FR DWIGHT LONGENECKER WELCOMES THE RETURN OF THE EXSULTET’S BEES, FR TIM GARDNER SAVOURS HONEY AND A HERMIT SETS OUT INTO THE DEEP FREE EASTER MAGAZINE INSIDE
The faithful brave jeering crowd to pray outside clinic
BY MADELEINE TEAHAN
THE LARGEST gathering of prolife supporters for decades has braved pro-abortion protesters for over an hour outside a London abortion clinic.
In support of the 40 Days for Life Campaign, hundreds of Catholics, joined by Auxiliary Bishop Alan Hopes of Westminster, recited the rosary and sang hymns as abortion supporters sang, shouted and banged drums in order to drown out the prayers.
At the beginning of the prayer vigil in Bedford Square, the site of the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS) abortion clinic, prolife supporters prayed the Rosary besides a small group of pro-abortion protesters holding placards and sporadically singing and chanting.
But by dusk the pro-abortion protesters had grown significantly in number and began to occupy the square chanting; “Stop harassing women” and “You hate women”, spreading beyond the barricades erected by police to separate the two groups. The prayers and hymns could no longer be heard as the pro-abortion groups used sirens and megaphones to disrupt the vigil.
One police officer estimated a turnout of 750 proabortion protesters and 300 participants in the prayer vigil. But the vigil organiser’s Robert Colquhoun suggested that the pro-life turnout was higher, with up to 500 present.
The counter-protest was organised by Bloomsbury Pro-Choice Alliance, following accusations that 40 Days for Life activists were intimidating women and filming them going into abortion clinics. The group denies the claim.
The announcement that a bishop would be attending the prayer vigil for the first time further galvanised the decision to launch a counterprotest.
Following the prayer vigil, Bishop Hopes released a statement. It said: “Together with Catholics, priests and laymen, and with other Christians, I offered my prayers for those women who are considering an abortion and also prayed that our society will come to respect the sanctity of the life of the unborn child.
“The large number of people who attended the prayer vigil shows that increasing numbers are opposed to our society’s ‘culture of death’ and are horrified that in 2010 almost 190,000 abortions took place in England and Wales.”
Mr Colquhoun said that the prayer vigil marked progress in building a culture of life.
He said: “Forty Days for Life London are deeply grateful for the courage and fortitude of Bishop Hopes in attending the vigil, setting an example for priests and laity alike.
“We are also thankful for everyone who has participated in some way in our campaign of praying for an end to abortion.
“Friday night was a landmark event in the spiritual transfer of ownership of our nation from a culture of death to a culture of life.”
Towards the end of the vigil as harmonised prayer became increasingly difficult amid the noise, people prayed by themselves or sung in small groups.
One group of women started a chorus of Ave Maria prompting a pro-abortion bystander to shout through a megaphone “Keep your rosaries off our ovaries”, while others blew whistles and used sirens to drown out the singing.
Placards opposing the prayer vigil read: “Stop using the Gospel to bully women”, “Keep your Eucharist out of my uterus” and “I asked God. She’s pro-choice”. Pastor Iuventus: Page 17
April 6 2012 £1.50 (Republic of Ireland €1.80)
Benedict XVI marks start of Holy Week
Gove: I welcome Catholic pupil cap
BY ED WEST
FEAR CONSUMERISM, NOT NEW ATHEISM
EDUCATION SECRETARY Michael Gove has risked a row with Catholic parents by suggesting that a new Catholic school should limit Catholic pupils to 50 per cent of its intake.
The comments were made in a letter to Business Secretary Vince Cable, who wrote to Mr Gove about a proposed school in his Twickenham constituency.
THEE JJOUURRNNEY BBEEGGIINNSS: Pope Benedict XVI holds a palm in St Peter’s Square as he celebrates Mass on Palm Sunday days after returning from his successful trip to Latin America
Current laws already mean that Church-based free schools must limit their “faith intake” to 50 per cent of the total if they are over-subscribed, but this does not apply to the school being proposed by the Diocese of Westminster for a site in Clifden Road in Twickenham, south-west London.
In reply to Mr Cable, Mr Gove wrote: “The school will be able to admit pupils on the grounds of faith, but the 50 per cent non-faith provision for the schools admissions will not apply.
“The suggestion that the school takes on a similar position voluntarily seems very sensible to me, and I would welcome such a move.”
And Greg Pope, the Catholic Education Service’s deputy director, said: “We would not seek to open a new voluntary-aided school unless there was demand for it.
“Given that there is demand, it would be odd for us to open up a Catholic school just to turn Catholics away and offer others places simply on the grounds that they are not Catholic.”
DID THE POPE TRIUMPH IN CUBA?
FR ROBERT BARRON
THE HUNGER GAMES
Richmond Council has consulted on the proposals for the 1,000 mixed school, which would open in September 2013. The borough has no Catholic secondary schools.
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MY JOURNEY TO HELL AND BACK
Nuncio celebrates ordinariate Mass amid new wave of converts BY ED WEST
THE APOSTOLIC NUNCIO to Great Britain has celebrated the first Chrism Mass of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham.
Archbishop Antonio Mennini celebrated the Mass on Monday at the church of St James, Spanish Place, in London with 60 former Anglican clergy, including five former Anglican bishops, concelebrating. Hundreds of laity from groups across Britain were in attendance.
Archbishop Mennini celebrated the Mass at the request of the Ordinary of the Personal Ordinariate, Mgr Keith Newton.
Mgr Newton, who received the Renewal of Priestly Promises and preached at the Mass, said: “The jurisdiction given to me, unlike that of Catholic diocesan bishops, is vicarious on behalf of the Roman Pontiff.
“It is therefore particularly appropriate that our Chrism Mass should be celebrated by the Holy Father’s representative to Great Britain particularly as at this time we celebrate the 30th anniversary of full diplomatic relations between the British Government and the Holy See.”
Speaking of the priesthood, Mgr Newton said: “No man possesses the priesthood just as no one possesses baptism or marriage. They are something shared. You cannot be married on your own and you cannot live the baptised life apart from other Christians.
“No, the priesthood possesses us. It is a life. It is a particular way of living the Christian life. But it is not for ourselves but for Christ and his holy people. It is a life of sacrifice.
“Although much is written about priesthood, it is far too complex to be reduced to simple statements which we can easily understand because it is nothing less than a particular sharing in the eternal priesthood of Christ.
“That sharing is expressed visibly today as we gather round the altar to celebrate this Mass.”
In Holy Week over 200 former members of the Church of England and the Traditional Anglican Communion are expected to be received into full communion.
Wear cross on your lapel, says cardinal
BY STAFF REPORTER
CARDINAL Keith O’Brien is to urge Christians to wear a cross on their lapels to show “our desire to live by Christian standards”.
In his Easter homily, the cardinal is expected to point to the example of the Pope, who wore a cross over his robes in his address to leaders in Westminster Hall during his visit to Britain.
He will say: “I know that many of you do wear such a cross – not in any ostentatious way, not in a way that might harm you at your work or recreation, but a simple indication that you value the role of Jesus Christ in the history of the world, that you are trying to live by Christ’s standards in your own daily life and that you are only too willing to reach out a hand of help to others, as did Jesus Christ when he was on earth.”
Only Pope can save euro, jokes EU aide
BY ED WEST
THE BEST HOPE for saving the euro is for the Pope to pray for divine intervention, an aide to EU president Herman Van Rompuy has said.
The message, an April Fool’s day joke that was intended for internal consumption only, was leaked to the press.
“The presence of His Holiness the Pope affords an opportunity to pray for divine intervention to save the euro. This is now seen as the most credible strategy,” concluded the spoof press release, which originated in Mr Van Rompuy’s office.
EU officials are working on proposals to avert a new phase of the eurozone crisis, amid fears that Spain may follow Greece in needing a bailout.
Nigel Farage, the leader of UKIP, said: “Divine intervention might be more effective than the intervention of the European Central Bank, but an allseeing, all-knowing God would be wise to keep out of the euro.”
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