Pierre Lemieux, Conservative MP for the Ontario riding of Glengarry-Prescott-Russell, told a nearly empty House of Commons last night that the recognition of natural marriage is an imperative for Canadian society. He warned that the previous government's determination to abolish the meaning of marriage was "a radical social experiment," the consequences of which were unknown.
Lemieux's speech stood out from the others defending marriage by his unashamed reference to his Catholic Faith.
He quoted the Catechism of the Catholic Church stating that the "intimate community of life and love which constitutes the married state has been established by the Creator and endowed by him with its own proper laws."
The Church teaches, he said, "unchangingly, that marriage is a covenant in which husband and wife express their mutual love, and join with God in the creation of a new human person, destined for eternal life."
Lemieux, who said he had "worked hard" to get onto the speaking list for yesterday's debate, told the House that he had never received so much correspondence as he had on marriage. He said that his constituents were "overwhelmingly asking me to vote in support of the traditional definition of marriage."
The institution of marriage, Lemieux told MP's, is one that goes back to "the beginning of humanity and which existed in all civilizations," and warned of the harm to other countries who follow Canada's example in attempting to change its definition.
Reminding Members that their tenure as Parliamentarians is short and eternity long, Lemieux called on his fellow Catholics to consider the matter as Catholics with a view to the welfare of their immortal souls.
"When we cease to be MPs, sadly we will likely be forgotten by our fellow man — but not by God, who knows each of us intimately. If God Himself is truly the author of marriage, then let us be able to give a good account of ourselves when we stand before Him, as we all must stand before Him."
Lemieux concluded his intervention with a prayer: "Almighty God, protector of all families, guide us in our efforts to defend the Holy Sacrament of Marriage as the union between a man and a woman. I ask you this, in the Name of our Lord, Jesus Christ."
This expression of religious belief in a modern secularized western parliament has surprised many. The popular pseudonymous columnist and in-house blogger of Catholic World News, Diogenes, headlined his post, "A Catholic with Guts," and wondered aloud "When was the last time you heard the following consideration advanced in a public arena?"