CORNWALL, ON, October 7, 2008 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Some of Canada’s most outspokenly pro-life bishops are urging the Bishops of Canada to attend the March for Life en masse with representatives from each diocese. The 2009 March for Life, to be held on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on May 14, will mark 40 years since the omnibus bill of Pierre Trudeau which opened the floodgates to abortion in Canada.
A Catholic Register report from Deborah Gyapong of Canadian Catholic News detailed the discussion among bishops at the meeting of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (CCCB) annual plenary, which was held September 22-26. St. Catharine’s Bishop James Wingle first raised the idea of mass mobilization for the March for Life and he received strong backing from Quebec Cardinal Marc Ouellet and Ottawa Archbishop Terrence Prendergast.
Bishops at the meeting mentioned the US March for Life in which the Bishops of the United States participate in large fashion. There are regularly over 50 bishops present, hundreds of priests and tens of thousands of faithful from dioceses across the nation. With the massive support of the US Catholic Episcopate, the US March swelled to nearly 200,000 participants last year.
In comparison the Canadian March for Life achieved its largest attendance last year with 7,800 participants.
CCCB President Winnipeg Archbishop James Weisgerber said that the Permanent Council of the Bishops’ Conference could examine a motion on the matter at their November meeting.
Organizers are hoping for over 10,000 this year, especially since it marks the 40th anniversary of the legislation. Mary Ellen Douglas, national coordinator for Campaign Life Coalition, which organizes the annual March for Life, was very pleased to hear of the initiative of the bishops.
“I’m delighted that the Bishops are taking a proactive stand to ensure that as many people as possible attend the 2009 March for Life on Parliament Hill,” Douglas told LifeSiteNews.com. “We hope and pray that this 40th year will mark the end of the killing. We’ve been in desert of the culture of death for forty years and its time to come to the promised land of the culture of life.”
Indeed. There has been a consistent theme of 40 around 2008 and 2009 – for the whole issue of abortion and even for me, personally:
- 40 years of Humanae Vitae this past July.
- 40 years of the Winnipeg Statement last month.
- 40 Days for Life going on right now.
- 40 years of abortion next May 14.
- I’ll be 40 years of age next April.
- My colleague and I at The Rosarium both reside in houses with a house number of “40”.
Back in March, The Rosarium sent a letter to all of the country’s bishops asking them to 1) issue a clear affirmation of Humanae Vitae 2) formally retract the Winnipeg Statement and 3) participate in the March for Life rallies in 2009. (In our meeting with Archbishop Prendergast last November, we actually asked him to invite the country’s bishops to Ottawa for the March for Life in remembrance of the 40th year of legalized abortion in Canada.) It appears therefore that our prayers and efforts might have been blessed to receive 2 of the 3 requests we asked for. The above story addresses the third request while the first was answered a day short of the 40th anniversary of the Winnipeg Statement. Like the song says, “2 out of 3 ain’t bad”. Here is the relevant excerpt from the letter:
The next couple of years will see Canada approach 40 years of tragic milestones in our nation’s history concerning contraception and abortion. Therefore, we believe it is fitting that Canada’s bishops remember the great holocaust of abortion and its enabler, contraception, by leading our nation to repentance. We therefore propose to you and the bishops of Canada the following actions:
1. July 25, 2008– In commemoration of the 40th anniversary of the publication of Humanae Vitae, a full and unqualified endorsement of the encyclical by the Canadian bishops, and a clear and unambiguous condemnation of contraception, similar to the one released by the American Bishops.
2. September 27, 2008 – In repentance of the issuance of the Winnipeg Statement 40 years previously, a full, complete, and genuine retraction of the Winnipeg Statement, and a sincere apology to all Catholics and Canadians for the confusion caused.
3. May 14, 2009 – In response to the 40th year of legalized of abortion in Canada, a visible act of opposition by the Church in Canada by calling all Catholics to participate in March for Life rallies in every province in this country, preceded or followed by a Eucharistic procession and Solemn Mass presided over by all of the provinces’ bishops for the conversion of Canada to the Gospel of Life.
As the Church goes, your Grace, so goes society. We don’t need more dialogue. We don’t need more study or reflection. We don’t need more task forces or bureaucracies. What we need is good old fashion repentance and action, your Grace. And just like any repentance must start with the father of the family, so it is with the Bishops of the Church in Canada who are our fathers in the faith.
If Humanae Vitae were genuinely received by the Church in Canada, we would see the Gospel of Life bloom, but until genuine confession and repentance happens, the culture of death will continue to advance.
Canada needs bishops who are not afraid of humiliation and the cross, your Grace, because the servant is not greater than His master…
I am rather shocked that the bishops would even consider coming en masse to Parliament Hill. It’s quite a stunning development, to be honest. To go from a standstill with little or token participation to a fullfledged frontal assault on Parliament Hill? It’s quite a miraculous event for them even to be considering it, never mind eventually agreeing to it. With the right promotion in the parishes, we could flood Parliament Hill, and who knows what such a stupendous event could do to the moral landscape in Canada, the hearts that would be set aflame, the spiritual momentum, the political activism….it’s almost too good to be true. We have an opportunity here – a once in a lifetime opportunity – to put the hammer to the nail and drive abortion into its coffin for good with such a rally.
Can this really be happening? Is the Lord answering our prayers? Is the dream really coming true?
Yes it is! Sign THIS PETITION which The Rosarium intends to send to all the bishops and let’s encourage our bishops to MOVE! (Sidenote: this petition was written over a year ago, and yet we have a real possibility that the mobilization of the bishops and the Catholic Church in Canada may actually happen!)
Let’s all pray that its contents become a reality for our nation.
Come Holy Spirit. Inflame in us a sacrificial love for the unborn children of Canada who are our little brothers and sisters. Awaken our shepherds from their slumber and let the good Lady’s heel drop.