I originally titled this post “Canon Law students for life” but I shuddered in horror at the literal meaning of that (somehow it doesn’t seem as scary in French)!  Of course, practioners of any discipline are “students for life”, that goes without saying.  But we don’t have to stay “at school” (as the North Americans say) for life, thanks be to God!

But I digress!  A group of Canon Law students of St Paul University, Ottawa, met together today with Ruth Lobo and James Shaw who work full-time with CCBR – The Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform.  [Warning: graphic image on that link].  And that, actually, was one of the themes they addressed with us: the use of imagery to try to change people’s perception about abortion.

One of the stumbling blocks in overcoming acceptance of abortion is the belief that it doesn’t actually kill a baby.  All sorts of dehumanisation are at work to make people think that the baby is “just a foetus,” a “bundle of cells,” a “parasite,” or some sort of agressor who is infringing the rights of the mother.  However, when you see the pictures in all their horror, its very hard to argue that abortion is anything else but the killing of a child.

While we are here in Ottawa we are able to be involved with various pro-life initiatives.  The Archbishop of Ottawa is a prominent supporter of pro-life activities.  Last year he presided at a packed Mass in the Cathedral on the morning of the March for Life, and then was centre-stage during the March and accompanying rally on Parliament Hill, along with several other Bishops.

Of course, beyond those sorts of practicalities, canon lawyers need to assist bishops in such difficult situations as when so-called Catholic institutions, e.g. Catholic hospitals, forget who they are, and begin to betray Catholic teaching by supporting things that go against the Gospel of Life.

Thank you Ruth and James for a thought-provoking presentation.