Saturday, 26 February 2011

International committee gives award to Chile for successful protection of mothers and unborn children

An international committee of over 30 non-governmental organisations (NGOs) has given Chile an award for the country's success in protecting both mothers and unborn children.

The International Protect Life Committee announced its award in a meeting with Chile's ambassador to the United Nations in New York yesterday (pictured). The award recognised that Chile has the lowest maternal mortality rate in Latin America, at the same time that its laws and policies promote the health of unborn children. Abortion is banned in Chile.

Daniel Ziedler, the committee's coordinator, said that Ambassador Octavio Errazuriz was extremely pleased at the award. The ambassador repeated Chile's committment to the protection of both mothers and unborn children.

SPUC, which has official NGO status at the UN, is represented on the committee. SPUC was represented at the meeting by Peter C. Smith.

Do read the letter from the committee to President Pinera of Chile notifying him of the award, and the press release from the committee announcing the award.

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, 25 February 2011

Pro-abortion lobby flourishes when bishops are weak, Nathanson said

The late Dr Bernard Nathanson, the abortion pioneer turned pro-life champion:
"We [who promoted abortion in the 1960s and '70s] would never have gotten away with what we did if you [the clergy] had been united, purposeful, and strong." (Talk given to priests, 1990)
Enough said (for now at least)!

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, 24 February 2011

Order SPUC's new sex ed campaign bulletin today

We need:
  • you to take action to stop primary schools showing sexually explicit materials to children as young as seven years old
  • your involvement so that sex education is not made a compulsory school subject
  • your support to reverse government policies which promote contraceptives and abortion advice to secondary school pupils
  • to act now because anti-life sex education in our schools is priming young children for premature sexual activity, which leads to teenage pregnancies and abortions.
This sex education damages the health and welfare of our children and teenagers. And the lives of unborn children are put at risk. That's why this campaign is so important.

Last year SPUC fought against the proposal to make sex and relationships education (SRE) mandatory in all state schools in England from the age of 5 upwards. The proposal was defeated, but supporters of explicit anti-life sex education are still around, and promoting lurid material in schools. We need the help of SPUC's supporters and sympathetic parents and teachers, to resist the anti-life and anti-family agenda. Please read our new campaign bulletin for further details and action points. Please order copies of the bulletin to give to:
  • concerned people – especially parents of school-age children and school governors
  • friends and colleagues
  • priests and pastors and others at your church, etc.
To order copies of both the bulletin, and the detailed campaign briefings explaining how to act on the key issues, either:
  • order by e-mail from orders@spuc.org.uk
  • order by phone from SPUC HQ on (020) 7091 7091
  • print off the bulletin, then cut out and return the coupon.
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, 23 February 2011

Austen Ivereigh backs gay and straight civil partnerships, in defiance of Catholic Church teaching

UPDATE: I note that on 7 March Dr Ivereigh will be giving this year's University Catholic Lecture, hosted at Newman House by the Catholic Chaplaincy to the London Universities in the Archdiocese of Westminster. Readers of this blog may like to attend to ask Dr Ivereigh some pertinent questions.

Dr Austen Ivereigh, the high-profile Catholic media guru, has written a blog-post published last night on The Guardian website entitled "In marriage we trust" and subtitled [my emphasis in bold]:
"Civil partnership is a fine thing, and should be extended. But the government's desire to create 'gay marriage' is quite wrong".
Lest Dr Ivereigh seek to distance himself from the first sentence of that subtitle, in the body of the blog-post he writes [my emphases in bold]:
"There are many kinds of loving, committed relationships. And it's good that the state supports them. It would have been much better if the legal privileges of the Civil Partnership Act of 2004 were not restricted to same-sex couples, but were available – as in France and Italy – to maiden aunts, marriage-phobic men and women, the disabled and their lifelong carers. It is right that people who commit themselves – lovingly, sometimes even sexually – to each other, and express that in stability and commitment, to have inheritance and hospital-visiting rights, tax breaks and the like. But civil partnerships are not marriage."
In these words Dr Ivereigh has clearly endorsed the legal recognition of sexually-active homosexual and extra-marital heterosexual unions. Such an endorsement dissents clearly from definitive Catholic Church teaching. In 2003, the late Pope John Paul II approved a document by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, entitled "Considerations regarding proposals to give legal recognition to unions between homosexual persons", signed by the current Holy Father and published on the feast-day of the Ugandan martyrs, who died rather than submit to sodomy. Here are some relevant extracts from that document, marked "CDF" and with my emphases in bold, followed by my comments:
CDF: "In those situations where homosexual unions have been legally recognized or have been given the legal status and rights belonging to marriage, clear and emphatic opposition is a duty." (no.5)
As civil partnerships in English law are legally exclusive to same-sex couples and in practice are used only by homosexual couples, they therefore fall squarely under the document's condemnation of homosexual unions. By the use of the word "or", the CDF made clear that the Catholic Church condemns civil partnerships between homosexuals per se and not only "[i]n those situations where homosexual unions...have been given the legal status and rights belonging to marriage." (And in any case, civil partnerships in English law have already been given many of the "rights belonging to marriage" in English law, so they are doubly condemned.) Dr Ivereigh has not only failed in his "duty" to manifest "clear and emphatic opposition" to homosexual civil partnerships, he has endorsed and praised them.
CDF: "The homosexual inclination is...'objectively disordered' and homosexual practices are 'sins gravely contrary to chastity'." (no.4)
There is no mention in Dr Ivereigh's blog-post to homosexuality as a disorder nor to the wrongness of homosexual acts. This omission is squarely contrary to the next paragraph of the CDF's document which says:
"Moral conscience requires that, in every occasion, Christians give witness to the whole moral truth, [for example] stating clearly the immoral nature of [homosexual] unions..." (no.5)
Dr Ivereigh wrote:
"It is right that people who commit themselves – lovingly, sometimes even sexually – to each other, and express that in stability and commitment, to have inheritance and hospital-visiting rights, tax breaks and the like."
Yet the CDF explicitly rejects that claim:
"Nor is the argument valid according to which legal recognition of homosexual unions is necessary to avoid situations in which cohabiting homosexual persons, simply because they live together, might be deprived of real recognition of their rights as persons and citizens." (no.9)
The final paragraph of the CDF's document says:
"Legal recognition of homosexual unions or placing them on the same level as marriage would mean...the approval of deviant behaviour..." (no.11)
Again, by the use of the word "or", the CDF made clear that the Catholic Church condemns civil partnerships between homosexuals per se and not only where such unions are "plac[ed] on the same level as marriage." One of the bases of this condemnation is "the approval of deviant behaviour", about which Dr Ivereigh's blog-post is silent.

Elsewhere, Dr Ivereigh has defamed as "pharisees" those faithful pro-life/pro-family Catholics who have had the temerity to point out how some of his opinions on sexual ethics deviate from Catholic teaching. This, of course, is an old trick from The Tablet, of which Dr Ivereigh was the deputy editor and to which he remains unswervingly loyal. I wonder whether the next time Dr Ivereigh prays to Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta, he will tell her that she, too, is a pharisee? The Good Counsel Network has just published a letter by a Jesuit priest, written on her behalf and signed by her, which upholds the Catholic Church's perennial condemnation of all condom use, including for prophylaxis. Dr Ivereigh has voiced frequently his dissent from that condemnation, even saying that school-children should be taught the benefits of condom use and claiming that urging HIV+ fornicators to use condoms is now Catholic pastoral practice.

Dr Ivereigh's high-profile roles in the Catholic world gives his thinking the false impression of a model of Catholic orthodoxy. This in turn threatens to mislead the faithful, including Catholic eduationalists. That is why it is high time for faithful pro-life/pro-family Catholics in Catholic organisations in which Dr Ivereigh has roles to act to remove him from those roles.


And why is the Catholic Church's teaching on sexual ethics (and Dr Ivereigh's dissent from that teaching) important specifically for the pro-life movement? The late Pope John Paul II, the great pro-life champion, taught in no. 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

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Professor calls for strategy u-turn as stats show little change in teen pregnancies

A leading expert on teenage pregnancy trends has called for a u-turn in the 10-year national teenage pregnancy strategy.

Professor David Paton, chair of industrial economics at Nottingham University Business School, was commenting on official estimates of under-18 pregnancies in 2009, which claim to predict a six percent fall.

Speaking to SPUC earlier today, Professor Paton said:
"11 years after the launch of the Labour Government’s teenage pregnancy strategy, it is clear that, despite the millions of pounds that has been spent, there is no chance at all that we will come even close to meeting the target of a 50% fall in the under-18 conception rate. The research evidence is increasingly clear: those areas that have promoted access to contraception have not seen larger decreases in teenage pregnancy than other areas. More disturbingly, there is now evidence that the promotion of easier access to emergency birth control is associated with increases in STIs amongst teenagers. Now is the time to consider a move away from an over-reliance on strategies aimed largely at managing the risks of underage sexual activity."
As I told the media earlier today, the tired old formula of abortion, condoms, pills and school-based sex ed has failed a whole generation of our children. The coalition government must make a break with Labour's failed teenage pregnancy strategy. Parents are the key to solving the problem of high rates of teenage pregnancy. The rights and responsibilities of parents as the first and foremost educators of their children in sexual matters must be upheld again. Children will then have the formation necessary to resist being sexualised.

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

Please pray for the repose of the soul of Dr Bernard Nathanson

Dr Bernard Nathanson, the most famous of those abortionists who became pro-life, has passed away, aged 84. Please pray for the repose of his soul, and give thanks to God for his decades of pro-life witness. His writings, speeches, documentaries and other work following his pro-life conversion give testament to a great mind and a faithful Catholic.

Dr Nathanson came several times to the UK at the invitation of SPUC. He spoke at our national conferences at Swansea in September 1984 and at Glasgow in 1986, at which he presented "Eclipse of Reason", the second of his documentaries into the reality of abortion. In Novemeber 1984 he presented "The Silent Scream", the first of his documentaries, to a meeting of parliamentarians at the House of Commons. He is photographed here in Parliament with his wife, Adele. Over the following decades SPUC sold or distributed many copies of his documentaries and books.

"The Silent Scream" includes an ultrasound scan of an abortion of a 12-week unborn child. The documentary was endorsed (see affadavit, right) and defended by Professor Ian Donald, who is universally acknowledged as the father of ultrasound. It was through the use of ultrasound in abortions, which Dr Nathanson had pioneered, that the full humanity of all unborn children was revealed to Dr Nathanson's conscience.

During a decade of transition from being pro-abortion to being pro-life Dr Nathanson recalled that he:
"had performed many thousands of abortions on innocent children [and experienced] existential torment...unremitting black despair...[considered suicide and abused] alcohol, tranquilizers ... I despised myself ... I had become as Hannah Arendt described [Adolf] Eichmann [an architect of the Holocaust]: a collection of functions rather than an accountable human being."
Anthony Ozimic, SPUC's communications manager, wrote in 2005 a dissertation on the subject of abortion centre staff. Commenting on Dr Nathanson's recollections, he wrote:
"It is truly telling that both the pioneer of mass abortion (Bernard Nathanson) and the woman who case made mass abortion possible in the US (Norma McCorvey) - who herself went on to work in a clinic – suffered negative effects on their moral character because of their abortion work. They had a choice to follow those negative effects further into a downward spiral or transform into moral regeneration, and they chose the latter."
So I thank our Lady of Guadalupe, protectress of the unborn, for the pro-life conversion and pro-life witness of the late Dr Bernard Nathanson. Requiescat in pace

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, 21 February 2011

SPUC's UN work is vital to protect family and life

Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, the Holy See's permanent representative at the United Nations' offices in Geneva, gave an address last Thursday in Rome about the anti-human ideology being promoted at the UN. Zenit reports:
"'Geneva is a place where culture is generated daily', said Archbishop Tomasi, recalling that 30,000 employees of international entities reside there, holding more than 9,000 conferences every year ... According to Archbishop Tomasi, words from Judeo-Christian tradition are disappearing: words such as truth, morality, conscience, reason, father, mother, child, commandment, sin, hierarchy, nature, marriage, etc. ... [S]oft laws are transformed into juridical norms. Then there is a new convention and it becomes law and it is applied even in a small village."
This is why SPUC's work at the UN is vital. Patrick Buckley and Peter Smith both represent SPUC, and the wider international pro-life movement, at the UN and the other international institutions with offices in Geneva, New York and elsewhere. Pat and Peter work closely with Archbishop Tomasi and many other important delegates to resist anti-human agendas. Pat and Peter spend long periods of time away from their families in order to defend every family on earth. Such work is also costly, particularly the cost of travel. You can help Pat and Peter by donating, joining and/or leaving a legacy to SPUC.

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