Thousands of faithful gathered at Argentina’s most famous shrine on Sunday to participate in a Mass and pray that a bill legalising abortion on-demand will not be passed. Source: Crux.
“Abortion is not a right but a tragedy,” said Bishop Oscar Ojea, president of the local bishops’ conference.
During his homily, Bishop Ojea said that the country was at a “delicate moment,” due to the debate surrounding the proposed legislation. The bill would allow a 16-year-old girl who was raped to have an abortion up until the ninth month of pregnancy, without informing either of her parents or the authorities. Critics say this would help protect abusers, who would be less likely to face justice if they could arrange abortions for their victims without anyone knowing.
Passed by Argentina’s lower house, the abortion law will be debated in the Senate on August 8. The legalisation of abortion in Pope Francis’s home country could cause reverberations across Latin America, where the procedure is largely illegal.
The Mass took place in the esplanade leading to the Shrine of Our Lady of Lujan, patroness of Argentina and the country’s favourite pilgrimage site. Thousands of people from all over the country participated in the event.
The archbishop said that as a Church, “we’re perplexed and hurt,” as it would be “the first time that in Argentina, during democratic times, a bill that legitimises the elimination of a human being by another human being is passed.”
He urged legislators to “find new and creative solutions so that no woman ends up turning to a determination that is not the solution for anybody.”
Many among those who defend the bill have accused the Church of trying to “pressure” them, including at Sunday’s Mass.
However, the bill would force privately-own Catholic hospitals to perform abortions, only allowing for an individual conscience objection, while not allowing it for institutions.