The Winnipeg Statement: The Enemy Within

A Short History

On September 27, 1968 in an unknown hotel of a remote city of a nomadic province, a door was treacherously but quietly opened. The angel of death did not even have to knock. Slithering in unnoticed, he got right down to business very quickly. And for the last 35 years, Canada and the world has been feeling his lethal presence in almost every strata of family life.

At the conclusion of their plenary assembly held at the Fort Garry Hotel in Winnipeg, Manitoba, the bishops of the Catholic Church in Canada, knowingly or not, unleashed the forces of the culture of death in this country. On that ignominious day, the Canadian episcopate issued a statement in response to Pope Paul’s encyclical on human life, Humanae Vitae. It was entitled Canadian Bishops’ Statement on the Encyclical ‘Humanae Vitae’, since then becoming infamously known as The Winnipeg Statement (hereafter simply referred to as the Statement). After release of the Statement, Douglas Roche, of the Western Catholic Reporter synthesized the obvious and apparent reading of the Statement’s controversial text:

“The issue is over in Canada. Catholics are free to use contraceptives if their informed conscience so prompts them.”

In Toronto, an editorial in The Catholic Register read: “It will take weeks, perhaps months, for Canadians to appreciate and really believe what happened at Winnipeg last week. It has not happened in the Church – anywhere – for centuries. And in Canada, perhaps for the first time in our history, we have now become a truly Canadian Church in the deepest sense of the word.” (Oct. 5, 1968.)

According to Msgr. Vincent Foy, who has worked tirelessly over the past thirty years to revoke the Statement, “the world-wide perception was that the Canadian Statement was in rebellion against the Pope’s encyclical.” 1 As we shall see from the Statement itself, it is more than apparent that much of the Canadian hierarchy was not prepared to support Humane Vitae or 2000 years of Catholic tradition.

This is how Cardinal Emmett Carter (then Bishop Carter) describes the reaction of the bishops: “We promptly dropped everything else we were doing and pored over the encyclical. It was with a certain sense of dismay that we read the vital passages in it. He (the Pope) had clearly taken a position that was contrary to the majority position of his own Commission. We felt that this was going to be a major problem.” (cf. The biography of Cardinal Carter My Father’s Business by Michael W. Higgins and Douglas R. Letson, MacMillan of Canada, 1990, p.103).

Instead of supporting the Holy Father in his greatest hour of need, the bishops of Canada balked and did not support the Vicar of Christ. As a result, the bishops sold future Canadian Catholic generations into sexual deviancy and despair. And they sacrificed our rich moral tradition – a tradition soaked in the blood of the martyrs – to a decadent and perverse culture. Their lack of resilience and fidelity helped plunge Canadian society into the culture of death. Instead of standing with the Pope and 2000 years of constant moral teaching against contraception, they turned their backs on the Successor of St. Peter, preferring instead to hear the wisdom of their dissenting pereti who were by their sides like well-trained ravenous wolves awaiting their prey. St. Paul’s warning to Timothy has a certain resonance in this case:

“For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.” (2 Tim 4:3)

Of course, not all of the bishops dissented. In fact, it is probable that most did not. Yet, as with all things demonic, the minority somehow finds away of imposing itself. According to Msgr. Foy, it was the theological “consultants” who played an enormous role in deciding the text of the Statement. He writes, “it is a legitimate conclusion that if the dissenting consultants had not been present the position of the Bishops’ Theological Commission would have won the day. The majority of the Theological Commission of bishops recognized the importance of giving approval to the teaching of Humanae Vitae….The Statement did not reflect the considered judgment of the majority of the Canadian bishops but was rather the result of manipulation and pressure.”

One of the central architects of the Statement, Cardinal Gerald Emmett Carter, Bishop of London, was later quoted as having reservations of the text of paragraph 26, the most problematic part of the Statement. In private correspondence, he admitted that it had caused confusion:

“I am not prepared to defend paragraph 26 totally. I think we might have found a more lucid way of expressing our ideas. In a sense, the phraseology was misleading and could give the impression that the bishops were saying that one was free to dissent at will from the Pope’s teaching. This was certainly not our intention.” (Letter to L. Sullivan, June 15, 1995; for text of #26, see C.I., July /Aug., 1998)

Bishop Laurent Morin, Bishop of Prince Albert, wrote to Msgr. Foy on November 14, 1968, referring to his critique:

“Let me congratulate and thank you for the courage you had to submit a considerable report, but precise and so enlightening. The only thing I regret is that you had not been appointed among our periti. It is true that we have worked in very difficult conditions, the chairman having invited as “periti” two ‘supposed theologians’ who, before the meeting and publicly, had already taken a firm stand on ‘prudent dissent’ and who consequently could not bear a sound, objective and impartial judgement. A second factor of the unworkable atmosphere is that, in spite of a serious document which we have to prepare and which would have required hours of reflection, the work was done at high speed and under a pressure which I would qualify ‘calculated’.”

Msgr. Foy continues:

“From then on Paragraph 26 of the Winnipeg Statement began its triumphant, murderous, life-preventing and soul-killing journey throughout the English-speaking world and beyond, in the confessional, texts, schools and marriage preparation courses. Priests who spoke out against it were disciplined or marginalized. Bishop-approved sex education courses like “Fully Alive” give full education in contraception, from condoms to diaphragms, to the use of spermicides, intra-uterine devices and oral contraceptive – abortifacient pills. In high school an approved text gives them Paragraph 26 with the assurance that it had the approval of Pope Paul VI. This is an injustice to our Catholic people of the gravest order. It is not surprising that a survey in MacLean’s Magazine (April 12, 1993) reported that 91% of Canadian Catholics approve of contraception. Contracepting Catholics in great numbers receive the Sacraments.”

Far from being restricted to Canada’s borders, the Statement’s capitulation to contraception reverberated throughout the world, spreading like spiritual leprosy. Dissenters from many countries trophied the Statement to justify their rebellion against the Pope and his encyclical. The most explosive and damaging part of the Statement appeared in paragraph 26 which reads:

Counsellors may meet others who, accepting the teaching of the Holy Father, find that because of particular circumstances they are involved in what seems to them a clear conflict of duties, e.g., the reconciling of conjugal love and responsible parenthood with the education of children already born or with the health of the mother. In accord with the accepted principles of moral theology, if these persons have tried sincerely but without success to pursue a line of conduct in keeping with the given directives, they may be safely assure that, whoever honestly chooses that course which seems right to him does so in good conscience.

This paragraph, the most problematic of the entire Statement, was disseminated far and wide by the liberal theocrats. Fr. Anthony Wilhelm’s book, Christ Among Us, was distributed throughout the English speaking with the imprimatur of Bishop Gerety of Newark, New Jersey. Three million copies of this book, which cited the pernicious paragraph, were distributed before the Holy See ordered the bishop to rescind the imprimatur. But the damage was already done as the first edition remained in print for the next 15 years. Another imprimatur was given to the work of Fr. Mark Link, S.J., Path Through Catholicism. This book trumped up the skewed and anchorless notion of “conscience” propagated in the Statement.

Canadian Catholics seeking sound marriage guidance could also look forward to “The Mosaic Marriage Preparation Course” which states: “For couples experiencing problems the bishops of Canada have said that those who ‘have chosen the way which seems the best for them’ live in the love of God” (Couple’s Book Creating a Family, Novalis, 1980, pp 8-9). In England and Australia, religious instruction texts also quote from The Winnipeg Statement in order to justify contraceptive acts.

An Analysis

Let us, therefore, undertake to study some of the more controversial parts of the Statement:

Paragraph 17:

It is a fact that a certain number of Catholics, although admittedly subject to the teaching of the encyclical, find it either extremely difficult or even impossible to make their own all elements of this doctrine.

By itself, such a statement is rather neutral, indicating the fact of resistance to the Encyclical. Yet, read in the context of the entire paragraph, it is subtly beginning to show the bishops’ hand. It is not so much in what it says, but in what it does not say which is particularly troubling. Some Catholics, the Statement says, find it impossible to accept the Church’s teaching on contraception. But where you would then to expect a statement appealing to the constant Church teaching and practice on artificial birth control or some other appropriate appeal, the bishops go on to appeal not to the Church but to “men of science”.

In particular, the argumentation and rational foundation of the encyclical, which are only briefly indicated, have failed in some cases to win the assent of men of science, or indeed of some men of culture and education who share in the contemporary empirical and scientific mode of thought.

Notice how the framers appeal to “men of science” – as if to suggest that the entire scientific world supported contraception. What is most curious is why “men of science” are singled out when this is primarily a MORAL question. “Men of Science” are no more qualified than Fr. Joe or a Catholic layman to offer an equivalent opinion on the matter. Indeed, why should “some men of culture and education” who share in a “contemporary empirical and scientific mode of thought” have more expertise on a moral and social question than 2000 years of constant Christian tradition? Or what about some men of culture and education who DO NOT have an empirical or scientific mode of thought? Or, alternatively, what about “some men of culture and education” who have the same mode of thought but do not share the conclusions of their colleagues? Furthermore, as Msgr. Foy has rightly pointed out, the Council of Trent declares to be heretical that opinion which says that it is impossible to keep God’s commandments. The bishops are implying that it may very well be impossible to keep this commandment.

We must appreciate the difficulty experienced by contemporary man in understanding and appropriating some of the points of this encyclical, and we must make every effort to learn from the insights of Catholic scientists and intellectuals, who are of undoubted loyalty to Christian truth, to the Church and to the authority of the Holy See.

Contemporary man might have difficulty in understanding the points expressed in the Encyclical, but what impact does that have on obeying its teachings? If the bishops are concerned with “contemporary man’s” understanding, then it is their job to explain the teaching to them. It is not, as the Statement implies, to subject their apostolic teaching office to learning from contemporary man’s insights – insights which, the bishops have already admitted, are not illuminated with understanding.

Since they are not denying any point of divine and Catholic faith nor rejecting the teaching authority of the Church, these Catholics should not be considered or consider themselves, shut off from the body of the faithful. But they should remember that their good faith will be dependent on a sincere self-examination to determine the true motives and grounds for such suspension of assent and on continued effort to understand and deepen their knowledge of the teaching of the Church.

Self-examination of true motives is not a licit excuse for dissenting from the teaching of Humanae Vitae. The motives might be true, but if they oppose the Encyclical’s teaching, they are directed towards error. No amount of “self-examination” can make what is objectively false into truth. “Self-examination” and “motives” are neither absolute nor are they detached from divine revelation. They are subject to Catholic moral teaching which has its foundation in divine revelation. The Statement, like all theological and moral errors, affirms one truth (i.e. intention) while largely ignoring another truth (i.e. objective morality). The separation of motives and objective truth is precisely what Gaudium et Spes rejected:

“Hence the acts themselves which are proper to conjugal love and which are exercised in accord with genuine human dignity must be honored with great reverence. Hence when there is question of harmonizing conjugal love with the responsible transmission of life, the moral aspects of any procedure does not depend solely on sincere intentions or on an evaluation of motives, but must be determined by objective standards. These, based on the nature of the human person and his acts, preserve the full sense of mutual self-giving and human procreation in the context of true love. Such a goal cannot be achieved unless the virtue of conjugal chastity is sincerely practiced. Relying on these principles, sons of the Church may not undertake methods of birth control which are found blameworthy by the teaching authority of the Church in its unfolding of the divine law. (Vatican II, Gaudium et Spes, 51)

The Statement also implies that if the motives are true, then it is licitly possible to suspend assent. Although the bishops do try and encourage Catholics “to understand and deepen their knowledge”, ultimately the text above clearly insuates the tolerance of dissent based on “pure motives”.

Paragraph 25:

In the situation we described earlier in this statement (par. 17) the confessor or counsellor must show sympathetic understanding and reverence for the sincere good faith of those who fall in their effort to accept some point of the encyclical.

While this approach is commendable, it is obviously too one-sided. Again, the bishops fail to address the other side of the equation. Respect, sympathy and reverence for a sincere good faith are necessary, but so is an admonishment to do better and avoid such a grievous sin in the future. The penitent’s soul, needless to say, is also in danger of eternal damnation.

Paragraph 26:

Counsellors may meet others who, accepting the teaching of the Holy Father, find that because of particular circumstances they are involved in what seems to them a clear conflict of duties, e.g., the reconciling of conjugal love and responsible parenthood with the education of children already born or with the health of the mother…

First of all, those who “accept the teaching of the Holy Father” do, by their very assent, admit that there are NO exceptions or “particular circumstances” where they could use contraception. The Holy Father does not speak of ANY “particular circumstances” in Humanae Vitae which permit married to couples to contracept. In fact, he explicitly says the prohibition is “absolute” as we shall read below. As such, the above text seeks to introduce exceptions into the teaching of Humanae Vitae where none exists. The text also makes an unsubstantiated connection between the implied need of contraception and the “health of the mother” – as if to suggest that a couple may need to have recourse to contraception in order to protect the mother’s health. This claim has no scientific basis. In fact, contraception has many adverse emotional and health consequences attached to it.

…In accord with the accepted principles of moral theology, if these persons have tried sincerely but without success to pursue a line of conduct in keeping with the given directives, they may be safely assure that, whoever honestly chooses that course which seems right to him does so in good conscience.

This sentence is undoubtedly the most problematic part of the whole Statement. This particular text is rife with the foundation of modernism. It overturns the objective moral order and seeks to replace it with a subjective one. “The course”, the Statement says, “which seems right to him” can be steered “in good conscience” without reference to the absolute prohibition of Humanae Vitae:

“Therefore We base Our words on the first principles of a human and Christian doctrine of marriage when We are obliged once more to declare that the direct interruption of the generative process already begun and, above all, all direct abortion, even for therapeutic reasons, are to be absolutely excluded as lawful means of regulating the number of children. (Humanae Vitae, 14)

Fr. John F. Kippley makes this very blunt assessment of paragraph 26 of the Statement: “A more misleading statement would be hard to imagine. There are no principles of moral theology that allow a person to engage in actions taught by the Church to be objectively immoral, whether such actions be adultery, contraception, fornication or sodomy. And, of course, what applies to one behaviour applies to all the rest.” (Sex and the Marriage Covenant, the Couple to Couple League, Cincinnati, Ohio, 1991, p.145.) As Father Kipley rightly points out, contraception is an objective moral evil which has been long condemned by our heritage. Christian tradition has been consistent on this point for 2,000 years. It goes without saying that while this particular paragraph does not explicitly say it is permissible to contracept, it is difficult to construct a more obvious implied representation.

34. We conclude by asking all to pray fervently that the Holy Spirit will continue to guide his Church through all darkness and suffering. We, the People of God, cannot escape this hour of crisis but there is no reason to believe that it will create division and despair. The unity of the Church does not consist in a bland conformity in all ideas, but rather in a union of faith and heart, in submission to God’s will and a humble but honest and ongoing search for the truth…

In other words, Catholics need not worry of dissenting from Humanae Vitae because, as the text above states, Catholicism is more than just being in “bland conformity” with what the Church teaches. Apparently, the important thing is simply to keep searching for the truth even though it is more than apparent what that truth is. It is clear from this paragraph that the bishops do not seek to teach the truth of Humanae Vitae but rather assuage fears of disunity when dissent invariably occurs. In doing so, they have reduced obedience to the Encyclical as being merely a matter of “bland conformity” and not something absolutely essential to Christian morality.

34. …That unity of love and faith is founded in Christ and as long as we are true to Him nothing can separate us. We stand in union with the Bishop of Rome the successor of Peter, the sign and contributing cause of our unity with Christ and with one another. But this very union postulates such a love of the Church that we can do no less than to place all of our love and all of our intelligence at its service. If this sometimes means that in our desire to make the Church more intelligible and more beautiful we must, as pilgrims do, falter in the way or differ as to the way, no one should conclude that our common faith is lost or our loving purpose blunted. The great Cardinal Newman once wrote: “Lead kindly light amidst the encircling gloom We believe that the Kindly Light will lead us to a greater understanding of the ways of God and the love of man.

If we “falter” in a way that is demonstrably against the one that the Vicar of Christ has clearly pointed to, then, contrary to the text above, we should rightly conclude that these persons’ common faith is indeed lost and their loving purpose indeed blunted. Their common faith is lost because they have failed to hold to an essential Christian moral precept. And as such, failing in one point is failing in all (Cf. James 2:10).

Because of the rampant and almost universal dissent from the Encyclical, Pope Paul VI refrained from publicly condemning the Winnipeg Statement. To do so would also have required him to do so with about 12 other national conferences of bishops, including those in Latin America, Germany, and Belgium (Cf. “The Enemy Within the Gate,” John McKee) In fact, at a West German Catholics’ Rally at Essen, the Pope made it very clear that the appeal to “conscience” could not override the moral prohibition against contraception. He stated quite clearly that “individual conscience has no validity in such matters” (ibid., p.190).

With Satisfaction?

According to a letter from the Apostolic Delegate to the Canadian bishops, the Holy Father acknowledged receipt of the Canadian Statement with “satisfaction.” Here is the text of the letter:

October 21, 1968

Your Excellency,

The Apostolic Delegation promptly transmitted to the Holy See a copy of the declaration made by the Bishops of Canada during their general assembly at Saint Boniface on the Encyclical Letter “Humanae Vitae.” Now I am happy to notify Your Excellency that His Eminence, Amletto Cardinal Cicognani, Secretary of State to His Holiness, has just communicated to the Delegation that the Holy Father, Pope Paul VI, has taken cognisance of the document with satisfaction. (emphasis added)

With every best wish, I am
Sincerely Yours in Our Lord,
+ E. Clarizio
Apostolic Delegate

(“Alex Carter, a Canadian Bishop’s Memoirs,” Tomiko Publications, 1994, pp. 199-200).

Those who backed the Statement pointed to this phrase “with satisfaction” as an implicit acknowledgment by Rome of the Canadian Bishops position. However, such an assumption is most certainly unsupported. According to the same Secretary of State who wrote to the Apostolic delegate above, the Holy Father received Msgr. Foy’s critique of the Winnipeg Statement with “gratitude” and “appreciation.” Clearly, these phrases are mere diplomatic parlance with no indication of assent to any particular position advanced. Here is the text of the letter that Msgr. Foy received from Rome:

DAL VATICANO, December 5, 1968

Right Reverend and dear Monsignor

The Holy Father has graciously charged me to express His gratitude for the loyalty and support, in connection with His Encyclical Letter “Humanae Vitae”, which were manifested in the message which you addressed to Him recently.

Such ready acceptance of the teaching of Christ’s Vicar on earth is a sign of the lively faith which animates the heart of a true Christian, and cannot fail to console Him upon Whom lies the heavy burden of guiding the whole Church and confirming His brothers in the faith.

His Holiness therefore greatly appreciates this token of fidelity, and bids me give assurance that He prayerfully bestows upon you, in pledge of the heavenly reward of a living faith, His special Apostolic Blessing.

Thanking you also for the copy of your study which you sent to me, I express my sentiments of esteem and consideration, and I remain

Sincerely yours in Christ,

(signed) A.G. Card. Cicognani

As the emphasized text above clearly shows, there are absolutely no grounds for assuming that Rome’s reference to receiving the Bishops’ Statement “with satisfaction” is anything more than affording mere diplomatic sentimental niceties to the Canadian hierarchy.

Theological Opinions vs. The Papal Magisterium

In light of the battle being fought over the Winnipeg Statement and the authority of the widespread dissent among theologians against Humanae Vitae, Fr. Joseph Costanso, S.J. provides us with certain insights into the question in his excellent article, Papal Magisterium and Humanae Vitae. Father Costanso writes:

“Between the faithful who have give “religious submission of will and mind . . . to the authentic teaching authority of the Roman Pontiff, even when he is not speaking ex cathedra” (Lumen Gentium, 25) and the dissidents who challenge the obligatory force of Humanae Vitae, as the principal informant of a correct conscience on birth regulation, a third group has been emerging. On the one hand, they insist that they do give deference and loyalty to papal authority and, on the other, they try to mitigate the literal and explicit absoluteness of the proscriptions of Humanae Vitae. They do this either by (i) refusing to take seriously the dogmatic language in which the doctrinal teaching is unambiguously expressed, or by ii) weakening the binding force of the doctrinal propositions by an evaluation of he merits of the intrinsic argumentation of the encyclical, or by iii) mitigating the condemnations of contraceptive intercourse in the light of the pastoral counsels set down by Pope Paul in the third and concluding part of the encyclical.

This third group differentiates itself from the outright dissident clerics by maintaining that Humanae Vitae gave expression to a prudent, positive, ennobling ideal which the spouses should strive to realize in their conjugal relations. In other words, they seem to say, Pope Paul did not authoritatively propound an authentic doctrinal teaching on marital relations to be followed in the daily lives of the married. This ingenious construction, we respectfully submit, can work to an earnest self-deception. It does violence to the language of moral condemnations of the encyclical and, as a principle of interpretive exegesis, will work no less havoc with other doctrinal teachings of the Church.

By virtue, then, of what delegated authority or by reason of what divinely established office do the dissident clerics oppose the doctrinal teaching of Humanae Vitae and contrary to the absolute proscriptions of the encyclical and the Holy Father’s repeated confirmations since its publication assert that it is not binding in conscience? It may be disconcerting to the pneumatic collegial dissidents to realize that they are not part of the magisterium of the Church, that they do not share in its teaching authority, nor may they with any authentic authority of their own offer the faithful an alternative of their own theological construction. The science of theology proper did not evolve for some centuries. The theologian’s methodology is wholly a human enterprise, their learning, a best, a scholar’s erudition, and in the absence of divine revelation to the contrary, not invested with any divine warrant against errancy. Their function is to teach, explain, defend, explore what the magisterium teaches. They are auxiliary forces in the service of the magisterium as becomes their high vocation. The Roman Pontiff is the Supreme Teacher, not a theologian among theologians, nor the supreme arbiter of contending theological schools of thought, nor the supreme executor of the majority report of a commission, nor the reconciler of opposing positions, nor the formulator of a doctrinal proposition that would adumbrate contrary moral decisions in the light of one and the same moral principle. He is not the recorder of a “total process” that give expression to a prevailing consensus or to that communal congregationalist moral principle that each conscience is the final determinant of the morality of a specific act. The Roman Pontiff is the Vicar of Christ, and only of Christ, Our Lord. He is not he vicar of the universal Church, nor of an ecumenical council, nor of a group of bishops, nor of theologians.”

And we see Pope Pius XII confirming Fr. Costanso’s position quite clearly:

Nor must it be thought that what is expounded in encyclical letters does not itself demand consent, on the pretext that in writing such letters, the Popes do not exercise the supreme power of their teaching authority. For these matters are taught with the ordinary teaching authority, of which it is true to say: “He who heareth you, heareth Me”; and generally, what is expounded and inculcated in encyclical letters already, for other reasons, appertains to Catholic doctrine. But if the Supreme Pontiffs in their official documents purposely pass judgment on matters up to that time under dispute, it is obvious that the matter, according to the mind and will of the same Pontiffs, can no longer be considered a question of open controversy among theologians (quaestionem liberae inter theolgos disceptationis iam haberi non posse) (Humani Generis, AAS 42 [1950], 568).

Furthermore, those who wish to presume that Humanae Vitae was merely for guidance have no basis for doing so. Monsignor Lambruschini’s commentary to Associated Press, Osservatore Romano, August 8, 1968 stated the following:

“The decision has been given and it is not infallible. But it does not leave the question of the regulation of birth in a state of vague uncertainty. Only definitions strictly so called command the assent of theological faith. But a pronouncement of the authentic Magisterium requires full and loyal assent-internal and not merely external-in proportion to the importance of the Authority that issues it (in this case the Supreme Pontiff), and the matter with which it deals (in the present case a matter of the greatest importance, treating as it does of the vexed question of the regulation of birth). This decision binds the consciences of all without any ambiguity. In particular, it can and must be said that the authentic pronouncement contained in the Encyclical Humanae Vitae excludes the possibility of a probable opinion, valid on the moral plane, opposed to this teaching-and that notwithstanding the number and the authority (hierarchical, scientific and theological) of those who have in recent years maintained that it is possible to have such a probable opinion. The pretext of the presumed doubt in the Church owing to the long silence of the Pope is not consistent, and conflicts with the repeated appeals of the Pope and Council to abide by the previous directives of the Magisterium which were still binding. All those who have in recent years incautiously taught that it is lawful to use artificial contraceptives to regulate births and have acted accordingly in their pastoral guidance and in the ministry of the confessional, must now change their attitude and set an example by their full acceptance of the teaching of the Encyclical. This is not a case of servility to be shunned, but rather one of essential loyalty and consistency in the profession of Catholic doctrine and in the practice of the Christian life…”

Clearly, even back then, the binding nature of the Encyclical was never in doubt, and no one could presume to be ignorant or confused of the Apostolic See’s views. The Pope had issued a definitive statement on the matter. There was no further room for discussion. Any watering down of Humanae Vitae by the various Bishops’ Conferences can really therefore be attributed to three possible causes: extreme stupidity, gross negligence, or blatant disobedience.

A Call to Retract

Our beloved country and many other English speaking nations have suffered enough during these last 35 years. Contraception, which is a frontal attack on holy matrimony and the sanctity of the propagation of human life, has provided the foundation and the impetus for every other sexual perversity our culture is experiencing. Abortion, homosexuality, legalized prostitution, euthanasia, human cloning, organ commerce, genetic manipulation, and countless other atrocities have all found their fuel from contraception. This scourge of our culture must be called out by name and condemned – and often.

If they have the courage, the bishops of Canada can unleash their own attack on the Culture of Death, and put an end to it once and for all. The first and necessary step is to come to terms with the Winnipeg Statement. After all, you can hardly be serious about promoting a culture of life when your own official documents say quite the opposite.

It’s time for a retraction. And now.

John Pacheco


1 – Much of the information in this article has been gathered from Msgr Vincent Foy’s excellent expose Did Pope Paul VI Approve The Winnipeg Statement: A Search for the Truth.

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