Thursday, November 29, 2007

The Moral Weight of Abortion Demands Prioritized Voting

It’s refreshing at this point in the American Presidential race to hear a message designed to bring clarity and focus to the controversial practice of “single-issue” or “narrow-minded” voting.

It’s even more meaningful when the message is delivered by a high profile leader in a major Christian denomination, albeit one in America. I’d really like to see some of Dr. Land’s Canadian counterparts hammering away at this same crucial distinction in full public view. It would certainly help to add important perspective to our current skewed attitudes about politically correct poverty—and more recently, politically correct child abuse.


American Moral Values: Narrowed or Prioritized?

It’s a cheap shot to criticize socially conservative American “values voters” for narrowing the political litmus test to abortion and same-sex “marriage,” because “narrowing” and “prioritizing” are two different things. Can there be a higher priority or a more compelling moral issue than three thousand six hundred babies dying every day? If a child is born poor, he at least has some chance of escaping poverty. If he is killed before he is born, he doesn’t have a chance of escaping his mother’s womb.

We lose more babies through abortion every year than the total fatalities in all of the wars in which we have ever participated, commencing with the French and Indian War and including the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, the Civil War, the Spanish-American War, World War I, World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Gulf War I, and Gulf War II. What’s wrong with religious people who are not making this their paramount issue?

Again, I would contend that supporting traditional marriage is not narrowing, but prioritizing. Marriage is the basic building block of human society. A couple of years ago, I was lecturing at Harvard. During the question-and-answer period, a student asked me the following question concerning my opposition to same-sex “marriage”: “You seem like a nice guy. Why would you want to interfere in the personal, private relationship of two individuals?”

I answered that marriage is anything but a personal, private relationship. That is one reason the state requires a license to get married. Marriage is a social and civic institution with profound social responsibilities, obligations, and impact. Every society in human history has severely regulated who may get married to whom, and under what circumstances they may dissolve the relationship, precisely because of this institution’s enormous importance to the entire society. Same-sex “marriage” is a cultural and social issue with profound moral, social, and public policy implications.

I am stunned when someone isn’t concerned about the threat of further unraveling the nation’s already frayed social fabric by redefining marriage through judicial fiat against the will of the people. Even Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, probably the current Supreme Court’s most liberal justice, has criticized Roe v. Wade as a misguided attempt to rewrite and liberalize the nation’s abortion laws through judicial imposition rather than through a democratic movement to liberalize abortion through legislation.

Had such a popular movement succeeded, it would have built a more lasting consensus on social policy. Instead, the Supreme Court’s rulings on abortion made the issue far more divisive than it otherwise would have been. If the courts try to force same-sex “marriage” on America, their judicial overreach will be equally destructive of the social fabric.

Criticizing social conservatives for prioritizing opposition to abortion and same-sex “marriage” is like criticizing Martin Luther King Jr. for being “preoccupied” with racial reconciliation and social justice. Did Dr. King have other concerns? Yes. And so should we. But, like Dr. King, we should understand that some moral issues take precedence over other issues in times when grave injustices are being committed. By the way, when Dr. King said his dream was a country in which people would be judged by the content of their character, not by the color of their skin, he wasn’t exactly espousing a secular, relativist vision.

What was his focus? He kept the main thing the main thing. The abolitionists in the nineteenth century kept the main thing the main thing. The twenty-first-century pro-lifers are keeping the main thing the main thing. The Bible specifically condemns the pagan practice of sacrificing children, and I’m happy to be criticized for taking on the issue of abortion as a grave moral crisis.

The bottom line is that one’s view of human life impacts (prioritizes) how one regards other serious social issues, such as the sex trafficking of women and children, the genocide in Darfur, and the grinding poverty that grips many in Third World countries and in sections of our nation. If innocent human life is indeed precious, then it deserves protections at all ages and in all places.


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Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Evaluation of 2008 Presidential Candidates against US Bishops' Criteria

If you are a pro-lifer following the US Presidential election campaign, here’s an unusual—but intriguing—system of evaluating the candidates.

I was alerted to this assessment of the candidates through a blog posting at Catholics for Ron Paul. The posting was entitled Ron Paul is Best Catholic Choice - US Bishops' Faithful Citizenship Guidelines.

Here’s the relevant portion of that posting with the link to Defend Life blogger Joe Healy who came up with this interesting and comprehensive system. There are some solid things to be learned here about qualifying true pro-life candidates. Canadian pro-lifers, please take a close look.


Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul has been rated the Best Choice for Catholic Voters, based on an independent analysis by The Defend Life blog of Maryland. The analysis used the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops' criteria in Faithful Citizenship - its guide for Catholic voters - to rate the various candidate's platforms and has determined that Ron Paul's positions are most compatible with the USCCB standards.

Using a point system that gave greater weight for "non-negotiable" issues such as abortion, embryonic stem-cell research, and gay marriage, the analysis lined up all the candidates to see where they stand on a broad array of issues.

Ron Paul (R) scored highest with a score of 99, with Alan Keyes (R) following with 70, and Mike Huckabee (R) third with 69. Dead last was the purportedly Catholic Rudy Giuliani (R) with -28 and Barack Obama (D) with -15. Hilary Clinton (D) scored a -11 and Fred Thompson (R) scored only a 4.

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Sunday, November 25, 2007

Fetal Homicide: Recognizing the Youngest Victims of Crime

Margaret Somerville, director of the Centre for Medicine, Ethics and Law at McGill University, writes a short piece on the complexities and controversies of using law to protect the fetus.


Recognizing the Youngest Victims of Crime

In the past three years, in Canada, at least five pregnant women, along with their babies, have been killed in violent attacks. The most recent occurred last month in Toronto. Pregnant women are at increased risk of domestic violence and the abhorrence this elicits, especially when it is lethal, is magnified because of the loss of the foetus. Yet, at present it is not a separate crime to kill or injure the foetus. This should change.

A Environics poll asking if killing or injuring a foetus should be a crime found that 75 per cent of Canadian women and 68 per cent of men would support a foetal protection law (the level of support among all Canadians was 72 per cent). The same poll found that, overall, 62 per cent of Canadians supported legal protection of the unborn child at some point before or at viability. (The Canadian Medical Association guidelines define foetal viability -- the possibility that the foetus can survive outside its mother’s womb -- to be 20 weeks gestation and/or 500 grams in weight.)

In short, many Canadians’ moral intuition is that "there ought to be a law" or laws protecting foetuses from some harms, although we don’t all agree on what those laws should be, especially in the context of abortion. Presently in Canada there is no express law governing abortion which is, therefore, legal until just before birth. Canada is unique among comparable countries in having no such law.

The Supreme Court of Canada has consistently ruled that under our current law the foetus does not exist as a protectable human being, and the Criminal Code legislates that a child becomes a human being for the purposes of a homicide offence only after it is born alive. This means that criminal liability specifically for the wrong of killing the foetus in the course of a criminal act cannot at present be imposed. Only the wrong to the mother is legally cognisable.

Proposals for an Unborn Victims of Crime Act are adamantly opposed by pro-choice abortion advocates, for fear that any legal recognition of the foetus will lead to the re-criminalisation of abortion. They accuse pro-life supporters of promoting such legislation as a backdoor way to prohibit abortion. It’s true that it could cause us to view the foetus and, therefore, abortion differently. But wilful blindness on our part as a society is not an ethical approach to dealing with abortion.

Seeing the foetus as an unborn victim of crime strips away the medical cloak that abortion places on the taking of its life, a cloak that dulls our moral intuitions as to what is involved. It causes us to see the foetus as what it is, an early human life. Those who support abortion must be able to square that fact with their belief that abortion is ethical in all or certain circumstances. Simply arguing for a woman’s right to choose and having no legal prohibitions on abortion does not make it so.

Paradoxically, in one sense, an "unborn victims of violence" law is consistent with a pro-choice stance: it is the other side of the choice coin. It would recognise that women have the "right to choose to bring their child to term in safety", the "right to choose life for their child". Killing or injuring the foetus without the woman’s consent, whether or not there was violence to her, would be an offence.

Pro-choice advocates who don't support this legislation are being inconsistent. If they really are pro-choice they should respect and promote any and all choices for the woman, not just the one to abort. To do otherwise, is not pro-choice, but pro-abortion.

Abortion is always a moral and ethical issue -- or it should always be. The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Reverend Rowan Williams, writing recently, in London, England’s The Observer, says however that we have lost our sense that abortion involves a "major moral choice" – it’s been "normalised" – "something has happened to our assumptions about the life of the unborn child, …when one third of pregnancies in Europe end in abortion".

That abortion is a moral and ethical issue does not mean, however, that it should always be a legal issue. But neither should it never be a legal issue.

As the legal void highlighted by the tragic murders of pregnant women show, we need to re-think our overall approach with respect to the law relating to pre-birth human life, including in the context of abortion. And we should do this within a context that includes women’s informed consent and the recognition of foetal pain.

Informed consent law requires that a woman must be given certain information if her consent to abortion is to be legally valid, in particular, information about the mental and physical health risks to her of abortion. These risks continue to be identified.

Whether the information should extend to a description of prenatal development, including ultrasound or other images of the foetus, abortion alternatives, and so on, before a physician may perform an abortion, is controversial.

A "Foetal Pain Awareness Act", similar to those some American states have enacted, could require a physician inform the woman before an abortion that scientific evidence suggests that after 20 weeks gestation the foetus can feel pain. Furthermore, she would have to be offered anaesthesia for the foetus, which it would be her choice to take or decline. This type of law does not prohibit abortion; rather its goal is to try to prevent the foetus from dying in excruciating pain. After all, even jurisdictions that allow capital punishment prohibit certain forms of it on the grounds they constitute cruel punishment, and we have criminal laws that protect animals from brutal treatment.

The foetus is new human life. That matters ethically and should matter legally. An Unborn Victims of Crime law would recognise that. What law should govern abortion is a separate, but important, issue that raises some different considerations, but having no law is not a neutral stance. It contravenes values that form part of the bedrock of Canadian society.

Margaret Somerville is director of the Centre for Medicine, Ethics and Law at McGill University, and author of The Ethical Imagination: Journeys of the Human Spirit.


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Saturday, November 24, 2007

Pro-Choice Canadian Girl Goes to Asia and Radically Changes Her Mind

Laura, age 27, from Ottawa starts her ProLife Diaries. This is not professional quality video but don’t dismiss the message. Listen to what this girl is saying.

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Monday, November 19, 2007

Right to Life of Unborn is Absolute, Without Exception, Says Pope

Here’s the unequivocal—and historical—position of the Christian on abortion, as presented by the leader of the world’s largest Christian Body. It's a statement that also includes the spiritual remedy for all those who have participated in the grave sin of abortion.

Clear enough?


Pope Denounces Abortion Campaigns in Africa

Addresses Kenyan Bishops on Marriage and Family

VATICAN CITY, NOV 19, 2007 ( Benedict XVI denounced international agencies that promote abortion on the African continent, and encouraged the bishops of Kenya to defend life in all its phases.

The Pope said this upon receiving in audience prelates of the episcopal conference of Kenya, in Rome for their five-yearly visit.

"While the understanding of Christian family life finds a deep resonance in Africa," he said, "it is a matter of great concern that the globalized secular culture is exerting an increasing influence on local communities as a result of campaigns by agencies promoting abortion."

"This direct destruction of an innocent human life can never be justified, however difficult the circumstances that may lead some to consider taking such a grave step," added the Holy Father.

The Pontiff added, "When you preach the Gospel of Life, remind your people that the right to life of every innocent human being, born or unborn, is absolute and applies equally to all people with no exception whatsoever."

Benedict XVI said "the Catholic community must offer support to those women who may find it difficult to accept a child, above all when they are isolated from their family and friends."

"Likewise, the community should be open to welcome back all who repent of having participated in the grave sin of abortion, and should guide them with pastoral charity to accept the grace of forgiveness, the need for penance, and the joy of entering once more into the new life of Christ," he said.

A blessing

The Pope also spoke of marriage and family life, "which the people of Africa hold in particular esteem."

"The devoted love of Christian married couples is a blessing for your country," said the Holy Father. "This precious treasure must be guarded at all costs."

The Pontiff continued: "All too often, the ills besetting some parts of African society, such as promiscuity, polygamy and the spread of sexually transmitted diseases, can be directly related to disordered notions of marriage and family life.

"For this reason it is important to assist parents in teaching their children how to live out a Christian vision of marriage, conceived as an indissoluble union between one man and one woman, essentially equal in their humanity [...] and open to the generation of new life."


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Sunday, November 18, 2007

Catholic Bishops of Canada Permit Killing of Elderly in Their Own Catholic Hospitals?

The Catholic Register, “Canada’s Catholic News Service,” reported on Friday, 16 November 2007 that Alex Schadenberg, executive director of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, challenged the Catholic Civil Rights League (CCRL) to “confront Catholic hospitals where he alleged patients are increasingly being denied food and fluids by doctors.”

Perhaps I’m missing the obvious here but aside from being shocked to hear such an accusation, isn’t there a clear-cut responsibility of Catholic Bishops to ensure that Catholic hospitals are not killing their patients in blatant defiance of Catholic teaching? Why should Alex Schadenberg have to call on the CCRL to confront Catholic hospitals on this grave injustice? Shouldn’t he be screaming bloody murder to the Catholic Bishops?

I’m sorry but I’m confused. Why hasn’t this matter come before the Bishops? It’s one thing for them to wiggle every which-way to avoid dealing with the Amnesty International scandal which might appear to them remote and indefinite but it’s an entirely different matter when Catholic hospitals under their supervision and in their own dioceses are killing the elderly through dehydration, like the awful travesty committed against Terri Schiavo! Why wasn’t this an item on the agenda of the recent Plenary Assembly?

Has everyone in Canada lost their sense of outrage at the killing of the most vulnerable and innocent? Where are the news headlines?


Politics, cutting costs threaten sanctity of life

TORONTO - A pro-life advocate, Alex Schadenberg, has warned that one of the Catholic faith’s foremost goals, to preserve life, is under threat from the political and medical fronts in Canada.

Giving a keynote address at the Catholic Civil Rights League (CCRL) annual general meeting on Nov. 8, Schadenberg, executive director of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition (EPC), said the sanctity of life is increasingly being sacrificed for political gains and cutting medical care costs.

Schadenberg was answering questions on whether it is morally wrong to deny food and fluids to a patient in a vegetative state where the food would only sustain the status of the patient but will not improve their condition.

He said Catholic teachings consider any patient with life in them, no matter how minimal, as worthy of all the comfort that can be provided and nobody, other than God, has a right to deprive them of food and fluids.

“Denying them is killing them through dehydration like in the Terri Schiavo case and that is not allowed in our Catholic faith,” he said.

“Unfortunately, this very principle is under threat because the minority Conservative government will not be able to block any bill seeking to legalize all forms of euthanasia because all the opposition parties are pro-euthanasia.”

On the medical front, he challenged the CCRL to confront Catholic hospitals where he alleged patients are increasingly being denied food and fluids by doctors.

“We would hope that in Catholic hospitals where this practice exists, it will be eliminated,” he said.

Schadenberg explained that there is a difference between someone whose system is completely shutting down and has hours or a few days to live and someone who may have lost certain bodily functions but is still very much alive, as was the case with Schiavo, the American woman in a vegetative state whose family battled in the courts to keep her on life-support despite efforts of her husband to pull the plug. The husband eventually won out.

“A person in a permanent vegetative state is a person with fundamental human dignity and must, therefore, receive ordinary and proportionate care which includes, in principle, the administration of water and food, even by artificial means,” he said.

CCRL’s executive director, Joanne McGarry, would not specifically say whether the league would confront administrators at Catholic hospitals but she appealed to CCRL members and all Catholics in general to discourage the practice.

“We have always encouraged members who are employed in medical professions to share their concerns with us about anti-life pressures in their workplaces. More precise involvement on this question would have to be determined on a case-by-case basis,” said McGarry.

She said overall, the challenge for the league and for Catholics is to stand up for “our own rights” in a social climate where it seems to be assumed that those with no religion have an automatic right to prevail over believers.

McGarry added that the league’s general mandate is the “defence of church teaching in the public square.”

Meanwhile, the entire CCRL leadership was retained at the meeting. Phil Horgan remains president, Bill French is vice president and John Sidle is treasurer. Michael Connell, former education director of the league, has joined the board as a director.


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Thursday, November 15, 2007

Attention: LifeSiteNews Readers has linked to the latest Vote Life, Canada! press release which concerns Cardinal Ouellet.

If you have been directed here by LifeSite, the press release is entitled "Vote Life, Canada! Calls on Cardinal Marc Ouellet to Stop Whimpering to Caesar..." and can be found here or here.

Readers are strongly urged to also read the Open Letter to the Catholic Bishops of Canada written by Vote Life, Canada!

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Wednesday, November 14, 2007

34 Yr Old Evangelical to Replace Dr. D. James Kennedy of Coral Ridge Ministries

Here’s something I’ve been too busy to bring to the front burner until now.
A 34-year-old evangelical has stepped up to the plate to lead a prominent global media ministry in boldly spreading biblical truth to millions. Brian E. Fisher, former executive vice president of Coral Ridge Ministries, was promoted this month to president and CEO, becoming the second ever head of the Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based ministry. He succeeds the late founder, Dr. D. James Kennedy.

This guy is one smart cookie for 34 years old. Christian Post does a great interview altogether but below are my favorite sections. I only wish other evangelical pastors and leaders would take special note of what he said—and take it to heart.


Christian Post: You have something new at next year's Truths that Transform America conference, called "Pastors, Pulpits, and Politics," which supports the right for pastors to speak on social issues from the pulpit. Is this part of the effort by conservative groups such as Family Research Council and Focus on the Family who had issued a letter to pastors telling them that they have the right to speak on these issues?

Fisher: The last two hours of that conference is a special session called ‘Pastors, Pulpits, and Politics.’ We’re doing something very unique. We’re partnering with a few other ministries and we have American Vision and American Family Association. We’re talking with two or three other major ministries and we’re taking that last two hours and we’re going to be featuring some of the nation’s foremost authorities on what pastors’ rights are in terms of their ability to speak out on political and cultural issues.

And in two hours we’re going to educate America on those issues. We feel as many others do that the Church at large is disturbingly silent on core issues that they shouldn’t be. Many times … the pastors of the lay people don’t know what their boundaries are legally. And so we’re going to be very clearly outlining them. And we’re going to be broadcasting the entire two-hour session live on the Internet. And it will be made available after that – both online and DVD format. Frankly, our goal and the goal of American Family Association and American Vision is that every pastor in America sees this material. We think it is a pivotal, crucial time in the history of our country. And [as it was] with so many other points in history, it is the Church that will be determining factor on which course America goes. It was actually Gary DeMar (the head of American Vision)’s idea. Gary approached us and said ‘Hey, what do you think?’ We said, ‘My goodness, this is a must do.’ We think it could be a historic day.

CP: So you do feel pastors should speak up on politics? Some polls have indicated that people don’t really want preachers talking about politics from the pulpit. Is there any concern about people being turned off from the church by this?

Fisher: There’s the risk but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it. Pastors have far more rights than they think they do. And I’m just saying about political candidates. We have to be careful to remember that the separation of the church and state does not appear in the U.S. constitution. Pastors, I think, have a moral and scriptural obligation to speak out about cultural issues facing the day. Why do more pastors not get involved with pro-life issues? It confounds me. The world has made it sound like it’s a political issue. It is a moral issue. It’s a cultural issue. It bleeds into politics because there is a legal aspect to it. I’m not necessarily saying about somebody endorsing a specific candidate. What I am saying is if we want to stop abortion, overturning Roe v. Wade is great, but overturning the hearts and minds of young women in crisis pregnancy situations is far more important. And that should be accomplished by the Church as led by the pastors. I would say it’s my view that pastors in America do have a biblical obligation to speak up and out loudly, lovingly about the issues facing America morally and culturally, and by and large, my perception is they’re not doing that. That is completely inconsistent with the many pastors who founded our country, who spoke out about these issues all the time.

CP: Why do you think there is such a silence in the Church?

Fisher: There are a couple of reasons. There is this 50-year cloud of lying in the media that has certainly impacted the church. The media has scared it into thinking that if a pastor opens his mouth on abortion or sanctity of marriage that they’re going to get thrown in prison. And if they don’t start speaking up soon, that is going to be true (laughs). So I think some of it is just intimidation and scare tactics on behalf of the media. I think there is a huge problem of biblical illiteracy in the church. We’re not aware that we are mandated to tackle these issues. Thirdly, and this is the toughest, I do sense there is a defeatist mentality in the church. The church just thinks America is on a slow steady decline to Armageddon and they’re just going to wait it out. That’s a dangerous and incorrect perspective. Otherwise, why would we pray in the Lord ’s Prayer ‘Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven.’ We are to be the chief optimists in our culture and by and large, the church has taken a pessimistic silent attitude to its own detriment.

CP: Do you consider yourself one of the younger generation evangelicals carrying on the torch of such traditional conservatives as Dr. James Dobson and D. James Kennedy? And how do you plan to carry it?

Fisher: It’s been a journey for me. I did not come to Coral Ridge last August to become a leader of anything. I came to run Dr. Kennedy’s ministry. Obviously, the Lord has had other plans as four months after I got here, Dr. Kennedy had his cardiac arrest. I don’t know if I’m what you have said (‘one of the young evangelical leaders taking on the mantle that older conservative evangelicals are passing on’). I am a man who is deeply concerned about America, about the church and about unbelievers. And my role is to do whatever my God tells me. At this point, He has put me in a position to use media to influence our culture and I’m firmly committed to that.


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B.C. Pro-Life Blogger Issues Three Pleas Because Canadian Women Deserve Better

John Sutherland of Abbotsford, BC blogs at johnonlife.

Readers are advised to visit John’s blog often for his very interesting take on life issues. I don’t agree with every aspect of his pro-life strategy, as readers will probably be able to quickly discover, but nevertheless I like his fresh approach in tackling the various angles.

Here’s an intro to John’s latest blog posting from yesterday.


Canadian women deserve better

While I have not been formally involved in the pro-life movement for very long, I've been an educator at the post-secondary level since 1974. People have trusted me as a consultant to address problems and give well-reasoned opinions. I was also a municipal politician for 21 years. I think that I know something about the information that is necessary to make an informed choice. And Canadian women are not getting such information with respect to the abortion question

It is time that women young and old in this country were treated as human beings with brains and critical thinking abilities and not, on the one hand, as people who have to be protected from anything upsetting or controversial, nor on the other hand, as willing partners in something that is clearly wrong. They also need to be taken seriously by our federal and provincial politicians.

So I am about to write three pleas--one to pro-choice activists, one to the prime minister, and one to my pro-life colleagues--with none of the nice academic sugar-coating that I normally employ in my writings. Too many women are being hurt and victimized to always write with equanimity.

Read the rest here.

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Canada’s Christians Ask: Is Life Chain Still Worth All the Energy?

Interesting insight from the latest edition of on the pro-life movement in general in Canada.


Is Life Chain Still Worth All the Energy?

IN CASE you missed it, pro-lifers across Canada held their annual Life Chain recently. Less than 100 from the Victoria area’s population of a quarter million showed up with text-only signs, for the hour-long stand along Blanchard Avenue. Not an impressive showing for a community which once could assemble more than 500 f

or this event. I think it’s time to ask: is this worth doing at all, if so few show up?

Michael Green, outgoing president of Victoria Right to Life, the event’s sponsor, thinks it is. He wasn’t on Blanchard for Victoria’s Life Chain. A Cobble Hill resident, he went with his family to Duncan’s Life Chain, which drew 60 – 70 people.

Green says if just one mind is changed about having an abortion, and one life is saved, it was worth it. He blames the poor showing on lack of support from churches, and gradual desensitization of Christians to abortion.

“We used to get 400 – 500 out for the Life Chain when people were still scandalized that we had no abortion law in Canada. Now Catholic and Christian people are desensitized to that reality.”

Green wonders whether it might be time to adopt a more hard-hitting approach, like that of the Calgary-based Centre for Bioethical Reform.

The centre mounts picture displays, usually on university campuses, that show aborted fetuses alongside the bodies of victims of the Nazi Holocaust and other mass atrocities. This hugely upsets people.

More recently, the organization has drawn the censure of Calgary’s Catholic bishop Fred Henry, for its ‘Reproductive Choice’ campaign – which sends a truck through the city with the image of a bloody fetus on its sides. In Henry’s view, the images showed disrespect for the dead.

“But everyone is using the shock approach nowadays,” says Green. “ICBC is showing pictures of car accident victims. The Cancer Society is showing diseased lungs. Let’s put the pictures up, and put the pro-abortionists on the spot. Let them explain.”

Green, a Catholic, like most of those out for Life Chain this year, also grouses about what he perceives as a lack of support from his denomination’s hierarchy. Indeed, I noticed no priests on hand for Life Chain; but neither were there any Protestant clergy.

Victoria Bishop Richard Gagnon says Catholic opposition to abortion “has been consistent and clear.” His own diocese’s financial difficulties are well known, he says, and have meant that it cannot afford paid family life staff as other dioceses can.

But the pro-life organizations on Vancouver Island, he contended, “have not always been working effectively together.”

I experienced this first-hand when I attempted to contact some evangelical pastors for their views on the Life Chain turnout. Several of them did not return my phone calls.

Longtime Life Chain supporter Arla Taylor, of Central Baptist Church, notes the problem isn’t Victoria’s alone. Activism needs a focus, she says. With no realistic prospect of the Conservative government countenancing an anti-abortion bill, there is no achievable goal to justify the effort.

Taylor believes the movement made a strategic blunder decades ago, when a previous Conservative government introduced a law moderately restricting abortion and the movement refused to back it ­– leading several pro-life MPs to oppose it, and causing it to fail.

Even an imperfect law, she says, would have provided a focus for reformist activity. Now, she says, “we are the only Western democracy with no law on abortion at all.”

Catholics like their clergy to lead; but it appears pro-life organizations aren’t providing much leadership. I’m not sure if our own priest exhorting us to attend Life Chain would have been as effective as an articulate pro-life spokesperson reminding us of the issue: that 13,000 unborn are slain in B.C. yearly.

Enthusiasm is infectious. Our parish is all on fire these days over a fundraising concert to pay travel expenses for our young adults to attend an International Eucharistic Congress next year in Quebec City. It’s a big deal; but big deals are routine in the Catholic Church – and I just as routinely ignore them.

Not this time, however – because the chief fundraiser buttonholed me after church and gave me her elevator pitch about the group and the cause. Result: I organized a table of friends, and friends of friends, for the event. It was a first for me.

On the morning of the Life Chain, one of the young people headed for Quebec delivered another pitch for the fundraiser after church. She is also a member of a nondenominational UVic pro-life group; so I asked her why there was no participation from her group in the Life Chain.

Nobody from Victoria Right to Life had contacted her about it, she said. Others have confirmed her impression. Can we blame pro-life organizers for having run out of steam? I don’t think so. But I think Jesus’ instruction for us, that we have to knock if we want the door opened, applies not just to prayer – but also to requests for support from Christian congregations. These days, it would appear, nobody’s asking.

We all need a wake-up call. Stephanie Gray, the founder of the Centre for Bioethical Reform, says attendance at pro-life events is going down generally in Canada. Even people who believe abortion is wrong don’t feel very strongly about it, she tells me.

“There is a lack of deep-seated conviction on how evil it really is. Words-based messages about how evil it is just go in one ear and out the other. To get people to realize how unarguably evil it is, you have to show them pictures.”

I think she and Green are right: we live in an age of images and feelings. People today don’t ‘get’ words, but they ‘get’ feelings. For better or worse, pictures have an indisputable impact – be they of the thumb-sucking fetus sleeping in the womb, or of the bloody, post-abortion corpse.

Some people will be offended, of course, within the church. But I think we’re at a point where even a negative reaction is better than none, even if it causes divisiveness within a congregation – which, in my case, is home to plenty of pro-choicers.

Fighting is preferable to sleepwalking.


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Tuesday, November 13, 2007

More on Cardinal Ouellet as an Apologist for Pseudo-Catholicism in Canada

The Vote Life, Canada! press release issued this morning has fired up a number of angry parties. Some of those parties simply ruled out the message of the press release owing to the fact that Cardinal Marc Ouellet was being criticized. Apparently, as far as these people are concerned, some things simply may not ever be said, regardless of whether true or not, and regardless of whether related to the killing of thousands—no, millions—of innocent human beings.

I suppose it’s just too overwhelming. Indeed it is.

Thus far, I have heard only emotional reactions to the press release. Nobody has offered a counterargument to the statements made about the Cardinal. Some have jumped to extreme conclusions without doing any homework, without even following through on the links referenced and without making the effort to keep the remarks of the press release in context.

For those who are struggling with this press release, I urge you at a minimum to read carefully the Open Letter to the Catholic Bishops of Canada written in June past. Also, since I signed off on the press release, I remind readers that my own personal profession of faith appears online and I stand by it.

I welcome comments and discussion and if warranted, I am ready to provide more evidence to corroborate the criticisms of Cardinal Ouellet.

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Press Release: Vote Life, Canada! Calls on Cardinal Ouellet to Lead Like a True Apostle of Christ

Distributed to the media and posted today to the Vote Life, Canada! website:

Tuesday, November 13, 2007


Vote Life, Canada! Calls on Cardinal Marc Ouellet to Stop Whimpering to Caesar—Lead Like a True Apostle Not an Apologist for Canada’s Deadly Pseudo Catholicism

Contact: Eric Alcock, President, Vote Life, Canada! 709-773-0700

Toronto, ON November 13/Christian Newswire— “Nothing sustains the killing of unborn children in Canada like the widespread practice of a false and corrupted Catholic faith,” says Eric Alcock, President of Vote Life, Canada! “and Cardinal Ouellet’s recent remarks have only obfuscated the true nature of the Catholic crisis.

“In a disgraceful capitulation to the worldly powers represented by the Bouchard-Taylor Commission on Oct. 30, Cardinal Marc Ouellet pleaded for respect for religion and begged the secular fundamentalists to ease up because they were to blame for destroying the soul of Quebec,” observed Alcock.

Alcock insists the evidence shows the secularization of Quebec society has essentially been a reaction rooted in a profound distrust of the Catholic faith which for decades has been shockingly perverted by the Bishops as described in the recent Open Letter by Vote Life, Canada! “Longstanding worldly compromise by Canada’s Catholic Bishops has so dulled their spiritual senses that, like Cardinal Ouellet, they no longer recognize their own role in society.”

Alcock explained that where the three-fold role of a Bishop to teach, to sanctify and to rule is carried out faithfully, a society cannot but advance from paganism into Christianity and from imperfect expressions of Christian living to more perfect expressions of God’s will for society. He notes the history of Western civilization has testified to this reality. “Where (Christian) societies have regressed into paganism or atheism—otherwise known as secularization—the failure and corruption of Bishops is traceable. Quebec society is no different nor is Canadian society.”

"In a tragic display of swallowing camels and straining out gnats, rather than hammering renegade ‘Catholic’ and priest politicians—whose secularist mindset devastates Canada’s common good—the Cardinal disciplines only little old women praying their rosaries and rebellious deluded priests who, while deserving excommunication, pose no ‘secular’ threat whatever.

“Cardinal Ouellet is looking everywhere for answers except in the mirror. In his desperate attempt to blame ‘secular fundamentalists,’ the Cardinal has indicted himself and his colleagues. A true Catholic faith generates authentic Christian living and sanctifies the surrounding community while earning its respect. The pseudo-catholic religion portrayed by the Cardinal is a victim of ‘anti-Catholic’ forces and the media and needs to be recognized, respected and propped up by the State for its continued existence.

“The Cardinal intimates that God’s promises are insufficient to preserve society, even the Church. But it’s really the Cardinal who must learn respect for religion—respect for a true Catholic faith which has power to purify and displace the most diabolical secularism, from the degenerate culture of the Roman Empire to the very gates of hell. But hell is another unmentionable reality in pseudo-catholic rhetoric—even to society in grave need of warning.

“Rather than calling for national fasting and repentance the Cardinal is counting on a magic cure—the International Eucharistic Congress—where he hopes revival will ensue. But the Cardinal ought to look once more to history to learn that great national revivals are always preceded by bold preaching and profound repentance. Bishops, please lead the way.”

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Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Bringing the Pope to Canada in 2008 Will Help in Defending the Unborn

Quebec City will host the International Eucharistic Congress in June 2008. This will be a mammoth event; one which many hope will precipitate a Catholic revival in Quebec. If there is any prospect of such an ambitious outcome it will likely revolve around an appearance by Pope Benedict XVI.

Cardinal Marc Ouellet, the archbishop of Quebec, goes so far as to say "This will certainly be the culmination of our efforts to re-evangelize Quebec.” About 50 cardinals and thousands of delegates from around the world will meet to foster devotion to the Eucharist.

The Pope has been invited to this Congress but up to this point has not confirmed attendance and his travel itinerary for 2008 does not indicate a visit to Quebec.

A petition campaign to bring the Pope to Quebec City is being spearheaded by former Quebec Justice Minister Marc Bellemare. In Quebec City, several businesses are contributing to this effort, including Boston Pizza. They are allowing their patrons to sign paper versions of the petition. Bellemare is also trying to get Quebec City Hall to allow the petition so that visitors can also sign.

There are numerous reasons to support an initiative to secure a visit to Canada from the Pope. From the Vote Life, Canada! point of view such a visit would tremendously highlight the issues surrounding the sanctity of life and add to the momentum generated recently in Canada by several unique and surprising events.

A strange mixture of the Great Canadian Wish List, the Reproductive Choice Campaign of the CCBR, the murder of pregnant women and fetal rights, mainstream media coverage of the ethics of legal abortion, the FCP and Ontario election, outstanding national newspaper commentary, Hollywood movies, the recent LifeCanada polling and even Britain’s abortion debate have all focused an inordinate degree of attention on the cruel and bizarre nature of the status quo on legalized child killing in Canada.

And make no mistake about it: a visit by this Pope would likely catapult the subject, in its varied dimensions, to center stage even before the Pope set foot on Canadian soil. A quick look at what happened recently in Brazil (and Austria) when the Pope visited there would be a good predictor.

Benedict XVI maintains an unceasing focus on the right to life and his very presence serves as a lightning rod to generate controversy—and much needed discussion—surrounding Christian teaching.

So whether you are Catholic or not, be aware that a visit by the Pope will benefit the cause of the Unborn in Canada like perhaps no other single event. Therefore it is a wise move for everyone to support this petition.

Be aware though that this is a petition in French. Remember—it was conceived as a local Quebec campaign. Click here and you will be taken directly to the petition.

The petition says:


Translated: I wish for Pope Benedict XVI To come to Quebec in June 2008 during the 49th International Eucharistic Congress.

Prenom=First Name

Nom=Last name

Courriel: Email address

Oh—and one last thing. This is an effort worth keeping in your prayers.

On behalf of Canada’s Unborn, thank you for your help!


This posting was the Vote Life, Canada! contribution to the Bring the Pope to Canada blogburst, organized by Suzanne at BigBlueWave.

Other postings in this blogburst can be found at the following links:

Proud to Be Canadian
Deborah Gyapong
The Bear Blog
Stand Your Ground
Left-Right? Up or Down?
Le Québec de Sébastien
Family Matters
SoCon or Bust
Wanton Popery
The Catholic Register

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Press Release: Vote Life, Canada! Finds Catholic Bishops Still Place Low Priority on Amnesty’s Threat to Unborn Children

Distributed to the media and posted today to the Vote Life, Canada! website:

Wednesday, November 7, 2007


Vote Life, Canada! Reviews Annual Plenary Report of Canada’s Catholic Bishops—Threat to Unborn Children by Amnesty International Still Rates Low on Priority List

Contact: Eric Alcock, President, Vote Life, Canada! 709-773-0700

Toronto, ON November 7/Christian Newswire—“Tragically, news reports confirm Amnesty International (AI) has commenced abortion advocacy internationally,” laments Eric Alcock, President of Vote Life, Canada! “but Canada’s Bishops maintain their laissez-faire attitude.”

In an August press release, Vote Life, Canada! complained that ominous indicators of AI’s plans, like threatening letters from terrorists, surfaced early in 2006. Yet this new global threat elicited simply a ho-hum “We’ll be disappointed” comment posted on the CCCB website in July 2006.

A short three months after posting this comment the Bishops held their 2006 Plenary Assembly which, insists Alcock, “should have been a beehive of strategic thinking for the Bishops to spearhead a powerful and effective mobilization of Catholics against the Amnesty move.

Yet official documents released after the 2006 Plenary Assembly indicate no discussion whatever of the Amnesty threat. Alcock is at a loss to explain “the tragic blindness and indifference of the Bishops to this worldwide threat to unborn children.” He notes this astounding failure was further compounded by the prolonged silence of the Bishops throughout 2007.

Incredibly, reports Alcock, “even since AI announced its official new policy in Mexico City in August past—while Bishops elsewhere in the world have been severing connections with AI—the Bishops of Canada have been silent on the matter.”

“Their silence still prevails, as it did in Canada nearly forty years ago when the abortion door cracked open in Canada.” Alcock claims the persistent call from Vote Life, Canada! has been the only voice on record in Canada holding Bishops accountable for their negligence in the AI affair.

Finally, last month’s 2007 Plenary Assembly announced the AI issue as an agenda item. Yet, exclaims Alcock, “The Bishops seem to be allergic to action when it comes to defending the Unborn. The item did not garner sufficient concern and consensus from the totality of Bishops at the Plenary and was referred to the Permanent Council for later decision!”

Referring to Amnesty International, the CCCB President was quoted as saying, “What a paradox that the smallest of human beings – unborn children – are now being put at risk by those who should be their defenders.”

“Paradox indeed but the irony of this statement obviously escaped the Bishop,” exclaims Alcock. “Who more than the Bishops of Christ’s Church are called to defend human life with all their might and influence? And what of those who take no action—or ineffective action—to stop the killers?”

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Monday, November 05, 2007

Calgary Bishop Henry Still Accusing Canadian Center for Bio-Ethical Reform of Immoral Activity in Use of Graphic Images

The Carillon is the monthly Diocesan newsmagazine of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Calgary, AB.

In the current issue, released yesterday, on page 5 Bishop Frederick Henry is grinding his axe again about the Reproductive Choice Campaign of the Canadian Center for Bio-Ethical Reform.

The problem is that Bishop Henry is simply repeating himself and offering no new rationale or insight for his rather preposterous claims. In the Carillon column he seems to be making the vague suggestion that John Paul II in his encyclical, The Gospel of Life, was including graphic displays such as the CCBR’s in a list of condemned activities opposed to life itself.

If so, it’s an extremely weak argument because absolutely nothing the Bishop quoted from JPII makes any clear reference whatever to the use of graphic images in the public square. It seems to me a rather pathetic effort to justify the Bishop’s opposition and claims that the CCBR’s approach is a case of doing wrong in order to achieve something good.

He says,

Evil should not be countered, nor compounded, by further evil actions.

He then goes on to rehash his older arguments, which are not arguments at all but simply unproved assertions:

The magnification and subsequent portrayal of the body parts on the side of moving trucks further violates the human dignity of aborted children, denies human remains the respect that inherently must be accorded them, and reduces them to things, albeit, for an arguably good reason.

Then, finally out of “arguments,” Bishop Henry cites three testimonies from women affected by the graphic signs of aborted fetuses on the trucks traveling throughout Calgary. The testimonies do absolutely nothing to substantiate the Bishop’s claims, although they do add some emotional appeal.

Bishop Henry’s treatment of CCBR earlier in the spring of this year prompted me to write a letter to the Bishop and subsequently an Open Letter from Vote Life, Canada! The entire affair, including reaction from pro-life leaders in Canada, was shockingly disappointing.

Up until this point I have not disclosed any of the substance of my initial lengthy letter to Bishop Henry when I first learned in April 2007 of his “edict” against CCBR. Much of the content of that letter appears below and I reiterate to the reader: Bishop Henry, in his short handwritten reply to me, did not respond to any of these arguments.


Having no other particulars, it is my understanding from reading the above noted report that the chief points noted by Your Excellency are the following:

1. “GAP in its usage of pictures of aborted children violates their human dignity, denies human remains the respect that inherently must be accorded them and reduces them to things, albeit, for an arguably good reason. The end, however, does not justify the means.”

2. Abortion cannot be compared to historical acts of genocide.

3. More would be accomplished by showing pictures of the human child in the womb of the mother than by CCBR’s use of graphic pictures.

4. Unless the center disassociates from the GAP display Your Excellency refuses to support it.

5. “The project is misguided, it’s offensive and I don’t think one should be using this kind of means to achieve an end.”


Perhaps Your Excellency will see some relevance in the following scenario to the recent judgment against CCBR.

Is it misguided for a public prosecutor who comes upon a homeless nameless woman who has been viciously assaulted, murdered and dismembered to robustly seek justice for the crime committed against her and to assume the task of representing that woman before the courts? Fortunately in the case of this particular crime our justice system is fashioned in such a way as to finance that prosecutor’s investigation, whatever the costs, and to expect that he will entirely follow through with his efforts to obtain justice for that woman and to defend the best interests of society.

Who can doubt that at some point the prosecutor will demonstrate before a select group of his fellow human beings sitting on a jury, the heinous nature of the crime through an exhibition of the gruesome photos of her remains? This will certainly occur without objection by a judge, who in fact might think it more than a little odd if the pictures were never entered as exhibits by the prosecutor. Would the judge or the jury or those in the courtroom consider such actions to be offensive? This seems to be a regular occurrence in courtrooms so I think not. True, they might find the images difficult to endure, shocking and even horrendous, but probably not for a moment would they doubt the need to present them as crucial evidence of the true nature of the crime.

Would the prosecutor imagine that he cannot show the pictures because to do so would violate the woman’s dignity or deny her human remains the respect that inherently must be accorded them? Would it occur to him that the mere act of showing these images for the end of establishing justice and preserving the common good could reduce the woman to being a thing? Would the prosecutor imagine for a moment that if he proceeds with such an exhibit that the religious community will denounce his approach and disassociate themselves from his case or his office?


To take my storyline a step further, how likely is it that the prosecutor would decline to show the gruesome pictures out of fear of offense yet sustain any realistic hope that by simply showing a picture of the woman in her best dressed, most attractive form prior to the crime, that it would better help the jurors and courtroom crowd to appreciate the indignity and disrespect shown to the woman’s person through this brutal act? Again, I would think it very unlikely. On the contrary, I might guess that after seeing the beautiful picture of the victim many jurors would demand, for the sake of justice, to also view the images depicting the horror of what was committed against that woman, if for no other reason than to be thoroughly apprised of and justly outraged by the grave injustice committed.

Your Excellency, I am greatly concerned about the message that will accompany this verdict and the chilling effect of this message upon the entire pro-life community in not only Calgary, but throughout Canada. I am thinking first of all of those who might be bravely considering some involvement in the pro-life cause for the first time. Who could blame them for having serious reservations and even serious confusion, about joining up with the pro-life movement? Apparently to do so, even when the activity is clearly not illegal but simply questionable in certain respects, is to also risk being at odds with the highest levels of Church leadership, and to risk public censure. Who will enter the pro-life arena to fight for the unborn with not only the usual (and formidable) anti-life obstacles to face but also possible opposition by the Church’s Pastors?

Then secondly there are those already involved with CCBR or giving serious thought to it, including the full time staff who have responsibility for raising their own support. Setting aside considerations of morale, the financial implications alone of having Catholics withdraw their support from CCBR due to Your Excellency’s objections are quite substantial. At the very least, doubts will be raised in the minds of supporters and questions of allegiance will plague some of the faithful with the overall long term effect being to reduce the level of success of the CCBR project, perhaps even driving them from the Calgary area. Forgive me for being so direct, but has Your Excellency considered the possibility of such effects?

Thirdly, in these circumstances certain questions seem to be raised by the Church’s previous statements on the laity and their apostolates. Echoing the call of John Paul II (EV #95), for “a general mobilization of consciences and a united ethical effort to activate a great campaign in support of life,” Pope Benedict XVI earlier this year made a similar earnest plea to Christians and non Christians around the world. Your Excellency will know that on February 24, 2007 Benedict XVI addressed participants in the General Assembly of the Pontifical Academy for Life on the theme “The Christian conscience in support of the right to life.”

In this address, the Holy Father recalled the first fundamental right of all human rights, making reference to Evangelium Vitae: "Even in the midst of difficulties and uncertainties, every person sincerely open to truth and goodness can, by the light of reason and the hidden action of grace, come to recognize in the natural law written in the heart (cf. Rom 2: 14-15) the sacred value of human life from its very beginning until its end, and can affirm the right of every human being to have this primary good respected to the highest degree.”

Quoting the same encyclical, Benedict XVI recalled that "believers in Christ must defend and promote this right,” and that “the Christian is continually called to be ever alert in order to face the multiple attacks to which the right to life is exposed. In this he knows that he can count on motives that are deeply rooted in the natural law and that can therefore be shared by every person of upright conscience.”

His Holiness prays that the Lord will “send among those dedicated to science, medicine, law and politics, witnesses endowed with true and upright consciences in order to defend and promote the "splendour of the truth" and to sustain the gift and mystery of life.” He calls for the help of professionals, philosophers, theologians, scientists and doctors. “In a society at times chaotic and violent, with your cultural qualifications, by teaching and by example, you can contribute to awakening in many hearts the eloquent and clear voice of conscience.”

Referring again to the Second Vatican Council which teaches the faithful in every temporal affair to be guided by a Christian conscience, Benedict XVI noted the Council exhorts lay believers to welcome "what is decided by the Pastors as teachers and rulers of the Church", and then recommends that "Pastors... should recognize and promote the dignity and responsibility of the laity in the Church. They should willingly use their prudent advice" and concludes that "[m]any benefits for the Church are to be expected from this familiar relationship between the laity and the Pastors" (cf. Lumen Gentium, n. 37).

Clearly Your Excellency, it would be careless of me to suggest that it is a simple task to achieve the beneficial relationship envisioned here. In the first place, since lay believers are exhorted to welcome and obey the decisions of their Pastors, Your Excellency could simply insist on such obedience as a conclusion to the present matter involving CCBR. However, in consideration of Pope Benedict’s words, I can’t help thinking that the matter is not that simple because it appears to me that the CCBR ministry is precisely the sort of lay organization called upon by His Holiness.

Are they not “witnesses endowed with true and upright consciences in order to defend and promote the ‘splendour of the truth’ and to sustain the gift and mystery of life?” Are they not among the “professionals, philosophers, theologians, scientists and doctors” called for by the Holy Father? At the very least, the words of the Holy Father confirm that, just as there is a multitude of the faithful laity called to represent life, so must there be a multiplicity of methods. Your Excellency, with all due respect, after ruling out illegal and immoral methods, should the methods of some be proscribed because they are controversial and conflict with the preferences of others?

It is true that the tactics of the CCBR elicit controversy (as did Our Lord’s!) and I will not try to defend their rationale since they make thorough efforts on their own website to respond to all their critics. I do believe they have made an extremely reasonable case for their strategy. But consider that the entire issue of abortion—the killing of innocent human beings yet in the womb—is bound to be controversial in the most innocent of conversations; far more so the closer one gets to an apprehension of the true and violent nature of the act.

The Church endorses the respectful use of human remains for medical education, research and transplantation, given the consent of the donor or his/her legitimate representative and proper treatment of the donated tissue. This teaching has been explicitly affirmed in strong positive terms by Pope John Paul II [Address to the XVIII International Congress of the Transplantation Society, August 29, 2000].

How much more so then for reasons of justice is it permissible to use pictures? Can one imagine the Church protesting the evidence presented at the Nuremberg War Crimes Trial? Can one imagine the Church, out of protest, publicly dissociating from those parties who initiated the proceedings of Nuremberg?

Further to the subject of disrespect of remains, etc. and admittedly on a hypothetical note, wouldn’t the Unborns involved have given their permission to take and to show pictures if done in an effort to save their fellows from equally horrid deaths? One could not imagine an answer in the negative. Is not true respect for these precious little souls best shown by a respect for what is very likely their last wishes? At memorial services for those we love, we regularly use this same criterion in determining the method of honouring their life and memory.

Personally I often find myself asking a very simple question when in doubt about a course of action in defense of the Unborn. When courage is questioned, when persecution looms, when clear thinking seems elusive, the difficulty can often be resolved by asking: What would the Unborn have me do in such a situation? In virtually all cases the answer immediately presents itself and all peripheral issues fade away. Would the Unborn want the CCBR to represent them in the fashion they do, despite the fact that perhaps no other group takes a similar approach? Obviously the answer would depend on whether the Unborn saw hope for their cause from the efforts of CCBR. I believe even a short analysis of the work of CCBR and a reading of the testimonies of the many individuals won to the plight of the Unborn by CCBR will attest to the effectiveness of their tactics and so I say a resounding Yes! The cause of justice for the Unborn is being well served by CCBR and the Unborn would encourage such efforts.

Always I am challenged deeply, yet often inspired, by the words of John Paul II in Evangelium Vitae.

(#73) “Abortion and euthanasia are thus crimes which no human law can claim to legitimize. There is no obligation in conscience to obey such laws; instead there is a grave and clear obligation to oppose them [emphasis mine] by conscientious objection.

“It is precisely from obedience to God -- to whom alone is due that fear which is acknowledgment of His absolute sovereignty -- that the strength and the courage to resist unjust human laws are born. It is the strength and the courage of those prepared even to be imprisoned or put to the sword, in the certainty that this is what makes for ‘the endurance and faith of the saints’ (Rev 13:10).”

(#90) “I repeat once more that a law which violates an innocent person's natural right to life is unjust and, as such, is not valid as a law.”

Yes, challenging, because I must ask myself: If my obligation to oppose them is “grave and clear,” what actions must accompany an obedient attitude? Certainly this would demand serious steps. The matter of “obedience to God” to the point of imprisonment or at the risk of physical injury speaks to the seriousness of these crimes and to the seriousness of my response as a Christian.

Yet CCBR’s actions, as I see them, could not in any way be construed as so serious as to warrant imprisonment or physical punishment. On the basis of John Paul II’s standards of resistance [some of which apparently cross “legal” lines] the CCBR comes out rather on the mild side of things and if so, then the practice of censuring some while praising others raises puzzling questions.

Turning to the question of comparing abortion to the historical acts of genocide, Your Excellency will be aware that John Paul II made world headlines and raised a great controversy in Feb 2005 when his book "Memory and Identity" was published. With headlines like “Pope likens abortion to Holocaust,” it is clear that the world understood John Paul II to be comparing abortion to the Holocaust. Although Cardinal Ratzinger rose to his defense claiming the Pope was misunderstood, John Paul II’s words seem unmistakably to link and compare abortion to the Jewish holocaust. After all, Pope John Paul called abortion a “legal extermination” and compared its institution with the German laws which declared the Jews non-persons and allowed them to be murdered by the state.

Understandably, his comments greatly disturbed the Jewish community in Germany who maintain that the Nazi inspired Jewish Holocaust stands alone in history and cannot be equated with anything else. They claimed John Paul’s words detracted from the enormity of that atrocity.

But how can the Jews truly understand the enormity of the holocaust of the Unborn? How can they understand the truth of the sanctity of life as the Catholic understands it? They deny the God-Man Jesus Christ, who by virtue of His unique Incarnation sanctified not only the womb but every stage of preborn life from the very point of conception. This Christian truth lends enormous power to the argument that every human life has equal value and at every stage of life. Seen in that light, comparing abortion to genocide isn't an attempt to make genocide seem less evil, it's an attempt to show how evil abortion is!

What is not understandable though is the failure by so many Catholics to emphasize two thousand years of Church teaching on the sanctity of life and the abomination of abortion. In fact, contrary to the warnings of John Paul II, it does seem clear to me that Christians have by and large accepted abortion as a legal and valid act in Canada. Even when [rarely] acknowledged as a crime, its gravity is commonly ignored and often apologies are made for such comparisons. But, like the Jews who are permitted to see through Jewish eyes, don’t we Christians have a right—and a duty—to proclaim with equal if not greater fervour the Christian truth about the true nature of abortion as revealed by God to His Church?

In September 2004 reported Spanish Bishop Jose Gea Escolano to say that abortion is "the greatest crime ever committed in history." He went so far as to say that the “killings, concentration camps, gulags” of history were far outweighed by the countless children sacrificed in the wombs of their mothers and that therefore abortion “cannot be compared with any other genocide in history.”

Again in January of this year LifeSiteNews reported that Bishop Elio Sgreccia, president of the Pontifical Academy for Life, told a group of journalists that the world is “marching toward a self-genocide of the human race” with the irresponsible use of biotechnologies and the widespread acceptance of the culture of death.

Just this past week Archbishop Angelo Amato, secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, declared that abortion and euthanasia are examples of "terrorism with a human face," and, together with suicide bombers, are the scourge of contemporary society. No doubt some will take exception to this strong language but again, it is simply testimony to the view which God has of the destruction of innocent unborn life.


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