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News Items

Bishops Ask Trudeau:

Assure Character of Rights Protects the Unborn

(CCCB - March 26, 1981)

The President of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) has asked Prime Minister Trudeau to make a “clear statement” assuring Canadians that the Charter of Rights and Freedoms is intended to increase “respect for life from its very beginnings.” He asks that this statement be made before the Government proceeds with the process of patriation of the Constitution with the entrenched Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

“Any Charter of Rights which is not founded upon respect for life from the moment of conception would be flawed by an inherent weakness,” said Archbishop J. MacNeil, (Edmonton) President of the CCCB.

In a letter to Prime Minister Trudeau, Archbishop MacNeil said, “It would be deplorable if your Charter of Rights could either now or in the future, be interpreted in such a way as to broaden the impact and effect of the present abortion legislation which is already in some of its prescriptions unacceptable to us.”

Archbishop MacNeil’s letter was approved by the Administrative Board of the CCCB which includes 20 bishops from all parts of Canada.

The letter was motivated by the “bishops’ own concern to defend the unborn” and by “the widespread concern among millions of other Canadians” that the Charter might be so interpreted as leading to a widening of the legislation regarding abortion.

“Before the government proceeds with repatriation, Canadians have a right to have a clear statement on this situation,” said Archbishop MacNeil.

Abortion Tax Protested

Antigonish, N.S. - Father Bernard A. Macdonald, professor of theology at St. Francis Xavier University here, is protesting abortion in Canada by withholding $297.64 from his 1980 income tax return.

Last year, Father Macdonald also refused to pay part of his income taxes to protest the use of government funds for abortions and abortion services.

In correspondence with Revenue Canada, Father Macdonald had repeatedly requested information regarding the amount of tax dollars that go “toward the killing of human beings through abortion.” He did not receive the data he sought.

In a recent letter to the Receiver General of Canada in Ottawa, Father Macdonald sought to indicate the seriousness of the abortion question by quoting the ways in which human lives have been lost in Canada.

“The number of Canadian deaths by accidental drowning during a 30-year period from 1949-1979 amount to 16,749,” Father Macdonald said.

“The number of motor vehicle deaths for the same 30-year period comes to 129,009. And, in 80 years in which Canadians have been involved in war: Boer War, World War I, World War II and the Korean War, 99,449 Canadians lost their lives.

“However, in only eight years the number of human lives that have been taken through abortion totals 421,245. Surely, even Revenue Canada should be able to appreciate this appalling statistic.”

The Catholic Register - April 4, 1981

Joe Borowski Hits Charter of Rights

WINNIPEG - Joe Borowski of Winnipeg, one of Canada’s most outspoken pro-life fighters, has sent a telegram to Britain’s Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher asking her to approve only “simple patriation” of the proposed Canadian constitution.

This means he wants the British Parliament to send the constitution home to Canada. He does not want the British to approve any of the proposed amendments in the constitution, such as the Charter of Rights, since there is wide disagreement over these issues in Canada.

“All these changes should be done solely in Canada,” he told The Register.

Mr. Borowski described the Charter of Rights in the proposed constitution as “very dangerous”. He added that if the charter is approved in its present form, Catholic hospitals could be forced to perform abortion on demand.

The Catholic Register - March 28, 1981

Western Bishops Ask Prayers for Canada

EDMONTON -The bishops of Western and Northwestern Canada have asked Catholics “to pray for our country and especially its leaders.”

In a statement addressed to Catholics in Western Canada, and sent to Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau and the provincial premiers, the bishops said they recognized the present diversity of views concerning Canada and the struggles regarding its future.

They said:

“We hope and expect that our political leaders, inspired by the Gospel demands of love of God and neighbor, sensitive to the common good of all citizens and responsive to the requirements of justice, will have the wisdom and courage to guide us to that form of unity that best respects and promotes the legitimate rights and aspirations of all Canadians.”

In order to realize these expectations, the bishops urged Catholics in parish communities and within the family to pray for the nation and its leaders.

“Through our petitions and intercessions may Canada come to a renewed harmony in which all citizens can live in peace with justice, according to the mind of Christ Jesus, who alone is for us ‘the Way, the Truth and the Life’.”

The Catholic Register - April 4, 1981.