Alan Hopes, Catholic auxiliary bishop of Westminster, celebrated Mass and led devotions attended by an estimated 2,000-plus faithful. Anthony Ozimic, SPUC's communications manager, represented SPUC in the Cathedral and many SPUC supporters were there too. Earlier in the afternoon, SPUC held a meeting in the Hinsley Room, connected to the Cathedral, on the theme of "Ocean to Ocean", which was addressed by several pro-life speakers.
Below are some key extracts from Bishop Hopes's sermon. I wish to thank the bishop for his powerful words and encourage readers to read the sermon in full. Among other things, Bishop Hopes said:
"Tonight we welcome into our Cathedral the replica of the famous and much venerated icon of Our Lady of Czestochowa. It was commissioned in January of this year to be a witness to the Gospel of Life and to the Civilisation of love – pro Life and pro Family ... entrusting to her maternal intercession a reclaiming of the dignity of human life and of respect and support for the Family and of a restoration of family values."Comments on this blog? Email them to firstname.lastname@example.org
"The icon of Our Lady of Czestochowa...has been the object of desecration, abuse and contempt. Scarred by assaults the message of this sacred image is a reminder in spite of anything man can do, the true beauty of God’s love will shine brightly. How marred is our own world by such assaults on the dignity of human life – from the easy discarding of innocent lives in the tragedy of abortion, to the easy discarding of life as it nears its completion in the so called “right to die” and “mercy killing”."
"How marred too, is our world by the assaults on the dignity and the sacred nature of marriage and family life. From the beginning God shows us that the family is a sacred unity given by him to provide stability for the human race ... Today’s ideas of living with one another and entering into the commitment of marriage, the acceptance of unfaithfulness and sexual immorality, the provision in law of pre-nuptial agreements which is symptomatic of a general disregard for marriage, the proposed marriage of same sex couples – none of these can replace the ideal of the family – mother, father children - which God intends should provide stability for society as a whole."
"Let us pray fervently, today, before the image of Our Lady of Czestochowa that those who are in power will seek to uphold the dignity of human life until the tragedy of abortion and assisted killing is no more; and to support and strengthen the family and the values of family life."
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