My open letter to top Italian bishop on pro-life prayerful witness outside abortion clinics
I am deeply troubled by the reported intervention of Bishop Galantino (pictured), the secretary-general of the Italian bishops' conference, who, according to "The Tablet" has said:
“My wish for the Italian Church is that it is able to listen without any taboo to the arguments in favour of married priests, the Eucharist for the divorced, and homosexuality ... In the past we have concentrated too much on abortion and euthanasia. It mustn’t be this way because in the middle there’s real life which is constantly changing ... I don’t identify with the expressionless person who stands outside the abortion clinic reciting their rosary, but with young people, who are still against this practice, but are instead fighting for quality of life, their health, their right to work.”
I am writing to Bishop Galantino today as follows:
I have read your reported comments, quoted today by The Tablet, saying, amongst other things, that you "don't identify with the expressionless person who stands outside the abortion clinic reciting their rosary".
I do hope you have been misreported. Please let me know if that's the case.
I thought I would let you know that I do identify with the person outside the abortion clinic praying their rosary, whether or not the person is expressionless.
Just 30 minutes ago I received the following message from a wonderful group in England which organizes, at great personal sacrifice, people to stand outside an abortion clinic in Twickenham, west London. The message said: "Pray hard for "Lucia", 20 weeks pregnant. Her abortion is booked for next week in Twickenham."
I have prayed for Lucia. I did so before writing to you. Whilst writing, may I ask that you pray for her too and ask others to do so?
In my experience, these prayers work. I am constantly getting messages from the same source, the wonderful group in England,which tell me about young women who, seeing the people outside the abortion clinics praying, change their minds and keep their baby.
If I may, I will send you a full report on the work of this group.
Also, may I ask you a question in relation to what you reportedly say: "In the past we have concentrated too much on abortion and euthanasia"? (Again, I hope you have been misreported. Please let me know if that is the case.)
It's probably fair to say that tens of thousands of unborn children, each one made in the image and likeness of God, are killed every day throughout the world. For example, there are 500 killed daily in Britain, thousands in the US, thousands upon thousands in China, to name just three of the world's 193 countries.
Your Excellency, if it were Catholic priests or Jews who were being killed, or threatened with being killed, by national laws in Britain or in other parts of the world – would we expect, any day of the week, ever to enter a Catholic Church for Mass without the matter being mentioned, or being prayed about at that Mass? Would we not be denouncing, and rightly denouncing, the killing of Catholic priests or Jews, in every pulpit in the world – notwithstanding the past sins and scandals associated with members of the Catholic Church? The Jew, the priest, the unborn child are all created in the image and likeness of God.
I really don't think you would be saying, if national laws had allowed the killing of Catholic priests or Jews over the past few decades: "In the past we have concentrated too much on the killing of Catholic priests or Jews...". Indeed, you would probably be saying: "We can never do enough to denounce this grotesque evil".
Your Excellency, please reconsider your reported position.
May I come to meet you, in the company of one of my colleagues who has had an abortion, and discuss the whole matter with you?
Assuring you of my prayers.
You may wish to write a letter to the bishop yourself. My understanding is that one must write to him through his diocese, the diocese of Cassano all’Jonio.
Reprinted with permission from John Smeaton