Saturday, 12 February 2011

Catholic Church in South Korea offers powerful defence of human life

The Catholic Church's witness to the sanctity of all human life is the most powerful force in the world for protecting vulnerable human beings. In this connection, I draw great encouragement from the courageous leadership currently being displayed by the Church's leaders in South Korea.

Rebecca Millette, of LifeSiteNews.com, recently reported:
In an effort to promote a culture of life, the South Korean Catholic Bishops’ Conference (CBCK) has announced it will provide shelters and financial support for single mothers and free delivery for unmarried pregnant women in Catholic-run hospitals.
The initiative, called “New Life Project,” was inaugurated by the CBCK on February 7 at a Mass presided over by Bishop Gabriel Chang Bong-hun of Cheongju (pictured), president of the CBCK Committee for Bioethics.
“The Catholic Church teaches that human life begins from fertilization,” said Bishop Gabriel Chang Bong-hun of Cheongju. “Abortions and destruction of human embryos are grave crimes that destroy life.”
As Bishop Gabriel Chang Bong-hun suggests, this sort of action taken by bishops to defend life is the response demanded by the Catholic Church's teaching:
Where life is involved, the service of charity must be profoundly consistent. It cannot tolerate bias and discrimination, for human life is sacred and inviolable at every stage and in every situation; it is an indivisible good. We need then to "show care" for all life and for the life of everyone. Indeed, at an even deeper level, we need to go to the very roots of life and love.
It is this deep love for every man and woman which has given rise down the centuries to an outstanding history of charity, a history which has brought into being in the Church and society many forms of service to life which evoke admiration from all unbiased observers. Every Christian community, with a renewed sense of responsibility, must continue to write this history through various kinds of pastoral and social activity. To this end, appropriate and effective programmes of support for new life must be implemented, with special closeness to mothers who, even without the help of the father, are not afraid to bring their child into the world and to raise it. Similar care must be shown for the life of the marginalized or suffering, especially in its final phases. (Evangelium Vitae, 87)
I look forward to the day when the Catholic bishops of England and Wales will respond to the ongoing crisis in this country, which results in the unspeakable tragedy of hundreds of human lives lost each day. Unfortunately, for this day to arrive we will need to witness a huge transformation in the current policy of the Catholic bishops of England and Wales.

Our bishops are failing to speak out on life issues and to reach out to some of the most vulnerable people in our society - women under pressure to have an abortion - in the way that the bishops of South Korea are doing. Not only this, but our bishops are actually co-operating with anti-life forces.  They do this by making abortion accessible to Catholics and non-Catholics through CEDAR, an initiative of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales, and Connexions, a government agency which is committed to giving schoolchildren, under the age of 16, access to abortion and abortifacients without parental knowledge or permission. Connexions is a body welcomed into Catholic schools by the Catholic Education Service, working on behalf of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales.

I am praying for the day when England and Wales will have Catholic bishops that seek to defend their flock and our nation in the way the bishops of South Korea are doing.

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Friday, 11 February 2011

High court to issue ruling in bedroom abortions case on Monday

The High Court will hand down its judgment in the “bedroom abortions” case on Monday 14 February at 10am.

Mr Justice Supperstone will hand down his judgment, in the case of BPAS vs Secretary of State for Health, in court 12, St Dunstan's House, 133-137 Fetter Lane, London, EC4A 1HD, at 10am. We understand that the text of the judgment will be available to the public shortly afterwards. BPAS sought to be allowed to issue drugs for inducing an abortion for women to use at home. SPUC was an intervenor in the case, and will be available for comment on Monday. Paul Tully, SPUC's general secretary, will be at the court, and his mobile number is (0)7939 178719. SPUC's communications department is available on (0)7939 177683 and (020) 7820 3129.

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No time for Bryant sex ed bill in Commons today

Chris Bryant MP's bill to force schools to teach sex and relationships education (SRE) was not given parliamentary time today for a second reading in the House of Commons. The bill has been re-listed for Commons business in April. SPUC thanks its supporters for lobbying their MPs.

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Thursday, 10 February 2011

Explicit lessons in school are priming your children for sex, SPUC warns Worksop parents at public meeting

Dozens of worried parents attended a meeting in Worksop yesterday evening.

Antonia Tully of SPUC's Safe at School campaign gave a presentation on the widely-used sex education programme “Living and Growing”, published by Channel Four.

Mrs Tully showed horrified parents extracts from the DVDs in the programme, including an animation of sexual intercourse in two positions; a graphic child birth scene; and a section telling boys of 10-11 years old that masturbation is something everyone does and that it “does you no harm”.

Parents also saw clips which promote homosexuality, with footage of same-sex couples kissing.

Antonia explained to parents how this resource for primary schools effectively primes children for teenage sex.

Trevor Bean, Group Manager for the Education Improvement Service at Nottingham City Council, was present throughout the meeting and said that he would not want his children to see such material.

The Worksop Guardian
, a local newspaper, was there and published a report.

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Suffering does not alter the value of each life

Janet Thomas of No Less Human, a group within SPUC which represents disabled people, has kindly sent me her review of a recent article from the mother of a disabled child:
"Who can judge the quality of a life?

This is the title of an article published in the current issue of The New Oxford Review, a publication written from a religious perspective so it is not surprising that the author, Angela Manuel Camel, an American mother from Louisiana, answers this question from a faith deeply rooted in the love and goodness of God who knows what is best for those He has created.

If this were all that we were able to find in this article, it would still be worth reading for many who share Angela’s particular belief as well as all those who have some kind of religious faith. Angela reminds us that a life free of pain is not our automatic right, that for those of faith there is value in suffering and that it is not our right to judge the worth of any life, even those of our own disabled babies and that the attitude of those parents with faith should be one of gratitude for being given the chance to love and care for a vulnerable child.

However, even those who have no faith can find much to ponder in this thoughtful article; Angela reminds us that “the quality of life argument”, that would judge a disabled life as worthless because of the suffering, is flawed in that the judgement is not made from the point of view of the disabled child for whom this is the only life she has known and moreover, ignores the fact that the pain she suffers is always accompanied by the ‘encompassing love’ of her family. Angela reminds us all of how important love is in countering suffering. We have a duty to relieve suffering, it is true, but it is in our response to those whose suffering is severe that we show the real depth of our love and compassion. True compassion lies in remembering that suffering does not alter the infinite human value of each life; to advance suffering as a reason for killing disabled unborn babies is a sham love which sees a disabled or suffering life which may be very short as of less worth than a ‘perfect’ one; to judge the lives of suffering people as of little value is to turn our backs on the greatest learning adventure life has to offer. It is only by opening our hearts to suffering, our own and that of others especially our children, that we can enlarge them to accept and appreciate the infinite value, dignity and worth of every human being.

Angela ends with these moving words, “He (God) blessed me and my husband with a child who is as close to perfect as a child could be. Many would remark in confusion, “Perfect? She cannot walk, or talk, or eat on her own, etc.” My response is that she can love and has received love beyond measure. How much more perfect could she be?”"
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Wednesday, 9 February 2011

We must work hard to rebut the UN's anti-population ideology

The United Nations Population Division (UNPD), which analyses world demography (and which is separate from the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), which was established to promote population control) is lamenting the fact that the world's population is growing. Hania Zlotnik, UNPD's director, said:
"[H]igh-fertility countries may not reduce their fertility fast enough and countries with intermediate fertility levels may see them stagnate above replacement level. Even countries with intermediate fertility need to reduce it to replacement level or below if they wish to avert continuous population increases to unsustainable levels."
Yet the idea that even high-range estimates of world population growth are "unsustainable" is simply false - as the UNPD itself said in 2001:
"Even though population increased more rapidly during the twentieth century than ever before, economic output grew even faster, owing to the accelerating tempo of technological progress…[W]hile world population increased close to 4 times, world real gross domestic product increased 20 to 40 times, allowing the world to not only sustain a four-fold population increase, but also to do so at vastly higher standards of living ... Over the period 1961-1998, world per capita food available for direct human consumption increased by 24 per cent, and there is enough being produced for everyone on the planet to be adequately nourished ... During recent decades new reserves have been discovered, producing the seeming paradox that even though consumption of many minerals has risen, so has the estimated amount of the resource as yet untapped." (World Population Monitoring, UNPD, 2001)
So we can see that the latest UNPD report represents a victory of ideology over facts. Pro-lifers must therefore work hard to rebut the UN's anti-population ideology. We must use the resources of:
Here is a list of some posts from this blog about population which you may find useful:
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Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Contact your MP today re this Friday's sex ed bill

Chris Bryant’s private member’s bill to make sex and relationships education (SRE) compulsory in all schools is due for second reading this Friday, 11 February.

There is growing concern among parents about the practice of SRE – especially in primary schools - and the evidence of the damage is mounting. Research has shown the ineffectiveness of the typical UK approach to SRE, even when delivered to a very high standard by specially-trained presenters.

SPUC has produced a detailed briefing on the Bryant bill

Although the bill is unlikely to make further progress due to procedural reasons, if you know that your member of parliament (MP) is sympathetic to pro-life concerns, please contact him or her and ask them to be available to speak and vote against the bill. You can contact your MP via the SPUC website at http://www.spuc.org.uk/mps

Please remember to forward any replies you receive from MPs to SPUC HQ political@spuc.org.uk

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Please support pro-life vigil in Maidstone on 16 February

"A great prayer for life is urgently needed … prayer and fasting are the first and most effective weapons against the forces of evil." Pope John Paul II, Evangelium Vitae.

The Helpers of God's Precious Infants is an international pro-life group founded by Monsignor Philip Reilly under the direction of Bishop Thomas Daily of New York. Its main work is prayer vigils at abortion facilities. To date, 5 cardinals and over 100 bishops worldwide participate, including Bishop Thomas McMahon of Brentwood, Bishop John Hine of Southwark and Bishop Arthur Roche of Leeds. The spirituality is one of solidarity with Jesus in the person of the forgotten poor: “Whatever you do for the least of these my brethren, you do for me.” (Matt.25:40).

The Helpers will be holding a vigil, with full police co-operation, on Wednesday 16 February at the Marie Stopes abortion facility, Brewer Street, Maidstone, Kent ME14 1RV. The proceedings will start at 10.00am with the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass at St Francis’ Church, Week Street, ME14 1RH celebrated by Father Neil Vincent.
10.30am: prayerful and peaceful procession to Marie Stopes abortion facility, processing with image of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Holy Rosary.
12.00pm: return procession for blessing and refreshments in the parish centre.

Directions: Connex South East runs a direct line from Victoria to Maidstone East Station, which is directly opposite St. Francis Church.
By road: The M20 – come off at Junction 6. Follow signs to town centre then to Maidstone East station. There is a car park at the station and also two car parks in Brewer Street and one in Wheeler Street, both of which are accessed by Lower Boxley Well road. The shaded areas on the map are pedestrian areas only.

The Helpers ask those unable to join the procession to join them spiritually.

For further information contact:
The Helpers Of God’s Precious Infants, P.O. Box 26601, LONDON, N14 7WH
Telephone: 020 8252 3109 E-mail: info@hgpi.co.uk Web: www.hgpi.co.uk
Local co-ordinator: Carole Smith, mobile 07502 109397

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Monday, 7 February 2011

Archbishop Nichols is failing repeatedly to protect unborn children and Catholic families

Last week Vincent Nichols (pictured, right) archbishop of Westminster, issued a statement in response to parent-led protests about the way Westminister archdiocese is treating the Cardinal Vaughan Memorial School. Firstly, I should say that it is outside SPUC's remit to comment on the key issue in the dispute between the parents and the archdiocese, namely, the school's admissions policy. However, I note with great interest the Vaughan Parents' Action Group (VPAG)'s response to Archbishop Nichols:
"The VPAG notes that, in his 85 word statement, the Archbishop does not even mention the word “parents” ... The Church teaches that parents are “the primary and principal educators” (Gravissimum Educationis, 3) of their children, not the Diocese, and not the Bishop. It is their role to support parents in that task..."
I note that Paul Barber, Westminster archdiocese's director of education who has just been appointed by Archbishop Nichols to the Vaughan governors' board, in March sent a shameful message to clergy whitewashing the Labour government's attempt to force all state-funded schools to teach anti-life/anti-family sex education.

Elsewhere, Archbishop Nichols has been giving lip-service to Catholic teaching on the family. In a recent speech to Caritas Social Action, he cited a statement issued by the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales reflecting on Pope Benedict's visit to Britain:
"Catholic social teaching reminds us that the key to social development lies in placing the good of the human person centre-stage. In that perspective marriage, family life, and the dignity of work are vitally important. The future of society crucially depends on the nature and quality of family life."
Archbishop Nichols also said:
"In the social doctrine of the Church, particularly as expressed in [Pope Benedict's encyclical] Caritas in Veritate, we have a source of practical guidance and profound wisdom relevant to all who desire to recover a stronger sense of a more humane civil society."
Yet, just there as there was no mention of parents in his statement on the Vaughan school, neither was there any mention of unborn children in his speech to Caritas Social Action - even though Pope Benedict spoke clearly of the need to protect unborn children in both Caritas in Veritate (paragraphs 15 and 28) and directly to the bishops themselves during the papal visit.

Time and again Archbishop Nichols (and the bishops' conference of which he is president) not only fails to protect unborn children and Catholic families, but is actively complicit in undermining them. The parents' group at the Vaughan school is but the newest of a growing number of elements in the Catholic Church in England and Wales who rightly demand better of an archbishop of Westminster.

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