A March for Life in London?

From His Hermeneuticalness, Fr. Finigan:

The Catholic Herald is floating the idea of holding a March for Life in London. This is an excellent idea: we wouldn’t be able to match the scale of the US March but we could certainly make an impact. It would also be an important opportunity for the Catholic Church to witness to the value of human life as well as co-operating with those other Christians and people of other faiths who share our convictions on this issue.

The article recognises the possible problems but I agree that these could be overcome by marshalling some of our energetic and enthusiastic young pro-lifers. See: Let’s take courage and hold a March for Life in Britain.

For an idea of what happens in the USA, see the official March for Life website and many US blogs which cover it. You do need to look at the blogs to find out much about it. As the Herald said:

If you rely on the television or daily papers for your news this is probably the first you’ve heard of it. Even in the United States it barely registered in the mainstream media.Fr John Boyle was there and has posted a slideshow of photos from the march. It also worth looking at his advance information from a couple of weeks ago.

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  1. Paulus Magnus says:

    Paris had a 40,000 strong March for Life this year, I’m sure London could do equally well.

  2. maynardus says:

    Kudos for the Catholic Herald, I hope that they are able to follow through on the idea. As “H.H.” Fr. Finigan has noted, it is a real scandal that the MSM literally ignores the annual march in Washington; especially in contrast the fawning and in-depth coverage they accorded to every “anti-war” rally during the Bush years. (Aren’t we still at war?) But perhaps the real scandal is that only a relatively small number of bishops – usually the same ones each year – participate in the rally and march. Don’t you think the media might take it a little more seriously if each and every bishop who was physically able to do so came to Washington, stood on the stage during the rally, and marched en masse at the head of the crowd? What can they be doing that’s more important?

  3. Random Friar says:

    @Maynardus: Most bishops, I think, even if they do not go, encourage their flock to attend, or hold their own events. At least the ones I know in the Western U.S.

    I would encourage our London brethren not to make it a “Catholic” event, but to try to marshal as many different pro-Life organizations as possible. It will make it that much harder to ignore, and might punch through prejudices a little easier.

  4. asophist says:

    Sounds like a wonderful idea. The idea of doing everything we can to discourage abortions, suicide, and euthanasia is a good one – one of the overriding imperatives of our day. In passing, though, I feel obliged to comment on a statement made by His Hermeneuticalness, “…as well as co-operating with those other Christians and people of other faiths…” – I would note that people of other faiths encompass all those who are not Catholic, even though they may call themselves Christians. After all, The Faith is whole. It pays to watch our language so as not to confuse those who, unlike us (and certainly unlike His Hermeneuticalness, I’m sure), wouldn’t recognise that distinction.

  5. abiologistforlife says:

    @asophist: “I would note that people of other faiths encompass all those who are not Catholic, even though they may call themselves Christians. After all, The Faith is whole. ”

    While that’s true as stated (Orthodoxy, Protestantism etc. are in a sense ‘other faiths’) saying that they “call themselves” Christians, implying that they’re not, is a bit misleading. Anglicans, Lutherans, Baptists, Methodists, etc. have valid Baptisms (and the Eastern Orthodox, Old Catholics etc have all the Sacraments) — and a valid Sacrament of Baptism *does* make one a Christian, and creates a certain communion “although imperfect” with the Catholic Church.
    CCC 818 says “All who have been justified by faith in Baptism are incorporated into Christ; they therefore have a right to be called Christians”; Lumen Gentium 15 refers to “those who, being baptized, are honored with the name of Christian, though they do not profess the faith in its entirety or do not preserve unity of communion with the successor of Peter”.

  6. Ed Mechmann says:

    maynardus —

    The Rally at the beginning of the March is too overtly political for the bishops to participate on the stage — there’s way too much campaign-style partisan speechifying. As for the March itself, the entire College of Cardinals could be there and nobody would see them, because the crowd is too big. :)

    If you were to watch the EWTN coverage of the Vigil Mass at the Basilica, you would see dozens upon dozens of bishops, and hundreds of priests. Also, there are Youth Rallies that morning with tens of thousands of kids, and many bishops go to those, too. Perhaps they see that as more important than standing there freezing while listening to politicians gassing on — they’re celebrating Mass for the pilgrims.

    And no, I don’t think the media would take it any more seriously if every single bishop were there. It would just make it easier for them to dismiss it as a “Catholic event”, and pay no more attention to it than they do already.

  7. MikeM says:

    Quite a number of bishops do attend the March for Life. Several bishops are on stage during the rally each year, others are at one of the masses or other events going on in the lead-up to the March. I would certainly say “the more the merrier,” but there are other ways that they can show a Pro-Life commitment in their home dioceses.

    It’s nice to see the Right to Life movement in other countries awakening. While it isn’t the yearly presence we have in the United States, the march held in Madrid to protest Spanish abortion liberalization was twice as large as our March for Life. The Marche pour la Vie in Paris has grown rapidly in recent years.

    Our comrades in England should definitely get one going! I agree with those who say that they should avoid making it too exclusively Catholic, but displays of faith should be encouraged at the same time. Catholic organizations marshall many of the people at our March for Life. The Parisian march grew a lot this year with increased support from the bishops (and an encouraging letter from Rome). We can include other like-minded people without hiding our faith. So soon after Pope Benedict’s visit, hopefully the people of England won’t be shy about bringing their faith to the public square.

  8. maynardus says:

    Hope I won’t receive a dreaded “rabbit hole” warning for replying to a couple of the points raised above. I’ve never gotten a chance to watch the coverage on EWTN because we are usually en-route to D.C. from Massachusetts, at the March, or driving home. I understand that there are indeed a significant number of bishops who are present and I applaud them, my lament is that there are also plenty who don’t bother to come – whether to the March, the rally, or to D.C. at all. This is the central moral issue of our time and we all need to stand up and be counted, note how easily the pro-abort left, not excluding the President and the former Speaker, have been able to levarage the divisions (or at least the perceptions of same) in the Church. Both here and in the UK, I think it would be a much more powerful and effective statement – and more dificult for the media to ignore – if nearly all of the bishops were present.

    Incidentally, I’m not sure if I agree with the notion that the rally is characterized by ” campaign-style partisan speechifying”. Yes, there are plenty of pols, but the ones I know – and know of – ceetainly seem to be there out of a genuine pr0-life sentiment. To the extent that this is a political position it is only because one party has chosen to make abortion “rights” a litmus test for their candidates, including those nominally Catholic. In any event it would seem a small price to pay, to secure *all* the bishops’ participation, to place some reasonable limits on the “speechifying”. But I do agree with “standing there freezing” part, my kids call that part the “stand-around-and-do-nothing-for-life”!

    Finally, I’d not worry about making the proposed UK event – or the one in DC – too “Catholic”. Who else has consistently led the fight on this issue? We’ve been going to the D.C. March for about 15 years and I can’t remember a year when there weren’t prayers or words of encouragement offered by at least one Orthodox (arch)bishop, protestant preacher, and of course Rabbi Levin who blows the shofar. Maybe if the Catholic bishops committed to 100% participation – every bishop or the most senior representative he could send – the organizers could ask the Orthodox to do the same. Sure, one should welcome others, but none has the moral authority – or the (theoretical) ability to present a unified front – as the Church.

    Sorry to go on so long, but I felt these points had some relevance to the issue under discussion.

  9. Re: “it is a real scandal that the MSM literally ignores the annual march in Washington”

    There’s probably a reason that the Abolitionists had their own newspapers everywhere they could. :)

    Re: bishops, lots of bishops run their own large pro-life events at home, as well as sending folks to DC. In any case, it’s not wrong for a bishop to stay home and tend his see. It used to be a major criticism of a bishop, to say he often traveled outside his diocese.

  10. MikeM says:

    It’s also worth considering that those local demonstrations could prove to be critical in the future. When, by God’s Grace, the vile Roe ruling joins Jim Crow, Slavery, the Trail of Tears, etc., as “mere” history, the state-by-state battle will gain importance and we might be glad to have those events already running!

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