OTTAWA, May 11, 2012 ( – At the March for Life 2012 Mass celebrated in Ottawa’s Notre Dame Cathedral yesterday, Archbishop Terrence Prendergast welcomed the enthusiastic and standing-room-only crowd before launching into a homily dissecting the “my body, my choice” slogan, arguing that it espouses “a false sense of personhood.”

“Today as a culture here in Canada we tend to prize our individuality as a false sense of autonomy over relationships, community engagement and duty. In the abortion debate, individual autonomy is often at the core of discussion,” the archbishop pointed out.

“You’ve heard the slogan ‘my body, my choice’ offered as a discussion ending argument. But this is a false sense of personhood.


“God made us for relationships within and with one another. Our choices affect not only our lives, but also those of our family, our friends and the larger community. Our decisions have an impact beyond the limits of our own bodies, our own selves.”

Archbishop Prendergast quoted the great Catholic social activist Dorothy Day who said, “We have all known the long loneliness and we have learned that the only solution is love, and that love comes with community.”

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Archbishop Prendergast expanded on this theme, explaining, “The true measure of personhood is not the degree of our autonomy; the true measure is our service, in love to God, found in the needs of our neighbour.”

“Who is our neighbour?” the archbishop asked: “the poor, the marginalized, the suffering, the defenceless, and yes, even those invisible in the womb.”

“To be a fully actualized human being is not to be autonomous. Rather, to be fully human is to be in communion with God and our sisters and brothers in the mystical body of Christ. We are not made to be solitary individuals. We are made to be individuals in solidarity with God and with each other.”

Echoing the theme of this year’s March for Life, Abortion Hurts Everyone, the archbishop stated that pro-lifers must stand against the false idea that killing one’s child is a private matter.

“And so today,” Archbishop Prendergast concluded, “we understand that we need to challenge the false idea that abortion is merely a private and personal decision. The truth is that abortion hurts everyone, the developing child in the womb, the mother, the father, the extended family, and even our culture here in Canada.”