“Cardinal offers women money to cancel abortions”

The above heading appeared in the Sunday Telegraph of London recently. The Cardinal in question is Thomas Winning, Archbishop of Glasgow.

The Cardinal is outspoken in his opposition to Britain’s shocking abortion policy, and was the centre of a political storm last October, when he attacked Labor Leader Tony Blair’s inconsistent statement that he is “privately opposed to abortion, but believes women should have the right to choose.”

The Cardinal’s recent statement is as follows:

“Today I issue and open invitation to any women, any family, any couple who may be facing the possibility of an unwanted pregnancy. Whatever worries or cares you may have in this regard, we will help you. If you want help to cope with raising the baby on you won, we will help you. If you want to discuss adoption of your unborn child, we will help you. If you cannot face your family, or if pressure in you local area is making you consider abortion, come to us. We will find you somewhere to have your baby, surrounded by support and encouragement. The invitation, I repeat, is open to all, irrespective of age, creed or color. Let us help you to avoid making one of the biggest mistakes of your life.”

The usual suspects

This statement certainly leaves no stone unturned to help women or girls in distress and it prompted many strong reactions, both for and against. One radio voice called it “a bribe” and a “shameful bribe.” Anne Marie Keary of the National Abortion Campaign said the Cardinal was implying that “women can be bought.” In the London Evening Standard, Mathew Norman hissed about “political posturing at its most transparent.” He said he “shuddered at the thought of babies being suckled at the breast of Mother Rome,” and implied that the Cardinal’s intention was to put mothers in hostels for fallen women so that “nice God-fearing middle-class families could adopt the babies.”

However, all the media reactions were not negative and some of them were very positive. One of the best was in the London Times. Here are some pertinent extracts:

“The Scottish Cardinal’s offer is no more or less than straight-forward Christianity. Troubled and tempted and desperate people are always welcome at the presbytery. Isn’t that what pastoral means? Of course you could pick holes in the idea of the already nearly broke Glasgow Archdiocese offering money to women to help them avoid abortions. You could point out the risk of con-artists: women who aren’t pregnant, or intend to keep their babies anyway, or intend to have abortion once they have received the money. Of course the Cardinal needs a degree of faith and hope that this attempt at charity will work. She continues, “If he were a politician, it would have been a mad speech to make. But he is not a politician, he is a priest. His job is to point out what the Church tells him is the path to righteousness and to help individuals along it. If it involves money, so be it. If it involves giving long hours of counseling and company, so be it. If the only way to prevent a particularly distraught woman from rushing for an abortion is for Cardinal Winnipeg to lend her his house and sleep in the garden shed, he might do it. Why not? In any case, the Cardinal is only doing his job, isn’t he?”

But perhaps the greatest praise for the Cardinal’s stand comes from what I have- perhaps wrongly- termed “an unexpected source.” It is written by a Doctor A. Majid Katme, Secretary to the Muslim Aid Society. I believe it is worth quoting:

“The Muslims in Britain were quite impressed to hear the announcement of Cardinal Winnipeg in defense of the life of the unborn child. We were very pleased to see him offer preventative solutions for the many women who are under pressure and are contemplating abortion.

“We Muslims share the same belief and concern: the sanctity of life. We believe that only God, the Creator, is the owner of every human life; that is why assisted suicide, (euthanasia) and abortion are forbidden by Islam. A Muslim pro-life movement is spreading now in Britain and among the two million Muslims living there. It is against our religion to keep quiet when, next door to us, 500 innocent, defenseless, healthy babies are killed every day in Britain.

I would like to promise Cardinal Winnipeg that I will be doing my best to raise some money from Muslim Aid and from the Arabs, the embassies and the British Muslim community in order to help him in the same plan of action, in order to keep the right to life for every unborn child.

“Again I would like to say on behalf on the Muslims of Britain, well done Cardinal Winnipeg and congratulations!”