Saturday, 30 October 2010

The greatest achievement of the pro-life movement is that it exists!

In Ottawa, I welcomed delegates on behalf of International Right to Life Federation (IRLF) which was co-sponsoring (in a purely honorary way) Campaign Life Coalition's Congress. I was standing in for our IRLF president Dr Jack Willke (who arrived after the opening ceremony). I said:
The fact that the pro-life movement exists is far more important than any successes we may have enjoyed at the national or international level. Such successes are important – whether they are legislative successes, successes in the courts, or successes enjoyed by a pro-life counselling group or by pro-lifers giving witness outside an abortion clinic.

All such successes, of course, may result in human lives being saved and so their value is immeasurable.

However, what’s most important is that our pro-life movement is well-established and that it’s growing in many countries throughout the world. What’s most important is that our pro-life movement is passing on our expertise in pro-life work to the next generation; what’s most important is that we are passing on to the next generation our knowledge of the truth about the absolute sanctity of human life from conception to natural death and about how respect for human life is rooted in the unchanging truth about human sexuality, about marriage as a lifelong union between a man and a woman, and about the inalienable rights of parents and of the family.
During the past month - in pro-life conferences in Rome, Glasgow and Ottawa - I have certainly seen living evidence of "expertise in pro-life work" passing on to the next generation - with older statesmen and stateswomen of the pro-life movement sharing the platform with young, and some very young people, who are poised to become significant leaders in their own right.

One of the speaking stars in Ottawa has been Lia Mills, who's 14 (pictured right). As part of a school assignment for the 7th-grade, she chose to write a speech on abortion. In spite of being strongly encouraged not to pursue the topic, and threatened with disqualification on a number of occasions, she pressed on. The YouTube video of her speech has been viewed almost 1,000,000 times by people from around the world. Since then, Lia has worked on several other YouTube videos with the goal of helping educate people on the issue of abortion. She is the spokesperson for Teen Defenders, an organization whose goal is to help connect with youth on the abortion issue.

How fantastic it is that Lia Mills has been able to share the platform here in Ottawa with Dr Jack and Barbara Willke whose Handbook on Abortion was first published in 1971 and is now in its 7th edition. Jack and Barbara are 62 years married, they have 6 children, 22 grandchildren and one great grandchild. Other significant publications include: Abortion and Slavery, History Repeats and Assisted Suicide & Euthanasia, Past & Present and they have co-authored six other books on human sexuality which have been translated into 30 languages. Jack and Barbara are currently working on a history of the pro-life movement in which they have been actively involved as leaders at the federal and state level from the beginning. They have lectured (to date!) in 87 countries.

Jack and Barbara are pictured above at the Congress with Reverend Johnny Hunter, the president of Life Education and Research Network (LEARN), the largest African-American pro-life organization in the US, who inspired delegates with a stunning speech during last night's banquet. Under Reverend Hunter's leadership, the African-American community in the US has become aware of the devastating effects of abortion on their racial group - and he refers to himself as the pastor to the unborn.


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

Tough archbishop participates in international pro-life conference in Ottawa

Archbishop Terrence Prendergast, the archbishop of Ottawa, joined us at the international Congress and celebrated Mass for Catholic delegates this morning.

Archbishop Prendergast is known in Canada for his no-nonsense stand regarding giving Communion to pro-abortion politicians. In an interview with Lifesite news he said: “The Church’s concern is for anyone who persists in grave sin, hoping that medicinal measures ... may draw them away from the wrong path to the truth of our faith”.

I am pictured above sharing a meal with the archbishop at the Congress, together with Kit and Fenny Tatad from the Philippines. Kit Tatad was for many years majority leader in the Philippines Senate. He addressed the congress today on the huge international attack on the Philippines constitutional protection for the unborn, led by pro-abortion Barack Obama's administration in the US. Kit and Fenny work closely with the Catholic Bishops' Conference on the Philippines in opposing the pro-abortion/contraceptive imperialism of the western world. The Philippines bishops and people are resisting these pressures with great courage. (They need our prayerful support - and they need pro-life campaigners, politicians and church leaders in the western world to expose and to denounce and oppose their governments’ pro-abortion imperialistic foreign policies towards the Philippines.)

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

“I will fight abortion until the day I die” says Mother Teresa Award winner

During Campaign Life Coalition’s conference in Ottawa this weekend, Heather Stilwell, a pro-life activist, was awarded LifeCanada's annual Mother Teresa Award. She's pictured, right, receiving the award from Monica Roddis, acting president of LifeCanada, (who hails from Manchester, England!), and with Elizabeth, the youngest of Heather’s eight children.

Apart from taking on leadership roles in politics and in the pro-life movement, she became a school board trustee and was famous for her opposition to sex education, abortion and the promotion of homosexuality in schools. In 1997 Heather was involved in a legal battle that went all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada regarding the decision to allow in Catholic elementary schools three children's books which portrayed same-sex parents.

Two years ago the Heather was diagnosed with breast cancer. She underwent chemotherapy and various treatments but recently decided that the cancer had become too aggressive and she decided to stop all treatment. It was her wish that she would be able to attend the 2010 international congress in Ottawa, involving a 7 hour trip from her home in British Columbia. Receiving the award, Heather told us that she would fight abortion till she day she dies. I have rarely been so moved.


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

Canadian writer and painter gives advice on spreading pro-life message

One of the most thought-provoking presentations at this weekend’s Campaign Life Coalition Conference in Ottawa Building a Global Culture of Life was from Michael O’Brien (pictured). Michael is a painter, novelist and essayist. 

Responding to an eloquent young man’s question as to how he should transmit the pro-life message to his peers, Michael O’Brien said: “Be who you are. You are already a light to the world. You are already the salt of the earth. And take the blows you receive from people who attack you or undermine you and convert those blows into a prayer for those who are striking you.” 

His paintings hang in churches, monasteries, universities, community collections and private collections in the US, Canada, England, Australia and Africa. He is the author of several books, notably a seven volume series of novels: the first volume, Father Elijah, has sold more than 40,000 copies in hard cover.  His most recent novel is Theophilus, the story of the man to whom St. Luke addressed his Gospel and the Acts of the Apostles.  Michael and his wife Sheila have six children.

 
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

Campaign Life Coalition is led by a man of vision

My snapshot (right) expresses for me what real pro-life leadership is all about. It's Jim Hughes, national president of Campaign Life Coalition and my fellow vice-president of International Right to Life Federation. He's bringing in extra chairs to a congress hall overflowing with delegates.

Over 30 years ago, Jim sacrificed a successful business career to establish the pro-life struggle in Canada which he's led ever since. Apart from leading one of the world's toughest pro-life political battles with great skill and legendary good humour - unborn children in Canada have no legal protection whatsover -  Jim's vision and generosity have resulted in pro-life initiatives whose positive impact is being experienced worlwide - including Lifesite news and Euthanasia Prevention Coalition.

John-Henry Westen, co-founder and first editor of Lifesite news, is pictured here on the conference platform in Ottawa with Deborah Gyapong, a TV, radio and print journalist for over 20 years. John-Henry has become one of the world’s leading pro-life witnesses. Earlier this month at the World Prayer Congress for Life in Rome he spoke powerfully about his conversion experience to life and to family values, inspired by the example of his father (who, John-Henry tells me, was, in his turn, inspired by the leadership of Jim Hughes). John-Henry’s Lifesite news articles now appear in hundreds of publications worldwide. He and Dianne, his wife, have seven children.
Deborah Gyapong belongs to the traditional Anglican communion and she now reports on religion and politics principally for Roman Catholic and evangelical newspapers. In 2005, the manuscript for her suspense novel The Defilers won the Best New Canadian Christian Fiction Award. The prize included publication. The Defilers was released in May 2006.

Alex Schadenberg, the executive director of Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, and Susan, his wife, have six children. Alex has just returned from a speaking tour of Australia - and he's pictured (right) at the Ottawa conference where, with Peter Ryan, a moral theologian, he addressed us on euthanasia. The goal of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition is to help in building around the world well-informed, broad-based, groups in order to establish an effective social barrier to euthanasia and assisted suicide.


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 October 2010

Pope Benedict puts abortion at centre of Brazilian presidential election campaign

Pope Benedict could not have been more blunt about abortion, euthanasia, and the forthcoming presidential election in Brazil, according to Dr Talmir Rodriguez, a member of Brazil's federal parliament. He is chairman of the Brazil parliament's (over 200-strong) pro-life group of elected representatives.

Talmir (pictured here across the breakfast table!) and I met this morning during Canada's Campaign Life Coalition Congress in Ottawa at which we are speaking this weekend. We were discussing the Pope's address yesterday to Brazil's national conference of bishops (its north east region). The bishops were in Rome for their 5-yearly "ad limina" visit. Talmir told me:
"The Pope told the bishops that Brazilians must not vote for a clearly pro-abortion candidate to be Brazil's president, a candidate who belongs to a party, officially known to be pro-abortion, indeed a party which will not accept politicians who refuse to vote for abortion".
Pope Benedict said:
"First, the duty of direct action to ensure a just ordering of society falls to the lay faithful who, as free and responsible citizens, strive to contribute to the just configuration of social life, while respecting legitimate autonomy and natural moral law.

"Your duty as bishops, together with your clergy, is indirect because you must contribute to the purification of reason, and to the moral awakening of the forces necessary to build a just and fraternal society. Nonetheless, when required by the fundamental rights of the person or the salvation of souls, pastors have the binding duty to emit moral judgments, even on political themes.

"When forming these judgements, pastors must bear in mind the absolute value of those ... precepts which make it morally unacceptable to chose a particular action which is intrinsically evil and incompatible with human dignity. This decision cannot be justified by the merit of some specific goal, intention, consequence or circumstance, thus it would be completely false and illusory to defend, political, economic or social rights which do not comprehend a vigorous defence of the right to life from conception to natural end. When it comes to defending the weakest, who is more defenceless than an unborn child or a patient in a vegetative or comatose state?

"When political projects openly or covertly contemplate the depenalisation of abortion or euthanasia, the democratic ideal (which is truly democratic when it recognises and protects the dignity of all human beings) is betrayed at its very foundations. For this reason, dear brothers in the episcopate, when defending life we must not fear hostility or unpopularity, rejecting all compromise and ambiguity which would conform us to the mentality of this world."
In order to understand the significance of Pope Benedict's comments, we should bear in mind recently reported developments in the Brazilian presidential election campaign:

Dilma Rousseff, the Brazil Workers' party presidential candidate, had described herself as personally opposed to abortion. This prompted Archbishop Aldo Pagotto of Paraiba to accuse Brazil’s Workers' Party of 'misinformation and manipulation of consciences'.

Catholic News Agency reported:
"In a video released Oct. 11, the archbishop said the party’s actions on behalf of its candidate ... are aimed at 'deceiving voters' into believing that she does not favour any legalization of abortion in the country. However, in an internet video produced in 2007, she is shown arguing that, 'Today in Brazil, it is absurd that abortion has not yet been legalized’.

"The archbishop charged that since the 1990s the Workers' Party has been in league with international organizations that have financed the expansion of contraception and abortion in Brazil.

“'Ever since it rose to power, the Workers' Party agenda has been the complete legalization of abortion in Brazil', he said."
Whatever the outcome of the presidential election - and I'm told it's not looking good - these are exactly the kind of interventions the world needs from religious leaders. The last four decades have seen the greatest slaughter of human beings in the history of the world by abortion, abortifacient birth control, human embryo experimentation and, increasingly by euthanasia. Countless millions of human beings are being killed each year in defiance of international agreements which uphold the right to life for all members of the human family. The Pope's remarks to the Brazilian bishops have universal application:
" ...it would be completely false and illusory to defend, political, economic or social rights which do not comprehend a vigorous defence of the right to life from conception to natural end."
Pope Benedict rightly recognizes the role of the lay faithful to work for the just ordering of society - but it falls to church leaders to provide "moral awakening". Let's pray that Pope Benedict has the strength, through such leadership, to turn the current strong tide of episcopal acquiescence to pro-abortion, anti-parents governments, especially in Britain.

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

Jack Valero of Catholic Voices sells the pass again on Catholic Church teaching on condoms

Yesterday Jack Valero, speaking on behalf of Catholic Voices, was interviewed by the BBC World Service about the distribution of condoms by a Catholic church (pictured) in Lucerne, Switzerland (see full transcript below). He was interviewed alongside Mr Florian Flohr, a spokesman for the Lucerne church. Interestingly, the presenter said:
"We actually invited the Vatican to come on the programme and speak about this. They told us there was no need to, because the Catholic Church's view on this issue is already known."
Last week Mr Valero affirmed that he:
"totally support[s] the Magisterium of the Church as expounded in the Catechism of the Catholic Church and all the relevant encyclicals (Humanae Vitae, Veritatis Splendor, Evangelium Vitae, etc)"
Yet yesterday Mr Valero again let down the pro-life/pro-family movement by once more misrepresenting and short-selling Catholic Church teaching on condoms. Mr Valero again made the false claim that "the Church is not against condoms", and again was silent on the primary reason why the Catholic Church is against condoms. The primary reason why the Catholic Church is against condoms is because condoms' use, by closing the marital act to the transmission of life, separates the procreative and unitive dimensions of sexual intercourse, contrary to the crystal-clear teaching of Humanae Vitae that:
"[E]ach and every marital act must of necessity retain its intrinsic relationship to the procreation of human life." (Humanae Vitae, 11)
Mr Valero merely described the Lucerne church's condom distribution as "a mistake". In this Mr Valero repeated his same woefully inadequate description of April's disgusting Foreign Office memo as just a bad joke. There is a world of difference in explaining things and in explaining away things.

Mr Valero's approach was entirely consequentialist, focusing on the effectiveness of Catholic campaigns against promiscuity and ineffectiveness of condom distribution campaigns respectively in reducing the spread of HIV. Even on that point Mr Valero misrepresented Catholic teaching, by claiming that the Church preaches both chastity ("abstinence before marriage, fidelity within marriage") and limiting promiscuity ("delaying sexual activity and reducing the number of partners"). The delay of sexual activity and reduction in partners is no different to what IPPF, FPA, Marie Stopes etc say is the benefit from their sex education programmes. So it is entirely unsurprising that the Lucerne church spokesman responded:
"Yes, I agree with my colleague [Mr Valero] that the main thing is not the condom ... We preach the same thing, the ABC rule, A is abstinence, B is be faithful, [C is use a condom if you can't abstain or be faithful]" [my emphases] 
Mr Valero was conspicuously silent on Mr Flohr's repeated claims that condom use is an open question for Catholics and that conscience and pluralism are more important than church authority. Mr Valero ignored a golden opportunity to uphold Catholic teaching on condom use, conspicuously failing to follow up the presenter's question to Mr Flohr that distributing condoms "flout(s) papal doctrine". Mr Valero also flatly spurned another golden opportunity when he was asked directly:
"Is this church breaking away from Rome?"
Mr Valero's reply:
"No, I don't think so, but on the other hand I don't think that in Switzerland we need condoms to fight AIDS. AIDS in Switzerland is under control."
Jack Valero has said that Catholic Voices' tactic in dealing with questions from the media is "re-framing". It seems that his idea of "re-framing" is actually to leave Catholic Church teaching out of the frame when it's convenient to do so.

"Swiss Catholic church hands out condoms in HIV/Aids campaign", BBC World Service, 28 October 2010, SPUC transcript:

Florian Flohr: "I think that we have to give a sign to the people that we are open to speak about all problems, and without taboos about this question of AIDS. It was not a question of distributing condoms as flyers for a pizza service but was always part of a discussion, and a good part of this action, I think."

Presenter to Flohr: "Well that's a very interesting point - how are you actually distributing these condoms? Is it on church territory, or are you out and about in the community with this?"

Flohr: "No. We had two parts of this action. The one part was an exposition on a truck in a place in front of the main station of Lucerne, and we were also at this truck, nearby, and we discussed with the people, with the young people about AIDS in Switzerland. There were very good talks. There was a 65-year-old woman who came to me and asked me for four condoms, and I was a little astonished, and she said: "They are not for me, but I have four grandsons, and I want to discuss with them about AIDS, and that's a very good sign to discuss with them."

Presenter to Flohr: "But nonetheless, this does flout papal doctrine, doesn't it? Have you been in contact with the Vatican? Did you ask them about this before you decided it, or have they been in touch with you?"

Flohr: "No, we decided the action, reflecting on the affair of AIDS, and looking at many statements of bishops around the world, the sentence that 'you can't speak about AIDS without speaking of condoms' of our bishop[s?] of Germany. So I think there is no one doctrine in the Catholic Church but there is a big discussion for years already, and we are part of this discussion."

Presenter: "We actually invited the Vatican to come on the programme and speak about this. They told us there was no need to, because the Catholic Church's view on this issue is already known. But let's bring in Jack Valero, who is press officer for Opus Dei, and a member of Catholic Voices, which is an organisation which provides the media with comment on major issues such as this. Jack Valero, what do you make of this decision by this Swiss church?"

Jack Valero: "Well, I'm not there, but from here, it's looks to me like it's a mistake. The Catholic Church has an approach about AIDS in Africa which works, which is based on behaviour change and education, and I think that's the emphasis. There are many agencies and governments distributing condoms in Africa. They have been doing so for 25 years and they haven't seemed to have worked; the pandemic continues. Behaviour change has been the one thing which has worked."

Presenter to Valero: "Many people would disagree with you on that, they would say that condom use and its free access has been the main thing that has worked."

Valero: "OK. If you take the statements by Edward Green of Harvard, who is one of the experts on AIDS, and he's in favour of using condoms but he thinks that condom campaigns haven't worked, the more condoms you've thrown [at the problem], the worse it has become. The Catholic Church has a different approach - it says, we preach behaviour change, fidelity, abstinence before marriage, fidelity in marriage, and even we preach delaying sexual activity and reducing the number of partners. These definitely work in saving lives, which is what we're all interested in. We have this approach because of this view which we have that sex is for marriage. We're not against condoms - we're against promiscuity, we're against sexual violence, against rape, prostitution; these are the things we're working against, these are the things that if we manage to control, then AIDS will end. The Catholic Church is doing very good work there, and I think that condoms, it completely misses the point of what the Church does."

Presenter: "Let's bring Florian back in on that again."

Flohr: "Yes, I agree with my colleague [Mr Valero] that the main thing is not the condom. We didn't preach to use condom and don't think about it. We preach the same thing, the ABC rule, A is abstinence, B is be faithful, but there are many situations and many people who can't live this, and for them, condoms is one possibility, not a miracle possibility, not the best one, but it is one, and we want to give this thing here because many people do think that the Catholic Church doesn't allow condoms, and I think that that's not true, and we want to say that we're open, discuss with us and discuss with each other because that's the most important."

Presenter to Flohr: "Florian Flohr, what do you think about local Catholic churches having more freedom to make these decisions about using condoms or talking to their parishioners about it, you know, churches in Africa for example where this is a real concern for lots of parishioners. Should local people, local priests have more say about whether or not to talk about condoms?"

Flohr: "I think that there are so many bishops who say this, that not speaking about condoms is unethical, that it's allowed for priests to do this, and it's not the affair of giving condoms, hundreds of condoms, but to make the people think about their behaviour, their sexuality, their responsibility, but not excluding the condom, and that's our message, I think the freedom is there."

Presenter: "Move away then from the church's hierarchy, from the hierarchical structure, from central control, a move away from that, you advocate?"

Flohr: "We think that in many questions, pluralism within the Church is good, is OK, because in this question there is no dogma. There are some preachers of the Pope, but there are also other bishops who say other things. So it's good that there is a discussion without being enemies but to demonstrate different points of view."

Presenter to Flohr: "What about the use of condoms for other reasons, not just for HIV/AIDS but for family planning for example?"

Flohr: "There we think that people are informed that condoms is not the most certain thing in this area and they also have to discuss this. I think the most important [thing] in the Catholic Church is the personal consciousness [conscience] and not what any priest or so said. Every person has to have his or her own opinion and listen to his own consciousness [conscience]

Presenter to Valero: "We're short of time. Is this church breaking away from Rome?"

Valero: "No, I don't think so, but on the other hand I don't think that in Switzerland we need condoms to fight AIDS. AIDS in Switzerland is under control. In Africa I'm sure that all the priests there look after every person who has AIDS there very well and gives them good advice. But I do think, and that it is the case that, in the main, the Catholic Church's message - which is not against condoms, which is against promiscuity, it's about behaviour change - is very helpful. There is no need. There's lots and lots of agencies and governments pushing condoms, there's no need for us to push them, we have our own message which works, and I'm sure that the priests in Africa do that very well."

END

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

Thursday, 28 October 2010

Vigil for the unborn outside Parliament marks Abortion Act anniversary

I am delighted to have been sent a report about yesterday's vigil for the unborn in London - to my temporary desk in a hotel room in Ottawa where I'm speaking at Campaign Life Coalition's annual Congress.

Dr Peter Saunders, the widely respected campaign director of Care Not Killing and chief executive officer of the Christian Medical Fellowship, is seen in the picture, above, addressing the Stop Think Choose Life Campaign Vigil outside Parliament yesterday.  It was an initiative of Christian Concern led by Andrea Williams. Peter drew attention to the 1967 Abortion Act and to the continuing legalized violence against unborn human lives and the dignity of mothers and fathers.


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 October 2010

Pro-life leaders' family spans four generations

I've just arrived in Ottawa to join pro-life colleagues at an international pro-life conference entitled Building a global culture of life.

Campaign Life Coalition (CLC) is organizing the conference which is co-sponsored by LifeCanada, International Right to Life Federation (of which I have the honour to be joint vice-president with Jim Hughes, CLC president) and LifeSite news.

The star speakers this weekend are, indubitably, Dr Jack and Barbara Willke who are pictured above at the Cincinnatti Right to Life Banquet which took place last Thursday. The picure reflects four generations of the Willke family: Jack and Barbara, Bob and Marie (Jack's and Barbara's daughter) Meyers, Steve (Bob and Marie's son) and Gina Meyers. The great granddaughter (Steve's and Gina's daughter) is Julia. Jack and Barbara have six children and 22 grandchildren (and one great grandchild).They are speaking on Saturday on the history of the pro-life movement.

Jack is the president of both International Right to Life Federation and Life Issues Institute.

Jack and Barbara Willke not only head a family spanning four generations. They are also authors of their fourth generation book, video, PowerPoint and slide set, Abortion, Questions and Answers: Why Can’t We Love Them Both. These succeeded the seven editions of their classic books, beginning with Handbook on Abortion in 1971, being the most widely read books in the world presenting the scientific case for the unborn. These have been published in 21 languages worldwide. He has also written Abortion and Slavery, History Repeats, and Assisted Suicide & Euthanasia, Past & Present. Dr. and Mrs. Willke are the authors of six other books in the field of human sexuality. Their works have been translated into 32 languages.

Let me know if you are interested in receiving a list of their publications.

I am most grateful to Brad Mattes, executive director and co-founder of Life Issues Institute, for sending me the picture-story above!

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

Good news from Europe about protecting women and children from population control

CARE (Christian Action, Research and Education) has sent us the following good news:
"As every year, CARE helped promote an amendment to the European Commission's annual budget this week to prevent any funding going to family planning programmes in which coercion or compulsion is used. We are pleased to be able to report that an amendment to this effect (last passed in 2007, but rejected in 2008 & 2009) was adopted by a healthy majority of 372 to 279, with 21 abstentions. You can see which British MEPs supported the amendment here. Please consider writing to thank one or all of the MEPs in your region.
In addition, amendments to the 2011 budget were passed. These call for European funds - which support human rights campaigners in other countries - to be made available for combating forced abortion, sterilisation and even infanticide, which are used for example in China to enforce state family planning policies."
This good news from the European Parliament follows the good news earlier this month from another European institution, the Council of Europe. The council's parliamentary assembly rejected strongly a proposed crack down on medical staff who refuse to be complicit in abortion and other anti-life practices. Prior to that vote, SPUC had written to its supporters and contacts in the member-states of the Council of Europe.

These pro-life victories in the European institutions show that intelligent, organised and uncompromisingly pro-life lobbying is effective in protecting unborn children, their mothers and other vulnerable individuals.


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

Support SPUC by ordering from our popular range of Christmas gifts

SPUC has a popular range of Christmas cards, Christmas gifts and other merchandise for sale online in our webshop Order early to avoid disappointment (for Christmas delivery order by 30 November):
  • 30 quality Christmas cards for only £5.90
  • affordable prices - many frozen from last year
  • a range of Advent calendars and Christmas card holders
  • pro-life badges and stickers - great stocking fillers!
  • educational books, video and learning aids
  • pro-life t-shirt
  • all purchases covered by our money-back guarantee
You can also order by telephone on (020) 7091 7091 between 10am and 4.30pm Monday to Friday.

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 October 2010

Please support pro-life vigil at Parliament tomorrow Wed 27 Oct

SPUC has just received news of a vigil (see poster pictured) to be held outside Parliament tomorrow (Wednesday 27 October) marking the 43rd anniversary of the passing of the Abortion Act 1967. The vigil is being organised by the Choose Life campaign, an initiative of Christian Concern led by Andrea Williams. The vigil will be held between 12pm and 1pm at Old Palace Yard, immediately opposite Parliament. Following the vigil, a service of lament and repentence will be held between 1.15pm and 1.50pm at the Emmanual Centre, 9-23 Marsham Street, London, SW1P 3DW.

I regret that I will not able to attend as I will be travelling to Canada to speak at the International Pro-Life Conference. I will, of course, be at the vigil in spirit and I encourage SPUC supporters to support the vigil.

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

Monday, 25 October 2010

Greg Pope's appointment to Catholic Education Service conflicts with Pope Benedict's teaching

Pope Benedict told the new Ecuadorean ambassador to the Holy See last Friday that "the public authorities must guarantee [that the law] helps parents, ... to educate their children according to their own religious convictions and ethical criteria ... ".

I wonder if Bishop McMahon, the chairman of the Catholic Education Service of England and Wales (CESEW), and Oonagh Stannard, its chief executive officer, happened to mention to Pope Benedict, when he was in England, anything about Greg Pope,the new deputy-director they've appointed. (Bishop McMahon and Oonagh Stannard are pictured, above, with Jim Dobbin MP at a parliamentary reception last week. It was a reception to celebrate the year of Catholic education.)

Greg Pope is a former Member of Parliament, who, as an MP, voted against pro-life Angela Watkinson MP's Ten Minute Rule bill. This bill would have required doctors providing contraception or abortion 'services' to a child under 16 to inform his or her parent or guardian. Mr Pope's anti-life, anti-parents vote on this measure alone disqualifies him to be deputy director of the CESEW. However, Mr Pope's anti-life and anti-family record, printed out, is as long as my arm - and probably as long as your arm in addition to mine! Print out my blogpost earlier this year and check for yourself.

Not least (but not solely) in the light of Mr Pope's appointment, I have no confidence that the CESEW, an agency of the bishops' conference of England and Wales, will seek to ensure that public authorities guarantee that the law helps parents to educate their children according to their own religious convictions and ethical criteria as Pope Benedict has clearly insisted they should. Mr Pope also supported the homosexual agenda* as an MP, including voting against measures (popularly known as section 28) preventing local councils from promoting homosexuality, including the teaching in schools of the 'acceptability of homosexuality as a pretended family relationship'". And he also signed a parliamentary motion calling for increased funding for international pro-abortion organizations. His appointment is a scandal which is clearly in conflict with Pope Benedict's championship of parents' prior right to educate their 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.

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

Money more valuable than human life, says Baroness Warnock

Daniel Blackman, a researcher for SPUC, has sent me a report on last Tuesday evening's Intelligence Squared debate on assisted suicide. You can read Dan's full report on the SPUC website, but below are a few details.

The motion of the debate was ‘Assisted Suicide should be legalised: the terminally ill should have the legal right to be helped to end their lives.’ Speaking for the motion was:
  • Emily Jackson, professor of law at the London School of Economics
  • Baroness Mary Warnock, moral philosopher, and
  • Debbie Purdy, the assisted suicide campaigner with multiple sclerosis.
Speaking against the motion was:
  • Lord Alex Carlile QC, barrister
  • Patrick Stone, Macmillan Reader in Palliative Medicine, St George’s University of London; and
  • Lord Richard Harries, former Anglican bishop of Oxford.
The debate was chaired by Sue Lawley, journalist and broadcaster.

The debate is available for free on itunes, which means readers can also listen to the debate for themselves.

Two votes were taken, one before and one after the debate. The results were:

before
  • for: 408
  • against: 110
  • don’t know: 117
after:
  • for: 406
  • against: 208
  • don’t Know: 34
So a large number of the 'don’t knows' decided to vote against against assisted suicide.

Dan also reports that Baroness Warnock said that, that unlike gold and platinum, life does not have value in itself. Her claim reminds me of Psalm 134:15-17, which reads:
"The idols of the Gentiles are silver and gold, the works of men's hands. They have a mouth, but they speak not: they have eyes, but they see not. They have ears, but they hear not: neither is there any breath in their mouths."
I found Baroness Warnock's claim - which says effectively that money is more valuable than life - truly frightening. This is the same materialistic attitude that resulted in the lives of countless millions of slaves being sacrificed in the name of profit.

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