Priests against Life
“Priests for Life Canada,” one of the heads of the many-headed hydra that comprises the Roman Catholic Church wherever it is found, and which reaches into every area of private and public life in Canada, accompanied the call to election yesterday with a “One Page Flyer” to be distributed in parishes. In it, these Ghouls for Life, whose latest banner case was the prolongation of a dying baby’s life, a story told with scant respect for the truth, and none for compassion for the dying, state their contempt for the Canadian electorate with these words:
The right to life is the right through which all others flow. To the extent candidates reject this fundamental right by supporting an objective evil, such as legal abortion, euthanasia or embryonic stem cell research, Catholics should consider them less acceptable for public office. As faithful citizenship teaches, “Those who knowingly, willingly, and directly support public policies or legislation that undermine fundamental moral principles cooperate with evil”.
Whether a church organisation’s direct involvement in the election by way of propaganda is or is not contrary to Elections Canada rules I do not know, but it illustrates, in the clearest terms, the Roman Catholic insistence on maintaining control over its own people and its desire to impose its rules on everyone else.
The Roman Catholic Church is effectively the representative in this country of a foreign power, and in my opinion should be forbidden from involving itself in Canadian political affairs. It should not be permitted to promote legislative programmes, or to influence the outcome of elections by using its beliefs as a tool for controlling the free decisions of Canadian citizens. For within those words – ”public policies or legislation that undermine fundamental moral principles cooperate with evil” — there lies a potent threat, imposed by the sovereign of a foreign country, of being shut out from communion, and thus excluded from the eternal reward that the church promises to its faithful people. It uses this threat as leverage to see that its primitive moral beliefs, founded on nothing more than the pronouncements of church officials interpreting the traditional teaching of the church with the aim of controlling the lives of its people. It cares not a whit for real people living real lives in real life situations. It pretends to speak with a voice of absolute authority, but there is no absolute authority, and it should be left up to Canadians to shape laws which are interests of all Canadians, and are not dependent on pretended authorities. Catholics are free to understand the sanctity of life as they choose, but they are not free to impose their beliefs on others. Canada is a secular democracy. No one in this country should be held to ransom by beliefs which they do not share. The effort by the Roman Catholic Church to influence the outcome of the election process is anti-democratic, and in the worst traditions of theocracy and paternalism.
It is worthwhile adding to this post the report of a news item which shows how intrusive the Roman Catholic Church truly is, and how it seeks to extend its rule by way of the attempt to force governments to make laws reflective of Roman Catholic moral beliefs. A Reuters report entitled
Vatican tells U.N. that critics of gays under attack
tells the story of Roman Catholic Archbishop Silvano Tomasi’s complaint to the United Nations Human Rights Council (on Tuesday, 22nd March 2011), that
People who criticise gay sexual relations for religious or moral reasons are increasingly being attacked and vilified for their views …
These “attacks”, said the Archbishop, “are contrary to fundamental human rights and cannot be justified under any circumstances.” In saying this he is claiming the right of the church and Christians not to be criticised for their stand on gay sexual relations — a direct challenge to the principle of free speech. While claiming that “the Vatican believed in the inherent dignity of all human beings and condemned all violence against people because of their sexual orientation or behaviour,” he also claimed that states had a duty to regulate certain forms of behaviour, including sexual ones. He failed to explain how gay sexual relations can be “regulated” without doing violence to gay people, and encouraging such violence by others.
The Roman Catholic Church is a morally bankrupt institution, as any institution claiming an absolute basis for morality, and possession of absolute knowledge regarding that basis, must be. It has shown itself irresponsible and unrepentant for the massive violations of the rights and dignity of children, and it continues to refuse to open its archives to examination by public authorities. Yet this is the institution that arrogantly claims the right to teach the rest of us what is and what is not morally acceptable. It is time that they recognised that they are, however large and unwieldy as an institution, only a single voice, and not a vital one, in determining how we should order our lives as a society. It is time that the Roman Catholic Church be recognised for what it is — just another religion, without any more foundation than any others for the claims to truth that it makes with so much pretence and exaggerated piety.