Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of September 29, 2008
Bishops ponder response to Morgentaler's medal
By DEBORAH GYAPONG
Canadian Catholic News
The awarding of the Order of Canada to notorious abortionist Henry Morgentaler has Canada’s Catholic bishops debating whether to hold a mass public demonstration to promote life and family.
Whether this demonstration will coincide with next May’s National March for Life or become a new event entirely was debated behind closed doors at the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (CCCB) annual plenary.
On Sept. 23, St. Catharines Bishop James Wingle, co-treasurer of the CCCB, brought up the idea of the bishops attending the March for Life en masse next May.
Wingle asked whether it might help to have “the support of most of the bishops of Canada actively present at the march with large delegations.”
CCCB President Archbishop James Weisgerber of Winnipeg noted the American bishops take part in the United States annual March for Life every January, sending “busloads of people.”
Though Cardinal Jean-Claude Turcotte had announced he was returning his Order of Canada medal in protest, he said: “There is something more we should do.”
The cardinal noted how the bishops, religious men and women, and “all the Church” in Spain helped organize a mass rally of two million people in support of the family last December.
Toronto Archbishop Thomas Collins also threw his support behind having a demonstration, “which is very positive and reaches out to our brothers and sisters of other faiths.”
The issues of life and family tend to be ignored in the media, Collins said. He favoured a positive, clear, ecumenical statement. “We need to be clearly visible.”
Privately, some bishops raised concerns about the vast size of Canada and the expense of getting people to Ottawa. Perhaps they would look at provincial or regional expressions. Weisgerber said permanent council could examine a motion made at the plenary in November.