Rosemary Ganley The Peterborough Examiner July 9, 2020
I’m a religion-watcher, particularly of my own. These powerful influencers in society are too seldom scrutinized in mainstream places. Seems only fair, after I criticized the American Catholic bishops a month ago for supporting Trump, that I have a look at the Canadians.
The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) founded in 1943, is the assembly of francophone and anglophone Catholic bishops of Canada, headquartered in Ottawa, with 79 active bishops and 40 staff. The president is Bishop Richard Gagnon of Winnipeg.
There are 12 million self-identifying Catholics in Canada, about 38 per cent of the population. Two-thirds of our population describe themselves as Christian.
Bishops sometimes issue statements on the great questions of our time. Sexual questions have tended to predominate: What Sister Joan Chittister calls “pelvic preoccupations.” I went to the website and saw a modest statement about the unrest in the USA; prayers for the pandemic; and an appreciation of the environment from 2017.
Our cultural context in Canada is more liberal and to my mind, enlightened, than the American one. But we too hunger for out-front leadership from spiritual sources.
The Catholic bishops have inherited several hard-to-defend sexual and gender policies. Still they would never dare, as certain American bishops have done, publicly refuse communion to a pro-choice Catholic politician. Amend that: in 2008, Archbishop Terrence Prendergast of Ottawa threatened such a move.
The prime minister, and several before him; Jean Chrétien, John Turner, and Joe Clark for example, have been pro-choice Catholics.
I remember approaching the communion table at St. Michael’s Cathedral in Toronto some years ago wearing a rainbow scarf as part of a demonstration in solidarity with LGBTQ people. We weren’t refused, but we were looked on disapprovingly. Continue Reading >HERE<
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