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Joseph Paul Borowski: he would not be silent.

The obituaries were respectful. "Borowski never gave up on anti-abortion crusade," said the Winnipeg Free Press headline (Sept. 28, 1996) "He was no ordinary Joe," stated the Winnipeg Sun. The WFP spoke of his "courage and conviction," the Sun of Joe as "outspoken, flamboyant, stubborn and a man of principle." Elsewhere in Canada the daily papers printed versions of the Canadian Press story out of Winnipeg which stuck to the facts. And these facts were impressive: an intense, twenty-year-long struggle in defence of the unborn; stepping down as a Cabinet Minister; going to jail half a dozen times for passive, peaceful resistance to evil decisions and actions; enduring an 80-day hunger strike in 1981; and conducting an eleven-year court battle against overwhelming odds for which he had to raise $850,000. Joe would not be silent.

Spiritual ruin

The obituaries were respectful, yes. But did they denote a better understanding of Joe's cause now that he is dead? Alas, how could that be when

these same editors continue to regard Henry Morgentaler as a hero, one who is said to have liberated Canadian women and men from anachronistic customs in the quest of which he has personally extinguished some 200,000 human lives?

"But how can you recite my commandments and take my covenant on your lips, you who despise my law and throw my words to the winds" (Ps 50).

Joe helped all of us to recognize this "liberation" for what it was, a rejection of "thou shalt not kill," a blasphemy against God's law which now, 27 years later, has left Canada's spiritual/cultural house in ruins. In all areas of life, people are desperately trying to shore up moral foundations washed away by the tidal wave of permissiveness, but doing so without success. As the prophet Haggai proclaimed:

You have sown much,

but have brought in little;

You have eaten,

but have not been satisfied;

You have drunk,

but have not been exhilarated;

You have clothed yourselves,

but not been warmed;

And he who earned wages earned them for a bag with holes in it.

For what cause? says the Lord of hosts.

Because my house lies in ruins, while each of you hurries to his own house.

(Chap. 1)

Being a Catholic

Joe -- and he always wanted to be called Joe -- was the embodiment of Catholic traditionalism, anachronistic to some, out of date it seemed, but a man who believed not just that God exists, but that He rules our daily life.

In December 1967 Federal Justice Minister Pierre Trudeau, a "friend" of Morgentaler's as he said years later, and apparently a Catholic Deist, explained that God is not concerned with Canadian politics. God exists, but He only exists in the heavens. By 1969 Mr. Trudeau had legalized contraceptives, divorce, homosexuality in private, and the killing of the unborn. It was the most dishonourable political conduct ever seen in this country. Today almost two million Canadian babies have been murdered in their mother's womb.

To Joe all this was incomprehensible except in terms of the power of sin. He did what his Catholic faith commanded him to do, to give witness to Christ in his daily life. He did it with courage and conviction. "Let him praise the name of the Lord, for He alone is exalted" (Ps 148).

Contrary to the press image of being a "firebrand," Joe was soft-spoken. He was so immersed in his cause, learning as he went along that he became eloquent as a speaker, needing no notes. While moral theologians squirmed in their studies and politicians obfuscated even themselves, while magistrates strained at gnats and swallowed camels, and physicians sold their birthright, Joe kept a clear conscience and therefore a clear mind.

In the end Joe was to suffer a bitter disappointment. There were only two choices, he confided. One was revolution; the other was trying to change the law. If only he could show that science proves that human life begins at conception and not at birth, surely it would turn the tide.

So medical scientists, the best in the world, came to the Regina court room. Their testimony was reported throughout Canada. But it did not good. Judge Matheson waited two years before giving his judgement. Yes, he said in 1985, it is human life; yes, it is a separate being from the mother. But Canadian law does not recognize it as a human person, does not give "it" legal protection, and there is nothing in the Charter of Rights to say otherwise.

Only with the 1989 Supreme Court's refusal to hear his case did Joe grasp that abortion is no longer subject to human reason but only to the human will.

As a man of prayer, he survived the shock. Going to Mass daily, reading the Scriptures, saying the rosary preserved his humour and overcame his dejection. Always a man faith, he surrendered his will to God's wisdom. As for the evil he fought so valiantly, he is now beyond it, indeed has conquered it.

Requiescat in pace. May he rest in peace.
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Publication:Catholic Insight
Article Type:Obituary
Date:Nov 1, 1996
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