There are always too many good causes vying for the attention and the wallets of generous donors. As it is Lent we are reminded that prayer, fasting and almsgiving are the traditional ways of marking these forty days. Giving one’s “alms” to a pro-life cause will have a special appeal, because the right to life is the most fundamental right of all – and abortion is its gravest threat.
The Good Counsel Network (GCN) is making a particular fund-raising effort just now. It seems that 40 Days for Life, which is keeping a 40-day prayer vigil – from 22 February-1 April – outside the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS) abortion clinic in Bedford Square, central London, has been targeted by a spiteful campaign called “Boycott 40 Days for Life”. The campaign asks pro-abortionists to donate for each hour or day that 40 Days for Life keeps vigil. Their target is to raise £4000 by April 1 and so far they have raised over £3000 – with the deliberate purpose of deterring those participating in the vigil by making them feel that their presence is actually doing the opposite of what they intend, by raising money for the BPAS clinic.
The Good Counsel Network is responding by asking its supporters to donate double this sum to help keep its pro-life crisis pregnancy centre open: ie £8000 by 1st April, Palm Sunday. That’s a large sum and it’s not long to go. Higher living costs and the recession have made the vital work of GCN much more difficult, just at a time when they have had an increased demand for the good counsel and practical support they give pregnant women. If my maths is correct it only requires 80 generous souls to donate £100 each or 160 to give £50 each…
Let’s challenge these pagans: let’s fast, donate and be merry, for tomorrow we die – in order to live forever with Christ. I abhor the thought that BPAS supporters would derail a peaceful vigil dedicated to saving unborn lives. “40 Days for Life” is not an aggressive, militant organisation harassing women at a vulnerable time, which pro-abortion groups sometimes put about in their propaganda. As its website explains, “Participants sign a “statement of peace” with a pledge that they will conduct themselves in a Christ-like manner. We do not use graphic images, neither do we make any judgement on other pro-life groups that do. We do not use loud-speakers. We are respectful of local residents and do not block roads or pavements.”
What they do is fast and pray, as well as engage in community outreach, to bring their message of how to give effective witness to life to as wide an audience as possible. Those who would like to give their Lenten alms to the GCN and help scupper the “Boycott” can make a direct transfer to The Guild of Our Lady of Good Counsel: sort code: 23-83-95, account number: 00287036. Cheques can be posted to: GCN, PO Box 46679, London NW9 8ZT.
The Feast of the Annunciation, 25th March, which fell yesterday, is being celebrated today, 26th March. Of all the significant dates in human history, this might reasonably claim to be the most important. Let’s celebrate the Incarnation in this particular pro-life way.