By Most Rev. Richard W. Smith, Archbishop of Edmonton

Monday, August 3, 2015

Speed Fines Double

Signs pointing to sites of construction are everywhere on highways in these summer months. I've noticed they are often accompanied by the sign: "Speed Fines Double", sometimes with flashing warning lights. It would seem that we motorists don't have enough common sense to slow down at construction venues so as to avoid harming someone, and need to be warned of additional speeding penalties if we don't.

It's time we also learned to slow down - better, to come to a full stop - when we see the growing number of signs that point not to construction but to deconstruction, namely, the progressive dismantling of a civilization based upon absolute respect for the dignity of the human person. When such signs come into view, we need to stop and ask ourselves what we are doing. Such pause will give us the opportunity to discuss together how to reconstruct real human solidarity and the common good. As it is, right now we are speeding past such signs, seemingly oblivious to the great harm that comes from our failure to reconsider and change.

Two such signs of deconstruction have recently come to our attention. One is the making available in Canada of RU-486, the so-called abortion pill. This is yet one more method of killing innocent children in the womb. One would think that the announcement of something so lethal would have been accompanied by rapidly flashing red lights. Sadly, the light accompanying the announcement was green, as if there is nothing to worry about and society can just keep moving forward on its current route. The other is the decision of the Supreme Court last February that made physician-assisted suicide legal in this country. No warning of speed fines here; on the contrary, penalties were removed! A consultation process has been established to advise the government on the drafting of legislation to coincide with this judicial ruling. I hope and pray that many voices will be raised to call for a meaningful halt to the deconstruction so as to begin to reconstruct a culture of life.

In a letter to the editor of the Calgary Herald, Bishop Fred Henry pointed this week to the obvious irony of a situation in which only a few voices speak up in defence of vulnerable human life while at the same time we witness a global outcry against animal poaching. What have we come to?

The warning signs calling us to slow down and stop are many. They reside within our conscience. We need to start paying it heed and apply the brakes.