By Gudrun Schultz
  EDINBURGH, Scotland, May 31, 2007 ( – Scottish Cardinal Keith O’Brien had strong words today for Catholic MPs that support abortion, saying Catholic politicians who are pro-abortion should not expect to remain in full communion with the Church.

  On the National Day for Life, marking the 40-year anniversary of the Abortion Act, the country’s top Catholic leader spoke out decisively against abortion, calling it an “unspeakable crime” and the “wanton killing of innocents,” in a sermon at Edinburgh’s St. Mary’s Cathedral.

“Forty years ago we were told that backstreet abortions were killing women and had to be decriminalised. We were told abortion would only be used in extreme cases. We were told medical scrutiny would be rigorous. We were told a pack of lies – lies and misinformation masquerading as compassion and truth,” Cardinal O’Brien said in his sermon.

“The scale of the killing is beyond our grasp. In Scotland we kill the equivalent of a classroom full of school children every day. For many women abortion has become an alternative form of birth control. The lives of the babies involved are not at risk any more than the lives of their mothers are threatened by pregnancy. Abortions to save the life of a woman are almost unheard of.”

 As a society we wilfully ignore these realities.”

  Cardinal O’Brien spoke directly to politicians , urging them to “have no truck with the evil trade of abortion. For those at Westminster this means finding means of overthrowing the legislation, which makes the killing possible. For those at Holyrood that means refusing to allow our health services to participate in the wanton killing of the innocent. Peace cannot be built in the shadow of the abortion rooms.”

  In a special call to Catholics, Catholic politicians included, Cardinal O’Brien said “I remind them to avoid cooperating in the unspeakable crime of abortion and the barrier such cooperation erects to receiving Holy Communion.”

“As St. Paul warns us ‘whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. A man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup.’”

“I would be failing as a pastor not to highlight the gravity of this situation not just to law makers but to anyone: mother; father; boyfriend; counsellor who in any way leads a mother to abortion.”

  Cardinal O’Brien received criticism for his remarks from some politicians who accused him of using “inflammatory” language in what has been called his boldest intervention yet in politics.

  Some spoke out in support of the cardinal’s statement, however. Member of Scottish Parliament Michael Matheson told the BBC the Catholic Church would be “hypocritical” if it didn’t speak out against abortion and those who supported it.

“I think it is perfectly reasonable for the Catholic leader in Scotland to effectively assert Catholic social teaching that is opposed to abortion,” Matheson said.

“If you had a situation where politicians who were voting in favour of abortion were then expected to be able to participate fully within a Catholic Mass then the church itself would be derelicting its responsibility to uphold its own teachings.”

  Read full message from Cardinal O’Brien here:


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