Saturday, 30 January 2010

Powerful sex education lobby hates us, says a Manchester parish priest

Fr Connolly (pictured), the parish priest of St. Kentigern's, Fallowfield, in Manchester, has posted a powerful homily on his website which he intends to deliver at Sunday Masses this weekend.

He says that the crowd in Nazareth hated Christ and: " ... they rose up in a foul rage and bundled him out and tried to throw him down a cliff. In other words - they hated him - our Saviour."

Referring, amongst other matters, to the Government's intention of making abortion and birth control drugs and devices even more accessible to schoolchildren through all state schools, including Catholic schools, he says:
"His Church is being treated like that now by those who hate us ...

" ... It is like saying to the MPs that the National Front should be allowed membership of their party. Religious faith is of no consequence. Our children will be forcibly indoctrinated by the false ideology of those who rule us. They say it will bring down teenage pregnancies. We have the highest in Europe seemingly. The reality is that 30 years of this kind of stuff in our High schools has not proven successful."
Too true Father.

And sadly, as I have mentioned frequently before, the Catholic Education Service in England and Wales (CESEW) has betrayed Catholics and non-Catholics alike by its giving general support to the British government’s legislative proposals to require all state schools to teach sex and relationships education throughout the school years (from ages five to 18). (N.B. The state schooling system in England and Wales includes the majority of Catholic schools.) The British government has stated clearly that its proposals have been drafted to entrench a form of sex education which promotes access to abortion and contraception in all state schools, including in Catholic schools.

Comments on this blog? Email them to johnsmeaton@spuc.org.uk
Sign up for alerts to new blog-posts and/or for SPUC's other email services
Follow SPUC on Twitter
Join SPUC's Facebook group
Please support SPUC. Please donate, join, and/or leave a legacy

Catholic bishops of England and Wales have been deceived says former headteacher

In an article in this weekend's Catholic Herald, Eric Hester challenges the Catholic Education Service to a public debate "to obtain from any Government Minister a statement that it is true that school governors can 'determine the content' of what is taught in sex education and can omit anything that they do not like."

Eric Hester was a headteacher of Catholic comprehensive and grammar schools for 24 years and has extensive experience of inspecting schools. He writes:
" ... I have been informed by one bishop that they were given assurances by the CES [Catholic Education Service] that governors would have complete control and that there would be no question of any teaching about civil partnerships or information given to pupils about how to obtain contraception and abortion without parental consent.

"It seems as if the bishops have relied entirely on the information of the CES and ignored other advice. They have been deceived ... "
Eric is right. I have frequently posted on the government's plans on sex education and on the Catholic Education Service's betrayal of Catholics and non-Catholics alike - which is why my wife and I will not be giving to the collection in Catholic churches tomorrow in their support. The government has, for example, accepted all the major recommendations of the 2007/2008 report by the Teenage Pregnancy Independent Advisory Group (TPIAG). The report's major recommendations include that:
"The Government's current review of SRE should ...

* ... [s]tate clearly that all schools including faith schools must teach all aspects of SRE within the context of relationships in an anti-discriminatory way; contraception, abortion and homosexuality are all legal in this country and therefore all children and young people should be able to learn the correct facts
* ... [m]ake explicit links to young people's advisory services and provision of contraception and sexual health services and demonstrate this by teaching young people how to access services".
Eric Hester's article continues:
" ... John Paul II put the rights of parents like this in his Charter of the Rights of the Family: 'Article 5 c. Parents have the right to ensure that their children are not compelled to attend classes which are not in agreement with their own moral and religious convictions. In particular, sex education is a basic right of parent and must always be carried out under their close supervision, whether at home or in educational centres chosen and controlled by them.'

"I publicly challenge the CES to obtain from any Government Minister a statement that it is true that school governors can "determine the content" of what is taught in sex education and can omit anything that they do not like. Everything the Government has said is to the contrary. Under the Freedom of Education Act I have obtained correspondence between the CES and the Government, where the CES asks for that very assurance and is not given it.

"So does the CES claim that it has been given private assurances that all will be well? That was exactly the argument used about gay adoptions, where the Government broke any promises given and which has resulted in the ending of Catholic adoption in England as we used to know it. I further challenge the CES to debate sex education with me, or a better speaker, on behalf of Catholic teaching at a public meeting."
I join Eric Hester in that challenge.

Comments on this blog? Email them to johnsmeaton@spuc.org.uk
Sign up for alerts to new blog-posts and/or for SPUC's other email services
Follow SPUC on Twitter
Join SPUC's Facebook group
Please support SPUC. Please donate, join, and/or leave a legacy

Friday, 29 January 2010

My wife and I will not be donating to the Catholic Education Service this weekend

In many parts of England and Wales this weekend there will be a special collection for the Catholic Education Service (CESEW). (Pictured right are Ms Oonagh Stannard, the chief executive and director of the CESEW with Mr Ed Balls MP, Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families.) My wife and I will not be giving a donation - and this is why:

The CESEW welcomes into Catholic schools Connexions, a British government agency. Connexions’ staff are trained* to tell children that they have a right of access to abortion and contraception without parental knowledge or consent. SPUC has evidence of Connexions’ staff giving children such information in Catholic schools. In addition, the Connexions website includes pages promoting abortion and contraception to children.

(2) CESEW is giving general support to the British government’s legislative proposals to require all state schools to teach sex and relationships education throughout the school years (from ages five to 18). (N.B. The state schooling system in England and Wales includes the majority of Catholic schools.) The British government has stated clearly that its proposals have been drafted to entrench a form of sex education which promotes access to abortion and contraception in all state schools, including in Catholic schools.

CESEW has defended itself on these matters. CESEW’s defence, however:
• fails to present Catholic teaching on sex education
• is at variance with Catholic teaching on sex education
• provides no credible evidence for its claim that, under the government's proposals, Catholic schools will be able to uphold Catholic teaching on sexual ethics
• leaves pupils in non-Catholic schools (which are attended by many Catholics) at the mercy of the full force of government-specified pro-abortion sex education
• endorses the presence of on-site sexual health clinics at schools, including in Catholic schools.

*Connexions, “Young people and sexual health – A Reader for those participating in the Connexions’ training programme”, Crown Copyright 2003.


Comments on this blog? Email them to johnsmeaton@spuc.org.uk
Sign up for alerts to new blog-posts and/or for SPUC's other email services
Follow SPUC on Twitter
Join SPUC's Facebook group
Please support SPUC. Please donate, join, and/or leave a legacy

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Legal protection against assisted suicide must remain says RADAR

I am delighted to see that RADAR, (chaired by Baroness Campbell of Surbiton [pictured]) has responded to the Gilderdale case on which I blogged yesterday. On Monday Kay Gilderdale was acquitted of attempted murder after admitting to assisting her 31 year old daughter’s suicide. Lynn was diagnosed with chronic fatigue disorder at 14 and said that she decided she wanted to die after being ill for many years. RADAR is a charity ran by disabled people and the UK’s largest disability campaigning network.

Their press release can be found on their website, but I reproduce here in full:
Amidst the clamour for the laws on assisted suicide to be changed following the case of Lynn Gilderdale, RADAR wishes to state its commitment to the principle that those who have a hand in the death of another person, regardless of that person’s disability or the stated motivation of the perpetrator, should have to answer for their actions before a court of law.

This provides a vital safeguard for thousands of the most vulnerable people in our country, and creating a group of people for whom this safeguard does not exist is both dangerous and discriminatory.

This danger is further illustrated by the case of Tom Inglis. His mother Frances, in spite of medical opinion and acting on her own convictions that he was suffering and that it was what he would have wanted, decided to kill her brain-damaged son.

What if it was not what he wanted, at that time? What right did Frances Inglis have to make that decision for him? Tom’s disability does not give another person, even his mother, the right to take his life based on their own judgements. Tom has the same rights to legal protection and justice as anyone else, and the prospect of setting out circumstances in which people whose lives are deemed by others to be intolerable can be stripped of those rights is chilling beyond measure.

Commenting in the wake of the Gilderdale judgement Caroline Ellis, RADAR’s Joint Deputy Chief Executive whose teenage son has Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), the same condition as Lynn Gilderdale, said:

“I condemn those who would try to use this case as ammunition for their fight to legalise assisted dying for people who are terminally ill or severely disabled or introduce a so-called ‘mercy killing’ defence. Singling out individuals for legalised killing based on their medical condition or prognosis would be discriminatory and repugnant – we must maintain current legal protections.”

“The real outrage is that people with CFS and their families are literally left to get on with it, with most not getting effective treatment or support. I am staggered at the lack of specialist resources available.”

“I have no way of knowing how severely CFS will affect my own child in the future but I know this: I never want him to feel like society is giving up on him, I want him and everyone else living with illness and impairment and their families to be supported to live [author’s emphasis], with access to the best possible care and support, free at the point of use. The idea that the law could be relaxed in future to encourage people to give up sends chills down my spine.”
Comments on this blog? Email them to johnsmeaton@spuc.org.uk
Sign up for alerts to new blog-posts and/or for SPUC's other email services
Follow SPUC on Twitter
Join SPUC's Facebook group
Please support SPUC. Please donate, join, and/or leave a legacy

Civil partnerships have same value as marriage says David Cameron

According to the Daily Telegraph this morning, David Cameron (pictured), the leader of the Conservative party has said regarding sex education for schoolchildren:
“Should we teach them about civil partnerships being a way of same-sex couples showing commitment just as married couples show commitment? Yes we should.”
He apparently made it clear at a Cameron Direct meeting that this should be embedded "in the ethos of our education".

Last week I reported that Ed Balls, the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families, agrees with Nick Clegg, the leader of the Liberal Democrats, that faith schools must teach that homosexuality is normal and harmless.

It appears, then, that the three major party leaders are in step with each other on this issue. All of this, of course, is in the context of the Government's Children, Schools and Families bill currently being considered by the Public Bill Committee in Parliament. This bill would make sex education compulsory in all state schools, including faith schools, from ages 5-16.

The first consequence of this rare agreement between party leaders is that concerned citizens must ensure that they don't vote along party political lines, but reflect on the voting intentions and voting record of individual parliamentary candidates.

It's important to remember, as the general election approaches, that David Cameron is on record as backing wider access to abortion and that all three party leaders voted in support of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act, a law designed to kill countless human beings who are deliberately created never to be born.

The second consequence of the major party leaders' consensus on civil partnerships is that concerned citizens should make it clear that they refuse to allow their children to be taught in such a way at any stage in their education. As Catholics and pro-lifers, my wife and I have always taken this stand. We must never forget in this connection the teaching of Pope John Paul II in Evangelium Vitae, paragraph 97. He said 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.

We must begin to organize more effectively to resist, peacefully and firmly, the State's attacks on the moral welfare of our children. In addition, Catholic parents and young people must also resist, peacefully and firmly, Catholic episcopal policy in England and Wales (on the government's sex education plans), which is contrary to Catholic teaching, undermines the culture of life, and betrays our children and unborn children by delivering them to the abortionists.


Comments on this blog? Email them to johnsmeaton@spuc.org.uk
Sign up for alerts to new blog-posts and/or for SPUC's other email services
Follow SPUC on Twitter
Join SPUC's Facebook group
Please support SPUC. Please donate, join, and/or leave a legacy

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Assisted suicide case shows pitfalls of pseudo-compassion

This morning SPUC issued a statement expressing concern at the outcome of the case of Lynn Gilderdale whose mother was acquitted of helping to kill her. ( Lynn was diagnosed with chronic fatigue disorder at 14 and said that she decided she wanted to die after being ill for many years.)

I commented:
"The jury's verdict and the judge's comments appear to have disturbing implications for vulnerable, disabled and seriously ill people. Laws against assisted suicide are actually there to protect such vulnerable people. We shall be studying this sad and worrying case carefully with a view to doing all in our power to step up our educational and political campaign on the need to explain and maintain the current legislation in this area.”
Mrs Kay Gilderdale was acquitted of the charge of attempted murder after admitting to assisting her 31 year old daughter’s suicide “by giving her sleeping pills, antidepressants and injecting air into her veins … after her daughter [Lynn] had injected herself with morphine”.

The media treatment of this story has been dominated by anti-life propaganda. For example, The Daily Telegraph, in nearly three pages of coverage sympathetic to Kay Gilderdale – pages one, two and three – devoted 30 words to presenting a pro-life perspective.

Media hero of the day is High Court Judge, Mr Justice Bean, who criticised the prosecution for pursuing the charge of attempted murder and who paid tribute to the jury’s “common sense, decency and humanity” for acquitting Kay Gilderdale of attempted murder of her daughter.

This case highlights the pitfalls of “pseudo-compassion”, the theme of a timely article entitled “The Pitfalls of Compassion” published this week by Monsignor Michael Schooyans, Professor Emeritus at the University of Louvain.

Monsignor Schooyans explains that compassion has traditionally been understood as an expression of human solidarity in suffering. To be compassionate has been thought to show understanding, to sympathize or to comfort. However, “in cases of abortion, euthanasia and assisted suicide which appear in the news, compassion is frequently invoked to 'justify the act'". As killing somebody is not self-evidently compassionate, in the same way that comforting them is, compassionate intentions have to be presented as the justification for killing.

The Gilderdale case is an example of “compassion” being used as a justification for killing, rather than the expression of care towards another. Schooyans explains that coupled with judgments on the quality of life of human beings, this pseudo-compassion becomes the vehicle by which the most vulnerable in society are disposed of. Schooyans uses the example of an unborn child with disabilities to explain how people can be “ethically” exterminated. By claiming that the only way to help such children is by terminating their lives, society has created a moral principle whereby a child will be killed out of compassion. Likewise with Lynn Gilderdale the jury considered it justified for her mother to kill her on the “compassionate” grounds that it was the best way to relieve her daughter of her suffering.

Monsignor Schooyans explains that this brand of ethics goes on to impose its framework upon society. In the case of abortion it is claimed that it is contrary to compassion to impose the “insupportable ‘burden’” of pregnancy upon women. The act of abortion then is justified by its ‘compassion’ toward both mother and child and those who object to such an action thereby become opponents of “compassion”.

Schooyans explains, compassion has been further “manipulated” as a tool of congratulation. This is seen in the demand by society to sympathise with and applaud those doctors who
“‘for the good’ of the child or its mother take the ‘courageous’ decision to go ahead with an abortion”.
Such congratulation for what Schooyans dubs as “bogus compassion” has terrifying consequences. Schooyans cites the 1962 case in Belgium where a woman who murdered her child who had been born with “serious malformations” due to her having taken thalidomide, was acquitted by the Belgian court to “hearty applause from the public.”

The same “bogus compassion” is at operation and imposes its framework in the Gilderdale case. A false understanding of the notion of compassion has led a mother to kill her daughter, believing that it was the compassionate thing to do. This "compassion" has been manipulated by the judge as a tool of congratulation in his remarks to the jury - with the clear implication that those who might oppose the jury's decision are the opponents of compassion.

We must stand firm for true compassion. Last week Margo MacDonald launched her End of Life Assistance (Scotland) Bill in the Scottish Parliament. Alison Davis of No Less Human, a division of SPUC, who lives with severe spina bifida and other debilitating conditions that have brought her to the brink of suicide in the past, told the Scottish media:
"Sometimes what desperate people, disabled or not, need is to be given hope. What they definitely don't need is to be told they are right to feel so unhappy and that they would be better off dead. This is simply the moral equivalent of the practical example of seeing a person about to jump off a high bridge and giving them a push."

Comments on this blog? Email them to johnsmeaton@spuc.org.uk
Sign up for alerts to new blog-posts and/or for SPUC's other email services
Follow SPUC on Twitter
Join SPUC's Facebook group
Please support SPUC. Please donate, join, and/or leave a legacy

Sunday, 24 January 2010

Faith schools must teach homosexuality* is normal and harmless, Telegraph reports


I hope the interview with Ed Balls (pictured), the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families, in yesterday's Telegraph, will persuade Catholic church leaders in England and Wales that they are wrong about British government policy on sex and relationships education policy.

The Telegraph interview says:
" ... Does he agree with Nick Clegg that faith schools should be forced to teach that homosexuality is normal and harmless? The answer is yes. 'If their faith has a view in scripture, they can inform pupils of that. What they must not do is teach discrimination. They must be absolutely clear about the importance of civil partnerships [and that] bullying of homosexuals is wrong ... '".
Now Archbishop Nichols reportedly says that British government policy means that Catholic schools have "retained their rights through the governing body that their sex and relationships education is delivered according to Catholic ethos and teaching".

So does that mean, in the light of Ed Balls's reported statement above, that Catholic schools can teach paragraphs 2357 - 2359 of Catechism the Catholic Church?  These state:
2357 Homosexuality refers to relations between men or between women who experience an exclusive or predominant sexual attraction toward persons of the same sex. It has taken a great variety of forms through the centuries and in different cultures. Its psychological genesis remains largely unexplained. Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity,140 tradition has always declared that "homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered."141 They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.

2358 The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God's will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord's Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition.

2359 Homosexual persons are called to chastity. By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection.
And when teaching children about "the importance of civil partnerships", is it the British Government's policy that Catholic church schools can do so in accordance with Catholic teaching on the subject which has been so well explained by Fr Boyle in his blog, Caritas in Veritate?

I am afraid it does not mean that. As I have mentioned before the government has accepted all the major recommendations of the 2007/2008 report by the Teenage Pregnancy Independent Advisory Group (TPIAG). The report's major recommendations include that:
"The Government's current review of SRE should ...
  • ... [s]tate clearly that all schools including faith schools must teach all aspects of SRE within the context of relationships in an anti-discriminatory way; contraception, abortion and homosexuality are all legal in this country and therefore all children and young people should be able to learn the correct facts
  • ... [m]ake explicit links to young people's advisory services and provision of contraception and sexual health services and demonstrate this by teaching young people how to access services"
How tragic that the TPIAG says in its latest report that:
"TPIAG commends the Government for its decision to make PSHE education, including SRE, statutory at all key stages .... We are very pleased that Church of England and Catholic Church are also supporting this move." [my emphasis]
Please pray that church leaders in England and Wales reverse their position.  As I said yesterday, they risk throwing our children to the wolves.  A tragic error was made by Catholic church leaders and other Christian leaders in the 1960s in failing to organize a great campaign amongst Christians to oppose the passage of the Abortion Act 1967 which has now cost over 7 million unborn lives and the welfare of countless mothers.  There's a risk of a worse error being made  by the Catholic church and Anglican authorities this year - in  effectively seeking to undermine the pro-life campaign on the Children Schools and Families bill by giving general support to Government policy on sex and relationships education.  This policy is clearly designed, as the TPIAG makes clear above, to promote access to secret abortions through the state school system, including faith schools.

*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.

Comments on this blog? Email them to johnsmeaton@spuc.org.uk
Sign up for alerts to new blog-posts and/or for SPUC's other email services
Follow SPUC on Twitter
Join SPUC's Facebook group
Please support SPUC. Please donate, join, and/or leave a legacy