LONDON, OCT. 27, 2008 ( Cardinal Keith O'Brien says that after last Wednesday, the value of human life in the United Kingdom is eroding even further.

The cardinal, who is archbishop of St. Andrews and Edinburgh, Scotland, said this at a conference Saturday in reference to Wednesday's approval of the Human Fertilization and Embryology Bill.

With a vote of 355-129, the bill passed through its third reading in the House of Commons. The bill passed through the House of Lords earlier this year. After a debate on the amendments introduced by the House of Commons, the bill could become law by November.

The bill permits the creation of animal-human hybrids for medical research, the creation of "savior siblings" genetically matched to an older sick sibling (meaning that those who do not match are eliminated), and loosens access to in-vitro fertilization for lesbian couples by eliminating the requirement for children to have fathers.

John Smeaton, the national director of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children, said the passage of the bill marks a "tragic date in British history, as Parliament has passed a law extending the lethal abuse of the most vulnerable members of our society. Future generations will look back on this macabre bill and wonder how a supposedly civilized nation could have so devalued human life."

Northern Ireland

A scheduling motion precluded a vote on an amendment to the bill that would have extended the 1967 Abortion Act to Northern Ireland.

Christian leaders united their voices before the vote to request Westminster Parliamentarians to leave the abortion issue in Northern Irish hands.

Cardinal Sean Brady of Armagh, Archbishop Alan Harper, Presbyterian Moderator Donald Patton and Methodist President Aian Ferguson sent Members of Parliament a joint statement Oct. 17, asking them to vote against the proposal.

"The law on abortion in Northern Ireland should be a matter for the Northern Ireland Assembly," they wrote. "We would ask that, on this issue, Members of Parliament take account of the Northern Ireland political parties, and the strongly held conviction of the majority of the people of Northern Ireland, by voting against the amendment."

Papal Homily to Close Word of God Synod

VATICAN CITY, OCT. 27, 2008 ( A translation of the homily Benedict XVI gave Sunday at St. Peter’s Basilica to mark the conclusion of the world Synod of Bishops on «The Word of God in the Life and Mission of the Church» is available on ZENIT’s Web page.