In Canada, as in America and elsewhere, Catholic political leaders ignore the teachings of the Church

By:

Americans disgusted with their own politicians who identify themselves as Catholic but support legal abortion should look next door.

Canada just reelected Prime Minister Justin Trudeau as chief of its government. He defeated Erin O’Toole, in a robustly open, democratic, systematic election on Sept. 20.

The names tell it all. Trudeau, from Montreal, is as French as crepes suzette. O’Toole is as Irish as Paddy’s pig. Both openly say that they belong to the Catholic Church. Both insist that abortion on demand, and for that matter, same-gender marriage, must be lawful in Canada.

Since 1970, when abortion on demand began to be allowed, eight men and one woman have served as prime minister in Canada. Five of them — Pierre Trudeau, the present incumbent’s late father, Brian Mulrooney, Jean Chretien, Paul Martin and now Justin Trudeau — were elected, and served, while professing to be faithful Catholics. These five have dominated Canadian life and molded public policy for a generation. All, without a single exception, supported, or support, abortion politically.

Catholic Americans obviously focus their attention on their own political leaders and demand that bishops in the United States do something, but politicians of this type represent a worldwide problem, and a worldwide scandal, from Argentina to Austria, and it is nothing new, occurring during five consecutive papacies — St. Paul VI, John Paul I, St. John Paul II, Benedict XVI and now Pope Francis. Probably thousands of bishops have seen it, trembling as they see the wider picture.

Impatience with American bishops as they approach their discussion about the Eucharist should be tempered by realizing the global, and historic, scope, and core, of the problem. As Pope Francis said only weeks ago, flying from Slovakia to Rome, abortion, plain and simple, is killing a human being. It is hard to find anything as evil.

The conduct of these politicians reveals, however, more insidious problems confronting not only traditional morality, the Catholic Church, institutional religion itself, but belief in a higher power.

It is clear. Fewer and fewer people judge themselves by standards beyond, and outside, themselves. “Feelings,” instincts or hunches rule the day.

Second, and consequently, churches of all varieties mean less and less when it comes to defining and applying morality. Churches, and their representatives, are intruders, not welcomed resources.

Third, and inevitably, any notion about God is fuzzy and scattered.

Fourth, does God even exist?

No one can delve deep into the consciences of every politician in this category to have held office in the past half century, but it is not inappropriate in the least to note the harm that they have abetted. Abortion is legal probably in most places in the Western world.

How different things might have been, and might be, if Catholics in public office stood on the principles unambiguously, publicly, often loudly and without pause spoken by the Church to which they say that they adhere!

Again, without belittling abortion, how blessed it also would be if political leaders of Catholic origins pressed for policies that agree with Church understandings of morality, from health care to nuclear weapons.

The final, critical point in this less than happy reflection is that in the major countries, except China and Russia, and in many others, political leaders serve only because people elect them, as, for example, Canada’s prime ministers.

No prime minister has been seated in Canada, ever in its history, without going through the prescribed, constitutional, democratic, free process. Ireland, with its Catholic history, has never known a dictator. Neither has traditionally Catholic Belgium. Voting majorities put advocates for abortion in high office in these places.

Badly needed across humankind is the realization that people made bad judgments, as often as not. People need God. He is there for them.

This article comes to you from Our Sunday Visitor courtesy of your parish or diocese.

 

Catholic News & Perspective

Provides information on the Church, the nation and the world from OSV, America's most popular and trusted national Catholic news source


Recent

The elephant in the room of the bishops’ assembly

Monday, November 29, 2021
By: Msgr. Owen F. Campion A very large elephant was standing in the middle of the room when the American Catholic bishops met in Baltimore in... Read More

Opening the Word: Advent reminds us we are pilgrims

Friday, November 26, 2021
By: Catherine Cavadini “The days are coming, says the Lord, when I will fulfill the promise I made to the house of Israel and Judah”... Read More

Indianapolis to host national Eucharistic Congress in 2024

Wednesday, November 24, 2021
By:  Michael R. Heinlein The U.S. bishops have voted to host the National Eucharistic Congress, slated for July 2024, in Indianapolis. To... Read More

Bishops approve plans for three-year National Eucharistic Revival

Monday, November 22, 2021
By: Carol Zimmermann BALTIMORE (CNS) — The U.S. bishops’ focus on the significance of the Eucharist in the life of the Church... Read More

Opening the Word: Jesus, the king

Friday, November 19, 2021
By: Timothy P. O'Malley Dear readers, this is my last “Opening the Word” column for Our Sunday Visitor. I’m so grateful to have... Read More

Let’s not make gratitude a (forgotten?) trend

Wednesday, November 17, 2021
By: Gretchen R. Crowe Do you remember a time, in the not too distant past, when social media during November was almost synonymous with public... Read More

St. Joseph: A model for discerning the will of God

Monday, November 15, 2021
By: Msgr. Owen F. Campion The Year of St. Joseph soon will end. Catholics have heard about the Lord’s foster father all their lives. He... Read More

Opening the Word: A serious end

Friday, November 12, 2021
By: Timothy P. O'Malley Our Lord reminds us in today’s Gospel that we do not know the day or the hour when the Son of Man will return in... Read More

Let’s reexamine what ordinary should look like

Wednesday, November 10, 2021
By: Scott Warden At the beginning of the year, I made a New Year’s resolution to pray the Rosary every day. Most nights, I’d settle... Read More

The relationship between popes and presidents has a long, important history

Monday, November 8, 2021
By: Msgr. Owen F. Campion President Joe Biden’s meeting with Pope Francis, notwithstanding the awkwardness created by the... Read More

Online Giving

Online Giving

Secure and Convenient Donate now!