news-2


Cardinal O'Brien on Abortion

Cardinal O'Brien on Abortion  

Writing in today's Scotsman, Cardinal Keith Patrick O'Brien, President of the Bishops' Conference of Scotland defends the case for a reduction in legal time limits. Th full text of his article is shown below, you can view the article on P.22 of the Scotsman or at  
http://thescotsman.scotsman.com/index.cfm?id=291962005&20050318100706  



The question aired publicly this week of whether abortion time limits should be changed is a loaded one. The option supported and taught by the Catholic church of ending abortion completely is not on the agenda. Accordingly, the choice presented is an imperfect one. However it does reflect the reality of our secular world and the terms in which this debate is taking place at the moment.  

Abortion is the taking of a unique and unrepeatable human life. If you terminate a pregnancy you take a life. Abortion is irreversible and profound. We serve no one if we attempt to minimize its impact or normalize its effects. Abortion has many victims. The baby is the first and most obvious victim, its life is taken. The mother is also a victim, she is told she has the right to choose yet is rarely shown the consequences of her choice. Her child is spoken of as a foetus, embryo, or the products of conception terms designed to deny its humanity.  

Women often opt for abortion because they can see no way out of a crisis. They abort for social reasons, lack of support, lack of finance, worry about relationships with her parents, peers or the child's father. Were real choices given, the majority would not abort. Many women suffer from post abortion syndrome. They grieve for the child they have lost and their lives and relationships can be badly affected. Fathers too are affected; they have no rights in an abortion decision even if they are married to the mother.  

The possibility of a reduction in the time limit for abortions has not been on the political agenda for some time, that it is now centre stage is to be welcomed. Should such a proposal be put before parliament, pro-life MP s will be faced with a dilemma “ should they support a reduction, which would appear to tacitly suggest early-term abortions were permissible or vote to leave the legislation as it is suggesting that all abortions are permissible.  

Pope John Paul II specifically addressed such a scenario when he spoke at the Jubilee for Parliamentarians in 2000. He said: when you cannot get exactly what you want or require, it is legitimate to make an imperfect choice, since the object of your choice is the preservation of the lives of unborn children (in this example, those aged between 20 and 24 weeks).  

In fact the Pope stressed that when faced with an opportunity to make legislation less harmful than it is at present, it would be wrong not to take it, stressing at all time however that such a choice was not the ideal but was instead, ˜the lesser of two evils .  


An abortion can be legally obtained in Britain if a pregnancy has not exceeded 24 weeks. If there is a suspicion that the child might be born handicapped, an abortion is legal until the moment of birth. Our law ignores utterly the fact that life begins at the moment of conception. If we hadn't been conceived we simply wouldn't be here. To those who doubt or question this, I ask simply, if life doesn't begin at conception then when does it begin? The early embryo is alive. It is not a potential human being, but a human being with potential. Its physical characteristics already decided.  

Since 1967, there have been about six million abortions in Britain. There are around 600 carried out every day and the number is increasing every year. Interestingly, the hollow promises of our sexual health industry, that wider access to contraception would see abortions fall has proven to be at best empty and worthless and at worst a cynical lie.  

The moral values of our entire society are called into question by the practice of abortion. Our laws and medical practice conspire to debase the value of human life and contrary to all logic to allow life at its most defenceless to be attacked and destroyed.  

During a sermon delivered in the Crypt of the House of Commons in London last year, I reminded our MP's that religion and politics were "autonomous", but co-operation "served the common good" and called on politicians to attend to the "concerns of society". In a reference to the plight of the unborn, I lamented deeply our present culture and laws which show so little respect for the child in the womb “ life at its earliest and most defenceless.  

Today, as we approach a general election, I call again on our politicians to attend to the concerns of society. I urge Scotland s voters to quiz their prospective candidates on this issue and demand that it is placed at the top of the political agenda. As Scotland s population continues to fall I ask those same candidates to campaign in support of life.  

Subscribe to Updates

Subscribe to:
Like   Back to Top   Seen 258 times   Liked 0 times

Subscribe to Updates

If you enjoyed this, why not subscribe to free email updates ?

Subscribe to News updates

Enter your email address to be notified of new posts:

Subscribe to:

Alternatively, you can subscribe via RSS RSS

‹ Return to News

We never share or sell your email address to anyone.

I've already subscribed / don't show me this again

Recent Posts

Bishop calls for Christmas “circuit breaker” in war on COVID

| 26th October 2020 | Blogging

In an article in the Sunday Times (25 October 2020) Bishop John Keenan has called for a  Christmas “circuit breaker” comprising a 24-hour lifting of restrictions on gatherings and celebrations,  in the war on COVID on Christmas day. The full text of Bishop Keenan's article is shown below:       The recent advice from Scotland’s National Clinical Director Prof Jason Leitch that we should prepare for a “digital” celebration of Christmas, and the idea of a normal Christmas was a "fiction" with "absolutely no question" of a "normal" Christmas being allowed, was dismal news. As it came in the middle of renewed restrictions and talk of even further limitations on how we live our lives in the coming months, it is easy to see why so many people are succumbing to despair.   The government has told us that its latest Covid-19 restrictions are having an impact on the spread of the virus, causing a "deceleration" in the increase of cases. I hope that is true and that it will be possible to ease restrictions rather than tighten them as we move towards the end of the year.   Regardless of what limitations COVID might place on our lives, as Christians we are sure that Christmas will never be cancelled. No matter what difficulties we face, we will celebrate the joy and love, the kindness and good cheer that attend the celebration of the birth of Christ as we always do.   It could not have been easy for Mary and Joseph to celebrate under Roman occupation in Bethlehem 2,000 years ago, for soldiers in the trenches of the First World War or for nations across Europe in the post war privations of 1945, but Christmas happened and millions gave thanks that a saviour was born. Christmas won’t be cancelled.   As Christians, we are people of hope, we live in hope and while we take the national restrictions seriously, we hope and pray that Christmas 2020 can be as normal as possible. We will do all we can even in very adverse circumstances, to focus on the reality of Christmas, hoping that adversity will bring us closer to that reality. Ultimately, our hopes are for love and joy, peace and good cheer in this world, not just the next.   Since the resumption of public worship our parishes have been meticulous in controlling infection to ensure the safety of all those who cross the threshold of a Catholic church.   On that basis, we have every confidence that our parishes will celebrate Christmas full of faith, hope and love. We also have confidence that society will still want to celebrate Christmas and hold on to as many traditions as it possibly can at such a traditional time of year.   We’ve already witnessed so many heroes who’ve emerged from among us. When times are hard, compassion and concern for one another can grow. Our key workers across the country bear living witness to our ability to forge solidarity in the face of adversity. COVID has brought out the best in us, caused us to value all that we have and think more about those who have least.   For all of us Christmas is the one time of year when shopping and all that goes with it is not about buying for ourselves, but about giving gifts to our families and loved ones.   It truly is a time of giving.  Giving time, company and love to others. It is a time when we enjoy being together with friends and family, especially elderly members of our families. We are moved by the joy and love of the season, motivated by the greatest act of love we can imagine, when God gave his only Son to the world.   The prospect of these acts of joy and love being taken from us would be a dispiriting and depressing one. We understand that the comments from Jason Leitch were an attempt to remind people of the sobering reality of a COVID Christmas.     We also know that the government do hope that the situation will improve and what has been described as “a more family Christmas” will be possible.   Yet telling us that "We are not going to be in large f...

Scottish Government urged to follow Pope’s lead and foster “constructive dialogue”

| 13th October 2020 | Blogging

Scottish Government urged to follow Pope’s lead and foster “constructive dialogue” !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0],p=/^http:/.test(d.location)?"http":"https";if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src=p+"://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs");   Tuesday 13 October 2020   The Bishop of Motherwell, Bishop Jopseph Toal has called on the Scottish Government to act in the words of Pope Francis to “foster encounter and to seek convergence on at least some issues.” Writing in today’s Herald newspaper, Bishop Toal, referring to the recent Encyclical released by the Pope says;   “I hope the government will continue to foster encounter and to seek convergence by listening to concerns raised by many about a piece of proposed legislation.”   The bishop goes on to urge further amendments to the Hate Crime and Public Order (Scotland) Bill, following the recent decision by the Justice Secretary to amend the Bill so as to raise the criminal threshold of the controversial stirring up offences from a ‘likelihood’ to stir up hatred to ‘intent’ to stir up hatred.    Bishop Toal comments;   “the Catholic Church will continue to argue for further change to this legislation to include; more equitable and robust freedom of expression provisions; greater clarity around the definitions of ‘hatred’, ‘abusive’ and ‘insulting’ which remain precariously vague”   The bishop also calls on the Scottish Government to “address the outstanding concerns of many, that religious texts, books and social media messages expressing certain views could be considered ‘abusive’ under the proposed law and act to protect freedom of expression and people’s right to be themselves and to be different.”   ENDS   Peter KearneyDirectorCatholic Media Office07968 122291pk@scmo.orgwww.scmo.org   Note to Editors:   The full text is shown below.     Pope Francis released a new Encyclical or teaching document last week called Fratelli Tutti, the encyclical is subtitled "on fraternity and social friendship" and is a plea for peace in the world. The title draws its inspiration from the words of St Francis and the life that he proposed for those who followed him. In the document, the Pope encourages us all to find bonds that will unite us in solidarity, fraternity and support for one another, especially as we face the continuing rigours and dangers of the pandemic.   He affirms the simple truth that we are brothers and sisters, living in a common home and sharing a common humanity and reminds us that dialogue should be respectful and strive for consensus, which leads to a culture of encounter. In the Pope’s words, “a country flourishes when constructive dialogue occurs between its many rich cultural components: popular culture, university culture, youth culture, artistic culture, technological culture, economic culture, family culture and media culture.”   The Pope devotes an entire chapter of his document to “A better kind of Politics”, which he describes as striving for “the common and universal good; it is politics for and with the people.” To create an open world with an open heart, it is necessary to engage in politics, which is a noble calling, in which our politicians should always try to achieve the common and universal good.   “Politicians are called to tend to the needs of individuals” the Pope writes and in a statement which could be addressed to our own Scottish Government, he adds; “They are called to make sacrifices that foster encounter and to seek convergence on at least some issues.” I hope the government will continue to do exactly that by listening to concerns raised by many about a piece of proposed legislation.   Scotland’s Justice Secretary recently confirmed that the Government will amend the Hate Crime and Public ...

Bishops say, high standards of infection control mean public worship and parish life can carry on

| 05th October 2020 | Blogging

Scotland’s Catholic Bishops say, high standards of infection control mean public worship and parish life can carry on.   Monday 5 October 2020   In a letter sent to Scotland’s 500 Catholic parishes, the bishops of Scotland urge the catholic community to maintain their “meticulous” infection control and safety measures. The letter points out, that the rate of Covid-19 infections is on the rise across Scotland and public anxiety is increasing, asking priests and parishioners, to “persevere in our efforts to reduce the risk of transmission and to ensure that our parishes and communities adhere to all infection control measures that have been put in place.”   Commenting on the letter, Bishop John Keenan, Vice President of the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland said;   “The tireless work of priests, parishioners and volunteers have ensured that Catholic churches are among the safest places for people to attend in the midst of this Pandemic. The bishops are urging everyone to redouble their efforts to reduce the risk of transmission and ensure that we all adhere to the infection control measures that we have put in place.”   Bishop Keenan added:   “Although no evidence has emerged of cases or clusters connected to our churches, we have every confidence that, if parishes continue their high standards of infection control, then public worship and parish life can carry on and we will continue to be able to attend to the spiritual welfare of the nation.”   “Among the many terrible effects of this pandemic is a surge in cases of depression, hopelessness and suicide. The loss of normality in all its facets has left many feeling bereft and desolate, in need of spiritual solace, like never before. It is in times of greatest peril that we need the spiritual comfort of public worship most, now, more than ever, our church doors need to be open, so that worshipping in safety can continue.”   ENDS   Peter Kearney Director Catholic Media Office 07968 122291 pk@scmo.org www.scmo.org   Note to Editors:   The full text of the letter from the Scottish Bishops is shown below. Two audio clips (28s and 27s) of Bishop John Keenan commenting on the letter and the church’s position are available on request by emailing: mail@scmo.org Bishops’ of Scotland Message to Clergy and People Let us not grow tired of doing good. (Gal 6:9)   The Covid-19 Pandemic has presented the Church with unprecedented challenges. It has brought about the temporary closure of Churches and, following the resumption of public worship, the introduction of rigorous health and safety measures to prevent transmission of the virus.   Since the resumption of public worship our parishes have been meticulous in controlling infection and ensuring the safety of all those who cross the threshold of a Catholic church. The Bishops wish to commend the work and cooperation of priests, parishioners and volunteers whose extraordinary efforts have ensured that Catholic churches are among the safest places for people to attend in the midst of this Pandemic.   However, we are now at a fragile point. The rate of Covid-19 infections is on the rise across Scotland and public anxiety is increasing. At this critical moment, we ask that we all persevere in our efforts to reduce the risk of transmission and to ensure that our parishes and communities adhere to all infection control measures that have been put in place.   Our discussions with the Scottish Government assure us that Government is aware of our extremely careful protocols and trusts us to see to our public worship and parish life with the discretion of responsible citizens. We, for our part, assure Government that we are employing this discretion for the good of public health in accordance with the law.   On that basis, we have every confidence that, if parishes continue these high standards, public worship and parish life can carry on and we will continue to att...

BCOS Meeting 7 September 2020 

| 21st September 2020 | Blogging

BCOS Meeting 7 September 2020     Conference Report:     The meeting was held over two sessions via Teams. All members of the Bishops’ Conference participated. Sir Harry Burns contributed for a part of the morning session which addressed in detail the implications of the ongoing COVID-19 restrictions on places of worship.    In his contribution, Sir Harry advised that the existing limits on maximum attendance of 50 for Mass and 20 for Weddings and Funerals were without scientific foundation and he could see no logical reason for them. Following a wide-ranging discussion on this, it was clear that this perspective was unanimously held. Sir Harry advised that he would raise the matter with officials and ministers in the coming days and report back to the conference. (Other representatives of the Conference have raised similar points). He also spoke of the possible trajectory of the virus over the next few months, advising that the concerns of the Government’s scientific advisors, were that a rise in positive tests among younger people, who are unlikely to require hospitalisation, at present could in the coming weeks spread to the elderly and vulnerable, with serious consequences for the NHS. He updated the bishops on progress being made towards a vaccine and suggested the timescales involved were likely to mean a viable vaccine could be available by December for use early in 2021.  The bishops thanked Sir Harry for his contributions and advice.    Archbishop Cushley updated the conference on the ongoing discussions about the disposal of assets belonging to ACTS. He described three options which had been tabled at a previous meeting of the successor body to ACTS, the Scottish Christian Leaders Forum (SCLF) after some debate a fourth option was proposed and received wide support, it was that any remaining funds be dispersed on a pro rata basis to the founding members of ACTS. Archbishop Cushley undertook to take this position back to the SCLF.    A discussion on a number of liturgical matters followed, led by Bishop Gilbert and based upon his “Report on Matters Liturgical to the Bishops Conference” which covered: The final stage of proof-reading of the Ordo, the proposal that St Mary of the Cross MacKillop, the first canonised Australian saint, be kept as an optional memorial in the Scottish Proper of Saints, the proposal that, given the devotion in Scotland, the optional memorial of Our Lady of Lourdes, 11 February, be raised to the status of an obligatory memorial. The third change proposed to the Scottish Proper of Saints was the insertion of St John Henry Newman as an optional memorial. All these changes were endorsed.    The conference heard that the next meeting of the National Liturgical Commission will be in the second half of October and the next meeting of ICEL was scheduled for 8-12 February 2021.           Bishop Gilbert proposed that a renewed emphasis on the Eucharist would be opportune. This was agreed with. There was discussion over the modality, timing and preparatory work required for this. A discussion followed on the timing and the detail of such a move with one of the bishops agreeing to prepare a basic initial text on this subject.    Bishop Keenan presented a report on Seminary Provision proposing a range of options to be researched in terms of viability as serious options for the formation of men for the Priesthood. At the November BCOS Meeting each option would be discussed, in the light of the information provided, with a view to discerning the 3 most viable options. There would then be consultation on these options before a final decision is made by the Bishops in February/March 2021. Bishop Keenan also presented a report on Transitional Deacons and led a lively discussion on aspects of the model of priestly formation proposed by the Congregation for the Clergy and the recent Ratio.    On behalf of the Pastoral Ministry Group, Michael McGrath present...