Here at Saint Peter’s Parish, we recognize the need to spread awareness about the evil of abortion. It is the central moral issue facing Canadians, one that has contributed to the ushering in of a “Culture of Death” in Canadian society. The dignity of the human person demands from everyone, an utmost respect for human life, which begins at conception and ends upon a natural death. This is what our faith teaching tells us and it is with this understanding, that our pro-life effort seeks to make that faith teaching known and understood amongst our parish, the greater community of Woodbridge, adjacent communities and Canada as a whole.
In Canada, abortion was ushered in by the House of Commons in 1969, under the leadership of our late former Prime Minister Pierre Elliot Trudeau, with the infamous Omnibus Bill C-150 Criminal Law Amendment Act. For the first time in Canada, this document introduced the creation of Therapeutic Abortion Committees in hospitals, who arbitrarily decided when “therapeutic abortions” were deemed necessary.
The allowance of abortions in hospitals became the launching pad, for some in the medical community, to consider and promote abortions at a greater rate and with greater availability. In 1988, Canada’s most infamous doctor, Dr. Henry Morgan taler’s put forth a successful legal challenge that prompted the Supreme Court of Canada’s to declare the abortion provision in the Criminal Code of Canada was unconstitutional, as it “violated a woman’s right under section 7 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms to security of person.” Ever since this ruling, there have been no laws regulating abortion in Canada, it has become available on demand. As a direct result of the above noted ruling, abortion facilities have opened up throughout Canada. Many if not all of the abortion facilities have renamed their facilities with deceptive titles, such as “clinics,” or “Women’s Health Care Center,” or “Family Planning Centers” and others. For a more detailed look at the laws in Canadian society that have changed and ushered in a “Culture of Death,” please visit Campaign Life Coalition’s listing, Milestones in Canadian history affecting sanctity of life, family and faith.
Church teaching on abortion
Our Catholic faith is very specific about abortion: it is the killing of a developing human being and a lack of respect for human life. Two key sources of information that provide further details and elaborate on this are: the Catechism of the Catholic Church and the encyclical Evangelium vitae written by Blessed Pope John Paul II.
Catechism of the Catholic Church
The Catechism of the Catholic Church, specifically states at Article 5 The Fifth Commandment, under the section of Respect For Human Life, “…Scripture specifies the prohibition contained in the fifth commandment: Do not slay the innocent and the righteous.” The deliberate murder of an innocent person is gravely contrary to the dignity of the human being, to the golden rule, and to the holiness of the Creator. The law forbidding it is universally valid: it obliges each and everyone, always and everywhere.” (2261) In the Sermon on the Mount, the Lord recalls the commandment, “You shall not kill” (2262)
Evangelium vitae (Gospel of Life)
Blessed Pope John Paul II in 1995 issued the encyclical, Evangelium vitae (The Gospel of Life). This document deals with many aspects of the gift of life and the threats to it. At Chapter III – You Shall Not Kill, Pope John Paul II makes clear the sacredness of human life by introducing and elaborating on God’s law of, “thou shall not kill.” Further in this chapter, the late pontiff specifically deals with the evil of abortion in a dedicated way at sections 58-62. Below is an excerpt:
But today, in many people’s consciences, the perception of its gravity has become progressively obscured. The acceptance of abortion in the popular mind, in behaviour and even in law itself, is a telling sign of an extremely dangerous crisis of the moral sense, which is becoming more and more incapable of distinguishing between good and evil, even when the fundamental right to life is at stake. Given such a grave situation, we need now more than ever to have the courage to look the truth in the eye and to call things by their proper name, without yielding to convenient compromises or to the temptation of self-deception. In this regard the reproach of the Prophet is extremely straightforward: “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness” (Is 5:20). Especially in the case of abortion there is a widespread use of ambiguous terminology, such as “interruption of pregnancy“, which tends to hide abortion’s true nature and to attenuate its seriousness in public opinion. Perhaps this linguistic phenomenon is itself a symptom of an uneasiness of conscience. But no word has the power to change the reality of things: procured abortion is the deliberate and direct killing, by whatever means it is carried out, of a human being in the initial phase of his or her existence, extending from conception to birth. (EV, 58)
In the above noted document, Blessed Pope John Paul II mentions the “culture of death,” which refers to the societal attitudes and the “structures of sin” that encourage and promote abortion and accommodate its availability. The culture of death, is not specific to abortion, but also includes euthanasia, suicide, the death penalty, human embryo research and all threats to the value and inviolability of human life.
Blessed Pope John Paul II continues in the document with a focus on responsibility. Women are not be considered solely responsible for an abortion, as responsibility also rests on the father. Not only when he directly pressures the woman to have an abortion, but also in an indirect way when the father abandons the mother to deal with the issue of an unwanted pregnancy. (EV, 59) There is also the pressure that can come from a wider circle of family and friends, which place a psychological pressure to abort. The immoral advice given by medical professionals and their availability to perform and provide an abortion is in direct violation of the skills and gifts they were given, which are to be placed at the service of life. (EV, 59) A general and no less responsibility also rests with those who promote promiscuity and sexual permissiveness as well as to those who did not effectively ensure family and social policies in support of families, especially larger families and those with particular financial and educational needs. On a more grand scale, there is also the responsibility of international institutions, foundations and associations which, “systematically campaign for the legalization and spread of abortion.” (EV, 59)
We encourage everyone to read Evangelium vitae, and fully discover the truth about human life and the threats to it. May you always be encouraged to seek the truth, one that is not to be compromised in any way by the culture of death which seeks to dilute, diminish and vanquish it from the minds and consciences of the faithful.
There are many ways to help end abortion in Canada, be it on a political level, at the battle front at an abortion facility, personal campaigns within your community, LifeChain and more. The effort to end abortion can be categorized into three main objectives:
Prayer: Mass, Rosary and Our Lady of Guadalupe
First, we recognize and acknowledge that abortion is a spiritual battle, one that needs to be fought with spiritual weapons. The Mass being the most powerful prayer is an excellent place to begin. Offering up Masses for the unborn is particularly effective. The Rosary is also very effective, as the the second most powerful prayer, next to the Mass. Daily recitation of the Rosary is highly recommended for the sake of the unborn! Heartfelt personal prayers are also a powerful weapon!
Novena prayers to Our Lady of Guadalupe, Protectress of the Unborn are a special intercession to the Blessed Virgin Mary to help the unborn. Our Lady of Guadalupe was invoked by Blessed Pope John Paul II to help the unborn on January 23rd, 1999 during his homily from the Solemn Mass at the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe, his third visit to the sanctuary. He declared the date of December the 12th as a Liturgical Holy Day for the whole continent of North America and it was during this same visit that he entrusted the cause of life to the loving protection of Our Lady Of Guadalupe and placed under her motherly care the innocent lives of children, especially those who are in danger of not being born. Prayers to Our Lady of Guadalupe can be found at the following link, www.sancta.org/prayers.html
Virtuous Living: Chastity
Today’s Canadian society glamourizes sexual intercourse with the visual stimulate in videos, films, television, print mediums and other forms. It is a clear symptom of the problem we are facing in Canada, the problem of immorality. To help counter the main stream openness to such immorality, we have included information on chastity, living a virtuous life.
Certainly, one of the ways to help prevent a crisis pregnancy is to promote chaste living. Canada’s secular culture rejects moral teaching from the Church. As a result, many young people do not know what the faith teaches about sexual ethics and chastity. This coupled with the high level of sexual content in the mainstream media, leads many people to live promiscuous lives, which for some results in crisis pregnancies and subsequent abortions. It seems only fitting that in Canada’s culture of death, we highlight and encourage how important it is to live a life of chastity.
Let us first begin to clearly understand what exactly is the virtue of chastity? When one thinks of chastity, too often it reflects a narrow definition of abstaining from sexual activity. This definition is very narrow indeed, for it does not include the requirement and responsibility of living a life of purity in mind and heart! When we speak of chastity, we must not limit it to the body, but extend it to our thoughts, desires and hearts. Jesus confirmed this by saying, “But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this is what defiles. For out of the heart come evil intentions, murder, adultery, fornication, theft, false witness, slander.” (Mt 15:18, 19) Therefore, chastity of the body is a call of chastity of the mind and heart, an interior purity.
The sacrament of Baptism consecrates the body, making it a temple of the living God and a member of Christ, therefore every Christian has the duty of respecting his or her body. It is a duty which demands the virtue of chastity, according to his or her state of life. Saint Paul in his first letter to the Corinthians states, “Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you. If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy that person. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.” (1Cor 3:16,17) Outside of marriage, absolute continence is demanded without distinction. Conjugal chastity limits marital pleasure to the ends of marriage itself. Chastity frees us from the slavery of our senses and moderates their use. Chastity is not restricted to those who are consecrated to God, but is a serious obligation for every Christian, both single and married individuals. The Catechism of the Catholic Church defines chastity as:
…the successful integration of sexuality within the person and thus the inner unity of man in his bodily and spiritual being. Sexuality, in which man’s belonging to the bodily and biological world is expressed, becomes personal and truly human when it is integrated into the relationship of one person to another, in the complete and lifelong mutual gift of a man and a woman. The virtue of chastity therefore involves the integrity of the person and the integrality of the gift. (2337)
To remain faithful to our baptismal promises and resist temptations can be quite a struggle, a life long one, but as the Catechism of the Catholic Church states, there are means available to combat all that one encounters: self knowledge, the practice of ascesis or self discipline when confronted with situations, obedience’s to God’s commandments, exercise of moral virtues and fidelity to prayer. (2340) We encourage everyone to employ these available weapons, to live a chaste and virtuous life and to pray for chastity, as chastity is a “gift from God, a grace, a fruit of spiritual effort.” (2345)
Education: Theology of The Body & Love and Responsibility
In addition to the Church Teaching section on this page, our fraternity has selected two key sources of information from Blessed Pope John Paul II, as part of the educational aspect of preventing abortion. The first is Theology of The Body and the second, Love and Responsibility, both of which are fundamental readings that go to the root of understanding one’s body, sexual ethics and morality.
Theology of The Body is a book of complied catechesis from Blessed Pope John Paul II, delivered during his Wednesday audiences over a period of five years. These general audiences introduced the faithful to the complete understanding of the human body and it’s significance in God’s divine plan for humanity.This, the most important catechetical project of his pontificate began on September 5th, 1979 and ended on November 24, 1984, when he delivered the 129th and final address in the catechesis he gave the working title, “theology of the body.”
You might be asking yourself, what does this have to do with abortion? Abortion is the killing of a human being, an unwanted pregnancy, a pregnancy that occurred most likely without an understanding of the body and the significance of the God given gift of life, available to us in the sexual act. Theology of the Body explains this in detail. Blessed Pope John Paul II attempts to help men and women understand, live and experience their bodies as “a manifestation of divine beauty.” This is the goal of his entire catechesis. The body not only speaks to the mystery of man, but also the mystery of God. The body is a theology.
Blessed Pope John Paul II’s experience in the field of sexual ethics goes back well before he began his Theology of the Body catechesis. In the late 1950’s, based on years of intense pastoral work with young people, engaged and married couples, then Father Karol Wojtyla wrote his now famous book, Love and Responsibility. It is a philosophical treatise scrutinizing the way men and women experience the sexual urge, emotion, sensuality, shame, etc., and shows how these can be integrated with an “education of love.” One of the key points made is the failure to accept “responsibility for love”, which turns people into objects, giving them a utilitarian value, to be used as a means of self gratification. Further, he convincingly demonstrates that Catholic moral teaching on sex and marriage corresponds perfectly with the dignity of the person and the desires of the heart for betrothed love.
Assistance for crisis pregnancy and post abortion healing
If you or some one you know is facing a crisis pregnancy, there is help available, there is an alternative to having an abortion. Below is information on taking that first step.
The Sisters of Life, a contemplative/active religious community dedicated to protecting and advancing a sense of the sacredness of all human life, offers support for pregnant women:
Please give the Sisters a call. You will be welcomed for who you are, and where you are at. The Sisters of Life will do their best to walk with you until you are in a safe place:
Locations of Visitation Mission in Toronto:
Hope and Healing After an Abortion
At the Sisters of Life Community, reverence and gratitude for the unique and unrepeatable gift of each human life made in the image and likeness of God fuels the prayer of each Sister. It is their first mission to build up the Kingdom of God and a “Culture of Life.” The Sisters of Life also provide a post abortion healing program. Please visit their Hope and Healing After Abortion page for further information.