Canadian Bishops Distance Church from March for Women
OTTAWA, Feb. 16, 01 (CWNews.com/LSN.ca) - The Canadian
Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) has released a letter
it sent to the Canadian Catholic Organization for
Development and Peace (CCODP) voicing its agreement with
CCODP's decision to disassociate from the World March of
In February 2000 and again in May 2000 the CCCB issued
press releases expressing support for the World March of
Women (WMW). The May letter reaffirming support greatly
disappointed pro-lifers who had previously attempted to
document the incontrovertible evidence showing the WMW to
be pro-abortion and pro-homosexuality.
The CCCB's latest letter, signed by the conference's
president, Bishop Gerald Wiesner of Prince George, repeated
the CCODP claim that the decision to pull out was based on
"recent developments" with the WMW, although, the WMW has
been pro-abortion all along. The CCCB letter states that
the decision of the CCODP to pull out of the WMW was a
"difficult but principled decision" which showed "the
integrity" of CCODP.
However, since neither the CCODP letter nor the CCCB letter
mention regret for the spending of over $135,000 on the
pro-abortion WMW, for the encouragement of Catholic
participation in the WMW, or for the verbal antagonism
directed against those who voiced objections to the WMW by
CCCB, and CCODP officials, the real purpose of both
organizations recent statements remains in question.
Pro-life observers have wondered aloud if lost donations to
CCODP due to its WMW support played a part in the sudden
turn-around in the CCODP stance on the WMW. The timing of
the announcement, just prior to Lent, seems to suggest some
support for this hypothesis since Lent is the time CCODP
seeks donations in Catholic parishes across the country.
The status of CCCB pronouncements as representing Canada's
bishops was clarified during the debate over the WMW.
Auxiliary Bishop Nicola De Angelis of the Archdiocese of
Toronto, spiritual advisor for the Catholic Women's League
(CWL) of Ontario, issued a letter on the WMW in June. The
letter clarifies that "the CCCB Executive and the
Conferences of Bishops, as stated in Canon Law, are purely
administrative bodies. They have no canonical power to
issue decrees on any matters related to faith and morals.
Indeed their [statement in support of the WMW] was a
personal statement which was not meant to, and could not
speak on behalf of all the Bishops of Canada."
February 18, 2001
volume 12, no. 49
Pro Life News