Church Speaks Out
In a Vatican news story published this week, Archbishop of Toronto Cardinal Thomas Collins has come out swinging in defense of the Church. He termed the December ruling by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberal Party, which requires employers to sign an “attestation” to support abortion and other controversial “rights” before qualifying for summer student grants, “dictatorial” and an “ideology test.” Trudeau claims his policies are founded in the “Charter of Rights.”
What is the Charter of Rights?
Unlike the United States, where Roe v. Wade granted women a constitutional “right” to abortion, the Canadian Supreme Court struck down its law that legalized abortion in 1988. Canada actually has no reigning abortion law, but the procedure remains decriminalized. Canada does, however, have a Charter of Rights, which grants citizens freedom of religious and of conscience. Designed to protect citizens, Prime Minister Trudeau and his Liberal Party, however, see little reason to honor its dictates. Ottawa Archbishop Terrence Prendergast has stated, “There are no charter reproductive rights or reproductive freedoms despite the prime minister’s claims.” Cardinal Collins elaborated further, saying the Charter of Rights applies specifically to governments, not individuals:
“Although the government refers to the Charter of Rights… all the time, and to the underlying ‘values’ of the Charter of Rights, actually, if they read the Charter of Rights, they’d see two things…. The very first fundamental right that is actually in the Charter of Rights, is freedom of conscience and religion…. it is intended to protect citizens from being intimidated by the government, against their conscience and religion. It’s not intended to intimidate citizens, which is how the government is using it.”
“Further upsetting many is the prime minister’s confused personal comments regarding the logically impossible coexistence of his identity as a Roman Catholic and his support of abortion.” – Ottawa Archbishop Terrence Prendergast
Trudeau is pushing “choice” to a new level. This recent “dictatorial” manifestation of has awakened many other Canadians to action. National columnist Lorne Gunter wrote last month: “The Trudeau government’s demand that local faith organizations kneel and kiss the PM’s ring in order to receive job grants is a whole other level of obnoxiousness….It is such a gross violation of Charter protections you would think the Liberals – who claim to be the Charter’s best guardians – would see their error immediately.” John Ibbitson, columnist for Toronto’s Globe and Mail wrote that lot is at stake, as 69,000 students benefitted last year from such grants. He wrote in January: “Liberals should remind themselves that their values are not the only values that count.” And even certain pro-choice advocates like Rachel Giese, of the woman’s magazine Chatelaine, have denounced Trudeau’s move. (The Interim, Feb. 2018).
“Not only have people of faith objected to this intrusion, but people who have not faith at all.”
Thank God for the voice of the Cardinal Thomas Collins. Archbishop of Toronto, who is calling for resistance. “It’s very odd, and I think unique in Canadian history, that applicants for a summer – or any – program, any grant from the government, have to attest not that they are going to obey the law or that they are legitimate applicants, [but] they have to attest to their beliefs. Your thinking must be [politically] correct” [emphasis HLI’s].
The “attestation,” in fact, ought to offend every citizen, be it Catholic or atheist, Orthodox Christian, Jew, or Muslim, because of the dangerous precedent set.
HLI President Fr. Shenan J. Boquet wrote on this topic in December:
“Canada is just a few years “ahead” of the United States, and many other countries that are following suit by embracing the sexual revolution. What we are seeing in Canada – in this case, explicit, unapologetic federal government discrimination against people and organizations with pro-life and pro-family values – is precisely what we will in the next few years, if we are not careful.”
Abortion is anything but a private matter and it is never about “choice.” That something termed choice” could lead to a dictatorship is one of the central ironies of our time.
Deborah M. Piroch edited this report.