St Simon's Parish Blog

Welcome to the Blog of St Simon Stock Catholic Church, South Ashford, Kent, UK. Our address is: Brookfield Road Ashford Kent TN23 4EU

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For nine years up till July 2010, I was parish priest at St Simon Stock Catholic Church, South Ashford, Kent, England. From July 2010 until June 2011 I was Associate Pastor at St Peter's Cathedral, Marquette, Michigan USA and then Pastor at St Anthony Parish, Gwinn, MI until October 2013. I then transferred to the Archdiocese of Portland in Oregon to serve as Director of the Tribunal. And that's what I am currently doing. Since February 2015 I have also been serving as Pastor at St Stephen Parish, South East Portland. I miss "da UP" (Upper Peninsula of Michigan) but love being here in the Pacific North West.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Day for Life - 1st July 2007 "Blessed is the fruit of your womb"

The Bishops of England & Wales have set Sunday 1st July as a special day for life. Together with the Episcopal Conferences of Scotland and Ireland they have set up a special website which is well worth visiting.

As I'm sure you will be aware, there have been a number of interventions by the ecclesiastical hierarchy which have made the news recently.

Cardinal Keith O'Brien of Scotland, compared the daily abortion of children in Scotland to two Dunblane Massacres every day. In his homily, which you can read in full here, he said:

I call on all politicians to answer one simple question: will you protect the right to life of all persons in our society from conception until natural death? And I call on you to hold these elected representatives to account.

For those unwilling to give this support we must be unwilling to give our vote. History will judge us on where we stood in this crucial issue. But there is a judgement more important than history. We shall all stand before the judgment seat of God.

I urge politicians to have no truck with the evil trade of abortion. For those at Westminster this means finding means of overthrowing the legislation, which makes the killing possible. For those at Holyrood that means refusing to allow our health services to participate in the wanton killing of the innocent. Peace cannot be built in the shadow of the abortion rooms.

In making this call, I speak most especially to those who claim to be Catholic. I ask them to examine their consciences and discern if they are playing any part in sustaining this social evil. I remind them to avoid cooperating in the unspeakable crime of abortion and the barrier such cooperation erects to receiving Holy Communion. As St. Paul warns us “whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. A man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup.”

I would be failing as a pastor not to highlight the gravity of this situation not just to law makers but to anyone: mother; father; boyfriend; counsellor who in any way leads a mother to abortion.

As reported by Zenit, Cardinal Murphy O'Connor has also recently spoken out:

I would urge all Catholics, especially those who hold positions of public responsibility, to educate themselves about the teaching of the Church, and to seek pastoral advice so that they can make informed decisions with consistency and integrity... The Catholic Church believes that every life has been created by God in his own image and likeness. This means that all life is sacred, with value and meaning at every stage and in every condition, from the moment of conception to the point of natural death... It is for this reason that the Church strongly opposes abortion because it is the taking of an innocent human life... The long-standing tradition of the Church teaches that anyone who freely and knowingly commits a serious wrong -- that is, a mortal sin -- should approach the Eucharist only after receiving faithfully the sacrament of penance.

I would add that the Canon Law of the Catholic Church (Cann. 1398 & 1329(2)) states that anyone who actually procures an abortion, together with any accomplices without whose assistence the abortion would not have been procured, incurs a latae sententiae excommunication, i.e. they are automatically barred from receiving the sacraments. Normally such excommunications can only be lifted by a Bishop, but most priests have the faculty to lift this excommunication in the course of sacramental confession. Anyone affected by this is therefore lovingly advised to go to Confession and encounter the mercy and forgiveness of Christ the Good Shepherd.

Naturally, I am already considering my homily for the Day for Life. Do you have a question about life issues that you would like me to address? Is there any clarification that you think would be helpful for you or for the parish in general?

After Anthony Ozimic's talk last Thursday, one parishioner asked for clarification about the Church's teaching in the case of a pregnancy that is a cause of danger to the life of the mother. This is the sort of relevant question you might like me to address.

I hope to present the Church's teaching in a positive yet clear manner. Knowing what is on the minds of parishioners might be helpful to me in framing my comments.

Why not leave your thoughts as comments? Alternatively, email them to me. I am quite happy to accept anonymous submissions as I know that these matters (contraception, abortion, IVF, euthanasia etc.) might affect people very deeply.

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