The following is the text of the Holy Father’s Homily, delivered in St Peter’s Square at the Vigil for Peace in Syria, on Saturday 7th September 2013.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
LONDON, 7th September 2013
PEACE FOR SYRIA AND GENDER BASED ABORTION
The Catholic Union welcomes the Holy Father’s call for a Day of Fasting and Prayer for Peace in Syria today, Saturday, 7th September. As has been seen in the House of Commons Vote last week, the case for going to war in Syria is by no means clear and the number of MPS who either voted against or abstained from the motion to engage British forces in Syria is testament to this fact. The Catholic Union further welcomes the Holy Father’s letter to President Putin and the G20 Summit leaders, presently meeting in St Petersburg, calling for negotiation rather than armed intervention; sentiments echoed by several religious groups in Syria. It is always necessary in these instances to apply the criteria of the various elements which determine whether such military intervention as advocated by some, fulfils the norms of a Just War. A peaceful, just outcome is preferable to a long drawn out military campaign, with shifting parameters and priorities.
The Catholic Union notes the decision of the Crown Prosecution Service not to prosecute in the case of two doctors who were asked, but who did not, undertake abortions, on the grounds of gender, on two Asian women, who sought terminations as the child each was carrying was a girl. By referring the matter to the General Medical Council (GMC), the CPS has indicated that its action has been decided by the fact that there were no victims in this case, as no abortions took place. Nevertheless the Catholic Union views these developments with concern. Clearly the clinics concerned were happy to consider these terminations on grounds of gender, itself a breach of the law. The Catholic Union is clear that it supports and upholds the Church’s teaching on abortion, that it is intrinsically wrong and that life begins at conception. Whilst it is of course vital to assist and support mothers who find themselves in sometimes unexpected and difficult circumstances, there are always other options to consider such as adoption and family support, which preserves and upholds the sanctity of life and the family. There can be no justification for abortion, especially not on grounds of gender. It is to be hoped that the GMC will uphold this precept, so that the sanctity of life and human dignity may be preserved.