Saturday, October 12, 2013

Life Chain 2013 St. John's, NL




[Info supplied on YouTube video above:
LifeChain, an annual prayerful and silent public witness to life, was held October 6 at 2:30 PM in St. John's, NL, in front of the abortuary at 202 LeMarchant Road. Video supplied by Corina @Ash2Life. The video indicates a cold wet day, few pro-life witnesses by comparison to previous years, and a noisy group of disrespectful pro-abortion advocates.]

In the US, the first Sunday in October is regarded as Respect Life Sunday by the American Bishops. Canadian Bishops have no such day designated in October. Life Chain is scheduled on the same day as Respect Life Sunday and many dioceses organize to take full advantage of the Life Chain impact on pro-life awareness.

Life Chain founder Royce Dunn recently wrote the following in his Press Release for this year’s Life Chain event:

Life Chain is devoted foremost to prayer, but wise participants understand that prayer to end abortion is not of great value before God unless accompanied by love that will battle legal child killing and defend forsaken Preborns committedly.

Pro-life’s two leading stories in 2013, Life Chain’s 26th year, are unchanged in America and Canada: 

Abortions remain numerous, and the church remains bound by deception and apathy. All the while God mercifully waits. He waits to work through His sons and daughters to end the unspeakable horror, but the ears of His church do not hear and the eyes of His church do not see. The result is a church imprinted by shame and a calamity much larger than the German Holocaust. While 56 million chiefly surgical abortions have been reported in America and 3 million in Canada, the actual numbers are much higher, and hidden deaths from the abortive chemicals in birth controls may exceed the surgical deaths.

Mr. Dunn knows well what it will take to end legalized abortion and frames the challenge as one of prayer “accompanied by love that will battle legal child killing and defend forsaken Preborns committedly.” He knows also that God waits for His children to rise up from a Church bound by deception and apathy and put an end to “the unspeakable horror.”

You can read the outline of the Life Chain Principles (pdf) and see that Life Chain is a peaceful and prayerful public witness of pro-life individuals standing and praying for our nation and for an end to abortion. It is a visual statement of solidarity by the Christian community that abortion kills children and that the Church supports the sanctity of human life from the moment of conception until natural death. Furthermore, the guidelines state:

Use only approved Life Chain signs. Half of them should be Abortion Kills Children–Life Chain’s foremost life-saving message. Millions of our fellow citizens support abortion, but very few of them support “killing” unborn children. Do not use graphic signs. (They have purposeful uses, but Life Chain strives to move reluctant Christians from the pews to the sidewalks, and they are not ready for graphic signs.)

Can you possibly imagine any good reason that a Christian group or Church community would purposefully ignore, let alone marginalize, such a hugely successful international pro-life event? Don’t you imagine that every Church group that claimed the label of “Pro-life” would be anxious to publicize and support such a visible, powerful expression of solidarity with unborn children—and no controversial, graphic pictures allowed? Granted, some Protestant assemblies don’t self-identify as “pro-life” but think of the pro-life conscience of Catholic Church parishioners alone in our local area, with 40 parishes and approximately 110,000 Catholics. Certainly, one imagines the Archdiocese of St. John’s undertook a serious effort to organize for and participate in such an endeavour in order to raise the awareness of the plight of unborn children in Canada, and even more particularly, of the unborn children of NL being killed at the abortuary on LeMarchant Rd., precisely where the Life Chain event was being scheduled.

Yet, in the announcements page—the official communicator for all approved events—of the Archdiocesan website, on October 5, 2013, not a word was to be found about the Life Chain event. The Archdiocese instead chose to highlight a different event taking place on Sunday the 6th. Here is the text of the announcement:

10. Centre for Life: Please visit our new website at www.centreforlife.ca

Respect Life Sunday October 6th is observed in Canada and the U.S.  as a day  that acknowledges the precious gift of human life from conception to natural death. The following churches have offered these times for prayer and reflection on October 6th.   Salvation Army St. John's West Corps on Mundy Pond Road 2pm-4pm, Mary Queen of the World Topsail Road- Holy Hour with Exposition 3:30pm - 4:30pm.

Respect Life Sunday - The Centre for Life gratefully acknowledges the support of Archbishop Martin Currie and the Archdiocese with a collection on Oct. 6th. Your donation will enable the Centre for Life to continue to offer a compassionate presence in our community with our educational and supportive outreach.

Other announcements included a number of video series (some Catholic, some secular), a Development and Peace workshop, a new initiative for Multicultural Christians, a Christian Youth Conference, upcoming sessions on T’ai Chi Chih and Chow Qigong, but nothing about the Life Chain event.

So once again, we see the Archdiocese, and, by implication, the Archbishop, marginalizing the hi-impact, visual pro-life presence in the community by fostering only the prayerful, reflective side of the battle. As important as that aspect is, I agree wholeheartedly with the words of Mr. Royce Dunn, as stated above,

Life Chain is devoted foremost to prayer, but wise participants understand that prayer to end abortion is not of great value before God unless accompanied by love that will battle legal child killing and defend forsaken Preborns committedly.

Rather than work for unity in the pro-life cause in NL and support also the bold initiatives to defend the Unborn, or condemn abortion, or advocate for an end to abortion, we see the Archbishop putting his weight behind only the “private” affairs, away from the glare of lights and cameras…and the public’s view. Unsurprisingly then, his priests follow cue, speaking the “A” word only in private setting stuff at parishes; rarely, if ever, in homilies, prayers or announcements.

Sad to say, and with deadly consequences for one-third of our unborn children, my fears about Archbishop Martin Currie are coming to pass:

Alcock claims the rarity of pro-life appeals in parishes along with “virtual silence on the subject of abortion in homilies and prayers at Masses throughout the province insulates Catholics from any reminders of the child-killing taking place around them. It also serves to marginalize advocates of unborn children and distances them from the Christian community, portraying them as extremists.”

And so the battle to save little womb children rages on, with a shrinking number of us standing in the public square and making statements of condemnation of the murder taking place in our midst, while others who are commissioned to lead us instead portray us as radicals and extremists through their subtle tactics of silence and marginalization.

Are we surprised then that Life Chain, this latest pro-life public witness, had such a poor turnout this year? I remember just a few short years ago another Life Chain event.

…to be continued

2 comments:

Suzanne F. said...

If prayer does nothing then why are you there?

ELA said...

Who said prayer does nothing? How does your question relate to the video?