CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 9 December 2017

Print Version    Email to Friend
Pro-Life Day

John Cardinal Tong Hon said in his Message for the 2017 Pro-Life Day that the Hong Kong diocese will celebrate the day on May 31 and dedicate it to the promotion of an appreciation of the sacredness of life.
 
The bishop of Hong Kong said explicitly that this decision, as envisioned by Pope John Paul II, is to promote this special day as an annual event. Its aim is to arouse awareness, respect for and protection of human life.
 
There is in the world today a widespread discussion on the issues of death, including abortion and euthanasia, especially the legal scenario surrounding abortion and euthanasia. Such a culture of death violates the ethic of life, but is continuing to gain ground in public opinion.
 
It is estimated that there are approximately 40 million abortions annually in the world and the rate in Hong Kong is one of the highest among developed regions. The government statistical report for 2012 shows that 91,636 babies were born and the number of legal abortions was 11,297. This excluded any estimate of backyard or cross-border abortions. No doubt these figures will become more alarming in the future.
 
On February 5, the day on which the Church in Italy celebrated its Day for Life, Pope Francis encouraged people to counter “the logic of waste and the declining birth rate” with “the culture of life.”
 
The pope encouraged us to become “women and men for life in the footsteps of St. Teresa of Kolkata… so that no one may be left alone and that love may defend the meaning of life.”
 
He added, “… let us pray for the babies who are threatened by the termination of pregnancy, as well as for the people who are at the end of life—every life is sacred!”
 
Looking at our own diocese, a number of organisations and groups have been set up over the past years to promote life; the Birthright Society in the 1970s and then Joy of Life, a Catholic volunteer movement; in 1996, the Hong Kong Pro-Life League was launched to pay close attention to the issue of abortion in China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau.
 
Then the Pro-Life Ministry under the Diocesan Pastoral Commission for Marriage and the Family came into being. Most recently, the Diocesan Committee for Bioethics, comprised of professional people, has been promoting awareness about bioethics and an understanding of related Church doctrine through seminars and forums.
 
However, these intermittent activities do not touch the grassroots. It is only when a culture of concern for neighbour and life becomes part of our culture that it will be reflected in daily life.
 
Some poignant questions we can ask ourselves relate to an unmarried domestic worker becoming pregnant, the treatment of elderly people with a chronic illness living under the same roof or students from broken families.
 
To promote the protection of human life in its various situations and life stages parishes are the place to begin. Even a small step taken by a few people may bear fruit.
 
Pope Francis is encouraging us “to strive daily to implement God’s plan for life, protecting it with courage, love and closeness, rejecting the throwaway culture that proposes only paths to death.” SE