As Abortion Anniversary Nears, Pope Francis Sends Blessing to UK Pro-Life Groups
Pope Francis has sent the assurance of his prayers and apostolic blessing for all those participating in events to commemorate this year’s Day for Life in Great Britain, as the UK nears the 50th anniversary of legalized abortion in the country.
“The Holy Father, to the praise and glory of the Creator and Lord of Life, gives assurance of his prayers and imparts to the organisers and participants of the Day for Life his apostolic blessing,” said the Pope’s new Apostolic Nuncio to Great Britain, Archbishop Edward Adams.
“Pope Francis invokes the protection of Our Lady, and entrusts to her, the Mother of the Living, the cause of life,” the Archbishop stated on the Pope’s behalf. “He begs her intercession that those who believe in her Son may continue to bear witness to life and, together with all people of good will, contribute to a culture of truth and love.”
The new Apostolic Nuncio to Great Britain conveyed the Pope’s message to the Bishop overseeing the 2017 Day for Life, the Right Reverend John Sherrington.
This October will see the 50th anniversary of the passing of the 1967 Abortion Act in England, Scotland and Wales. On October 27 of that year, the Abortion Act received Royal Assent.
According to event organizers, this year’s Day for Life offers an opportunity to pray for and remember the many lives taken before birth and to offer practical and emotional support to women and men who are worried about an unexpected pregnancy.
In his apostolic letter, Misericordia et Misera, released on November 20, 2016 — at the end of the Jubilee Year of Mercy — Pope Francis extended to all priests “the faculty to absolve those who have committed the sin of procured abortion.”
“I wish to restate as firmly as I can that abortion is a grave sin, since it puts an end to an innocent life,” Francis said.
“In the same way, however, I can and must state that there is no sin that God’s mercy cannot reach and wipe away when it finds a repentant heart seeking to be reconciled with the Father,” he said.
The Pope encouraged every priest to be a “guide, support and comfort to penitents on this journey of special reconciliation.”
This past February, the Pope delivered a similar message for Italy’s annual Day for Life.
Speaking to the thousands gathered in St Peter’s Square, Francis said: “May no one be left alone and may love defend the sense of life.”
The Pope quoted Mother Teresa of Calcutta, whom he declared to be a saint last September: “Life is beauty, admire it; life is life, defend it!”
“Let us join together and pray for babies who are in danger of being aborted, as well as for people who are at the end of life. All life is sacred!” he said.
Francis likewise sent a message of support in January to the March for Life taking place in Paris, France.
“The Church must never tire of being an advocate for life and must not neglect to proclaim that human life is to be protected unconditionally from the moment of conception until natural death,” the Pope’s message said.
The UK Day for Life is the day dedicated to raising awareness about the meaning and value of human life at every stage and in every condition, according to group’s website. The Catholic Church teaches that life is to be nurtured and protected from conception to natural death.
This year’s Day for Life is celebrated on 18 June in England and Wales.