Saturday, 1 January 2011

The bishops' domestic abuse website must remove links to anti-life and anti-family groups

The Department for Christian Responsbility and Citizenship of the Catholic bishops' conference of England and Wales has launched an initiative called CEDAR (Catholics Experiencing Domestic Abuse Resources). The bishops' conference is to be congratulated on taking the issue of domestic abuse seriously, not least because women often experience abuse in the home if they refuse to have an abortion. This good work, however, is undone by CEDAR's recommendation of helplines and support services run by anti-life and anti-family organisations. I list some of those organisations below and the ethical problems attached to them. I do not seek to make sweeping condemnations of charities which do many laudable things, but merely to warn that CEDAR's recommendations could very well result to vulnerable Catholics being led not to safety but into the culture of death. Readers may wish to join me in writing to CEDAR to express our concerns about its work:
enquiries@cedar.uk.net
Department for Christian Responsibility and Citizenship
Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales
39 Eccleston Square, London, SW1V 1BX

Ethical problems with helplines and support services recommended by CEDAR (Catholics Experiencing Domestic Abuse Resources):

Action of Elder Abuse and Respond
Members of the Making Decisions Alliance, which campaigned for the pro-euthanasia Mental Capacity Act

Childline
Describes abortion as a legitimate choice; recommends the pro-abortion organisations Brook and the Family Planning Association (FPA) as "sources of help"; says that teenagers "should always use contraception"; and presents homosexuality* as normal.

NSPCC
In 2002 NSPCC launched a pro-abortion website with the cooperation of the pro-abortion organisation Brook. The website currently redirects to Childline (see above). In 2006 NSPCC said in a submission to a government department:  "Children and young people in school need access to sources of advice, support and counselling, which are independent of their families and the school teaching staff ... [S]uch a service can thus...offer information about where to obtain information on contraception, abortion or sexually transmitted infections."

Rights of Women
A strongly pro-abortion organisation. For example, one of its newsletters reads:
"In addition to the legal restrictions, women face serious obstacles in accessing abortions services: anti-choice GPs delaying or refusing to refer women as well as insufficient NHS provision and long waiting times (up to eight weeks in some areas) mean that access to abortion is not guaranteed and can be difficult ... [Laurence] Robertson’s [Prohibition of Abortion (England and Wales)] Bill serves to highlight how extreme the minority anti-abortion lobby is and how little concern they have for women’s health and lives. It is also a chilling reminder that women’s abortion rights remain under constant threat."
Samaritans
SPUC's charities bulletin details how Samaritans has presented abortion and suicide as free choices.

Scottish Women's Aid
Recommends as "useful organisations" Amnesty International, Engender and the UN Division for the Advancement of Women which all lobby for abortion.

Supportline
Its "Sexuality" webpage says: "It is ok to be gay, lesbian, bisexual - whatever feels right for you to be ... [S]ome people have grown up with very fixed ideas, they also may have fixed religious beliefs which can get in the way of acceptance and understanding...". The webpage also recommends a range of homosexualist organisations, including the dissenting Catholic organisation Quest; Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement (its Roman Catholic Caucus helps organise the pro-homosexuality Soho Masses); and other groups which campaign actively against Catholic teaching on sexual ethicsx
Its "Terminal Illness" webpage recommends the Voluntary Euthanasia Society (now trading under the euphemism Dignity in Dying) and a website run by EXIT, a Scottish pro-euthanasia group.
Its "Children and young people" webpage recommends the pro-abortion organisations Brook and Connexions, and pro-abortion website run by Marie Stopes International and the NHS.

Survive
It's "Advice" webpage says: "The most obvious worry is pregnancy. If there is a chance that you may become pregnant after being raped you will be able to get the "morning after" pill to prevent this."
Its list of "useful addresses" includes Brook and the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS), one of the UK's main abortion providers.

"Wales Domestic Abuse run by Welsh Women's Aid
Under "Children and Young People" it recommends the National Children's Bureau, a pro-abortion organisation which runs the Sex Education Forum. This same page recommends TheSite.org which has a plethora of anti-life/anti-family material, inter alia:

*The late Pope John Paul II, the great pro-life champion, taught (Evangelium Vitae, 1995, para.97) 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, 31 December 2010

Strong pro-life leadership from religious leaders is urgently needed in England and Wales

St Thomas of Canterbury
In recent weeks a range of religious figures outside the UK has been speaking up on pro-life/pro-family issues:
  • the Chief Rabbis in Israel, in a letter to all the country's rabbis, have called on Israelis to fight the country's abortion epidemic
  • the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, the leader of Palestinian Catholics, has decribed the world's annual abortion death toll as heart-breaking
  • Thomas Olmsted, bishop of Phoenix in America, has removed a hospital's Catholic status over the hospital's dissent from Catholic teaching on abortion. (According to Paola Rodari, an Italian Catholic journalist, Cardinal Raymond Burke has described Bishop Olmsted's role in the matter as "an example to follow".)
Another prominent religious believer, the actor Jim Caviezel (who played Jesus in "The Passion of the Christ") has described abortion as "the greatest moral defect of the western world".

In sharp contrast, Archbishop Vincent Nichols and the Catholic bishops’ conference of England and Wales co-operate with a policy, enshrined by the previous UK government, of providing children at Catholic and other schools with access to abortion.

On the plus side, the latest pastoral letter from Peter Smith, archbishop of Southwark reads:
"The Church has consistently taught that the best context for learning about, and being nurtured in authentic human relationships, is within marriage and the family. And the evidence from report after report in recent years indicates very clearly that even from a secular point of view, marriage between a man and a woman provides far and away the best place to bring up a family and educate children. It is within that stable, loving context that children learn to develop spiritually, emotionally, physically and intellectually."
There is, however, a mismatch between Archbishop Smith's defence of heterosexual, married parenting and the succour which at least some of his fellow-bishops in England are giving to groups and publications which promote homosexual partnerships and homosexual parenting.* We need clear, consistent leadership on pro-life/pro-family issues from our country's own religious leaders. We should not have to rely upon religious figures from abroad to plug the gap.

*The late Pope John Paul II, the great pro-life champion, taught (Evangelium Vitae, 1995, para.97) 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, 30 December 2010

IVF and condom use are related in the culture of death

It is reported that Costa Rica is under pressure to legalise in vitro fertilisation (IVF). Amidst all the challenges faced by the pro-life movement, we must continue to work openly and courageously for a ban on all IVF procedures. Opposing IVF does not imply denying babies, conceived by IVF, their humanity. However, it's vital to oppose IVF as a way of conceiving children since it turns human beings into commodities to be brought to birth or discarded at will. Since the birth to the first IVF child over thirty years ago, in the UK well over two million embryos have been discarded, or frozen, or selectively aborted, or miscarried or used in destructive experiments.

IVF amounts to the manufacture of human beings. The practice of IVF assumes that our offspring may be produced in the laboratory, and that the role of the natural mother, in safeguarding with her own body the welfare of the embryo from conception, may legitimately be transferred to other people.

As Dr John Fleming, SPUC's consultant on bioethics, puts it:
"There is no such thing as a form of IVF which respects life. Human life is disrespected in the embryos and in their parents by virtue of the process itself, namely the gestation of a human being outside of his natural environment."
Do read Fr Fleming's review for SPUC of Dignitas Personae, the 2008 Instruction on certain bioethical questions from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF). Also, do order a copy of Fr Fleming's book on the same Instruction.

The use of IVF and related technologies have been condemned by the Catholic Church as contrary to the natural moral law. Catholic teaching on the matter is crystal clear. As Dignitas Personae explains (14):
"The fact that the process of in vitro fertilization very frequently involves the deliberate destruction of embryos was already noted in the Instruction Donum vitae. There were some who maintained that this was due to techniques which were still somewhat imperfect. Subsequent experience has shown, however, that all techniques of in vitro fertilization proceed as if the human embryo were simply a mass of cells to be used, selected and discarded."
The Catholic Church also teaches that:
"The moral relevance of the link between the meanings of the conjugal act and between the goods of marriage, as well as the unity of the human being and the dignity of his origin, demand that the procreation of a human person be brought about as the fruit of the conjugal act specific to the love between spouses." (Instruction Donum Vitae, on respect for human life in its origin and on the dignity of procreation, Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, 1987)
The Catholic Church's teaching against IVF shares some common points with its perennial prohibition of all condom use. In both IVF and condom use, sexual activity is separated from procreation, with ejaculation occurring outside the morally required environment of a wife's vaginal tract. As I have argued many times, the acceptance of the separation of sexual activity from procreation underpins today's anti-life and anti-family culture. Either directly or indirectly, that separation and its acceptance underpins abortion, abortifacient birth control, destructive embryo research, abusive parenting of children and the promotion of homosexuality. As the late Pope John Paul II, the great pro-life champion, taught (Evangelium Vitae, 1995, para.97) 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.

It is therefore absolutely vital that faithful pro-life/pro-family Catholics must:
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Wednesday, 29 December 2010

We must speak out for children abused by homosexual parenting

The late Pope John Paul II, the great pro-life champion, taught (Evangelium Vitae, 1995, para.97) that it is an illusion to think that we can build a true culture of human life if we do not offer our children an authentic education in sexuality, and in love, and the whole of life according to their true meaning and in their close interconnection.

This morning's newspapers carry extensive coverage of the news that Elton John and David Furnish are now the legal parents of a baby boy. Full details have not been confirmed, but it seems that Mr Furnish provided sperm which was used to fertilise a donated egg, and the resulting child was gestated by a surrogate mother. Sir Elton and Mr Furnish evaded UK restrictions on surrogacy by paying for the surrogacy arrangement in California.

In May 2006 Sir Elton blamed the Catholic Church's perennial prohibition on all condom use for AIDS-related deaths among his friends. Later that year he said that he would "ban religion completely". Earlier this year he claimed that Jesus was gay. Most disturbing was Sir Elton's 1999 concert celebrating the 10th anniversary celebration of Stonewall, the UK’s main homosexualist organisation. Sir Elton's performace featured homo-erotic dancers dressed as Boy Scouts. That performance was attended by Tony and Cherie Blair who, like Sir Elton, continue to attack the Catholic Church's teaching on sexual ethics.

Sir Elton's acquisition of a child is thus deeply disturbing. We have a duty to speak out against surrogacy and against homosexual parenting on behalf of the children involved, who are voiceless. Silence on our part would be consent. I hope that religious leaders will speak out in defence of the newborn child - including Catholic bishops. Please let me know if you hear anything. Unfortunately Catholic bishops in England and Wales have given vocal support to homosexualist goals, groups and publications. Both Archbishop Vincent Nichols and Archbishop Bernard Longley have attacked faithful pro-life/pro-family Catholics for telling inconvenient truths about the Soho Masses. One of those truths is the support for homosexual parenting among the Soho Masses organisers. Terence Weldon, a member of the Soho Masses Pastoral Council who distributes Holy Communion at the Masses, is also a homosexualist blogger who writes in favour of homosexual parenting.

Well-informed parents - not least those active locally or nationally in the pro-life movement - must make their voices heard with or without episcopal support. We owe it to the children.

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