by JEFF DILLON
A Mass dedicated to supporting the pro-life cause was celebrated on May 21 in St Joseph’s Cathedral
in Dunedin, at the behest of Catholic members of the Voice for Life group in the city.
About 50 people attended the Mass, which was celebrated by Bishop Emeritus of Dunedin, Bishop Colin Campbell, and concelebrated by Msgr Vincent Walker and Fr Mervyn Hannifin.
In his homily, Bishop Campbell said: “I am sure that all of you have had the experience of being in a group when you express a view, and suddenly the whole atmosphere changes, and you are getting angry or upset eyes cast in your direction.”
He then recounted an amusing personal experience of saying the wrong thing after attending an Australian AFL match.
Then he commented: “Have you had this reaction if you bring up the topic of abortion or euthanasia, and you notice the atmosphere begins to become guarded or tense, even angry. Yes, as the Gospel today says, you will be hated when you stand up for me. So, we know we are going to upset some people when we raise our concerns about it.”
“But not only when we raise it and speak of its evil; but also, I think many people find it uncomfortable to talk about it or, perish the thought, are indifferent about it and, at times, the attitude to try [to] close down any discussion on it is ‘Well, it’s the law now. And what can we do about it?’”
“We must continue the struggle, and if we are abused for it or ridiculed or persecuted, be glad because Jesus suffered for the truth as the Gospel reminds us today, and that, if they persecuted the Master, then they will do the same to us.
“So, we must fight on against these false philosophies that exult one’s individualism, their personal choice over the best interests of others; in this case the child in the mother’s womb. Giving people what they want and forgetting others — the cries of ‘it’s my choice, my body, what I decide is right for me’. It’s this me, me, me . . . We know that each human person is an individual, but we are also a social creature, a community person.”
Bishop Campbell then explored the social aspect of human nature: “Our community side is always thinking of the other, the other person/people, especially those who are marginalised, impoverished and needy. So, while we are each a unique individual, we are also a unique social person. The false philosophy of abortion is only about ‘me, me . . .’, and forgetting about the other person or being conned to think there is no other human involved i.e. the unborn baby in the womb who is crying out ‘Don’t forget me!’.
“As Dr Norman McLean has said, when a couple have a baby, he or she is welcomed with great joy; but if a baby is aborted it is treated as if it never existed.”
“So, we must continue the struggle,” Bishop Campbell urged.
“We must, in following our Saviour, never give up.”
He then set forth seven suggestions to aid in the struggle.
Several of them relied on the power of prayer, while others provided practical suggestions to aid women facing the issue. Then, in a strong plea at the end, he said, “But in this country we must throw out the New Zealand version of Roe v Wade, to bring the truth to bear, to drive out the darkness, to save our unborn children from the scourge of abortion, and help bring this nation under the reign of God. Alleluia!”