Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of January 16, 2006
K of C urges members to cast ethical ballots
By DEBORAH GYAPONG
Canadian Catholic News
I think the average Catholic, nondescript hardworking family guy is starting to get fed up," said Toronto Knights of Columbus member Frank D'Angelo.
That's why D'Angelo was delighted to receive an open letter from the Knights in late December, urging members of the Catholic fraternal organization to carefully consider life and family issues in the Jan. 23 federal election.
"I am so, so happy the letter went out," he told Canadian Catholic News in a Jan. 9 telephone interview.
A welcome guide
He's taped it to his fridge, so he can point it out if anyone comes over to visit. D'Angelo, owner of The Messengers International, a Toronto-based courier company, can't remember the Knights ever issuing a letter like this, but he likes what it says.
"Next Jan. 23, Canadians will choose a new government," says the letter. "It has been said by many that this election could be the more important in our history.
"Now it is up to us to ensure that the results create the type of Canada we want for ourselves and for the generations that will follow."
The letter quotes Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger from a document, approved by Pope John Paul II, issued two years before Ratzinger became pope.
"A well-formed Christian conscience does not permit one to vote for a political program or an individual law which contradicts the fundamental contents of faith and morals," the letter says, quoting the document.
"Laws must defend the basic right to life from conception to natural death. . . . Analogously, the family needs to be safeguarded and promoted based on monogamous marriage between a man and a woman," the letter says in a further quote from Ratzinger's document.
"These basic questions about life and marriage are central to the current issues," says the letter, signed by Jean Migneault, deputy supreme knight, and Dennis Savoie, president of the K of C Canadian Association, which represents more than 230,000 Canadian members.
Savoie, who works out of the Knights' worldwide headquarters in Connecticut, said they made a point of being nonpartisan.
Asked if the letter could be seen as an American intrusion into Canadian politics, Savoie said, "I'm a Canadian.
"The letter was composed by a Canadian, stamped in Canada and mailed in Canada. It's a Canadian product and has nothing to do with the United States.
" It was paid for in Canadian dollars."
Savoie said overall response has been positive. He admits, though, that a handful of members have complained the letter is too partisan.
"I point out to them, 'Show me where I'm partisan,'" he said, noting he would correct the letter if that were the case.
He said they're not supporting any one party, but want to have pro-family and pro-life members on both sides of the aisle in the House of Commons.
"Look what's happened in the last five years in terms of the definition of marriage, stem cell research and the introduction of a bill on euthanasia," he said, noting the euthanasia private member's bill died when the election was called.
Savoie said the letter wasn't intended to become public.
The letter stresses many of the same themes in the Jan. 4 open letter issued by the Catholic Organization for Life and Family (COLF), an autonomous non-profit corporation co-sponsored by the Knights and the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops.