I felt proud of Bishop Hopes as he gently raised his voice in prayer above a drum-banging, whistle-blowing, smaller group of abortion advocates who had been rallied to protest against the bishop's presence at the prayer vigil by The Guardian, a newspaper which makes no bones about its pro-abortion ideology. (In view of the Guardian's daily circulation of around a quarter of a million, it must have been disappointed with the turn-out to its pro-abortion "cause".)
Monsignor John Armitage, the vicar general of Brentwood diocese, was also there along with a number of other clergy. Looking around at the huge group of mainly young people attending the prayer vigil, he said to me "it shows you the power of episcopal leadership on abortion".
In my view, the cacaphonous, Guardian-led, pro-abortion protest in Bedford Square last night showed us three things:
- that Catholics in Britain can be proud of Bishop Alan Hopes who calmly arrived at the vigil and led the prayers when the noisy group of protestors were in full cry
- that we have something to learn from The Guardian newspaper - which, maybe more than we do, recognizes the power of episcopal leadership when bishops are prepared to make a compassionate stand for the right to life of unborn children
- that when pro-life groups and individuals and Christian leaders join together in peaceful projects like the prayer vigil last night (under the quiet, dignified leadership of Robert Colquhoun and 40 Days for Life) we see growing visibly amongst us a renewed spirit of complete determination to end abortion in Britain.
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