SUNDAY
February 18, 2001
volume 12, no. 49

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 Women.

    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
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