"The Cardinal will be absent from Scotland during most of the month of July, initially leading the annual Archdiocesan Pilgrimage to Lourdes and then travelling to Australia for the World Youth Day in Sydney, followed by a visit to the Diocese of Wollongong; and then journeying to New Zealand before returning to Scotland on Thursday 31 July 2008."
His absence in Lourdes, Australia and New Zealand, has not prevented the Scottish cardinal from continuing to provide pro-life leadership and speaking out powerfully on abortion and embryo experimentation in the run-up to this week's by-election in Glasgow East. Cardinal O’Brien says: "We are facing a crisis in society and we must ask ourselves is human life important to us or is it not?...[The Human Fertilisation and Embryology] Bill is a monstrous attack on human rights, human dignity and human life. …MPs must search their hearts and their consciences in this extra time in which they have been given to decide whether or not the value of human life really matters or whether or not it is simply one more commodity to be cast aside in our throw-away society."