I’ve always had a profound respect for Jean Vanier and his tireless work with the disabled. It is with some sadness and disappointment, however, that I recently read his justification in not returning his Order of Canada. You can read his remarks here.
I simply cannot understand his position. We are not asking him not to be compassionate to women, but simply to acknowledge that the “award” he still clings to declares that murdering unborn life is not only acceptable but is to be lauded and applauded.
There is no justification for Jean Vanier’s muddled thinking on this matter, and sadly there is plenty of muddled thinking and logical incoherence in his remarks.
I find it quite unconscionable that anyone who values the dignity of the unborn child will still cling to a medal that represents a brazen attack on that same dignity. Yet, that is what he has done, despite the clear witness of his fellow Catholics on this matter.
The general thrust of Jean Vanier’s letter seems to be that he wants to foster peace, understanding, and unity. In itself, that is very good and noble. Indeed, helping women who are in a crisis pregnancy is not only the right thing to do, it is a commandment of Love. However, none of this means anything unless a clear and unequivocal position is taken on the inviolability of human life. Any search for peace, understanding and good will is a false one if it does not recognize, and more importantly, act on this reality.
It’s great to declare oneself to be “pro-life”, but like the Catholic politician who refuses to conform his actions to such a belief, any Catholic who knowingly belongs to a “club” which extols the murder of unborn children is really no better.
Jean Vanier has done the pro-life movement and especially his work with the disabled who are the first ones to be discarded in this abortion holocaust a huge disservice.
Catholics must indeed have compassion but it cannot be a false compassion, resting on a false sense of “unity” or “understanding”.