Friday, 24 April 2015

Colombian archbishop: The Church will close health centres if you force us to practise euthanasia

It's good to read today in EWTN news the robust rejection of the culture of death by a leading Colombian archbishop:
"A top Colombian archbishop warned that if the country's government persists in forcing Catholic hospitals to start practicing euthanasia on patients, the Church will close all its health centers.

"Bishop Juan Vicente Cordoba Cordoba – head the Colombian Catholic bishops' conference [sic]* – vowed that the bishops would appeal to 'national and international legal institutions and if we don't get answers on euthanasia, we will proceed to close all our hospitals if they insist on forcing us to kill.'"
The full story makes inspiring reading.

May I suggest to visitors to my blog that they draw the attention of their diocesan bishop to this story? This is exactly what our bishops should be saying to the government:
If you force us to teach pupils that a man and a man can get married, we will close our schools
If you force us to give children in our school information on and/or access to contraception and abortion 'services' we will close our schools
... instead in one diocese after another at best (with rare courageous exceptions), failing to resist, and at worst actively going along with government policies.

Once again, the words of Jesus Christ, which I quoted two days ago on my blog, spring to mind regarding such church leaders:
"But he that shall scandalize one of these little ones that believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone should be hanged about his neck, and that he should drowned in the depth of the sea." (Matthew: 18,6)
*Bishop Juan Vicente Cordoba Cordoba is president of the Colombian Catholic Bishops' Committee on Life.

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They are not afraid! The Nigerian pro-life movement awakens

Today, Rhoslyn Thomas, SPUC's youth organiser, has kindly written the following account of the growing Nigerian pro-life movement:

When I was asked by the co-founder of Culture of Life Africa, Obianuju (Uju) Ekeocha, to attend the International Pro-life & Family Conference (hosted by the Catholic Ecclesiastical Province of Ibadan, Nigeria), I didn’t know what to expect, but I knew I wanted to be there.

The first day of the conference

Uju is effectively living a double-life: by day, she is a Specialist Bio-Medical Scientist in the UK, by night, she is a pro-life activist, having meetings with pro-life leaders and doing radio and television interviews to defend the traditional culture of life in Africa. In her spare time, she is campaigning and pushing against anti-life giants to keep Nigeria, and the rest of Africa, free from their clutches.

Uju delivers the keynote address at the conference

Uju’s pro-life mission began when she penned an open letter to Melinda Gates, who was hosting a conference in London which focused on spreading contraception to the 69 poorest countries in the world, most of which were in sub-saharan Africa. Since then, she has campaigned all over Africa, in the UK and at the UN to keep African parents and their babies safe from Western plans to limit their families (or even better, to have no families at all)


Nigeria is currently at the centre of a battle where Western organisations are desperate to export abortion, contraception and the full acceptance of homosexuality (and all that entails) to countries where these things are currently illegal and rejected by the population in general. Organisations like the UNFPA are even recruiting Nigerian people to spread this message ‘from the inside’. Brian Clowes of Human Life International, who spoke at the conference in Ibadan, speaks of the “colonisation of the mind”. This is where organisations seek to destroy the traditional pro-life, pro-family mind of the targeted people and make them eager to participate in their own mass absorption into the culture of the coloniser.

This conference was called to educate and inform faithful Nigerian Catholics in how to battle against these organisations, equipping them with knowledge of the dirty tactics that will be used and the techniques and ideologies which are being proposed. The Nigerian Catholic bishops recognise that they must lead the Catholic faithful in this fight (read the conference resolutions).

(left-right) Archbishop Abegunrin, Bishop Badejo, Bishop Ajakeye, Archbishop Emeritus Alaba Job, Bishop Arogundade, Reverend Fr Francis Adesina - Rector of SS Peter & Paul Seminary, Ibadan.

This year was the third pro-life conference to be held in Nigeria, but the first in Ibadan. I was not sure what to expect, but whatever I was expecting, it was not on this level.

Some 1,500 Nigerian Catholics (and some Muslims) had travelled from all over Nigeria to attend the two-day conference. When we arrived at the conference centre, we were greeted by four bishops and the Archbishop of Ibadan: Archbishop Gabriel Abegunrin.

Wendy Wright of C-FAM

The following day, we listened to talks on every aspect of the pro-life fight, from Uju’s keynote address, C-FAM’s Wendy Wright, whose title was ‘Resisting the Rising Tide of Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights’, Msgr. Paschal Nwaezaepu’s excellent overview of aggressive reproductive technology to Prof. M.C. Asuzu’s talk on Secular Humanism. I couldn’t believe the standard of speakers (including our very own Antonia Tully, speaking on sex education in schools) and the positive reaction from those listening and taking notes.

Brian Clowes of Human Life International

What struck me more than anything throughout the day was the consistent emphasis on the need for action. This was the message from all the bishops and all the speakers, especially the Nigerian ones: those who attend the conference must not hear the truth, be told of the threats to their country and their culture and then return home and do nothing. This cannot happen because the consequences of inaction at this stage are too serious.

Antonia Tully presents the SPUC foetal model set

We cannot all travel the world or appear on television, but we can all be a witness in our own families and communities, we can all pray for the protection of human life, we can all write letters, vote for politicians who are committed to protecting life, raise our children to be pro-life and ensure they are not being taught evil at school. This is exactly the message which I would give to any pro-lifer in any country, but to hear it from a bishop or a professor is so much more powerful.

Participants from the march return to the university, wearing the conference hats and t-shirts

What I also heard were stories from people such as Jerry Okwuosa, Director General of the Project For Human Development (PHD). They describe themselves as “a not-for-profit NGO which promotes family values, the dignity of the human person, authentic rights of women and children, the dignity of labour and other pristine values which form the substructure for the building of our national values”. These are the kind of people who have been holding the fort since the 1970s, when attempts were first made to legalise abortion in Nigeria. Jerry regaled us with stories of tracking down illegal abortionists who would run away once they saw him coming, of walking into pharmacies and asking as loudly as possible where they kept their contraception because he knew they would be the shame of the village when it was found what they were selling.

It was not all happy stories though. The fact is that abortions happen in Nigeria, and they are not rare (although we do not have figures, since they are all illegal abortions and therefore undocumented). Uju told us that she knows there are illegal abortion centres run by Marie Stopes International in both Lagos and Abuja, but nothing is done to stop them.

Antonia walking on the march with Jerry Okwuosa of PHD (left) and Brian Clowes

On the second day of the conference, we took part in a huge March for Life through the town of Ibadan, around the area surrounding the university.

This lasted about two hours and, as far as I know, there were the same number of people (around 1,500 people) on this march. Everyone was full of energy, holding banners, playing instruments, chanting and singing. I saw in some pictures afterwards that there were even some people carrying small caskets.

Some people were even running up to those standing on the street to challenge them on abortion, contraception and homosexuality. They are not afraid!

Antonia and Uju speaking with the Vice Chancellor of Ibadan University

It was extremely humid but nobody seemed to care as they danced up the street and sang “Yes yes to life, no no to death” with Bishop Badejo and Archbishop Abegunrin leading them. There was an overwhelming feeling of joy on the march.


Rhoslyn helping to carry a banner on the March for Life

In the afternoon, each of the speakers delivered their workshop presentations to at least three groups. I found everyone in the groups who attended my workshop to be very eager to learn but also very knowledgeable and full of zeal. They just wanted to spread this pro-life message to as many people as possible. Antonia had brought SPUC literature to distribute to those attending the workshop and I’m told it was all gone after the first group!

Rhoslyn delivers a presentation later in the week

We could learn a thing or two from the pro-life movement in Nigeria. For one thing, my Dad asked me if the Nigerian bishops could please come and teach our bishops how to hold a pro-life conference! I pointed out that in spite of the joy and zeal at the conference, they have a huge mission in front of them. In many cases, more money is being spent by organisations like DFID on contraception in Africa than on education and sanitation. British Council scholarships are no longer commonplace, as they once were. Nigerians striving to protect the family must fight against all this and more. We cannot all campaign for them at the UN, but we can all speak out in our own way against this new form of colonialism. If you are the praying type, please re-double your efforts on their part.

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Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Sinn Féin declares war on marriage and the family

Any idea enjoyed by Catholics or non-Catholics around the world that Sinn Féin is committed to the Catholic religion or to the common good must be completely dispelled today.

At a press event, reported today by Campaign for Marriage, they have declared war on marriage and the family by announcing a "vigorous" campaign to re-define marriage.

Furthermore, a Sinn Féin motion, below, is to be debated 27 April in Stormont:
That this Assembly welcomes the marriage equality referendum in the south of Ireland; notes that a growing number of parliaments across the world have embraced, and legislated for, marriage equality; respects the rights of the religious institutions to define, observe and practise marriage within their beliefs; and calls on the Executive to legislate for marriage equality for same sex couples so that all citizens will have the same legal entitlement to the protections, responsibilities, rights, obligations and benefits afforded by the legal institution of marriage.
As I report today, the Nigerian bishops have (accurately) described same-sex marriage as harming the innocence of children - a fact which is confirmed in schools around Britain where Stonewall, a militant homosexual group, has been invited into schools (not excluding Catholic schools) to train teachers on how to educate little children about marriage.

One cannot but recall the words of Christ:
"But he that shall scandalize one of these little ones that believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone should be hanged about his neck, and that he should drowned in the depth of the sea." (Matthew: 18,6)
Of course, everyone knows that Catholic teaching is unequivocally opposed to same-sex unions. What is also overwhelmingly clear to everyone who studies the evidence objectively, however, is that same-sex unions are deeply damaging to the common good.

The experience of legalising marriage for same-sex couples in Europe and North America shows that such legalisation has negative effects for real marriage and for families, shows latest evidence.

The evidence was presented to the House of Commons committee examining the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill, in a written submission by Dr Patricia Morgan, the British family policy researcher, on behalf of SPUC. The submission can be read in full at www.spuc.org.uk/campaigns/ssmsub20130301

Based on research and data from Sweden, Norway, Denmark, the Netherlands, Spain, Canada and the US, Dr Morgan concluded that:
  • as marriage is redefined to accommodate same-sex couples, this reinforces the idea that marriage is irrelevant to parenthood
  • same-sex marriage leads to the casualisation of heterosexual unions and separation of marriage and parenthood
  • Spain saw a pronounced acceleration in the decline of marriage following the introduction of same-sex marriage (same-sex marriage was introduced at the same time as the ‘express divorce bill’)
  • across all countries analysed, no causal link has been established to support the idea that same-sex marriage prevents marital decline
  • in the move to same-sex marriage, opposite-sex relationships have to conform to gay norms rather than vice-versa
  • a publicly-professed, legal, partnership does not prevent homosexual couples from breaking up more frequently than married heterosexual couples
  • experience with same-sex partnerships/marriage legislation tends to suggest that availability is all, and participation more or less irrelevant to sexual minorities
  • same-sex marriage may be the end-game of long-running anti-marriage, anti-family policy typified by Sweden
  • same-sex marriage may begin the process of severing marriage from family in otherwise family-friendly societies such as Spain and the Netherlands
  • same-sex marriage triggers dismemberment of family structures in family-friendly societies.
As a pro-life organisation, SPUC campaigns against same-sex marriage because:
  • marriage - the permanent, exclusive union of one man and one woman - is the basis of the family, the fundamental group unit of society. Upholding marriage is therefore in everyone’s interests.
  • marriage as an institution protects children, both born and unborn. Statistics show that unborn children are much safer within marriage than outside marriage.
  • same-sex marriage lacks basic elements of true marriage e.g. the complementary sexual difference between spouses necessary for the procreation and healthy upbringing of children.
  • same-sex marriage represents an attempt to redefine marriage, thus undermining marriage. This undermining lessens the protection for unborn children which true marriage provides.

Sinn Féin, and indeed any political party which seeks to foist the redefinition of marriage on the good people of Ireland, should be utterly ashamed of themselves and will be judged by history to have proved to be the enemies of marriage, the family and, above all, of children.

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Same-sex unions harm the innocence of children, say Nigerian bishops

SPUC's UK team with His Grace,
the Archbishop of Ibadan (full picture details
in story)
Antonia Tully, SPUC's Safe at School co-ordinator, and Rhoslyn Thomas, SPUC's youth organiser, spoke last week at major pro-life conference in Nigeria organised by the bishops of Ibadan Province.

In the picture to the right you can see SPUC's UK team with his Grace the Most Reverend Gabriel Abegunrin, Archbishop of Ibadan: from left to right, Emmi Egbuono, an SPUC member from London who came as a volunteer to support the SPUC team in her native Nigeria, Antonia Tully, leader of SPUC's Safe at School initiative, and, to the right of His Grace, Rhoslyn Thomas, SPUC's youth organiser.

 
Antonia has sent me this truly edifying account of their experience:
The Catholic bishops of the province of Ibadan have shown outstanding pro-life leadership in organising a two-day conference to inspire and inform the lay people and clergy in their care. And it was a truly inspirational event.

Over 1,000 people packed the conference hall - all brimming with enthusiasm and energy, eager to absorb the facts, figures and messages from a range of Nigerian and overseas speakers.

It was an honour for SPUC to be invited for a second year running to send speakers to address a conference organised by Nigerian bishops.

In a press statement prior to the conference the bishops in Ibadan Province headed by His Grace the Most Reverend Gabriel Abegunrin, Archbishop of Ibadan, said: "Witnessing to the dignity of human life should include the defence of marriage between a man and a woman,the promotion of chastity,the campaign against abortion and all forms of artificial birth control, as well as the promotion of natural family planning methods while seeking to empower all Nigerians to live a more dignified life".

A high point of the two day conference was the March For Life along a main road through Ibadan. This was a wonderful public witness to life and gave everyone a strong sense of belonging to a growing and vibrant pro-life movement. Throughout the duration of the march people sang "Yes, yes to life: No, no to death"; a song specially written for the march.

The message, to which Antonia refers,  for the pro-life movement everywhere from the bishops of Ibadan, is so clear and uplifting, I reproduce it in full below. People in every part of the world need to be empowered to live dignified lives and we can learn so much from these leaders of the Catholic faithful in Nigeria. On behalf of SPUC, I thank them for their prophetic words.

For those of us not privileged to be present, Antonia tells me that this ten minute video captures the atmosphere of the conference and the march:



Ibadan Catholic Ecclesiastical Province: 13-15 April Press Conference given at the Catholic Chaplaincy of the University of Ibadan, Oyo State

TOPIC: Protecting Human Life and Family Values in the Rising Tide of the Culture of Death

This Pro Life and Pro Family Conference is a response by the Catholic Bishops and Church of Ibadan Ecclesiastical Province to the dire situation around us of increasing violation of the sanctity of human life at every stage and in every manner. It is also in alignment with the Holy Father, Pope Francis who has convoked a special Synod dedicated to the family which was held in October 2014 and another one to hold in October 2015 to reflect on the means of sustaining and supporting marriage family life. This Conference will bring together Pro-life and Family advocates and resource persons, leaders, stakeholders from Africa, Europe and America and the general public to reflect with our Church in the Province of Ibadan on the family as the foundation of the Culture of Life. It will also help to develop strategies for defending the sanctity and dignity of human life.

The present situation of continual bloodshed due to wanton killing, terrorism, inter ethnic conflicts, ritual killing, armed robbery, murders, traffic accidents and suicide in Nigeria seriously calls to question our identity as Africans and our civility as a nation. As the general elections continue in Nigeria we feel compelled to speak up for respect for human life and dignity and the recovery of family values among our peoples.

Therefore, the following are the insights and contents of our Pro-Life and Pro-Family Conference:

1. God is the giver of all human life and only He has the right to take it. Every conceived child is formed and perfected in the image and likeness of God. Human life therefore begins at the moment of conception, and must be protected until natural death. Nigerians love life, they welcome children as precious gifts, celebrate motherhood and uphold marriage as a union between man and woman. Every child deserves a home and the love and care of a father and a mother.

2. Witnessing to the dignity of human life should include the defense of marriage between a man and a woman, the promotion of chastity, the campaign against abortion and all forms of artificial birth control, as well as the promotion of natural family planning methods while seeking to empower all Nigerians to live a more dignified life.

3. The family is God’s precious gift to humanity which ought to be continually cherished. It is the bedrock and foundation of the development of a better society because it has the primary role of educating children which provides formation of character and ensures ethical living.

4. Only sacramental marriage between a man and a woman forms the foundation for the human family. Such a covenantal union is the true source for procreation offered to man by God. This Conference will attempt to show the lie of same-sex unions as a grossly disordered phenomenon which should never be given legal status in Nigeria. The adoption or promotion of same-sex unions undermines the right to life, right to freedom of conscience, religious liberty, respect for moral and cultural values, etc. It also harms the innocence of children, degrades marriage and family life and destabilizes society, now and in the future.

5. For us, to be Pro-Life is to be Pro-Christ, for Jesus came to give life and life to the full (Cf. John, 10:10). We are however thankful that other religions have a strong sense of the sanctity of human life as a gift of God as well. It is therefore imperative for the Catholic Church and all religious organizations in Nigeria to be more courageous and consistent in Pro-Life activities in favor of human life, marriage and the family as counter-cultural antidotes to contemporary secular humanism and other anti-life ideologies and practices. This call is urgent, as campaigns and lobbies against life, marriage and family in Nigeria have become more intense at both the Federal and State legislative levels.

6. Government must recognize and respect the primordial origin of the family and do its profound moral duty to protect the weakest and the most vulnerable human beings from all threats. Professionals and practitioners of media particularly have a special responsibility before God in this regard. The right to life - the most basic of all human rights - applies to all, regardless of race, colour, creed, sex, religion, state of physical health, age, stage of development or condition of dependency. Government policies and programmes therefore ought to reckon with and protectt this fact of our common humanity.

7. We condemn the relentless promotion by some international organizations of Western style “sexuality and reproductive rights”, a euphemism for abortion, artificial family planning and a culture of contraception, as deceptive and unacceptable. Accordingly, we ask that all legislations for abortion, which is the intentional killing of innocent babies in the womb, be denounced and abrogated. We remain resolved in our efforts to ensure that abortion is never legalized in our country. We also wish to alert our people to the surreptitious infiltration of our school curricula by lobbyists of these corrosive anti-life agenda of pervasive contraception abortion and even homosexuality generally for monetary gains.

8. The entire human person belongs to God. This means that neither the human person nor his body parts can be reduced to commodity for commercial purposes. Therefore, we strongly condemn human trafficking, the sex trade, human egg trafficking, embryo manipulations and organ poaching or harvesting.

Finally in the name of our merciful God we call for an end to all forms of terrorism, ritual and political killing. As Pope Saint John Paul II of blessed memory exhorted us, we urge every person of goodwill to continue courageously to witness to the dignity of every human life at every stage and age and to the indispensability of marriage and family life in Nigeria for the development and sanity of our country and the future of all our children.

Thank you all for listening

Most Reverend Gabriel Abegunrin, Archbishop of Ibadan
Most Reverend Ayomaria Atoyebi, Bishop of Ilorin
Most Reverend Emmanuel Badejo, Bishop of Oyo
Most Reverend Felix Ajakaye, Bishop of Ekiti
Most Reverend Jude Arogundade, Bishop of Ondo
Very Rev. Fr Michael Okodua, Vicar General of Osogbo Diocese

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It is not true that more people equals more pollution

Steve Mosher
" ... It is simply not true that more people equals more pollution ... " writes Steve Mosher and Anne Morse of the Population Research Institute (PRI) in a powerful, instructive, article A War on Maternity Waged in the Name of Mother Earth.

"We have twice as many people living in the United States as we did in the early seventies, yet the skies over our major cities are clearer now than they were a half century ago. This is because the internal combustion engines that power our motor vehicles are no longer spewing out thousands of tons of particulate matter, sulfur dioxide, and other pollutants into the atmosphere as we drive. And this in turn is because we made a conscious decision to switch to cleaner burning fuels and install catalytic converters downstream from our engines ...

" ... No one can guarantee that any given infant will grow up to be a good conservationist, any more than any one can guarantee that any given infant will grow up into a happy well-adjusted adult. Everyone ... enjoys free will ... "

Population Research Institute has one of the best-informed, best-referenced websites in the world. It covers a huge amount of what all of us need to know and fully to understand in our struggle against the culture of death.

As I write this blogpost PRI is hosting an "Earth is for People Day" event where people can ask the president of PRI questions about the environment and population. PRI is answering questions from 10 am to 4 pm EST on Earth Day (i.e. from 3 pm today). SPUC's Fiorella Nash is tuning in. .. You can access the event here: https://www.facebook.com/events/375309469320756/

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Tuesday, 21 April 2015

March for Life from conception - no exception!

Please read my article about why I support the March for Life in Birmingham next month. Come to the March for Life and build a strong, unequivocally pro-life/pro-family movement. And come to the March for Life to defend God!

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