The death of someone you love is always a sad time. When that someone is Cardinal Winning, the sadness seems to take on epic proportions; much like the man himself!
For the past four and a half years, it has been my immense privilege
to run the Cardinal’s Pro-Life Initiative. As I come to
write this appreciation, I find myself uncharacteristically lost
for words. I think the notion would make him smile.
On the day he launched the Initiative on 9th March 1997, he asked
me if I would run it on his behalf. When I asked him if he had any
idea of what he had just done, the answer that came was altogether
typical of the man: Ach, it’ll be alright.
The finest tribute I can therefore give to the Cardinal is to share
the good news that has certainly been more than alright.
Since it began, I have watched the Initiative grow from strength
to strength. To date, three hundred and forty seven babies have
been born to mothers who came to us for help; of these, at least
thirty babies would simply not be here today if it were not for
the Cardinal’s courageous and visionary stand.
In acknowledging the reality of a crisis pregnancy in such a radical
and caring way the Cardinal has raised the profile of the pro-life
movement dramatically not only in Scotland but throughout the world.
Wherever he would go he was often approached and asked how the
babies were. I know it always gave him great joy and delight
to be able to share all our good news with others.
He was a man fully committed to the pro-life cause, it was very
close to his heart because he understood how precious life was,
not just the baby’s life but the mother’s too. He was
only too aware of the damage that abortion does to individuals and
to society and he wanted the killing to stop. Like the Holy Father,
he wanted to change our culture of death into a civilisation of
love. The pro-life initiative strives to do exactly that.
We often shared stories on the very human side of our work and
he grew to know a lot about the women and children who made-up our
pro-life family. Since he died, we have been inundated
with cards and letters sent by many of the women expressing their
shock, sadness and thanks. One beautifully said;I hope his
family and friends can take some comfort from the fact that I and
many other mothers would not have our precious children if it was
not for him and the work you do.
As for the future, we continue, with your support and prayers,
to build on what he began. As its founder the Initiative will always
bear the Cardinals name but it wasn’t just his initiative it
has from the very beginning been under the remit of the Bishop’s
Conference of Scotland, this initiative belongs to the Catholic
community of Scotland and in your name and with your support this
work will flourish.
Our last conversation was the usual mix of football (maybe now
he’ll know how I managed to get those cup final tickets) and
a progress report on our plans to establish a pro-life centre in
the south side of Glasgow. These plans go ahead with renewed vigour,
so watch this space.
The Cardinal started this Initiative on Mothers day 1997; he died
on Fathers day 2001. May this great family man now rest in peace.
As for us, may we, in respect for him and in faithfulness to Christ,
continue the good fight. As the Cardinal’s own motto says,
Caritas Christi urget nos; For the love of Christ urges us

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