Tuesday May 18, 2010

Cardinal Primate of Canada Slammed by Media, Receives Death Wish for Abortion/Rape Comments

By John-Henry Westen and John Jalsevac

To sign a petition in support of Cardinal Ouellet, click here.

QUEBEC CITY, May 12, 2010 ( – Quebec City Cardinal Marc Ouellet, the Cardinal Primate of Canada, has erupted into the national spotlight after he defended Christian teaching about the immorality of abortion in all circumstances at a Campaign Life Coalition Conference in Quebec City Saturday.

Asked by a reporter about the Church’s teaching on abortion in cases of rape, the cardinal said: “the child is not responsible for how he was conceived, it is the aggressor who is responsible. We can see him (the child) as another victim.”

“I understand very well that a woman who’s been raped is dealing with trauma and that she needs to be helped,” he added later. “But she needs to do so with respect for the being that is in her womb. It is not responsible for what happened. It’s the rapist who is responsible. But there’s already a victim. Do we need to have another one?”

The comments have sparked outrage among politicians, the media, and even some Catholic clergy in Quebec.

Parti Québécois leader Pauline Marois told the Montreal Gazette “I am completely outraged by his declarations.”

In one of the most strident reactions, La Presse columnist Patrick Lagace said that he hoped the cardinal would die a “long and painful” death. The Canadian Press reports Lagace as writing: “Cardinal Ouellet will die someday. I hope he dies from a long and painful illness … Yes, the paragraph I’ve just written is vicious. But Marc Ouellet is an extremist. And in the debate against religious extremists, every hit is fair game.”

“These remarks … take us back to [the] Middle Ages,” said Alexa Conradi, president of the Quebec Women’s Federation.

“At the same time, my concern really is at the federal level. There is movement of right wing Catholic groups to find different ways to re-criminalize abortion.”

Pro-life leaders, however, have come to the defense of the cardinal, who, in addition to his appearance at the pro-life conference, was also present on Parliament Hill for the National March for Life in Ottawa last Thursday, and is considered one of Canada’s most steadfast defenders of the unborn.

“We applaud the cardinal’s courage in defending the culture of life,” said Mary-Ellen Douglas, the national organizer for Campaign Life Coalition, “and we extend our support to him at this time as he is being attacked in the media and by certain anti-life politicians.”

“Cardinal Ouellet is dead right,” she continued. “Canada needs to be a country that protects the most fundamental right – the right to life – of all of its citizens, even of those that are conceived because of a crime.

“Our hearts go out to women who are the victims of rape. We know that abortion hurts women, and the last thing that we want is for a woman who has already been hurt by rape to be further hurt by abortion. Instead, we as a society must give our support to both the mother and her child, and must not condone the commission of another crime – the murder of an innocent unborn human being – as a solution to the first crime.”

A spokesman for the archdiocese of Quebec pointed out that the cardinal was simply reiterating Church teaching on abortion, but also appeared to distance the diocese from the cardinal’s remarks, saying that the cardinal’s statements should not be taken as comment on what the legal situation in Canada should look like.

“There is a spin, saying the cardinal would like to re-criminalize [abortion] and this is not what he said,” said Jasmin Lemieux-Lefebvre. “He’s not calling for re-criminalization. He was talking [about] a moral thing, this is a moral issue. He was not bringing this to the judicial level.”

“Canada is the only country in the world to have a complete legal vacuum on this issue,” said a statement from the diocese. “[Cardinal Ouellet] leaves it to the politicians to explore a balanced solution from among the basket of options that exist elsewhere.”

“The cardinal does not condemn any woman, and he hopes that they can get help before or after abortions. He understands the distress involved with the sad choice. Mothers and fathers deserve the support of all society so they can avoid arriving at an abortion. Adoption must be facilitated.”

The cardinal has also come under attack for remarks that he made at the March for Life last week, in which he said he supported the Canadian government’s decision not to fund abortions overseas in their G8 maternal health plan, but urged the government to do more to address abortion at home.

“We would like some more courage, some more courage to do something more in Canada,“ he told the crowd of over 12,000 pro-lifers.

But Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Josée Verner says Cardinal Marc Ouellet’s weekend remarks were “unacceptable.”

“The government did not put forward the agenda for maternal and child health [at the G8] to go get congratulations from the cardinal,” said Verner, according to the Globe and Mail. “I don’t want to be disrespectful towards him, but this wasn’t our objective.”

To sign a petition in support of Cardinal Ouellet, click here.