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Background information on the Chilcot Report

The Editor: Your editorial on the Chilcot Report (PM, July 13) reminded me of a conversation I had with my nephew Stephen Reilly when Tony Blair was being touted as the new leader of Britain’s Labour Party in 1994.

During a phone conversation I asked Stephen (who had both studied and taught political science at Oxford University and had obtained a Fulbright Scholarship for studies in the U.S.) what he thought of the aspiring contender.

He replied, “He is dangerous!” I was a little shocked, as Stephen was usually balanced in his remarks. Then he continued, “He is educated enough, even maybe compassionate enough to be a good Labour leader, but ambition will always be his nemesis.”

I thought of that statement when Blair agreed to join Bush, Jr. in his war on Iraq. Stephen died at age 46 in 2001, before the war began.

The editorial also mentioned Pope John Paul II and his warnings on this event. The pope wrote a letter to the bishops of the U.S. outlining his fears. It is my understanding, from several priest friends in the U.S., that the pope’s letter was never read in many Catholic dioceses, which meant that a lot of Catholics never knew his views. 

Sad to think that some bishops were too afraid of what people’s reaction would be! No doubt being seen as unpatriotic was a major concern. — Mary Reilly, Burnaby, B.C.


Pro-life organizations more effective if merged

The Editor: An article in the April 13 Prairie Messenger noted that national pro-life goups were gathering for a March for Life in May. I’m glad that these organizations finally joined forces to try and stamp out abortion.

Some time ago, I wrote to several national pro-life organizations asking why they couldn’t consider consolidatiing them into one larger group that could have more clout and influence on the general public.

I’m sorry to say that I never received a single response or acknowlegement to my correspondence. I was disappointed and it seems that grassroots people are sometimes overlooked.

While there may be diversity among them, I feel there could be cost savings in administration and other savings to use for more effective ways of operating the organization against abortion.

At times it seems that advertising a picture used by some pro-life groups is too aggressive and can have a negative effect, driving people away from the cause. However, one group in Saskatchewan is now advertising with the name Right to Life rather than Pro-Life. I would agree to this change.

Another concern is it seems that not too often do we hear publicly from a member of mainline churches concerning pro-life efforts and support. I wonder why?

I have supported pro-life for many years and continue to do so. — Gerry Gauvin, Swift Curent, Sask.