Saturday 5 July 2008

Scottish Cardinal's new "Cry of alarm" on abortion amendments must be heard by other religious leaders

As millions throughout the UK relax to watch the Wimbledon final tomorrow, as thousands of churches fill up with the faithful coming to worship God - spare a thought for what MPs have the power to do on Monday week, 14th July: to strip away as much of the little protection that is left in British legislation for unborn children, increase the pressures on mothers-to-be and on doctors and nurses striving to oppose abortion by conscientious objection.

I am pleased to report that Cardinal O'Brien, the archbishop of St. Andrews and Edinburgh, has sent out another clarion call in "The Scotsman" which I pray will not only reverberate in the hearts and consciences of Members of Parliament but will prompt many other Christian leaders to mobilise the faithful and all people of good will in defence of life.

With characteristic prophetic bluntness and in entirely appropriate dramatic terms, he writes:

"My letter to MPs is more than a piece of political lobbying. It is a cry of alarm; a final desperate effort to prevent our nation sleepwalking into one of the most shameful decisions of its history...Our spiralling abortion statistics are already a badge of shame for our nation and it confounds the reason of any decent person that such a situation should be exacerbated. From the time of the Abortion Act in 1967 we have watched the growing tragedy whilst its architects have refused to repent their handiwork. Now those who have demeaned every human life by targeting the most vulnerable would have us remove what little restraint there is in relation to abortion...As I grow older myself I will look back at the legislation we pass and ask myself whether I did everything possible to fight for the right to life of the unborn and I ask everyone in our nation, most especially our politicians who will be directly responsible, to ponder the same question themselves. A society which sacrifices its most vulnerable, for whatever reason, invests in its own future ruin."

Now forgive me, Cardinal, if I add my own heartfelt comment.

Never before in our history has outstanding pro-life leadership, such as yours, been needed from Christian leaders and religious leaders of all denominations. Not only will millions more human lives be destroyed and the lives of countless women blighted in Britain, anti-life legislation passed in Westminster will have a catastrophic, life-destroying, impact worldwide, especially in the English-speaking common-law world, as we have seen again and again since the passage of the British Abortion Act in 1967.

If the right to life of one priest, one politician, one nurse or teacher was to be swept away by the raw power of Parliament in the coming weeks, would we not be called to prayer, would we not be called to action, in urgent terms by religious leaders? The unborn in their desperate plight are entitled to be treated in exactly the same way. Pro-life lobbyists, pro-life politicians, pro-life clergy cannot win these battles on their own.