Tom Wappel’s 13 Recommendations for Catholic Clergy and Bishops

By Steve Jalsevac

  TORONTO, Ontario, November 25, 2008 ( - The just retired Liberal Member of Parliament, who was for many years called the Dean of the pro-life movement in Parliament, gave a talk on November 19 to a Catholic clergy luncheon arranged by Campaign Life Coalition, Canada’s national pro-life political organization. As part of his talk Tom Wappel presented 13 recommendations to help the clergy and bishops become far more effective in helping and motivating Catholics to fulfill their civic obligations on national political issues.

  The 13 recommendations are listed below but we suggest a reading of the entire fascinating text of Mr. Wappel’s one-half hour presentation for the full explanation given for each of his recommendations (

  As well, an audio recording of the full talk may heard by clicking on or downloading

  Of note, Wappel placed first emphasis on the need for pastors to encourage prayer for increased faith and to challenge Catholics to re-examine their Christian life and beliefs and whether they are living their faith as they should. As many politicians who have fought valiantly in recent decades for life and family have discovered, the Christian community has been very weak in supporting them, revealing a major lack of religious belief and practice.

  The 13 recommendations as presented by Mr. Wappel in reverse order and including some of his comments related to the items:
Number 13 - Engage the congregation to think about there faith. Do they believe that the Catholic Church is the church that Jesus founded?  If they don’t, what are they doing there?  If they do, do they believe the doctrines of the Faith and if they do - then how can you speak in favor of the freedom to "choose" for example, or same-sex marriage or some type of euthanasia? 

Number 12 - have educational meetings at the Church, I would recommend, once a month.  Invite speakers on issues such as abortion, marriage, euthanasia, and publicize it well.

Number 11 - invite the local Member of Parliament, the local Member of Provincial Parliament and the councillor to these meetings.

Number 10 - Encourage the Catholic Women’s League and the Knights of Columbus, if you have them in your parish, to seek meetings with the local MP’s about the life issues and have them report back on those meetings.

Number 9 - Encourage parishioners to be engaged in public policy debate.  Encourage them to write to their representatives when they run across issues that they feel strongly about - express their opinions.

Number 8 - Talk to the principals and staff, if you are allowed to do so, at all the Catholic schools in your parish and walk them through the issues - as you do the parishioners.

  As long as I live, I will never forget being in Yellow Knife NW Territories in February of 1990.  I was running for the leadership of the Liberal party of Canada. I was invited by a local Catholic superintendent of schools who was a supporter of mine in the leadership - to attend a Catholic high school, question and answer period."

  I was talking about abortion and euthanasia and things of that nature.  To this day, 18 years later, one of my greatest regrets and tragedies - that, that was my worst experience as a politician in any school that I ever went to across this great country - and it was a Catholic high school.

  I felt like a piece of meat that was dangled over a pool of sharks and that is how I was treated by students and staff alike on these issues.

Number 7 - engage with the students at all levels about the life issues.  It is never too young, in my opinion, to talk about a respect for life.

Number 6 - encourage your fellow priests and pastors of other denominations,

Number 5 - encourage and, indeed, insist that the Bishops institute these kinds of practices nation-wide in an organized manner so that we don’t encounter shark pits like Yellow-Knife NW Territories. 

Number 4 - in my opinion, the CCCB should meet with the representatives of the Parliamentary pro-life caucus,

Number 3 - provide your parishioners, at all times, and in particular during an election campaign, with specific sources where they can accumulate information about candidates.  You are not telling them what to do.  You are not telling them who to vote for.  You are not telling them who not to vote for.  But, how can a person read a guidance from the bishops during an election and then do that duty if you have no way of knowing where the candidates stand on the important issues? 

  That is, some way that they can say, "Father suggested that we go to CLC’s website, for example" - to pick our host - "and look and see where the candidates stand on the issues. Here are the telephone numbers to the campaign offices" - where do they stand on these issues.  Let the parishioners do it - but they need some guidance

Number 2 - is controversial.  Advise parishioners on the exact positions of the candidates on the life issues.

  That means you have to educate yourself and stress that as people of faith, that it is their duty to act as people of faith in a way to support the faith that they profess to believe.  It is not right to say, "I am a practicing Catholic, I believe in the doctrines of the Catholic Church but I am voting for a person who consistently votes pro-abortion, pro-same-sex marriage and pro-euthanasia."  That is inconsistent logic and that should, in my view, be brought up and mentioned to parishioners.

Number 1 - during the prayers for the faithful - I would ask that the entire congregation, pray to God that God would rekindle the fire of faith of those whose faith has been extinguished, stoke the smoldering embers of faith of those who are losing their faith and fan the flames of those whose faith is strong

  See introductory LifeSiteNews report:
  Leading Canadian Pro-Life MP Relates Shocking 20 Year Lack of Support From Catholic Clergy

  To hear the actual audio of Tom Wappel’s complete talk click on

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