Violence in Melbourne

The state of Victoria is afflicted by some of the world’s most permissive and pernicious abortion laws. The annual March for the Babies seeks to redress this state of affairs. This year’s march, which occurred yesterday, was marred by violence.

There’s no television reception where I’m staying, so I don’t know how the TV news covered the protest, but there is plenty of online comment. Lifesitenews reports that MP Bernie Finn is furious with police inaction:

What we saw today was literally a public mugging on the streets of Melbourne and Victoria Police let it happen,” Finn fumed. “We had people being assaulted, being kicked, being stomped on and they sat back and watched.”

Bill Muehlenberg, who was at the protest himself, ponders why pro-choice activists, who ostensibly demonstrated in the name of freedom and choice, proved so illiberal and intolerant:

Women are harmed greatly from abortions: physically, emotionally and psychologically. Indeed, that is part of the explanation for the utter rage, hatred and viciousness of these protestors.

Many have had abortions themselves and they are really hurting because of it, and seeking to take out all this on anyone who dares to tell them that they have taken the lives of their own babies. Many are the walking wounded, and instead of getting help which so many pro-lifers offer, they get even more bitter, angry and resentful.

Several seminarians joined the March for the Babies. Here, second year seminarian Michael Buck relates his own experiences and conclusions:

It has always taken a certain degree of courage to join the March for the Babies each year, given the sort of reactions that can be expected from many people when they discover that you spent your Saturday afternoon protesting against abortion. This year, however, is the first time since I began attending the march in 2008 that I have had cause to worry for my physical safety.

The march began as usual from the Treasury Gardens, supposed to begin at 1pm but there is almost always some delay. I was running a bit late as I made the walk down from the seminary in Carlton to the Treasury Gardens, so I joined the march at the intersection of Spring St and Flinders St around 1.15pm. The march had only just begun, and, as usual, I was surprised by the impressive display of thousands of people. Interestingly, a number of people remarked after the march that they thought the numbers had decreased compared with last year, but as one woman said, there seemed to be more ‘prayers’ among the marchers this year, and that was certainly reflected in the hostility with which the counter-protesters verbally derided and physically assaulted the pro-lifers. It was very confronting to see a group of people who seemed to deliberately identify with darkness, anger and hate, yet the stories of how disarmed they often became when met with an act of charity or a gentle word from a pro-lifer shows that these people have often been deeply wounded and need to be treated with charity and truth.

The trouble began once the march reached the intersection of Flinders St and Swanston St, with the iconic Flinders St Station, Federation Square, St Paul’s Anglican Cathedral and, (last but not least!) Young and Jackson’s Prince’s Bridge Hotel, on each corner of the intersection. It was a stark image that even peaceful Melbourne is a battleground between the cultures of life and death. The pro-abortion group had banded together and were physically blocking the progression of the march through the intersection and up Swanston Street as planned. The march was halted, and there was much confusion about what was going on. Blaring music and shouting were clearly audible even from my position, at about the half-way point of the marchers, where I was unable to see the confrontation at the front. Word was quickly passed back through the crowd that the pro-abortion crowd had stopped progress, that there had been physical violence, and that Bernie Finn (the Hon. Member who, I believe, organises the march) had requested that we sit down to show that we will not move until the police come and clear the way. The wait lasted around an hour, during which a large group of us prayed the Rosary, but unfortunately a number of elderly marchers, who could not sit down and were struggling to stand in the sun for an hour, had to leave the march during this time. Eventually, the order was given to turn around and redirect the march up Russell St.

It was a relief to be on the move again. As we were walking up Russell St, the counter-protesters raced along beside us to again get in the way and stop us. As we marched, they shouted profanities, insults and blasphemies, and I witnessed one woman physically stopping a marcher from continuing, screaming insults at him and pushing into him. The poor man, who looked to be in his 60’s, was clearly intimidated but to his credit did not once push back or become aggravated. Very quickly, some female marchers came to his aid and calmed the woman down.

The worst of the day’s violence occurred at the steps of State Parliament. The pro-abortion rabble tried to wreck what had been set up, and claimed the central part of the ‘stage’ which was preventing the proceedings from continuing. Eventually the police surrounded them and they were moved a small way away down into the crowd, and we could begin. Throughout the speeches (according to another seminarian who was ‘on the frontline,’ as it were, next to this group) this group at the front continually screamed curses and pushed and shoved pro-lifers. Yet the violence was worst at the back of the crowd, unfortunately close to me. Two of the counter protesters rode bicycles into the crowd, with other cronies running in behind them. It was shocking to see elderly people knocked to the ground, and others injured by the bicycles hitting them. As pro-lifers tried to stop these people, naturally by physically stopping them, the violence started. One frenzied man repeatedly took swings at the pro-lifers, but I only saw him make an impact once. Others were being shaken and shoved. Many of the pro-lifers were middle aged, some were elderly, and this violence was shocking and frightening. Of course, the police were all up the front, and by the time they got to the back the violence had wound up as pro-lifers formed a wall and blocked the pro-abortionists out.

This year is the first that I have witnessed such violence at the March for the Babies, and I must say that I was thoroughly disappointed in the policemen who did not secure the safety of these peaceful protesters. It was clear from early in the day (and indeed the night before!) that the counter-protesters were intending to take an aggressive approach, and not only did the police fail to clear the intersection at Flinders Street, but they did not prevent the physical violence. In future, I hope that more police will be present and a more careful watch be kept on the counter protesters, so that violence which so easily could have been prevented, will be.

In the meantime, yesterday’s events are a good reminder of the need for continual pressure on our government, and perhaps more importantly, prayer for the conversion of this country and the protection of mothers and their unborn children.

God bless yesterday’s pro-life marchers, and their apostolate. Please God, our country will soon relegate to history the legislated slaughter of the unborn.

God bless, too, yesterday’s pro-choice counter-protestors – especially those wounded by abortion. May they know the peace only Christ can give.

  • Anthony Bidgood

    Dear Father,

    I heard about this am when one of the servers at Mass told of his injuries. He had been elbowed in the stomach and chest trying to help another pro-Life demonstrator. having read michael Buck’s very welcome contribution I can only conclude that the resort to violence was intentional and intended to intimidate. I hope that next year more will attend and will be allowed to demonstrate peacefully.

    many Blessings,

    Anthony Bidgood

  • Jake B

    I’ve been stuck in bed sick most of this weekend so sadly wasn’t able to make yesterday’s march, but I heard similar reports. Nearly everyone I’ve spoken to has said that the police did very little to stop some quite aggressive counter-protestors from harassing and intimidating pro-lifers, including women and children.

    A status posted by March for the Babies seems to indicate that a few onlookers had their hearts softened after witnessing the aggressive tactics of Socialist Alliance:

    “We are receiving lots of positive feedback about the pro life crowd at the March today. Well done everyone for your incredible tolerance and graciousness in the face of pretty ugly behaviour. We have already heard some amazing accounts of people changing their minds and others reconsidering their position on abortion and it is because of the calm, loving response today.”

    Hopefully that’s the silver lining to this sad event.

  • MuMu

    Yesterday’s events at the March for the Babies have left me feeling distressed, sickened and fearful.

    I have been to every big prolife rally through the streets of Melbourne in the past 11 years. There have always been a tiny gaggle of pipsqueak pro-abortion protesters who haven’t even scratched the surface of the march. On one memorable occasion they huddled on the4 steps of parliament House and were lovingly engulfed by prolifers who surrounded them. They were an object of pity and compassion.

    Until now.

    Yesterday saw something extremely ugly, brutal, foul and criminal. Right in the heart of Melbourne’s CBD. The hundreds of people who witnessed the scummy behaviour must be wondering why it wasn’t reported or shown on the the media. Yes – the media is indeed the croaky voice of the World – as Christ referred to the World who would hate us, His followers, as it hated Him.

    There is a new thug on the block with lots of money and absolutely no scruples or morality. It’s called the Sex Party, living off human degradation and misery in the forms of pornography and prostitution. This I am convinced was the filthy, disgusting element trying to sabotage yesterday’s peaceful prolife witness.

    What sickened me most of all was the utter impotence of the police. Our ‘enforcers of law and order’ stood paralysed, arms linked around one anothers’ shoulders, impassive and rooted to the spot as the thugs on the other side felled guest prolifer Bryan Kemper and assaulted two state MPs and threw water bombs and eggs into a crowd of families with small children, and gestured and screeched obscenely over the useless cops’ shoulders.

    There is no protection now for those of us wanting to give support to the most basic right of all, that of life.

    Our police are powerless, our courts and political systems and government bureaucracies are all supporting the mass murder of our tiny, innocent brothers and sisters.

    Young people are willing to be the devil’s agents for money.

    What a terribly sad day for Victoria, home of the western world’s worst slaughterhouse of unborn children.

    God help us all.

    • Les Jones

      Thank you Father for your comment.
      Most of the Marchers found a stalemate of about 1 hour the most frustrating.
      On a positive side, it was great to see a large group kneel in Flinders Street to say the Rosary, lead by some good young brothers and nuns and some of great seminarians.

      It was a great reunion with prolifers from around Melbourne and around the state, including some Assembly of God friends from Coleraine.

      However, it would be more encouraging if we saw more Church leaders. At similar marches in USA, you would expect the local bishop and many priests. I realise Hamilton is a bit far to fit in with clerical duties.

      Bryan Kemper gave a wonderful speech on Friday night at Defending Life dinner organised by Youth for Life. His message of God loves you & I love you must have made an impression even on 10 pro-abortion gate crashers.

      God bless you Fr John.

  • MuMu

    More on the march: You can read Andrew Bolt’s comments and watch a somewhat shaky but instructive video here

  • Pat Shea

    Well written, you have put my thoughts in print. On Saturday we saw the gates of hell and I would challenge any Christian to want to see it again. It puts relevance into the prayer to St Michael the Archangel:

    Saint Michael the Archangel,
    defend us in battle.
    Be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil.
    May God rebuke him, we humbly pray;
    and do Thou, O Prince of the Heavenly Host –
    by the Divine Power of God –
    cast into hell, satan and all the evil spirits,
    who roam throughout the world seeking the ruin of souls.

    Pray for the members of the Sex Party that they may see the terrible wrongs of their activities.

  • Dominic Meese

    In my opinion, we are missing the point here. I was there and the way the pro-life people went about the speeches on the steps of Parliament House was, on the whole, ineffective at best. Stirring the masses up into a frenzy of pro-life chanting only breeds opposition and fueled the pro-choice people into greater retaliation. I found the speeches to be quite aggressive.
    Wouldn’t it have been more effective to simply, and charitably, state the beliefs and explain why they wanted the law changed? Having a priest up there yelling chants, to me, would have only confirmed to a lot of outsiders that the Church is pushing their own agenda. Having a priest up there yelling out “I am a Catholic Priest and abortion is the ultimate form of child abuse” was lucky not to appear as a headline on the front page of The Sunday Age. The comments on the stage were inflammatory and completely un-charitable. As Michael Buck stated, acts of charity completely dissolved the opposition’s attempts.

    As I view it, we have had marches like this for years and abortion laws around the world are only getting worse, not better. I believe we need a new approach for tackling this issue and many others, as, on the whole, it’s not working. This is what the Pope said in his interview with America Magazine when he said we have become obsessed with banging home these messages. Yesterday clearly was not a success. Yes, some people may have changed their mind on abortion but the main message that came out of the day was one of violence and chaos.

    Finally, the main arguments of the pro-life crowd was that “abortion is murder” and “it’s not a choice it’s a baby.” It really should have been all about looking after women and that women definitely do have choices.

    • Cathy

      Dominic you obviously mean well, however what was seen on saturaday is the devils reaction to prayer and action taken in opposing the murder of babies who have no voice. The devil is getting very annoyed at the numbers showing up every year for this march and uniting Catholics and Christians in fighting a great evil that has become legalised here in victoria sighting the worst and most extreme abortion laws in the world. The Pope has highlighted the evil of abortion and yes we must have compassion and empathy, it is the Catholic Church who is mostly the one who helps those who have fallen victim to having an abortion. The behavior of those in opposition to the march, the pro abortion group, displayed nothing short of demonic behavior, their blasphemies, their personal appearance, the death metal music, pushing of elderly and hasseling those with children. Stand firm in the face of evil, the battle is very real, exorsists have said those who have had abortions and become oppressed or possessed take quite some time to deliver from the demon that torments them, it can take years. I would say this years march was a success, because the opposition cannot undermine the power of prayer, and if this march changes the heart of one person contemplating abortion then it is worth it, infact if you look on the facebook page of march for the babies, a mother who was booked in today to have an abortion cancelled because she identified the behavior of those from the pro abortion side as very wrong. She is pregnant with triplets, thats three babies saved, as well as the Mothers sanity. I am sorry I could not be there this year, I commend the courage of those who were there. I do however feel the Guardian Angels of those who opposed the march would have hung their heads in sorrow, And the hurt Christ would have felt would have been great, my only consolation is the prayers offered on this day may have eased His pain. May God have Mercy on their souls.

    • Mairin T

      Still wearing kid gloves? After millions of innocent lives snuffed out brutally and their mothers traumatized? The war is already on… and you think being nice is going to be noticed? Its like the people who object to Show the Truth pictures of actual aborted babies…you think it better to hide what abortion is? Out of sight, out of mind.

      • Sorry to potentially derail the thread, but I strongly object to your comment about pictures of aborted babies. If we seriously believe in the dignity of all human life – including the unborn – then we ought not objectify them by promoting images of their murdered remains. I certainly hope that such images were not present at this march, given the number of children involved.

        Remember that while indeed this is a war, this is not a war of flesh and blood – and those people on the pro-abortion side are not our enemies. St Paul already tells us what is needed for such a war:

        “Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication.” (Ephesians 6:14-18a)

      • Cathy

        I agree Luke, pictures of developing babies and the wonder of life are more effective in changing peoples hearts than those depicting dismembered aborted babies.
        On the othe hand, I think politicians who pass abortion laws need to be aware of the full extent of what the laws actually entail, as with a trial in court all evidence must be presented. In my opinion pictures and factual evidence including development in utero need to be presented to fully inform the conscience of politicians within parliment.

  • J. Fox

    Things certainly did get uglier this year with the pro-life protesters being harassed in the most vile manner (which included Fr. Arthur being spat on!)

    I hope that when Michael is ordained a priest he will have the courage to march wearing his clerical collar and showing the leadership so desperately needed in the church today.

  • MuMu

    I agreed wholeheartedly with Dominic’s comment.
    For a couple of hours.
    Then I watched Chris White’s three vids on Youtube of the speeches and changed my mind back.

    The commonsense and rational position on ending abortion must have as its foundation prayer and sacrifice, because only God can really end this chastisement of our materialistic and impure nations.

    After that, we do everything that is reasonable; pregnancy counselling, prayer and offers of help outside the abortion mills, letters to the papers, education wherever we can get the message through (starting with God’s love for us as unique and precious creatures destined for heaven, hopefully; on chastity, marriage, the great evil of contraception, etc) and most definitely, public witness to put pressure on legislators, just like The March For the Babies.

    The speakers HAD to yell because of the drumming and bellowing of the opposition. Nothing any of the speakers said or did contradicted Christ’s message. The notion of quietly explaining the prolife message in that context is absurd.

    All prolifers worthy of the name are always on the alert for opportuinities to offer the good news to those who feel life is hopeless and that they have no worth.

    But we all have to face facts: there are elements and people in our culture who have given themselves over to evil. Some of them were there on Saturday.

    Apart from anything else, people by nature need rousing up now and then to propel them forward in a type of apostolate which is the most difficult in our society.

    After the demands of the March, some elderly prolifers went down to the abortion mill to stand and pray in the rain, the cold and the wind.

    After commenting lots in my real name, I came home today to find my Google account had died. Coincidence? Maybe. Google aint known for being prolife.

    • Jake B

      I agree that we need to pray and offer sacrifices for an end to abortion but I also see where Dominic is coming from. I sometimes worry that when we make Christianity the centre of the pro-life movement we risk confining the pro-life movement to conservative Christian circles when, if we really want abortion to end, we have to spread the message to the vast majority of nominally religious/irreligious/non-Christian Australians.

      For example at last year’s March a Pentecostal woman gave a speech that centred on the healing power of Jesus and the sinfulness of abortion. Of course I completely agreed with most of what she said, but I wonder if non-Christian onlookers might then just dismiss the pro-life message as to an article of Christian faith that’s irrelevant to them and not see it for the rational, logical, and moral position that it is. A practical example might be the people who wanted to exclude the “Pro-Life Alliance of Gays and Lesbians” from the Washington March for Life because the gay lifestyle is incompatible with Christian values, even though it’s completely compatible with being opposed to legalised infanticide.

      I just wonder how many potential pro-lifers have been turned off because they think of the movement as “a Christian thing” that’s irrelevant to them because they’re not Christian.

  • MuMu

    And, coming to an iphone or screen near you, folks, the amazing little docomakers MorningStarFilmz’ terrific account of the March For the Babies 2013, in all its gore and glory. Here’s a taste:

    This stuff can start a revolution. In God’s Own Good Time.

  • Carol

    Jake, I understand your concern, but the facts are that many of those who have turned away from involvement with abortion say they were moved by Christian pray-ers. The ‘biggest’ of these was Dr Bernard Nathanson – who headed the US abortion industry for many years. I guess it shows how giving honour to God helps to make “His Kingdom come” here on earth. About the speeches, they had to almost scream to be heard over the big bass drum. I still could not hear them. So much for free speech in Victoria! Why didn’t the police silence the drum so that a legal event could proceed?
    I am reminded of this quote “..people need to remember that…the onset of violence and the suppression of freedom are often quite inconspicuous”
    Vaclav Havel (former Czech President)
    (…19 years after the fall of Communism in Czechoslovakia)

    • Dominic Meese

      Jake B, I completely agree with you. Cathy and MuMu, prayer and sacrifice is hugely important. In fact with out it, you may as well give up. But as Jake said, how many non-religious people who are still pro-life relate to a dominant Catholic position? Remember, March for the Babies was a lay movement. It began as a people’s movement, not a Christian or Catholic one.
      For those that oppose, seeing a priest dressed in black get up and start preaching to the masses like a scene out of Braveheart only turns them away further and fuels their anger. When Christ was being tortured and crucified, he didn’t yell out the truth to the people in an attempt to oppose them. He prayed for them: “Lord forgive them for they do not know what they are doing”.

      People are angry with the Church. The clerical sex abuse issue is forefront in their minds. In my opinion, it was seriously unwise to try and make this a dominant Catholic event. It would have been much more effective to have lay people talking loudly into the microphone without starting warlike chanting.
      Just have a look at where we are at now. The laws are getting worse and doctors like Mark Hobart are potentially losing their livelihoods because they act on their moral conscience. That has never happened before and is completely at odds with international treaties and the Victoria Charter of Human Rights. We clearly need a new approach and I’m not saying prayer and sacrifice is not an integral part of that, it’s all about how you relate to the opposition.

      • Joel

        “Scene out of Braveheart”


      • MuMu

        Curious to know how much work and experience you’ve done/had in the prolife movement, Dominic. You make claims based on assumptions for which there is no evidence: that people are turned off by the witness of a priest.

        I refute this: the largely Catholic crowd were ecstatic to hear Fr Brendan’s firm witness for the priesthood and for the Church. He did exactly what was needed to show us solidarity in our public expression of protest against the greatest evil institutionalised in our society. The priesthood is the most important office in the world and priests need to show it.

        The Christian cringe in the abortion issue just makes the enemy more contemptuous, because it knows the vast majority of us are Catholic and to try and hide it is cowardly and does nothing for evangelisation.

        We have to fight with every ethical means in our power, including the soapbox in the public square, to
        reclaim our society for Christ, who is the Alpha, the Omega, the Point and Logos of everything and EVERYBODY.

        If we don’t proclaim Christ from the rooftops, especially about the gospel of life, how on earth do you imagine those pitiful young people will ever find hope?

        Take away God, the soul, the afterlife; there’s no coherent reason for evangelising chastity and repentance and forgiveness.

        You need to look at people who have worked and sacrificed for nearly 40 years for the sake of unborn children and listen to what they say. There is a lot of wisdom there and ongoing prolife projects.

        To say prolife efforts are not working because things are getting worse is a very dangerous accusation. Christ’s work ended in ‘failure’ too.

        The March for the babies provoked howls of outrage from satan’s little helpers. It was a HUGE success!

      • Cathy

        @Dominic Meese You do realise that the devil is trying to trick people by fear and violence…..
        As a person who has had experience in helping those suffering post abortion syndrome and surprise pregnancy, I understand what it is to have love and understanding as well as compassion and empathy, however when one is addressing a law on a general scale one has to be black and white and not turn a seemingly blind eye. Faith and reason as well as action is needed to combat such an evil that has infiltrated our society.

      • Cathy

        Just another couple of points, it is the Catholic Church who have opposed abortion throughout many centuries, because the Catholic Church has always opposed contraception. If one wants to be entirely pro life they must be anti contraception (as contraception can act as abortoficients) as well as oppose homosexuality as this is the ultimate form of contraception as it is impossible to conceive a baby from these practices, basic biology really, cutting God from the picture entirely. the Lambeth conference of 1930 allowed protestant churches to use contraception, prior to this they rejected it as in keeping with Christ and His Church. since then abortion and homosexuality have been excepted in the Anglican and uniting churches and other forms of pentecostal and evangelical split offs. So it usually is the Catholic church who is the most instrumental in fighting the Abortion issue,
        During the Nazi occupation of Germany, those who knew of the atrocity’s within politics turned a blind eye as well as many German citizens, when Nazi Germany was defeated, the people who voted in such a government who passed laws which mimic abortion were taken through the concentration camps to view the places of torment and death to which many perished, it was black and white facts layed out on the table. Those German people were filmed walking into the camps smiling, and then leaving the camps in tears. They were taken there so they would never forget the government that they helped come to power.

      • lazzamania

        I agree, Dominic. We will never convince those who, in good faith (or in their best faith possible!) just don’t accept the philosophical and theological basis of that which we see to be self-evident (that life is sacred from the moment of conception and should be protected as such) by entering into screaming matches with them, insisting they are the devil incarnate for not seeing it our way.
        The approach is just dumb and has proven to be so by its lack of success over a long period.
        It seems to me that what is required in this endeavour is love, not judgmental, rancorous belligerence.
        MuMu was quick to identify with Our Lord on the basis of perceived failure. Might be time to imitate His modus operandi of charity and mercy in order to share in the fruits of his ultimate victory.

      • Cathy

        I do not believe I insisted that those in opposition to life are the devil incarnate, and no I did not suggest screaming matches are the answer. However one must see the domonic element as to what was on display from the pro abortion protesters, it is actually a common reaction and if anything a full view display of the ugly intolerant devisive lack of respect for law inforcement attitude was a wake up call for any stand by people observing that it is not the pro life group who acted in such a manner but those who oppose life. As I explained ealier those who have had abortions leave themselves open to the diabolical to which I have no doubt by the behavior shown on Saturday from those screaming in the faces of the pro life people was present. One cannot enter into discussion with such people and it is best to pray and stand steadfast during the display of insanity. I am not saying all those who have had abortions are possessed, however a lot of the have some form of spiritual oppression, sometimes it is more visible in some than others. By all means display acts of charity and love, but action is also necessary to combat abortion, and in this particular situation the abortion law was being adressed, to which one must be black and white to the point.

  • Dominic Meese

    This is a decent read and can provide some further context to where I’m coming from.

  • Fr Brendan Arthur

    I’ve just been alerted to this post (nice one, Fr JC and Michael Buck, by the way).

    I have to make it clear that I have been very badly misquoted by Dominic, who I’m sure means very well. I did not say “I am a Catholic priest and abortion is the ultimate form of child abuse” in the one sentence as indicated by Dominic as if this were a direct quote. I wrote my speech out before I gave it, so I can quote word for word what I said.

    Earlier in the speech, I stated: “We call upon Dr Napthine: lift this shame from our state! We do not recognise these barbaric laws that undermine the most basic human right! We reject them with every fibre of our being! Dr Napthine: provide life-embracing options for mothers with unwanted pregnancies! Let’s call a spade a spade: abortion is the ultimate form of child abuse – your government has the power to stop this slaughter. Stop it now!”

    It was only after several other points that I said: “I am a Catholic priest, and I tell you today: in spite of the scandalous and criminal activity of some in our ranks, the Catholic Church will not be silent while innocence is sacrificed on the altars of ideology, of convenience and political expediency! We will not be silenced!”

    I believe that it is extremely important that the Church not cower before the extreme left out of embarrassment over the abuse scandals. In spite of what has gone on in that regard, the Church must not be intimidated by our opposition but must continue to stand up for the most basic human right of the unborn child.

    As for the shouting, all the speakers were on a small platform, separated from the opposition only by a line of half hearted police. The hate-filled abuse hurled at each of us was indescribable. I’ve been abused before, but never like I was on Saturday. With drums beating and the screaming in our faces, we almost couldn’t hear ourselves speak, and so had to roar to be heard and to concentrate on what we were saying.

    Please be careful with direct quotes in the future, Dominic. It would have been very foolish for me to have said what you quoted me as saying and such a misquote in a blog like this could easily be picked up by the media and used against not only me, but the Church in general.

    • MuMu

      Dear Fr Brendan

      I am happy to have this opportunity to thank and congratulate you for your speech at the march. I strongly affirm that of all times, in the wake of a tiny minority of homosexuals’ abuse within the Catholic care and education system, it is right now that priests must come out and proclaim Christ and the priesthood as you did on Saturday. How happy you made the thousands of Catholics there!

      As Gregg Cunningham of the Centre for Bioethical Reform said to the Tell the Truth campaign back in 2008, “When you get an explosion, it means you’ve hit the target”.

      The public square is indeed the very place for a muscular, masculine expression of solidarity with Christ, the priesthood and in this case, the inviolable bond between the baby in the womb and his mother.

      This bond is shattered by abortion … the woman will never be the same and her guilt and grief and need for repentance is all but ignored by everyone except those who are explicitly prolife. Thank God for a priest like Fr Brendan who will know exactly how to deal with the post-aborted woman in the confessional!

      Our public witness is expressly designed also to make the government, medical profession, health professionals, other Christians and the public at large rethink their apathy or agreement with the holocaust.

      In other contexts, such as counselling, one-to-one encounters, OF COURSE the dialogue and dynamic is quite different!

  • Dominic Meese

    Father Arthur, as discussed over the phone tonight, I apologise whole-heartedly for misquoting you. While you did say both of the comments I quoted, you certainly did not say them in the same sentence. My misquote misrepresented your actual comments and I hope nobody thinks less of you due to my error. I despise it when the media misquote people and I fell into the trap. Lesson certainly learnt.

    MuMu, I’m curious to know why experience in the pro-life movement matters. My claims are based on what I experience. As unfortunate as it is, some people are turned off by priests. The abuse Fr Arthur received on Saturday backs that up. The various banners about Mary and Jesus and abortion back that up.

    I believe I can say that on the whole, current pro life efforts are not having the desired effect. It’s hardly an accusation. It’s an observation. I’m not sure how you define making progress but when laws are getting worse and are actually contradicting other human rights laws, I think it’s fairly safe to say the effort needs to come from a different angle.

    Alluding to me and others as displaying Christian cringe and hiding as cowards is what I’d call a dangerous accusation. You might as well call Pope Francis a coward for his recent comments on homosexuality and how Catholics are “obsessed” with same sex marriage and abortion.

    Cathy, I agree with most of what you say. Yes we need to fight it and we need to pray about it. However, we need to remember the pro-life movement is not solely a Christian movement. How good would it be if our Muslim brothers joined the party, or other non-religious people did too. Making it a predominantly Catholic or even Christian thing puts a barrier up to others who also agree with life and that is not a position we want to put ourselves in as a religion that is universal.

    I’m more than happy to pronounce my faith from the rooftops, I just know the time and place.

    • Cathy

      @Dominic Meese
      The reality remains that the Catholic Church will always be the main opponent of abortion, when other people of faith and no faith at all join it is a great witness to life, which brings me back to my main point, the devil showing that he is miffed by this unity in fighting such a terrible evil that inflicts such misery on our society. The abuse you speak of in regard to Fr. Arthur is quite typical of the devil and his distain and jelousy of the priesthood, as well as trying to shake up and cause doubt.
      I commend and encourage Fr. Arthur in his steadfast opposition to abortion, sending many prayers your way Fr Arthur and may God Bless you and all Priests.
      There are some muslim people who accept abortion in certain circumstances as well as seeing no problem with stoning a pregnant woman to death for adultery, so that subject is a little touchy as I am not sure where they would stand on the subject as there is a difference between muslim fractions. On and end note keep up the fight against abortion, it is a fight worth fighting for.

  • MuMu

    There’s a professionally produced video of the March for The babies 2013 just put up by MorningStarFilmz.

    The great thing about prolife is that anyone can work for the cause of ending the slaughter, according to his talents and capabilities and inspirations.

    The presence of Bryan Kemper in Melbourne together with the MFTB and all the hullaballoo has been fantastic in keeping up the heat and light on this holocaust.

  • MuMu

    If anyone would like to hear Fr Brendan’s speech in full at the March – and the curious response by the pro-aborts (minimal drumming, perhaps to hear what he was saying?) as well as the joyous applause and whoops of the Marchers, click on this link.

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