Schadenberg receives CCRL award

Alex Schadenberg

Alex Schadenberg

Alex Schadenbeg, executive director of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, was presented the Archbishop Adam Exner Award for Catholic Excellence in Public Life at the Catholic Civil Rights League’s annual dinner in Toronto June 2.

Schadenberg thanked his mother Mary van Veen and his deceased father Harry for “instilling pro-life beliefs and values” in him, saying that “Mary van Veen is a blessing for the country” and her family. He recounted his early career working in the life and family office of the diocese of London before starting the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition with pro-life physician Barrie de Veber and palliative care nurse Jean Echlin in 1998. He thanked then London bishop John Sherlock and Campaign Life Coalition national president Jim Hughes for their moral and financial support, reminding the audience pro-life work is not possible without adequate funding. He also thanked his wife Susan and six children for “putting up with me” as he embarked on “emotionally draining work.”

Schadenberg warned that Canada “is a dying culture” as society “rejects truth” and embraces a “negative hopelessness.” He said the only way the culture can be changed is if answer the “call to a radical act of caring and loving the other.”

Past winners of the Exner Award include Hughes, Gwen Landolt of REAL Women, Catholic author Michael O’Brien, and priest and journalist Fr. Alphonse de Valk.

Douglas Farrow, professor of Christian thought at McGill University and the school’s project director for Pluralism, Religion and Public Policy, gave the keynote address on autonomy and human dignity. He decried the Supreme Court for placing quality of life above the sanctity of life when ruling on euthanasia as he condemned the “logic of fear (of suffering) that replaced the logic of the sanctity of human life.” He said the Court “knows only autonomy, not morals” and charged it with recognizing no law “above itself.”

Addressing the growing movement to entrench transgender rights, Farrow said that the encouragement of “mutilation of the body and mind” moves autonomy from “self-rule to self-determination” in which individuals get to “alter reality by fiat.”

Farrow said there is a spiritual and civil conflict and declared “we must go to war” to combat the moral madness being imposed on the culture by the courts, government, schools, and professional associations. He said “we cannot place the law of man above the law of God” and declared that “Canadian Catholics must decide if they are Catholic or whether they are merely Canadians.” Farrow said Catholics had to pray and then act, and he called for them to create their own authentically Catholic education and health care institutions.

In response to a question from the floor, Farrow said Catholics are called to disobedience and that there would be persecution.

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