Cardinal slams attacks on freedom of speech day after Ontario bans pro-life witness
TORONTO, Ontario, October 27, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — Cardinal Thomas Collins denounced what he called the “intolerance of tolerance” a day after Ontario’s legislators passed a bill criminalizing pro-life speech and expression outside abortion clinics.
Collins, addressing more than 1,700 attendees at the annual Cardinal's Dinner in downtown Toronto on October 26, said that such intolerance results in a society “in which the free and respectful exchange of differing ideas, upon which a healthy society depends, is abruptly terminated with the excuse that we are all too fragile, like snowflakes, to engage in a courteous encounter with viewpoints that differ from our own.”
Present in the audience was Ontario Liberal Premier Kathleen Wynne, whose party spearheaded the bill.
The Liberal Bill 163, passed October 25, outlaws all pro-life activity — including sidewalk counseling and showing “disapproval” of abortion — within 50 meters of Ontario’s eight abortion centers, a distance that can be increased to 150 meters on request. The bill also allows hospitals, pharmacies, and healthcare facilities that perform abortions, including providing the abortion pill, to apply for “bubble zones” banning all pro-life activity of up to 150 meters.
Collins, Archbishop of Toronto, said that “intolerance of tolerance” makes society “poorer.”
"Our society is poorer for that, as is our capacity to live together and learn from one another as mature adults," he said.
Elsewhere in his speech, the Cardinal reflected on the “cold shadow of euthanasia” that is “spreading through the land” after Canada passed legislation governing the practice last year.
He called it “fundamentally wrong” for someone, such as a doctor, to take the life of another person, such as a patient.
“A reflection upon our limited supply of time reminds us that we are not masters, but only stewards, of our own lives. We do not own other people’s lives, and we do not own the life entrusted to each of us. Because we do not own human life, ours or another’s, we have no right to take another person’s life, and we do not have the right to take our own life,” he said.
“Sometimes people do that, in a moment of passion or despair, and moral culpability may well be limited in those cases. But it is fundamentally wrong to take another person’s life or to take our own life, calmly and freely with full awareness and determination. We must not take what does not belong to us,” he continued.
“Human life must be respected, from the first moment of conception until natural death, when each of us returns to the home of the Master. In other words, no one has the right to play God. We are only stewards, not the Master,” he added.
Editor’s note: Read Cardinal’s full address here.
His Eminence, Thomas Cardinal Collins
Archbishop of Toronto
e-mail: [email protected]
1155 Yonge Street
Toronto ON. M4T 1W2
Phone: 416-934-0606, ext. 609