Embracing a culture of life
Auxiliary Bishop Richard Umbers has called on all Catholics to reject the culture of individualism and selfish greed and instead embrace a culture of life, committed to defending the sanctity of life from conception to natural death.
Bishop Umbers was preaching to a congregation of over 1000 people at the Mass for the Unborn at St Mary’s Cathedral on 27 March, an annual tradition in the Archdiocese of Sydney which is held close to the Feast of the Annunciation on 25 March when Mary said “Yes” to God, allowing Jesus to dwell among us.
Bishop Umbers told the congregation, Catholics are called to be an Oasis in the Desert in a society marred by rampant consumerism.
“We know that if you are far from family and far from the Church, if you are immersed in individualism and where every relationship is contractual, that is a scenario which is sadly not that far removed from contemporary Sydney, then what you experience is fear and loneliness and a struggle for money and status as the way in which you get some kind of security, fuelled by fear and that’s a scenario that leads to poor choices”, Bishop Umbers said.
The pro-life campaign is here for the long haul, organisers say
“Our laws should express our concern for every human being from conception to natural death. We are not setting up a theocracy, but we are acknowledging God as the giver of our lives and in whose image we are made”.
The Mass is traditionally followed by a procession through Sydney’s central business district which this year saw 800 people brave torrential rain to march for the rights of the unborn in NSW.
Bishop Umbers led the marchers in a prayer outside the NSW Parliament which passed laws in 2019, allowing abortion until natural birth.
The march was organised by the pro-life organisation, Family Life International. Its Executive Director, Mr Paul Hanrahan, told The Catholic Weekly the pro-life movement needs to increasingly focus on winning over new hearts and minds in such a hostile political climate.
“We need to convert people to our cause since the trajectory that we’re on now is not going to see any good in the near future without direct intervention from heaven. But our prayers must lead to action and the more we move to a Christ-like position and rely upon God and not ourselves for inspiration, the more effective we will be in our fight”, he said.
Medical lawyer and bioethicist, Anna Walsh, who lectures at the University of Notre Dame Australia told the marchers, abortion is fundamentally contrary to basic human principles.
“Abortion is an artificial intervention, contrary to the natural function of the human body”, she said.
“It has numerous negative health effects and it robs a woman of that which makes her uniquely a woman. Deep down inside, she does not want to see her body as a place of death”.
Ms Walsh said pro-life advocates should also be speaking out more forcefully against the foetal body parts industry.
“This industry is insidious, disgusting and pervasive. Unwanted unborn children have now become a product, to be used and disposed of for the benefit of others. Before they die, they are tortured, their organs are stolen, their body parts manipulated, desecrated and violated and their remains are generally not buried”, she said.
“The benefit to us of using another person in this way includes advances in medical research and the production and/or testing of medications, beauty products and even foodstuffs. It is getting to the point where it is difficult to avoid having anything to do with it”, she added.
“Abortion is an artificial intervention, contrary to the natural function of the human body”, – Anna Walsh
Amongst the marchers was the Team Leader of Life, Marriage and Family with the Archdiocese of Sydney, Mr Steven Buhagiar, who was carrying an image of the Patroness of the Unborn Child, Our Lady of Guadalupe, an iconic symbol for the pro-life movement.
“Pope St John Paul gave her this title since she is portrayed in this image as an expectant mother and in the Mexican-Indian tradition with a sash around her waist, indicating that she is expecting a child”, he said.
Mr Buhagiar said he hoped the annual march served as a reminder to state MPs of the urgent need to over-turn laws allowing abortion until birth.
“It’s a bill that should sit on the conscience of everyone in NSW and we have to return to the parliament every year to remind the MPs to overturn a bill which continues to stand as a crime against the fundamental dignity of every person”.