A voice for the unborn in Edinburgh

Thanks to everyone who attended the annual Pro-Life Chain in Lothian Road, Edinburgh, on Saturday.

The event is organised by The Society for Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC) and it saw around 200 people gather as a peaceful witness to the lives of the unborn who are killed by abortion.

SPUC posted on Facebook: "A huge thank you to all pro-lifers who stood in defence of life yesterday at SPUC’s Edinburgh pro-life chain.

"Over 200 people attended the pro-life chain, as a powerful act of witness to remember the lives lost and hurt by abortion in the UK.

"The courage of our pro-life community is truly inspiring and together we will make abortion unthinkable!"

The day began with recitation of The Rosary at Sacred Heart Church in nearby Lauriston Street, led by Fr Gerard Hatton (St Patrick's Church in The Cowgate) and joined by the Marian Franciscans, who travelled from Dundee for the event.

Paul Atkin, from the Archdiocesan Pro-Life Office said: "The Pro-Life Chain reminds us of the infinite dignity of every human person from the first moment of their conception.

"The Church is committed to protecting the weakest and most vulnerable people in society who are created in the image and likeness of God.

"In Scotland today, unborn children and their mothers are the most threatened members of society when even their right to life is taken away.

"It was great to see so many Catholics from all over Scotland supporting this peaceful witness to the goodness of life."

To find out more about the work of SPUC, visit https://www.spuc.org.uk/. Find out more about pro-life work in the Archdiocese by contacting prolife@staned.org.uk

WATCH: Archbishop Cushley's Pro-Life Reflection

Archbishop Leo Cushley highlighted the Hate Crime and Public Order (Scotland) Act in his pro-life reflection at our Lenten Stations of the Cross.

He said: "We want people to debate always with charity, but there always needs to be an honesty about what is said in our exchanges with people and I hope and pray that that will continue."

Watch the full reflection below or on YouTube.

Transcript

"I am struck to say something about the new law that is coming into place on 1st April (2024).

I'm not sure that it's a good thing at all, it seems to take away some of the important things that are good for our society: the ability to speak honestly, to speak kindly, to speak clearly, to have a reasonable debate about all sorts of important matters, and I for one wouldn’t like to see us closing down debate on important topics.

One of those topics for us is the topic of life and of the freedom that God's gift of life gives to all of us.

Of course we want people to debate with charity, always with charity, but there always needs to be an honesty about what is said in our exchanges with people, and I hope and pray that that will continue.

I mention this because of the context that we find ourselves in praying for life and for a respect for life, and for a greater love and charity towards those who feel the urge or the wish, or who feel under pressure to have their children aborted and for the children themselves.

And it remains a concern for Christians since the very first times, the very earliest times, and so we include that in our prayers.

And it's also a good time to talk about it during Lent and as we prepare for Easter, because Easter is to some great extent, about freedom, it’s about freedom from sin, freedom from death and it's also about a freedom that allows us to do something more.

Freedom is not the ability to do whatever we want. Freedom is really about serving God and about being able to do what the Lord wills for us.

And it seems that sometimes this is overlooked or forgotten and I would like us to be able to pray for a renewed sense of the true purpose of our freedom and that is to serve God, to love each other and to be happy with him in Paradise."

This reflection was broadcast on 25 March 2024 as part of our Lenten Stations of the Cross series.

WATCH: Pro-Life Reflection from Fr Jonathan

Fr Jonathan Whitworth, of St Thomas the Apostle Parish, Neilston (Diocese of Paisley) describes how we can be tempted to put down our Cross and blend back into the crowd.

But if we remain steadfast in prayer, and with the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, we shall bear fruit in courageous service to the truth.

This reflection was part of our Lent Stations of the Cross. Join us online each week at 7:45pm. Register at bit.ly/lentstations

Edinburgh Festival of Life

SPUC's Pro-Life Chain will be the main event in Edinburgh's Festival of Life on Saturday 27 April.

On that day we remember with sadness the start of legalised abortion in the UK.

But we look forward with hope and joyful celebration of the unique value of every human life.

More and more organisations and individuals are getting involved in pro-life work including, churches, doctors, nurses and pregnancy support organisations.

This year the we're delighted that Charlotte Chapel are joining the event with a prayer service for Evangelical/Protestant Christians.

Schedule

10:00am – Catholic Rosary at Sacred Heart Church, Lauriston

10.15am – Protestant / Evangelical Prayer time, Charlotte Chapel, Shandwick Place

11:00am – SPUC’s Pro-Life Chain, Lothian Road

1.15pm – Lunch, fellowship and social near Lothian Road

No registration needed for any event.  Just come for as much or as little as you wish.

Event organised by the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children.

Students from Archdiocese celebrate pro-life message

Students from across Archdiocese (main pic) recently attended 'Call to Courage', SPUC's annual Youth Conference in Stone, Staffordshire.

Several of them were sponsored by the Archdiocesan Pro-Life Office to attend the event.

Tobias Bailey, below, a member of the Catholic Society at the University of Stirling spoke at the conference.

In 2023 his Society was banned by the university's student union for posting their support for a peaceful prayer initiative organised by 40 Days for Life.

Tobias was part of a campaign to stop the censorship and was supported by the Archdiocesan Pro-Life Office and SPUC Scotland.

It's a fantastic event ... you learn how to put into practice the Church's teaching that all life begins at conception and that we are loved and valued by God from that first moment."

The student union realised their ban was unjustified and reversed their decision.

"This year's event was a sell out with over 200 young people attending from all over the UK," said Margaret Akers, below, a parishioner at St Patrick's, Edinburgh, and SPUC Scotland's Services Co-ordinator.

"It was great to see record numbers of young people engaged and collaborating together.

"As a graduate of the University of Edinburgh I know how important the event is to nurture young pro-life leaders for the future."

Margaret spoke to the Conference about the dangers of 'pills by post' or DIY abortion at home.

She warned that this dangerous method is now being used to remove any legal basis for abortion.

"People are actually proposing DIY abortion up to birth" she said:  "This could be the biggest change to abortion since it was legalised in 1967."

Also attending were members of Edinburgh University's Life Society (main image).

President Sophia Tait, from West Lothian (main pic centre), said: “This is my third time attending the SPUC youth conference.

"I always leave this event feeling both challenged and inspired to defend the Church’s teaching that life begins at conception, and to help build a culture of life in our world that reflects the inherent value of every human person.”

WATCH: Pro-Life Reflection from Sr Roseann Reddy

Sr Roseann Reddy, of the Sisters of the Gospel of Life (Glasgow) reflects on walking the Way of the Cross with the Lord and reaching out and helping those who are suffering from the effects of abortion.

This reflection was part of our weekly Lent Stations of the Cross. Join us online each week at 7:45pm. Register at bit.ly/lentstations

MONDAY: Join our online Stations of the Cross

Join people from across the Archdiocese to pray the Stations of the Cross each Monday in Lent.

The first one is tonight (Monday 19 February) at 7:45pm and concludes with a reflection from our guest Fr Francis Ututo SMMM, preiest at St Cuthbert's & Our Lady's in Edinburgh. Click here to register.

We will be praying for the unborn, their mothers and all pro-life intentions.

This online event lasts around 30 minutes and concludes with a brief reflection Includes brief reflection from a member of the clergy each week.

Next week we welcome Sr Roseann Reddy from the Sisters of the Gospel of Life (Glasgow).

Contributors for the remaining weeks are Fr Jonathan Whitworth, of St Thomas the Apostle Parish, Neilston (Paisley Diocese), Fr James Cadman (St Mary & St David, Hawick) Fr Michael Carrie, St Mungo's, Alloa, and St Serf's Valleyfield (Dunkeld Diocese) and Archbishop Leo Cushley.

Buffer Zone Bill will take ‘sledgehammer to civil liberties’

Earlier this week the Daily Record covered the debate set to take place among MSPs on whether to have 'Buffer Zones' around abortion clinics, writes Peter Kearney, of the Scottish Catholic Media Office.

A Bill proposed by Green MSP Gillian MacKay would criminalise any action aimed at persuading someone not to access abortion or to consider an alternative, within 200 metres of premises carrying out abortions.

It would become illegal, to:

The Bill takes a sledgehammer to free speech and demolishes many other civil liberties, including freedom of expression, assembly, thought, conscience and religion.

It could create for the first time in Scottish legal history, a thought crime. You would just need to think negatively about the actions of others to fall foul of the law.

With so much at stake, it’s probably worth asking: what exactly is the problem this terrible Bill is trying to solve?

Well, you might be surprised to learn that no one has ever been arrested outside an abortion facility in Scotland, for breach of the peace, harassment or intimidation.

Police Scotland have stated explicitly that “existing powers and offences are sufficient to address any unlawful behaviour which may arise in the vicinity of a health care premises as a result of such protest.”

They add: “Our engagement with participants...has not resulted in any criminality being identified.”

As the Record’s powerful pictures showed this week, a group of pensioners saying prayers on the pavement isn’t exactly threatening.

Sledgehammer

Since the cops are clear; no crimes are being committed and no new laws are needed, the Bill looks a lot like a sledgehammer being wielded against an invisible nut.

Peaceful protest used to be a cornerstone of our democracy.

Silent vigils have always been seen as harmless and unthreatening.

If we crush that concept now, where will it end?

Silent Peace vigils outside the Trident nuclear base at Faslane have been a fixture for decades, they explicitly attempt to influence those who witness them, but no Scots politician has ever said we should ban them.

That’s because for generations we’ve respected freedom of expression, freedom of assembly, and freedom of thought conscience and religion as the hard-won human rights they are and wouldn’t dream of erasing them.

Threat to freedoms

The proposed “Buffer Zone” law would at a stroke undo almost a century of settled international human rights law, leaving our courts to determine whether an individual’s thoughts were permissible or not.

Such a threat to universal and fundamental rights is genuinely frightening.

A growing number of people in Scotland are waking up to this real threat to our freedoms and are calling on the Scottish Government to disassociate itself from this damaging and unnecessary proposal.

Our MSPs should steer well clear of unravelling our Human Rights by allowing the Police to protect the peace, the prayerful to pray and the concept of freedom of expression to survive.

Peter Kearney is Director of the Scottish Catholic Media Office. The Daily Record, having commissioned the above article, refused to publish it.

Lent Stations of the Cross

Pray the Stations of the Cross each Monday in Lent.
We will be praying for the unborn, their mothers and all pro-life intentions. Includes brief reflection from a member of the clergy each week.
Register at bit.ly/lentstations
𝐃𝐚𝐭𝐞𝐬
Mon 19 Feb, 2024 at 7:45pm
Mon 26 Feb 2024 at 7:45pm
Mon 4 Mar, 2024 at 7:45pm
Mon 11 Mar 2024 at 7:45pm
Mon 18 Mar, 2024 at 7:45pm
Mon 25 Mar 2024 at 7:45pm

Lent Stations of the Cross

Pray the Stations of the Cross each Monday in Lent.
We will be praying for the unborn, their mothers and all pro-life intentions. Includes brief reflection from a member of the clergy each week.
Register at bit.ly/lentstations
𝐃𝐚𝐭𝐞𝐬
Mon 19 Feb, 2024 at 7:45pm
Mon 26 Feb 2024 at 7:45pm
Mon 4 Mar, 2024 at 7:45pm
Mon 11 Mar 2024 at 7:45pm
Mon 18 Mar, 2024 at 7:45pm
Mon 25 Mar 2024 at 7:45pm