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LONDON, June 12, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Bishop Alan Hopes, formerly an auxiliary bishop of Westminster, has been appointed as new Bishop of East Anglia, a move that is likely to annoy Britain’s abortion campaigners, accustomed to a less confrontational English Catholic hierarchy.

Last year, British Pregnancy Advisory Service, one of the UK’s busiest abortionist was incensed when Bishop Hopes participated personally in the annual 40 Days for Life project, praying the rosary outside one of BPAS’s central London abortion facilities 

A BPAS spokesman told 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.” 

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In a sermon last year given at Westminster cathedral, the bishop said, “How marred is our own world by such assaults on the dignity of human life – from the easy discarding of innocent lives in the tragedy of abortion, to the easy discarding of life as it nears its completion in the so called ‘right to die’ and ‘mercy killing’.”

“How marred too, is our world by the assaults on the dignity and the sacred nature of marriage and family life. From the beginning God shows us that the family is a sacred unity given by him to provide stability for the human race.”

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The bishop said that today’s “ideas of living with one another,” the “acceptance of unfaithfulness and sexual immorality,” including pre-nuptial agreements that the Church regards as invalidating a marriage vow, are “symptomatic of a general disregard for marriage”. Bishop Hopes added that none of these, including the government’s proposal to create same-sex “marriage,” “can replace the ideal of the family – mother, father, children – which God intends should provide stability for society as a whole”.

Bishop Hopes’ appointment is another in a string of appointments that appear designed to break the pattern of an ultra-liberal UK hierarchy that has been widely criticized for its relativistic stand on moral and social issues.

At last year’s 40 Days event, Bishop Hopes said, “Together with Catholics, priests and laymen, and with other Christians, I will be offering my prayers for those women who are considering an abortion and I will also be praying that our society will come to respect the sanctity of the life of the unborn child.

“Many priests and lay people have already spent time in prayer outside the BPAS clinic and I am glad to be able to join them for what is a principled and peaceful statement of opposition to our society’s ‘culture of death’.”

Bishop Hopes’ new appointment was warmly welcomed by John Smeaton, the head of the country’s leading pro-life and pro-family group, the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children. Smeaton said, “Bishop Hopes has given public witness to the sanctity of human life, of marriage and of the family, in particular supporting vigils outside abortion centres.”

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