Although Canada was among the first of 28 autonomous churches belonging to the worldwide Anglican communion to call women to the clerical ministry, some dioceses have held out against the novelty started in 1976. On June 11, New Brunswick, one of the last of these dioceses, called its first woman, Pat Brittain, to the ministry after first getting a change of bishops.
In Dublin, Ireland, the General Synod of the Church of Ireland held in May of this year, confirmed in a final vote the decision to allow women ministers and, therefore, in due course, women bishops. One of the Church’s 400,000 members, about 300,000 are in Northern Ireland. The Church of Ireland becomes the sixth church of the Anglican community to do so.
The Anglican Archbishop of Armagh, Dr. Robin Eames, conceded The Irish Times that this decision adds another obstacle to ecumenical dialogue with the Catholics. But, he added, “We are the Church we are and (the Catholics) are going to have to come to terms with that.”
In May, the United Church’s University of Victoria College (Toronto) bestowed an honorary Doctorate of Sacred Letters on Supreme Court Justice Bertha Wilson. Mrs. Wilson is a former advisor to the Church’s Abortion Committee.
In late 1989, the United Church re-affirmed its 20-year-old policy that it is a woman’s “right” to have an abortion. It should not be in the Criminal Code, the Church stated.
The long-time secretary of the Church’s Abortion Committee, Mrs. Ruth Evans, now also director of the Office of Christian Development for the United Church of Canada, testified before the Commons Committee on Abortion last February.
In explaining her experience with a miscarriage, Mrs. Evans stated: “I did not miscarry a person. I miscarried something that looked rather like a mass of liver. That sounds crude, but it was not a person physically, and all women know in their hearts that this is so.”
Mrs. Evans has been on honorary director of CARAL almost since the beginning of the organization. Some years ago she “earned” a Doctorate in Theology from the St. Michael’s Faculty of Theology, Toronto School of Theology. The doctoral hood was bestowed on her by his Eminence G. Emmett Cardinal Carter (since retired).
The Cardinal, no doubt did not know the person he so honoured, nor can he be expected to know much, if anything about “students’ he sees for the first time in his life. But this is not, or should not be the case with the Faculty staff.
Over the last 25 years Mrs. Evans’ name has appeared in Toronto newspapers with the regularity of clockwork, that is whenever the views of the United Church on abortion have been mentioned. The feminist network at the Faculty was undoubtedly aware of her pro-abortion position. Allowing a staunch pro-abortionist to proceed to the Doctorate in a Catholic School says something about that Faculty and the nature of the degrees it issues. For one, the Faculty’s designation as “Catholic” has acquired a connotation which seems to have little to do with the original use of the term “Catholic” (from the second century onward) as a signature for orthodoxy in faith.
In our May issue, (see pages 27-28), we reported a statement by Canadian Jewish News columnist Elaine Kahn that anti-Semitism is “now part of the anti-abortion arsenal in Quebec.” Based on knowledge of the people involved in the Montreal pro-life movement we rejected this accusation as false.
We have now discovered the source of this, namely, Montreal History Professor Stephen Steinberg, chairman of the B’nai Brith League for Human Rights, Quebec region. His views are printed in an article entitled “Abortion blood libel raises anti-Semitic incidents,” in the monthly newspaper The B’nai Brith Covenant, April 1990. Dr. Steinberg reports that the most virulent anti-Semitic campaign is directed against Henry Morgentaler “…who is in the forefront of the movement for government funding of abortion for poor women.” Obviously, Dr. Steinberg thinks highly of Henry Morgentaler.
He then offers two reasons for his attack on pro-life. First, he says, “The anti-abortionists refer to abortions as the ‘real Holocaust’ thus demeaning the suffering of our people during the Nazi era.”
Pro-lifers will recognize this as an old bone of contention. Some people in the Jewish community believe that nobody may use the word holocaust except they themselves for the purpose described above.
A second reason for his accusation, Dr. Steinberg states that: “The anti-abortionists blame Jews for plotting to kill Christian babies through abortion” with Morgentaler “leading the conspiracy.”
What proof does he provide? Well none actually. Instead, he reports that “bumper stickers have been spotted in Montreal’s Notre Dame de Grace area, reading “Jewish abortionists – more Jewish babies.”
I certainly don’t approve of these stickers. But a phone call to Montreal Right to Life confirmed what I already knew in my heart, namely, that no one there had ever heard of such stickers. Nor were they familiar with “anti-Semitic sentiments,” let alone “blood libels.”
Lesbian rabbi Deborah Brin, mentioned in our May issue, was among six recipients of the “women of distinction” Aggie Award by the Toronto YWCA. Over the last decade these YWCA awards have become the annual highlight for the radical feminists in Toronto. The $100-a-plate banquet was attended by 1,100 people.
In an interview with the Toronto Star (May 8), Canada’s only female rabbi who has now returned to her native U.S.A., explained that “As a lesbian and a feminist, I felt excluded from the Jewish community. I wanted to work for a Judaism that welcomes all Jews and their partners.” (She herself has a “life partner”.)
Brin told the Star that faith is a “patriarchal male-oriented religion, not…developed for individuality.”