(Picture of Carl Anderson Knights of Columbus Supreme Knight)
Canadian bishops on board for National March for Life
Friday, 08 May 2009
Written by David Wang, The Catholic Register,
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OTTAWA - This year’s National March for Life to Parliament Hill on May 14 will see an unprecedented number of Catholic bishops taking part.
“It’s a wonderful occasion,” said Ottawa Archbishop Terrence Prendergast, who has invited other bishops to attend.
Prendergast attended the March for the first time last spring.
“I was delighted with my participation in it,” he said. “I kind of wish I’d come up before.”
Prendergast said that as of April 20, nine bishops had confirmed their attendance: himself, Quebec Cardinal Marc Ouellet, Toronto Archbishop Thomas Collins, Pembroke Bishop Michael Mulhall, London Bishop Ronald Fabbro, Toronto Slovak Bishop John Pazak, Toronto Ukrainian Bishop Stephen Chmilar, Sault Ste-Marie Bishop Jean-Louis Plouffe and retired Keewatin-Le Pas Archbishop Peter Sutton.
Prendergast also confirmed that Knights of Columbus Supreme Knight Carl Anderson will speak both at Parliament Hill and at the annual Rose Dinner following the March. The other speaker at the dinner will be retired Liberal MP Tom Wappel.
In previous years, only one or two bishops made the trek to Ottawa. What’s changed? This year’s March falls on the 40th anniversary of the Omnibus Bill that legalized abortion. It also follows the appointment last July 1 of abortionist Henry Morgentaler to Canada’s highest civilian award, the Order of Canada.
“I think it was one of many signs of an attempt to marginalize faith from the public domain,” said Prendergast. “I think we say no, it’s important for people to manifest their commitment.
“One of our difficulties is we’re fighting an uphill battle against the media,” he said.
He noted that last year radio announcements in Ottawa were discouraging people from going downtown because of demonstrations, but failed to say that 8,000 people were demonstrating for life. Yet if 150 demonstrate from another group, it makes the front page, he said.
“The mainstream media is tired of this, they think the issue’s gone away; it’s not important,” he said. “It’s still here, folks.”
He said that when you stand up for something and get involved it becomes your issue, just as children find through becoming involved as altar servers, the parish becomes their church and not somebody else’s.
The bishops got on board for the March for Life at last September’s plenary, when St. Catharines’ Bishop James Wingle asked whether the bishops should show up “en masse” to show their support. After much discussion, the bishops’ Permanent Council asked Prendergast to look into how the bishops might participate. This led to the bishops of Ontario and Quebec being invited to take part.
Though many bishops will not be able to attend, he said, pro-life rallies and demonstrations were to take place across the country so bishops might take part in their own area.