral and spiritual leaders of society, is the chief contributing factor to the present holocaust of the Unborn.

Despite His Excellency’s reputation as a fierce defender of marriage, human rights and freedom of religion, something appears to be seriously amiss in His Excellency’s concept of defending Unborn life. Is His Excellency truly pro-life or is his pro-life stance only an illusion? After all, he is one of the few Bishops who has stated publicly in the past his willingness to deny Holy Communion to pro-abortion Catholic politicians, warning them they were risking their eternal salvation. His Excellency has been noted also as saying there is no "wiggle room" when it comes to the abortion issue in the Roman Catholic Church.

What then can account for His Excellency’s shocking judgment in his recent decision involving the pro-life organization Canadian Center for Bio-Ethical Reform (CCBR)? Who can be blamed for thinking the Bishop is swallowing camels and straining out gnats?

Catholic teaching has always been extremely clear on the evil of abortion. But the seamless garment of Catholic teaching on life has always been equally clear on the intrinsic evil of contraception. His Excellency is well aware that whenever Popes and orthodox theologians have discussed these two evils they have always been linked and condemned as fruits of the same tree, the tree of personal autonomy and rebellion against God, specifically in sexual matters. Indeed, by this measure, only those Bishops who vigorously and resolutely advance Catholic sexuality and oppose the evil of contraception in their own dioceses, as well as publicly, earn the label of “pro-life,” regardless of how vocal they may be on the evil of abortion itself. Your Excellency, is it compatible with Catholic teaching to think that abortion can ever be repulsed in Canada or anywhere else as long as Bishops remain silent on the subject of contraception? In fact, silence among Bishops regarding contraception is symptomatic of an even deeper more sinister spiritual infection which jeopardizes the very foundations of Canadian society.

Modern day Protestants, having lost sight of the biblical and Reformers’ ethic of life pertaining to sexuality and contraception, may legitimately and in good conscience join wholeheartedly in the fight against abortion purely on grounds of protecting Unborn lives created in the image of God. However, the sooner they rediscover that priceless aspect of the Christian ethic, the sooner will Protestants be equipped to better confront the culture of death. His Excellency knows full well though that Catholics, and particularly Bishops, have not the freedom of the Protestants on the matter of contraception but are duty bound to proclaim to all men the fullness of the faith for God’s glory and for the sake of the common good.

A more in depth examination of His Excellency’s record indicates that he has very carefully avoided the controversial subject of contraception, both in his diocese and publicly. In his diocese, by all reasonable indicators, Catholics contracept and sterilize themselves at the same rate as other dioceses in Canada, which tragically is about the same rate as the general population.

The Catholics under His Excellency’s care apparently do not grasp the contradiction nor the objective sacrilege caused by reception of the Eucharist, a sign of perfect communion with the Church, and the practice of an inherently evil activity. Again, by all reasonable indicators, the Catholics of His Excellency’s diocese are not being admonished that it is a mortal sin to use contraception or sterilize themselves, certainly not in homilies, which touch rarely if ever on the subjects of contraception or abortion. Incongruity in the Catholic ethic of life helps to account for the bizarre fact that rarely if ever is there a prayer uttered for the Unborn during Mass intentions, nor is child killing ever mentioned in a long list of social injustice issues that enjoys special emphasis and prayer in many parishes of the diocese.

Yet publicly and through pastoral letters His Excellency has rightly warned of the evils of homosexuality, adultery, prostitution and pornography and has made the bold Catholic claim, again rightly, that the State must use its coercive power to proscribe these evils in the interests of the common good. Yet contraception, a root that helps to sustain these evil branches, finds no mention and is never likewise condemned. His Excellency did his job well when he noted that an evil act remains an evil act whether it is performed in public or in private yet why has he not similarly exposed contraception as a prime and private evil?

Lest there should be any doubt in anyone’s mind as to the official Catholic position on precisely this matter, consider that only a few days ago Pope Benedict XVI, speaking to Latin American Bishops in Brazil, linked and condemned in the same sentence abortion and contraception and laws that permit them. Such laws, he said, are opposed to marriage and “threatening the future of peoples.” If His Excellency is to echo the truth of the Catholic faith, and in so doing help to destroy the strongholds of legalized child killing and same sex “marriage” in Canada, the Pope’s mindset is an essential one with which to start.

His Excellency rightly took Catholic politicians to task for supporting same sex “marriage,” an inevitable outgrowth of a contracepting and a resultant pro-homosexual society, warning that this was a scandal and a morally grave error and linked the loss of their salvation to such actions. Yet does he take the same care to loudly and proportionately warn the majority of Catholics of the similar danger they face by practicing the morally grave error of contraception? Is there “wiggle room” with the evil of contraception?

His Excellency fearlessly rebuked Prime Minister Jean Chretien for his support of same sex “marriage,” stating he would likely enforce Canon Law 915 and refuse the Prime Minister Holy Communion. Considering that Canon 915 states that those “… obstinately persevering in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to Holy Communion,” would His Excellency have similarly refused the Prime Minister if he were obstinately practicing contraception? Would he refuse parishioners of his diocese for that same obstinate sin? Yet, Your Excellency, is not a failure to do precisely that a failure to safeguard the Eucharist? The silence in this matter on the diocesan level continues to scandalize faithful Catholics.

In a rare move for Bishops, His Excellency wisely and bravely chose to deal with the destructive forces of gambling, an activity not inherently immoral or unjust by Catholic teaching, prevalent in the Calgary Catholic school board. His Excellency said at the time it was his job as a Bishop to ask his followers to confront a moral evil and, indeed, His Excellency rightly exerted his authority and forced the hand of the School Board to do just that. But what of the moral evil of contraception which Catholic teaching exposes as inherently and in every case evil?

His Excellency’s muteness concerning contraception is producing eternal consequences. The cost of such silence is not only the loss of souls but also the continued advance of the culture of death and sustained killing of Canada’s Unborn. If anybody could successfully defend these little ones with fearlessness and tenacity it would be His Excellency. God grant that it might yet be so. But first may God grant His Excellency repentance and may God help him to recover from the snare of the devil such that a sweeping and appropriate call to repentance and conversion of heart may be made throughout his diocese and to all of Canada, in similar fashion to His Excellency’s pronouncements on same sex marriage, gambling, and other matters crucial to the common good.

Vote Life, Canada! believes that too many Bishops, in their blatant disregard of or outright dissent from age old Catholic teaching on contraception and sexuality, have severely compromised their calling and succumbed to a grave and deadly spiritual weakness. It seems that His Excellency is also overtaken by this same weakness and that his perspective on what it means to be pro-life has been clouded. Having marginalized or ignored the root evil of contraception, His Excellency’s superficial treatment of pro-life incentives is akin to placing a band aid on a cancer. It also explains the recent and shocking betrayal of the pro-life movement and the scream of Canada’s Unborn when His Excellency sought to squelch the CCBR, an organization of extremely dedicated, well trained, and professional individuals. CCBR uses legitimate and peaceful means to educate Canadians and to expose the injustice of legalized child killing, although predictably many are offended by the sight of graphic images and much controversy is [purposely] generated.

Your Excellency, it is past time to stop making excuses for child killing in Canada and for Catholic Bishops to come clean on contraception, one of the root causes of the evil of abortion and a blinding impediment to true pro-life initiatives. Vote Life, Canada! is not suggesting that anti-contraceptive campaigns will, in and of themselves, put an end to abortion, but when Bishops speak loudly and clearly to the faithful in Canada on the intrinsic evil of contraception, only then can a groundwork be laid for a deeper understanding of our human sexuality and human life. From such an understanding will inevitably flow due respect and a restored legal protection in Canada for God’s precious gift of Unborn life.

Sincerely, and in solidarity with the least of Christ’s brethren,

Eric Alcock


Vote Life, Canada!

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At 2:39 AM, Blogger MARIA said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 2:43 AM, Blogger MARIA said...

Dear Eric,

I have just read your open letter and I am impressed. I think that there have been some changes since the day you published this letter, but the most important change of allowing priests to publicly support CCBR has not occurred yet.

Do you see any hope in changing His Excellency's mind on this? Have you noted any changes in this Diocese? Are they due only to increased awareness on the part of the laity, or has the Bishop done anything to encourage an increase in pro-life activity?

Maria Cameron


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