Saturday, December 28, 2013

Feast of the Holy Innocents

Today is the feast of the Holy Innocents, the day set aside to commemorate the first martyrs of the Christian faith. In a homily earlier this week, the priest said that it is estimated that approximately 28 children were slaughtered in Herod's pogram to eliminate the threat posed by a new king.

Surely the aborted are the holy innocents of our day. Some mention should have been made of their brief lives in today's homily, but once again, the issue of abortion is simply not on the radar of most clergy. Any mention of victims of violence only includes those who have already been born. Once again, this deprives those in the womb of their status as persons, if they don't even get mentioned along with other victims of abuse.

While in England a few weeks ago, I had a brief phone conversation with Robert Colquhoun who began the 40 Days vigil in London about 5 years ago. Robert is a very charismatic young man who has enough chutzpah to start these prayer vigils in England, a place where people said it simply wouldn't work because it was too "American".  Well, England now has 9 prayer vigils, 7 outside of abortion clinics (Marie Stopes) and 2 outside of hospitals. Their health care system is similar to ours here in Canada; abortions are paid for by the state, and there really is no deterrent to someone's getting an abortion regardless of the stage of pregnancy.

Robert has proven the nay-sayers wrong; the vigil has taken off very well in England, it seems to be even more lively than our vigils here in Canada.

One thing that Robert told me is that his plan is to organize pro-life education retreat days for the clergy in the new year. He realises that the clergy are sadly uninformed on the issue of abortion, and I am anxious to see how this goes. Like so many other pro-life leaders, Robert knows that we must get the clergy on board if we want to see the laity come out in good numbers.

While in England, one thing I did notice at the church I attended on Sunday morning, was the great numbers of Africans present. The church had three Irish priests listed on the bulletin, but Mass was said by an African, there were 13 altar servers - 12 of whom were African, and half the congregation was African. I have heard that the Catholic church is growing in England, while the Anglican church is shrinking. And it would seem that the growth is coming from immigration, both from Africa and from the Phillipines.

Also, we knelt from the Sanctus until the Our Father. Here in Halifax, we have been told to stand immediately after the Consecration and to remain standing, even after receiving Holy Communion. None of that nonsense went on in London, England and it was like a breath of fresh air.

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