Reality versus PC

Voluntary abortion – or the termination of pregnancy as it is euphemistically called in popular parlance – is a living denial of the Incarnation.

Leaving aside those (very rare) ‘hard’ cases where the mother’s life is at risk, most abortions are done for ‘social’ reasons – another ‘politicism’ for ‘avoiding personal inconvenience’.

A small Pro-Life committee convened by the Dowager Lady Salisbury has organized two events – the Choose Life Rally on Sunday, 10th October, and the launch of the CD of Joseph Estorninho’s Requiem for the Innocents on Thursday 23rd September.

The Choose Life Rally

On Sunday 10th October people of all faiths and none will assemble near the Methodist Central Hall in Parliament Square for our Celebration of Life.

The impact of the rally will depend on how many people participate – and that is where readers of New Directions, who live in the London-area, are critical. Our message is that every human life is a gift from God, and by wantonly destroying it we are vandalising his handiwork.

To attract the maximum support we are making this a truly ‘popular’ event to appeal to everyone who is Pro-Life.

We begin outside Methodist Central Hall at 2.00pm and then process down Millbank. Approaching Lambeth Bridge everyone will receive a handful of petals to throw over the bridge into the Thames in memory of the unborn.

The Archbishop of Canterbury has arranged for us to foregather outside Lambeth Palace and for his representative to meet a small delegation inside. Hundreds of helium logoed balloons will then be released into the air.

At Geraldine Mary Harmsworth Park there will be music, singing and dancing, besides stalls providing accurate information about what abortion really entails. This isn’t always readily available from the organizations who are most keen to offer their ‘advice’ to those seeking it!

At 3.00pm will be short speeches by representatives of Pro-Life organizations, concluding at 4.00pm with a Christian Ecumenical Service led by Richard Chartres, the Bishop of London.

The Launch of Requiem for the Innocents

Requiem for the Innocents is being launched at the Museum of Garden History on September 23rd.

Composed by Joseph Estorninho, this fine Requiem was inspired by his devotion to saving the lives of the unborn. Anna Johnstone, one of the soloists on the CD, writes:

The Requiem is a very passionate piece of music about reconciliation and redemption. The language of the Requiem is specifically Christian and the underlying premise is that human life begins at conception. Usually a Requiem is composed for a single person or for a group of people who are united in the same way. The difference with this Requiem is that it speaks to two distinct groups of people:

babies and foetuses who have either tragically died, or who have been killed in abortion – The Innocents

their mothers and all those grieving their loss, and all those responsible for the care and protection (including the collective conscience of our Nations) of these Innocents; in the case of abortion this responsibility having been abrogated.

Although the Requiem can be divided into these two voices, it is for the listener to interact with the movements and these themes in their own unique way. For example there is a part of every human heart that is profoundly innocent, and it is possible to have cooperated with an abortion, whilst being innocent or unknowing of the intent of killing a human life. This may be especially true for women who have been pressurised into an abortion, or who have planned an abortion without taking on board the humanity of their unborn child. In Christian Theology, one of the last and most powerful words of Jesus was, ‘Father, forgive them, they know not what they do.’

Art as a Defender of the Faith

Christians have used art from earliest times to safeguard the integrity of the faith.

Religious pictures in churches, on canvas or in stained glass, are designed not only to enhance their beauty but to teach people about the Faith. Whether depicting the Incarnation, the Crucifixion, the Ascension, or other biblical event, their purpose goes far beyond mere decoration.

So does poetry, especially hymns, which expound doctrines both succinctly and memorably. When set to popular tunes hymns provide one of orthodoxy’s strongest weapons against heresy.

Estorninho’s Requiem is also an example of art seeking to influence attitudes where appeals to reason have fallen on deaf ears.

Estorninho, who graduated from Melbourne University, where he studied under Felix Werder, says of his Requiem:

The idea of writing a Requiem is by its very nature and its associations with the dead bound to seem quite a morbid task. On the surface it is little more than a Mass for the dead, and so when I first thought of writing a Requiem in January 2001 I was just a little curious as to how or why the idea came to me. I nevertheless began work and within a week had sketched the Lacrimosa and completed the Pie Jesu.

There are many requiems which have been written in commemoration of the passing of friends or mentors. For example, we have Britten’s War Requiem commissioned for the reopening of Coventry Cathedral, which was so badly devastated during the Second World War. But never before has a requiem been written which mourns the passing of all innocent life and especially those taken before birth.

The answer was simple. The answer was a question: ‘Why not write a Requiem for the Unborn Dead?’ Within two weeks I had completed the sketches. It was as though the work was there all the time and only needed a reason to show itself.

A requiem mourns the passing of life and therefore recognizes the existence of that life. Requiem for the Innocents in the same way recognizes that a life has been lost and mourns its passing. More importantly, it acknowledges that the life that was taken was indeed innocent. It is not by accident that the title alludes to the biblical massacre of the innocents, which depicts the slaughter of innocent children and babies for personal ambition.

Requiem for the Innocents is not just about mourning and being pessimistic, however. Far from it, the profound sorrow at the loss of life only balances the importance and sanctity to which life is inextricably attached. Requiem for the Innocents is indeed a celebration of life.”


So please enter Sunday October 10th in your diary and bring others to this unambiguous demonstration to protect unborn children who stand in immediate danger of death.

A leaflet about this event is enclosed with this issue of New Directions.

CDs of this Requiem are available from Cost of Conscience, 79 Maze Hill, London SE10 8XQ at £14.99 including p&p. Part of the profits will help towards funding the Rally.

Francis Gardom is Hon Secretary of Cost of Conscience.