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Mark Davies, Bishop of Shrewsbury

April 19, 2016 (Diocese of Shrewsbury) — The pro-life cause is a struggle for Christian civilisation itself, the Bishop of Shrewsbury has told campaigners at a meeting in Cheshire.

The Rt Rev. Mark Davies compared efforts to uphold the sanctity and inviolability of human life amid the emerging “culture of death” to struggles against slavery and ideologies such as Nazism waged by earlier generations of Christians.


He encouraged members of the Society for the Pr2otection of Unborn Children to persevere in their efforts to repeal laws permitting the destruction of human life – but he also warned them that this is a struggle which required great patience.

The Bishop told more than 160 delegates at the New Life Evangelical Church in Congleton on Saturday that people had to be persuaded “one by one” of the compelling vision of the pro-life cause.

“Something more than simply the reversal of legislation is now required,” he said. “We are engaged in a struggle to change the mindset of our society, what Christians would call conversion.”

Bishop Davies said that William Wilberforce, an abolitionist leader of the late 18thand early 19th centuries, had for long been “cited in pro-life circles as an example of perseverance in a moral cause”.

But it was Pope St John Paul II, the Bishop said, who helped him to personally recognise “that the pro-life struggle, whose imminent victory I had at first assumed, might not be such an easy task”.

Bishop Davies said: “In this now global struggle, we must be willing to persevere longer than William Wilberforce who saw change in his own lifetime.

“We must be ready, like the founding generation of this movement, to win over one person at a time and to make this continuous progress among many setbacks.”

He continued: “I do not want us to doubt that we face a sustained struggle in the years ahead simply because of the immensity of what is at stake but to encourage us all to take that step, that action which we can now take.”

Bishop Davies described the 1967 Act as an “evil and misguided law” that had, among other things, severely undermined that national consensus that human life was sacred, a conviction which originated from Britain’s Christian heritage.

The Bishop told his audience that “we might rightly fear the vacuum into which destructive ideologies will inevitably enter” as the value of human life was increasingly obscured by the normalisation of abortion and other attacks against the sanctity of life.

“Our wartime Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, was not a religious man but I often remind people he came to a surprising conclusion when the chips were down in that dark hour of our nation’s history,” Bishop Davies added.

“In 1940 he declared that we were fighting not only for national survival but he said we were fighting now for Christian civilisation itself.

“Everyone was called in that hour to ‘do their bit’, as they then expressed it, to ‘play their part’, and I have no doubt that the pro-life cause is an equally heroic and noble struggle for Christian civilisation itself and its recognition of the dignity and value of every human person.”

The SPUC conference, called “Changing Minds – Saving Lives”, also heard speeches from Rhoslyn Thomas, the organisation’s youth and education officer, and Christine Fidler, chief executive of Image, an Evangelical pregnancy counselling charity.

Fiona Bruce, Conservative MP for Congleton and the co-chair of the All Party Parliamentary Pro-Life Group, also updated SPUC members on emerging threats to human life.

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These included a new prenatal screening technique expected to lead to a surge in the numbers of abortions of children with Down’s syndrome, and of the creation of genetically-modified babies through so-called “three-parent IVF”.

Abortion campaigners were also lobbying MPs to reform British laws to allow abortion on demand and up to birth, and to ban pro-life protesters from praying near abortion clinics, said Mrs Bruce (pictured below with holding up pro-abortion campaign literature).

She encouraged SPUC members to write to their MPs to oppose the moves on the grounds that the British public was overwhelmingly opposed to any further liberalisation of abortion laws.

“To propose abortion up to birth and for any reason at all is completely out of step with society and with Parliament,” Mrs Bruce said.

Reprinted with permission from Diocese of Shrewsbury.