Archbishop Miller gives direction on divisive issue within pro-life movement
By Nathan Rumohr
Differences of opinion have come to light among pro-life groups about supporting "incremental" legislation, laws which may be an improvement on previous public policy but which still violate Church teaching. Some are hailing an improvement while others are decrying failings in proposed legislation.
Now Archbishop J. Michael Miller, CSB, has released a statement for Catholics clarifying the Church's views on supporting "gestational legislation." (Read the entire letter here.)
"We encourage pro-life legislators, activists, and groups to work cooperatively towards achieving recognition in Canadian law of the right to life of every person from conception to natural death," he wrote. "Cooperation does not always mean unanimity regarding a given strategy; open and civil debate about the wisdom of any specific strategy is healthy."
He affirmed freedom for pro-lifers to discern how they want to lobby for legislation concerning abortion. He noted that in every instance a Catholic must be guided by a well-informed conscience.
The archbishop's statement comes as a response to a misinterpretation of Evangelium Vitae by some pro-life groups earlier this year.
Michele Smillie, coordinator of the Respect Life Office of the Archdiocese of Vancouver, said her office and Catholic Family Services spearheaded the effort to have Archbishop Miller release the statement to clarify any confusion.
"This statement is strictly for Catholics to understand what Pope John Paul II meant," she said. Smillie explained the archbishop's statement allows Catholics to support gestational legislation in certain circumstances.
However, she reiterated very strongly, Catholics do want legislation that says all abortions are illegal.
She added that all must work together to end abortion.