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Assisted suicide and abortion demand 'prayer and absolute, courageous, persevering witness,' said Toronto Cardinal Thomas Collins.Patrick Craine / LifeSiteNews

OTTAWA, May 15, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) — Standing on the steps of Parliament Thursday, Canada’s most senior Catholic leader called for an end to the “scourge of abortion” and urged a “courageous, persevering witness” on behalf of both the unborn and those threatened by the Supreme Court’s recent decision legalizing assisted suicide.

Toronto’s Cardinal Thomas Collins spoke to about 25,000 participants in the National March for Life on Parliament Hill. The cardinal said the “very, very important” event rightly focuses on the “great evil of abortion,” but is also important this year in light of the Supreme Court’s Carter decision, which struck down the country’s law on assisted suicide.

“We come together here prayerfully, thoughtfully with a profound desire to witness the great gift of life from the first moment of conception until natural death,” he said.

“We think today particularly of the great evil of abortion, and that is rightly so, we do. Pray about that and pray that this scourge may be taken from our land,” he continued. “But in recent months and the last little while, we need to think also of the other end of this earthly journey, as assisted suicide has been introduced into our country.”

The legalization of assisted suicide, he said, is “another sign of the culture of death.”

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Both assisted suicide and abortion, he continued, demand “prayer and absolute, courageous, persevering witness [to] the beauty of the gift of life from the first moment of conception until natural death.”

“Thou shalt not kill. That is simple. It is profound. It is something we need to reflect upon and we need to live and we need to affirm,” he said. “To show reverence for every person from the first moment of their existence through natural death and onto the house of the Heavenly Father.”

In his brief address, the cardinal also made remarks criticizing the lack of mainstream media coverage for the March. The large numbers every year, he said, are a “great witness” even though they are “in fact invisible to the media sometimes.”

“But there we are, a kind of a silent, prayerful, reverent witness,” he said, adding that this “is what we need to offer to this world, to pray that the gift of life may be cherished and that the scourge of abortion may be taken from our land.”

Cardinal Collins was joined on the steps of Parliament by a group of Catholic bishops including: Ottawa Archbishop Terrence Prendergast; Montreal Archbishop Christian Lepine; Archbishop Luigi Bonazzi, the papal nuncio; Kingston Archbishop Brendan O’Brien; Thunder Bay Bishop Fred Colli; London Bishop Ronald Fabbro; Alexandria-Cornwall Bishop Marcel Damphousse; Hamilton Auxiliary Bishop Daniel Miehm; and Ottawa Auxiliary Bishop Christian Riesbeck.

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