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Ottawa Archbishop Terrence PrendergastJohn-Henry Westen/LifeSiteNews

OTTAWA, May 14, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Canadian Christians who refuse to sign the Liberal government’s pro-abortion attestation to get a summer-jobs grant are following the cross of Christ, said Archbishop Terrence Prendergast of Ottawa.

“I think the pro-life movement and many other Christians today are conscious that we need to affirm our faith, do not be afraid to be bold,” Prendergast told EWTN’s Stephanie Gray at last Thursday’s March for Life in Ottawa.

“And I think it’s a natural thing that comes from our understanding of the cross of Christ and His laying down His life. We want to do that, and so we are not afraid.”

Gray asked the Jesuit archbishop how today’s pro-life movement can learn from the early Christians, many of whom were martyred for the faith.

“I think we’ve run into that in Canada where citizens are saying we’re not going to sign an attestation that says we’re pro-abortion, and if it means losing money, if it means losing status, so be it,” Prendergast said.

“We’re going to be courageous and we’re going to affirm [our faith] and I think other people come and support us,” he added.

On Twitter today, the archbishop called the pro-abortion attestation “government 'bullying.'”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government provoked huge backlash this year by requiring employers sign an attestation supporting abortion and transgender “rights” to receive Canada Summer Job grants.

Upwards of 90 faith leaders signed a letter asking the Liberals to drop the attestation, which they described as an ideological values test they could not sign in good conscience.

Service Canada rejected 1,561 Canada Summer Job applications this year, compared to 126 in 2016, “suggesting that more than 1,400 applications were rejected for protesting the attestation,” the National Post reported in April.

Among the non-profit groups denied summer job grants for not signing the attestation are a summer Bible camp in Alberta, an Ontario farm that provides vacations to poor urban families, a family-run irrigation business in Alberta, and a rural historical museum in Nova Scotia.

Despite the outcry, Trudeau has defended the attestation.

Organizations “that cannot ensure that they will abide by the principles in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms…will not get funding from this government,” he insisted in April when a Tory MP brought up the denial of summer job grants to a farm that provides free vacations to poor families.

“I know the members opposite don’t like that, because it means standing up for women’s rights and reproductive rights,” added Trudeau.

Prendergast earlier debunked Trudeau’s contention abortion is a right under the Charter as “disingenuous” in an Ottawa Sun column in January.

“There are no charter reproductive rights or reproductive freedoms despite the prime minister’s claims,” the archbishop wrote.

“Any Canadian can verify this by reading the Charter of Rights and Freedoms online. Nonetheless, Employment and Social Development Canada can now deny organizations summer job funding if they fail to endorse a non-existent right.”

Prendergast also decried Trudeau’s “confused personal comments” about reconciling his Catholicism with support of abortion on demand, writing it is “logically impossible” for the prime minister to be both Catholic and “pro-abortion.”

Meanwhile, dozens of Catholic organizations are listed on the public record as having received summer job grants. LifeSiteNews is contacting these to confirm whether or not they were aware of the implications of signing the attestation and if they plan on returning the grants.