Tuesday, February 01, 2005

They want us silenced.

The front page headline in Friday’s local Canwest/Southam Newspaper read “GOVERNMENT TELLS CHURCH TO BUTT OUT.” Cabinet minister Pierre Pettigrew was quoted as saying that the invention of the concept of a separation of Church and state is really great, and the Catholic Bishops should butt out of political issues like the homosexual redefinition of marriage debate. He actually tried to say it was not a moral issue, but a strictly political one.

Over the past month, both Calgary’s Bishop Fred Henry and Edmonton’s Archbishop Tom Collins have published pastoral letters in defense of traditional marriage. Collins’ letter explained the basic flaws that make Gay marriage impossible, and both bishops called for their adherents to contact their MPs and make their views known. In response to Pettigrew’s remarks, Henry said marriage predates the Canadian State by thousands of years, and neither Parliament nor the Supreme Beings Court has the authority to redefine it.


For years I’ve been disappointed as our bishops hid behind the anonymity of the Canadian Council of Catholic Bishops. Seemingly reluctant to speak out on their own, they missed what seemed to me to be opportunity after opportunity to provide their flocks leadership on moral issues before the voters- or moral issues that /should be/ before the voters.

But Canada’s Catholic Bishops seem to be growing some backbones of late. From the Northwest Territories, Bishop Croteau began writing a few years ago about the social cost of Government approved gambling. Then Calgary’s Bishop Fred Henry began commenting regularly on labour and social justice issues. Prior to the last Federal election, Bishop Henry wrote a pastoral letter asking Catholic voters to question the wisdom of voting for candidates that supported the culture of death, (pro-abortion, anti-family, anti-Christian agendas). This earned Henry a phone call from an anonymous Revenue Canada official (CCRA) threatening the Church’s tax free status.

This week, Edmonton Archbishop Tom Collins, who’s written a number of public statements about the wrongness and impossibility of homosexual marriage, encouraged his parish priests to use their pulpits Sunday to tell their parishioners to contact their MPs.

I didn’t hear Collins, but my parish priest, a young polish immigrant, gave the most direct call to democratic action in defense of marriage that I’ve ever heard in a Catholic church. Not that I’m the passive voter type, but today (Monday) my daughter and I wrote and sent letters in support of traditional marriage to Prime Minister Paul Martin, and liberal cabinet members Shirley McLelland (deputy Prime Minister,) Irwin Cotler (attorney general,) and Leon Benoit.

But I digress.

What really bothers the governing elites is that the Catholic Bishops are now doing their jobs as shepherds of their faith communities. They’re telling them to wake up from their slumber of apathy and be the activists called for in Vatican II.
Bothers the elites? It scares them shitless.

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