As many as 200,000 Catholic high school students in Ontario observed a minute of silence this morning to protest the honorary degree that was given to Dr. Henry Morgentaler, Canada’s abortion pioneer.
The University of Western Ontario conferred the honor to Morgentaler at its 10 a.m. convocation. Morgentaler led the movement to legalize abortion in Canada and currently operates clinics across the country.
Joseph Rapai, education director of the London District Catholic school board, told the Free Press Reporter that students took part in the protest “in recognition of the thousands of lives taken from this world by Dr. Henry Morgentaler.”
In London, all eight Catholic high schools and their 9,000 students participated in the moment of silence and prayer. Other Catholic high schools across Ontario and their roughly 200,000 students were also invited to participate.
High school chaplains across the province were asked to read the same prayer with students.
A 10 a.m. service, focused on the sanctity of life, was also organized at at Christ the King Chapel in London in protest of the honor.
Last month, Bishop Ronald Fabbro of London wrote a letter to university president Paul Davenport, condemning the decision to honor Morgentaler.
"By granting its highest honor to Dr. Morgentaler, the University of Western chooses to recognize a man who has spent his life advocating that women in Canada have easy access to abortion," wrote Bishop Fabbro.
"Now, he seems to be promoting abortion as a legitimate way for society to reduce crime and poverty, in other words, as a form of eugenics,” the bishop continued. “As a result of his efforts, hundreds of thousands of unborn children have been killed."
Some faculty showed up at the convocation in full academic regalia and stood outside Alumni Hall in silent protest.
The decision to honor Morgentaler has also dealt a financial blow to the university. According to christianity.ca, major financial commitments, including one bequest of about 2 million dollars, have been cancelled as a result.