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Bishop Mark Hagemoen expresses concerns about Canadian Summer Jobs application process and requirement to support abortion

A federal government summer employment funding program requiring groups to attest that their core mandate supports “reproductive rights” is being addressed in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Saskatoon.


The federal government’s Canadian Summer Jobs application describes these rights as specifically including “the right to access safe and legal abortions”.


For Catholics and Catholic organizations that believe in the sanctity of life at every age and stage, including the lives of unborn children, assenting to support of abortion goes against conscience and religious belief.


In a letter to parish leadership and Catholic organization this week, Bishop Mark Hagemoen addressed the issue, encouraging concerned Catholics to contact elected officials to express opposition to such a requirement, which conflicts directly with the right to freedom of religion and conscience (as guaranteed in Section 2 (a) (b) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.)


“We are called to uphold the dignity and the life of each human person, made in the image and likeness of God, including the lives of unborn children,” said Hagemoen. “We disagree with the government’s interpretation of the Charter and the coercion it is using on those applying for funding.”


The bishop’s letter to Catholic groups quoted a statement by the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops ( about the issue: “Faith communities consider abortion, sexual orientation, and gender identity as major questions with ethical, moral, social and personal bearing which determine our understanding of human dignity and thus appreciation for the meaning and significance of each and every human life. This new policy conflicts directly with the right to freedom of religion and conscience.”


In the letter, Bishop Hagemoen also outlined a plan for Catholic organizations hoping to apply for funding, encouraging them to submit a printed application by mail and leave the “I attest” section blank. (It is not possible to complete the online electronic application without making the attestation.)


Catholic groups applying for funding to hire students this summer were also encouraged to add a letter explaining their reasons for not making the attestation.


The bishop also asked those applying for CSJ funding to contact the diocesan Office of Justice and Peace about their application details, such as: how many students they hoped to hire, how the particular project might contribute to the common good, and the impact on the organization if funding is denied.


Diocese of Saskatoon In Video