Sunday, March 27, 2016

I Am The Resurrection And The Life

Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?"
St. John's Gospel 11:25-26


Resurrection Pietro Perugino 1499

Alleluia, He is risen!

Friday, March 25, 2016

The Reality Of The Holy Eucharist And Sanctifying Grace

 Michael Voris:
"He who eats my flesh abides in Me, and I will raise Him up on the Last day" (John 6:54). Holy Thursday is the means to Easter Sunday. We just have to spend this life going through Good Friday first. 
This is why Catholics must always advance the truth of the Holy Catholic Faith and resist all attempts to weaken it.
A Holy and Happy Easter to each of you and your friends and family and loved ones.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

FLASHBACK: From Christian Virtues To Judicial Values

It is time to remember.

I said in a recent posting that euthanasia in Canada has been roaring down the tracks for a long time, despite what some Catholic Bishops would have us believe.

In November 1998 Ian Hunter delivered an extraordinary and prophetic address dealing with the subject of God and Caesar in the Canadian context.

I only wish that Catholic Bishops in Canada had held to the distinctly Christian view that Protestant Ian Hunter espouses in regard to the political landscape. After all, his views are more Catholic than not. There is no suggestion that Bishops get directly involved in politics, only that they take seriously and teach faithfully the entire Deposit of Faith, e.g. Humanae Vitae, Confession, Mortal Sin, Discipline of Public Sinners, Scandal, Sacrilege, Common Good, including their responsibilities under Canon Law. Fidelity to the entire Deposit of Faith is required to properly form consciences of Catholics and help them to live holy lives (in private and in the public realm) so they "get their souls into heaven," an expression you will rarely hear these days from the lips of Priests or Bishops.

It is precisely because most, if not all, Catholic Bishops in Canada are neglectful of many articles of the Deposit of Faith that we have experienced the rise of a pseudo-catholic culture in our nation and the leavening effects of evil, one of which is euthanasia. Such evils will continue unabated without the countervailing effect of authentic Catholic thought and witness.

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Supreme Court Usurps Parliament
by Ian Hunter

Catholic Insight March 1999

FROM CHRISTIAN VIRTUES TO JUDICIAL VALUES

Intro: Canada's Charter of Rights has forever altered the system of government in Canada: it has led to judicial activism and an emasculated Parliament, and has set Canada on the road to totalitarianism. An overly bleak picture, you say? No, a realistic assessment, according to Dr. Ian Hunter, professor emeritus of law from the University of Western Ontario, and author of The Three Faces of Law: A Christian Perspective (reviewed in CI, Oct. '96). In a superb address delivered November for the 1998 George Goth Memorial Lecture in London, Prof. Hunter examines the effect of the Charter on Canada's democracy (a subject touched upon in a stinging critique of Supreme Court Justice Antonio Lamer by Edward McBride, CI, Sept. '98). The George Goth Memorial Lectures, begun in 1991, are named in honour of a well-known London intellectual and pastor at London's Metropolitan United Church for nearly 40 years. Dr. Hunter's address, dedicated to "the glory of God", to George Goth, and to a recently deceased personal friend John Hoover, is printed below.

You have conferred an honour upon me by your invitation to deliver the 1998 George Goth Memorial lecture; I want you to know that I am very grateful. My topic is: From Christian Virtues to Judicial Values.

Now, the topic I have chosen is a sobering one with far-reaching consequences, because underlying everything I shall say tonight is a fundamental question: "Is Canada any longer a democracy?" By "democracy" I mean no more and no less than the Oxford English Dictionary definition: "A State practising government by the people, direct or representative". If Canada cannot accurately be so described, and since 1982 I shall contend that it is doubtful that it can be, what are the duties and responsibilities of Christians in Canada? That is the final question I shall reach.

But first one must ask: How can such a question even arise? Prior to April 17, 1982, such a question could not legitimately be raised. From Confederation until 1982 Canada had a system of representative government, with a sovereign parliament freely and democratically elected. That is not to say that Canada was always governed well; sometimes she was governed well, sometimes ill, but always she was governed by the elected representatives of the people. Issues of public policy were determined by legislators who, at least quadrennially, were required to account for their policies to the electorate who had voted them into office.

Our parliamentary system, our Constitution, which the B.N.A. Act unashamedly described as "similar in principle to that of the United Kingdom", and our common law, all derived from the "mother of parliaments" at Westminster. In that parliamentary system were three branches of government--legislative, executive and judicial--and each branch had separate and defined duties and responsibilities. One branch was not to usurp the prerogatives of another branch.

Charter of Rights

The Charter of Rights and Freedoms, a by-product of Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau's 1982 patriation package, fundamentally changed 115 years of Canadian constitutional history. Essentially, the Charter meant a shift from a system of parliamentary supremacy to one of constitutional supremacy. Since April 17, 1982, it is the Charter of Rights, not parliament, which is sovereign, "the supreme law of the land", to use the language of section 52 of the Constitution Act. The Canadian electorate still goes to the polls quadrennially, but it is now judges, not legislators, who decide such important issues of public policy as abortion, euthanasia, and even the legitimacy of Quebec secession.

To put my point bluntly: in 1982 Canada ceased to be governed by parliamentary supremacy and instead became a country of constitutional supremacy. Well, constitutional supremacy sounds fine; what's wrong with that? What's wrong is that constitutions are not self-interpreting. They require to be interpreted. The interpretation function falls to an unelected judiciary, finally to the nine judges of the Supreme Court of Canada. These judges have now had a decade and a half to interpret the Charter. What has happened?

What has happened is that the judiciary has moved from being the least powerful branch of government to, arguably, the most powerful. Decision-making by the courts is the antithesis of democracy. The court is unelected, nine appointed men and women, all drawn from the same profession, milieu, and background, accountable to no one, and enjoying security of tenure until age seventy-five.

Human Rights Commission

The ideology which spawned the Charter of Rights also gave us provincial and federal human rights commissions. These Commissions, and their puppet tribunals, pose a graver threat to the rule of law than Chief Justice Lord Hewart imagined when, back in the 1930s, he wrote his famous treatise, The New Despotism.

Under the aegis of such tribunals, Canada has become a country where citizens are jailed for their beliefs (cf. Canada Human Rights Commission v. John Ross Taylor, where Professor Phillippe Rushton was threatened with dismissal and subjected to the modern equivalent of the Spanish Inquisition because his research ran counter to politically correct orthodoxy; and where the duly elected Mayor of London was ordered to issue a civic proclamation which ran counter to her own religious beliefs).

The latest decision of the Canadian Human Rights Commission in July 1998 may prove to be a watershed; it has been estimated that to implement the pay equity ruling will cost taxpayers approximately 5 billion dollars--$1,500 on average per family. Will Canada bankrupt itself to satiate a worn-out ideological imperative? We must wait and see. My guess is that it will.

When we turn to the pronouncements of our highest court, the Supreme Court of Canada, we discover that since the Charter their judgements have, in many cases, ceased to be law, and have become instead a random collection of the judges' personal and ideological predilections. The feminist wing of the court, when led by Madame Justice Bertha Wilson, developed an explicit ideology: judges who did not defer to it were simply told to butt out.

In her judgement in Regina v. Morgentaler, Judge Wilson wondered if men were capable of understanding abortion, or even qualified to express any opinion on the issue.

In Regina v. Lavallee, she changed the law on self-defence to allow a woman to kill an abusive spouse because otherwise jurors might ask the awkward question, which she called "a myth", namely if the battered woman is dissatisfied at home why doesn't she leave home?

And while on the topic of myths, Madam Justice L'HeureuxDube in Regina v. Seaboyer and Gayme denounced what she called "the stereotypical myth" that men who rape women are not normal men. The corollary, which we are asked to accept as judicial truth, is one of the favourite lies of feminism, namely that all men are actual or potential rapists.

Now judicial hubris is not a uniquely Canadian phenomenon. Robert H. Bork, former Appeal Court Justice and Supreme Court nominee in the United States, raised similar issues in his book Slouching Toward Gomorrah. After discussing several similar U.S. cases, Justice Bork wrote: "Our country is being radically altered, step by step, by Justices who are not following any law." And Mr. Justice Scalia, a sitting member of the U.S. Supreme Court, recently wrote: "What secret knowledge, one must wonder, is breathed into lawyers when they become justices of this Court. Day by day, case by case, [the Court] is busy designing a constitution for a country I do not recognise."

I have called this lecture: From Christian Virtues to Judicial Values. Now let me define my terms.

Virtues

For two thousand years philosophers have measured societies and individuals by the yardstick of virtue. Plato and Aristotle talked of four cardinal, or foundational, virtues: justice (or rectitude), wisdom, courage (or fortitude) and moderation (or self-control). But what are the Christian virtues? Well, I count ten separate places in the New Testament where we are given a list of Christian virtues. Best known, perhaps, is Galatians 5: 22 where St. Paul enumerates: "love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, fidelity, gentleness, self-control". To this list could be added "truth and innocence" (2 Corinthians 6:6); "humility and charity" (Ephesians 4:2); "compassion" (Colossians 3:12); "purity, justice, piety" (1 Timothy 4:12); "integrity" (2 Timothy 2:22); and "fortitude under persecution" (2 Timothy 3:11).

Let me, then, repeat these Christian virtues in a comprehensive list-- by my count nineteen Christian virtues specifically cited in the New Testament: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, fidelity, gentleness, self-control, truth, innocence, humility, charity, compassion, purity, justice, piety, integrity, and fortitude under persecution.

Now when I examine the decisions of Canadian Courts, particularly Charter decisions of the Supreme Court of Canada, here is what strikes me: I would not expect the list of what the Court calls "judicial values" to be identical to the list of "Christian virtues" which I have just enumerated; but I would anticipate substantial overlap. If I gave any two people in this audience a slip of paper and a pencil and told each to go off and write down a list of virtues, I would not expect the two lists produced to be identical. But I would expect substantial overlap; perhaps 5 or 7 of the virtues to be the same. Now here is the interesting thing: except for "justice", a word used by the courts in a sense very different from the biblical usage, where it really means "righteousness", there is no overlap between Christian virtues and what the Canadian Courts have identified as Charter values. This is the more remarkable when we remember that Canadian common law was shaped by Judeo-Christian precepts.

What then are the "judicial values" which Canadian Courts have articulated? Again I have made a summary list, mostly drawn from Supreme Court decisions: "human flourishing; individual self-fulfilment, privacy, respect for human dignity, diversity, multiculturalism; self-expression, freedom, autonomy, enhancing participation in society, tolerance". But trumping all else, according to our Courts, is "Equality".

Ronald Dworkin has called our stage of liberal democracy "law's empire", and judges are its emperors. If this be so, these emperors know nothing of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. It is to the great god Equality that all Canadians must bend the knee. Unlike the Christian virtues which point to an objective reality, one attribute of God, the judicial values envisage man as the ultimate measure of all things; the common element of the judicial values is narcissism. Put simply, the Christian virtues exemplify a spiritual view of life; the judicial values exemplify a secular view of life.

The transition from the language of virtues to the language of "values" has infected even the churches. Although it makes my flesh crawl to hear it, one often hears ministers talk of Christian "values". But "values" is a weasel word, a corrupting word for a corrupt society. Values exist only if there is someone to value them; they are self-dependent, self-referential. Virtues exist because they are attributes of God; they are not dependent upon our existence. We did not create them. Virtues are inherently meritorious whether the speaker acknowledges them or not, whether fifty percent plus one vote for them or not. Virtues are what we are, what we do; your virtue is your character. It does not depend upon what you say you value, but what you are and do.

The challenge is greater if we speak of virtues rather than values. Virtues are not boy-scout pledges or spiritual bromides. They are simple, they are uncompromising, they demand the highest of us. When Allan Rock talks about Canadian "values," he means being nice to minorities, embracing multiculturalism, not telling jokes which women may find offensive. When the Bible talks about virtues, it talks about the soul of a man, what he is when all pretence and all humbug is stripped away.

I am currently reviewing for Christian Week a new book by David Aikman, former senior foreign correspondent for Time magazine. The book is called Great Souls: Six Who Changed the Twentieth Century. Aikman explains that when he set out to discover which men and women had had the most profound impact in the last half of the twentieth century, he was astonished to conclude that the overriding quality which marked each of his subjects as exceptional was a particular virtue. He identified each of his subjects with that one overriding virtue which had been for him or her a lifelong preoccupation. Here are Aikman's subjects and the virtue he identifies with each:

Billy Graham--Salvation; Nelson Mandela--Forgiveness; Alexander Solzhenitsyn--Truth: Mother Teresa--Compassion; Pope John Paul II--Human dignity; Elie Wiesel-Remembrance.

Aikman writes that each of his subjects has exemplified that virtue so faithfully that "its importance [for the entire human race] is likely to resonate not just into the next millennium, but for as long as the human race continues to survive and keep records of its history."

Let me turn now to one or two illustrative Charter cases. The Charter of Rights to date has had its most profound impact in criminal law.

Perverse rulings: case one

A man named Wesley Evans confessed to two particularly sadistic murders of women in Vancouver; he had cut their throats. He told the police that he was frustrated by women, that he had enjoyed doing it, and would like to do it again.

Now Wesley Evans has a low I.Q., about 60.

The Vancouver police, when they arrested Wesley Evans, had advised him of his right to counsel prior to questioning him. But the Supreme Court was concerned that because of his limited I.Q. he may not have understood.

The Court found this a violation of Evans' Charter Rights (section 10(b)); now what to do? Section 24(2) says to exclude the evidence if its admission would bring the administration of justice into disrepute.

In the B.C. Court of Appeal, Madam Justice Southin wrote: "If there be anything more likely by every rational community standard to bring the administration of justice into disrepute than letting this accused, a self-confessed killer, go free to kill again on the basis of an infringement of the Charter Right to counsel, I do not know what it is."

But the Supreme Court of Canada did not agree. By a unanimous (5-0) vote, they acquitted Wesley Evans and returned him to the streets of Vancouver.

Case two

A man named John Randall Borden brutally raped a sixty-nine-year-old woman in a senior citizens' home in Nova Scotia. I can say that without fear of contradiction, beyond not just the "reasonable doubt" required for criminal conviction, but beyond any scientific doubt, because of DNA testing of semen samples which proved (to a probability factor of many millions to one) that Borden was the rapist. Borden, however, was not arrested for this brutal rape, but for another sexual assault, this time on an exotic dancer in New Glasgow, Nova Scotia. When the police asked Borden for hair samples for DNA testing, they were investigating the assault on the exotic dancer, and Borden consented. Later, when police began to suspect Borden in the rape of the elderly woman, and they compared the DNA results; sure enough, Borden was the rapist.

The Nova Scotia Court of Appeal held that the DNA evidence, gathered for the purpose of one investigation, could not be looked at by the police for the purposes of another investigation. The dissenting Judge, J.A. Freeman, wrote:

"The [justice] system is [here] made to appear to be incapable of convicting a person shown to be guilty of a serious violent crime by highly reliable evidence."

The Crown appealed to the Supreme Court of Canada. In October, 1994 the Supreme Court unanimously (7 - 0) held that the D.N.A. evidence was inadmissible. Borden's consent was not "valid" because he did not realize the police might use the evidence in another investigation. Borden was acquitted.

What's wrong with the Charter?

Why has judicial interpretation of the Charter proved so perverse? Let me suggest three answers to this question.

1. First, a Charter of Rights wrongly conceives the problem. Since John Stuart Mill's essay On Liberty we have come to conceive of liberty in individualistic terms, a view the Canadian Charter embodies. The individual needs protection against the tyranny of the majority, and so we enact a Charter of Rights to achieve that.

But the claim to individual liberty very often masks harm to the collectivity; we are not just atomised individuals, we are also members of a community, citizens of a society. The individual's claim to liberty, albeit expressed in the high-minded rhetoric of rights, often conceals selfish, sometimes perverse, interests. The lone, brave individual standing his ground against the menacing, omnipotent State was John Stuart Mill's archetype and it is powerful mythology; the sadistic criminal going free, and making citizens ever more fearful in their own homes, is the common reality.

2. A second reason why the Charter is pernicious is that it forestalls true political debate. The appropriate level of restraint on individual liberties is, or should be, a fundamental political question. But in Canada such debate does not occur: it is reduced to one person claiming, "I have a right to-- abortion on demand, assisted suicide, same sex benefits..." (you fill in the blanks), to which the only response is either acquiescence, or "No, you don't". Ultimately all such issues are now resolved by Courts. Such a puerile approach to deep philosophic questions is consistent with what I often think to be the governing dynamic of life in Canada--the principle of infantile regression--but it does immeasurable harm to the possibility of mature political discourse. It also inflates judicial hubris.

3. Finally, I suggest to you that the Charter fundamentally misconceives the problem. I do not believe that our liberties are threatened by devils in Ottawa, or by pigs in police uniforms, not very often by tyrannous majorities. The problem is within ourselves, whether each of us can discern and live by an appropriate balance between freedom and restraint, between liberty and licence, between indulgence and self-discipline.

You remember Alexander Solzhenitsyn, the noblest man of our century. The lesson Solzhenitsyn learned in the freezing darkness of the labour camps of the Gulag Archipelago was that the line between good and evil ran not between nations, not between States, not even between ideologies, but right down the centre of each and every human heart. So, too, does the line between rights and responsibilities. The Charter is just the most recent Utopian attempt, in a long, futile and mostly sordid history of such attempts, to legislate what cannot be legislated. Hugh Kingsmill expressed my point admirably in the introduction to his neglected masterpiece, The Poisoned Crown:
What is divine in man is elusive and impalpable, and he is easily tempted to embody it in a collective form - a church, a country, a social system, a leader, [a Charter], so that he may realize it with less effort and serve it with more profit. Yet ... the attempt to externalize the Kingdom of Heaven in a temporal form must end in disaster. It cannot be created by charters or constitutions, nor established by arms. Those who set out for it alone will reach it together and those who seek it in company will perish by themselves.
Impact on Christians

I expect that many of you will agree with me that the Supreme Court decisions I have mentioned are pernicious, and that each had a deleterious effect on Canadian society. But none was especially pernicious, or had any differential impact, on Christians. Alas, the same cannot be said of the Supreme Court's decisions in Morgentaler (1988), Borowski (1989), Daigle (1989), Rodriguez (1994) and Vriend (1998). These decisions all treat directly of issues -- abortion, euthanasia, homosexuality - upon which Christians, by their profession of faith, cannot be neutral.

Christians owe allegiance to Caesar, but we have it on the authority of our Lord himself, that we owe dual allegiance: to Caesar, yes, but more important, to God. Christians have dual citizenship; we belong to the city of man but also to St. Augustine's City of God. So John begins the first chapter of the book of Revelation by describing himself as "in the island that is called Patmos and in the kingdom of Jesus Christ" (Revelation 1:9). When it comes to issues like abortion and euthanasia, Christians cannot escape their dual citizenship: we are of the country that is called Canada, but of the kingdom that is called Christ.

In the Rodriguez case in 1994 the Supreme Court of Canada came within one vote of creating an unregulated right to physician-assisted suicide. The secular wasteland in which the Supreme Court of Canada struggles to articulate "judicial values" is perfectly captured by these words of our Chief Justice, Antonio Lamer:
Can the right to choose at issue here, that is the right to choose suicide, be described as an advantage of which the appellant is being deprived? In my opinion, the Court should answer this question without reference to the philosophical and theological considerations fuelling the debate on the morality of suicide or euthanasia. It should consider the question before it from a legal perspective ... while keeping in mind that the Charter has established the essentially secular nature of Canadian society.
Ladies and Gentlemen, it is difficult not to shudder when one contemplates what a trivial conception of human life our judges have. No God, no soul, no good and evil, no right or wrong, just consumers making choices, including the choice to take one's own life. "No man is an island entire of himself", wrote the poet John Donne, "Any man's death diminishes me because I am involved in mankind". Our judges are not involved in mankind, they are involved in vapid rights rhetoric.

New conflicts

There are several specific areas where Christian virtues come into increasing conflict with current judicial values. Let me enumerate some of them.

Judicial equation of homosexuality and heterosexuality.
Speaking in a United Church I need not point out the sensitivities on both sides of this issue, nor its potential for divisiveness.

If the Vriend decision has not already done so, it is safe to predict that Canadian law will soon equate homosexuality and heterosexuality. Christians will then have to come to terms with the issue. What do the scriptures say? What does Canadian law say? If these are in conflict, what will be the response of a church, a religious school, or a day-care centre, for example, to the homosexual who challenges a decision not to employ him?

Parental religious instruction of children.
There are recent cases where, following a divorce, the Courts have prohibited one parent from exposing the child to his or her religious beliefs -- or even taking the child to church with him -- ostensibly because it might "confuse" the child.

The Courts' view of religion appears increasingly to be this: you may hold whatever beliefs you wish, so long as you do not proclaim them.

Indeed given the depth of the court's commitment to the proposition that Canada is now a secular society, and that religion is a personal, often idiosyncratic, aberration; and given that many opinion-makers today would go further and say that religious belief is itself a sign of neurosis or underlying personality disorder, the day may be close at hand when parents will be precluded, ostensibly for the best interests of the child, from exposing their children to any religious belief.

Our time left is short, so let me just itemise other areas of conflict:

Religious observance and instruction in public schools

The rights of denominational schools

Christian home-schooling, which is under simultaneous attack from provincial governments and from the courts;
Whatever vestige of Sunday observance legislation survives in a society where Wal-Mart is now God
Tax exemptions for church property
Charitable status for Christian organisations. Already Revenue Canada has refused Human Life International charitable status because of that organisation's pro-life advocacy;

Legislation prohibiting picketing at or near abortion clinics. In Canada we already have a prisoner of conscience, a grandmother named Linda Gibbons, because of this invidious legislation brought in by former Attorney-General Marion Boyd;
Class action lawsuits against denominations; for example, a class action suit was brought within the last month which seeks 1.2 billion dollars in damages against the Anglican Church of Canada on behalf of alleged victims of sexual abuse at a residential school near Brantford. Such lawsuits are often a combination of revisionist history combined with recovered, or false, memory syndrome. Denominations which are eager to issue apologies in advance of proof may find themselves facing bankruptcy -- yet this caution does not seem to have inhibited the flood of anticipatory apologies from church headquarters.

It is important that we consider all of these issues free from the wrong notions that many Canadian Christians still hold about law and government; such as the myth that Canada is a Christian country; or the notion that churches enjoy some special immunity or protection in law; or that churches can set their own ecclesiastical rules free from state or judicial interference. Such dangerous myths have often embroiled churches in divisive, costly, and ultimately unsuccessful litigation.

What lessons can we learn?

Having considered the Charter's deleterious effect on Canadian law, and having enumerated some flashpoint issues which should be of special concern to Christians, what lessons should we learn?

Advisedly, I use the word "lessons", not conclusions. What I am now about to say is so far-reaching in its consequences, raises such profound moral and political issues, that I do not want to be misunderstood. I am asking genuine questions; I am not advocating positions. I raise four questions. It is right that Canadian Christians should ask these questions. It would be wrong for us to be cavalier or dogmatic about the right answers. Here are my four questions:
  1. My opening question: Is Canada, circa 1998, in any meaningful sense of the word, a democracy?
  2. Have we reached, or are we in danger of reaching, a point where conscientious Christians will no longer find themselves able to give tacit consent to the existing governance?
  3. If the Courts continue to insist upon a secular interpretation of Canadian law, one divorced from our Judeo-Christian heritage, what is an appropriate Christian response?
  4. If the state demands, either directly or indirectly (e.g. through taxation to finance abortions), what the law of God forbids, can the faithful Christian comply?
Well, I have posed my four questions. I do not have answers. But, in closing, I have some thoughts we might reflect on as we try to think about answers.

First, I wish to express my agreement with Charles Colson who recently wrote: "Given the demonstrated animus of the current judicial regime against believers--a showdown between Church and State may be inevitable. This is not something for which Christians should hope. But it is something for which Christians need to prepare."

I submit that any approach which offers some remediatory promise, short of individual acts of Christian civil disobedience, should be considered and tested. Having said that, I believe that Christian civil disobedience is countenanced in some cases; Pope John Paul II, writing in the encyclical Evangelium vitae, said:
Abortion and euthanasia are crimes which no human law can claim to legitimatise. There is no obligation in conscience to obey such laws; instead there is a grave and clear obligation to oppose them by conscientious objection" (Section 133).
When that holy and righteous man, John Paul 11, speaks from St. Peter's chair in Rome, and mandates Christian disobedience to law in certain areas, it behooves all Christians -- of whatever denomination -- to listen attentively.

In Canada we have one advantage over the United States in that our Charter includes section 33, the so-called "notwithstanding" clause. This section says that the Parliament of Canada, or any provincial legislature, may override specified sections of the Charter, if that government is prepared to take the political heat involved in doing so. To date the only government which has consistently demonstrated the political courage to invoke section 33 has been the government of Quebec. The Klein government in Alberta promised to invoke s. 33 prior to the Vriend decision, but backed down almost the moment the Supreme Court decision was released. But in theory, if not in practise, section 33 provides a mechanism for re-asserting the popular will in the face of judicial oligarchy.

Another step, again one suggested by Charles Colson, is that the Christian church "separate herself and declare her independence, disavowing any moral legitimacy indirectly or unofficially provided for the state in the past. Through its teaching and preaching office the church would need to expose the nature of the state's rebellion against God--in effect, bringing the state under the transcendent judgement of God."

I am not sure just how this might be accomplished. Will the desiccated Protestant mainline churches be willing to risk the most feared accusation of our time--that of being "intolerant", or "conservative", or "judgmental"--in order to state clearly and without equivocation the precepts of orthodox, scriptural Christianity? And will individual churches, their ministers and their congregations, be willing to risk their tax-exempt status by taking a public stand against what is happening in Canada? I doubt it, but I live in hope that with God all things are possible.

At the end of his influential book After Virtue, Oxford philosopher Alasdair Maclntyre points out that there came a day in the history of the Roman Empire when it lost the allegiance of its ordinary citizens; Maclntyre writes:
Men and women of good will turned aside from the task of shoring up the Roman imperium and ceased to identify the continuation of civility and moral community with that imperium. 
At minimum, I am suggesting that we are at that point among conscientious Christians today. If that is correct then we need to take to heart what the apostle Paul told the church at Philippi: to be "in no way intimidated by your opponents". We need to take that counsel to heart.

Last on my list--but first in importance--we must pray. Pray that we will have the wisdom to discern what is happening to our country and the courage to know how to respond to it. Pray as if our lives, and our children's lives, depended on it. For the truth is, that they do.

Ladies and Gentlemen, that is where I had planned to end. But, just the other day, I was again leafing through one of the formative books in my life--C. S. Lewis's Mere Christianity--when I came across this short passage; this is the centenary of Lewis' birth, and next week is the 35th anniversary of his death, so I should like to conclude with these words of C. S. Lewis:
Enemy-occupied territory--that is what this world is. Christianity is the story of how the rightful king has landed, you might say landed in disguise, and is calling us all to take part in a great campaign of sabotage.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Paralyzed Catholic Media In Canada Give Free Pass To Hierarchy

 Via Catholic Insight magazine:
Ah, but the judges derive their authority from the Carter of Rights and Freedoms here in Canada, a vague, milquetoast document promulgated under the dismantler of just-about-all that was great about this country, Pierre Elliot Trudeau, in 1982, whose son now sits in the same seat as his father.  This Charter functions as our constitution, and its very ambiguity is a source of all sorts of evils. [The Totalitarian Imposition of Euthanasia in Canada]
Here in one short paragraph we find a confluence of ideas that illumines so much of the discussion about the demise of our once great nation. "Catholic" Prime Ministers of Canada, all of whom have been endorsed by at least one or more Catholic Bishops, have dismantled the moral fabric of our country with impunity, one law at a time. In fact, our current Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, having displaced the nine year "interim" Protestant leader Stephen Harper, now resumes the 38 year reign of Catholic PM's who have ruled over Canada and already shows promise of outdoing all his predecessors.
We are now on the verge of legalizing murder-suicide, prostitution and recreational drugs, all under a Prime Minister and his Cabinet with a deplorably skewed moral agenda. [Source]
The Catholic Bishops, right up to and including the present day crop, all share in the same heritage with respect to these renegade "Catholic" PM's, every one of whom
...without exception has flouted Catholic teaching on sexuality through their pro-contraception, pro-abortion, pro-sodomy agendas. And every one of them considered themselves good Catholics and regularly presented themselves for Holy Communion. During that 38 year reign of social devastation and spiritual ruin too many Catholic Bishops failed to take steps to deal with this epic scandal. Despite the fierce defiance of Catholic teaching exhibited by the Prime Ministers there is no record of even one single occasion when a Catholic Prime Minister was denied Communion. [Source]
Justin Trudeau follows in their footsteps and has already enforced rigid adherence to his devilish standards. Yet no Bishop has the fidelity to Catholic law nor integrity of character to censure the Prime Minister under the demands of Canon Law of Mother Church, even though Canon Law demands such discipline be meted out to unrepentant public sinners.

I have criticized the two leading Catholic Bishops, Cardinal Thomas Collins of Toronto and Archbishop Terrence Prendergast of Ottawa, who have the greatest potential influence upon Canadian politicians, only to be met with scorn and censure myself. How ironic that Cardinal Collins has recently undertaken a high profile campaign against Canada's new euthanasia regime yet will not take the most basic of Church disciplinary action against our top "Catholic" politician or any other rebellious Catholic politician. Yet practically all faithful and respected Catholic laity, whether on a personal or professional level, whether in Catholic publications, or in civil rights groups and of course some priests and Bishops, to say nothing of the Vatican itself, have warned that renegade Catholic politicians must be reined in to save the day.

Sadly, the people at Catholic Insight magazine and other establishment Catholic media sources, many lay Catholic associations and even otherwise faithful media and Catholic bloggers, endlessly lament the devolution of Canada's culture and even gripe about what the renegade Catholics are doing to our nation but avoid at all costs even the intimation that Catholic Bishops might be fueling the crisis through misrepresentation of the faith and by neglecting their duties in not disciplining these rebels. There's a huge elephant in the room and, to be sure, it will trample us all in short order.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

On Pope, Bishops & Priests Bringing Every Soul To Christ

A unique article (by today’s standards) on the basic systematic means employed by Pope, Bishops and Priests to accomplish the Supreme Law of the Church which is the salvation of souls. Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI recently noted the crisis in the Church since Vatican II caused by abandoning the conviction that outside of Christ (and the Church) souls are destined for hell. I have criticized the Bishops of Canada on many occasions for actions that betray an indifference to the salvation of souls, most recently here.
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Father J.D. Jaffe, Director of Vocations
November 3, 2014

A young man interested in discerning the priesthood came by my office a few months ago. He understood that religious priests belong to an order with a specific charism and mission, both of which clarify who they are and what they do. He asked, “What about parish priests, what is their mission?” He even posited his own answer, “A priest told me once that the parish priest or diocesan priest is the general practitioner, and that the religious priest is the specialist.” Though this answer is correct, I prefer to it explain it a bit differently.

The diocesan priest is charged with the systematic care of souls. It is his responsibility to do everything in his power to get the flock entrusted to his care to heaven. This zeal for shepherding is not unique to diocesan priests, all priests have this essential character; but diocesan priests in particular are called to do this systematically. What does this mean?

After His resurrection from the dead and before He ascended into heaven, Jesus entrusted the care of his flock, the entirety of the world, to the hands of His Church, most specifically to St. Peter the first pope. Jesus said to Peter, “Feed my lambs…tend my sheep…feed my sheep” (Jn. 21:15-17). Every pope after him has been entrusted with this same responsibility of caring for every single soul living in this world. This means that Pope Francis is responsible for doing all in his power to get 7.26 billion souls to heaven! This is true whether he comes into contact with them or not, whether they are Catholic or not. Does that sound overwhelming? You can see why it is so important to pray for our Holy Father!

Spiritually speaking, we know the pope prays and sacrifices for all these souls; but practically speaking, how does he ensure that everything possible is being done to help each of these souls get to heaven? He divides the flock into smaller, more manageable groups, or dioceses.

Canonically, a diocese is defined as a portion of the people of God. Every place on the planet is part of a diocese; there are around 3,100 dioceses all over the world! For each diocese, the Holy Father designates a bishop to be its shepherd, to be responsible for the systematic care of every soul in his diocese.

Bishop Loverde, for example, is responsible for the souls of the 3.1 million people living in the Diocese of Arlington. Whether he comes into contact with them or not, whether they are Catholic or not, he is responsible for helping them get to heaven. You might be thinking, “That still sounds pretty overwhelming,” and you’d be right. Now you can see how important it is to pray for our bishop!

To assist him in this task, the Bishop divides the diocese into parishes, and entrusts a pastor with every soul living within the boundaries of that parish. He is responsible for each and every soul, not just those who attend Mass or register in the parish, whether he ever comes into contact with them or not, whether they are Catholic or not. This is why parishes do outreach to the poor, marginalized, elderly, homebound, youth, etc. It is why the pastor works with ecumenical and civic groups to aid him in the service of all those living within his parish boundaries.

Through this systematic division of the entire world into dioceses and parishes, the Church ensures that every single soul living on this planet has at least three people who are invested in getting them to heaven: their pastor, their bishop, and the Holy Father.

Though not all diocesan priests are pastors, all diocesan priests share in the responsibility of the systematic care of souls of their particular diocese. They have been ordained to serve their entire life as a shepherd charged with the care of a particular portion of the people of God.

Pray for our Holy Father, our Bishops and our Priests!

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

FLASHBACK: Catholic Church Reconsiders Fitness For Receiving Communion

Paul Martin and Justin Trudeau team up before 2015 election
to defeat Harper
From The Interim November 2005

Catholic Church Reconsiders Fitness For Receiving Communion


Prime Minister Paul Martin has presided over the passage of some of the most socially destructive legislation in Canada’s history and continues vocally to insist on his status as a “strong” Catholic. The recent visit of Mexican President Vincente Fox provided him with yet another occasion to appropriate the title, despite the fact he spearheaded the homosexual “marriage” bill’s passage, which is only a few months in the past.

“I am a practising Catholic. In fact I am a strong Catholic,” Martin said at a news conference with the Mexican President. “But, I am also a legislator and I believe in the separation of church and state.” Martin added, “Have I discussed (this) with senior churchmen, with bishops? The answer is: yes, I have. But, as far as any further comment, I’m a legislator and that’s public and I will comment on my public position. As a Catholic, that’s my faith and I’ll keep that to myself.”

Martin’s pretensions however, are disputed by the leadership of the church to which he claims to belong. Even some Canadian bishops, who for the most part, have for decades maintained a stoic silence on the scandal, are saying that a synod of bishops underway in Rome is likely to result in a correction for politicians who deny Catholic doctrine with their actions and still presume to receive Communion.

Most Rev. Thomas Collins, Archbishop of Edmonton, said recently, “If it was clear that the politician ... manifestly just rejected the Gospel, then I think the bishop would say to that person, “Come to Mass, listen to the words of the Gospel, but it’s really not appropriate for you to receive Communion’.”

The strongest episcopal voice has been that of Bishop Fred Henry of Calgary, who has written numerous pastoral letters condemning homosexual union legislation and the “Catholic” politicians who support it. In his April 2004 pastoral letter, he said of Paul Martin, “His recently clarified position re: abortion and same-sex unions is a source of scandal in the Catholic community and reflects a fundamental moral incoherence.”

The synod’s working document, which sets the agenda for the meeting, said, “The faithful frequently receive Holy Communion without even thinking that they might be in the state of mortal sin.”

Pope Benedict XVI has already hinted that problems like this will be taken seriously at the synod, when he said in his opening speech, “A tolerance which allows God as a private opinion, but which excludes Him from public life, from the reality of the world and our lives, is not tolerance, but hypocrisy.

“When man makes himself the only master of the world and master of himself, justice cannot exist. Then, arbitrariness, power and interests rule.” Too many Catholic lives could be compared to “vinegar, rather than wine,” because of the indifference to God, the pontiff said.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Fr. Nicholson Asks: Is Mark Wahlburg Catholic?

Father Nicholson goes on a rant about the dereliction of duty of Catholic leaders:



"...leadership in the Catholic Church today that doesn't seem to have a litmus test for anything...anything goes...even inviting trashy second-rate actors who wear rosaries and lift weights while professing catholicity. Wahlberg is a pitiful example of how things have gone wrong in the leadership positions in the church. You see stars get in their eyes and they can't see the poisonous gas, the scandalous nature that they give off..."
Note to Father Nicholson: This is but the tip of the iceberg!

FLASHBACK: Cardinal Ouellet Makes Plea To Caesar To Respect Religion



In light of a similar event which occurred recently in Ottawa with Toronto's Cardinal Collins, this is a timely reprint of a press release issued in November 2007. It deals with the appearance of  a Catholic Bishop before a public government commission in Quebec considering further encroachment on the rights of the Church to advance her mission in the world.

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Vote Life, Canada! Calls on Cardinal Marc Ouellet to Stop Whimpering to Caesar—Lead Like a True Apostle Not an Apologist for Canada’s Deadly Pseudo Catholicism


Toronto, ON November 13, 2007/Christian Newswire “Nothing sustains the killing of unborn children in Canada like the widespread practice of a false and corrupted Catholic faith,” says Eric Alcock, President of Vote Life, Canada! “and Cardinal Ouellet’s recent remarks have only obfuscated the true nature of the Catholic crisis.

“In a disgraceful capitulation to the worldly powers represented by the Bouchard-Taylor Commission on Oct. 30, Cardinal Marc Ouellet pleaded for respect for religion and begged the secular fundamentalists to ease up because they were to blame for destroying the soul of Quebec,” observed Alcock.

Alcock insists the evidence shows the secularization of Quebec society has essentially been a reaction rooted in a profound distrust of the Catholic faith which for decades has been shockingly perverted by the Bishops as described in the recent Open Letter by Vote Life, Canada! “Longstanding worldly compromise by Canada’s Catholic Bishops has so dulled their spiritual senses that, like Cardinal Ouellet, they no longer recognize their own role in society.”

Alcock explained that where the three-fold role of a Bishop to teach, to sanctify and to rule is carried out faithfully, a society cannot but advance from paganism into Christianity and from imperfect expressions of Christian living to more perfect expressions of God’s will for society. He notes the history of Western civilization has testified to this reality. “Where (Christian) societies have regressed into paganism or atheism—otherwise known as secularization—the failure and corruption of Bishops is traceable. Quebec society is no different nor is Canadian society.”

"In a tragic display of swallowing camels and straining out gnats, rather than hammering renegade ‘Catholic’ and priest politicians—whose secularist mindset devastates Canada’s common good—the Cardinal disciplines only little old women praying their rosaries and rebellious deluded priests who, while deserving excommunication, pose no ‘secular’ threat whatever.

 “Cardinal Ouellet is looking everywhere for answers except in the mirror. In his desperate attempt to blame ‘secular fundamentalists,’ the Cardinal has indicted himself and his colleagues. A true Catholic faith generates authentic Christian living and sanctifies the surrounding community while earning its respect. The pseudo-catholic religion portrayed by the Cardinal is a victim of ‘anti-Catholic’ forces and the media and needs to be recognized, respected and propped up by the State for its continued existence.

“The Cardinal intimates that God’s promises are insufficient to preserve society, even the Church. But it’s really the Cardinal who must learn respect for religion—respect for a true Catholic faith which has power to purify and displace the most diabolical secularism, from the degenerate culture of the Roman Empire to the very gates of hell. But hell is another unmentionable reality in pseudo-catholic rhetoric—even to society in grave need of warning.

“Rather than calling for national fasting and repentance the Cardinal is counting on a magic cure—the International Eucharistic Congress—where he hopes revival will ensue. But the Cardinal ought to look once more to history to learn that great national revivals are always preceded by bold preaching and profound repentance. Bishops, please lead the way.”


Related:

My Subjective Assessment Of Cardinal Ouellet

Cardinal Ouellet Part of The Problem, Not Part of the Solution



Thursday, March 10, 2016

Banned From Colin Kerr's Society Of Canadian Catholic Bloggers

"This site is dedicated to building a community for Catholic bloggers in Canada, to the glory of Christ." So says the description for the blog aggregator Society of Canadian Catholic Bloggers. Since I'm still a Catholic blogger in Canada, presumably my blog content has been judged unworthy of the goal "to the glory of Christ."

I'm a little disappointed in Colin Kerr I'll admit. His Society did send a nice bit of traffic my way and since I don't get a lot of hits even the best of days, his service was much appreciated. His site was one that I visited regularly every time I browsed and I could easily track the activity I might have missed in the Canadian Catholic blogosphere. I guess I'm more hurt that now I'm somehow judged by a fellow Catholic to be less Catholic or perhaps an unfit Catholic because I often critique Catholic Bishops. Furthermore, it's uncalled-for censorship as well, in my opinion.

If you'd like you can read his posting explaining why he cut me off. But what really burns me is that he didn't mount a challenge to anything I said in my latest posting or in any other posting. I do remember a couple years ago he stood up for Michael Coren in the comments section when I criticized Coren (before he apostatized).

No, there was absolutely no refutation of any points I made. In fact I've been blogging now for all of ten years and only in one or two extremely rare cases have I received a thoughtful refutation from any reader of any of my commentary on things Catholic, including criticism of Catholic Bishops. If I'm such a bad dude saying such bad things about good people, is it too much to ask someone to at least make the case? It seems his only defense is that the Two Amigos are personal friends and good guy Bishops to boot and even the saints of old were misunderstood in their day. Welcome Saints Collins and Prendergast!

Cardinal Collins And The Elephant In The Euthanasia Closet

Cardinal Collins has come out all guns blazing against euthanasia since his appearance before the parliamentary committee, about which I blogged recently. At that committee meeting an elephant (which regularly stalks the Cardinal, as well as his Ottawa counterpart, Archbishop Prendergast) showed up in the middle of the room but to my knowledge no other commentator gave evidence of seeing the huge beast awkwardly standing around. Since none of his more recent statements have addressed that beast I’m assuming the Cardinal has once again made the calculation to ignore the elephant altogether. Of course the elephant is simply a metaphor for renegade Catholics, especially politicians, who defy Catholic teaching and wreak havoc on Canadian society. At the meeting described, the elephant took the form of MP Brenda Shanahan and it was game on. Read my posting to get the full impact of the encounter. In all the flurry of huff and puff statements to Catholics and to the media these last few days, the elephant was nowhere mentioned by the Cardinal.

When Bishops make statements these days touching the public/political domain it’s a big deal. When they are seen to be doing anything to get the attention of society everybody wants to give them high-fives, particularly practicing Catholics who long to see the Bishops actually make a difference in the culture wars. Anyone who offers critical comment is vilified so I expect this to be another one of those times when I take some heat. Remember the last time the Cardinal spoke out on a conscience issue? Hint: Justin Trudeau was also in the news.
           
Let me say right out of the gate: I think Cardinal Collins and Archbishop Prendergast are humanitarians with considerable compassion for those that they serve. They are clearly gregarious people who greatly enjoy what they do and spend huge amounts of time in the service of others. Not a few would describe them as good guy Bishops deserving support in all that they do. Catholic media in nearly all cases portray them in that light.

But Bishops in their actions they are not, at least not in the traditional, Catholic sense of the word “Bishop”. A Bishop’s specialty is saving souls and getting people ready for heaven. He must be devoted to the kingdom of God and the righteousness of Christ. A good deal of public policy nevertheless intersects with this realm and the Bishop must accordingly address such moments, helping the people see the connection between their thinking and potential actions and their journey to heaven. A Bishop lives with the profound sense that all men are destined for heaven and so he embraces the entire population of his diocese—not simply Catholics—as comprising his flock and for whose souls he will answer to Christ his Master. His speech must be so tempered as to always reflect these realities.

The foregoing is the indisputable conclusion and tradition of the Church in this matter. It is easily summarized in Holy Scripture as well, being encapsulated well in 2 Timothy 4:1-5
I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths. But you, be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.
I do not blame Cardinal Collins and Archbishop Prendergast solely for what lacks in their episcopal ministries. A significant share of blame must rest with those Bishops and Cardinals who chose them and elevated them from the priesthood. Some blame also rests with those who undertook their formation in seminary, and so on. However these two are very bright buttons on the tunic of today’s prelature, being very intelligent, well-educated and highly experienced churchmen. I ask myself, what possible excuse could they proffer for not living up to the promises made at their consecrations? Their years of wide ranging experience have undoubtedly clarified and solidified the implications of those promises. From my point of view a majority of their failures were simply (long-term) failures to uphold well established Church laws and precepts. Our nation has descended into moral chaos these past fifty years due largely to the same failures by Catholic Bishops as a whole throughout Canada. Such neglect will not be overlooked by the Divine Judge. A huge host, perhaps millions of souls, have been lost.

I will allow myself a short detour at this point for the reader’s early benefit. What am I suggesting that the Cardinal and Archbishop should have done, as opposed to what they did, in respect to recent pronouncements on euthanasia? I will suggest only one possibility that seems to me to line up with the authority and calling of a Bishop in these circumstances and at this juncture of time in our nation’s crisis. The Cardinal and Archbishop could have graduated from their standing as the Two Amigos to that of the Dream Team had they issued a bull of excommunication addressed to all Catholic politicians, Senators or MP’s who had in the past expressed public support of any kind and in any measure for the evil of euthanasia. Said bull would also give foremost attention, by name, to our “Catholic” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. This bull would mandate that any such politician who felt incriminated by said directive could not be certain of pardon and restoration back into the Church without first making public retraction of their advocacy and without a satisfactory sit down with the Bishop. [Update: Although I initially stated in this posting that such an excommunication would be justified under canon law, that is apparently not correct. What is appropriate and what is fully justified is censure under Canon 915, which I have detailed extensively in a former posting related to Archbishop Prendergast.]

But no, these Two Amigos will do everything they can to gloss over the fact that influential Catholics in our society—and especially Catholic pols—are destroying the heart of our nation. Pope Benedict XVI in 2006 exposed the extreme split between the Gospel and culture in his address to Canadian Bishops, subtly rebuking them and warning that Canadian society would continue to go amuck “in the most disturbing of ways,” through neglect of the truth and of discipline. To watch these Bishops carry on their ministries you'd think it was impossible to ever find in Canada the men or circumstances that inspired some of the most censorious directives of canon law (e.g. Canon 915). We’re so good here in Canada, just a bunch of honest, righteous and ever-lovin’ souls. No one bad enough ever (at least in the last half century) to be denied anything, let alone Holy Communion! Wheee! We’ll never succumb to the evils and corruption of other nations. How wonderful! Being a Bishop in Canada must just be a piece of cake!

But take note! Should ever an evil or wicked Catholic politician arise in the distant future to torment Canada with unjust and ungodly laws, these two brave churchmen are on record (see here and here) as being ready to jump into the lion’s den and rout the enemy! Duly noted. Let’s face it, in the big picture—over a period of decades—it takes renegade Bishops to produce renegade Catholics, including politicians. They all express their infidelities in unique ways. What’s that you say? You’re not buying this “good bishop needs to excommunicate” theory? Then you probably know little about the pseudo-catholic hegemony of Canada’s ‘Catholic’ PM's. And you probably don't realize how the secularization of Canada has been brought about largely by the renegade actions and influence of highly placed Catholics.

So let’s return from our detour. What would we think of a fire chief who expressed concerns about bullying and safe spaces and who wished to adjust the design of buildings to reflect and effectively address those concerns? Suppose he called a press conference and made proposals? Wouldn’t we say he’s a little bit out of his line of specialty? It’s fine that he’s concerned and that he wants to make a difference in that area but many other specialists are working in that area and have devoted their professional lives to it. It’s not something to which he can make a major contribution. He should focus on his own specialty which is saving lives in emergencies and preventing and putting out fires.

It’s not that the Cardinal has no right to weigh in as he has on euthanasia, but let’s face it, there’s been a great deal of conversation about this evil for quite a few years in Canada. In fact this spectacle has all the trademarks of crisis management. It did not sneak up on us overnight as the Cardinal implied more than once. There are professionals in our nation, theologians, ethics professors, social activists, who have for many years made the case to the nation about the dangers of euthanasia. In addition, other countries have been plagued with the weight of this injustice and we have their records to help us put such crimes into perspective.

My point is becoming clearer I hope. No other person could do and say what a Bishop must and yet be taken seriously by those whom he addresses. Simply put, the Bishop’s focus is so intently on the welfare of souls that no other leader would dare to venture into his province, save heretics and madmen. If he is found saying things that can be said equally well by persons in other fields, he is squandering his office and his spiritual capital and few, if any, will be impressed with his message. He can’t simply show up on the airwaves one day pleading to be heard because he’s the Bishop and saying things you’ve heard lots of times before by lots of other people. His is a calling by Christ Himself to say and do in his diocese just those things as would Christ Himself in that same setting and circumstance. Only a Bishop can be up to such a weighty responsibility. But make no mistake, that responsibility is not solely determined at any moment by the prudential judgment of any and every Bishop. The Magisterium of the Church provides the framework for all who are interested in making an objective investigation into the success of any Bishop’s ministry and I believe the Magisterium precisely would demand an action by the Bishop(s) along the lines I noted in an earlier paragraph.

But when a Bishop does go on a life or death crusade (and euthanasia certainly qualifies as life or death for many) he is not to be found groveling at the feet of Caesar. He is not to whine about the pressure he feels from impending legislation or the encroaching secularization of society. He is not to plead for a break from Caesar, claiming religious discrimination or suppressed human rights. Why not? Well, because that is below his office. Think of the example of Christ before Pilate. There were no defenses, only a life offered up. But put more simply: it makes the Bishop look like a toothless cat crying out for protection. Is that the example provided by Christ? Nor is a phony kind of moralizing required: “Is that what Canada has become?” or It’s “an attack on people who do nothing but good.” What is needed is a Bishop who will, for the record, remind the nation of the absolutes involved and in black and white terms let people choose the fate of their own souls.

Does the Cardinal know the gravity of the crisis? I’m not really sure. Perhaps he does; he calls himself “a man at full tilt.” He seems to see the horror of the impending, new killing field. Yet, take note, he is not yet prepared to accept the measures instituted by the Church for just such times. He is not yet prepared to employ the censures of the Church against those renegade Catholic politicians who usher in such evils. Nor is he yet willing to make a public declaration that any Canadian that supports or otherwise assists in the legalization of euthanasia damns his/her own soul to hell.

Well let’s just call a spade a spade. The Cardinal—and the Archbishop—simply don’t believe these realities. That is why I call them both hireling Bishops. It’s not that they are in it for the money; it’s just that they are not in it for Christ and His kingdom. They simply do not believe in the kingdom of God and the salvation of souls; at least not in the traditional age old sense held by the Church.  I don't see how any other argument can line up with the abundance of facts facing us. Search the Cardinal’s recent public statements. His language in public makes no mention of it. He studiously avoids all words and imagery characteristic of salvation theology and there is not one reference in his remarks on euthanasia where he employs even the mention of “evil.” Imagine, his is a national audience by his own choosing and it’s as though there is no heaven or hell, no sin or evil, only the here and now. Tell me; is that the approach of an Apostle of Christ, after the Resurrection? A most devastating argument was his complete silence (as a pastor of Christ’s flock) at the recent hearing where he responded to a Catholic MP who practically taunted him while justifying her own betrayal of Christ’s teaching. He issued not a word of correction, let alone rebuke, for her explicit support of intrinsic evil.  Evidently the Cardinal has got too used to saying nothing about Catholics regularly participating in intrinsically evil actions.

Let’s look at the actions of the Two Amigos from a different point of view. With high profiles based on such factors as population, political importance, etc., these two set the pace for Catholicism in our nation. When they misrepresent or neglect the warnings and weighty teachings of Christ the whole nation reels and falters. Where has been the Cardinal’s new found courage for the last four or five decades on abortion? The effect of abortion on this nation has been much deeper and more traumatic than ever we can imagine euthanasia will be. Think how sobering the number 4,000,000 can be. Yet where have been the statements? I must have slept in and missed the memos. Sad to say, it never seemed to the ordinary guy that the Bishops visualized abortion as a challenge to the status quo of the education or healthcare systems. But now, with almost fifty years of killing to dull the senses, the chickens are coming home to roost. Suddenly we hear so much about doctors’ ethics and the ‘faith-based values’ of health care workers and how the government must respect conscience rights. Allow me to translate: euthanasia as proposed will disrupt the delicate nature of Catholic health care and not only endanger funding but perhaps the entire Catholic system. To be sure, a multitude of voices will be screaming at Catholic leadership to do something.  Strange, the little children aborted these past fifty years had no voices, faces, names or credentials with which to pull our heartstrings but now apparently we are talking about ‘real’ persons with names, lives, families, identities, qualifications. Now we must rise up and fight for their conscience rights. What about the conscience rights of babies? If we could have got inside their heads before they were cut and suctioned to pieces what would their consciences be screaming to us? What’s the greater injustice: forcing a person (physician, etc.) to do something against their will (incidentally only 30% or fewer of physicians even object to physician assisted suicide) or literally destroying another person’s life?  Somehow we’ve sidelined the right to life only to turn around and find ourselves worshipping conscience rights. For that we must thank Bishops like Collins and Prendergast.

“Has it come to this in Canada where killing people is seen as health care?” asked the Cardinal this week. Newsflash, Cardinal, those in power in Canada have been treating abortion as healthcare since the 70’s. Yes, they’ve also been funding it. Where have you been? The Cardinal called it a “fundamental change in our law.” Which one was that Cardinal, the one in 1969 or the one they now call the Carter decision? Does anyone else see these as sad and pathetic statements? Not only is this too little too late but, incredibly, the Cardinal makes it sound as though abortion has never taken place in our nation; he makes no mention of it whatever. He thinks people “will be appalled” when they find out the truth about euthanasia. I kid you not!  But if Canadians can live every day for fifty years with abortion without working up a sweat, why would euthanasia bother them? I call this kind of talk bizarre. Does the Cardinal consider abortion, in the pragmatic chamber of his heart, legitimate and settled law? Is it the one subject to avoid at all costs? One wonders what can be his thinking.

Both of the Two Amigos are now urging Catholics to do their duty and contact their MP’s. No joke. “Join or start a prolife group,” they suggest. May I ask what the prolife movement has done in the last fifty years to halt abortion in Canada? Could it be that stopping abortion has everything to do with the Bishops and nothing to do with the prolife groups? Here are Bishops asking laity to do their job again. “Take courage, do not be afraid to stand up for the dignity of life.” Incredible!  You’ll understand why I find that particularly ironic. When will they do their duty and finally put to rest the evil perpetrated by Catholic politicians obstinately persevering in manifest grave sin so that we, and all Canadians, may see a freer, more just society? Why does it come back into our lap, as though we, the laity, are failing to act? Talk about victimization. But it seems that’s only the appetizer. Archbishop Prendergast would victimize Catholic families a second time, the first time due to his failure to follow Canon Law and discipline renegade PM Justin Trudeau (BEFORE he became PM) and now a second time by refusing the last sacrament to Catholics tormented and confused in their last days by scandalous, contradictory messages in the culture (because of terrible leadership of Bishops). So, he won’t do the hard work and deny the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist to a powerful political figure but he’ll tell his priests to deny the Sacrament of Anointing to dying people. Honestly, you can’t make this stuff up! But not to worry, this Archbishop is all huff and puff and I’m sure after euthanasia becomes the law of the land he’ll grow silent on the matter. Already I sense the Bishops are equivocating.

Look at this another way: The Two Amigos ask us to fast and pray that our parliamentarians heed us. Did they heed their flocks over the years when the faithful appealed to their Bishops about shocking scandals taking place in the Catholic community centred around renegade Catholics denying Church doctrine, committing sacrilege, living scandalous lives, and otherwise living like devils, etc.? How many hundreds of letters, possibly thousands, during their careers, did they thwart, derail or ignore altogether? I know all my letters and appeals to Priests and Bishops about matters related to orthodoxy, scandal, and sacrilege went unheeded in my estimation, even though some were politely answered.

There’s more irony here too. The Cardinal is pushing hard on the primacy of conscience in all his statements and conversation. It’s almost as though it’s all that these post-Winnipeg Statement Bishops can do.  They’re stuck between a rock and a hard place. They can't support actual Church teaching on controversial subjects like contraception, homosexuality and abortion because they can all be said to boil down to "personal conscience" which is inviolable. (Doesn’t everything related to the moral law?) Catholics in the pews are so conditioned now to this argument that you'll start a war if you try to turn back the tide or cleanse the temple of its demons. This is why contraception and the teaching of Humanae Vitae is such an issue for the Two Amigos.

It is the business of Bishops to do the bidding of Christ their Leader. That used to mean following the precepts and laws of the Church, including the admonishment and discipline of sinners. If Bishops fail in this regard they make a grave omission and endanger the souls of all the faithful. Following the ripples outward, the entire nation is endangered. In fact if they fail to keep the discipline of the Body, the Church, the Body becomes weak and contemptible, unfit for duty and unfit to represent Christ Who is the Head. In such cases the Bishop has betrayed his calling and has repudiated his promises as an Apostle of Christ. The facts show that Cardinal Collins, along with Archbishop Prendergast, has done exactly that and I have called for (here and here) the intercession of St. Joseph, Protector of the Church, to accomplish the conversion or downfall of both Bishops so that worthy Bishops might take their places.