On the 50th anniversary of the UK Abortion Act, a vigil took place in Westminster Cathedral to commemorate the date. Bishop John Sherrington, accompanied by Cardinal Vincent, led a Holy Hour of Adoration, praying for reparation of the deaths of nearly nine million killed since the Act came into effect and for all who have been affected by abortion.
Bishop John was the principal celebrant at the Mass which took place prior to the Holy Hour.
In his homily, he said: 'While it is right to grieve, lament and cry out, it is even more necessary to pray for a change of mind and heart by all people so that the lives of mothers and their children can be better protected and pregnant mothers helped and supported more effectively.'
He explained that while the Bishops of England, Wales and Scotland recognised that 'there's always a complexity about the decision to have an abortion', they have 'spoken consistently of the respect due to every human life'.
He said: 'Both St John Paul II and Pope Francis recognise the burden of guilt that often accompanies the decision to destroy a human life in the womb. They speak insistently of the unfailing and abundant mercy of God for all who turn to him in repentance and with a desire for forgiveness'.
'The promise of God’s mercy is also an invitation to men who have treated their wives, girlfriends and women they have met in casual relationships with less than utmost respect and love, or who have failed to take seriously their responsibilities to unborn children,' he added.
Calling for a change of minds and hearts, he said: 'We are called to cherish life with tenderness and warmth and expand our hearts so that they are always concerned for the good of others, especially the tiniest and most vulnerable.'