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Cardinal warns on abortion as Sri Lankan laws relaxed

Pope Francis' decision to allow absolution for abortion has been mistaken for permission to remove a living foetus

 Cardinal warns on abortion as Sri Lankan laws relaxed

Sri Lankan female activists demand a crackdown on rape and child abuse. (ucanews.com photo)

ucanews.com reporter, Colombo
Sri Lanka

April 17, 2018

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A Sri Lankan cardinal has urged Catholics to recognize that abortion is murder of the innocent.

Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith, archbishop of Colombo, said a popular misconception is being created in certain quarters that Pope Francis is agreeable to abortion.

"This is based on his having allowed absolution for the grave sin of abortion to be also extended to priests. This explanation is completely wrong and not at all factual," said Cardinal Ranjith in a letter to priests and the faithful on April 8.

"Those who are married and those who are planning to get married [must] be concerned of the great spiritual mission that is being conferred on you as families and how precious the children are that God gives you." 

He said human selfishness should not be allowed to destroy beautiful lives that are like beautiful flowers in a heavenly garden.

Although abortion is illegal in Sri Lanka, an estimated 658 illegal abortions take place every day.

The government approved a proposal to legalize abortion when a pregnancy is due to rape or if a fetus was diagnosed with lethal congenital malformation.

It has taken measures to ease abortion laws after a rapid increase in incidents of underage girls being raped.

Catholic bishops have urged the government not to legalize abortion in any circumstances.

But lay female Catholic rights group have demanded that laws be changed to decriminalize abortion.

The Feminist Catholic Network signed a petition to support proposed amendments that expand abortion provisions in cases of rape, incest and serious fetal impairment.

Rajive Fernando, a Catholic teacher in Colombo Archdiocese, said parishes and church movements in the archdiocese organized a campaign to protect the unborn last September.

"Some parishes and institutions organized a banners and poster campaign, special prayer services and the screening of films to educate the faithful on the evil of abortion," he said.

"The Catholic Church runs a home for unwed mothers and looks after them."

Nayomi Mario, a Christian in Kurunegala, said that even the Mahinda Rajapaksa regime tried to ease abortion laws and now the new government was following suit.

"The unborn cannot safeguard their own rights," she said.

Cardinal Ranjith called on people to pray in a very special way for all the unborn babies and to pray that society itself will give up this horrendous crime and praise God through its commitment to life.

"I invite you all to spread this message to all you meet that abortion is murder," he said.

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