A new letter the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops released today says religious freedom is under attack in Canada and calls out abortion as one of the reasons that is the case.
“Some colleges of physicians require that members who refuse to perform abortions refer patients to another physician willing to do so; elsewhere pharmacists are being threatened by being forced to have to fill prescriptions for contraceptives or the ‘morning after’ pill,” the letter says.
Issued by the CCCB Permanent Council, the letter expresses concern about an “aggressive relativism” in Canada that seeks to relegate religion to the private sphere.
“Legitimate secularity draws a distinction between religion and politics, between Church and state,” the pastoral letter states, but is open to the engagement of religious beliefs and faith communities in public debate and civic life. “Radical secularism”, however, excludes religion from the public square “and from freely engaging in the public debate necessary for shaping civic life.”
In its pastoral letter, the Permanent Council explains why freedom of religion and conscience is necessary for the common good of countries such as Canada, where religious diversity is the norm. When religious freedom “is threatened, all other rights are weakened and society suffers,” the pastoral letter states.
“Freedom of conscience,” the letter explains, “is a necessary condition for seeking the truth and for adhering to that truth once it is sufficiently known.” Emphasizing that the right to religious freedom includes the right to live out one’s faith in the public square, the pastoral letter states that ”attempts to limit expressions of religious faith to places of worship … should be judged as a serious curtailment of a guaranteed right.”
The Most Reverend Richard Smith, Archbishop of Edmonton and President of the CCCB, noted in his introduction to the pastoral letter that it is “addressed to everyone of good will, calls on Catholics, all believers, and even those of no faith, 1) to affirm the right of religion to be active in the public square, 2) to maintain healthy Church-State relations, 3) to form consciences according to objective truth, and 4) to protect the right to conscientious objection.” Archbishop Smith also noted the letter was being released in preparation for Pentecost. He said the pastoral letter “encourages all faith communities to contribute to the formulation of public policy and the common good, and concludes by exhorting believers not to compromise their convictions, but to stand up for their faith, even if they must suffer for it.”
The letter follows a successful March for Life in Ottawa against abortion, which saw a record of almost 20,000 people attending the event.
Sponsored by the Campaign Life Coalition, thousands of people gathered in Ottawa on Parliament Hill for the 15th National March for Life to demand legal protection for all human beings from the time of conception to the moment of natural death. The event marks the infamous passing of Trudeau’s Omnibus Bill in 1969 that struck down abortion laws and stripped away protection for Canada’s preborn children.
CLICK LIKE IF YOU’RE PRO-LIFE!
“In the past forty years, four million preborn children have been killed by abortion, and recently studies show that these include sex-selective abortions,” said Jim Hughes, National President of Campaign Life Coalition. “Unlike the pro-abortion movement which prides itself on supporting the rights of females but ignores the plight of preborn females, participants at the March will be standing up for the right to life for all human beings.”
Hughes said many members of Parliament joined the throngs of pro-life advocates and some well-known pro-life leaders, including: Ottawa’s Archbishop Terrence Prendergast and Archbishop Gérald Cyprien Lacroix, Primate of Canada.
Steven Mosher, president of the Population Research Institute and expert on China’s one child policy, was the keynote speaker for the event.