Saturday, 24 April 2010

Resistance to anti-family sex education bears results

St George resisting evil
Our colleagues at LifeSiteNews.com report that the premier of the Canadian state of Ontario has put his administration's anti-family sex education curriculum on hold following protests from parents, pro-family groups and the state's Catholic bishops. Similar pressure resulted in the British government agreeing to drop similar plans from its Children, Schools and Families bill, albeit until after the general election. The call by Archbishop Terrence Prendergast of Ottawa for “a firestorm of response” to the curriculum couldn't be more in contrast with the shameful complicity of the Catholic Education Service (CES) of England and Wales with the British government's plans to corrupt our children, and Vincent Nichols' (archbishop of Westminster) support for those plans. When will Catholic parents in England and Wales be relieved of oppression by episcopal policy in this country?

More evidence of government-backed attempts to corrupt our children is reported in today's Daily Mail. Government-funded charity workers have been handing out condoms to children as young as eight playing in a park in Hull, east Yorkshire. Samanatha Fuller, the aunt of one eight year-old and mother of one 13 year-old offered the condoms, said:
"She's my daughter, she's not the Government's daughter, the council's daughter or the youth centre's daughter. They will not care about my daughter if anything happens, it's my responsibility."
Now and in the aftermath of the general election, parents up and down the country must show similar resistance to attempts to enshrine and extend such child abuse through legislation on sex education.

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Friday, 23 April 2010

Pope Benedict, not party leaders, protects children, born and unborn

Last night's debate between Gordon Brown, David Cameron and Nick Clegg demonstrated clearly their unanimity on abortion, embryo research, homosexuality and contraception (see pp.16-18 of the transcript). Britain is witnessing the fulfilment of the prophetic message of Humanae Vitae, Pope Paul VI's historic encyclical which celebrated its 40th anniversary last year. He warned about:
"public authorities who care little for the precepts of the moral law".
William L. Saunders Jnr, a distinguished US attorney and bioethicist, has written:
"Article 16 [of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights] declares: 'The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State.' Thus, article 16 recognizes the common sense fact, sometimes overlooked by governments and international organizations, that the family exists prior to the state, is the foundation of the state, and that the state is obligated to protect it."
For many years in Britain, our government has been pursuing a policy of providing access to abortion and birth control drugs and devices for children under the age of sixteen without parental knowledge or consent. The Children, Schools and Families bill threatened to entrench and extend this policy by forcing all state schools to provide sex education. That danger was only averted by the pressure put by pro-lifers and their allies on parliamentarians to drop the bill's offending clauses in the wash-up prior to parliament's dissolution for the general election.

Whichever party forms the next government, the defence of human life in parliament will rely on individual MPs voting pro-life and resisting pressure from party managers. Anyone concerned for the protection of human life should contact SPUC for information and resources to help them assess their local candidates. The unanimity of the three party leaders makes it all the more important that voters base their choice on how their local candidates promise to vote if elected to parliament.

On the issue of child sex abuse within the Catholic Church, the party leaders responded as follows:

David Cameron:
"I think the Catholic Church has got some very, very serious work to do to unearth and come to terms with some of the appalling things that have happened, and they need to do that."
Nick Clegg said:
"I do welcome the Pope's visit, but I hope by the time he does visit, there is a greater recognition that there has been terrible, terrible suffering, there have been abusive relationships which have left immeasurable scars on individual people's lives and we need a process of openness and then healing. You can't undo the tragedies of the past, but you can be open about them so people can start to move on."
Gordon Brown said:
"[T]he church has got to deal with these problems, and it's got to make sure that there is an open and clean confession about what has happened, and that we help those people who have been put into difficulty by this abuse."
None of the party leaders mentioned the incidence of child sex abuse outside the Catholic Church, and their comments all gave the impression that the Catholic Church hasn't responded to the problem of child sex abuse. Although the three party leaders all welcomed the Pope's forthcoming visit, their unfair and unbalanced criticism merely adds fuel to the anti-Benedict fire. Massimo Introvigne, an Italian sociologist of religion, in an excellent analysis of the issue, has asked:
"Why are old and very often well-known cases being exhumed in 2010 on a daily basis, always attacking the Pope?"
Dominic Lawson points to the answer in yesterday's Daily Mail. He quotes Professor Richard Dawkins, the anti-life atheist scientist, who wrote in his book "The God Delusion" (2006) that:
"[W]e live in a time of hysteria about paedophilia, a mob psychology that calls to mind the Salem witchhunts of 1692 ... The Roman Catholic Church has borne a heavy share of such retrospective opprobrium ... I dislike the Catholic Church, but I dislike unfairness even more. I can't help wondering whether this institution has been unfairly demonised over this issue, especially in Ireland and America."
Mr Lawson then points out how in recent months Prof. Dawkins has forgotten what he wrote and is now defaming Pope Benedict and the Catholic Church over the same issue.

As I blogged last month, it is clear that Pope Benedict is being defamed by opponents of the sanctity of human life and the dignity of the human person. It is therefore incumbent upon pro-lifers of all faiths and none to help defend the good name of Pope Benedict, one of the world's great pro-life leaders and the head of the world's largest pro-life organisation.

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Thursday, 22 April 2010

Catholic Education Service appoints anti-life and anti-family ex-MP as deputy director

The Catholic Education Service (CES), an agency of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales, has appointed Greg Pope (pictured), former Labour MP for Hyndburn, as its new deputy director. Mr Pope has a lengthy and strongly anti-life and anti-family parliamentary record - see below. According to a CES press release earlier this week:
"Greg [Pope] was appointed after a rigorous selection process and was the unanimous choice of the final interview panel, which was chaired by Bishop Malcolm McMahon, Chairman of CESEW."

"Oona Stannard, Chief Executive and Director of CESEW, welcomed the appointment, saying...'[It] will help us to continue to both promote and protect Catholic education...'"
Parents, clergy, teachers and other concerned citizens, both Catholic and non-Catholic, up and down the country have already been outraged by the CES's shameful complicity with the government and the pro-abortion lobby in spreading the culture of death through schools. The CES, along with the pro-abortion lobby, helped draft the government's guidance on sex education, which is a cornucopia of anti-life and anti-family ideas. The CES did everything it could to help the government mislead the public about the Children, Schools and Families bill. The bill, as passed by the House of Commons at third reading, was a vehicle to impose the teaching of abortion, contraception and homosexuality* on schools, including Catholic and other faith schools.

It is clear that the CES and its agenda has the full backing of Archbishop Vincent Nichols of Westminster. Archbishop Nichols has today expressed "deep shame" at the sexual abuse of children within the Catholic Church, apologising:
"to those who have suffered abuse, those who have felt ignored, disbelieved or betrayed".
That is all very well, but neither Archbishop Nichols, nor Bishop McMahon, nor Oona Stannard have apologised for exposing schoolchildren to abuse via government-led sex education. Nor have these Catholic leaders apologised to all those parents, clergy, teachers and other concerned citizens "who have felt ignored, disbelieved or betrayed" by them. The CES's appointment of Greg Pope is an grotesque adding of insult to injury. I pray that Pope Benedict and his supporters in the Curia will relieve the Catholics of this country from this oppression by the episcopal policy in England and Wales.

Greg Pope MP’s parliamentary record against life and family

Abortion
Greg Pope voted for amendments to lower the 24-week time-limit for abortions done on social grounds to 22 weeks or to 20 weeks but voted against amendments to lower the same limit to 16 weeks or to 12 weeks. (20 May 2008).

Abortion and contraception for school-age children
Greg Pope:
  • voted against a bill which would have required practitioners providing contraception or abortion services to a child under the age of 16 to inform his or her parent or guardian (14 Mar 2007).
  • signed a parliamentary motion praising a condom manufacturer for helping schools host “National Condom Week” (11 May 2004).
Abortion of disabled children
Greg Pope voted against an amendment which would have required doctors to provide pregnant mothers with certain information and an offer of counselling before any abortion of an unborn child on grounds of disability (20 May 2008).

Abortion groups
Greg Pope signed parliamentary motions praising the leading domestic and international pro-abortion organisations:
Abortion rights
Greg Pope signed parliamentary motions promoting:
According to the British government and to the US administration, these terms include a right to abortion on demand.

Contraception
Mr Pope signed parliamentary motions promoting:
Euthanasia
The Mental Capacity Bill (now Act) enshrined euthanasia by neglect into English statute law. Greg Pope:
Homosexual* activity
Greg Pope voted to:
He also signed parliamentary motions celebrating the decriminalisation of homosexuality in England (24 Jul 2007) and calling for the decriminalisation of homosexuality in Uganda (12 Nov 2010).

Homosexual* parenting
Greg Pope:
  • voted against amendments which sought to retain the requirement for doctors to consider the child’s need for a father (20 May 2008) or male role model (20 May 2008) before a woman is given fertility treatment.
  • voted against amendments restricting adoption to heterosexual couples (20 May 2002) and married couples (4 Nov 2002). He also signed a parliamentary motion in the same vein (24 Mar 2004).
Homosexual* propaganda
Greg Pope:
Homosexual* rights
Mr Pope signed parliamentary motions promoting homosexual rights generally and in other various ways (24 Mar 2004) (21 Feb 2005) (30 Mar 2006) (4 Jul 2006) (20 Nov 2006) (20 Mar 2007).

Homosexual* unions
Mr Pope signed parliamentary motions promoting homosexual unions (7 Sep 2004) (13 Oct 2004) (20 Jul 2005).

Marriage
Greg Pope voted against:
  • an amendment to reject plans for a no-fault divorce system in England and Wales (24 Apr 1996)
  • amendments to extend the cooling-off period for divorce from one year to 18 months or to two years (24 April 1996).
Mr Pope also signed a parliamentary motion arguing that “unmarried couples should receive the same benefits as married couples should one partner die”. (16 April 2002)

Parents’ rights
Greg Pope:
  • voted against a bill which would have required practitioners providing contraception or abortion services to a child under the age of 16 to inform his or her parent or guardian (14 Mar 2007)
  • voted for the Children, Schools and Families bill at second (11 Jan 2010) and third readings (23 Feb 2010), which would have restricted parents’ rights over their children’s education, especially regarding sexual matters.
Population control
Greg Pope signed parliamentary motions promoting population control (16 Dec 2002) (1 Jul 2004).

Transsexual* rights
Mr Pope signed a parliamentary motion “call[ing] on the Government to bring forward legislation to give transsexual people full rights and legal recognition” (27 Nov 2002).

Sex education
The Children, Schools and Families bill, as debated by the House of Commons, would have forced all state-funded schools (including faith schools) to provide sex and relationships education, based on anti-life/anti-family principles. Greg Pope voted for the bill at second (11 Jan 2010) and third readings (23 Feb 2010). He also signed a parliamentary motion in the same vein (21 Feb 2007).

* Pope John Paul II, the great pro-life champion, teaches in paragraph 97 of Evangelium Vitae 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.

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Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Archbishop Vincent Nichols goes along with prevailing ideas on sex and relationships education

On 4 April I gave my initial reaction to an interview on BBC WM (West Midlands) radio with Vincent Nichols, the Catholic archbishop of Westminster (pictured with Ed Balls, secretary of state for children, schools and families, and Oona Standard, head of the Catholic Education Service.) I offered up my Easter Triduum in reparation for his comments in that interview and said that I would write more fully about it. Here are my more detailed reflections on it.

Sex education

Archbishop Nichols said:
  • "[T]he [government's external steering] review [of sex education] is [sic] trying to set sex education much more in the context of relationships, therefore much more in a moral context...."
  • "We have secured the right that sex and relationships education in a Catholic school will be presented in a way that’s consistent with Catholic teaching."
Archbishop Nichols paints the government's intentions, the review and the Children, Schools and Families bill in an entirely positive light, when all those things enable the promotion and facilitation of abortion, contraception and homosexuality in schools, including Catholic schools. He seems not to have been correctly advised, or advised himself, that the government’s intentions were to impose an obligation on all schools to teach children that choices for abortion and contraception are reasonable choices, and to promote homosexuality as a normal, healthy life-style. The Gospel of Life requires bishops to teach that no one has a moral right to choose something which is morally wrong. Furthermore, Pope John Paul II, the great pro-life champion, teaches in paragraph 97 of Evangelium Vitae 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. The effect of the Archbishop’s positive assessment of the government’s intention where sex education is concerned is to assist and promote the government's anti-life/anti-family sex education agenda and seriously to undermine the culture of life.

Contraception

Archbishop Nichols said:
  • "[If] sex is not open to transmission of life ... then we run the risk of reducing it to an entertainment, or a past-time, or simply a pleasure. Now, I know that's a high ideal, and I know that that's sometimes hard to relate into the harsh circumstances of poverty, or, I think, the rather blind circumstances of hedonism and just the pursuit of pleasure..."
  • "I think when it comes to Third World poverty, and the great pressure into which many women are put by men, I can see the arguments why, in the short-term, means that give women protection are attractive.”
  • "The use of condoms doesn't lack for champions; there are plenty of champions around giving and distributing condoms. I don't think it's the Church's role simply to add its voice to that but rather, in contrast, to keep saying, 'If we solve the poverty then consistently we know the birth-rate comes down.'"
  • "They are the radical issues that we should be addressing and not short-term intrusive fixes."
Presenting the Church's teaching on contraception as a ‘high ideal’ is seriously inadequate and therefore seriously misleading. He is obligated, by his office, to affirm and promote the Church's teaching that contraception is not just a high ideal but something that is intrinsically wrong. I have blogged before about the importance of Humanae Vitae for the pro-life movement - and how another English bishop has questioned Humanae Vitae. (And I say here arises out of my experience as a pro-life activist as well as the teaching of the Catholic Church to which I belong.)

Moreover, artificial birth control methods (ABCMs) do not, in fact, protect women. On th contrary, they contribute to the sexual misuse of women by men. In 1968, Pope Paul VI predicted that that the use of ABCMs would reduce respect for women and contribute to a range of other social disasters (Humanae vitae n 17). The evidence suggests that his predictions have come to pass. From this we know that the misguided attempt to reduce poverty by contraception simply compounds a whole raft of other evils such that the state of that society is worse for the intervention.

It is beyond doubt that ABCMs have encouraged promiscuity, unwanted pregnancies, and abortions. Promiscuity is the key factor in spread of STIs.

The Church cannot embrace a policy which explicitly endorses a means (contraception) which is malum in se (i.e. evil in itself) and which implicitly endorses immoral and destructive sexual behaviours. Nor can she cooperate in the promotion of activities which put a person’s salvation at risk and contribute to an increase in serious social problems.

Even worse, while the use of condoms may slow down the rate of HIV transmission, they cannot eliminate it. It would be irresponsible for the Church to promote condom use knowing that the use of condoms in a regular sexual relationship between husband and wife where the husband has HIV will ultimately culminate in his wife receiving the virus.

Birth rates

Archbishop Nichols said:
“If we solve the poverty then consistently we know the birth-rate comes down.”
On the face of it, this is a true statement. Richer countries have lowered birth rates having first become rich aided by higher birth rates. Developing countries are being asked by rich countries to depopulate in order to prosper, the opposite of what they themselves did.

It is not clear that Archbishop Nichols supports decreasing birth rates as a good thing. We should assume he does not in light of the fact that Catholics in Britain and Ireland are only too aware of how the Scottish Highlands were depopulated in the mid-18th century and how Ireland was depopulated during the 19th century.

And the Archbishop would also have been aware that:
  • People in poor societies and developing countries have what seems in modern Western eyes to be large families, when in fact it is the historically small size of modern Western families which should be remarked upon. The trend in recent decades for Western couples to only have one or two children mirrors the decline of ancient Greece, as Plutarch, the Greek historian noted.
  • People in poor societies and developing countries choose to conceive children above replacement level (two children per woman of child-bearing age) for many good reasons:
  • natural conjugal and parental instincts
  • love of family
  • a desire to preserve and increase their native population
  • fidelity to religious precepts e.g. "Go forth and multiply and fill the face of the earth."
  • high child mortality rates
  • a need to provide security in old age
  • Birth-rates in developing countries are falling to dangerously low levels. As long ago as 2005, the United Nations Population Division (UNPD) reported that:
"In the least developed countries, fertility is 5 children per woman and is expected to drop by about half, to 2.57 children per woman by 2045-2050. In the rest of the developing world, fertility is already moderately low at 2.58 children per woman and is expected to decline further to 1.92 children per woman by mid-century."
  • In addition, the Population Research Institute (PRI) has reported that:
  • "The birth rate in developing countries like Mexico and India has plummeted to just over three children per couple today from about six in 1950." [26 Oct 2005];
  • "Mexico is committing suicide. Her birthrate is now below replacement level." [6 Oct 2006]
Homosexuality

(I emphasise again that my comments below, both as a Catholic and as a pro-lifer, are motivated and inspired by John Paul II’s words in Evangelium Vitae, paragraph 97 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.)

Archbishop Nichols said:
"[W]here government and Church part company is that government legislation identifies people by their sexual orientation ... Catholic moral teaching is not concerned with sexual orientation".
In the context the Archbishop is rightly rejecting the idea that a human being should be described, in a reductionist way, by same-sex attraction. Is a person who has same-sex attraction, but abstains from homosexual acts, a ‘homosexual’? The moral question concerns homosexual activity, not orientation. This does not mean the Catholic Church is unconcerned that some people are burdened with the temptations that come from a disordered inclination. In her pastoral concern for people the Catholic Church is always conscious of psychological factors affecting moral choice. So it is that the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches  that:
"Homosexual acts ... do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity" (n. 2357)
and that
the homosexual "inclination ... is objectively disordered" (n. 2358).

In 1986 the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith’s “Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on the pastoral care of homosexual persons" was approved by Pope John Paul II and published. The document teaches that:
  • "Although the particular inclination of the homosexual person is not a sin, it is a more or less strong tendency ordered toward an intrinsic moral evil; and thus the inclination itself must be seen as an objective disorder." [n 3]
  • "[I]ncreasing numbers of people today, even within the Church, are bringing enormous pressure to bear on the Church to accept the homosexual condition as though it were not disordered ... The Church's ministers must ensure that homosexual persons in their care will not be misled by this point of view, so profoundly opposed to the teaching of the Church." [n 8]
  • "[T]his Congregation wishes to ask the Bishops to be especially cautious of any programmes which may seek to pressure the Church to change her teaching, even while claiming not to do so. A careful examination of their public statements and the activities they promote reveals a studied ambiguity by which they attempt to mislead the pastors and the faithful. For example, they may present the teaching of the Magisterium, but only as if it were an optional source for the formation of one's conscience." [n 14]
Conclusion

The message from Archbishop Nichols is clear: yes, the Catholic Church teaches high ideals of sexual ethics, but in practice the Catholic bishops of England and Wales will go along with prevailing ideas in government and society which deviate from those ideals.

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Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Government sex ed guidance misleads on law and evidence

SPUC has responded to the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF)'s consultation on its draft guidance on sex and relationships education (SRE) in schools. Paul Tully, SPUC general secretary, told the media this afternoon:
“The draft guidance is in conflict with both the law and the evidence about sex education. It refers to abortion as if it was a right, but in fact it remains a criminal offence in English law.

“The guidance’s promotion of sexual health for children pays little or no regard to the legal age of consent to sexual intercourse. The guidance contradicts research evidence which it claims supports the proposed approach to sex and relationships education.

“The draft guidance ignores parents’ rights over education upheld in international law, and fails to support faith schools in their duty to protect their ethos.

“School governors, who are supposed to read this document, deserve better than this. They will have to wade through 60 pages of often poorly written, repetitive and, in some places, legally and factually erroneous material.”
The draft guidance is separate from the government’s Children, Schools and Families bill. The bill’s sex education clauses were dropped before parliament was dissolved for the general election. We are asking SPUC supporters to urge parliamentary candidates to oppose anti-life and anti-family sex education measures if they are re-introduced after the election.

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Monday, 19 April 2010

Irish women are under threat from Irish Labour leader's plan

Mr Eamon Gilmore, the leader of the Irish Labour Party, has announced his commitment to a fundamental review of the Irish Constitution. One of his major motivations for doing so is to reverse the protection currently afforded to women and their unborn children in the Irish Constitution, by its prohibition of abortion. Mr Gilmore has said that
“[t]here is much about it [the Irish Constitution] that has served us well, but it is a document written in the 1930s for the 1930s”.
and in the 1930s
“women were considered to be second-class citizens”.
Whatever the merits or otherwise of Mr Gilmore's historical analysis, what a sad irony it is that his proposals include going much further than turning a category of Irish people into second-class citizens in 2010. If Mr Gilmore is successful, unborn Irish children will be robbed completely of citizenship, having their most fundamental right, the right to be born, cruelly taken away from them.

Why does Mr Gilmore think that it is appropriate to deprive women of their rights before they are born? Why does Mr Gilmore think that it is beneficial for women to do something that kills their children and harms them too?

It is highly misleading for Mr Gimore to attempt to mask a pro-abortion agenda behind the veil of equality for women. Abortion kills unborn females and harms pregnant mothers.

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Lesbian parentage not in the best interests of children

The Daily Telegraph reports that a lesbian couple (pictured) from Brighton, England, are the first such couple to sign a British birth certificate as legal parents, under changes passed by Parliament in 2008. One of the women became pregnant via a sperm donor.

Making homosexual couples the legal parents of children is not in the best interests of children. It represents a move away from the natural procreation of children to the artificial reproduction of children. Children and child-bearing are thus being instrumentalised to suit certain lifestyles. Children are precious and the natural family provides the best protection for their lives and development. British society is heading down a path of social engineering at its peril.

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