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"People of Life" - Pastoral Letter from Bishop Philip Egan - 15th March 2018
Appointed to be read in all churches and chapels of the Diocese of Portsmouth on 15th April 2018, the Third Sunday of Easter. My dear People of God, People of Life, Happy Easter! Consider this. It’s over fifty years since the 1967 Abortion Act, one of the most liberal in the world, came into effect. Since then, ten million babies in the UK have been aborted, one in five pregnancies. As a people of life, our efforts to defend the unborn child, to care for pregnant mothers and to reverse or blunt this Act have had mixed results and it now looks as if, unjustly, our secularist government will no longer allow us even to pray outside hospitals and clinics. Consequently, I’m discussing with pro-life groups and with our Justice, Peace and Social Responsibility Team some new forms of witness. We need to change tack. As a start, from this year on, I would like us to keep every 23rd October, the day the Act was passed, as a diocesan Day of Prayer and Reparation for Life. On that day, as we celebrate being people of life with various initiatives, I ask our priests to offer a Mass for the Progress of Peoples, but wearing the purple vestments of penitence.