Friday, 27 August 2010

Thank you Fr Euteneuer for your formidable pro-life leadership!

My thoughts and prayers are very much with Fr Thomas J Euteneuer (pictured) this evening, who stepped down today as president of Human Life International (HLI). Equally, I am praying for the board of directors of this magnificent organization, founded by Fr Paul Marx, which funds and carries out pro-life work in 105 countries worldwide. It is second to none in its international work in so many countries in defence of unborn children and in its vision of what's entailed in building a true culture of life.

My good friend Monsignor Ignacio Barreiro, director of HLI's Rome office, is taking the reins as acting president until a new appointment is made. This means that Human Life International will be in completely safe hands during its interregnum - demonstrating the strength and resourcefulness of this outstanding pro-life group.

In a moving message on HLI's website Fr Euteneuer writes:
" ... after traveling more than 1.1 million miles, authoring two books, visiting 58 countries and making thousands of public appearances, I am ready for a break! I intend to continue to do pro-life work wherever I may be called to serve, and my bishop agrees that this is a vital charism of my priestly life. A true pro-lifer is not oriented to a job so much as to the daily task of fighting the culture of death and building the culture of life! ... "
Thank you Fr Euteneuer for your formidable leadership in our historic struggle against, arguably, the greatest evil which has ever befallen humanity. As you take up your new mission, those you have inspired in so many other parts of the world will be continuing to develop the work you've done so much to establish on firm foundations.

You became universally known as the face of Human Life International. Your humility and courage in explaining the truth about the battle against abortion was, for me, beautifully expressed by 17-year old Catholic Miss Angela Rose after watching you debate with American talk show host, Sean Hannity (see below).
"This is what a priest should be like…humble, always ready to stand up for the faith and suffering humiliation all the while. We need more advocates like Father Euteneuer in the Church!" 



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The Telegraph has published a great leading article on why bishop-backed sex-ed is wrong

On Wednesday The Telegraph published an amazingly strong leading article on sex education. Here is a flavour of its line of argument:
"The last government spent £300 million on its Teenage Pregnancy Strategy, [yet the latest] data confirm[s] this country’s unassailable position as Europe’s trailblazer in sexual irresponsibility."

"This is a failure of policy on an epic scale, the result of a 13-year social experiment that has proved an unmitigated disaster. Labour ... channell[ed] all its energies and money into sex education programmes of dubious worth, while making contraception freely available – frequently without the knowledge of parents – to girls who were often under the age of consent. Ministers and officials reacted with horror to any suggestion that moral issues might come into play, while the notion of abstinence campaigns, widely deployed in the US, was greeted with contempt."

"There is strong evidence that the most effective method of reducing teenage pregnancies is not sex education, but the improvement of general education standards ... [P]arents must be part of the process, not kept in ignorance: evidence from America shows that their involvement helps to reduce teenage pregnancy rates."

"The Coalition has the opportunity to turn the tide ...[This] requires our political leaders not to shy away from taking a clear moral stand, and proclaiming the value and virtue of family life."
Yet, in the unlikely event that the Coalition does a volte-face from Labour's strategy, will such a change be supported by the Catholic bishops' conference of England and Wales? The Catholic Education Service (CES), an organ of the bishop's conference, welcomed and helped draft radical anti-life/anti-family sex and relationships guidance during the previous administration. Archbishop Vincent Nichols of Westminster has made clear his support for the prevailing ideology on sex and relationships education, and defended the CES's appointment of Greg Pope, a former Labour MP with a lengthy anti-life/anti-family record.

Daphne McLeod, who leads Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice, has told LifeSiteNews.com about conversations she has had with Archbishop Nichols regarding the bishops' conference ties with groups promoting a homosexual agenda.* According to LifeSiteNews.com, Miss McLeod said that he
"is no help at all ... [He] has said this to me,
‘We must have unity at all price. If I speak out against it, there’ll be disunity among the bishops, and we can’t have that’.”
That is a clear case, not just of episcopal cowardice, but also of episcopal complicity in the assault upon our families and our children.

*The late Pope John Paul II, the great pro-life champion, taught in paragraph 97 of his 1995 encyclical 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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Thursday, 26 August 2010

Labour MP plans renewed assault on our children - contact your MP now

Chris Bryant (pictured), a Labour MP, plans to introduce a ten-minute rule bill to make sex education compulsory in schools. The proposal will be debated on 8 September.

Compulsory sex-education is a key objective of the pro-abortion lobby – part of its ongoing campaign to use schools as a vehicle for promoting sexual health services – including abortion.  A similar proposal was of course defeated just before the election, when Ed Balls was forced to drop compulsory sex education clauses from the Children, Schools and Families bill.

As a ten-minute rule bill, Mr Bryant’s proposal has little or no chance of becoming law, but it is an important opportunity to establish the mood in the new parliament on the issue.  New rules on sex education could be part of a government bill later in the year.

It is critical to contact your MP and ask him/her to oppose the Bryant bill and any proposal for compulsory sex education. SPUC has produced a briefing on the Bryant bill and the issues it raises to help you in contacting your MP.  Paper copies of our Bryant Bill Briefing are also available from SPUC HQ by telephoning 020 7091 7091 or emailing political@spuc.org.uk

Click here to contact your MP online

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Wednesday, 25 August 2010

The rise in teenage abortions in Wales is tragic

SPUC has responded to new statistics which show that the proportion of recorded teenage pregnancies which end in registered abortions has risen.

Paul Tully, SPUC's general secretary, told Wales Online yesterday:
"The latest quarterly abortion figures for Wales show the highest ever proportion of babies concieved to women and girls under 18 have died by abortion. Almost half of all babies conceived to mothers in this age group are now being killed, and this proportion has increased substantially in the past 5 years.

"We are deeply concerned that this reflects the pressures that young mothers face. We urgently need a change of policy on the part of the government and the medical profession to support all expectant mothers and their babies - abortion kills babies and hurts women.

"These figures make a mockery of abortion law, which requires every abortion to be authorised by two doctors on medical grounds. In reality, there is no genuine medical indication in the vast majority of cases.

"The figures also challenge the idea that women are freely deciding to have abortions. Teenage girls have been targeted by pro-abortion policies in recent years. Teenage girls are under increasing pressure firstly to become sexually active despite lacking the usual support needed to bear a child, and secondly to undergo abortions rather than give birth. These young women and their babies have been the fodder of the Blair-era teenage pregnancy strategy, with its failed target to reduce under-18 pregnancies by 50% over the past ten years. Those who are socially disadvantaged are especially vulnerable to pressure to submit to abortion. Our experience suggests that many women undergo abortions reluctantly, and many deeply regret the loss of their baby - though not all can express their sorrow."
The data are processed and issued by the ONS, but the source of the data is not stated: we believe it is the Department of Health or the Teenage Pregnancy Unit. These bodies reflect and implement pro-abortion government policies relating to abortion, and data should be read in light of this.

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Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Birmingham Three guilty of "disobedience", says spokesman who said they were "entirely guiltless"

Jack Valero (pictured), spokesman for the Birmingham Oratory, and Ruth Dudley Edwards, the writer, debated the issue of the Birmingham Three on BBC Radio Ulster on Sunday - see my blog last Friday for the background to this. You can listen to the debate on the BBC website and read an uncorrected transcript of it on the SPUC website. Ruth Dudley Edwards has written about the debate on the Standpoint magazine website.

Mr Valero said that the "disciplinary matters" to which (he claims to have) referred previously regarding the Three were
"pride, anger, disobedience, disunity, nastiness, dissension, the breakdown of charity"
adding that
"Very serious things were going on in that house."
This is in contrast to Mr Valero's previous assertion that the Three were "entirely guiltless of any wrongdoing whatsover".

Mr Valero also said that the Three could not return to the Oratory "until they are healed". One assumes that, by "healed", Mr Valero means of their alleged sins of
"pride, anger, disobedience, disunity, nastiness, dissension, lack of charity".
Mr Valero added that the Three
"are going to come back at some point, we don’t know, it’s not going to be soon"
more likely after the Pope's beatification of Cardinal Newman in Birmingham on 19 September. This is in contrast to Mr Valero's previous claim made back in June that the Three
"can come back soon and continue as normal."
Yet Br Lewis Berry has not been returned to the Birmingham Oratory but sent thousands of miles away to South Africa for at least a year. The Three have already been sent away from the Oratory for over 100 days.

Interestingly, The Catholic Herald reported yesterday that:
"English Catholic officials are hoping that the Pope will not further inflame anti-Catholic sentiment by speaking out against gay marriage or adoption, or abortion and divorce."
As I wrote in June:
"Could it be that external forces who want a Catholic Church which is inclusive of the Blairs' anti-life, anti-family positions are bringing pressures to bear in this situation? How very convenient it would be, especially in the run-up to Pope Benedict's visit, if uncomfortable issues such as the teaching of the Church on contraception, abortion and on homosexuality were also safely hidden away?"
Could these be the same external forces who have yet to cut their ties with pro-homosexual "rights" campaigning Catholics and with public figures with lengthy anti-life/anti-family records? Also interestingly, Ruth Dudley Edwards writes that Mr Valero "reports to Archbishop Vincent Nichols's press secretary". Mr Valero is also the spokesman for the cause of beatification of Cardinal Newman.

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Monday, 23 August 2010

The bishops must defend life by cutting their ties with pro-homosexual "rights" campaigning Catholics

As I frequently mention, 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. In this connection, it's high time the Catholic bishops of England and Wales defended the culture of life by cutting their ties with pro-homosexual "rights" campaigning Catholics.

There were at least two articles in last weekend's mainstream press attacking the Catholic Church's opposition to homosexual* adoption - and both were by former official advisors to the Catholic bishops' conference of England and Wales.

The first article, in the pro-abortion Guardian, was written by Martin Pendergast, a former member of the bishops' social welfare committee. He was also a faith-advisory member of the government’s strongly pro-abortion Teenage Pregnancy Independent Advisory Group (TPIAG) for five years. Mr Pendergast is best known as a militant activist among Christians for so-called homosexual rights. He is the leading figure in the organisation of regular Masses in Westminster archdiocese for a group of homosexuals which dissents from the Church's teaching on homosexuality. Vincent Nichols, archbishop of Westminster, continues to allow priests to celebrate these Masses at a central diocesan church, despite the heartfelt and well-founded objections of faithful pro-life/pro-family Catholics to the situation. Mr Pendergast is the civil partner of Julian Filochowski, former head of CAFOD, the bishop's overseas aid agency, and a trustee of The Tablet , which remains on sale at Westminster cathedral and in Catholic churches throughout England and Wales despite its notorious dissent from Catholic pro-life/pro-family teaching. Bishop John Crowley, former bishop of Middlesbrough, attended a Mass in 2001 to celebrate 25 years of the Pendergast - Filochowski relationship.

The second article, in the pro-abortion Independent, was written by Paul Vallely, a director of The Tablet and an advisor to the bishops on prison welfare. Mr Vallely has also been active in CAFOD, as well as the Catholic Institute for International Relations (CIIR), now renamed Progressio (see my 2008 blog about Progressio's association with the pro-abortion cause.)

Both Pendergast and Vallely claim that Catholics do not have to follow the Church's teaching on homosexuality, which they label a third level (i.e. not infallible) teaching. William May, a leading American bioethicist, exploded that claim, writing:
"[The] magisterium has proposed, as a matter definitively to be held, that it is always gravely immoral intentionally to kill the innocent, to commit adultery (or fornication or sodomy), etc."
The relevant Vatican teaching documents (1975, 1986, 1995, 2003) make clear the Catholic Church's perennial teaching on the matter. Also this past weekend, Archbishop Alberto Suarez Inda of Morelia, Mexico, has taught the Church's objections to homosexual adoption.

So Archbishop Nichols and the bishops' conference of England and Wales needs to decide: Who are they in communion with  - Pope Benedict XVI and the archbishop of Morelia, or Pendergast, Vallely and The Tablet? It cannot be both. As our Lord said, a man cannot serve two masters; he will love the one and hate the other.

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