A youthful enthusiasm for pro-life
— SPUC Scotland’s fourth International Youth Pro-Life Conference is a resounding success
More than 100 young Catholics attended the fourth International Youth Pro-Life Conference at Loch Lomond Youth Hostel last weekend.
Delegates at the conference, which had the theme No Less Human, were eager to participate and fully engage in a weekend of activities that included the opportunity to hear from a line-up of top speakers on abortion and related pro-life issues in today’s society.
The main speakers during the weekend, which was organised by SPUC Scotland, included Sr Andrea Fraile, from the Sisters of the Gospel of Life, Glasgow, who spoke on facing a crisis pregnancy—the pro-life response; John Deighan, parliamentary officer for the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland, who spoke about the international right to life; Lynn Murray, who has been an SPUC member for 18 years and who spoke about the right to life and disability, and Andy Pollard, populations expert, whose talk was focused on the impact abortion has on our society.
The keynote address was given by Fr John Fleming, a world-renowned bio-ethicist and member of the Pontifical Academy for Life since 1996, whose presentation was entitled: The Practice of Eugenics Today.
In his address, Fr Fleming explored how the ghosts of eugenics from 1930s Nazi Germany are very much still alive today but practised in more subtle ways; through abortion, embryo experimentation and euthanasia.
Joe Lee, SPUC Scotland’s development officer, regarded Fr Fleming’s talk as ‘one of the best I have heard in my life.’
“The speakers were all fantastic and Fr Fleming grabbed the attention of the audience,” Mr Lee said. “All the speakers were touching on issues the youngsters may have heard of but maybe didn’t have a lot of knowledge of and they responded very well.”
He added that Sr Andrea’s message, on the damage that abortion does to women and her experiences of work on the front line of abortion issues on a daily basis, had been an ‘extremely powerful one’ for the youth delegates.
Between the talks and the conference days, delegates had plenty of time for relaxation and reflection. The Friday evening film night, which has become a conference tradition, introduced this year’s theme and the programme also included a traditional Scottish ceilidh.
Mr Lee, who was present at the 2009 youth conference as a delegate, added that SPUC Scotland have already had a great response from the weekend’s event and that he hopes that the conference will have as much of an impact on the youngsters who attended this year as the 2009 event had on himself.
“The whole weekend was a great success and we have had so much positive feedback already,” he said. “It was a very powerful and motivating weekend and one of the youngsters has even posted on our Facebook page that the conference was life-changing for them.”
Mr Lee added that he hopes the overriding message the young people will take from the conference is recognition that, by being pro-life, they can be involved in ‘the greatest civil rights movement of our generation.’
“We all have a role to play in the pro-life movement and young people are both the future and the here and now of this movement,” he said.
Pic: Paul McSherry