Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of June 7, 2004
Archbishop steers clear of his usual political critique
By ART BABYCH
Canadian Catholic News
Although on past such occasions he has criticized politicians who support abortion, Archbishop Marcel Gervais avoided doing so during his homily at the annual archdiocesan pro-life Mass, even as the federal election campaign moved into high gear.
The archbishop has previously taken politicians - including former Prime Minister Jean Chretien and former Health Minister Allan Rock - to task at the annual Mass for failing to take action to protect the unborn.
On one occasion, he said political leaders know there is no peace in Canada on the abortion issue and that "there will be no peace until we protect life." Another time he said that then Prime Minister Jean Chretien "almost seemed to brag that one of the great accomplishments of the Liberal Party is the right of women to choose."
However, at this year's Mass, held May 27 at Notre Dame Cathedral, the archbishop avoided criticism of politicians who support abortion.
Instead he pointed to the announcement by Health Minister Pierre Pettigrew that the federal government will allow the "morning after pill" to be sold without prescription in drugs stores across Canada following one more "consultation."
Gervais noted that last November, Bishop Pierre Morrissette, chair of the Catholic Organization for Life and Family (COLF), had written to the health minister expressing COLF's "concerns" about the morning after pill.
'Early abortion' pill
"These include the fact that we believe that a pregnancy begins at conception and not implantation and that this form of emergency contraception is in reality a form of early abortion," said Gervais.
The pill, also known as "Plan B," is an "emergency contraceptive" that can be used to prevent pregnancy following unprotected sex.
"We need to pray for our public authorities," as well as for the men and women who procure abortions, said the archbishop.
"We pray that all men and women of good will will not even consider this option in their lives," he added.
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