Saturday, November 30, 2013

Archdiocese of St. John's Failing To Defend And Promote Unborn Life in NL

Memorial University School of Social Work and other organizations are planning a Memory Candle Light Service to remember those who have died by suicide.

The Archdiocese of St. John’s is promoting the event by means of a separate announcement on the main page of its website. This is entirely proper and appropriate of course since in Canada, suicide is one of the top ten leading causes of death accounting for about 3,900 deaths in 2009, with perhaps about 60 estimated for our province. I have often wondered how my wife and I could possibly handle the trauma and grief should one of our children become so desperate that suicide took one of them away. My heart goes out to those left behind by such tragedies.

In a recent posting covering the Life Chain event on Respect Life Sunday I lamented the fact that the Archdiocese failed to announce that event altogether, presumably because the Archdiocese held its own prayer service to “acknowledge [emphasis mine] 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.” Besides being a public witness and protest of abortion, the Life Chain event, like the Candle Light Service noted above, is a very real memorial to the tragedy of legalized abortion in Canada, claiming over 100,000 lives yearly. Yet our Archbishop did nothing to highlight that major, annual, pro-life initiative or to acknowledge and encourage the local pro-life individuals, many of whom are committed Catholic laity. The posting noted has more details.

In addition, the Archdiocesan website also failed to carry any mention or promotion of the annual Provincial Pro-Life Conference which took place in St. John’s on September 27-28. Was it not worthy of support? Were Catholics in the Archdiocese better off not knowing about the Conference? The Archbishop himself managed to find a couple of hours to attend the event and then rushed off to another appointment, although while there he declined the offer to address the conference. Wasn’t that a rare opportunity for him to offer words of encouragement? This turned out to be a certain formula for confusion.

Am I airing a petty grievance here? Not in the least. There’s a clear pattern here and I hope the Archbishop will stop playing games with the pro-life movement in our province and instead take the bold steps necessary to unite the forces that are committed to opposing the child-killing taking place in our city and in our nation. Until he summons the courage to do so and to promote the letter and spirit of Pope John Paul II’s encyclical “Evangelium Vitae,” he will continue to have blood on his hands. An acknowledgement alone of  the rights of the unborn is not sufficient. The right to life must also be defended and promoted in order to restore true peace to our society and to forestall the judgment of God.

The Gospel of life is for the whole of human society. To be actively pro-life is to contribute to the renewal of society through the promotion of the common good. It is impossible to further the common good without acknowledging and defending the right to life, upon which all the other inalienable rights of individuals are founded and from which they develop. A society lacks solid foundations when, on the one hand, it asserts values such as the dignity of the person, justice and peace, but then, on the other hand, radically acts to the contrary by allowing or tolerating a variety of ways in which human life is devalued and violated, especially where it is weak or marginalized. Only respect for life can be the foundation and guarantee of the most precious and essential goods of society, such as democracy and peace.

There can be no true democracy without a recognition of every person's dignity and without respect for his or her rights.

Nor can there be true peace unless life is defended and promoted. As Paul VI pointed out: "Every crime against life is an attack on peace, especially if it strikes at the moral conduct of people... But where human rights are truly professed and publicly recognized and defended, peace becomes the joyful and operative climate of life in society".

#110 Evangelium Vitae

When will the Archbishop act in accord with those marching orders? 

And when will he be prepared to pay the difficult price?

In the proclamation of this Gospel, we must not fear hostility or unpopularity, and we must refuse any compromise or ambiguity which might conform us to the world's way of thinking (cf. Rom 12:2). We must be in the world but not of the world (cf. Jn 15:19; 17:16), drawing our strength from Christ, who by his Death and Resurrection has overcome the world (cf. Jn 16:33).

            #82 Evangelium Vitae

It is clear that, to date, neither he, nor the other Canadian Bishops, have a plan to reverse the toll of death of unborn children. Clearly, any plan must be preceded by public repentance for their failures over these past forty or fifty years, as well as a binding of the demon of abortion.

No comments: