Canadian Bishops Cut Ties With Women´s Group

Abortion Issue Forces a Break

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OTTAWA, FEB. 15, 2001 ( Canada´s Catholic bishops have cut their ties with the World March of Women over the abortion issue, the Ottawa Citizen reported today.

Despite opposition from other bishops, another group of bishops, including Ottawa´s Archbishop Marcel Gervais, supported the march last year when women around the world protested Third World poverty and violence against women, the newspaper said.

But in a letter Wednesday, the president of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, Bishop Gerald Wiesner, said he supported the decision by the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace to end its connection with the march, the Citizen said.

The Catholic peace organization withdrew from the women´s march because it wanted protests against President George W. Bush´s ban on U.S. aid to overseas programs that support abortion, the newspaper said.

«Obviously Development and Peace does not support abortion,´´ said Bishop Wiesner, of Prince George, British Columbia. He had previously supported the Catholic peace organization´s participation in the march.

When 15,000 women gathered from across Canada in October to take their demands to Parliament Hill, Archbishop Gervais and five other bishops took a break from the Canadian bishops´ annual meeting to encourage Catholics to join the march, the Citizen reported.

Archbishop Gervais told a packed Notre Dame Cathedral that nothing in this world is perfect and Catholics must not let the fear of being tainted stop them from joining the march.

However, four of Canada´s bishops, including Cardinal Aloysius Ambrozic of Toronto, condemned Catholic participation in the march because many of the organizations backing it also supported abortion and same-sex «marriage.»

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