IFIND myself in complete disagreement with the views expressed by Mr. St. John-Stevas (August 21) on the desirability of amending, rather than repealing, the Abortion Act. We are all bound by the great precept of charity, which is first to love God above all things (by absolute dedication to His will), and second, to love our neighbours for His sake. As Catholics we must pass to them, by practice and precept, the truth given to us. "If the salt lose its savour, wherewith shall it be salted?"
It appears to me that to amend the Act, implying tolerance of abortion in some circumstances, achieves neither of the demands of charity. Our duty is not primarily to concern ourselves with legislation as such. but to testify to the truth.
Abortion is murder. Whether the foetus is recognisably a human being is irrelevant: murder is the direct and wilful taking of innocent human life, and the foetus is innocent, human, and alive. This we must proclaim from the housetops, with at least the zeal of a small body of dedicated humanists who got the Act through. Whether other people will accept the principle of the sanctity of human life does not affect our duty not even to appear to compromise on it.
M. F. Murphy Upminster, Essex.
IAGREE with Norman St. John-Stevas (August 21) that only moderate reforms of the Abortion Act have any chance of succeeding in Parliament. But we must not risk giving the impression that we will be satisfied with anything less than total rejection of abortion, not only by Act of Parliament but by mankind in general.
We are aiming, surely, at an ideal. and although we are unlikely to attain it in our life time, this is no reason to give in to compromise and appear to lower our sights. Whether or not there would be an increase in back street abortions if the Act were repealed does not
make abortion of any kind less evil.
'Ibis is where I think Prof. Scarisbrick's society will be of immense value. It is apparently prepared to give practical help to women who might be tempted to obtain an abortion, legal or otherwise. This seems to me the best possible way of actually reducing the slaughter, even though its effect on the total number of abortions may not be very apparent for a long time to come. I do not, therefore, think it inconsistent to support both the Human Rights Society (which I do) and Prof. Scarisbrick.
Helen Smith Corby. Northants.
IN your issue of August 28 2you praise the activities of the Catholic Renewal Movement. You say it is "continuing its good service to the church by providing first-class theologians to give lectures in various cities."
The Birmingham based group of the C.R.M. questions the teaching of the Church on birth control having rejected "Humanae Vitae", and has issued literature with "advice" to Catholics.
It has therefore usurped the teaching authority of the Church and its position is untenable and one which no Catholic could support.
It would appear that this group are in need of a lecture by a first-class theologian on the subject of authority.
D. F. Conlon Birmingham.