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INDIA (LifeSiteNews) – August 10, 2021, marks 50 years of the Indian Abortion Law with yearly death tolls approximated to be over 16 million preborn babies per year. Cardinal Oswald Gracias, the President of Indian Catholic Bishops, has invited the nation’s Bishops to observe that day as a “Day of Mourning.” One Archbishop told LifeSite that legislative amendments need to be promoted to prohibit abortion.

Oswald Cardinal Gracias, the Archbishop of Bombay, called on his brother bishops in a letter to mark August 10 as a “Day of Mourning” so that the Indian Church can “express our sorrow at the killing” of pre-born babies through various means, and promote the Culture of Life in our society.

The CBCI circular lists some suggestions to mark that day including:

  • A campaign of prayer and reparation for the decades of innocent bloodshed.
  • Holy Mass to be offered in very parish on August 10, 2021, in memory of the pre-born babies killed to make reparation for the sin of abortion.
  • The ringing of funeral bells in our churches for 1-2 minutes on that day.
  • A homily to be preached in all our churches on Pro-life on a Sunday close to August 10, 2021.
  • Organizing Pro-Life formation programs.
  • Presenting Pro-Life programs on catholic media channels.
  • Observing “Mercy Hour” in all parishes. religious houses, seminaries and Catholic institutions on or around August 10, 2021.

The reported prevalence of illegal abortions, combined with the notion that abortion could be a mode of population control, were the official excuses used by the Indian government to enact the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act on August 10, 1971.

On March 25 this year the governemt expanded the abortion law to permit the killing of children in the womb up to 24 weeks from the previous 20 weeks. The new amendment also permits the killing of babies in their mothers’ wombs with no limit up to birth, in case of fetal abnormalities.

Archbishop Sebastian Kallupura, Chairman of Caritas India, and Chairman of the Family Commission for the Latin Rite Bishops Conference, told LifeSite that we must commit ourselves to promote “legislative changes or constitutional amendments, such as Human Life Amendment that prohibits or at least broadly restricts abortion.”

Cardinal Gracias, in the letter states “millions of abortions have taken place in our country after that legislation and there is no sign of slowing down of this anti-life trend.” A 2018 paper published in the Lancet estimated that 16 million abortions (14.1 million–17.3 million) occurred in India in 2015.

Kallupura, who is the Archbishop of Patna in the Indian State of Bihar, stated that Catholic educational institutions must “help the young generation to form their conscience” and the need to collaborate with non-Christian religious leaders to promote life “right from its beginning ‘till it returns to its Author.”

Fr. Dr. Scaria Kanniyakonil, Rector of St. Thomas Apostolic Seminary in the Indian state of Kerala and a moral theologian, told LifeSite that in the last few years the changes in legislation or verdicts regarding abortion, homosexuality, adultery, euthanasia etc. are not promoting the culture of life in India. He added that the seminary has an active pro-life ministry and has planned to commemorate August 10 as a “Day for protection of Life” beginning with the Holy Mass for the reparation of the sin of abortion and formation sessions for seminarians.

Cardinal Gracias reminded the faithful that the Catholic Church “is in the forefront of promotion of a pro-life culture all over the world.”

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