Besides being the memorial – or, as I like to think of it, the feast – of Saint Thomas Aquinas, this is also the rather ambiguous anniversary, back on this day in 1988, of the striking down of Pierre Trudeau’s 1969 abortion law by the Supreme Court. The Court deemed the law ‘unconstitutional’, but not in a good way: Rather, as too restrictive for women seeking abortions – requiring a panel of physicians, and ‘proportionate’ reasons, like health. Hence, they ordered parliament to formulate a new law, which they have never done. Hence, Canada is one of the very few countries in the world – China, Vietnam and North Korea, all atheistic, communist dictatorships, which is what this nation has more or less become, or at least devolving into.
Saint Thomas provides the antidote, with his clear teaching, the harmony he draws between faith and reason, his mystical holiness. Without Thomas and the scholastic method which Popes have advocated since the time of his death, the Church would be in danger of falling into an emotionalist, milquetoast mush, offering ersatz compassion, ignoring the harm to the most vulnerable, like babies and children – also a proximate reality of the current situation. Only the truth will set us free.
And what of Trump and his remarkable, rhetorical speech at the March for Life, advocating in no uncertain terms protection for the unborn from conception? Rare is the bishop who speaks like this. Some claim he is an opportunist, seeking Evangelical and Catholic votes, and he’s just faking it. If so, he’s doing a remarkably realistic job, appointing pro-life justices, promulgating pro-life laws, restricting Planned Parenthood and overseas abortions. Yes, he may have changed his mind – see my comments on metanoia on Saturday’s feast of Saint Paul’s conversion – but such is eminently possible, and even likely. We should give credit where credit is due.