Monday, November 23, 2009

Eagerly awaiting CCCB action on pro-life promises

Today, November 23, marks one month since the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) completed their plenary assembly.  At the end of this meeting, the bishops expressed their desire to be more involved in pro-life work.  Isn't that wonderful?

Bishop Ronald P. Fabbro (London) was part of a panel presentation on the topic.  He emphasized the importance for bishops to assume greater leadership in pro-life activities.

Referring to the recent debate on euthanasia and assisted suicide, as well as debates on other life issues, Bishop Fabbro noted the importance of being pro-active in framing the questions. “If Bishops don’t step up,” he said, “others will who may present a distorted view of the Church’s teaching. We need to inform our people on the foundations of our faith.”  

In his presentation, Archbishop Blanchet noted the tensions and difficulties that have emerged among individuals and groups involved in defending the right to life from conception to natural death. He stressed the importance being united in thought and action, and proposed a dialogue involving all parties in the “pro-life movement”. Such a dialogue, he said, would help lessen difficulties within the movement and also help establish common ground. 

In their reflections, the Bishops stressed there was an important link between the sacredness of human life and the quality of life. They also noted the importance of activities for life at the diocesan level.  (Source)

So just to recap, they seem to have three broad areas where they've committed to act:
  1. More proactive teaching on life issues
  2. Dialogue with pro-life groups
  3. More activities at the diocesan level

I'm very curious to see how all this will unfold. It sounds so promising, yet we haven't seen any action during the month that has elapsed since this commitment.

The bishops need to do more than issue a letter or press release condemning euthanasia and assisted suicide.  That's a start, but it's not nearly enough.  No offense, but very very few people read the press releases issued by the CCCB.  Moreover, the mainstream media often won't provide any coverage and most parishes won't mention them.

If the bishops are serious about this, they need to take more concrete actions from a pastoral perspective.  Here are some concrete examples:

  • They should reform marriage preparation courses so that the Theology of the Body becomes mandatory teaching.  They should also instruct engaged couples about the evil of contraception and abortion.  
  • They should encourage their parishioners to be active in the pro-life movement by volunteering their time and by making donations to good ministries like LifeSiteNews.  
  • Every bishop should participate in pro-life marches across the country each May because it isn't very difficult to book off 2 hours per year for a good cause. 
  • They should take a public stand against politicians who support abortion, telling them that they cannot receive communion. 
  • They should publicly rescind the Winnipeg Statement.

You think I'm too demanding? I don't.  Anything short of such actions will just be the same old, same old.  Anything short of such actions won't make a dent in the growing apathy among Canadian Catholics.  The CCCB made some strong statements on pro-life issues at the end of their plenary assembly and now they must follow through with some strong actions.  They've created big expectations; they shouldn't disappoint.