By Gudrun Schultz

EDMONTON, Alberta, September 14, 2006 ( – Cardinal Marc Ouellet, primate of the Catholic Church in Canada, called on Catholic politicians to follow their conscience and their beliefs when voting on issues such as abortion and same-sex marriage, in statement to the press September 8.

The Western Catholic Reporter covered the news conference held at the Catholic Pastoral Centre in Edmonton.

“I think that Catholic politicians have to take into account the whole country and not only their community of faith, obviously, but their personal principles and their faith must play a role in their decisions,” Cardinal Ouellet said.

Using language somewhat milder than Pope Benedict’s statements on the same issue to Ontario bishops in Rome the same day, Ouellet continued, “And so when they are invited to vote in conscience they have to vote in conscience and according to their beliefs; and so in that sense their faith must play an important role in their vote.”

Catholic politicians’ tendency to ignore their faith when confronted with difficult issues is not in keeping with the foundation of Canada’s constitution, Cardinal Ouellet said.Â

“I think it is important to remind our politicians that the Constitution of Canada in its preamble says Canada is founded on values that respect the supremacy of God and of the law,” he said.

“And so on the question of respect for life I think our country deserves laws that are more respectful of the human life from its very beginning until the end.”

Respect for life, he said, includes respect for the institution of marriage, which is more than simply a human institution but “an institution of the Creator.”

“He made us different: male and female. He created us for the future of the human race and also for love and so politicians must take into account the foundation of the constitution, which is the recognition of the
  supremacy of God.”

Cardinal Ouellet said Pope Benedict’s recent criticism of Canada’s legalizing same-sex marriage and abortion was not directed against the government so much as “reaffirming fundamental values for the common good.”

“Marriage is between a man and a woman and the pope has been saying that very simply,” he said. “He’s been saying you don’t need a scientific demonstration . . . nature is there and marriage is between a man and a woman and it is so in all cultures.”

He urged Catholic politicians to be faithful to the teaching of the Church when faced with a conscience vote on life issues.

“I think they (politicians) must vote in conscience,” Ouellet said. “They are Catholic and they have to take into account the teaching of their Church. But it is not only a question of religious teaching; it’s a question of human reason.”
  (With files from the Western Catholic Reporter.)

See related LifeSiteNews coverage:

Pope Urges Canadian Christian Politicians’ to Reject Support of Abortion and Gay ‘Marriage’