VANCOUVER, November 27, 2003 ( – While the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops agency has not asked Catholic politicians to vote against the controversial stem cell Bill C-13, the Bishops of B.C. have explicitly urged MPs to vote against the legislation.

The BC Catholic reported earlier this month that the Bishops of B.C.: Archbishop Adam Exner of Vancouver, Bishop David Monroe of Kamloops, Bishop Eugene Cooney of Nelson, and Bishop Raymond Roussin of Victoria all signed a letter to Members of Parliament in April. Poignantly, the letter argued, “When it comes to killing innocent human beings for the sake of medical research, half-way limiting measures, i.e., beginning a regulated practice through this legislation, will not do. If human beings are somebodies, treating them under any circumstances as mere biological material flagrantly contravenes human dignity. We hope you agree.”

The letter continues, “On humanitarian grounds, therefore, we urge you to vote against Bill C-13.” It concludes, “Human embryos are little somebodies, to be sure. But treating every human being as a somebody is also surely a core principle for any public policy worthy of consideration.”

The letter takes a stronger approach than a CCCB letter issued in October which said, “While Catholic politicians must always seek to protect human life and dignity to the fullest extent possible, there can be legitimate difference on how to achieve this objective. It is, therefore, not our intention to tell Catholic Senators how to vote because it is their responsibility to discern the best way to protect human life and dignity after reflecting on all of the resources available to them. This discernment certainly includes Church teaching, but also the Senators own personal reflections on the political and social realities they face.”

The BC Bishops appear to have followed Vatican direction to bishops to clearly inform politicians of their duty to vote against laws which attack life. The recent Vatican document on Catholics in Political Life said, “John Paul II, continuing the constant teaching of the Church, has reiterated many times that those who are directly involved in lawmaking bodies have a grave and clear obligation to oppose any law that attacks human life. For them, as for every Catholic, it is impossible to promote such laws or to vote for them.”

See the LifeSite coverage of the CCCB statement:

See the Vatican document on Catholics in Political Life:


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