Georges Buscemi, executive director of Quebec Life Coalition, has proposed that his organization adopt a more rigorous Catholic approach. Register file photo

Quebec pro-life group split over approach to messaging

By  Deborah Rankin, Catholic Register Special
  • May 11, 2017

MONTREAL – A proposal to ground its message more firmly in Catholic teaching is causing disagreement in Quebec’s largest pro-life organization.

Quebec Life Coalition executive director Georges Buscemi has proposed that the organization adopt a more rigorous intellectual approach to supporting life and family by educating people about the existence of God, the immortal soul and free will. Arguments for life and marriage, and against abortion and euthanasia, are grounded in natural law, a Catholic concept which is also held by many non-Catholics.

“Nothing less than the Catholic faith and the spread of the faith is the solution to the elimination of the culture of death by replacing it with a culture of life,” Buscemi said.

A survey of the coalition’s predominantly Catholic membership showed most backed Buscemi’s proposal.

However, some Protestant board members have balked at the idea while others are uncertain.

“It is not the pro-life message that is in question, but the way to pass the pro-life message in today’s society,” said board member Vaclav Vychitil, suggesting that disagreement over how to present the message goes beyond denominational differences.

After considerable discussion the board remains split three ways on the merits of Catholic polemics in the pro-life cause. Catholic supporters are at one end, Protestant opponents at the other, with a middle group trying to bridge the divide.

“Quebec Life Coalition has always had a faith-based approach, but nothing in the constitution or bylaws is faith-based,” Buscemi concedes.

“We are grappling with this and it remains an open question.”

And what of atheist pro-lifers? They have a visible presence at pro-life events such as the March for Life.

“Atheist pro-lifers are incoherent,” Buscemi said. “They are arguing for the right thing for the wrong reasons.”

Buscemi had hoped to initiate his strategy by launching a pro-life philosophy course based on a book called The Last Superstition: A Refutation of the New Atheism by Catholic author Edward Feser.

“People need to be reacquainted with the worldview represented in this book,” Buscemi said.

The book advocates a Judeo-Christian — and specifically Catholic — worldview as it argues the existence of God can be proved by rational arguments. But due to the unresolved issues, the board has not approved the course.

Buscemi still hopes Quebec Life Coalition, which is the Quebec arm of the national organization Campaign Life Coalition, may yet opt for a more Catholic approach.

The question will be reexamined at a board meeting later this spring.

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