Canada's greatest treasure - its people
Message from the Catholic Organization for Life and Family on the occasion of the National March for Life
Ottawa – May 11, 2006
Demographers have told us: the current birth rate – 1.5 children per woman of child-bearing age – cannot maintain the Canadian population at its present levels. Economists have warned us: the aging of the population will result in socio-economic problems at the younger generations’ expense. Scientists have confirmed it: abortion can cause sterility.
It is therefore not surprising that the organizers of the ninth National March for Life are declaring this year that “Abortion is killing Canada’s future”. On the occasion of this event, the Catholic Organization for Life and Family calls Canadians to recognize that our country’s greatest treasure is its people.
In light of this, how can we help but wonder what drives society to promote abortion? Many women, deprived of any support, see no other solutions. The difficult situations in which they find themselves present a series of invitations to the state and civil society, of which we are all members:
- An invitation to offer young people a vision of love that is worthy of their humanity – a love that is chaste and faithful – so they know that the favoured context for welcoming new life is parenthood that is rooted in marriage;
- An invitation to help them discover the fullness of human love according to God’s plan; a love that does not see sex as a commodity, but becomes “concern and care for the other. No longer is it self-seeking (…), instead it seeks the good of the beloved: it becomes renunciation and it is ready, and even willing, for sacrifice.”[i]
- An invitation to rediscover the greatness of responsible motherhood and fatherhood, and to promote the beauty of the role of parents and of raising a child; to recognize the immense personal and social value of the work performed by a parent who chooses to stay home to educate young children;
- An invitation also to offer to women, who generally take on this responsibility, the chance to be fulfilled professionally without having to give up their role as mothers – a change that involves a radical transformation of many social and corporate attitudes;
- An invitation once again to demand and develop effective family policies that support a rising birth rate, and also fiscal and social measures that would allow parents to assume their role as the primary caregivers for their children — a dream for so many young families! ;
- An invitation, finally, to increase initiatives and services to help pregnant women who are in difficult circumstances.
The serious demographic challenge facing Canada requires decisive action in favour of couples and families. As Pope Jean Paul II wrote in Evangelium Vitae this action would begin with resistance to those who:
“try to justify abortion by claiming that the result of conception, at least up to a certain number of days, cannot yet be considered a personal human life. But in fact, “from the time that the ovum is fertilized, a life is begun which is neither that of the father nor the mother; it is rather the life of a new human being with his own growth. It would never be made human if it were not human already. This has always been clear, and … modern genetic science offers clear confirmation. It has demonstrated that from the first instant there is established the programme of what this living being will be: a person, this individual person with his characteristic aspects already well determined.”[ii]
Together we must take up the challenge of life, beginning with changing our view of the child to be born. Rather than being a threat, this child is a rich resource and a promise: a promise for the future. We must encourage generous couples who would like to give three, four or five children to Canadian society.
However, this will not happen without an active commitment on the part of those who believe in life and who choose to welcome it and to help it blossom daily, from its earliest moments until it ends naturally.
This joint civic responsibility rests on everyone’s shoulders. That is why it is important to march for life. Being witnesses in this way of the inalienable worth and sacred nature of all life – even amidst great suffering – is to contribute to humanizing Canadian society so that it may become capable of always welcoming the new lives that guarantee our country’s future.
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