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  

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 194 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

‹ 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

Funeral Arrangements for Archbishop Emeritus Keith Patrick Cardinal O?Brien RIP

| 24 hours ago | Blogging

The Requiem Mass of Cardinal Keith Patrick O?Brien RIP will take place at the Church of St Michael, Westmoreland Road, Newcastle on Thursday 5 April at 1.00pm. As requested by the Holy See, the main celebrant and homilist will be His Eminence Cardinal Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster. Donations to SCIAF?s Lenten campaign in lieu of flowers please. ? ? The internment of the body of the late Cardinal O?Brien will then take place at Mount Vernon Cemetery, Edinburgh on 6 April at 1.00pm The Cardinal?s body will be laid to rest in the grave of his mother and father. This was in accordance with wishes expressed by Cardinal O?Brien himself. ? ? ENDS ? ? Notes to Editors: ? ? For more information, call David Kerr, Director of Communications, Archdiocese of St Andrews & Edinburgh on 07903 621232. ? ? ? The funeral arrangements were agreed following consultation with the family of Cardinal O?Brien, the executor of his will, and the Holy See as represented by Cardinal Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster. ? ? At the request of the family, there will be no stills or video photography and no audio recording during the Requiem Mass. A media representative will be in the church to report on a pooled basis. Details of this arrangement to be confirmed soon. The text of Cardinal Nichol?s homily will be issued to the media too.? ?...

Dunkeld Priest to become Spiritual Director of the Pontifical Scots College in Rome

| 3 days ago | Blogging

Fr James Walls, currently parish priest of St. Pius X parish in Dundee, has been appointed by the Scottish Bishops’ Conference as Spiritual Director of the Pontifical Scots College in Rome.      Commenting on the appointment, Bishop Stephen Robson, the Bishop of Dunkeld said:       “I am absolutely delighted that the Bishops have decided to appoint Father James Walls as spiritual director to the Pontifical Scots College in Rome. As a former Spiritual Director in Rome myself, I can recognise great qualities, spiritual, intellectual and moral in Fr Jim’s priestly ministry.  He has been well trained in spiritual direction and accompaniment, and together with his pastoral experience as parish priest in a large North Dundee Catholic Parish Community, I believe him to be an ideal choice to serve the community of seminarians there and as an effective collaborator with Fr Fitzpatrick the Rector and Fr Parkes the Vice Rector.”        Bishop Robson added;       “Fr Jim will be going to Rome, Salamanca and for training in the USA from the end of May onwards and will take up his new role in September. Fr Jim has my full support and I wish him many blessings and congratulations.”        Reacting to his appointment, Fr. James Walls, said:       “I would like to give thanks to God, and the bishops of Scotland, in appointing me as Spiritual Director in the Scots College. I would also like to give thanks to my brother and sister-in-law for taking my mum into their home; without this generosity, the decision would have been much more difficult. I look forward to getting to know those men who have generously put themselves forward for the priesthood.”       Responding to the appointment, Fr. Dan Fitzpatrick, Rector of the Scots College said:       “I am very grateful to Fr Jim for generously accepting the post of spiritual director here at the Pontifical Scots College. He brings with him his experience of parish ministry, spiritual direction and priestly life. I am sure he will find great joy and fulfilment in his important role of helping the men here in the College discern and prepare for service as priests in Scotland.  As the community gets ready to welcome him, I would also like to thank Fr Mark Cassidy, our departing spiritual director, for his hard work, enthusiasm and positive contribution to our seminarians and to the College during his seven years here. Our prayers are with him as he returns to the Diocese of Dunkeld and I would like to thank Bishop Stephen Robson for his on-going support for the College.”       ENDS   Peter Kearney  Director  Catholic Media Office  5 St. Vincent Place  Glasgow  G1 2DH  0141 221 1168 07968 122291   Note to Editors:   1. An image of Fr. Walls can be downloaded here:

Scottish bishops offer condolences to Cardinal’s family and friends

| 4 days ago | Blogging

The President and Vice-President of the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland, Archbishop Philip Tartaglia and Bishop Joseph Toal have offered their condolences on the death, earlier today (Monday 19 March 2017) of Cardinal Keith O’Brien.     Archbishop Tartaglia said;     “We have received the sad news of the death of Cardinal Keith O’Brien, Emeritus Archbishop of  St Andrews & Edinburgh.  On behalf of the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland I wish to express my sincere sympathy on the death of the late Cardinal to his family and close friends. I ask for prayers for the repose of his soul. May he rest in peace.”     Bishop Toal said;     “I will pray for the eternal repose of the soul of Cardinal Keith Patrick O’Brien, who died early this morning – may he rest in God’s peace. I extend my sympathy and prayerful support to his family, friends and all who mourn his passing. With constant hope in the Lord’s goodness and mercy.”     ENDS     Peter Kearney  Director  Catholic Media Office  5 St. Vincent Place  Glasgow  G1 2DH  0141 221 1168 07968 122291

Archbishop Emeritus Keith Patrick Cardinal O’Brien (1938-2018) RIP

| 5 days ago | Blogging

Death Notice   Archbishop Emeritus Keith Patrick Cardinal O’Brien (1938-2018) RIP     At 1am on Monday 19 March 2018, His Eminence Keith Patrick Cardinal O’Brien, Archbishop Emeritus of St Andrews & Edinburgh, died at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Newcastle-upon-Tyne surrounded by family and friends and fortified by the rites of Holy Church. RIP. He was 80 years old.     Commenting upon the news, Archbishop Leo Cushley of St Andrews & Edinburgh said: “In life, Cardinal O’Brien may have divided opinion – in death, however, I think all can be united in praying for the repose of his soul, for comfort for his grieving family and that support and solace be given to those whom he offended, hurt and let down. May he rest in peace.” ENDS Notes to Editors: 1.   For more information, contact David Kerr, Director of Communications for the Archdiocese of St Andrews & Edinburgh, on 07903 621232 m.     2.   Archbishop Leo Cushley will be available for interview at 11am at the Gillis Centre, 100 Strathearn Road, Edinburgh, EH9 1BB.     3.   CV of Archbishop Emeritus Keith Patrick Cardinal O’Brien: Born at Ballycastle, Co. Antrim, Ireland, 17 March 1938, educated St Patrick’s High School, Dumbarton, Holy Cross Academy, Edinburgh; University of Edinburgh (BSc, 1959; Dip.Ed., 1966); St Andrew’s College, Drygrange; ordained priest at Edinburgh, 3rd April 1965, assistant priest, Holy Cross, Edinburgh 1965- 66; St Bride’s, Cowdenbeath and Chaplain to St Columba’s Secondary School 1966-71; St Patrick’s, Kilsyth, 1972-75; St Mary’s, Bathgate 1975-78; spiritual di- rector, St Andrew’s College, Drygrange 1978-80; rector, St Mary’s College, Blairs 1980-85; nominated Archbishop of St Andrews & Edinburgh 30 May 1985, and ordained by Cardinal Gordon Gray, Archbishop Emeritus of St Andrews & Edinburgh, at Edinburgh, 5 August 1985. Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Argyll & the Isles 1996-99; created Cardinal 21 October 2003. Resigned as Archbishop of St Andrews & Edinburgh 25 February 2013.     4.   Following a series of allegations relating to his personal life, Cardinal O’Brien resigned as Archbishop of St Andrews & Edinburgh 25 February 2013 and issued a media release on 3 March 2013 in which he announced his retirement from public life, stating: “I wish to take this opportunity to admit that there have been times that my sexual conduct has fallen below the standards expected of me as a priest, archbishop and cardinal. To those I have offended, I apologise and ask forgiveness. To the Catholic Church and people of Scotland, I also apologise. I will now spend the rest of my life in retirement. I will play no further part in the public life of the Catholic Church in Scotland." With the agreement of the Holy See, he subsequently moved to the north of England. 5.  Following an apostolic visitation to Scotland led by Archbishop Charles Scicluna of Malta, the Holy See announced on 20 March 2015 that Pope Francis had "accepted the resignation of Cardinal Keith Patrick O’Brien from the rights and duties of a Cardinal". The Holy See Press Office O'Brien stated that Cardinal O’Brien would not take part in future papal elections, act as papal adviser, or take part in Vatican congregations and councils and would lose other roles of a cardinal. 6.  Funeral arrangements for Cardinal O’Brien are still to be finalised but will be done so in coming days in consultation with the Holy See and Cardinal O’Brien’s family. 7.    Suggested commentators and potential interviewees for the media;       * Ian Dunn, former Editor of the Scottish Catholic Observer. Ian was 10 years with the Scottish Catholic Observer until January 2018. Tel: 07908 871858   * John Deighan, former Parliamentary Officer for the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland. John worked alongside Cardinal O’Brien for many ...