By John-Henry Westen

COLF LogoOTTAWA, January 4, 2006 ( – The Catholic Organization for Life and Family (COLF), an autonomous organization founded and supported by the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Knights of Columbus yesterday published an open letter to Catholics regarding the upcoming federal election.Â

Topping the list of considerations for Catholic voters are life and family concerns. “As we prepare to elect a new government, we must determine the position of candidates on the first of all human rights: the right to life,” says the document.Â

Under ‘Life’, the first consideration mentioned, COLF notes, “At this time in the history of Canada, a realistic look at society reveals a fundamental problem – the loss of respect for human life and dignity. This is evident in so many ways: the legal void that permits abortion right up to birth; medical research that authorizes the destruction of embryos; a mentality that increasingly favours euthanasia and assisted suicide.” COLF also notes violence, abuse of women and children, prostitution, pornography and drugs, contribute to the loss of respect for human life and dignity.

Explaining the primacy of the right to life as an election concern, the document states: “If this is not respected, should we be surprised that other rights will sooner or later be threatened?”

The COLF document reflects the political priorities mentioned in the 2002 Vatican document “Catholics in Political Life” which was signed by the current Pope while he was still the Cardinal prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. (see that document here: )

Under ‘family’, COLF notes that the family in Canada is “under attack” from the redefinition of marriage. The document notably calls attention not only to the marriage legislation but also warns that we must ensure that schools respect the traditional definition of marriage “by not proposing a conflicting vision to our children.”

Under political family concerns, the document also notes that the state must support families in having children, always remembering that parents, not the state, are the primary decision makers for their children.“It is our responsibility to demand that the next government develop policies to support married couples who are ensuring the survival of society by giving birth to new citizens and raising them in the most stable environment,” says COLF.“We should also remember that the family, as the vital social unit, is not at the service of the state; rather, the state should be at the service of the family. Following the principle of subsidiarity, the state is to respect the rights of the family and, through fiscal and social policies, help it to fulfill its duties, including the raising of children.”

The document stresses the need for Catholics to consider freedom of expression when placing their vote. It warns that there is “a phenomenon that is increasing in Canadian society” which is an “aggressive secular ideology (that) refuses religion the right to exist in the public square.”

See the full COLF open letter to Canadian Catholics: