Saturday, 4 September 2010

Jack Valero uses Blair-style tactics on Birmingham Oratory crisis

I published a post earlier this week about The Journey, Tony Blair's memoirs, in which Blair admitted to:
"'bending and distorting' the truth as prime minister, but says a degree of manipulation and distortion are necessary to govern, and voters accept that. 'Politicians are obliged from time to time to conceal the full truth, to bend it and even distort it, where the interests of the bigger strategic goal demand it be done. Without operating with some subtlety at this level, the job would be well-nigh impossible.'"
Reading last week's Catholic Herald this morning I was struck by the mastery shown by Jack Valero (pictured), the spokesman for the Birmingham Oratory, of these Blair-style tactics in his article "The Birmingham Three protests harm the Church". Visitors will know that I have blogged a number of times about the Birmingham Oratory crisis caused by the sudden expulsion of three Oratorians from the Birmingham Oratory on the Catholic feast day of Our Lady of Fatima (May 13) this year.

Jack Valero says that the Birmingham Three campaign:
"has morphed into an attempt to drive a wedge between the so-called 'liberal' hierarchy and the 'orthodox' Oratorians by those who criticise the bishops for being too 'liberal'. As an orthodox Catholic I deplore this myth ... "
As a Catholic loyal to the magisterium of the Catholic church I deplore Jack Valero's shameful misrepresentation.

Catholic families in England and Wales are living under the yoke of a liberal hierarchy which pursues policies which are seriously harmful to the common good of Catholic families and non-Catholic families alike, for example:
  • helping the government to promote abortion amongst schoolchildren under the age of consent, without parental knowledge or consent, 
  • the openness of Bishop Malcolm McMahon, the current Catholic Education Service chairman, to headteachers being in same-sex unions* 
  • Archbishop Vincent Nichols of Westminster making clear his support for the prevailing government ideology on sex and relationships education, and defending the Catholic Education Service's appointment of Greg Pope, a former Labour MP with a lengthy anti-life/anti-family record
  • and Archbishop Vincent Nichols of Westminster failing to rule out the Catholic church sanctioning gay unions in the future

There's a lot more to say about Jack Valero's article but  there's no hurry. After all the Birmingham Three won't be coming back to the Birmingham Oratory "soon" as Jack Valero said on BBC radio West Midlands two months ago. No, they "are travelling the world, working as priests in good standing ... praying in monasteries, studying, writing, taking holidays, visiting friends and deepening their formation ... " as Jack now tells us in his Blair-style piece in the Catholic Herald.

* 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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Friday, 3 September 2010

Support 40 Days for Life in the UK

Here is some information adapted from 40 Days for Life about its campaign in the UK, 22 September to 31 October:

40 Days for Life is a pro-life initiative that began in the USA. 40 Days for Life consists of:
  • 40 days of prayer and fasting
  • 40 days of peaceful vigil
  • 40 days of community outreach
To date:
  • More than 350,000 have joined together in an historic display of unity to pray and fast for an end to abortion
  • More than 11,500 church congregations have participated in the 40 Days for Life campaigns
  • Reports document 2,811 lives that have been spared from abortion — and those are just the ones we know about
  • 35 abortion workers have quit their jobs and walked away from the abortion industry
  • Six abortion facilities completely shut down following local 40 Days for Life campaigns
  • Hundreds of women and men have been spared from the tragic effects of abortion, including a lifetime of regrets
  • More than 850 news stories have been featured in newspapers, magazines, radio shows and TV programmes
  • Many people with past abortion experiences have stepped forward to begin post-abortion healing and recovery.
As they saying goes, "actions speak louder than words". I think these actions speak very loudly indeed.

40 Days for Life is now coming to London from 22 September to 31 October. A constant vigil will be keep outside the Marie Stopes abortion clinic in central London, 24 hours a day, for 40 days.

The bottom line is this: if you
  • are prolife
  • care about the plight of unborn children
  • care about the countless women left scarred by abortion
  • want to reach out to the many men who should have been fathers
  • want to do something that will save lives and change the culture of death into a culture of life
then please, commit yourself to supporting 40 Days for Life London. Sign-up, and make a weekly commitment to prayer with fellow pro-lifers at the vigil outside Marie Stopes in central London.

This isn’t just an invitation or an awareness campaign aimed at churches and pro-life organisations; it’s a personal invitation to each and every person, to prayer, fast, and act.

More information and ways to commit can be found on the 40 Days for Life London website.


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Thursday, 2 September 2010

Set aside 10 minutes to watch this pro-life video

This is a wonderful pro-life production from 13 year-old Lia.  I will say no more, except, set aside 10 minutes and watch it.



Do let me know what you think of this video. Tell me, if you would, your age and occupation - and your suggestions as to how the video might be used by the pro-life movement.  I would like to share your thoughts, through this blogpost, with my visitors.

Here are some comments I've received:
The Pro-Life community is constantly growing with the maturing of new wave of dynamic young defenders of life. Lia has a gift for communication that far surpasses her 13 years. She is one of many young pro-lifers who are coming to the fore and denouncing the arbitrary killing of so many from their generation. 
 
I believe that youth from around the world should be asked to give their reflections and testimonies on the life issues like Lia does so well. The freshness and frankness of youth is a welcome addition to the social discourse on abortion and related topics. Joseph Meaney, Director of International Coordination,
Human Life International
 
I think Lia has presented the arguments in a very clear manner, and what comes across is her personal conviction in the matter i.e. the video is not just a performance. The arguments are all so straightforward, common-sense, and I think this would be excellent material for use in schools - unfortunately not what our government had in mind under the rubric of sex education, but a serious approach to the most crucial ethical question of our age.
Philip Gudgeon
Brilliant video! It's so encouraging to hear young people willing to speak out in defence of the unborn, especially someone as young as Lia. Clearly, Lia is already a fantastic orator with the gift of being able to deliver the truth with courage, confidence and clarity. Lia is not afraid to stand up and be counted as a defender of the unborn, which is truly admirable, given the prevalent culture of death that surrounds us. We can all learn from Lia that no matter how old we are, we can and should stand up for what is right. I hope that many more people, young and old will be inspired by Lia to defend and protect human life from its earliest beginnings until its natural end. Anne Howard, 2nd year student, Bristol University, reading philosophy


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Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Tony Blair's memoirs reveal that dishonesty was the dark heart of his anti-life/anti-family premiership

Tony Blair's memoirs, entitled A Journey, have been published today and we have a copy at SPUC HQ. Here are some key points from it:
  • "Politicians are obliged from time to time to conceal the full truth, to bend it and even distort it".
  • On Hans Kung, the theologian and notorious dissenter from Catholic teaching on abortion, euthanasia, contraception and much else: "My Oxford friend, Pete Thomson, always sung the praises, rightly, of the inestimable Hans Kung ... a distinguished scholar and author [of] great works."
  • repeated references to his support for the homosexual agenda*, such as: "Just before Christmas [2005] the Civil Partnership Act came into force ... I was really proud of that."
  • On illicit affairs by politicians: "I tended to look upon such things with a fairly worldly eye".
Mr Blair also writes:
"[Al-Qaeda and Saddam Hussein shared] a common set of attitudes: indifference to human life; the justification of mass killing..."
At no point does Mr Blair express the slightest regret for his lengthy record of support in parliament and government for abortion, abortifacient birth control and euthanasia - in other words,
"indifference to human life; the justification of mass killing".
Indeed, Mr Blair has refused to repudiate his record. He and his wife Cherie have continued their campaign against Catholic pro-life/pro-family teaching. 

Yet of most interest is Mr Blair's wordly-wise admission that he "conceal[ed] the full truth", "ben[t] and even distort[ed] it". Here are a few key examples of that:

Teenage pregnancy
In 1998 Mr Blair's government launched its teenage pregnancy strategy, and Mr Blair himself wrote the forward to one of its key documents (Teenage Pregnancy, Social Exclusion Unit, 1999). Yet, as The Telegraph pointed out so cogently last week, that strategy was based on the falsehood that greater provision of sex education, abortion and contraception lowers teenage pregnancy rates. Well before Mr Blair was forced to retire as prime minister in 2007, it was clear that the strategy was a failure; yet the Labour government continued pumping millions of taxpayers' pounds into the strategy up to and beyond Mr Blair's departure from office.

Embryonic stem cell research
As prime minister Mr Blair made clear his ardent support for destructive embryo research [2000, 2004, 2006], speaking of his ambition that Britain will become an international centre for embryonic stem cell research. Yet over two decades of destructive embryo research, including years of embryonic stem cell research, have provided none of the cures or treatments which its advocates claimed it would.

Euthanasia by omission
In 2005 Mr Blair's government steered through parliament the Mental Capacity Act. Mr Blair himself, with the active assistance of the Catholic bishops' conference of England and Wales, successfully misled parliament and the public into believing that the Act did not entail euthanasia.

I could add many other similar examples, which readers can find referenced on this blog.

* 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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European bishops express renewed concern about directive on protection of animals

COMECE, the Catholic bishops' conference for Europe has spoken out again about the dangers for human embryos of a draft European directive on the protection of animals.

A draft directive on animal experimentation will be debated during the European Parliament’s plenary session on 7 September. If approved, the draft will become European Union (EU) law. The directive could result in scientists experimenting on human embryos instead of animals. Of particular concern is article 4 paragraph 1 of the draft directive. This article calls for member states to use alternatives to animal testing when avaliable. This could be interpreted to mean using human embryos instead of animals.

On 12 August, SPUC issued an international newsletter on this matter, available in 5 languages. A summary and links to the newsletter are avaliable from my previous blogpost of 12 August. Well over a thousand pro-life partners have received this newsletter through the post, as we work towards greater and more effective pro-life action at the European level.

Full details about this issue are available in the newsletter, and the SPUC website here. We have also produced an in-depth briefing on this issue, also on our website here.

COMECE, the Catholic bishops conference for Europe, has issued two press releases about animal experimentation and the threat to human life. The first, released on 6 June, can be read here. This press release also expresses concern about article 4 paragraph 1, and reminds us of the fundamental dignity of human life. The second press release, published yesterday, expresses renewed concern about this draft directive. The COMECE press release draws our attention to the Alternative Testing Strategies - Progress Report 2009, of the European Commission. This report suggests five alternatives to animal testing, each involving the experimentation upon and destruction of human embryos.

Pleasecontact the members of the European Parliament (MEPs) http://www.europarl.europa.eu/members/expert/groupAndCountry.do?language=EN representing your area and tell them that:
  • you are concerned about the draft directive entitled “The protection of animals used for scientific purposes” presented by Elizabeth Jeggle (Germany)
  • the directive will be debated during the European Parliament’s plenary session on 7 September 2010
  • the directive would require European Union (EU) member-states to “ensure that, wherever possible, a scientifically satisfactory method or testing strategy, not entailing the use of live animals, shall be used instead of a procedure.” (art. 4, para. 1)
  • this article could result in scientists experimenting on human embryos instead of animals
  • you object to experimentation on human embryos, as human embryos have a right to life and to dignity equal to all other members of the human family
  • you want them to vote for four amendments which would protect human embryos and foetal tissue from being used as alternatives to animal testing (amendments 175, 176, 227 and 228 http://www.ecbr.eu/pdf/Amendments%20134-275.pdf).

Please also contact animal rights organisations in your country, explaining to them why these amendments should be passed.


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Monday, 30 August 2010

Pope Benedict is coming to "such a wasteland" in Britain

In an interview on Zenit, Edmund Adamus, the pastoral affairs director of the Catholic archdiocese of Westminster, provides a compelling analysis of England in the context of Pope Benedict's visit next month. He says:

" ... whether we like it or not as British citizens and residents of this country ... the fact is that historically, and continuing right now, Britain ... has been and is the geopolitical epicenter of the culture of death ... Britain in particular, with its ever-increasing commercialization of sex, not to mention its permissive laws advancing the gay agenda*, is such a wasteland ...

" ... Our laws and lawmakers for over 50 years or more have been the most permissively anti-life and progressively anti-family and marriage, in essence one of the most anti-Catholic landscapes culturally speaking than even those places where Catholics suffer open persecution."

Edmund speaks of "a time of shadows" which are especially threatening to the family and to the rights of parents and he prays that "the Papal visit will inspire all here, both Church and state, to interiorly kneel before that inestimable icon of the Trinity: marriage and the family".

When Edmund speaks of "anti-Catholic landscapes" and of Catholics being openly persecuted, I would extend that to include, for example, all parents, whatever their faith, fighting to protect their children from pornographic sex education as well as the use of their children's schools by the government, with the co-operation of the Catholic authorities in England and Wales, to promote access to abortion without parental knowledge or consent.

*I wrote recently about the pro-homosexual "rights" agenda and the culture of death. 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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Sunday, 29 August 2010

Job vacancy at SPUC's London headquarters

We have a job vacancy for the full-time post of income supervisor at SPUC's London headquarters.

The income supervisor reports to the Society's IT manager. The post holder will manage a small number of staff.

To apply and for full details about the post contact johntennant@spuc.org.uk or write to John Tennant, IT Manager, SPUC, Unit B, 3 Whitacre Mews, Stannary Street, London, SE11 4AB

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