Saskatoon City Council is commended for proclaiming March 2-8, 1987 as Respect For Life Wee. It’s one more reason why Saskatoon can justly be called Saskatoon the Beautiful.
Sponsored by Alliance for Life Saskatoon, the annual Respect For Life week-long activities were kicked off by a talk given by Prof. Ernie McCullough, philosopher and professor of philosophy for the past 19 years at St. Thomas More College, University of Saskatchewan.
His address was Euthanasia – A Happy Death? Can Death Be a Happy State?
Professor McCullough said “euthanasia is immoral.” Speaking on two separate occasions during the week Prof. McCullough stated that “if someone consented to euthanasia or voluntary suicide it would be an immoral act and a legacy of guilt would be left in the community.”
The week-long activities were timed to culminate with the semi-annual conference of the Saskatchewan Pro-Life Association held March 7 at the Saskatoon Travelodge. Featured speaker at the closing sold-out banquet hosted by Saskatoon Alliance For Life, was well known pro-life advocate and author, Father Alphonse de Valk
Father de Valk, presently Associate Editor of The Interim, is a former history professor with St. More College, University of Saskatchewan. He is also the founder of the Life Ethics Centre former of Edmonton, now in Toronto, and the author of many books and pamphlets on the abortion including: Morality and Law in Canadian Politics: The Abortion Controversy.
Fr. de Valk was emphatic when he pointed out that the question to be addressed in the modern world is abortion. Nothing, he stated, is as crucial for modern civilization as abortion. While world peace and eliminating pollution are important issues, they pale in significance when weighed with the abortion issue. Moreover, achieving peace and reducing pollution are goals subscribed to by everyone while abortion, unacceptable though it is, is often considered legitimate and moral. “Respect for human life,” Fr. de Valk stated, “begins with respect for human fertility.”
Fr. de Valk showed clearly the connection between the contraception mentality and the abortion and abortion and pointed out that “abortion will not be stopped until artificial contraception is stopped.”
He feels the time has come for the pro-life movement, which has favoured the long standing position of concentrating attention only on the evil of abortion and not awaiting to get caught up with other issues, to reach beyond this.
Attacks on dignity
Fr. de Valk pointed out that there are other attacks on the dignity of life and on the family, related to all aspects of so-called “reproductive choices,” of the radical feminists, that have everything to do with pro-life and that are now coming to the attention of people.
He mentioned that the International Right to Life movement indicated that it felt the movement had to address other issues relating to the right to life. He cited the response to Dr. Jack Willke’s address at the International Right to Life conference at which Dr. Willke reiterated the standard focus on abortion alone. The convention almost unanimously disagreed with him. The new attitude focusing the Right o Life movement’s attention on all the issues that affect life and family, is now filtering down to the local feels, Fr. de Valk stated.
He denounced the claims of political leaders, such as Ontario’s Premier David Peterson, his Attorney-General Ian Scott, that religion and morality could be and had to e divorced from politics.
The liberal attitude that religion is not relevant to public life, Fr. de Valk emphasized, is nonsense.
“If the state can’t protect the child before birth, how can it claim to protect the child after birth?” he asked.
Politics and values
Fr. de Valk stated clearly that in his view religion has everything to do with politics and with our value system and that it really is impossible for anyone to check their morality at the cloakroom.
“The civil code,” he suggested, “reflects moral values. If it doesn’t reflect ours it’ll reflect the moral values of others.”
Fr. de Valk stated that he is saddened by “the loss of integrity on the part of our political leaders who think themselves Christians, yet who deny any influence from personally-held values upon government affairs.”
He said that pro-life activists have reason for hope because once quest an inactive Christians are becoming politically alive, finally.
He suggests that pro-life groups organize more strongly, especially among women’s groups and churches
Women and life
Fr. de Valk’s address was received with a spontaneous standing ovation from the more than 2000 participants.
Other speakers and events during the week were:
Former teacher and now a “full-time home-maker” Rita Wolfe, who spoke on women and pro-life.
Drs. L. Hanson and E. Schmidt, Obstetricians and Gynecologists who discussed and showed film The Silent Scream. They also showed their own video on pre—natal development, which was produced by using their own patients in Saskatoon.
Dr. Sarah Dozier, Executive Director of Catholic Health Service Conference of Saskatchewan, addressed the library crown on the subject, Euthanasia: Whose Life Is It?
Mrs. Lisa Holst spoke on the Teen Aid Programme. Bernadette Mysko, president of Alliance For Life Saskatoon, was pleased to announce that due to the increased demand on the Teen Aid programme there will be a full0time Teen Aid worker next year. Mrs. Holst is currently only working part-time.
Fr. Albert Lalonde, Editor of Our Family Magazine, spoke on Saturday March 7. His topic was Pro-Life and the Media. Fr. Lalonde stated that, “to work effectively with the media you have to realize that we need them ore than they need us. They’re like the Roman waiter,” he said. “In order to get service you have to cultivate their friendship and show them respect.”
Former Saskatchewan MIA Gay Caswell was afternoon guest speaker for the Saskatchewan Pro-life Conference. Mrs. Caswell was blunt when she told the Travelodge crown that if they are going to push their politicians into the traffic for their cause, pro-life people should be careful not to abandon them, “when things get rough as they always do.”
“Pro-life resolutions are passed at Progressive Conservative provincial conventions by about 80 per cent majority, she stated. “Therefore, there is an 80 per cent chance that a P.C. appointed to a government position would be pro-life.”
She pointed out that “the NDO have not had a pro-life resolution brought to the floor of any of the conventions recently and the ‘possibilities are remote that an NDP appointed) to government would be pro-life.”
“This is especially serious,” Mrs. Caswell enunciated, “when one considers the horrifying possibilities of a federal NDP government appointing supreme Court Judges in light of the Charter decisions to be made.”
A Respect for Life poster contest was held in collaboration with the Saskatoon Schools and over 100 poster entries were received making it and the week-long activities a “tremendous successes” according to Bernadette Mysko.
Andras Than is assistant editor for Our Family magazine.