LONDON, March 28, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Increased support by Catholic bishops for pro-life prayer vigils outside British abortion facilities has infuriated pro-abortion forces. Complaining that the vigils are successfully turning women away from abortion, one abortion group has organized a “counter-protest” set for the London vigil this Friday.
Recently, Bishop Alan Hopes, an auxiliary bishop of Westminster, announced he would participate personally in the annual 40 Days for Life project. A spokesman for the British Pregnancy Advisory Service, one of the UK’s busiest abortionists, complained in the Evening Standard that there is “no moral justification” for bishops to get involved in such a campaign.
Abigail Fitzgibbon, policy manager for BPAS said that “vocal” anti-abortion MPs were also stirring up protesters. She told the Standard, “If bishops are getting behind this then I can’t see how it’s morally justified especially when women have already made up their minds.”
Bishop Hopes announced earlier this month that he would be attending the prayer vigil on Friday, March 30. Today, emails were sent out to abortion supporters by the Bloomsbury Pro-Choice Alliance, saying that the bishop’s announcement had prompted them to organize a “noisy” counter-demonstration.
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The 40 Days for Life campaign, the group said, is part of a trend in Britain that “is increasingly mimicking the tactics of hardline US groups.”
Earlier this month, another bishop, Bishop Thomas McMahon of Brentwood, sent a message to pro-lifers, giving their “prophetic” stance his “unqualified support” at a prayer vigil outside the BPAS facility in Stratford.
“Abortion has reached a new height in this country in recent months by the fact that a number of clinics now allow abortion purely according to gender and also allowing private clinics to seek business through television and radio advertisements,” Bishop McMahon said. “With 200,000 abortions a year we already have one of the highest rates in Europe.”
Also attending a prayer vigil next month will be Bishop John Hine, an auxiliary bishop of Southwark; that vigil will occur at Marie Stopes abortion facility in Kent on Friday, April 27th. The event in Kent, organized by the US-based group, Helpers of God’s Precious Infants, will include a Mass celebrated by Bishop Hine at 12:30 pm at St. Francis’s Church, Week Street, Maidstone, followed by a procession with an image of Our Lady of Guadalupe to the Marie Stopes Clinic and concludes with a return procession at 2.30 p.m.
John Smeaton, director of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children said, “Strong, compassionate, pro-life leadership, such as the leadership shown by these bishops, lays the foundation for a great campaign for life in the months and years ahead.
“I congratulate the pro-life groups who are winning, by their example, episcopal support. And I thank Bishop McMahon, Bishop Hopes, and Bishop Hine, for their courage in speaking out for the helpless unborn and their mothers.”
For more information on 40 Days for Life.
To contact Bishop Hopes
46 Francis Street,
London SW1P 1QN
Phone: +44 (0) 20 7798 9023
To contact Bishop McMahon
28 Ingrave Road,
+44 (0) 1277 232266
To contact Bishop Hine
Phone: +44 (0) 1732 845486
Fax: +44 (0) 1732 847888