CCCB Letter to the Prime Minister Regarding the Governor-General

Monday, January 15 2001

The Right Honourable Jean Chrétien
Prime Minister of Canada
House of Commons
Ottawa, ON
K1A 0A6

Dear Mr. Prime Minister:

At the request of Most Reverend Gerald Wiesner, OMI, President of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, I am forwarding the enclosed copies in English and French of his letter also dated today to Her Excellency Adrienne Clarkson, Governor General of Canada.

As you will note, the President of the Canadian Episcopal Conference finds it most regrettable for the office of the Governor General to have issued a message of congratulations on the occasion of a service held 14 January 2001 in Toronto purportedly to recognize two single-sex relationships as legal marriages.

Canadians should be able to expect the Governor General to respect and uphold their basic values and laws. However, this controversial action by the office of the Governor General offends most faiths, almost all of which believe that marriage by definition is the sacred union of a man and a woman, and is also at odds with Canadian civil and legal tradition, including the overwhelming vote in 1999 by the House of Commons to reaffirm this definition of marriage and its subsequent inclusion last year in the preamble to the Modernization of Benefits and Obligations Act. Accordingly, instead of furthering the unity of the country and being above politics, this gesture in the name of the Governor General will be perceived as divisive and political.

In forwarding to you these concerns, Mr. Prime Minister, I have also been asked by Bishop Wiesner to convey to you his best wishes as this new year begins, to which I also add my own regards.

Sincerely in Our Lord,

Msgr. Peter Schonenbach, PH
General Secretary