Bishops lend support to March for Life

  • February 9, 2009
{mosimage}OTTAWA - Canada’s Catholic bishops will support the National March for Life , taking place May 14 on Parliament Hill.

“We want to support it because it is a good thing,” said Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops president Archbishop James Weisgerber.

Campaign Life Coalition president Jim Hughes welcomed the news.

“That’s powerful,” Hughes said. “That’s probably the best news I’ve heard in 2009. It’s always wonderful to have the spiritual leadership and support of the bishops of Canada and we welcome this initiative on their part and we look forward to a long and growing relationship with them.”

This spring’s march will be the 12th Campaign Life has organized.

The Canadian bishops will not be entering into a coalition with Campaign Life, but Weisgerber said he will do what he can to see that more bishops are involved, “especially people from the region so that the march becomes quite a lot larger.”

Ottawa Archbishop Terrence Prendergast will be the point person on the bishops’ involvement, said Weisgerber. Prendergast was the only Roman Catholic bishop to join last year’s march, which drew about 8,000 people — it’s biggest turnout ever.

The Toronto archdiocese will participate, according to a communications director Neil McCarthy.

“The March for Life provides an ideal opportunity for the Catholic community to come together in support of life,” McCarthy said in an e-mail. “Archbishop (Thomas) Collins will be attending this year's march and the Office of Catholic Youth will be organizing buses to Ottawa so that our young people may join with others from across the country at this important event.”

Support for the annual March for Life came up at the bishops' annual plenary last September when St. Catharine’s Bishop James Wingle asked whether the bishops should show up at the march en masse. Weisgerber pointed out many of the United States bishops attend the National March for Life every January. However, some bishops wanted the scope widened to include support for the family.

Weisgerber said the bishops will discuss whether to organize a demonstration for the family at the next plenary. Since the bishops are not organizers of the March for Life, they could not interfere with its agenda, he said.

This year’s march marks the 40th anniversary of Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau’s Omnibus Bill that legalized abortion, liberalized divorce laws and decriminalized homosexuality. It also is the first march since the awarding of the Order of Canada to abortionist Henry Morgentaler. Campaign Life estimates that more than three million abortions have taken place since this bill came into effect in May 1969.

This year’s march has been dubbed Exodus 2009 because of the 40 years Israel spent wandering in the desert before reaching the Promised Land.

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