Saturday, 7 March 2009

The compassion and courage of Brazilian archbishop in nine-year old's abortion case

You may have read reports that Archbishop José Cardoso Sobrinho of Olinda and Recife (pictured) excommunicated the mother and doctors of a nine year old girl who had an abortion when it was found she was expecting twins. According to reports the little girl had been raped by her stepfather.

Meanwhile, the Brazilian President, President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, has said "As a Christian and a Catholic I deeply regret that a bishop of the Catholic Church has such a conservative attitude."

The archbishop, of course, carried out no excommunications. What he did was to announce publicly that all those involved in the abortion have incurred in excommunication latae sententiae (automatically) "except for the little girl, who is not morally responsible for this tragic act.”

According to CNA, he said:
“All those who approved, promoted and performed the abortion, incurred automatic excommunication, according to code 1398 of the Canon Law.

“The Church usually does not announce or publicly that that is the case, but it was important for me to do it on this occasion.

“My hope is that those affected by the excommunication they brought upon themselves may change their hearts and may not wait until the proximity of death to repent.”

In other words, the archbishop's announcement is motivated by his compassion for all those involved. As a good pastor of the Church to which those involved in the abortion belong, he wants them to realise the gravity of the action they have committed and to be reconciled to God.

Thank God for Archbishop José Cardoso Sobrinho of Recife. It took enormous courage for the archbishop to make this announcement, knowing the fury that would be aroused by the media who appear to have misreported what he said worldwide. When church leaders act with such courage, countless vulnerable innocent unborn children and their young teenage mothers elsewhere in Brazil and elsewhere in the world are protected. The work of pro-life movements is also strengthened. It's also good news that the Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, one of the Vatican's most senior officials, has backed the archbishop.

Of course it's hard to imagine a more tragic and difficult situation demanding medical attention and skill of the highest order to safeguard the lives of the three children involved - a nine year old girl and her two unborn children. Now that the abortion has taken place, I hope that those, like President Lula of Brazil, who have attacked the archbishop, will continue to take an interest in the welfare of a little girl who has suffered not only the violence of rape but also the violence of abortion, which carries the risk of long-term harm including a seriously increased risk of suicide.

Thursday, 5 March 2009

Blairs attack papal teaching on culture of life

This week Tony and Cherie Blair have launched a high profile attack on two fundamental aspects of papal teaching on building a culture of life.

In an interview in the Church of England newspaper, Tony Blair, received into the Catholic Church in December 2007, underlines his continued belief in "gay rights".

And Cherie Blair, a fellow Catholic, filmed in the final part of the Channel 4 series "Christianity", said: "I'm a feminist… how could I have done all the things I have done if I hadn't used contraception?" - an attack on Humanae Vitae, Pope Paul VI's encyclical on the regulation of birth, recently praised in the highest terms by Pope Benedict as "guiding us along the path to the future".

According to the Christian Institute: "During Mr Blair’s premiership a raft of gay rights legislation was brought in" ensuring the promotion of homosexuality in schools and elsewhere, legalizing joint adoption by homosexual couples, giving legal recognition to homosexual relationships with the Civil Partnership Act 2004 which "extended all the legal rights and privileges of marriage to homosexual couples".

In Evangelium Vitae paragraph 97, Pope John Paul II taught that it is an illusion to think that we can build a true culture of human life if we do not offer adolescents and young adults an authentic education in sexuality, and in love, and the whole of life according to their true meaning and in their close interconnection.

And Pope Benedict made a similar point in his address to members of the Roman Curia last Christmas when he said:

"Since faith in the Creator is an essential part of the Christian creed, the Church cannot and must not limit herself to passing on to the faithful the message of salvation alone. She has a responsibility towards creation, and must also publicly assert this responsibility. In so doing, she must not only defend earth, water and air as gifts of creation belonging to all. She must also protect man from self-destruction. What is needed is something like a human ecology, correctly understood.

"If the Church speaks of the nature of the human being as man and woman, and demands that this order of creation be respected, this is not some antiquated metaphysics. What is involved here is faith in the Creator and a readiness to listen to the “language” of creation. To disregard this would be the self-destruction of man himself, and hence the destruction of God’s own work."

During this speech, Pope Benedict refers to Pope Paul VI's encyclical Humanae Vitae as a guide to the future. He says:

"An integral part of the Church proclamation must be a witness to the Creator Spirit present in nature as a whole, and, in a special way, in the human person, created in God’s image.

"From this perspective, we should go back to the Encyclical Humanae Vitae: the intention of Pope Paul VI was to defend love against sex as a consumer good, the future against the exclusive claims of the present, and human nature against its manipulation."

And Pope Benedict’s address on 10th May last year, also underlined the unchanging teaching of the Church on birth control. He writes:
“What was true yesterday is true also today. The truth expressed in Humanae Vitae does not change; on the contrary, precisely in the light of the new scientific discoveries, its teaching becomes more timely and elicits reflection on the intrinsic value it possesses.”
I have blogged before on how the prophetic teaching in Humanae Vitae has been fulfilled in the culture of death - in British laws and British government policies at home and overseas. The objective data is convincing to people of all faiths and none.

Tony Blair, who has refused to repudiate the anti-life laws and policies he steadfastly pursued throughout his political career, was received into the Catholic Church in December 2007. Cherie Blair, also a Catholic, endorses the work of CEDAW committee (as well as other radical pro-abortion groups) - and specifically its work on "reproductive rights". The CEDAW committee is notorious among pro-lifers for using the CEDAW convention to bully countries into allowing abortion, even though the convention doesn't mention abortion.

I hope and pray, for the sake of the millions of babies and other vulnerable human beings who have been killed, and mothers and families injured, as a result of these laws and policies, and for the sake of countless young people whose health and happiness are being destroyed, as a result of these laws and policies, that there will be a spirited response on the part of leading Catholic and pastors to the Blairs' attack on papal teaching on these fundamental issues. Catholics in public life cannot be allowed continually to undermine the faith to which they belong, especially on matters relating to the sanctity of human life.

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Barack Obama and US court battle over live baby thrown away after botched abortion

"The only thing more sickening than this story is the knowledge that President Obama fought to protect this sort of thing in Illinois" is the comment from the Republican National Conservative Caucus on their newly-launched website.

The story in question concerns a teenage mother, Sycloria Williams, who was reportedly 23 weeks pregnant when she made up her mind to have an abortion.

According to Associated Press, it is alleged that Sycloria gave birth to a live baby after a botched abortion procedure and that Belkiz Gonzalez, the abortion clinic owner, "threw the infant away".

"The teenage mother, Sycloria Williams, has filed a lawsuit alleging that Gonzalez knocked the infant off the chair where she had given birth, and then scooped the baby, placenta and afterbirth into a red plastic biohazard bag, and threw it out" the Associated Press reports.

Whatever the outcome of this court battle may be, just how sobering is it that the "free world" is now led by Barack Obama, a man who voted four times against legislation in the Illinois State Senate that would have provided care and protection for babies who are born alive after an abortion?

In no sense could the survival of a child after an abortion be considered a threat to his or her mother yet President Obama believed helping such a baby to live would undermine the legal right to abortion. Explaining his opposition to the Illinois Born Alive Infant Protection Act he said:
"...whenever we define a pre-viable fetus as a person that is protected by the equal protection clause or the other elements in the Constitution, what we're really saying is, in fact, that they are persons that are entitled to the kinds of protections that would be provided to a – child, a 9-month-old – child that was delivered to term. …

"I mean, it – it would essentially bar abortions, because the equal protection clause does not allow somebody to kill a child, and if this is a child, then this would be an anti-abortion statute..."
Try reading and re-reading the above two paragraphs and reflect for a while that the man whose mind put those words together is now the world's most powerful political leader.

Tuesday, 3 March 2009

SPUC's 2009 national conference

SPUC's national conference will be held this year from 4 to 6 September at the Hayes Conference Centre, Swanwick, Alfreton, Derbyshire.

We are delighted to announce that Mr Bobby Schindler (brother of Mrs Terri Schiavo, right) will be speaking about his sister at the conference. Since his sister’s death, Bobby has campaigned to increase awareness to the fact that 'quality of life' has absolutely nothing to do with the 'value of life,' and that loving care, nutrition, and hydration are indeed the most basic of human needs that must be provided for all of us until the very moment of our natural death. Bobby believes that the lessons to be learned from the medical, judicial, and regulatory and criminal law-enforcement problems related to Terri Schiavo's death in America ‘by judicial fiat’ should not and must not go unheeded.

Another American, Arnold Culbreath, a director of the US Life Issues Institute, will be speaking on the dangers of the Obama presidency and what pro-life groups in the United States are doing in response to the threat it poses to unborn children and their mothers. The Reverend Arnold M Culbreath is urban outreach director of Life Issues Institute, based in Cincinnati, Ohio. Rev Culbreath, a Baptist, runs Protecting Black Life which takes the pro-life message to the black community. An architectural engineer and theology graduate, he produces educational literature for black people, speaks at gatherings, runs educational booths at events, and organises educational groups and events. Rev Culbreath also works with pastors and community leaders to create strategies to reduce and eventually stop abortion.

Contact me at johnsmeaton@spuc.org.uk if you would like information about booking a place for SPUC's national conference.

Monday, 2 March 2009

The right-to-choose state and the Catholic Church

This story from the Catholic News Agency is so important I'm urging you to read it in full. It's good that Joseph Naumann (pictured), the archbishop of Kansas City, has spoken out so clearly, asking Kathleen Sebelius to refrain from receiving Communion until she makes a worthy confession and publicly repudiates her stand on abortion. (You will recall in this connection my previous posts about Tony Blair, the former British prime minister. Since being received into the Catholic Church, he has refused to repudiate the anti-life laws and policies he steadfastly pursued throughout his political career.)

Speaking as a Catholic, I feel that there is a very real danger for the church if it were to allow pro-abortion Catholics in public life to go unchallenged. Such inaction would imply that opposition to legalised abortion and other anti-life legislation is not terribly important, and that it's more important for the church to be, as it were, a respectable part of the "right to choose" state - expressing opposition to abortion, certainly, but not in such a way as to upset the apple cart. In this way the church's teaching, as expressed by Pope John Paul II in Evangelium Vitae (73) below, would become obscured:

"Abortion and euthanasia are thus crimes which no human law can claim to legitimize ... there is a grave obligation to oppose them by conscientious objection ... In the case of an intrinsically unjust law, such as a law permitting abortion or euthanasia, it is therefore never licit to obey it, or to 'take part in a propaganda campaign in favour of such a law, or vote for it."

Sunday, 1 March 2009

Why Comic Relief should be boycotted

Comic Relief gives massive financial support to groups which promote the legalization of abortion in Africa and worldwide.

Oxfam, according to Comic Relief's latest list (2005/2006) of International Grant Approvals, received £1,000,000. It has a long history of support for abortion, as SPUC's charity bulletin shows, and openly promotes the legalization of abortion in a number of documents on its website.

The African Women's Development fund (AWDF), according to Comic Relief, received £1,560,000. The AWDF charter of feminist principles proclaims its commitment to "Freedom of choice and autonomy regarding bodily integrity issues, including reproductive rights, abortion, sexual identity and sexual orientation".

In December 2000 Comic Relief asserted that they did “not fund, and have never funded, abortion services or the promotion of abortions” (assurance given to the Catholic bishops of England and Wales). However, their own accounts show that they have funded abortion providers and that they continue to fund leading abortion promoters. For further details on the former, see SPUC's Charity Bulletin.

"Only a small percentage of Red Nose Day goes towards abortions", it may be argued, but this argument holds no water. Supposing, in the 1940s, only a small percentage of a charity's funds went towards the killing of Jews and ethnic minorities in concentration camps, would it be OK for people to give to that charity? There is only one answer to that question. And there is only one response to Red Nose Day. Abortion hurts women and kills unborn children and Red Nose Day funds organizations which promote it. Boycott it.