Spiritual Leaders, Human Rights Campaigners, Local Pastors: Please Wake Up!

Commentary by John Smeaton,
Director, Society for the Protection of Unborn Life, England

Francisco Caamano is Spain’s Justice Minister. Last Thursday he said that when it comes to abortion "there is no room for conscientious objection". His words are a wake-up call to the world’s spiritual leaders, pastors and human rights campaigners.

Medical leaders and human rights groups in Spain have already spoken out boldly and there’s little doubt that the Spanish bishops will follow suit. The Spanish bishops are well known in Europe for their strong defence of the sanctity of human life, saying last year "no Catholic, either in private or public life, can support practices such as abortion, euthanasia or the creation, freezing and manipulation of human embryos in any case".

Francisco Caamano’s declaration about conscientious objection to abortion in Spain is chilling. At the same time, it’s being reported in the US that the Alliance Defence Fund is taking action on behalf of a nurse whose conscientious objection to abortion was, allegedly, overruled. It’s alleged that last May she was "forced by the Mount Sinai Hospital to assist in the abortion of 22-week preborn child despite her longstanding religious objection to participating in lethal abortions". We also know of pressures on nurses occurring in Britain.

These developments are the logical consequence of the anti-life, anti-family policies steadfastly promoted and pursued by Barack Obama, the US president, Tony Blair, the former British Prime Minister and his wife Cherie Booth (Blair) – as Monsignor Michel Schooyans, one of the Vatican’s leading scholars, pointed out earlier this year at a conference in Rome. Monsignor Schooyans, in a masterly analysis, said that we are witnessing "an unprecedented form of political-legal terrorism".

It’s not enough to congratulate brave religious and medical leaders for speaking out in defence of human life. In order to withstand the Obama/Blair "political/legal terrorism" described by Monsignor Schooyans, they must be joined by spiritual leaders, local pastors, pro-life leaders and human rights campaigners worldwide.

Thank God, last month, the Vatican came to the rescue of a brave archbishop in Brazil who was looking dangerously isolated following his courageous pastoral work in opposing a universally publicised direct abortion in his diocese.

Church-going pharmacists, doctors and nurses, should be hearing from their local pastors that they have a right and a duty to object in conscience to participating in the provision of abortion, (including "contraceptives" which, according to the manufacturers can cause an early abortion), euthanasia and assisted suicide, and in vitro fertilisation (IVF) which involves the intended death and destruction of countless embryonic human lives.

The greatest pro-life champion of the 20th century was, arguably, Pope John Paul II. He said: "Abortion and euthanasia are thus crimes which no human law can claim to legitimize. There is no obligation in conscience to obey such laws; instead there is a grave and clear obligation to oppose them by conscientious objection." (Evangelium Vitae , 73)

The Obama/Blair threat to human life, to natural law, conscientious objection and religious freedom, needs to be met by a worldwide campaign of conscientious objection and resistance to anti-life and anti-family laws policies, led by the spiritual leaders of all denominations, human rights campaigners and local pastors. Pro-life groups simply cannot do it on their own.

Everyone can play a part in building that campaign. And as well as using professional, intellectual and practical gifts, those who believe in God should, I believe, also use their spiritual resources.

Spiritual leaders, human rights campaigners, local pastors of the world please wake up!

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