A Canadian Catholic bishop declared that his diocese refused to submit to the government’s demand that they support abortion in order to receive federal funds.

Bishop Ronald Fabbro of London, Ontario sent a letter Feb. 5 to the 118 parishes that comprise his diocese, declaring that they would stand against the Canadian government’s recent attempt to force them to openly support all government views, including support for abortion, according to Crux Now. The Canadian government set new requirements for institutions that want government grants, demanding that they openly profess the government’s views on gender and abortion.

“I believe that we need to take a stand against the position of the government of Canada and say that we will not be bullied into even the appearance of collusion on this issue,” Fabbro’s letter read, according to Crux. “While others may take an alternative path, we can make a powerful statement by saying ‘no’ to the conditions as set down by the government.”

Fabbro declared that his diocese would stand against the new government requirements by refusing to apply for the Canada Summer Job Grants program. In order to apply for the grants program, applicants must fill out paperwork indicating that they uphold Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms and support what the Canadian government considers to be human rights, which include access to abortion and the accommodation of transgender lifestyles.

“Ironically, expecting such an attestation to get a job grant is in violation of some of the rights that are actually found in the Charter, while some of the contentious positions espoused by the Government are not,” Frabbro’s letter added.

Fabbro called the new requirements “a regrettable infringement of freedom of conscience and religion, of thought and belief, of opinion and expression, as guaranteed in the Charter,” and requested that the government either remove them or reword them. The government responded by announcing that it would extend the deadline to apply for grants but that the requirements would remain as they are. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also publicly praised the new requirements and said that the pro-life movement is “not in line with where we are as a government and, quite frankly, where we are at as a society.”

Fabbro lamented the government’s response and warned that many of the diocese may not be able to run many of the programs through which they serve and minister to the surrounding communities without the funds from this program. He urged his 118 parishes to begin taking up special collections in order to raise the $35,000 needed to ensure the continuance of their programs.

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