Saturday, 27 November 2010

Beware a new "independent" commission on assisted dying

Anyone concerned about the real threat of dying as a result of euthanasia in Britain should read Peter Saunders's informative post about a new "independent" commission on assisted dying. (Peter is pictured right.) He writes:
"The fact that an ‘independent’ commission on ‘assisted dying’ is to be chaired by a peer who just last year tried to relax the law on assisted suicide, is being funded by a celebrity novelist who is passionately pushing for a change in the law and was dreamt up by a leading campaign group will certainly raise eyebrows."
The truth is that euthanasia threatens all of us in Britain:
  • The Mental Capacity Act, in certain circumstances, requires doctors to abandon their patients.
  • There is a policy of silent euthanasia, not least through the Liverpool Care Pathway, as leading doctors have warned
  • Disabled people are increasingly worried by extreme proposals being put forward by pro-euthanasia legislators
  • Dame Mary Warnock, the anti-life philosopher in the House of Lords, argues that certain people with disabling conditions have a duty to die prematurely.  (She has said: "If you're demented, you're wasting people's lives – your family's lives – and you're wasting the resources of the National Health Service.")
  • The Director of Public Prosecutions has published a prosecuting policy which effectively decriminalises assisted suicide in a wide range of circumstances.
  • We have celebrity-led campaigns in favour of assisted suicide which get significant media coverage.
  • We have high profile court cases which fill the airwaves and serious mainstream newspapers, like the Daily Telegraph, with anti-life propaganda.
You might want to bookmark Peter Saunders's post for future reference. We can fully expect the media, like the Daily Telegraph, to weigh behind the "independent" commission at its launch next Tuesday and when its conclusions are published in a report next October (2011).

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Friday, 26 November 2010

I address Pope Benedict in my speech in Poland

Today I am in the beautiful, historic city of Torun, Poland. I have been addressing the third international Congress organized by the John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin and the International Gilson Society (USA) at the Higher School of Social and Media Culture in Torun.

During my talk I spoke about the maelstrom of carefully created confusion in the mass media about Catholic teaching on condoms, generated by prominent opponents of the church's teaching, i.e. opponents within the Catholic Church (not least in Britain). I said:
This week especially, my heart breaks for my children and for my grandchildren; my heart breaks for the children of Britain and for children throughout the world. My heart breaks as I witness leading figures in the Vatican fomenting universal confusion on Catholic teaching on the use of condoms following Pope Benedict’s interview on that subject in the new publication: "Light of the World”.

In Britain, also, leading public figures in the name of the Catholic Church are misrepresenting its unchanging and unchangeable magisterial teaching on the transmission of human life. Opponents of Catholic teaching on the use of condoms are turning the clock back for humanity. They are turning the clock back to the Crucifixion when all of Christ’s followers and apostles deserted Him, except a few.

I address now the successors of the apostles, the Catholic bishops of the world. As the leader of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children, the oldest pro-life organization in the world, I especially address you, Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, and through you, the bishops of the world.

“Countless children, perhaps my own grandchildren, will be deliberately corrupted as a result of the exploitation and misrepresentation of your interview about condoms by opponents of Catholic teaching within the Catholic Church. As a result of the worldwide media’s perception of your interview, and as a result of policies and legislation enacted on the basis of a false representations of Catholic teaching, the corruption of young children and the destruction of countless children in the womb will go hand in hand. Countless women will be exploited by selfish or insensitive or brutal husbands and boyfriends, as a result of the confusion generated in the mass media by opponents, within the Church, of Catholic teaching on the use of condoms."
I reminded the Polish congress that last month Cardinal Burke, the prefect of the Apostolic Signatura, told a pro-life conference in Rome:
“The attack on the innocent and defenceless life of the unborn has its origin in an erroneous view of human sexuality, which attempts to eliminate, by mechanical or chemical means, the essentially procreative nature of the conjugal act ... ”.
I explained that the world's rejection of the prophetic teaching of the church on the inseparability of the unitive and procreative elements of marital acts had led to the imposition, in Britain, on families, of access to induced abortion and birth control drugs and devices to children at school, including Catholic schools, without parental knowledge or consent. I explained that this was happening with the co-operation of the Catholic bishops of England and Wales. "The artificial separation of the unitive and procreative elements of marital acts ... underpins today's culture of death", I said.

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White paper approach on sex ed is deeply concerning

The government's approach to sex and relationships education included in the White Paper on Schools issued yesterday is deeply concerning.

As Paul Tully, SPUC's general secretary, told the media this morning:
"The Schools White Paper refers to 'high-quality' sex and relationships education, apparently ignoring the corrupting and depraved kind of lessons to which very many children are now subjected. Parents have recently condemned a widely-used primary school SRE programme as 'kiddie porn'. SRE has become yet another avenue for sexualising the culture in which children have to live, and SRE is a main vehicle for teaching young teenagers how to access abortion without reference to their parents. Parents must not let their sense of outrage at this be assuaged by bland assurances from politicians and well-meaning teachers. The lives of unborn children and the health and happiness of many thousands of young people are at stake.

"Furthermore, the government seems set to ignore the research which demonstrates the comprehensive failure of typical UK classroom sex education to improve outcomes like abortion rates. The evidence must be recognised, and the policies must be changed."
UK pro-lifers concerned about the government's approach should email for more information and action points.

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Thursday, 25 November 2010

Some more events for this Saturday's vigil for all nascent human life

Here are the details of some further events as part of this Saturday's worldwide vigil for all nascent human life, called by Pope Benedict. (Please see my blog-post of 15 November for similar related events):

Catholic Diocese of Hallam
Bishop John Rawsthorne will lead a Vigil Service for all Nascent Human Life on Saturday 27 November following the 6.30 pm evening Mass at the Cathedral Church of St. Marie, Norfolk Row, Sheffield, S1 2JB.

Catholic Diocese of Leeds
Vigil for all nascent human life will be held in the presence of the missionary image of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Leeds Cathedral, Great George Street, Leeds, LS2 8BE, on Saturday, 27th November, from 12.30 p.m. to 6.00 p.m. followed by Saturday vigil Mass at 6 p.m. celebrated by Bishop Arthur Roche

Catholic archdiocese of Liverpool
Sat 27 Nov: Holy Hour after the 6.15pm Mass, St William of York church, Edge Lane, Thornton, Liverpool.

Invoking the Lord’s protection over every human being called into existence. 3pm on Saturday 27th November at St Mary’s Cathedral with Eucharistic Adoration and Sacrament of Reconciliation
6.30pm Mass Bishop Terry Drainey will preside

Catholic diocese of Motherwell
Sat 27 Nov: all-night vigil from 7pm Sat until 9am Sun, in the Adoration Chapel of St John the Baptist church, Uddingston. In the same church on Sun 28 Nov: Rosary and Benediction, 4pm. Sister Roseanne Reddy of the Sisters of the Gospel of Life will speak at all weekend Masses.

Catholic diocese of Nottingham
Sat 27 Nov: Bishop Malcolm McMahon will celebrate Mass at 12noon in Nottingham cathedral.

Catholic diocese of Plymouth
Sat 27 Nov: Rosary and Vespers, 4pm, Cathedral of Ss Mary and Boniface, Plymouth.

Catholic diocese of Salford
Parishes of St. Kentigern, Fallowfield & St Edwards Rusholme, Manchester: Vigil for Life, Saturday, 8.30 pm - 9.30 p.m. using the US bishops' material, vespers, supplications and Benediction

Catholic archdiocese of Westminster
Sat 27 Nov: vigil, 4pm, St Theresa's church, 27 Boniface Walk, Harrow HA3 6PU.

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Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Jack Valero and Austen Ivereigh need remedial training in Catholic teaching on sexual ethics

Jack Valero (pictured) and Austen Ivereigh, the co-ordinators of Catholic Voices, have been busy sporting open-neck collars in a series of television interviews on Pope Benedict's comments on condoms, about which I blogged on Sunday morning. In those interviews, both Mr Valero and Dr Ivereigh claim that the Church has never spoken against the use of condoms outside of marriage. Mr Valero even made the ridiculous claim that:
“There isn't a specific teaching [by the Church] about condoms"
The Valero-Ivereigh claims are simply false as a matter of historical fact. I list below their false claims, and follow that with some statements from Church authorities throughout the ages. (Although some of those statements do not mention barrier methods of contraception such as condoms, they are all applicable to condoms as condom use is by its nature contraceptive.) The use of condoms (or other contraceptives) in extra-marital genital acts is an aggravation of the principle sin of engaging in extra-marital genital acts.

The fact that Mr Valero and Dr Ivereigh are publicly and repeatedly contradicting this truth of Catholic sexual ethics is one of a growing number of reasons why they should be disqualified from any representative position in any official or unofficial Catholic or pro-life/pro-family organisation. Readers should remember that these men deny that there is any such thing as a liberal bishop (Mr Valero) and deny that The Tablet is a vehicle for dissent (Dr Ivereigh).

Why is the Catholic Church's teaching on condom use (and the Valero-Ivereigh campaign misrepresenting that teaching) important for the pro-life movement? 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.

The false claim by Jack Valero and Austen Ivereigh that the Church has never spoken out against the use of condoms outside of marriage

Mr Valero, Sky News, 21 November:
"The Church never said to a prostitute, “Don’t use a condom”, the Church has said “Being a prostitute is not a good thing, ‘Don’t be a prostitute’. It didn’t say to people ‘Don’t use a condom if you are having sex outside of marriage, it said, ‘Don’t have sex outside of marriage’ ... There isn't a specific teaching about condoms."
Mr Valero, BBC News, 21 November:
“I think the Church never said to people who were having sex outside of marriage: ‘Don’t use a condom’, but ‘Don’t have sex outside of marriage’. It would say to a prostitute: ‘Don’t be a prostitute’, it wouldn’t say: ‘Don’t use a condom’ ... [T]here’s been no specific teaching [by the Church] about condoms.”
Mr Valero, BBC News, 21 November:
“[T]here isn’t actually a written-down doctrine [of the Church] on condoms ... [The Church has] never said that in a particular case it’s wrong to use a condom to protect somebody ... [The Church] doesn’t say to a man sleeping around: 'Don’t use a condom', it says: 'Don’t sleep around'
In the particular case which the Pope talks about in the book, he talks about a male prostitute ... [T]hough the act is bad in itself, not because of the condom – the condom itself may be a good thing...
[T]he way the Church looks after people is very good in Africa, you’ve got lots of nuns and priests and so on looking after people, and if in a particular case they think that a condom will protect then that may be OK, but they always look after people very well."
Dr Ivereigh, The Independent, 21 November:
"[There is a] misperception that the Church's message to an HIV-positive prostitute is that he, or her client, shouldn't use a condom under any circumstances. The Church has never believed that..."
Dr Ivereigh, Telegraph video interview, 21 November :
"[For] people who might be engaging in risky sexual behaviour, in other words, who aren't listening to the Church's message, actually [using a condom] might be the right and responsible thing to do in order to prevent infection
A lot of people have been saying - wrongly - that the Church says to any infected person, 'Never use a condom'. In fact the Church has never said that. People have wrongly interpreted the Church's ban on contraception as also applying in those circumstances."
Dr Ivereigh, BBC Today programme, 22 November:
"[T]he Church does not say to [serodiscordant married couples] ‘Do not use a condom’ nor does it say ‘Use a condom’. That is a very, very difficult ethical decision for that couple to make and the Church accompanies them in that...".
Statements by Church authorities throughout the centuries which rule out the use of condoms and other contraceptives outside of marriage (my emphases in bold): 
  • Holy Office (now known as the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith), answer, 1853: "[C]ondomistic copulation [is] a thing intrinsically evil." (Enchiridion Symbolorum Definionum et Declarationum de Rebus Fidei et Morum n.2795, Q.2 and ad 2. ed H. Denzinger, A Schonmetzer, Romae, 1974)
  • The bishops of the United States, 1976: "In contraceptive intercourse the procreative or life-giving meaning is deliberately separated from its love-giving meaning and rejected; the wrongness of such an act lies in the rejection of this value." In other words, contraception is wrong in itself, not only in the context of marriage.
  • The bishops of France, November 1968, pastoral note on Humanae Vitae: "Contraception can never be a good. It is always a disorder..."
  • Decretals of Burchard, an influential collection of canon law, A.D. 1020: "Have you done what some women are accustomed to doing when they fornicate...if they have not yet conceived they contrive not to conceive? If you have done so, or consented to this, or taught it, you must do penance for ten years on legal ferial days." (num. 19; PL 140, 972)
  • Second Council of Braga, A.D. 572 : "If any woman...contrives to make sure she does not conceive, either in adultery or in legitimate intercourse...such women and their accomplices in these crimes shall do penance for ten years. (Canon 77; Mansi IX, 858).
  • St Augustine, Doctor of the Church, A.D. 419: "[I]f he does not control himself, let him enter into lawful wedlock, so that he may not beget children in disgrace or avoid having offspring by a more degraded form of intercourse." (De Conjugiis Adulterinis 2, 12; CSEL 41, 396)
  • St John Chrysostom, Doctor of the Church, A.D. 390, referring to men who use prostitutes: "Why do you sow [w]here there are medicines of sterility? ... [F]or she does not kill what is formed but prevents its formation. What then? Do you condemn the gift of God, and fight with His laws? What is a curse, do you seek as if it were a blessing?" Professor John T. Noonan, author of a famous history of Catholic teaching on contraception, has written about this sermon: "[T]he reason given for condemning contraception is equally applicable whether contraception occurs in fornication or in marriage."
  • St Jerome, Doctor of the Church, A.D. 384: "I cannot bring myself to speak of the many virgins who daily fall...Some go so far as to take potions, that they may insure barrenness." (letter 22 to Eustochium)
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Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Evil is being done in the name of the Catholic Church: the deliberate corruption of children

It's unacceptable, to put it mildly, that Bishop McMahon, the chairman of the Catholic Education Service of England and Wales (CESEW), and Archbishop Nichols, its former chairman and the archbishop of Westminster, continue to back the appointment last April of Greg Pope, the anti-life, anti-family former Member of Parliament, as deputy director of the CESEW.

Bishop McMahon has recently said in a letter to a correspondent on the matter:
“Mr Pope’s parliamentary voting record shows that for 62.5% of the divisions he voted in favour on life issues, and that for the remaining votes he was involved in tactical voting, often voting for the lesser of two evils”.
So let's look at Greg Pope's parliamentary record more closely, a fuller account of which I published earlier this year:
  • He voted against pro-life Angela Watkinson MP’s Ten Minute Rule bill. Mrs Watkinson’s bill would have required doctors providing contraception or abortion ‘services’ to a child under 16 to inform his or her parent or guardian. His anti-life, anti-parents, vote on this measure alone disqualifies him to be deputy director of the CESEW.
  • He also voted against pro-life Iain Duncan Smith MP’s amendment to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology bill to reinstate the requirement for doctors to consider the child’s need for a father before a woman is given fertility treatment.
How can such votes, which are so hostile to a child’s best interests, be described as tactical votes or the lesser of two evils? They’re evil pure and simple.

Mr Pope describes himself as a “committed practising Catholic” who “very much” shares the Church’s opposition to abortion. His self-portrait, however, lacks all credibility in the light of the facts.

Quite apart from the votes mentioned above:
  • Greg Pope signed parliamentary motions calling for increased funding for international pro-abortion organizations, the inclusion of “reproductive health and family planning” within the Millennium Development goals, terms understood by the government to include abortion, and he signed motions praising national condom week, world population day, and the Labour Government’s Civil Partnership Bill.
  • He 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 ‘acceptablility of homosexuality as a pretended family relationship’”.
I believe that in the years to come the position adopted by the Catholic bishops on matters relating to sex education, on which I have often blogged, will be regarded as co-operation with a type of child abuse. As Eric Hester, a retired headteacher, put it to me today: the deliberate corruption of children is "pure evil"  and, therefore, the support earlier this year from the Catholic bishops of England and Wales, via the Catholic Education Service, for the previous government's plans to make sex and relationships education compulsory from 5 to 16 years (with all that that involved) is also "pure evil".

Fortunately, thanks to a massive campaign by our supporters and by Catholic headteachers and clergy of various denominations, the previous government's plans, even with the Catholic bishops' support, were defeated. For the safety of our children, it's now essential that the Catholic Education Service is either reformed or closed down.

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Monday, 22 November 2010

The Ordinariate will help Catholic pro-lifers challenge the status quo

I am delighted by the news that five Anglican bishops and 50 Anglican clergy are in the first wave of people who wish to join the Ordinariate for former Anglicans established by Pope Benedict within the Catholic Church. As I said last December, I have no doubt that part of the impact of the Ordinariate will be greatly to strengthen Catholic witness on pro-life matters. Keith Newton, the Anglican bishop of Richborough, has been reported as saying that among his motivations for leaving the Church of England is that in the Church of England:
"There has been a more lax attitude towards moral issues. The whole question of blessing gay marriage – there is a lot of pressure for that to happen in the Church of England – abortion, and life and death issues."
I am particularly grateful for the pro-life witness of Archbishop John Hepworth (pictured), the primate of the Traditional Anglican Communion (TAC), which has sought to join the Ordinariate. In July last year Dr Hepworth wrote:
"To procure the death of an unborn child is a heinous crime against the most defenceless person".
And in December last year, Dr Hepworth wrote, at the start of the Octave of the Holy Innocents:
"[L]et us take clear sight of the martyrs who are our Octave companions. Their echoes are all around us, in the destruction of innocent life, in the failure of episcopal teaching..."
I am unsurprised to learn that there is resistance within the Catholic establishment in England to the prospect of pro-life former Anglicans being given a special place within the Catholic Church. Tom Wright, the retired Anglican bishop of Durham, said in an interview earlier this month:
"Many of the Roman Catholic bishops that I know in England were not terribly happy at the thought that they might have to administer this kind of whole extra wrinkle on top of the complicated structure they've already got, and I did hear one Roman Catholic priest - how representative I don't know - saying we've got quite enough traditionalists in our own Church without having all yours as well."
Dr Wright's comment rings true. Catholic bishops in England and Wales sometimes leave the impression that are more like company managers concerned with admnistration than spiritual leaders concerned with saving lives and souls from the culture of death. As Cardinal-elect Raymond Burke said in his landmark speech in Rome last month, it is absolutely essential that the Catholic Church is led and run by bishops and priests who preach, teach and obey Magisterial teaching on pro-life and pro-family issues.

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Sunday, 21 November 2010

The use of condoms is not a moral solution, says Pope Benedict, in widely-misrepresented interview

Austen Ivereigh (pictured), the Max Clifford of Catholic dissent in England, is a far better at being a publicist for dissent from Catholic teaching than he is an accurate reporter on Catholic affairs.

I was not a bit surprised this morning to find Austen Ivereigh, a former editor of The Tablet (a weekly magazine which works to undermine Catholic teaching on the sanctity of human life), at the centre of a maelstrom of carefully created confusion about what Pope Benedict actually said about condoms in a soon-to-be-published interview with the Pope.

How neatly he misrepresents the widely-reported extract from the interview in last night's Guardian. Ivereigh is quoted as saying:
"The church's teaching on contraception predates AIDS and predates new kinds of moral possibilities, which is that condoms can be used not as a means of preventing a conception but as a means of preventing transmission of a virus.

"Rome has been silent on this for some years. The difficulty has been how they can clarify this teaching without it looking like they are lifting the ban on contraception.

"It may well be that the pope has decided that this is the best way of doing it - through a book-length interview."
"Moral possibilities" Austen? I'm sure you are a sufficiently professional writer to have read the interview you're promoting. [By the way, let's make sure we all read the text and not the headlines of stories on the subject of the Papal interview. And let's all demand proper translations of what the Pope said.] Why then do you fail to point out that Pope Benedict is specifically reported as saying that "the use of condoms" is not a moral solution?

In the feeding frenzy of the world's media feverisly picking up such Ivereigh-esque misrepresentations of the Catholic Church's position on the use of condoms, few journalists will quote Pope Benedict's Caritas in Veritate published only last year in which he stated:
"The Encyclical Humanae Vitae emphasizes both the unitive and the procreative meaning of sexuality, thereby locating at the foundation of society the married couple, man and woman, who accept one another mutually, in distinction and in complementarity: a couple, therefore, that is open to life[27]. This is not a question of purely individual morality: Humanae Vitae indicates the strong links between life ethics and social ethics, ushering in a new area of magisterial teaching that has gradually been articulated in a series of documents, most recently John Paul II's Encyclical Evangelium Vitae[28]. The Church forcefully maintains this link between life ethics and social ethics, fully aware that 'a society lacks solid foundations when, on the one hand, it asserts values such as the dignity of the person, justice and peace, but then, on the other hand, radically acts to the contrary by allowing or tolerating a variety of ways in which human life is devalued and violated, especially where it is weak or marginalized.'[29]"
Unlike an interview with a journalist, Caritas in Veritas is intended by Pope Benedict as a teaching document of the Catholic Church: a teaching document which points out that "the unitive and the procreative meaning of sexuality" is not a question "of purely individual morality" but forms part of "magisterial teaching" which "forcefully maintains" the "link between life ethics and social ethics".  Following Pope Benedict's teaching document, I explained in my speech at the 4th pro-life world congress in Spain last year howthe artificial separation of the unitive and procreative elements of sexual intercourse is not only the basis of contraception, it's also the basis of early abortion and in vitro fertilisation. It underpins today's culture of death.

Pope Benedict, like other Catholics, is bound by the magisterium of the Church which he proclaims in Caritas in Veritate. He's not likely to promote a change to that teaching in an interview with a journalist a year later - and he doesn't do so.

Austen Ivereigh's latest intervention simply reinforces my opinion that he is seeking to redefine the common perception of what constitutes mainstream Catholicism, and that he should not be appointed to any representative position in any official or unofficial Catholic or pro-life/pro-family organisation.

Catholics could do worse than boycott any publication which makes use of his kind of misrepresentations of the Pope's position on condoms.

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