I strongly endorse Ron Edmond's suggestion that the Catholic Church introduce liturgical funeral and remembrance services for children lost through miscarriage, abortion or stillbirth (October AD2000). Such services would not only be of tremendous spiritual and emotional benefit to many grieving parents, but also provide a crucial underpinning of the Church's fundamental teaching on the sanctity of human life from conception to natural death.
A lead in this regard has been given by the Jewish community, which last year hosted Victoria's first Jewish memorial service to recognise babies who have died before or shortly after birth. This was a huge step as, according to Jewish tradition, a child cannot be recognised publicly until he or she lives for more than 30 days after delivery. The effect of this custom was that grieving parents had been discouraged from talking about their children and also denied a formal period of mourning.
Those of us who pray, witness and counsel outside abortion clinics on a regular basis are often approached by women grieving over the loss of babies they had aborted. It would be wonderful if we could inform these women of the existence of remembrance services conducted by the Catholic Church, to assist in the healing process while reinforcing God's infinite mercy and readiness to forgive all who repent.
Middle Park, Vic