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Catholic bishops respond to Justin Trudeau.

Canadian bishops have responded collectively and individually to Mr. Justin Trudeau's reckless statement on his new policy that only pro-choice candidates will be nominated for the federal Liberal party.

Archbishop Prendergast of Ottawa issued a statement reminding Trudeau that if one dissents from the Church's teaching on life, he cannot "be considered a Catholic in good standing." Bishop Christian Riesbeck said that if the Liberal leader were to refuse to meet with the Archbishop and continued to practise his Catholic faith by receiving communion, it would be unseemly. "It's the fact that he considers himself to be a devout Catholic, but then adheres to, or advocates for, abortion. That is scandalous."

Cardinal Thomas Collins of Toronto, on behalf of the Ontario Bishops, sent Mr. Trudeau a letter in which he outlined that that those who, in conscience, are pro-life are no longer acceptable as candidates in the federal Liberal party. He added that, "it is not right that they [pro-lifers] be excluded by any party for being faithful to their conscience ... Political authority is not limitless: it does not extend to matters of conscience and religious faith. It does not govern all aspects of life." Cardinal Collins also appeared on several radio shows to discuss the contents of his letter to Justin, especially with respect to conscience.

Edmonton Archbishop Richard W. Smith, representing the CCCB, wrote in the Edmonton Journal that it is "abhorrent" that someone claiming to stand up for "people's rights" would "exclude an entire category of humanity, namely children in the womb." He continued that, "A pro-abortion stance in irreconcilable with Catholicism. Period." Mr. Trudeau claims to be a faithful Catholic. Archbishop Smith also questioned Mr. Trudeau's knowledge of the legal status of abortion. "He bases his self-defence on the belief that the right to an abortion is protected in this country by our Constitution. This is wrong. There is no constitutional right to abortion in Canada."

In his diocesan website, Calgary Bishop Fred Henry labelled Justin Trudeau "tweedledum-dumb" for his Liberal policy pronouncement, and also took a swipe at the leaders of the other two major parties. He said that Prime Minister Stephen Harper and NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair are comparable to "tweedledum and tweedledee", showing little difference in the approach each takes towards the issue of abortion: arguing that Mr. Harper has no intention of opening the debate on abortion (although pro-lifers are welcome in the Conservative Party), and pointing out that Mr. Mulcair has stated that "no NDP MP will ever vote against a woman's right to choose."

Mr. Trudeau said a meeting is being arranged with Archbishop Prendergast. He told the CBC (11 June, 2014) that "I look forward to having a conversation with the bishop where he can explain, if that is the case, his views on that [i.e. that Justin could be denied Communion if he persists in his pro-abortion stance]. Mr. Trudeau is playing verbal games. Archbishop Prendergast is simply upholding Catholic teaching. Mr. Trudeau said in same CBC interview that "I look forward to sitting down with any and all faith leaders to talk about issues that are important to them. But the Liberal Party is unequivocal. We stand up for women's rights". Then he added, "It is not for a room full of predominately male legislators to take away those rights from women." (Some information for this item is from LifeSiteNews, various dates.)
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Publication:Catholic Insight
Geographic Code:1CONT
Date:Jul 1, 2014
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