• “May He have dominion from sea to sea”
    . . . to sea, and from womb to tomb

     
    Message from the Catholic Organization for Life and Family
    On the occasion of the 2017 National March for Life

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Recent Initiatives

  • COLF MESSAGE ON THE OCCASION OF THE NATIONAL WEEK FOR LIFE AND THE FAMILY, 14-21 MAY 2017
    LOVE GROWS BY GIVING!   THE NATIONAL WEEK FOR LIFE AND THE FAMILY   14-21 MAY 2017 Every year the Church in Canada sets aside one week as a special time for prayer and reflection on life and the family.  Given the cultural climate in which we find ourselves – with the value of human life and the central role of the family constantly called into question – can anything be more deserving of our attention? The recent canonization of St. Theresa of Kolkata brings to mind her now famous response when asked how one might best help to “change the world.”  “Go home and love your family!” she replied.  In the same spirit, Pope Francis has repeatedly called the faithful to go out to the “periphery” in pursuit of those whose choices have put them outside the ordinary life of the Church.  Nearly every one of us has a family member whose circumstances of life would seem to place them “outside the fold”;   someone for whom Christ’s mercy might seem out of reach; for whom we might become the face of Christ’s mercy.   In their document, “Elements of a Pastoral Plan for Life and Family” – adopted in 2011 – the Bishops of Canada reminded the faithful that “every form of poverty” has its roots in the family.  Today, the harried demands of family life continue to rob many of us of precious opportunities to make Christ’s love present in the world.   In the fourth chapter of his recent encyclical, “The Joy of Love” (Amoris Laetitia) the Holy Father offers us a penetrating reflection on St. Paul’s hymn to Love (1 Corinthians 13:2-3). Let us all seize the opportunity, during this year’s National Week for Life and Family, to reflect with Pope Francis on the wonderful role which God has entrusted to the family in transmitting true love.  Let us ask ourselves how we can better reflect God’s unconditional love and mercy, whether in the context of our own day to day family life or to family members or friends “at the periphery”.  As the Gospel of John reminds us “love comes from God” . . .  God is Love!   Can the family survive – can the trials of life be endured; can life itself be truly valued and nurtured -- in the absence of love; without the awareness and the experience of God’s loving and merciful presence mediated by the selfless love of parents and family?  We all know the answer. Let us embrace it with expectation and change the world; for love grows by giving!
  • LETTER TO ALL MEMBERS OF PARLIAMENT re: Bill C-277 – An act providing for the development of a framework on palliative care in Canada
        December 8, 2016 Object: Bill C-277 – An act providing for the development of a framework on palliative care in Canada   As an organization committed to the development of a culture of life and a civilization of love, the Catholic Organization for Life and Family (COLF) is firmly convinced that Canadians approaching the end of life will be assured of receiving the kind of life-affirming care and the respect they deserve only through the establishment of a national palliative care strategy.  We write today to communicate our support for the intent of Bill C-277 – An act providing for the development of a framework on palliative care in Canada.  In our opinion, this is a decisive direction that will make it possible to concretely support patients requiring palliative care. Indeed, where it exists, this care is of great benefit to patients suffering from severe health challenges.  Patients receiving palliative care feel safer; they welcome with joy and hope the accompaniment they receive; they are moved by all the signs of affection as well as the moral, human and spiritual support given to them so generously .  The simple humanity of it all touches them and comforts them, as they experience respect for their bodies and for their human dignity at a moment of great fragility and vulnerability.  It is with confidence and insistence that we encourage all members of the House of Commons and Senators to adopt Bill C-277- An act providing for the development of a framework on palliative care in Canada. In 2010, COLF presented a brief before the Parliamentary Committee on Palliative and Compassionate Care, an all-party group of MPs dedicated to improving care for the elderly, dying and vulnerable Canadians.  It is a matter of record that this group was unique in the history of the Canadian Parliament, in that it was formed by Members of Parliament on their personal initiative and funded out of their office budgets.  Such was the level of concern which animated the Committee.  When its final report, “Not to be Forgotten, Care of Vulnerable Canadians”, appeared in 2011, it recognized an urgent need for the expansion of palliative care. The issue remains urgent. It is estimated that only about thirty per cent of Canadians who need palliative care have access to it. We urge you to lend your support to Bill C-277. Please accept the assurances of my highest consideration.   Michèle Boulva, Executive Director    
  • Catholic Organization for Life and Family appoints new Director
      The Board of the Catholic Organization for Life and Family (COLF) announces it has appointed Mr. Michel MacDonald as the organization’s new Executive Director, with his new responsibilities to begin in early January 2017. He will succeed Ms. Michèle Boulva who is retiring after having served in this position for 12 years. The appointment has been made in consultation with the two principal sponsors of COLF: the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Supreme Council of the Knights of Columbus.  Mr. MacDonald had previously served as a member of the COLF Board from June 2011 to June 2016. He holds a licentiate in the theology of marriage and family from the John Paul II Institute, Washington, D.C., and is completing his doctorate in moral theology at Saint Paul University, Ottawa.  He has also studied at the Dominican University College, Ottawa, where he earned bachelor’s degrees in theology and philosophy. In addition to participating in meetings with the Ottawa Catholic Physicians’ Guild (the Cosmas and Damian Society), Mr. MacDonald has taught at Saint Paul University and the Dominican University College, as well as working with St. Augustine’s Seminary, Toronto, to provide an on-line course on human sexuality and marriage and in offering courses in Ottawa in Christian ethics. Previously he had worked as coordinator of youth ministry and music director with St. Maurice Parish, Ottawa. He is married and has seven children. The family lives in Ottawa.  COLF was jointly founded, and is jointly funded, by the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Knights of Columbus to promote respect for human life and dignity and the essential role of the family.  The Board thanks Ms. Boulva for the many years of dedicated service she has rendered to COLF, and wishes her joy and happiness in her new challenges.
  • COLF Reaction to legalization of euthanasia and assisted suicide in Canada
      Friday, June 17, 2016, is a sad date in Canadian history. On that day  Bill C-14 (medical assistance in dying) was passed by the Canadian Parliament. With royal assent, euthanasia and assisted suicide became legal procedures in Canada. Some citizens may now lawfully kill others. This act of legalization does not render physician assisted suicide and euthanasia morally right. They remain grave sins against the love of God, and stand as an affront to human life and dignity. Consequently, opposition and resistance to them must continue. Already we hear calls for the expansion of assisted suicide and euthanasia to include the mentally ill and mature children, as well as demands that these lethal procedures be included in advance directives. Our voices must continue to resound not only with a clear defence of the dignity of all human life from beginning to natural end but also an insistent demand for effective conscience protection across Canada. Advocacy must also continue for new and major investments in palliative care– the only truly human answer to end of life challenges. From now on, the disciples of Christ share a double challenge : Education to dispel the confusion surrounding medical aid in dying, and to propose with clarity the Christian vision of life and suffering; Care for the vulnerable with the truth, charity and compassion that so clearly render euthanasia and assisted suicide unacceptable and unnecessary that they choose to live until their natural death. The first Christians’ contemporaries used to say: “See how they love one another”…  Will people say the same about us, the first Christians of the third millennium?  June 23, 2016
  • Bill C-14 (medical assistance in dying) - COLF writes to the members of the Senate
    May 9, 2016 Honorable Members of the Senate of Canada, Together with many of our fellow citizens we are distressed by the prospect of legalized euthanasia and assisted suicide. From time immemorial, the act of taking the life of another person has been considered a wrong punishable by law. Now, early in the twenty-first century, some would have us believe that this is a good.  Killing remains a grave evil - even if it is disguised as “medical aid in dying”. We are all gratefully aware that in our own time great strides have been made and continue to be made in medical care and pain control.  The principles that have inspired the research which led to these advancements and on which Western medicine rests will be undermined if our governments assign medical practitioners the “right” to euthanize or assist in the suicide of their patients.  In a universal health care system, which in large part serves a rapidly aging population and is dependent on a shrinking tax base, there is a real danger that the normalization of euthanasia and assisted suicide will soon translate into an obligation to die. Politicians must ask themselves if they are willing to sacrifice the right of the many to security of person and freedom of conscience for the newly claimed right of a few to euthanasia or assisted suicide. It is imperative that the Charter-guaranteed rights of the countless medical practitioners and institutions whose consciences and values forbid their cooperation with “medical assistance in dying” be acknowledged and protected by legislation.  We encourage you to work to that end, and for increased access to palliative care. Some have claimed that for a Member of the House of Commons or the Senate to oppose euthanasia and assisted suicide on religious or ethical grounds would mean imposing personal views on the Canadian electorate.  However, the view that access to euthanasia and assisted suicide is tolerable or even desirable itself is not “neutral” and, in fact, reflects a particular ideological perspective.  To advance and provide access to euthanasia and assisted suicide is to promote a particular world view, a specific philosophy of life. Moreover, it reverses not only a law but the underlying principles and values which innumerable generations have held that protecting and saving life is essential for the common good. Canada stands at a crossroad.  How you vote in the matter of Bill C-14 will help to propel this nation in one direction or another: along the road of life and the common good, or on the slippery slope of eliminating human life. The decision you must make will be one of the most important in your life. May the Spirit of wisdom and strength enlighten you in this serious and decisive moment, and guide you in protecting the dignity and sacredness of human life. Sincerely, +Most Rev. Richard W. Smith Archbishop of Edmonton President of the Board     2500 Don Reid Drive, Ottawa, Ontario K1H 2J2        Telephone: (613) 241-9461…
  • Bill C-14 (medical assistance in dying) - COLF writes to the members of the House of Commons
        May 9, 2016 Honorable Members of the House of Commons of Canada, Together with many of our fellow citizens we are distressed by the prospect of legalized euthanasia and assisted suicide. From time immemorial, the act of taking the life of another person has been considered a wrong punishable by law. Now, early in the twenty-first century, some would have us believe that this is a good.  Killing remains a grave evil - even if it is disguised as “medical aid in dying”. We are all gratefully aware that in our own time great strides have been made and continue to be made in medical care and pain control.  The principles that have inspired the research which led to these advancements and on which Western medicine rests will be undermined if our governments assign medical practitioners the “right” to euthanize or assist in the suicide of their patients.  In a universal health care system, which in large part serves a rapidly aging population and is dependent on a shrinking tax base, there is a real danger that the normalization of euthanasia and assisted suicide will soon translate into an obligation to die. Politicians must ask themselves if they are willing to sacrifice the right of the many to security of person and freedom of conscience for the newly claimed right of a few to euthanasia or assisted suicide. It is imperative that the Charter-guaranteed rights of the countless medical practitioners and institutions whose consciences and values forbid their cooperation with “medical assistance in dying” be acknowledged and protected by legislation.  We encourage you to work to that end, and for increased access to palliative care. Some have claimed that for a Member of the House of Commons or the Senate to oppose euthanasia and assisted suicide on religious or ethical grounds would mean imposing personal views on the Canadian electorate.  However, the view that access to euthanasia and assisted suicide is tolerable or even desirable itself is not “neutral” and, in fact, reflects a particular ideological perspective.  To advance and provide access to euthanasia and assisted suicide is to promote a particular world view, a specific philosophy of life. Moreover, it reverses not only a law but the underlying principles and values which innumerable generations have held that protecting and saving life is essential for the common good. Canada stands at a crossroad.  How you vote in the matter of Bill C-14 will help to propel this nation in one direction or another: along the road of life and the common good, or on the slippery slope of eliminating human life. The decision you must make will be one of the most important in your life. May the Spirit of wisdom and strength enlighten you in this serious and decisive moment, and guide you in protecting the dignity and sacredness of human life. Sincerely,   +Most Rev. Richard W. Smith Archbishop of Edmonton President of the Board 2500 Don Reid Drive, Ottawa, Ontario K1H 2J2      Telephone: (613) 241-9461…
  • COLF MESSAGE ON THE OCCASION OF THE NATIONAL WEEK FOR LIFE AND THE FAMILY 8-15 MAY 2016
      IS MY FAMILY A “SCHOOL OF MERCY”?   THE NATIONAL WEEK FOR LIFE AND THE FAMILY   8-15 MAY 2016   Every year the Church in Canada sets aside one week as a special time for prayer and reflection on life and the family.  During this year of Mercy, it is particularly appropriate that we turn our attention to the privileged role of the family as the first and most important school of mercy – the place where parents sustained by God’s grace, are meant to become icons of Divine Mercy. As followers of Christ, each of us—whatever our vocation—is called to imitate Him in His self-giving merciful love. Yet we can only give away that which we have received. It is God’s will that the family be the place where we first encounter unconditional love. Nevertheless, no family is perfect! Only by cultivating an intimate relationship with Christ in prayer and the sacraments, can our weaknesses be healed and our shortcomings overcome, so that we can become the loving and merciful spouses, parents and friends that the Lord calls us to be and on which the future wellbeing of humanity depends. Pope Francis invites us, “Let us be renewed by God's mercy, let us be loved by Jesus, let us enable the power of his love to transform our lives too; and let us become agents of this mercy, channels through which God can water the earth  . . .” Recent developments in our country relative to the issues of euthanasia and assisted suicide reveal the degree to which we are suffering from a “failure to love” and the very real urgency of our calling. Sadly, many of our contemporaries appear to believe that some lives are simply not worth living.  It is difficult to imagine any person who feels loved and wanted drawing such a conclusion or choosing to end life prematurely.  As long as we live we can both give and receive love. Let us recall the words of Blessed Mother Teresa, “If you want to bring happiness to the whole world, go home and love your family.” Many ask: “What kind of a world are we bequeathing our children?” Let us rather ask: “What kind of children are we bequeathing to our world?” Reflecting on the state of our society, it is time for each of us to ask ourselves, “Have I loved well enough?”  If I have failed to love as Christ bids me perhaps it is only because I have failed to draw from the transforming and merciful love that flows freely from His heart.  During this year’s Week for Life and the Family let us turn to the Lord with confidence and ask him to make our homes and families schools of His merciful love. Let us not forget that with the Lord’s help, all things are possible!
  • EXTENDING THE HAND OF MERCY - Message of the Catholic Organization for Life and Family On the Occasion of the National March for Life, Ottawa, May 12, 2016
    While thousands of Canadians are preparing to participate in the National March for Life to be held in Ottawa on May 12, the Catholic Organization for Life and Family (COLF) turns its attention to the second victims of abortion – all those Moms who have lost part of themselves by taking the life of their child. There is Barbara who is approaching death.  She is 84 and for decades has carried the burden of her secret . . .  There is also Kathy  who at 50 is unable to shake her depression . . .  And Jessica who just celebrated her 32nd birthday but continues to struggle with her drug addiction . . .  and finally Chloe who is only 17 but no longer believes in love with a capital L . . . Each of these women (with fictional names), without knowing it, carries the deep wound of an abortion they had voluntarily or pressured by a relative or boyfriend.  According to Pope Francis this is a “profoundly unjust”   . . .  “moral and existential ordeal”.  This is why, during this Jubilee, he has extended to all the priests of the world “the discretion to absolve of the sin of abortion those who have procured it and who, with a contrite heart, seek forgiveness for it” (September 1, 2015 letter to Archbishop Rino Fisichella).  Who among us does not know at least one woman who has had an abortion? This is not a question of judging or condemning, but rather of reaching out to them during this Jubilee Year of Mercy in order to bring them to the Physician of souls – Christ, who is full of love and compassion.  Let us be more attentive to their silent cry and their forbidden suffering. There could be no greater spiritual work of mercy than to bring one’s mother, one’s sister, friend or colleague to the Sacrament of Reconciliation where Christ awaits them, longing to extend his healing and forgiveness. So let us walk on May 12 in solidarity with the unborn children who ask only to be born. And let us walk throughout the year with these women wounded by abortion and often unconsciously thirsting for hope! The followig resources can be of help to us:        “When Life Takes us by Surprise”:  Talks given during COLF’s 2015 Seminar:http://www.colf.ca/index.php/en/events/item/225-when-life-takes-us-by-surprise        Project Rachel: http://hopeafterabortion.com/        Rachel’s Vineyard: http://www.rachelsvineyard.org/
  • COLF Reaction to Bill C-14
    Yesterday, Bill C-14 (An Act to amend the Criminal Code and to make related amendments to other Acts [medical assistance in dying]), was introduced by the federal government. If passed, it will become legal, on request, to kill a person who meets the legal criteria. From time immemorial, the act of taking the life of another person has been considered a wrong punishable by law. Now, early in the twenty-first century, some would have us believe that this is a good.  Killing remains a grave ill - even if it is disguised as “medical aid in dying”. In fact, at issue here is the practice of euthanasia and assisted suicide – something the federal government readily recognizes in its document presenting Bill C-14. According to the draft bill, it will not be necessary to be at the end of life in order to have a right to this “care”. Legal does not mean moral. The opinion of the majority has no power to determine what is good; an evil remains an evil.  This proposed legislation makes legal a moral wrong. By giving us the Ten Commandments, God has been very clear: “Thou shalt not kill.” Bill C-14 is morally unacceptable. We all need the Risen Christ to walk with us and give us strength and courage. As we continue to speak out in defense of life, let us not neglect the spiritual practices recommended by the Church: fasting and prayer, especially the Eucharist, where Christ, who has vanquished death, gives himself to us so that we may carry Him to a world that desperately needs His love. Once again we call upon the baptized to speak to their MPs in opposition to assisted suicide and euthanasia, in support of the protection of conscience rights, and in advocacy for increased access to palliative  care. The Coalition for HealthCARE and Conscience provides an easy way to contact your MP. April 15, 2016
  • COLF Response to the Report of the Special Joint Committee on Physician-Assisted Dying
      The content of the much anticipated report issued on February 25 by the Special Joint Committee of the Government of Canada, entitled Medical Assistance in Dying: A Patient-Centred Approach, can only be described as alarming. Furthermore, should the Trudeau government succeed in adopting legislation formed by the recommendations of this report, Canada will have earned for itself the very sad distinction of having the most permissive euthanasia and assisted-suicide law in the world. Apart from advocating that some among us be empowered to take the lives of others – even the lives of children and people living with mental illness—the Special Joint Committee, far from upholding the Charter-protected conscience rights of physicians and other health care workers, recommends the publicly-funded imposition of a philosophy of life and death which many rightly find abhorrent; with even explicitly religious hospitals being forced to comply. The report’s recommendations demonstrate a callous disregard of the rights of faith-based health care institutions in Canada. They aim to commit tax payers of every faith and of no faith to support the provision of death in our hospitals and healthcare facilities.The experience of countries where euthanasia and assisted suicide are currently legal – even within narrowly defined limits– has shown that the “right” to so called “medical aid in dying” can very quickly turn into an obligation to die. What can we anticipate in Canada’s provincial health care systems faced with rapidly aging populations and entirely dependent on a shrinking tax base? Do we really want to bequeath to our children and grandchildren a country in which the value of life is determined by some arbitrary concept of “usefulness” and where respect for the rights of conscience has been eradicated? Now is our last chance to bring pressure to bear on this critical issue. The temptation may be great to give in. But as disciples of Christ we must keep fighting to defend human life and dignity. As Pope Francis reminded us in his February 16 tweet: “Jesus would never ask us to be assassins; he calls us to be disciples. He would never send us to die. He invites us to life”. Jesus would never ask us to be assassins; he calls us to be disciples. He would never send us to die. He invites us to life. Make your voice heard now! If you care about the future of safe healthcare in Canada, contact your Member of Parliament! Read Medical Assistance in Dying: A Patient-Centred Approach – the report issued by the Special Joint Committee of the Government of Canada—and the Pastoral statement of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops. March 1, 2016

“May He have dominion from sea to sea”
. . . to sea, and from womb to tomb

 
Message from the Catholic Organization for Life and Family
On the occasion of the 2017 National March for Life

Click Here

“Life-Giving Love” Campaign

A National Campaign for Palliative and Home Care: Against Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide

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