Friday, August 17, 2007

Stephanie Gray Does The Heavy Lifting For A Pro-Life Movement In Canada Unsure Of The Truth Of Abortion

When Calgary Bishop Frederick Henry issued his stunning letter in February past banning the CCBR because of its use of graphic images it passed quietly under the radar for some time. It seemed that the Bishop, his parishes and schools, and of course CCBR, were the only ones privy to the secret.

In fact when Vote Life, Canada! met with CCBR’s Stephanie and associates JoJo and Brendan in April month to introduce the Vote Life, Canada! project, surprisingly the subject never came up. Presumably the CCBR staff was trying to resolve the issue with the Bishop without the distracting fanfare of public announcements.

How shocking it was a few days later to read a report in the Catholic Register “Bishop withdraws support from pro-life group over aborted fetus display.” Immediately Vote Life, Canada! set about to write the Bishop and with a lengthy, carefully documented but impassioned plea, practically begged His Excellency to reconsider his momentous, and tragic, decision.

The Bishop’s reply? Deeply disappointing, somewhat insulting and a door firmly closed.

The silence from the pro-life community in Canada was quite deafening. A condemnation of the decision by some influential, high-profile pro-life leader or group in Canada seemed to be urgently required. It didn’t come.

It NEVER came.


Finally, about two long weeks later, in early May, LifeSiteNews reported on the Bishop’s letter. But report it was all they did. Although one could read in the story sympathy for CCBR’s circumstances, there was no sign of distress or outrage—not even the usual call to readers to urgently address concerns to the Bishop’s office.

As far as Vote Life, Canada! is aware, no other pro-life group publicly expressed any distress over the matter or called for any campaign of protest.

When Vote Life, Canada! issued its Open Letter to Bishop Henry on May 21, denouncing the Bishop’s decision to “suppress the GAP Display of Canadian Center for Bio-Ethical Reform,” the press release received wide distribution throughout North America, prompting two invitations for interviews by American pro-life pro-family radio stations.

Again, as far as Vote Life, Canada! is aware, after close scrutiny of the pro-life airwaves in Canada, no group chose to even report the press release, let alone the actual letter. Yet to simply report this news event would not have been in any way an endorsement of the criticisms in the letter so it seems especially peculiar that Canadian pro-life groups chose the path of totally ignoring the letter and its accompanying press release. Perhaps the answer lies with the letter’s strong emphasis on the Bishop’s failure to address the contraception issue in his diocese as the Achilles heel of his pro-life stance, blinding and immobilizing him in the fight against abortion. Perhaps the abortion-contraception link is as equally disarming to Canadian pro-life leaders as it is the pro-aborts.

Two subsequent press releases over the following month, aimed at focusing attention on the failure of Catholic Bishops to fulfil their duties and take the appropriate steps to defend the lives of unborn children, were issued by Vote Life, Canada! Both received no publicity whatsoever in Canadian pro-life news circles. The second press release, summarizing the Open Letter to the Catholic Bishops of Canada, expressed distress at the utter failure of Bishops to defeat the demon of legalized abortion in Canada which has claimed over 3 million unborn victims. Vote Life, Canada! pointed to the desecration of the Eucharist by obstinate, dissenting Catholics, particularly politicians, living in grave sin as the single greatest contributory factor to Canada’s moral descent and accused the Bishops of sustaining such abuse. This Open Letter has been posted on another website in the form of a petition, inviting signatures. Twenty tormented souls have had the courage to sign the document.

How do you force the hand of a Bishop? Ask anyone who has tried! It’s a formidable job, due mostly to the near-supreme power they possess in their diocese as spiritual head and spokesperson, but also due to the tremendous respect their office deserves. When a Bishop is neglectful or makes an outrageous judgment call, the fallout will be severe and inevitable.

If we care about our Christian faith and the spiritual good of our neighbour—including the common good of our society—charity demands that we find a way to rescue even our Bishop(s) when he’s wrong because we know the consequences for our society will be dire and the eternal consequences for many souls may be unspeakable!

Is it presumptuous to say one’s Bishop is wrong? Granted it is a very serious matter—but doesn’t it all depend on what’s at stake?

Have pro-life leaders in Canada been waiting for a letter from the Pope saying Bishop Henry was wrong? Is that an indication of how uncertain they are of the truth [and the evil] lying behind graphic images of aborted fetuses?

Bishop Henry has been wrong before. It’s on the record. Links could be provided but it’s really not necessary. He’s not perfect. He’s certainly not God. I believe he’d be the first one to agree.

Look at the Canadian Bishops’ record in Canada on abortion. Review the Open Letter. Forget their spiritual responsibilities for a moment—in 40 years they haven’t even got the Catholic voting bloc mobilized to ensure truly pro-life politicians get voted into office. For the love of God, they’re still giving platforms to the worst of the pro-abort Catholics. And regularly they’re giving over Jesus to his enemies every time the obstinate pro-abort Catholic politician presents himself for Holy Communion.

Apparently Vote Life, Canada’s claims in its Open Letter to the Catholic Bishops of Canada have been strongly backed up just recently by the LifeSite news report on Princeton Professor Robert George, who “warned that the scandal of pro-abortion Catholics, and its cover-up by bishops, threatens more damage to the Catholic Church than the abhorrent scandal of pedophile priests hiding behind their Roman collars to perpetrate crimes against children.”

When Joe Scheidler, the National Director of Pro-Life Action League in the US said that condemning graphic images because they are upsetting is playing into the hands of the media and pro-abortion movement, he was totally correct. He said it was a dangerous thing to do. Again he was right.

So far this week Bishop Henry is the poster boy for the pro-aborts and all the other naysayers. Whose fault is that? Well of course it’s the Bishop’s fault but no man is an island. Where was Canada’s pro-life leadership in holding the Bishop accountable and pressuring him [wisely yet relentlessly] to reverse his decision, thereby restoring the Bishop’s credibility as well as advancing the cause of the Unborn? Was it charitable to say and do nothing and allow the Bishop to back himself into an awkward pickle as he has done? Was it charity by pro-lifers or an excuse to cover up confusion, even cowardice?

Pro-life leaders in Canada send the message of being unsure themselves of the truth of abortion [and of the complicity of Bishops in the slaughter of the innocents]. No other conclusion seems plausible. Pro-lifers as a whole can’t bring themselves to denounce Bishop Henry’s decision against the CCBR’s use of graphic images. Yet the act of abortion is incalculably worse than the pictures. If we will so easily countenance the suppression of truth contained in a picture, how can we ever hope to win our battle with the evil itself?

Under such conditions, victory is not possible, because the truth is that apathy holds pro-lifers equally in its grip. Courage is in very short supply, leaving self-interests to rule the day. There is simply no heart to do battle for the Unborn. Why else would the price of speaking against a Bishop’s judgment seem too high when the lives of many innocent young children are at stake?

That leaves Stephanie Gray and associates [and the Show the Truth crusaders] in charge of the heavy lifting for now while virtually the rest of Canada's pro-life movement flounders in an identity crisis.

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