One Last Shot for the Bishops

I see Fr. Raymond Gravel has been forced out of politics thanks to the outcry of the Canadian faithful.   Along with many Canadians, I also sent a letter to the Apostolic Nuncio back last December and the Nuncio responded. This gives me great encouragement that sometimes we can have success in bringing our grievances and concerns to our lawful superiors.

Speaking of grievances, I noticed the following article in the Catholic Register:

TORONTO – Forty years after the release of the encyclical Humanae Vitae, Canada’s bishops are working on a new document on marriage and family that will try to bring together the Catholic Church’s teaching in this area.

Winnipeg Archbishop James Weisgerber, president of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, told The Catholic Register in late August that the bishops have asked the conference’s Theological Commission to draft a statement. He added that the statement is expected to be ready for review by the end of the year.

“The Catholic bishops of Canada have always been faithful to the teaching of the church,” he said. “But there continue to be people who doubt that.”

Besides reassuring doubting Thomases, Weisgerber pointed out that none of today’s bishops were bishops in 1968 when Pope Paul VI touched off a storm of controversy with his encyclical, which reaffirmed traditional Catholic opposition to artificial contraception. They would like to reassert Catholic teaching in a manner that would reach today’s Catholics.

“People are asking us questions about this, so we’re going to look at it,” he said.

Humanae Vitae was issued on July 25, 1968. Its reaffirmation of the ban on contraception was largely unexpected and the encyclical was severely criticized in some church quarters. Two months later, at their annual plenary, the Canadian bishops issued a statement of support for the encyclical. Known as the Winnipeg Statement, because the plenary was held in Winnipeg, the statement itself was criticized because of one paragraph on the primacy of conscience. Critics argued that this paragraph gave dissenters the permission they desired to ignore church teaching.

Over the decades, some Catholics have continued to call upon the bishops to revoke the Winnipeg Statement.

One such group, called the Rosarium, conducted a petition last spring in which it again called on the bishops to revoke their statement. It gathered about 1,750 individual signatures, according to John Pacheco, one of the two men who lead the group.Pacheco said he has sent letters to every bishop who leads a Latin rite parish in the country, informing them of his request.

At their annual plenary, to be held in late September in Cornwall, Ont., the bishops will participate in a private discussion of all church teaching on the issue since the Second Vatican Council, Weisgerber said.

I hear that the bishops are going to be meeting in Cornwall, Ontario this September for a few days for their annual gathering.  The last day of the conference is September 27.  That day will mark the 40th anniversary of the infamous Winnipeg Statement.  I believe that fact is highly symbolic and signficant.

A few things about some of the remarks in the article…

Weisgerber pointed out that none of today’s bishops were bishops in 1968

Why would this matter if the Winnipeg Statement was in accordance with Church teaching as the bishops claim?  It wouldn’t matter.  

“The Catholic bishops of Canada have always been faithful to the teaching of the church,” he said. “But there continue to be people who doubt that.”

No, your Grace. The Catholic bishops of Canada have NOT always been faithful to the teaching of the church. The Winnipeg Statement proves that.  And our doubt of the bishops’ fidelity is well founded, I assure you. What is required here, Your Grace, is repentance not whitewashes.

“People are asking us questions about this, so we’re going to look at it,” he said.

This is indeed good news so we’ll see what happens. I have no doubt that The Rosarium’s letter to the bishops  and the thousands of Canadians who signed the petition had a substantial role to play in this review.

However, The Rosarium will be sending out another letter in anticipation of the bishops’ meeting to remind them of their duty to repent of the Winnipeg Statement and set the record straight.

3 thoughts on “One Last Shot for the Bishops

  1. Good work, John! I hope and pray something finally happens and the Winnipeg Statement is withdrawn. It is the single worst thing to happen to the Catholic Church in Canada—the thin edge of the wedge that allowed so many other abuses.

  2. Dear John,
    Thousands are joining you in praying for the revocation of the Winnipeg Statement in September. You have played a major part in the hoped-for withdrawal of what has been the greatest tragedy in the history of the Church in Canada. A thousand thanks to you and Tony.
    Yours in Our Lord,
    Msgr. Foy

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