LifeSiteNews.com REPORT– The erosion of British society, with its increasing levels of violent crime, family breakdown and drug and alcohol abuse, is directly related to the passage of the 1967 Abortion Act and the devaluing of human life that came of it, Sister Roseann Reddy, of the Sisters of the Gospel of Life, told LifeSiteNews.com in an interview.
“Is it all connected? Yes,” she said. “Is there a connection between this and the fact that we have one of the longest-running abortion laws in history? Yes, I think it is all connected.”
Sr. Roseann, the foundress of the pro-life religious community, was a featured speaker at the Viva la Vida conference in Dublin held by Ireland’s leading pro-life activist group Youth Defence November 5-7. She described the situation in Britain as “very dire.”
“Because when you lose respect for human life at its early stages, you begin to lose respect for human life at any stage. And it affects everything.”
She related the destruction of children, made legal under British law in 1967, to the spiritual, emotional and physical destruction of women, “of family life, of the relationship between men and women, it all has an effect. And we live that every day, we see it every day.”
The erosion of civil society in Britain, much commented upon by Prime Minister David Cameron who has repeatedly called Britain “broken,” “doesn’t happen by accident,” Sr. Roseann said. “There are causes behind it, and I’m convinced that the legalization of abortion is one of the biggest causes.”
The three-member community of sisters runs one of Britain’s best known crisis pregnancy counseling and social assistance centers in Glasgow, the Cardinal Winning Pro-life Initiative, a project Sr. Roseann began with the approval and help of the late Thomas Winning, Cardinal Archbishop of Glasgow, in January 2000. The sisters are the first new female religious community to be formed in Scotland for over one hundred and fifty years.
The purpose of the sisters is to live the challenge laid out by Pope John Paul II’s landmark encyclical, Evangelium Vitae, to “uphold the belief that every person is a unique individual and has infinite dignity conferred on them through their creation in the image and likeness of God.”
She said that the foundation of her religious community stemmed “from a need of the times” to address the damage done to women and society by abortion and the contraceptive mentality.
“When we didn’t have the education system that we have now, the great teaching orders evolved. When we didn’t have the social services we have now, all the groups like the Daughters of Charity (of St. Vincent de Paul) all came. When we didn’t have the medical system, that’s when the nursing orders came.
“So that’s where our order stems from. From a need of the times. For us, the greatest need was to uphold and defend human life from the moment of conception, to attack this ‘culture of death’.”
Sister Roseann’s community currently has three members, and she said she is hopeful about future growth. Comparing her community to the New York-based Sisters of Life, which has seen large numbers of women join in recent years, Sister Roseann said that vocations to the religious life do not come in numbers from a chronically morally broken society.
“We’re not going to get vocations from contracepting families. If all their married life, Catholic families have been contracepting, there has been this barrier between God and themselves at the very heart of the relationship, at the very heart of their marriage, of the sacramental bringing together.”
“Vocation is nine times out of ten from the Church in the home, from people who are nurtured in the faith,” she said. “And if you have never in your married life been generous with God, then you’re not going to want to give your child up, one of your 1.2 children, to religious life.”
She added, “It is a real problem because however difficult the issue of abortion is, once you start to talk about not just the contraceptive mentality, but the reality of contraception and what it’s doing to our society, I think that’s a very real problem with vocations.”
She laid the responsibility for the lack of knowledge about the faith at the feet of the Catholic Church’s authorities, who have allowed Catholic education to become “woefully inadequate for the last 40 years,” which has caused a “massive melt-down in the teaching of the faith.”
“A lot of people simply don’t know that the Church is against contraception, or if they do, they accept it on the grounds of ‘individual conscience’. They forget the whole part about how you have to inform your conscience in light of the Church’s teaching. And not inform your conscience in the light of Oprah.”
The Sisters of the Gospel of Life have focused on contraception as well as abortion because, “people are getting damaged.” The youngest pregnant girl the sisters ever dealt with at the Glasgow centre was 12 years old. “It’s just ridiculous that a twelve year-old girl is getting pregnant.”
“The problem is not that she’s having a baby; the problem is that a 12 year old is having sex.”
Sr. Roseann is hopeful about the future, however. Catholics and other pro-life people around Britain, she said, look to the Cardinal Winning Initiative for the leadership that is lacking from the Church’s hierarchy. “People love being part of the pro-life initiative. We get a lot of support from people.
“When people come they’re always amazed at how happy and friendly and joyful it is. And that is telling of itself, that people come and are amazed that a pro-life thing is happy. I think, well, how can it be anything else?”
“All you can do is fight back. All you can do is do what you think God is calling you to do. You just do your best, day in and day out. We’re not in charge of anything. God is in charge.”