In a strongly worded sermon to be delivered on Thursday afternoon (31 May) at St. Mary's Cathedral in Edinburgh, Cardinal Keith O'Brien will describe the claims and assurances made at the timeof the passing of the 1967 Abortion Act were no more than a "pack of lies" which amounted to "lies and misinformation masquerading as compassion and truth". The Cardinal's words come as the 40th anniversary of the act approaches and are timed to coincide with the Catholic Church's "Day for Life" on May 31st, "Blessed is the fruit of your womb" is the theme for this year's Day for Life.
The Scottish Day for Life falls on The Feast of the Visitation which marks the journey by Mary who went to visit her cousin Elizabeth who was also expecting a child. At their meeting, John the Baptist, the child in Elizabeth's womb leapt for joy, and Elizabeth cried out: "Blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb." The day will be marked in Scotland's 500 Catholic parishes who have been sent 250,000 leaflets expanding on the theme and explaining the church's opposition to abortion and providing details of alternatives.
In a letter which accompanies the material sent to parishes, Archbishop Mario Conti urges "every parish in Scotland (to) take the opportunity to remind people that it is 40 years since the Abortion Act was passed into law" adding that people should be encouraged to "pray for legislation to protect the unborn child from the moment of conception".
In his sermon on Thursday, Cardinal O'Brien will also call on Catholic politicians to avoid "cooperating in the unspeakable crime of abortion" reminding them of "the barrier such cooperation erects to receiving Holy Communion"
The full text of Cardinal O'Brien's sermon is shown below.
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Notes to editors:
1. An audio recording of Cardinal O'Brien quoting from his text (1min) in MP3 format is available to broadcasters on request.
2. A "Day for Life" website has also been created with video and audio content which can be viewed at: www.dayforlife.org