Friday, 11 January 2008
Last Sunday I spoke at Masses in St Joseph's church Wealdstone in north west London the spiritual home of some 3000 Catholics and my family's parish church. I was speaking at the annual White Flower appeal of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children.
The theme of this year's appeal is the Society's outreach to women and men suffering after abortion. Too many people are suffering the emotional pain of abortion in silence. SPUC's Silent No More campaign is helping to break this silence. Women and men are now speaking out publicly about their experience in towns and cities across Britain.
SPUC’s partner in the Silent No More Campaign is British Victims of Abortion, which is funded by the SPUC Education and Research Trust. It plays a key role in SPUC’s outreach work by offering free and confidential counselling and support. A Post-Abortion Helpline is available 7 days a week. The helpline number is 0845 603 8501
SPUC is not a Catholic or religious group of any description. But it must be said the support SPUC gets from Catholics in the UK is fantastic. I guesstimate that there have been approximately 40 thousand White Flower Appeals in Catholic parishes since the project began nearly 30 years ago.
Naturally SPUC is grateful to the Catholic laity. But we are particularly indebted to Catholic priests for their vote of confidence in the Society's pro-life work.
The picture shows Fr Michael Doherty SDS, my parish priest, and John O'Brien, grand knight of the Knights of St. Columba, Council 295, in Kenton. Like thousands of Knights of St. Columba throughout the UK, John is a stalwart supporter of SPUC and its White Flower Appeal.
I wrote today to Tony Blair, the former British Prime Minister, to ask him if he will repudiate some of his previous political actions now that he has become a Catholic. I'm sure that SPUC's Catholic members, like me, are pleased to hear of anyone's conversion to our church. However, it's natural to feel concern about how Mr Blair behaved both as a backbencher and as prime minister. This is an opportunity for him to come clean and give witness to the pro-life stance, which we earnestly hope he has now embraced. I hope that, in his various new roles on the world stage, Mr Blair might try to undo some of the harm he has done.