Culture of life is winning, says Canadian Primate
QUEBEC CITY, Quebec, January 5, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The Primate of Canada electrified the airwaves during the Priests For Life radio show on Monday, telling listeners that he believes that a strong vibrant “culture of life” is superceding the “culture of death.”
“I have a lot of hope in what is growing in our Church. There’s something dying, but there’s something new that’s coming up, that’s growing, that’s sprouting, that is filling me with hope,” said Archbishop Gérald Lacroix during the interview.
The Quebec Archbishop was interviewed by Fr. Tom Lynch and Fr. John Lemire from Priest for Life Canada, an association of Canadian Catholic priests and lay people who promote and defend the sanctity of human life. The interview, which was transmitted by Radio Teopoli AM530, focused on the state of the Catholic Church in Canada, and in particular, on what the Church has to offer to the pro-life cause.
Lacroix is convinced that Canadians are living in “very exciting times, but very challenging ones.”
“The pope said the Church is going through a time of turmoil and difficulties — that was in the 12th century and it hasn’t changed since. It’s just normal. The Church is living and preaching the Gospel — the Word of God — and inviting people to a personal encounter with Jesus Christ. As we preach the Gospel, we also present God’s plan for life, God plan for humanity, and that is not accepted by everyone.”
The primate argued that not everyone accepts God’s plan for life and for humanity because of the many “influences out there in the world that have other interests than [human] life.” He pointed specifically to “economic values” that foster “materialism” and a “very secularized way of seeing life in our society.” He noted that in this context “production” of goods becomes more important than the “family, the cell base of society.” He says that these have “drawn us away from family values” and have “hindered very much and hurt our families.”
He also said that the country has not always had “governments, whether they be on a local level or national level that have favoured life, that have supported family policies.”
As the archbishop approaches the end of his first year as the Primate of Canada, he said that people have indicated to him that “we cannot go on living like this without having reference to God and his plan… We are not succeeding in life… We have tried to do it without him, and it’s not working.”
When people are searching for answers to such seemingly insurmountable difficulties, says Lacroix, the Church has something to offer them.
“Bringing people to a personal encounter with Jesus Christ in the Gospel changes their life because it brings them into a relationship with the Lord, with God our Father, with the Holy Spirit. And that changes everything. And that gives them a new vision of life, of values, of family, of the world. And it helps them to be different in the midst of this world.”
Lacroix sees signs that young people are looking intently to the Church for a new way of living, a way that is radically opposed to the anti-life and anti-family values of the world.
“And that is my hope. We have young people, young families who are very open to life right now and who want to live out the Gospel and who want to respect life and live by God’s rules which is a way of life which brings really that liberty, it helps you become yourself and it helps you to be happy.”
Lacroix says that people are mistaken when they think that Christianity will restrain them, will impede a good life, or that it will not let them love like they should. “To the contrary,” he says, “in encountering Christ and accepting the Gospel, and accepting the Word of God and the Church’s teaching, [these] will bring you to fullness of life.”
Lacroix compared current scandals in the Church to dead trees falling in the forest making lots of “noise.” “When a tree falls in the forest it makes quite a BANG, and everyone says, ‘Wow!, what a scandal’.” In this analogy, he said that the hope that he sees in young people and in young families is like a “growing forest that makes no noise.”
“There are things falling in our Church and maybe they need to fall, old ways of doing things, things that are not adapted. The Second Vatican Council 50 years ago has invited us to a whole renewal. Well, renewal is letting things go and opening your heart to what the Lord is putting before us today. Well, that makes a lot of noise. But what I am seeing [now] is a whole forest growing that makes no noise.”
Lacroix is convinced that the most effective way to build up a culture of life is with a “one-on-one” encounter with another person.
“[It’s] the time we will give and share with people whether it be with one person, with a couple, whether it be a family; the time we spend to build bridges, to welcome, to listen, to walk with, to be able to bring them to make a good decision. I think that is where we are most effective.”
Lacroix stressed that it is one’s very own “presence” at “ground zero” that makes the difference, whether it be supporting the life of someone in palliative care, accompanying someone who is suffering or depressed, or helping a woman with a crisis pregnancy.
“We need to train our people more and more to be effective on a very local level,” he said.
Witnessing one-on-one takes courage, says the archbishop. That is why the Church strengthens her people by nourishing them with the Eucharist and the Word of God, he said.
The “Word of God” and the “Bread of Life” make us “more like” Christ and to be “with him and him with us,” to be “true Christians who witness and who work for life year round, day in and day out.”
People have asked the Primate, “what is the Church going to do in front of these challenges of abortion and euthanasia?”
“We are in this together,” he responds. “The Church has leaders, has bishops, has priests, but you are the people of God who need to look at this seriously also.”
“In my diocese I have one million, seventy-five thousand Catholics. Potentially I have one million, seventy-five thousand missionaries for [the cause of] life; missionaries who feed on the Word of God, who live in communion with the Father, with the Son, and with the Holy Spirit, and who are out in this world making it a place where life is celebrated, welcomed, protected, sustained.” The archbishop pointed out that young people who choose to “live the Gospel are becoming apostles. They are being sent out to other young people.”
“We need to continue to be very well connected to God so that he will give us the Spirit, give us the Truth, and the courage, the audacity, to be able to be faithful to life.”
To young people, Archbishop Lacroix says: “Do not be afraid. Open the doors to Christ. He will bring you to life and fulfillment and happiness. Open wide the door. He will set you free. Come to a relationship with the Lord.”
Listen to entire interview here.