Fr Pius Collins, a Nortbertine priest from the Roman Catholic Church began by noting how ‘we have seen the onward march of societal forces determined to ensure that this culture (or rather “anti-culture”) pervades almost every level of society, in which the strong oppress the weakest members of our society and call it choice and freedom. Whose choice? What freedom?’ Many in the crowd nodded in assent as Fr Pius added that ‘Abortion does not free women from being a mother, for only a mother can have an abortion; it does not free men from becoming fathers, it makes them absent fathers. In choosing to end a life so new, all freedom and promise is taken from those we are meant to protect. Abortion is not a sign of freedom, but of our captivity and slavery to sin.’

Fr Pius movingly shared something of his own personal experience ‘I have never been in the position of a mother or father contemplating abortion or having to deal with an unplanned pregnancy, or a child with a severe disability. However, in the course of my ministry I have held in my hands and cradled in my arms the mortal remains of an aborted child. Something that will never leave me as long as I shall live.’ Fr Pius concluded ‘As a society, as a people, as a nation we have all been wounded by abortion. This must change. This will change.’

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