Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of October 20, 2008
Collins outraged over Morgentaler award
Chorus of protest greets top honour for infamous abortionist
- Photo by MCpl Jean-Francois Neton, copyright Office of the Secretary to the Governor-General of Canada
Abortionist Henry Morgentaler poses with Gov. Gen. Michaelle Jean Oct. 9.
By DEBORAH GYAPONG
Canadian Catholic News
On the Friday before Thanksgiving weekend, Canada’s governor general invested abortionist Dr. Henry Morgentaler with the Order of Canada.
Toronto Archbishop Thomas Collins led a chorus of protest saying the award “debased the Order of Canada” and describing it as “the truly most profoundly objectionable reality that can never be forgotten.”
In a telephone interview, Collins said it is “almost ironical” that the ceremony would come in Quebec City after the celebration last June of the 49th International Eucharistic Congress.
It is “almost impossible to imagine a greater contrast” between that joyful, life-affirming event and the bestowal of the award on Morgentaler, he said.
“The Order of Canada was created in order to acknowledge the great achievements of citizens who desire a better country,” he said. “I do not see how the actions of Dr. Henry Morgentaler are in any way representative of desiring a better country,” he said. “He has been instrumental in the assault of the most vulnerable in our country through the promotion of abortion.”
In a statement, the Toronto archbishop urged Canadians to “remember that while no one of us was ever a mere part of another’s body, each one of us was, at one time, the previous unborn baby in our mother’s womb.”
“Let each of us thank God that our personal journey was not terminated,” he said. “This is no abstract issue. Nothing affects you or me more profoundly.”
While about a dozen people protested against the ceremony outside the Quebec Citadelle, Gov. Gen. Michaelle Jean had warm words for the 20 recipients, including the 85-year-old Morgentaler.
“We are privileged to be in your company -- you, who represent the best in all of us,” Jean said. “You, the individuals we are honouring today, embody courage, daring and freedom. And this has distinguished you as role models.”
“I am proud to have been given this opportunity, coming from a war-torn Europe, to realize my potential and my dream,” Morgentaler said following the ceremony.
Campaign Life Coalition national organizer Mary Ellen Douglas said Morgentaler’s record is nothing to be proud of or thankful for.
“He proudly proclaims he himself is responsible for the killing of 100,000 babies by his own hand,” she said. Unknown thousands more have died in his abortion clinics.
Another small group demonstrated in Ottawa outside the official entrance to the governor-general’s residence.
Michele Boulva, director of Catholic Organization for Life and Family, asked how a man who has been involved in so many abortions and in Canada’s demographic winter has contributed to a more humane society.
Canadians who respect human life from conception to natural death should educate their friends, family and MPs about the importance of respecting the right to life, Boulva said.
Edmonton Archbishop Richard Smith also issued a statement: “As I have already said, I am deeply troubled that we would give our highest civilian honour to one who has dedicated his career to the termination of our weakest and most vulnerable brothers and sisters, namely the unborn.”
The Catholic Civil Rights League’s executive director Joanne McGarry noted the governor-general’s Oct. 9 press release never mentions abortion but uses the euphemism “health care options for Canadian women.”
The announcement “callously ignores how innocent lives have been obliterated by this man and his advocacy,” she said.
McGarry said the Order of Canada has now been “irrevocably stained” by the award given to Morgentaler.