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Catholic teachers’ union urges Canadian gov’t to promote ‘access to abortion’
TORONTO, February 15, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — The president of Ontario’s Catholic teachers’ union has put her name to a letter addressed to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau demanding that he ensure “access to abortion” for Canadian women.
The January 25 letter, created by Canadian Feminist Alliance for International Action, asks Trudeau to “implement, fully and without delay, the recommendations of the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women [CEDAW].”
In the letter’s summary of CEDAW’s recommendations that cover what the feminist authors call a “wide range of issues crucial to women’s advancement” is “access to abortion.”
Near the end of the letter under the header « Supported and endorsed by” is the name “Ontario English Catholic Teachers’ Association” (OECTA).
OECTA’s president Ann Hawkins is further listed as an “individual” who specifically endorsed the letter. Hawkins, who became OECTA president for a two-year term in 2015, is described on the union’s website as “passionate” about women’s issues and human rights.
States the letter: “The Government raised the spirits of Canadian women by declaring itself feminist and embracing equality for women as a core value…We now look to you to begin the hard and detailed work of improving Canada’s record and introducing concrete measures that will make equality for women a reality.”
The Liberal government under Trudeau’s leadership is pro-abortion.
The Catholic Church calls abortion a “moral evil” since it is the “deliberate murder of an innocent person.” The fifth commandment “forbids direct and intentional killing as gravely sinful. The murderer and those who cooperate voluntarily in murder commit a sin that cries out to heaven for vengeance,” states the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
The president of Canada’s leading pro-life organization called OECTA’s backing of the letter “appalling.”
“It is pretty appalling that this Catholic organization now supports abortion,” Campaign Life Coalition’s Jim Hughes told LifeSiteNews.
“Unfortunately, nothing that comes from OECTA surprises me anymore, but I am terribly disappointed that they have taken this position,” he added.
The Catholic teachers union, representing about 45,000 members, has a lengthy history using its political clout to advocate for causes and positions contrary to Catholic teachings.
It has endorsed and participated in the pro-abortion Women’s March. It has campaigned for pro-abortion political candidates. It has marched in Toronto’s homosexual Pride Parade. It has encouraged its members to attend the Peoples Social Forum, a political networking conference characterized by Marxist, anti-Israel, and pro-LGBTQ activism. It has thrown its weight behind the province’s pro-homosexual sexual education program.
LifeSiteNews reached out to OECTA president Hawkins by phone asking about the union’s support for abortion, but did not receive a response by press time.
Hughes said that he has asked members of the Catholic hierarchy in Ontario to do something about OECTA’s public dissent from Catholic teaching, but with little results.
In 2014 Thunder Bay Bishop Fred Colli joined Cardinal Collins in gcriticizing OECTA for marching in Toronto’s WorldPride parade. Colli said it caused “confusion,” while Collins said it showed an “inadequate and mistaken understanding of their faith.”
But Hughes said more concrete action is needed.
“What we need is somebody like the former Bishop of Calgary Fred Henry. When asked if he would apologize for calling the province’s new LGBTQ guidelines ‘totalitarian’ and ‘anti-Catholic,’ Henry said, ‘That’s simply not going to happen.’ He defended Catholic schools by making a strong statement and then standing by it. We need more of that,” Hughes said.
Feminist group’s letter to Prime Minister Trudeau with OECTA’s endorsement
Mobile users click here to view Feminist group’s letter.
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Albany bishop takes Catholic politicians to task for protesting with Planned Parenthood supporters
ALBANY, New York, February 17, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — The Diocese of Albany has blasted three Catholic politicians who publicly rallied in support of Planned Parenthood.
Bishop Edward Scharfenberger noted that defending Planned Parenthood because the abortion giant provides some morally unobjectionable services for women “is not unlike saying that a man who beats his wife sometimes gives her flowers.”
“Planned Parenthood is the unquestioned number one provider of abortions in our country. This is the primary ‘product’ for which it is known,” the bishop wrote in a February 13 statement.
Scharfenberger released his statement after the annual February 11 and 12 #ProtestPP weekend in which pro-lifers demonstrated outside 220 Planned Parenthood (PP) facilities across the country.
In Albany, three Catholic politicians took part in a pro-Planned Parenthood counter-protest and “not only participated but spoke passionately on behalf of maintaining” public funding for the abortion provider, Scharfenberger wrote.
He did not name the politicians, but Church Militant identified them as Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan, U.S. Rep. Paul Tonko and state Assemblywoman Patricia Fahy.
Scharfenberger asserted that anyone, and particularly any politician, who points Planned Parenthood’s other services in order to “gloss over or ignore the core issue of whether or not taxpayers should be funding the world’s largest abortion business,” is “engaging in obfuscation that is, at best, confused and, at worst, dishonest.”
And “when such individuals publicly hold themselves out to be Catholic, their local bishop has a responsibility to offer correction, both for the well-being of the individuals’ souls and to avoid scandal among the Catholic faithful,” he added.
The bishop noted that “while any judgment of these individuals’ hearts or souls is left only to God, I am entrusted with the solemn duty of reminding them of the unambiguous teaching of our faith on the matter of abortion.”
Abortion “is not healthcare,” he pointed out.
“It is the intentional killing of a unique human person in his or her mother’s womb. This is a scientific fact that has nothing at all to do with religion or religious belief,” Scharfenberg stated.
“Consistent with this scientific fact, the Catholic Church clearly teaches the objective truth that abortion is a grave moral evil, and that material cooperation in abortion is a mortal sin.”
The bishop noted he had a duty to inform the Catholic politicians that “it is inappropriate and confusing to the faithful to hold yourself out publicly as a Catholic while also promoting abortion.”
Scharfenberger challenged them “to embrace the Gospel of Life and to renounce their public support for Planned Parenthood.”
“My prayer is that these and other elected officials will come to see the truth that abortion harms women and babies, and that they courageously fight to defend the right to life of every human person from the moment of conception until natural death.”
The Brooklyn-born Scharfenberger was educated in Rome, is both a canon and civil lawyer, and had been pastor for 12 years of St. Matthias, a parish in a hardscrabble district in Queens, when Pope Francis appointed him bishop of Albany at age 65 in 2014.
Two months after being installed as bishop, Scharfenberger led 1,000 people in a June 2014 Rosary Walk for Life around New York’s state capitol.
The eldest of five, Scharfenberger told LifeSiteNews at the time that he did so “because the issue was important. They invited me and so I joined. It was wonderful to participate in this.”
Sheehan, one of the pro-abortion Catholic politicians, served as the diocese’s communications director under Scharfenberger’s immediate predecessor, Bishop Howard Hubbard.
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