When I began covering the pro-life movement and interviewing its leaders, the reputation of the Anglican Catholic Church of Canada (ACCC) had preceded me. Our now retired Bishop Robert Mercer had been a well-beloved figure in pro-life activities in and around Canada's capital for years. He often used to drop by the local pro-life group's office when it was only a few blocks away from our little cathedral. I'll say more about the ACCC's staunch support for life and family in a moment.
I spoke from the perspective of someone who started out in the mainstream media (MSM) sharing many of the negative stereotypes about pro-lifers that most North Americans have — that they are angry, bitter, "fetus fetishists" with perhaps some underlying psychological problems that make them focus so repetitively on one issue.
I advised the conference delegates I had no tips to offer on how to get good coverage, except to suggest they could guarantee coverage of their annual March for Life by marching naked. Which was a joke, for the literal-minded among you. Usually the March is ignored or its numbers vastly underestimated.
And I encouraged them not to be afraid of negative MSM coverage, instead to look at it as a badge of honor, a sign they are doing something right and striking a nerve so that the enemy of our souls has to marshal everything he can to fight back.
The contrast between the lies told about you and the truth and love you embody will change more lives than any arguments you make, I told them, because it is the love and holiness that I have discovered in the movement that have been the most convincing to me. That contrast creates a big cognitive dissonance that can make someone realize that maybe they have been believing lies.
Being ardently pro-life and pro-family is not a politically-correct or popular cause. Even many Catholics look at the political wing of the movement with the same prejudice I used to have.
Bishop Peter Wilkinson and Bishop Carl Reid have kept up the pro-life tradition of the ACCC. Bishop Peter has traveled to Ottawa several times for the National March for Life held here every May. Bishop Carl has been active in numerous pro-life activities, including a candlelight vigil and procession ending with Roman Catholic vespers at St. Patrick's Basilica to mark the last day of the 40 Days for Life vigil.
Bishop Carl told me today it was very cold out there last night! We got a couple of inches of snow Saturday night to add to the unpleasantness. Many of the international pro-life leaders stuck around to take part in the vigil. Here is Bishop Carl with Dr. Jack Willke, one of the pioneers of the pro-life movement in the United States.
Bishop Carl signed up as a delegate to the International Pro-Life conference. Here he is at the banquet with Archbishop Terrence Prendergast.