Sunday, July 29, 2007

67,000 Member Amnesty Canada Has Lost 200 Supporters

Apparently, Amnesty Canada has lost only about 200 supporters in Canada as a result of its new advocacy for abortion rights.

This story has been ongoing for quite some time now and Vote Life, Canada! has blogged on this subject previously.

Yesterday, the Toronto Star gave us an update of sorts and provided Canadians with a more focused picture of the unfolding story. Of course the Star provides its readers with its usual pro-abortion, liberal bias but also reveals something more substantial of the Canadian Catholic dimension to the outcome.

Just to clarify the news item, Vote Life, Canada! notes that The Star's vague and incomplete reference was to the statement of the USCCB (United States Conference of Catholic Bishops), and not to the Canadian Bishops, when they noted

Earlier this month, the Conference of Catholic Bishops blasted Amnesty's abandonment of neutrality and called for the policy to be reversed next month at this year's general meeting in Mexico.

It is good to see the American Bishops taking an official stand on AI’s actions and calling for the rescinding of their new policy at next month’s international meeting of AI in Mexico.

However, with respect to the Canadian Bishops, the Star reports

The Canadian Conference of Bishops, however, has chosen a different course.

It has not commented on the policy switch; at least, not yet.

In fact, several bishops met with Amnesty staff in June to discuss "where we've had common ground in the past," says Canadian Amnesty president Gina Hill.

No directive has come down calling for a withdrawal of support, says Neil McCarthy, spokesperson for the Catholic Archdiocese of Toronto.

But he adds that Amnesty "can't be surprised" at the Church's reaction to the policy change.

"Life is sacred, and though there certainly are tragic circumstances in the world, abortion is abortion – you can't be selective in the circumstances. Donors will have to make the decision."

Here is another opportunity for the Catholic Bishops of Canada to draw the attention of Canadians and the world to the plight of unborn children. Here’s another chance for the Bishops to scream bloody murder and try to save Canada’s unborn. But so far we don’t have an official statement from the Canadian Bishops calling for a penalty to AI.

Perhaps because the CCCB statement is more than a year old, or perhaps because it’s a nearly useless statement, the Toronto Star did not make mention of the CCCB’s July 18, 2006 statement on the proposed new Amnesty policy. Perhaps that is why The Star reported that the CCCB

has not commented on the policy switch; at least, not yet.

However, the Bishops’ comment is not much more than that—simply a comment. You’d never say there were human lives involved here. You’d never say that countless little innocent unborn children created in the image of God and representing the future of mankind were going to be ripped to death or cut into pieces because of this new proposal by AI.

The Catholic Bishops say they find this to be “most regrettable” and issue a timid notice:

This change in policy would make it difficult for Catholics to continue supporting the work of Amnesty International.

Does that sound very threatening to you? I’m sure AI is not exactly trembling over such a weak-kneed, cowardly statement.

Will the Bishops condemn Amnesty’s move? According to the spokesman for the Archdiocese of Toronto, Archbishop Collins’ new appointment, it appears not…no, they’ll simply leave it to donors.

Donors will have to make the decision.

This sounds like the same familiar approach taken by too many Bishops in their dealings with individual Catholics on every matter of grave importance to their faith, abortion included. Their record communicates in essence:

"Let individual Catholics make the personal decision about abortion…we don’t want to be caught in the middle. We don’t want to declare that it is murder…we prefer not to use that term at all. There are many complex facets to abortion in today’s society and it won’t help women by telling them that aborting a fetus is murder of their child.

"Besides, today’s Church pedagogy demands a different approach…we don’t want to say to Catholics: Don’t use birth control. Don’t have an abortion. Let the individual Catholic work that out on a deep, interior level, and let them come to their own conclusions."

How many of those 67,000 Amnesty members in Canada are Catholics? I venture to guess that they comprise the majority membership. Now imagine if the Bishops of Canada, in unanimous fashion, exerted ALL the influence they could muster in persuading Canadian Catholics in every province and diocese to threaten termination of their Amnesty membership unless AI withdrew its plans to include abortion as a human right.

Imagine if they actually invested maximum effort and planning into such a campaign. Do you think Amnesty Canada would be so glib and defiant of Catholic opinion?


Such a groundswell of opposition would stop them in their tracks and the same would apply to every other nation if the Catholic Bishops of that nation were to take the same action.

Bear in mind that it is extremely unlikely that any other single group of individuals in any society could effect the level of change of which the Catholic Bishops are capable. [This same argument was advanced in Vote Life, Canada’s recent Open Letter to the Catholic Bishops of Canada, accounting for the failure of Catholic Bishops to mobilize the Catholic voting bloc in Canada in order to ensure legal rights for Canada’s Unborn.]

In fact, AI would never have dreamed of expanding their mandate to include a human “right” to abortion had they not been confident of the continued support of the average individual Catholic member. Sure, they knew there would be some noise, some strong statement from this Cardinal or that Cardinal, from this Conference or that Conference of Catholic Bishops. But would it cause them any substantial loss of support? AI had gauged the risk and determined it to be low. In fact, regarding Catholic support, The Star reports that Amnesty Canada

received donations from about 25 Catholics because we are doing this.
It appears AI gauged Catholic response at least somewhat accurately!

Let’s try to place all these thoughts into perspective. Vote Life, Canada! claims that the Catholic Bishops of Canada [and of other countries] have the power in their hands to dissuade AI from their new pro-abortion stance—a stance which will result in the deaths of thousands, possibly millions, more unborn children throughout the world. Yet they remain aloof from the matter and do not take the appropriate (or any) action.

If a Canadian citizen failed to take action to save the life of another individual whose life was imminently in jeopardy, I suspect that police would be inclined to lay charges. If, prior to some tragedy, an individual or group of individuals had previous knowledge of a defective condition which led to the deaths of innocent bystanders yet they had remained silent on the matter, they would certainly be prosecuted. Yet when Catholic Bishops are similarly derelict in their duties, with much more awful consequences, little if anything is thought of it, particularly by Catholics.

What we are witnessing is yet another repeat performance of the Canadian Bishops neglect and indifference to the violent deaths of innocent unborn human beings created in the image of God. Their inaction in the Amnesty International meltdown makes them substantially culpable in the ongoing abortion holocaust throughout not only Canada but throughout the world.

More shockingly, it also brands them as charlatans and hypocrites and even worse, wolves in sheep’s clothing, assuming the position of moral guardians and gatekeepers in Canadian society while permitting at the same time Satan’s demons of abortion to slip by those very gates and into the sheepfold of society, destroying, with full legal protection, the most innocent and vulnerable of citizens.

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