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Cardinal Thomas Collins speaks at the National March for Life in Ottawa on May 10, 2018. Patrick Craine / LifeSiteNews

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Cardinal at March for Life: Pro-life Canadians ‘have a right to a place at the democratic table’

OTTAWA, May 10, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Thomas Cardinal Collins spoke to the March for Life on Parliament Hill today, confirming the crowds in their right to speak up for life in the public square, pointing to signs of hope, and advising pro-lifers how to overcome evil in contemporary society most effectively. 

“It’s wonderful to see everyone here today,” he said. “It’s a place where we come to express our views as citizens of this country.”

Collins, who is the archbishop of Toronto, pointed out that the religious believers of Canada contribute to society and so have the right to speak up.

“We contribute to those who are homeless, those who are in need in this country, and as people of faith who are there when they’re in need,” the Cardinal said.  “And therefore we have a right to a place at the democratic table, and that’s what we’re exercising here on Parliament Hill.” 

A rally on Parliament Hill is the right place to “loudly” express support for life, Collins stated, but also to recognize the “greater struggle”.  

“We are here to loudly and clearly profess our support for life, for the sanctity of life from the first moment of conception to natural death,” he underscored. “These are under great attack in our country, as we know. But we are here also to recognize that this is part of a much greater struggle.”

"...The right to life here in our country must be put in the context of the will of God and of the great struggle … of good against evil,” Collins continued. 

The Cardinal pointed out that political action is one thing, but changing the human heart is another.

“We cannot by our political action make the most profound changes in the human heart that must be made,” he said. “We need to do that by prayer, by love, and by our personal example.”

Collins said he saw hope in the reluctance of activists and lawmakers to state clearly what their death-dealing innovations actually are. 

“I often think there’s a sign of hope when the people who propose these horrible things which have become law, they seem to be a bit ashamed of them — as they should be,” he said. “They cover it over. Abortion becomes ‘terminating a pregnancy.’ Lethal injection becomes ‘medical assistance in dying.’ “

The Cardinal said, to cheers, that this is a sign that “the people who propose these things” recognize “deep in their heart” that they are ashamed of the words. 

“That’s a sign of hope,” he repeated. “We pray that that recognition will go deeper, deeper, deeper.” 

Collins suggested that although Parliament Hill was a suitable place for loud voices, it would be better for the pro-life crowds to march in silence.

“So though ... here on Parliament Hill it’s a place to shout and scream and proclaim our belief strongly,” he acknowledged, “I would suggest … that then we proceed … through the streets of Ottawa, we will very soon come upon people yelling and screaming at us.”

“We should, I think, speak more loudly than them by our silence,” he continued. “There’s a great power in silence, and I think it would be best of all if the whole march, once we leave Parliament Hill, ... that this would be a silent pilgrimage, a procession of deep prayer, recognizing that these issues are much more profound than the merely political.”

He suggested that this atmosphere of prayerful silence would be most effective in winning the greater battle: 

“Let that be our disposition because it is only in that, that we will see the way in which these greater evils will be overcome. It is in that, that we will find our strength,” the Cardinal concluded. “God bless you.” 

During an interview with Ontario filmmaker Kevin Dunn prior to the march, Collins also addressed the “horrible thing” of the pro-abortion attestation Justin Trudeau’s government has attached to the Canada Summer Jobs Program.

“We have a nice program here, paid for by us, the citizens, we’re citizens, we pay taxes. It’s a great program to help young people get a first job during the summer. And it usually is used to help in summer camps, feeding the needy, good things like that,” Collins said. But this year, “they slipped in a new thing: ‘my group or its mission approves the rights underlying the charter of whatever they are, the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.”

He noted that the charter does not actually reference “reproductive freedom” but is inferred to be “underlying it in their vague kind of way.” He also pointed out that the charter does guarantee “freedom of conscience and of religion, but they don’t know that.”

“So this is ideological, I mean, I’ve never seen a Catholic theologian as doctrinaire as these people,” Collins said. “They won 39 percent of the vote in the last election, so it’s not exactly a mandate from the people.” 

“Now, this is the legitimate government of our country, and so we must respect it, as St. Paul says to do,” the archbishop concluded, “but this is not right to oppress and to overcome the conscience of people. It’s not right.” In February, Collins vowed that the Catholic Church was “not going to back down on this.”

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