TORONTO, February 13, 2008 – The Catholic Civil Rights League today commented on Premier McGuinty’s proposal for alternatives to the recitation of the Lord’s Prayer at the opening of sessions in the Ontario Legislature. Citing the need to reflect Ontario’s cultural diversity better, the premier has called for an all-party committee to look into alternatives.
“We think a moment of prayer or reflection is an excellent way to start any legislative session,” said Phil Horgan, League President. “While we’re open to the addition of a range of prayers or readings that reflect the many religions and beliefs that make up Ontario, we don’t think the Lord’s Prayer should be removed. It remains the most important prayer in Christianity, the religion to which the majority of Ontarians profess belief.
“It would be very unfortunate to see prayer and meditation become the focus of divisive argument between religious and non-religious, or take on partisan overtones. We would hope that the end result of any changes will show awareness of the importance that prayer and reflection play in the lives of so many people, rather than an effort to avoid faith references altogether.”
A House of Commons committee agreed on the wording for a new, non-sectarian prayer in 1994, which was adopted in 2004. The Senate firmed up the wording around its non-denominational prayer in 1991. Other provinces follow a range of opening practices, ranging from a moment of silence in Quebec to a list of prayers and readings, some including the Lord’s Prayer, in other provinces.
Catholic Civil Rights League (www.ccrl.ca) assists in creating conditions within which Catholic teachings can be better understood, cooperates with other organizations in defending civil rights in Canada, and opposes defamation and discrimination against Catholics on the basis of their beliefs. CCRL was founded in 1985 as an independent lay organization and has chapters across Canada. The Catholic Civil Rights League is a Canadian non-profit organization entirely supported by the generosity of its members.
For further information: Joanne McGarry, Executive Director, 416-466-8244; firstname.lastname@example.org