Written by Deborah Gyapong, Canadian Catholic News
Friday, 11 May 2012 11:29
OTTAWA - Ottawa Archbishop Terrence Prendergast blasted the false sense of personhood that results in abortion on demand in Canada.
“We need to challenge the false idea that abortion is merely a private, personal decision,” the archbishop said in a homily at one of several Masses in conjunction with the National March for Life May 10. “The truth is, abortion hurts everyone — the developing child in the womb, the mother, the father, the extended family, the community and even our culture.
“We need to be witnesses to our God-given dignity as human beings,” he told those who packed Notre Dame Cathedral. “We are created and loved by God from the moment of conception, called into being to be united with God, and to love and serve one another in Christ Jesus.”
Prendergast spoke on the 2012 March’s theme “Abortion Hurts Everyone.”
“In the abortion debate, individual autonomy is often at the core of the discussion,” said the archbishop. “You’ve heard the slogan ‘my body, my choice’ offered as the discussion-ending argument. But this is a false sense of personhood. God made us for relationships — with Him and with one another. Our choices affect not only our own lives, but also those of our family, friends and the larger community, too.”
While Prendergast presided at the bilingual Mass in conjunction with the event, Quebec Archbishop Gerald Cyprien Lacroix, the primate of Canada, celebrated a French-language Mass at Sacré-Coeur parish, while Peterborough Bishop Nicola De Angelis celebrated an English-language Mass at St. Patrick’s Basilica. A non-denominational Christian prayer service was also held at a downtown church.
“Our decisions have an impact beyond the limits of our own bodies,” Prendergast said. “The great Catholic social activist Dorothy Day once remarked, ‘We have all known the long loneliness and we have learned that the only solution is love and that love comes with community.’ ”
At the close of the Mass, Montreal Archbishop Christian Lépine urged those present to be people of love and mercy in their support for life at all stages. He told the story of a woman who had an abortion, despite knowing it was wrong, and tried to convince herself she had only destroyed a clump of cells. She wavered between knowing she had killed her unborn child and experiencing despair, to trying to convince herself otherwise. She needed to encounter the love and mercy of Jesus Christ, he said.
Among other bishops present were Ukrainian Eparchial Bishop Stephen Chmilar of Toronto, Toronto Auxiliary Bishop Thomas McGrattan, Pembroke Bishop Michael Mulhall, Montreal Auxiliary Bishop Thomas Dowd, Sault Ste-Marie Bishop Jean-Louis Plouffe and Valleyfield Bishop Noel Simard.