PROTECT THE UNBORN CHILDREN AND ENSURE CHILDREN'S RIGHT TO LIFE
 

" ABORTION - IS MURDER OF A VOICELESS AND DEFENCELESS INNOCENT HUMAN BEING
AND IS MORALLY WRONG "

PROTECT THE UNBORN CHILDREN AND ENSURE CHILDREN'S RIGHT TO LIFE
Catholic Bishops' Conference, Sri Lanka

[ Fr.Sunil De Silva - 30.10.2012]
 
 
The Catholic Bishops' Conference in Sri Lanka in a newly issued Pastoral Letter on 30th October 2012, declaring 11th November 2012, as the Sunday of the Unborn Child in all our Dioceses, says, " every abortion, which is a refusal to life, is a criminal interference and an infringement on God’s own plans for any human being and so is intrinsically evil.  From earliest times the Church always condemned direct abortion, that is to say, abortion willed either as an end or a means.  It follows then that, the Church always held that whatever the justification, abortion in itself should be considered gravely sinful and evil and is not defendable by any institution or individual whether it be the State or any other."

Further, Bishops' Conference says, " we wish to make our Catholic faithful aware of the gravity of this crime: abortion, and get them to refuse any attempts at facilitating its practice as unacceptable.  This has been necessitated especially because of some statements purported to have been made by responsible State officials that a relaxation of the existing laws of the country on abortion allowing such an option for the women folk especially in cases of incest or rape or of deformed fetuses is in the offing.  Whatever these special situations be, for the Church abortion even of a fetus resulting from rape, incest or of a defective nature is blue murder of a voiceless and defenseless innocent human being and is morally wrong.  And the position justifying such elimination of life cannot be held by any sane thinking human being let alone by the Catholic faithful.  And the practice of abortion even in such cases is gravely sinful and incurs excommunication for Catholics.   It is in this light that, we as members of the Catholic Bishops Conference in Sri Lanka, wish to condemn in the strongest possible terms such a process of legalization of abortion even for cases that may draw a tone of sympathy for the exceptional situations mentioned above.   And we call upon all the Catholic faithful especially all our adolescents, youth and families to become aware of the gravity of this move, to express their disapproval of it to the people that matter, to pray and offer acts of mortification and penance in order to ensure that this murder of innocents does not become a plague in our beloved motherland". 

The Catholic Bishops' Conference requests all the Priests & Religious to declare and inform the faithful on this Sunday 04th November in all the Churches & Institutions about the SUNDAY 11TH NOVEMBER 2012 AS THE, " SUNDAY OF THE UNBORN CHILD " and follow the guidelines and instructions given in the Pastoral Letter issued in this regard.

 
FULL TEXT OF THE PASTORAL LETTER -
 

Dear Brothers & Sisters in Christ,

The Holy See’s instruction Donum Vitae on Respect for Human life in its Origin and on the dignity of Procreation of 22nd February 1987 stated: “Human life is sacred because from its beginning it involves "the creative action of God" and it remains forever in a special relationship with the Creator, who is its sole end. God alone is the Lord of life from its beginning until its end: no one can, in any circumstance, claim for himself the right to destroy directly an innocent human being.” [Introduction N. 5]

The Second Vatican Council too in its Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the modern world, Gaudium et Spes, speaking about marriage, family and their intrinsic relationship to the service of life stated: “marriage and conjugal love are by their nature ordained towards the begetting and educating of children.  Children are really the supreme gift of marriage and contribute very substantially to the welfare of the parents” [GS 50].  The same document then went on to state that transmitting human life was the proper mission of the parents, who thus become cooperators of God’s love renewing humanity through the gift of life to their children.  And so it is the duty of the parents to safeguard the life of their born and to be born progeny in a manner worthy of human dignity.  The document further states that “from the moment of its conception life must be guarded with the greatest care, while abortion and infanticide are unspeakable crimes” [idem 51].

Life, Infinite in dignity

The reasons for this ecclesial teaching and discipline, concerning the duty to safeguard life at all cost, stem from the very teachings of the Church which always upheld the incalculable dignity of every human person from the mother’s womb to the tomb, irrespective of any cultural, social, physical or psychological difference.  Blessed Pope John Paul II in his encyclical letter Evangelium Vitae stated that “the dignity of  life is linked not only to its beginning, to the fact that it comes from God but also to is final end, to its destiny of fellowship with God in knowledge and love of Him” [EV 38].  And so God is not only the author of human life; in that He created man as the apex of all creation [cf. Gen. 1]; made him in His own image and likeness [cf. Gen. 1], made him, man and woman and gave him His own breath but also its redeemer, effecting that salvation through the sacrifice of His one and only begotten Son, the greatest expression of His love for humanity. Such was the unique consideration that God gave humanity. Besides, He also gave man the stewardship over all creation – “be fruitful and increase in number, fill the earth and subdue it; govern over the fish of the sea and the birds of the sky” [Gen 1:28].  Similarly He also offered His own Son’s precious life in order to redeem mankind from sin and death and to make it enjoy God’s own eternity: the fullness of life.  Jesus indeed presented His own life as the way to life’s eternal fulfillment: “I am the way and the truth and the life” [Jn. 14:6].  At the resurrection of Lazarus Jesus told Martha; “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live and whoever lives and believes in me shall never die” and indeed He did affirm that He came on earth in order to let us “have life and have it unto fullness”[Jn. 10: 10].  As Blessed Pope John Paul II stated, from all of this, it is clear that in Jesus, human life assumed a fullness which is incomparable to any other.  Stated the Pope “in Christ, the Gospel of life is definitely proclaimed and fully given” [EV 29].  Besides, the scriptures and Jesus Himself insisted on the need to protect life.  All of this shows how unique in the eyes of the Lord human life is.

For this reason the Catechism of the Catholic Church quoting the Holy See’s Instruction Donum Vitae of February 1987 affirmed that “from the first moment of his existence a human being must be recognized as having the rights of a person – among which is the inviolable right of every innocent human being to life” [DV 1, 1);  The book of Jeremiah offers us the reason for the infinite value of human life when it stated of the Prophet,  “before I formed you in the womb I knew you and before you were born, I consecrated you” [Jer. 1:5].  Life is precious not only because God has created man but also because He saved him through the sacrifice of His own Son and then has designed a plan for each and everyone which is unique.  So it was with Abraham, Moses and the Prophets or Mary, the Blessed Mother, St. Joseph, Sts. Peter and Paul and all those whom He called to His service.  Every life is precious to Him.

Abortion is Murder

Thus every abortion, which is a refusal to life, is a criminal interference and an infringement on God’s own plans for any human being and so is intrinsically evil.  From earliest times the Church always condemned direct abortion, that is to say, abortion willed either as an end or a means.  The 2nd century book of Instructions – Didachè had this teaching as follows “you shall not kill the embryo by abortion and shall not cause the newborn to perish” [Didachè 2:2: SCKL 248, 148; cf. Ep.].  It follows then that, the Church always held that whatever the justification, abortion in itself should be considered gravely sinful and evil and is not defendable by any institution or individual whether it be the State or any other.  Blessed Pope John Paul II called procured abortion as the “deliberate and direct killing, by whatever means it is carried out, of a human being in the initial phase of his or her existence” [EV 58] and called it “murder” and any Catholic who commits it “incurs automatic (latae sententiae) excommunication” (Canon 1398].  This means the person who aborts a child on his or her free choice commits a grave sin and suffers automatic excommunication, that is of cutting oneself off from the Church, and such excommunication also applies to anyone who actually supports or encourages such action.    And so no Catholic is permitted to aid, advice, decide or take active part in this abominable crime, which cries to heaven [Gen. 4: 10].  There is no choice in this matter for them.

Ecclesial Discipline

And so in fulfillment of our shepherdly duty, we wish to make our Catholic faithful aware of the gravity of this crime: abortion, and get them to refuse any attempts at facilitating its practice as unacceptable.  This has been necessitated especially because of some statements purported to have been made by responsible State officials that a relaxation of the existing laws of the country on abortion allowing such an option for the women folk especially in cases of incest or rape or of deformed fetuses is in the offing.  Whatever these special situations be, for the Church abortion even of a fetus resulting from rape, incest or of a defective nature is blue murder of a voiceless and defenseless innocent human being and is morally wrong.  And the position justifying such elimination of life cannot be held by any sane thinking human being let alone by the Catholic faithful.  And the practice of abortion even in such cases is gravely sinful and incurs excommunication for Catholics.   It is in this light that, we as members of the Catholic Bishops Conference in Sri Lanka, wish to condemn in the strongest possible terms such a process of legalization of abortion even for cases that may draw a tone of sympathy for the exceptional situations mentioned above.   And we call upon all the Catholic faithful especially all our adolescents, youth and families to become aware of the gravity of this move, to express their disapproval of it to the people that matter, to pray and offer acts of mortification and penance in order to ensure that this murder of innocents does not become a plague in our beloved motherland.

Taking a Position

We therefore urge all our priests, religious associations and movements as well as all the laity to;
a)   Celebrate a special day of prayer and fasting on Sunday the 11the November 2012, which we ,

b)  if the proposed bill is presented in parliament by the relevant ministry to demonstrate peacefully against it after the Sunday Holy Eucharist of the same day near or within the Church premises,

c)   to wear a black band on their shirts or dresses as a sign of protest during that same week,

d)  organize Holy Hours and special prayers on that Sunday praying for the conversion of all those who support or encourage this move,
e)   collect cash at parish level and help any individual mothers or families that maybe contemplating such action due to an unwanted pregnancy or poverty, so that they may desist from doing so,

f)   write appeals to parliamentarians and State policy makers known to them encouraging them not to be part of this move or to vote against such a bill if it is presented in parliament

g)   take active part in defending life always, especially of the unborn child, and,

h)  inform and educate the Catholics about the intrinsic evil in this type of action and to form their conscience against it.

We call upon those in charge of the Family Apostolate to;

a)   Intensify their pre-Cana and post-Cana programmes with more information on the moral and spiritual ill effects of abortion and all forms of action that deliberately prevents God’s gift of life and why they should be shunned at all cost,

b)  organize through married couples active in the parishes, programmes of education and formation for youth and adults on the ill effects of abortion and its intrinsically sinful and evil nature as explained by ecclesial doctrine.

c)   stimulate with the help of the parish priests a greater sense of awareness among the parishioners of Catholic moral teaching on this matter and the value and dignity of life, especially with regard to the Creator’s plans for each human person, often unknown yet powerfully seen in many lives.

d)  conduct life education programmes for school leavers with the help of our diocesan Directors of Education and Institutions like the Subodhi and the relevant school principals placing accent also on the sacredness of married life and its relationship to the generation of love and life in the world and of the value of sexuality as a God given means for the transmission of life and for creating true communion.

 

We call upon the adolescents and youth of the parishes and schools to;

a)   Value their life and the life of others and even of the unborn so that they may facilitate the full realization of God’s eternal plan for each and every person,

b)  be in the forefront in the search for an upright and pure life, based solidly on the teachings of Christ and of the Church so that they may shun that which is not in keeping with their God given dignity and freedom.

c)   share with others the beauty of that which Christ taught us on the total selflessness of love and of the way of the Cross in creating a better world where selfishness should be eliminated and a just and peaceful as well as a welcoming society created.

We wish to make a special appeal to Catholics in the medical profession not to engage in the procuring of abortions nor in advising young women or couples to do so.   The noble aim of the medical profession is the protection of life as is also indicated in the Hippocratic Oath and for a Catholic his obligation should always be to safeguard what God has created.

We also call upon the media institutions to be attentive to the values that are sacred to our society especially those concerning the dignity of sexuality, modesty in dress and language and be serious in the preparation of their programmes and publicity materials.  Needless to state that a corrupted generation of youth in the long run are not able to construct a morally upright and exemplary society.

And finally we call upon all our priests and religious to educate the flock on the evil of abortion through their sermons and other programmes that can be organized and help create among their faithful a life friendly attitude. It would also be good to establish at Deanery or Parish levels counseling units that would advice couples on how to overcome any difficulty which may tempt them to use abortion as a way out.  We also call upon all our school principals to educate their senior students on the value of personal spiritual purity and the sacredness of life and marriage and to encourage them to follow the example of Jesus, our Lord and Master who exemplified in Himself a total commitment to the Kingdom of God.

Dear Brothers and Sisters, as the Blessed Pope John Paul II did, let us direct our thoughts to Mary our Heavenly Mother “in whose motherhood, the vocation to motherhood bestowed by God on every woman is raised to its highest level” [EV 103] and whose consent at the annunciation allowed the great plan of God for the salvation of humanity and all of creation be realized in Jesus.  Her “fiat” to motherhood was that which opened the way to the redemption of sinful mankind from sin, corruption and death.  Let that be our example always.  May our most loving Mother, Our Lady of Lanka, pray for us.

 
SIGNED BY -
+ His Eminence Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith
President of CBCSL
+ Bishop Norbert Andradi OMI
Secretary General of CBCSL
+ Bishop Vianney Fernando
Bishop of Kandy
+ Bishop Thomas Savundranayagam
Bishop of Jaffna
+ Bishop Kinglsey Swampillai
Bishop of Trincomalee
+ Bishop Winston Fernando SSS
Bishop of Badulla
+ Bishop Rayappu Joseph
Bishop of Mannar
+ Bishop Harold Anthony Perera
Bishop of Kurunegala
+ Bishop Valence Mendis
Bishop of Chilaw
+ Bishop Emmanuel Fernando
Auxiliary Bishop of Colombo
+ Bishop Joseph Ponniah
Bishop of Batticaloa
+ Bishop Cletus Perera OSB
Bishop of Ratnapura
+ Bishop Marius Peiris
Auxiliary Bishop of Colombo
+ Bishop Maxwell Silva
Auxiliary Bishop of Colombo
+ Bishop Raymond Wickramasinghe
Bishop of Galle
 
Signed on 30th October 2012
 
 
 
 
His Eminence Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith addressing the Presbyterium of the Archdiocese on 19th March 2012 said, " You would have noticed that of late some people in the Government have been making noises on a possible amendment to the country’s existing abortion laws which would allow free abortions in the case of rape and of babies known to be disabled or deformed in their fetal stages of infancy. The Catholic Bishops Conference has condemned this move and has come under attack in the media especially in the Raavaya newspaper. As we all know abortion is always a crime – it is murder and murder of a voiceless, defenseless human person even if that person is still in the fetal stage or appears deformed. I have spoken out against this in my Christmas midnight Mass sermon beamed islandwide by Rupavahini. The Catechism of the Catholic Church is categorical on this. It states that “human life must be respected and protected absolutely from the moment of conception. From the first moment of his existence, a human being must be recognized as having the rights of a person – among which is the inviolable right of every innocent being to life…..Direct abortion, that is to say, abortion willed either as an end or a means is gravely contrary to the moral law…..life must be protected with the utmost care from the moment of conception: abortion and infanticide are abominable crimes” [CCC 2270-72]. The Catholic Bishops Conference will shortly come out in the open against any relaxation of the laws in Sri Lanka. When contacted the President did inform me that he will not allow any relaxation of the rules on this matter. But instigated and pushed by the United Nations Population Programme and other international agencies, some local women’s groups are agitating for this on the pretext of the enhancement of women’s rights. Western Nations in their greed to continue to possess over 75% of the world’s resources are telling us that there is not enough food to feed everyone – so we need to bring down our birth rates. Ironically they themselves are suffering the effects of their own folly with lower birth rates and higher death rates in their societies and a worrying influx of foreigners to fill in the blanks. Pope John Paul II called this mentality, “the culture of death”. As Catholics we cannot accept such a position and so I call upon all of you to preach against this to your flock. Doctrinal teaching on this subject is found in the Catechism of the Catholic Church – No. 2270-2274 and the Encyclical letter of Pope John Paul II “Evangelium Vitae”."
 
 
THE CATHOLIC BISHOPS' CONFERENCE IN SRI LANKA
on the Government attempt to legalize abortion
 

The Catholic Bishops Conference in Sri Lanka has reacted to the Government’s recent decision to legalise abortions in special cases.

The Catholic Bishops Conference in Sri Lanka has categorically stated that it disagrees with this decision and is opposed to legalising abortion in any form as it amounts to murder.

In a communique the Catholic Bishops Conference in Sri Lanka notes that the Church has always held that God is the author of life and that it is God’s supreme and most sacred gift to all and thereby, it is obligatory to protect it.

On Tuesday it was reported that the Government has decided to introduce legislation, legalising abortions for underaged girls who conceive after rape. 

Minister of Child Development and Women’s Affairs, Tissa Karaliadda recently stated that in addition, new laws will also be formulated to legalise abortions in situations where the woman conceives as a result of incest.

Minister Karaliadda went on to say that the draft legislation in this regard is being compiled in consultation with the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Justice.

Minister Tissa Karaliadda pointed out that underaged girls conceiving, owing to various forms of rape, has become a serious social issue.

 
 
v Catechism of the Catholic Church on abortion and respect for human life ........ F
   
v VATICAN on Abortion........... F
   
v

SACRED CONGREGATION FOR THE DOCTRINE OF THE FAITH  ON -
DECLARATION ON PROCURED ABORTION
...............................................
 F

   
v

PONTIFICAL COUNCIL FOR THE FAMILY"Partial-birth abortion" - REFLECTION BY CARD. ALFONSO LÓPEZ TRUJILLO ..... F

   
v Vatican: Church Teaching on Abortion Unchanged .................. F
 
 
EDITOR'S CHOICE