A failure of leadership on pro-life issues

SIR – The recent about-turn on the costs of the “morning-after pill”, forced upon Boots by the British Pregnancy Advisory Service, assisted mainly by female Labour MPs and a compliant media, should serve as a stark reminder of the serious and imminent threat being posed to Catholic understandings of the sanctity of life, and ultimately the concept of the family as the building block of society.

Taken together with the widespread hostility directed at the DUP in Northern Ireland because of their pro-life stance by this same cohort, the challenges that lie ahead in the next parliamentary session become abundantly clear. Backbench MPs, emboldened by the precarious position of a weak government, will seek to promote more pro-choice legislation, such as the decriminalisation of abortion, and other associated issues such as sex education and gender inclusivity.

Amid all this, what is the ordinary Catholic to do? What voice do they have and to whom do they look for leadership? The answer clearly lies with the Hierarchy, who have sadly failed to provide this on these crucial issues, choosing to favour more socially acceptable topics such as the economy and the environment.

Jesus himself had the courage to challenge the authorities on matters fundamental to religious belief. A more pro-active Hierarchy must be similarly bold if the Christian message is to be heard amid the advance of secular popularism.

The current lack of leadership needs to be seen in the context of that well-known warning: “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.”

​How to continue reading…

This article appears in the Catholic Herald magazine - to read it in full subscribe to our digital edition from just 30p a week

The Catholic Herald is your essential weekly guide to the Catholic world; latest news, incisive opinion, expert analysis and spiritual reflection