Latin American bishops launch Year of Mercy pro-life campaign
May 16, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) -- The Department of Family, Life and Youth of the Latin American Bishops Council (CELAM) has just launched a continent-wide effort to draw attention to the damage abortion does, not only to the child, but also to the mother and all those involved.
The CELAM campaign includes a poster featuring the photo image of the famous post-abortion sculpture by Slovakian artist Martin Hudacek. The basic message of the poster is, “There is hope and help for those suffering after abortion…through the encounter with the Mercy of the Father.” Referrals are made to Project Esperanza for help in the healing process.
Bishop Ruben Gonzalez Medina, president of CELAM's Department of Family, Life and Youth, and Executive Secretary Father Antonio Jose Velazquez in a May 3rd letter (see here) announced the campaign to bishops in charge of Family and Life efforts in the various Latin American countries. They write, "A good way to celebrate the Jubilee Year of Mercy called by Pope Francis is by helping people who suffer the terrible consequences of abortion to find peace. Many times they recognize the seriousness of the fault committed and ask God for forgiveness, but they do not feel worthy of his forgiveness, not opening themselves to mercy, and they continue trapped in pain because they haven't accepted that Grace."
The letter suggests that the poster be placed in parishes and "let the Holy Spirit touch the hearts of those who see it. The image is very moving."
Bishop Gonzalez and Father Velazquez recommend post-abortion pastoral accompaniment to assist these "other victims of abortion", writing that "it is of great help and freeing." Project Esperanza, a Latin American ministry recommended by CELAM, provides such assistance.
Elizabeth Bunster of Project Esperanza says, "The campaign will reach not only those who have already suffered the abortion experience, but will also sensitize the general public to the need to protect both mother and child from the scourge of abortion." She adds that, "Especially in this Year of Mercy the Church in Latin America emphasizes the importance of offering post-abortion help, and also calls for efforts to accompany with tenderness and solidarity pregnant women in difficulties so they can continue their pregnancies with dignity."
With the exception of Cuba where there is abortion-on-demand, abortion is either legally restricted or completely illegal in Latin American countries, but there is strong ongoing pressure, including from well-funded international agencies and institutions, to promote abortion.
Lay groups and Church leaders are working to defend the sacred right to life and resist these anti-life pressures. Just recently, with the strong leadership of Lima, Peru's Cardinal Cipriani, a reported 750,000 Peruvians marched to demonstrate their support for Life and to reject abortion.
Group promotes post-abortion healing in the Year of Mercy using powerful sculpture
Memorial to the unborn inspires Pope Francis in Rome
‘Heart-rending’: Young Slovakian sculptor captures post-abortion pain, mercy and forgiveness