THE EVIL OF HUMAN TRAFFICKING – MODERN SLAVERY
As you know, the Annual Day for Life falls on the Feast of the Visitation of our Lady, 31st May, which this year occurs on a Thursday. So that the whole Catholic Community can participate in this important annual reminder of the dignity and sacredness of human life, the Bishops of Scotland ask you to celebrate it in your parishes on a free Sunday as near as possible to this date.
Saint Paul reminds us that we are all members of the Body of Christ; when one member suffers, we all suffer. So many of our fellow human beings experience oppression and imprisonment, not necessarily in a prison cell itself, but rather in the circumstances of their lives in which they find themselves through no choice of their own. In this way, they are ‘sold into slavery’ and entrapment which is none of their making. Often such people are vulnerable migrants; at other times, for one reason or another – for example through drug addiction, prostitution, and even through low paid work – they are harshly exploited in their vulnerability. They may be even refugees seeking to escape the Law of the Land against which they have in some way transgressed. However, this happens, they may be trapped and imprisoned in an endless cycle of events which sees them being dragged lower and lower until their human dignity all but disappears.
Jesus, our Risen and glorified Lord calls us to share in the fullness of Life – a life which begins with conception and which calls us to participate ultimately in the eternal blessedness of heaven. But what hope is there for those who have lost hope, whose hopelessness crushes their longing for the goods that society can offer them?
This year your Bishops ask you to pray for those who have fallen below the radar of protection, those whose lives fall below the standard a child of God and a member of the human family can surely expect.
Please ask your people to contribute to the work of protection of these vulnerable ones whose basic human rights are being denied.
Our annual Collection for the Day for Life this year will help to further the work of organisations such as the Santa Marta Group formed by our Holy Father Pope Francis. This group seeks to combine the efforts of those who in Church and State strive to protect these vulnerable ones with the force of Law and the Grace of God’s universal love for all.
Once taken, the Bishops of Scotland ask you to forward this collection to your local diocesan Office in the usual way.
Please also ask your people to pray for the fostering, protection and defence of all Human Life at all its stages, from conception until natural death intervenes.
If you wish, please use this letter and its contents – if you think it would be helpful to the Faithful – as sermon notes or to be duplicated to accompany the distribution of the Prayer Cards which are enclosed with this Letter.
With every blessing and good wish
+ Stephen Robson, Bishop of Dunkeld
responsible for the Day for Life in Scotland