By Thaddeus M. Baklinski and John Jalsevac
ST. CATHERINES, Ontario, December 1, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) - In a recent interview published in the diocesan newsletter, St. Catherine's Bishop James Wingle emphatically stressed the importance of the life issues, issuing a powerful clarion call for Catholics to become more involved in the fight for the dignity of all human life by participating in such events as the annual March for Life and Life Chain.
"We cannot afford to sit on the sidelines of these great life issues as if they did not concern us," said the bishop, who warned against what he says are the two biggest obstacles with respect to regard for life: "indifference" and a "defeatist attitude."
He lamented the fact that, "Some people view terms, such as pro-life, as having a more political application and therefore it becomes regarded as something peripheral to living our faith." But on the contrary, "sharper awareness, better education and deeper commitment" on the life issues, "are necessary for each of us and for our culture."
In the interview the bishop also responded to what he called "one very sinister element in the attack against life," which is that the Church's position in defense of the dignity of human life is "always painted as being negative or being against something."
Instead, he said, "What we are proclaiming here is the gospel of life; it is good news."
The bishop noted that this "good news" is nowhere more evident than in the "generosity, happiness, and beauty of families with many children," which are "a powerful witness."
"Also at the other end of life," he observed, "seeing elderly people treasured, respected and appreciated by their families - these are good news stories."
The bishop pointed out, however, there are enormous obstacles to be overcome in promoting the dignity of life, one of which is "the lack of unity in efforts of defense of life."
"We have the media's portrayal of conscientious witness as the work of a few extremists or a political fringe," he said. "The media does a horrendous disservice to society and to the commitment to value life by either ignoring or attempting to marginalize prayerful and respectful demonstrations."
Nevertheless, he said, "We must ... continue to help people see and understand the horror of killing an unborn child or an elderly person and understand it for what it is, with the cloaks off and the camouflages taken away. Then natural revulsion to killing moves us to act."
The bishop said that he became personally acquainted with the horror of abortion while counseling post-abortive women. "For any woman to violate what is most sacred in herself is simply devastating because it is a given in nature itself that she is the protector of life, the place where life is engendered and fostered," he said. "But, of course, many others have failed to support these women and to realize their role in protecting the life they carry within their bodies."
Bishop Wingle also spoke of the benefits of a greater involvement in initiatives like Life Chain and the March for Life in the movement away from the "dominant values of our culture," which the bishop sees to be "hedonism, selfishness and individualism," and towards a culture of life.
"The focus of these kinds of activities," the bishop explained, "should be understood as not simply negative or against something, but rather for family, for God, for life."
"Thousands and thousands of people gather to witness for life every spring in Ottawa, and every October across Canada (in Life Chain) and the media ignores it."
"If we could get families, parishes, schools to appreciate that this is something highly significant and a great moral witness as well as a great opportunity for education and even a chance to celebrate life together, perhaps we could change more minds," Bishop Wingle concluded.
(To read the complete interview, click here)