Reflections on this year’s March for Life
I think that anybody who attended the March for Life in Ottawa May 11-12 will agree with me that it was the most successful we have held. More than 3,300 people from across Canada were in attendance and there was a very obvious spirit of optimism among the marchers. I think that one thing which inspired me was the obvious fact that at least half the marchers were young people, boys and girls, full of energy and committed to the cause of life.
It is important to mention that the reason for holding the March for Life at this particular time is to commemorate the tragic day in 1969 (actually, it was the 14th, which fell on a Sunday this year) on which abortion was made “legal” in Canada. I put “legal” in inverted commas because abortion can never be “legal” in the moral sense of the word! It reminds people that, since that sad day, as many as 2.5 million Canadian babies have been brutally murdered by abortion. And I blush to have to admit that this felony was first introduced by a “Catholic” Prime Minister and has been supported by four “CATHOLIC” successors, including the present Prime Minister. “Oh Judgement thou hast fled to brutish beasts and men have lost their reason.”
It was also encouraging to see quite a number of pro-life MPs, who addressed the crowd on Parliament Hill, spoke at the press conference and were present at the pro-life banquet.
On Saturday morning a special mass was celebrated in the Basilica of St. Patrick. The church holds a thousand people and it was full. Father Jim Whalen, director of Priests for Life was the chief celebrant and homilist.
The actual march was really wonderful. To see more than 3,500 people marching with large pro-life banners through the streets of Ottawa could not but make a profound impression on the hundreds of passersby. It was the first March for Life at which we did not receive even one obscene gesture. The huge number of young marchers could not but have a positive impact on the Ottawa citizens. The police did a very good job of stopping traffic at the crossroads and supervising the march.
The march, of course, is not strictly a “CATHOLIC” event. It is for all pro-lifers and there were many from all religions. But we were pleased to receive a very positive endorsement from the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops. In their letter of support the bishops stated, “People from across the country will come to Ottawa to stand up for life, particularly the life of the smallest and most vulnerable human being, the unborn child.” Quoting from Pope John Paul, it said, “When the sacredness of life before birth is attacked, we will stand up and proclaim that no one ever has the authority to destroy unborn life.”
One of the speakers outside the Parliament buildings was Adrian Dieleman, chaplain at McMaster University Medical Centre in Hamilton and a record -holding Canadian wheelchair athlete. He stated that there were more than two million abortions since May 14, 1969, when Parliament passed the “Omnibus Bill.” He continued, “We need to continue to show, not just the elected officials but the people of this country that we will not stand or sit for this.” Adrian was very severely injured in a motor accident some years ago. But he is still more active in pro-life work than are most Canadians. Also speaking on Parliament Hill was Frank Mountain, who is also in a wheelchair, and who, in spite of a very serious accident has never ceased his pro-life leadership. People like Adrian and Frank make me blush with shame.
On the Friday evening, we had a most enjoyable fundraising banquet, attended by almost 500 pro-lifers. The chief speaker was Professor Ted Morton, professor of Political Science at the University of Calgary. He treated us to a very learned and eloquent talk on the value of every human life.