January 21, 2005
TORONTO: “Catholics for a Choice-Canada” is dismayed that the Archbishop of the Roman Catholic diocese of Toronto, Cardinal Aloysius Ambrozic has written an open letter to the Prime Minister, Paul Martin in opposition to human rights for Canadian gays and lesbians. Ambrozic urges that the Canadian government postpone the issue of gay marriage for five years, so that the matter can be debated openly among Canadians.

“We believe firmly that human rights can be accommodated in a civil society, and that the Catholic Church can and should be a diverse and inclusive community where all are welcomed”, said Kathleen Howes, spokesperson for Catholics for a Choice-Canada. “In this case, justice delayed is justice denied”.

She noted that Cardinal Ambrozic stated in his letter that dom of conscience is fundamental to our society. “The Catholic Church doctrine decrees that every person must ultimately act according to his or her conscience,” she said. “But some bishops have threatened excommunication for any politician who endorses gay or lesbian marriage. In fact, in 2003 the Vatican issued an edict advising Catholics, and in particular, Catholic politicians, around the world to oppose same sex marriage.”

For many years, members of Catholics for a Choice have insisted on the right of Catholics to follow their consciences on issues such as birth control, abortion, reproductive rights and other sexual issues, notwithstanding the official doctrine of the institutional Church.

“We hope that the Catholic Church will not be selective as to when Catholics are entitled to follow their conscience”, said Howes.

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