Friday, 20 May 2011

Faithful Catholic parents are continuing the fight against episcopal bullying

The parent governors of the Cardinal Vaughan Memorial School have announced that they are seeking leave to appeal against last month's high court ruling regarding appointments to the school's board. These parent governors and their supporters are defending the rights of parents over their children's schooling, in particular their God-given role as the first and foremost educators of their children. Archbishop Vincent Nichols (pictured), in contrast, is seeking to take over the school, in order to subject it, inter alia, to the Catholic Education Service (CES) - which welcomed and helped draft the previous government's proposal to amend sex education guidance on anti-life, anti-family lines - and its allies within the official Catholic establishment. This week Archbishop Nichols filled a sudden vacancy among the governors with a serving member of the CES's management committee, Kate Griffin, rather than with a Vaughan parent.

Please support the Vaughan's parents by praying, by informing yourself and others, by attending their acts of witness and, if you can, with funds. If faithful Catholic parents lose control over good Catholic schools to dissenting episcopal bullies, then many more of our children will be lost to the culture of death.

* 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.

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The Tablet helps radical pro-abortion group raise money

The 14 May edition of The Tablet, the self-styled "International Catholic Weekly", came with an insert (pictured) from an organisation called Womankind, appealing for donations to help it and its partner groups "support girls and women wanting change". Womankind is a radical pro-abortion group which attacks the Catholic Church for upholding the sanctity of human life  - see the list of references below. This is not the first time The Tablet has included a fundraising insert for a pro-abortion organisation: in 2008 the 12 July edition contained an insert from Médecins Sans Frontières ("Doctors Without Borders"), which both performs and defends abortion.

The 14 May Womankind insert follows soon after The Tablet's 30 April editorial which, citing the pre-marital cohabitation of HRH the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, argued that the Churches should endorse cohabitation "as a sensible precaution".*

Raising money for abortion campaigners, publishing pro-abortion dissent, endorsing pre-marital cohabitation, campaigning for so-called gay rights, disobeying Church teaching on contraception ... May I encourage readers of this blog to contact the Catholic bishop in their area, as well as the parish priests of any local churches which stock The Tablet, urging them to cancel and ban sales of The Tablet. Tabula delenda est

* Why is the area of sexual ethics 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. 

Web references to Womankind's support for abortion
N.B. "Sexual and reproductive health and rights" is commonly used by pro-abortion bodies as both a technical term and an euphemism for abortion on demand (Technical definitions prepared for the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD), Cairo, 1994; Hillary Clinton, April 2009).

"[Womankind's] efforts...guaranteeing women’s sexual and reproductive health and rights" [link]

"2005 – women defend their gains at the ten year review of implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action and successfully defeat a proposal led by the U.S government for an anti-abortion amendment to the declaration" [link]

"But, increasingly, this vital work is threatened by a powerful group of right-wing organisations. Linked with conservative governments, they oppose sexual and reproductive rights and freedoms for women and girls." [link]

"In Peru, the problem of legal abortion is embedded in a society in which the exercise of women’s sexual and reproductive rights is not achieved".[link]

"WOMANKIND’s partners are keen to point out that the ongoing restrictions on women's rights are...to do with the wider external environment which is often hostile towomen’s rights. In Peru, Maria-Ysabel Cedano, from DEMUS, puts this down to ‘the interference of the hierarchy of the Catholic Church’, particularly in matters related to sexual and reproductive health." [link]

"WOMANKIND’s four Peruvian partners are working in a very difficult environment. There is a real backlash against women’s rights, after a period in which community organisations and women’s organisations...made significant advances. Women started to benefit from better sexual and reproductive rights ... Many battles were won. But right now the influence of the Catholic Church is very apparent in relation to sexual and reproductive rights: even though the law allows abortion for women whose life may be in danger, public hospitals don’t have the necessary guidance. When the main women’s hospital in Lima did develop guidelines, the Ministry of Health caved into pressure from the Church and invalidated them." [link]
 
Womankind's Peruvian partner-organisation DEMUS has created a cartoon character called Barbi. "Barbi uses [Facebook] to comment on current issues and developments such as Peru‘s recent efforts to decriminalise abortion". [link]

"Bolivia’s women also face serious and substantial risks to their sexual and reproductive health ... Access to legal abortion is restricted to cases of rape, incest, abduction not followed by marriage, or when the mother’s health is at risk ... While contraception is available throughout the country, sustainable use is limited to educated, urban women ... Educating women about their health and particularly their sexual and reproductive rights, enables them to ‘take ownership’ of issues that fundamentally affect their lives."[link]

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This morning's must-read pro-life news-stories, Friday 20 May

Stacey Solomon and her son
Abortion
Embryology
Euthanasia
Population
Sexual ethics
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Thursday, 19 May 2011

Monsignor Reilly teaches us "Unborn children should not die alone"

Once again, the pro-life movement in Britain has reason to be grateful to Robert Colquhoun, a pro-life powerhouse, and organizer of the excellent 40 Days for Life initiative.

Robert has posted on his blog, Discover Happiness, the best pro-life talk I've ever heard, given last night in London by Monsignor Philip Reilly, the founder of Helpers of God's Precious Infants.

You need 75 minutes to listen to the talk. It might be the best 75 minutes you spend learning about pro-life activities this century if you can find the time.

All of us struggling to play our role in the worldwide crisis afflicting humanity, brilliantly identified by Pope John Paul II as the culture of death in his encyclical Evangelium Vitae, can be buoyed up by the vision, wit and wisdom of Monsignor Reilly's words and by his vital work.

Before I get too carried away, let me say that this vital work, which is by no means easy, is praying and fasting combined with truly effective counselling outside abortion clinics.

Monsignor Reilly has been doing just that for 22 years, 5 hours a day, 5 days a week. And he's been travelling all over the world establishing this work - the fruits of which can be seen here in many parts of Europe, including in England. As someone involved these past 37 years in the educational and political work of SPUC - I salute what has been achieved by Helpers of God's Precious Infants. (On a personal note, my love and thanks here to Josephine, my wife, for the past 27 years of marriage which we're celebrating today.)

Judging by its fruits, which I've witnessed personally in England, in Australia and in Austria, I believe this work is one of the most effective of all front-line pro-life activities - full of compassion and truly saving lives - and its growth throughout the world is changing lives and re-building the culture of life.

But Monsignor Philip Reilly is above all a man of God and what he's primarily about is bringing Christ to women and men, to abortionists, and to unborn children - and  seeking to save souls.

He says that those who need our compassion and prayers most are not the unborn children, but those bringing them to the abortion centres and, in particular, the abortionists.

He told us that he was in Maidstone yesterday morning and the abortion centre, outside which he and the Helpers of God's Precious Infants were praying, called the police to complain that the Helpers outside were disturbing everyone inside.

When the police told him that everyone inside the abortion centre was disturbed by what was going on outside, Monsignor Reilly replied: "What, everyone?" "Yes", the police replied. "Oh wonderful", said Monsignor Reilly.

"Does it bother me that a change of heart was taking place inside the abortion centre?" he asked us, his audience. And he gave us many heart-warming examples of such changes of heart occurring during his 22 years of keeping vigil.

Monsignor Reilly insisted that Jesus did not die on the cross "abandoned and alone". He had Mary his mother there; Christ had St. John, Mary Magdalen, Mary the wife of Cleophas and the women who had followed him from Galilee. Monsignor Reilly told us "Unborn children should not die alone". They need us praying for them, for their mothers, and for the abortionists, and loving them before they die - just as Mary and the others did for Jesus.

He told us that the pro-life movement was maintaining the light as the world goes into darkness - and just as a light shines clearly and brightly in the darkness, so does the pro-life movement.

He told us that the abortionists need our presence more than the unborn children do.

He tells the countless mothers who tell him how much they regret their abortion: "You're a mum forever. Your child is with God."

No evil has ever taken place in the world, he said, which did not produce a greater good. The greatest evil which has ever taken place in the history of the world was the Crucifixion of Jesus. And the Crucifixion of Jesus produced the greatest good in the history of the world: our redemption. The culture of death is so bad, Monsignor Reilly said, it's hopeful!

He tells mothers who come back to thank him after their babies are born: you owe me nothing.

I can't possibly capture the wit, humility and wisdom of Monsignor Reilly. His talk, at 75 minutes, was simply too short. Just one tiny example of his New York humour came at the start of his talk when he said: "It's good to be here this evening at St. James, Spanish Place...It's good to be anywhere in today's culture of death"!

Please listen - and learn.  And thanks again for the recording Robert!

At the end of the meeting we were urged to attend a vigil in Brixton this Saturday beginning at Our Lady of the Rosary Church, 6 Knowle Close, Brixton Road, Brixton, SW9 at 9 a.m..  I have an SPUC executive committee all day that day and cannot attend - but will be with the Helpers in spirit. Full details can be found here, under 21st May.

Finally: you might also be interested in supporting the vigils at the Marie Stopes abortuary organized by the splendid Good Counsel Network.

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Anti-life and anti-family speakers are due at a English and Welsh Catholic bishops' agency conference

This July the National Justice and Peace Network (NJPN) will hold its 33rd annual conference. NJPN is an agency of the Department of International Affairs of the Catholic Bishops's Conference of England and Wales (CBCEW). One of this year's speakers is Frances O'Grady, deputy general secretary of the Trades Union Congress (TUC). Ms O'Grady is quoted on the front page of a leaflet entitled "Abortion - a trade union issue" published by Abortion Rights, formed in 2003 from the merger of the National Abortion Campaign (NAC) and Abortion Law Reform Association (ALRA). The leaflet quotes Ms Grady saying:
“access to birth control and abortion has allowed immeasurable economic, educational and social benefits for women. Now is the time to stand up again to defend women’s right to choose”
Also, last year Ms O'Grady addressed the TUC's annual lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGBT) conference thus:
"Much has been achieved over the past decade but some hugely difficult challenges remain for LGBT people in Britain and across the world ... While we may have made real legal advances in the UK, we have yet to see a parallel shift in social attitudes."
Another person due to speak at the NJPN's conference is Jon Cruddas, Labour MP for Dagenham and Rainham. In December Mr Cruddas told The Catholic Herald that abortion:
"should be safe, legal and rare".
Since the year 2000 Mr Cruddas voted 18 times with the anti-life lobby, for example voting in favour of the:
  • anti-life Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill (now Act) at second reading (which denotes approval for the bill's principles) 
  • pro-euthanasia Mental Capacity Bill (now Act) at second reading and third reading (which denotes approval of the bill as a whole)
Mr Cruddas has also expressed his pride in his voting record in support of the homosexual agenda.

I will be writing immediately to Mrs Anne Peacey, the NJPN's chairman, and to Bishop Declan Lang, the Department of International Affairs' chairman, to urge them to cancel the invitations extended to Ms O'Grady and Mr Cruddas. In June 2004 the US bishops' document "Catholics in Political Life" said:
"The Catholic community and Catholic institutions should not honor those who act in defiance of our fundamental moral principles. They should not be given awards, honors or platforms which [JS: i.e. "as this"] would suggest support for their actions."
You may also like to write to Mrs Peacey admin@justice-and-peace.org.uk and Bishop Lang, both at 39 Eccleston Square, London, SW1V 1BX.

* Why is the issue of homosexuality 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. 

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Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Edwin Poots is Northern Ireland's first pro-life health minister

SPUC welcomes the appointment of Edwin Poots (pictured) as Northern Ireland's new health minister.

Liam Gibson, SPUC's Northern Ireland development officer, told the media earlier today:
"SPUC will be praying for success for Mr Poots as Northern Ireland’s first pro-life health minister as he faces enormous challenges. SPUC will be watching closely to see how he intends to resolve the ongoing problems surrounding the health department’s guidance on abortion law and clinical practice.

In 2007 Mr Poots supported a motion rejecting the original draft of the department’s guidance as flawed and which called upon the then minister 'to abandon any attempt to make abortion more widely available in Northern Ireland.'"
In an intervention during an Assembly debate on 22 October 2007, Mr Poots made his views on abortion very clear:
“I speak as someone who has a close family member with a disability. Will the Member agree that those who support abortion on the basis of a child being born with a deformity are devaluing that child before it is born? Will he also agree that — given that almost seven million children have been aborted since the 1967 Act was passed and that almost two million have been terminated since the House last debated the issue — future generations will look back on this period in the way that we look back on the period when children were used to clean chimneys and people were kept as slaves?”
Liam also told the media:
"Twice in recent years SPUC has successfully taken legal action against Mr Poots’ predecessor in order to remove guidance that threatened the rights of women, unborn children and medical personnel.

The health department’s relationship with the pro-abortion Family Planning Association (FPA) urgently needs to be re-examined. The issue of public funding for FPA especially needs be looked at. Mr Poots is likely to face significant opposition from within his own department, as a number of senior civil servants are not sympathetic to pro-life concerns. However, if Mr Poots does bring forward pro-life measures, he will have the support both of most assembly-members and the people of Northern Ireland."
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This morning's must-read pro-life news-stories, Tuesday 17 May

David MacDonald
Abortion
Embryology
Euthanasia
Sexual ethics
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Monday, 16 May 2011

Well done SPUC supporters for big campaign on TV abortion ads!

SPUC's vigil outside the ASA
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has just published its annual report for 2010. According to the report (p.25), the Marie Stopes International (MSI) television ad "Are you late?" was the second-most complained-about ad (the most complained-about ad was by Paddy Power, a betting agency). However, if one looks closely at the ASA's figures, MSI's ad should in fact be given first place. The ASA said that it had received 1,088 complaints about MSI's ad, with 1,313 complaints about the Paddy Power ad; yet the ASA reports also says that:
"In addition to the complaints detailed above, we received over 3,600 other objections, some prior to broadcast and some via petitions."
So in fact the ASA received almost 4,700 complaints about the MSI ad, three-and-a half times more complaints than about the Paddy Power ad! Furthermore, that figure does not include all the complaints - either about the ad or about the general proposal to allow abortion agencies to advertise on TV and radio - received by:
We know that the vast majority of the complaints to the ASA and elsewhere came from SPUC supporters. So well done, SPUC supporters, for challenging the culture of death and showing that SPUC punches well above its weight!

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This morning's must-read pro-life news-stories, Monday 16 May

Tani and Gloria Cruz
Abortion
Embryology
Euthanasia
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