Day for Life

The annual Day for Life is one that every preacher approaches with some nervousness but I have always experienced it as an opportunity to speak the truth with compassion about some of the most sensitive and delicate issues of human life. Because they are sensitive and delicate, they also touch people at the deepest level and so it is not surprising that they can be at times reassuring and at the same time challenging.

I can recall over the years preaching on subjects such as end of life care and euthanasia; disability and this year the Church’s outreach through prayer, accompaniment and Reconciliation to those who have either experienced abortion directly or been affected by it.

This Day for Life ( I was very aware that even mentioning abortion in a homily can be something that can put people on their guard.

It has always been my view that abortion or a pro-life stance is not a ‘Catholic issue’. By virtue of it speaking of the precious gift of life, it is an issue of humanity. But there have been times where when the defence of the dignity of the unborn child is in danger when legislation does not recognise it, then people of faith have a right and a responsibility to speak about the most important issues.

This year, the Catholic Church in our country has drawn our attention to the work of Rachel’s Vineyard ( in seeking to bring healing and peace to women and men who have known a range of emotions sometimes long after an abortion.

At a time when the gift of life has been so much in our minds in respect of the coronavirus, let us seek always to protect human life, and that includes those for whom life’s experience has brought trauma and bereavement through abortion.

Let us be a Church that is open and welcoming, especially when people wish to return.

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