Friday, March 30, 2012

In great sadness... Bedford Square, where a prayer-vigil was being held outside an abortion centre. We prayed, led by Bishop Alan Hopes, and young people took turns to read aloud Scriptural meditations for the Stations of the Cross. The idea was to express sorrow and repentance that none of us have been able to stem the tide of the killing of the unborn that is happening in our country, and to pledge ourselves to renewal and hope. But it was not possible to hear much as a large group of angry protesters with loud hailers and drums and various instruments had gathered to drown us out. It was one of the saddest things I have ever seen: the protesters included a number of young women, angry and shouting, a picture of sadness and self-loathing such as I have never viewed before.

It used to be that even people who viewed abortion as a legitimate choice would emphasise that it was a sad thing, that no one really wanted it, that it could and should be avoided if at all possible. That was how people spoke in the 70s and 80s when I was first involved in debates on the subject. It is the saddest things on earth to see young women shouting things like "Get your Eucharist out of my uterus" and jeering when people pray.

I went to this vigil because it had been announced that some people wanted to prevent it happening: in the Britain I inherited, the right to pray in this way was cherished, so I felt I should be there. I met a great many friends and at one level it was, or should have been, a time of solidarity and and hope. The pro-life movement is strong and there were lots of young people praying earnestly, along with priests and Franciscan friars, and older people - like me - who have taken part in various such events for decades.

But my overwhelming feeling about the evening is one of profound sadness: the image that stays with me is of the young women on the opposite side of the barriers erected by the police, shouting angrily and sort of gleefully their support for the destruction of the next generation, affirming their right to eliminate their own offspring. Thus is a nation ending itself. Whatever comes next will be different. It all feels bleak.


Patricius said...

Perhaps there has been some change as you suggest but I recall my mother, some forty years or so ago, returning from a pro-life demonstration in, I think, Liverpool and speaking of the sheer nastiness manifested by the pro-abortion counter demonstrators. Such people are clearly sick and therefore requiring compassion but, equally, I'd be wary of turning my back upon such hate-filled and dangerous individuals.

Clare A said...

I remember the Stonewall activists who bayed and howled throughout the Family Conference which you helped organise and which we attended as a family. They looked like ghouls, pale, sickly and faces contorted in hate, like figures from Hieronymous Bosch, or orcs from LoTR.

My daughter said it was very draining to be at the prolife vigil tonight but standing and praying and singing with the Friars, next to a wonderful African nun, was exhilarating. There's no question in my mind; God is love, and is to be found in the people who make their views known in peace and gentleness. Disorder, hate and noise are all symptomatic of the evil one.

Anonymous said...

Courage, Joanna, and all those who went to this rosary rally. You have come up against the gates of hell, and they will not prevail.
I've been to many of these rallys over the years with the same sort of evil displayed by the pro-abortion people. However, now the opposition is beginning to fade away, and I truly believe it is because the rosary is a powerful, powerful prayer. Mary's Immaculate Heart will triumph, she has promised it.

1catholicsalmon,com said...

I am saddened just reading your report. The young women you speak of are ignorant and lead by the secularist ideology here and now. They will remember your protest one day, when they look back and are sorry for the choices they've made, when it's too late.
The protest was not in vane.

Fr Francis Marsden said...

I remember going down to London to one of the big SPUC rallies when I was a sixth-former, so it must have been 1970-72.
The pro-abortion counter demonstration - miniscule in size compared with the massive march - left a permanent impression on my imagination: young women screaming abuse and clawing the air like demons. A clear foretaste of the hell which abortion leads to.
My second memory comes from eagerly watching the news either late that evening or the next day, to see the impact our pro-life march had made, and instead seeing the way in which the BBC tried to ignore the hundreds of thousands on the pro-life march, and probably gave equal time to the small number of pro-abortionists. I have never believed in the impartiality of the BBC since that date.

Anonymous said...

Dear Joanna:
I believe that what you experienced is the symptom of the disease-Satan wants to convince human beings that they have the right to "choose" if life will exist, or not (Life and death is at the will of the Blessed Trinity).
However, take heart! The devil cannot win over good when we have our merciful Jesus and his holy mother on our side! Millions are praying every day to defeat the ideology that supports abortion.
bless you for being there!
-A friend from the U.S

Tim said...

Great thing though was the amount of young people and the way young adult groups in the diocese like Soul Food and Juventutem galvinised their members to attend..seriously that fills me with a lot of hope..I cant remember the last time that I saw so many people praying peacefully outside a clinic. As for the other side they were stirred up by the misreporting of the Guardian, which was then repeated by other outlets, that we had being harassing women, that really set the tone for evening. Of course they wouldn't dare to that to a group of Muslims, but I suppose that really highlights what a peaceful religion Catholicism really is.

Colleen said...

How very sad for all the unborn babies around the world that have been aborted.

All of us will be held accountable some day for what we say and do. Pray for Mercy for those that choose to listen to Satan and his lies.

Katie said...

Thanks Joanna. I think you're right. We are now in a different place. It's no longer the world we knew. Draw a deep breath and pray and let us all remember that we are not alone.

Katie said...

Thanks Joanna. I think you're right. We are now in a different place. It's no longer the world we knew. Draw a deep breath and pray and let us all remember that we are not alone.

epsilon said...

Even the most guilty criminal can repent and be forgiven. These are lost souls. All our children are being brainwashed in school every day up and down the country

We are paying taxes for these abortions in NHS hospitals every day.

Let's not lay all the blame on young misguided people some of whom according to huffington are catholic. If bishops, priests and lay people in the Church had given any credence to Humanae Vitae we would not be in the situation now!

Little Voice said...

Friday evening was desperately sad but also quite poignant for me as we begin Holy Week. Perhaps we need to be prpepared to face the same kind of abuse as Our Lord.

Celia said...

Contrary to Joanna's experience in the 1970s and 1980s I can recall a friend who 'counselled' pregnant women seeking abortion at a women's centre in Birmingham in the late 1970s gleefully recounting how many women she had persuaded to have an abortion. To my subsequent shame I supported the 'right to choose' at that time, but I think her obvious enthusiasm for abortion was one of the factors which eventually changed my mind- long before I came back to the Catholic church.

There is and always has been something wilfully destructive and hate-filled about the women's movement.

Anonymous said...

The world watches.

More and more of us non religious types are seeing a group of people, doing nothing more sinister than trying to do what any sane, rational, healthy human being does (opt for life over death) and being preyed upon by hate-filled and spiteful malcontents.

To those of us who hate bullies, this is reprehensible and you neednt worry, history WILL remember these people, their faces and their actions for what they are; that is unavoidable.

In a world where many of my non religious crowd look down on people of faith and sneer, you and your brothers and sisters are now being regarded as heroes.

Thankyou for standing up for those with no voices.

I admire you.


Daddy Warthog

Peter Smith said...

God bless you Joanna

Peter Smith
SPUC Evangelicals

Anonymous said...

I think the abortion 'decision' is actually much simpler than you see to think. If YOU don't agree with the concept of abortion then YOU shouldn't get one and the support and/or adoption services will be available to you once you give birth to the child. However, you should really stop trying to convince people who don't believe the same to act differently because of YOUR set if insane beliefs.

I am glad that you were confronted by these people. With abortion being legal then there is a choice but if you are taken seriously (and Im so glad you aren't) then that choice would be taken away based on the whims and wishes of a select (and crazy) few.