By John-Henry Westen

ROME, September 8, 2006 ( – Pope Benedict XVI received Canadian bishops from the province of Ontario this morning at his summer residence of Castelgandolfo. The Pope noted that while Canada seems to have sufficient efforts in the area of “justice and peace” it is sorely lacking in protection for life and family.

“Canada has a well-earned reputation for a generous and practical commitment to justice and peace,” he said.“At the same time, however, certain values detached from their moral roots and full significance found in Christ have evolved in the most disturbing of ways. In the name of ‘tolerance’ your country has had to endure the folly of the redefinition of spouse, and in the name of ‘freedom of choice’ it is confronted with the daily destruction of unborn children.”

The Pope expressed grief about the “the exclusion of God from the public sphere.”Â

He acknowledged the “false dichotomies” such as ‘tolerance’ giving way to homosexual ‘marriage’ and ‘freedom of choice’ to abortion, “within the Christian community itself.” It is “particularly damaging,” he added, “when Christian civic leaders sacrifice the unity of faith and sanction the disintegration of reason and the principles of natural ethics, by yielding to ephemeral social trends and the spurious demands of opinion polls.”

“Catholic involvement in political life cannot compromise on this principle,” he stressed, warning that “Democracy succeeds only to the extent that it is based on truth and a correct understanding of the human person.”

The points made are particularly poignant for Canada since it was Catholic Prime Ministers who both introduced, passed and held in place the legislation permitting abortion, and homosexual marriage. In fact, until the current Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper, all Canadian Prime Ministers since Trudeau in the 1960s have been Catholic except for the very brief reign of two months byÂthe ConservativeÂKim Campbell government.

Beginning in the 1960s with Pierre Trudeau under whose Liberal government abortion and homosexuality were legalized, Conservative Prime Minister Joe Clark, Liberal PM John Turner, Conservative PM Brian Mulroney, Liberal PM Jean Chretien and his successor Liberal PM Paul Martin were all Catholics. Both Clark and Turner maintained the pro-abortion and homosexuality status quo, with Mulroney attempting a supposedly compromise legislation on abortion which in the opinion of many was essentially an abortion on demand bill. Chretien, while touting his Catholicism, moved the Liberal Party more formally to endorsing abortion. Martin, a self-proclaimed “very strong Catholic” has the ignominious distinction of having forced through homosexual ‘marriage’ in Canada.

Fr. Alphonse de Valk, the editor of Catholic Insight magazine spoke with about the Pope’s statements. The comments about the Catholic politicians who reject the teachings of the Church on life and family resonate with Fr. de Valk. A 2005 survey of Catholic politicians in Canada by Catholic Insight found that over 70% were committed to voting in favour of homosexual ‘marriage’.

Fr. de Valk explained that the Pope’s public remarks are based on information he received from the bishops on the situation in their dioceses. Thus we can see, said Fr. de Valk, that the bishops have recognized the problem of politicians professing Catholicism while at the same time rejecting the Church’s stands on abortion and same-sex marriage.

See the Pope’s full address to the Bishops of Ontario:

See coverage of Catholic Insight’s survey of Catholic politicians:

Ontario Catholic Bishops to be Scolded by Pope? Some Hope so