VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis has sent a message to the people of England and Wales in preparation for the Day of Life celebrated on June 18, 2017.
The message, delivered by the new apostolic nuncio to Great Britain, Archbishop Edward Adams, reads:
“Pope Francis invokes the protection of Our Lady, and entrusts to her, the Mother of the Living, the cause of life. He begs her intercession that those who believe in her Son may continue to bear witness to life and, together with all people of good will, contribute to a culture of truth and love.”
Archbishop Adams further added: “The Holy Father, to the praise and glory of the Creator and Lord of Life, gives assurance of his prayers, and imparts to the organizers and participants of the Day for Life his apostolic blessing.”
The message was sent to Bishop John Sherrington of the diocese of Westminster, who is overseeing the 2017 Day for Life.
The grimmest of jubilees
October 2017 marks 50 years since the passing of the 1967 Abortion Act in England, Scotland and Wales.
Benjamin Harnwell, the British pro-life, pro traditional family activist and director of the Rome-based Dignitatis Humanae Institute, told Aleteia:
“In the Old Testament, 50 year anniversaries were imbued with mysterious significance. By divine decree, all debts were cancelled and all slaves were released. Let’s pray that this October, the UK will open itself to the Holy Spirit, and on this grimmest of jubilees, cancel all debts to sexual liberation ideology and be emancipated from the bonds of slavery towards the culture of death.”
According to organizers, this year’s Day for Life “provides us with an opportunity to pray for and remember all lives lost before birth and to offer practical and emotional support to women and men who are worried and concerned about an unexpected pregnancy.”
The Catholic Church sees all human life as sacred and deserving of reverence, from the moment of conception to natural death.
A message of mercy
With the apostolic letter, Misericordia et Misera, issued on November 20, 2016 — at the conclusion of the Jubilee Year of Mercy — Pope Francis extended to all priests “the faculty to absolve those who have committed the sin of procured abortion.”
“I wish to restate as firmly as I can that abortion is a grave sin, since it puts an end to an innocent life,” he said, adding: “In the same way, however, I can and must state that there is no sin that God’s mercy cannot reach and wipe away when it finds a repentant heart seeking to be reconciled with the Father.”
The pope therefore encouraged every priest to be a “guide, support and comfort to penitents on this journey of special reconciliation.”