During Pope John Paul II's unforgettable arrival ceremony in Toronto on July 23, 2002, to mark the beginning of World Youth Day 2002, the Holy Father spoke these words to government officials and the people of Canada at Pearson airport:
"Canadians are heirs to an extraordinarily rich humanism, enriched even more by the blend of many different cultural elements... In a world of great social and ethical strains, and confusion about the very purpose of life, Canadians have an incomparable treasure to contribute - on condition that they preserve what is deep, and good and valid in their own heritage." The magnificent welcoming ceremony at Toronto's airport on that sunny July day was hosted by a Liberal government that scrambled at the last minute to save face when the ruling prime minister, Jean Chretien, announced days before that he wouldn't be able to welcome the Pope to Canada! The announcement provoked an outcry from the public. The near no-show was symbolic and symptomatic of what Canada was undergoing as a nation. Fortunately, many Canadians helped change the Catholic prime minister's mind so that he was the first one on the red carpet to greet an elderly, infirm saint who travelled all the way from Rome to launch the greatest event in Canadian history.
Over the past few years, Canadians have witnessed a deterioration of our communal and transcendent values. This worrisome decline is evident in the flagrant abuse of the common good, the erosion of marriage and family life, the high rate of marriage breakdown, the staggering number of abortions, and the declining number of births.
What about the proliferation of senseless violence, the dismissal of God and Jesus from public discourse, the indifference toward religious values and roots? Our aging population is resulting in smaller workforces and is now creating a market push towards euthanasia. As Pope John Paul II wrote: "a right to die will inevitably give way to the duty to die." The role of government is to help us remember our roots and point us toward the future. Neither has been happening for the past years in Canada. Canadian voters have now elected Stephen Harper, as our new prime minister.
The Conservatives' success was helped by voters' exhaustion with the divided Liberals, who had not only caused major financial and political scandals, but also lost the transcendent vision of life that is part of the DNA of Canada.
The future of humanity and of Canada passes through the family. Now is the time to strengthen and enshrine marriage, to bless and nurture children, and to make our homes, families, workplaces, neighbourhoods and church communities welcoming places for women and men of every race, language, sexual orientation and way of life. Only in this way can we ever hope to preserve what is deep, good and valid in our own Canadian heritage.
May God be with the Liberals as they enter into a period of soul-searching and purification.
May God bless Mr. Harper and his new government with the wisdom of Solomon, the courage of Moses, the vision of Isaiah, the passion of John the Baptist, the charity and intelligence of Jesus Christ and the boldness of St. Paul as he begins to lead Canada back to its roots and forward to its future.