Saturday, 14 April 2012

"Abortion is 'sacred' care"

It is saddening to read that a prayer initiative has been established, which prays for a promotion of and widespread toleration of abortion. The group appears to have been inspired by the international 40 Days for Life campaign. It has  received the backing of a Planned Parenthood affiliate in California, USA, where the prayer campaign is taking place. One of the prayers being used is reported to describe abortion as “sacred care”. Needless to say, abortion is precisely the opposite of care and to describe abortion as "sacred" may well be considered blasphemy by many religious people. SPUC's website contains details of the various abortion procedures: decide for yourself whether any clear thinking person could consider such bloody work to be "sacred".

Various commentators argue that these direct attacks on the pro-life movement only serve to swell our numbers and bolster our conviction. I hope that this is true.

David Bereit, founder of the 40 Days for Life campaign, told LifeSiteNews that the prayers were a response to the devastating impact of the 40 Days for Life campaign on the abortion industry. He said:
“Some say that ‘imitation is the sincerest form of flattery,’ but when that imitation is being used to promote the killing of innocent children, we are anything but flattered...Planned Parenthood has stooped to a new low by exploiting pastors and churches to ‘celebrate’ the slaughter of babies made in God’s image and likeness ... They certainly wouldn’t be doing this if 40 Days for Life wasn’t having a devastating impact on their abortion business!”
In the spirit of using the pithy attacks of the pro-abortion movement to encourage pro-life activism I include below two speeches by David Bereit. In the video below David Bereit rightly reminds the gathered crowd that pro-life work is inspired by love and that we must continue to pray for those promoting a culture of death. I was disappointed not to be able to attend one of the events when he spoke in the UK prior to the recent 40 Days for Life campaigns, but am glad to see that there are so many excellent speeches of his online. They are both informative and inspiring.
2011 Henry Hyde Life Leadership Award: David Bereit's rousing acceptance speech





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Friday, 13 April 2012

Please support Bishop Hine in Abortion Act anniversary vigil

I was delighted to read of a Catholic seminary in the United States which is confronting the culture of death as a community. LifeSiteNews reports:
Father James Wehner, rector of the Josephinum in Columbus, Ohio, says he believes that seminarians need to “see visibly the forces of evil at work, and respond with an act of faith in which prayer becomes the greater force.”

Seminarians in Ohio, USA, outside a local abortion centre
These seminarians are encouraged to go to one of two local abortion centres every Saturday. Once a semester the entire seminary community goes together. This is wonderfully encouraging news and I think is reflective of a growing trend of members of the clergy and laity opposing the abortion movement with prayer and through offering women alternatives to abortion. It is wonderful that bishops and priests in England are also a part of this trend.

If you can please support Bishop John Hine, Catholic auxiliary bishop of Southwark, who is joining the vigil at Marie Stopes abortion facility, Brewer Street, Maidstone, Kent ME14 1RV, on Friday, 27th April 2012, the 44th aniversary of the Abortion Act. Bishop Hine is celebrating the 12.30 Mass at St. Francis's Church, Week Street, Maidstone. He is then joining in the vigil which begins with a prayerful and peaceful procession with an image of Our Lady of Guadalupe to the Marie Stopes abortuary and concludes with a return procession at 2.30 p.m.

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Thursday, 12 April 2012

Listen to wonderful BBC World Service interview on euthanasia

Alison Davis (pictured), organiser of No Less Human a division of SPUC, has been interviewed by Mark Dowd of the BBC World Service in the first episode of a series Heart And Soul: Choosing Life. The interview is available to listen to on iPlayer and will be played live on the radio several more times.

The interview is a comprehensive account of Alison's story, from wishing to die for ten years to being a powerful campaigner against euthanasia and assisted suicide and the inalienable right to life of all. Alison is among the most eloquent and compelling of the many defenders of this right and this interview is essential listening for all those involved in the pro-life movement.

I have been blessed to know and work with Alison for many years, but I still found hearing her story again in her own words very powerful. I was particularly moved by the section of the interview in which Alison explains that after a failed suicide attempt medics took the life saving action of pumping her stomach while she unconscious, despite her having asked them not to while she was still conscious. Alison says:
"When I woke up I was really angry that I was still alive and I remember berating them [the medical staff] and saying 'how dare you go against my wishes?' Now of course I am eternally grateful. Thank God, literally, that they did not do what I asked them to do. I would have missed so much - the best years of my life funnily enough, even though the pain is worse. But it took me quite a while to get from a point of extreme anger to extreme gratefulness."
I too am eternally grateful that Alison got the life-saving care she needed and that she continues to defend and to enrich the lives of so many people.

It is even more vital that Alison's message of hope is heard by others who feel that they may be better off dead.

Alison expresses what is no doubt a common thought among those contemplating suicide, when she says:
"When I wanted to die I thought I'd be doing my friends and family a favour. I thought, well they'll go back to their normal lives and don't have to be burdened with me. It's only looking back that I realise what a horrible trick of the mind that is."
Later in the interview Alison is asked to give a message directly to those who might be contemplating suicide or wishing for somebody else to help to kill them. Alison says:

"What one person does impacts on what everyone else does. And if we say to one eighty year old lady who thinks her life is not worth having anymore...then we start to say that being tired of living is a good enough reason to have your life ended. And then what happens to other eighty year old ladies who are starting to think maybe I'm a burden to my family - shouldn't I do the same thing? And just looking on it from a purely basic point of view, if we start to allow it there will be no end because we [will] have said that this is an appropriate answer to this problem, and I say it isn't."

Do listen to this wonderful interview today and pass it on to others.

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Wednesday, 11 April 2012

SPUC's George Orwell prize goes to Dr Kate Guthrie

Earlier this month the Guardian newspaper, no doubt downhearted by the disappointing turn-out to a pro-abortion protest they organized in central London recently, published a story with the alarmist headline Anti-abortion climate 'will deter new generation of doctors'

In the story, the Guardian quoted a Dr Kate Guthrie as saying:
" ... from the feedback that I have had, I really do think that the question has to be asked: what impact is this increasingly negative politicisation going to have on future providers of abortion care? Is it going to put doctors and nurses off becoming involved in this work?"
Roger French, chairman of SPUC Milton Keynes branch, wrote to me with the following observation:
I've noticed that the pro-abortion lobby use language in the same way that the Soviets and their proxies did in drafting UN resolutions back in the good old days, full of euphemisms like "peace" and "democracy".

Here we have Dr Kate Guthrie, clinical director with Hull and East Riding Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare Partnership, asking the question "What impact is this increasingly negative politicisation going to have on future providers of abortion care? Is it going to put doctors and nurses off becoming involved in this work?"

According to my dictionary "care" means "feel concern; provide food, attendance, etc (for children, invalids); feel regard, deference, affection for". I wonder which of these elements Dr Guthrie has in mind for the unborn child ?
Thank you Roger. Your comment has reminded me to revive SPUC's George Orwell prize - which goes today to Dr Kate Guthrie.

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Monday, 9 April 2012

Read Bishop Mark Davies's Easter sermon touching on Cameron's plans for same-sex marriage*

In a powerful Easter morning sermon, Bishop Mark Davies (pictured), the Catholic bishop of Shrewsbury, has said:
" ... Dr. John Sentamu, the Anglican Archbishop of York, was accused of 'exaggerating' when he spoke of the Government’s proposals to re-define the identity of marriage as linked to a totalitarian mentality (The Daily Telegraph 31st January 2012). Yet his analysis of recent history is clearer than that of many of the leaders of opinion in our society."
Bishop Davies suggested in his sermon that the Cameron/Clegg government is attempting to turn the clock back to pre-Christian times and to discard the Christian inheritance of faith and morality as if it had never existed. He said:
"If Christianity is no longer to form the basis and the bedrock of our society then we are, indeed, left at the mercy of passing political projects and perhaps even the most sinister of ideologies."
Bishop Davies is right to refer to totalitarianism when speaking of the Government's plans with regard to same sex marriage. To understand why, consider the far-sighted reflection of another world Catholic leader, Cardinal Pell, who recently published his submission to the Australian Senate’s Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee. Zenit, the international news agency, reports:
[Cardinal Pell] said that the Commonwealth of Australia must continue to recognise and support marriage as meaning the exclusive and permanent union of one man and one woman.

Some proponents of same-sex marriage have argued that in the event of marriage being redefined, the Catholic Church and other religious communities will be protected or exempted from being required by law to perform same-sex marriages.

Cardinal Pell commented that such proposals fail to understand the immensely powerful role and influence of the law in our society. Changing the Marriage Act would, in practice, compel Catholics and other faith communities to recognize and accept same-sex marriages in their schools, social welfare, health care and adoption services, he pointed out.

When we permit same-sex relationships to mimic marriage we also say that a child gains no benefit from the knowledge that they were created through an intimate act of love between their parents, Cardinal Pell said.
Cardinal Pell's words to the Australian Senate totally apply to David Cameron's claim last week that church law will not be affected by extending civil marriage to same-sex couples and that his proposals would “change what happens in a register office, not what happens in a church”.  Not so, according to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR). Whereas the ECHR (in a recent ruling concerning a lesbian couple in France) ruled that there was no obligation on member states' governments to legalise same-sex marriage, the judges also said:
"Where national legislation recognises registered partnerships between same sex, member states should aim to ensure that their legal status and their rights and obligations are equivalent to those of heterosexual couples in a similar situation."
As Neil Addison, a lawyer, pointed out in the media:
"Once same-sex marriage has been legalised then the partners to such a marriage are entitled to exactly the same rights as partners in a heterosexual marriage.

"This means that if same-sex marriage is legalised in the UK it will be illegal for the Government to prevent such marriages happening in religious premises."
One does not need the powers of an Old Testament prophet to understand the pressures which will be brought bear on parents and on educators not to teach children that marriage is the permanent, exclusive union of one man and one woman, or not to teach that same-sex marriage lacks basic elements of real marriage - for example the complementary sexual difference between spouses necessary for the procreation and healthy upbringing of children.

Thus the right of parents to be the primary educators of their children will be further undermined - a right written in to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights specifically in the light of the Nazis' attempt "to turn Germany's renowned educational system into a mechanism for indoctrinating the young with the government's programme". (See Professor Mary Ann Glendon's authoritative book on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights A World Made New.)
 
Bishop Davies's comments are timely and worthy of wide dissemination and further study.

Readers of my blog in Britain may like to apply for flyers to take our message about real marriage to the general public, door-to-door and on high streets throughout the UK.

*Real marriage as an institution protects children, both born and unborn. Statistics show that unborn children are much safer within marriage than outside marriage. For more information see SPUC's position paper and background paper on same-sex marriage.

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Sunday, 8 April 2012

Leaflet the street where you live - and pray - to defeat government's same-sex marriage plans

I have a special Easter message for all my visitors: Please leaflet the street where you live - and pray - to defeat the British government's plans to legalise same-sex marriage.

SPUC, in common with Anglican Mainstream, Catholic Church leaders in England and Wales, Family and Youth Concern, and other bodies, is working with the Coalition for Marriage (C4M) to oppose the British government’s plans to legalise same-sex marriage.*

The C4M has launched a petition which may have already been promoted in your local area, probably through local churches. It’s vital that the petition is a huge success. Let me know if you would further copies of the C4M petition or a poster.

In order to defend real marriage successfully, we urgently need to reach everyone in the community. A copy of the new SPUC flyer on real marriage is reproduced below. Would it be possible for you to order copies of this flyer from SPUC and to give it out in the street where you live where you live or in a neighbouring street?

As Colin Hart, the campaign director of C4M told supporters recently:
“The Government [has] launched its consultation on redefining marriage. Equalities minister Lynne Featherstone said she was determined to change marriage whether the public likes it or not”.
The SPUC flyer urges members of the public to obtain and sign the C4M petition – and it urges them to respond to the government consultation.

If, in addition, to giving out flyers in the street where you live, or in a neighbouring street, you’re in a position to organize a team of people to do the same thing – however small a team that may be – please let me know.

Write to me at johnsmeaton@spuc.org.uk so that I can send you the number of leaflets you require. You can also ask me for SPUC’s briefing on responding to the government’s consultation on same-sex marriage.

Pray

At my own local SPUC branch, SPUC Harrow, we have agreed to undertake a street by street door-to-door leafleting campaign. Colleen Wallace, one of our supporters, is a Catholic and she urged all Catholics present at the meeting to commit themselves to an hour's Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament a week in support of this project. As a Catholic myself, I have agreed to do this. Any Catholic readers of my blog wishing to respond to Colleen Wallace's call, let me know, so that I can pass on news of your commitment to Colleen.




*Marriage as an institution protects children, both born and unborn. Statistics show that unborn children are much safer within marriage than outside marriage. For more information see SPUC's position paper and background paper on same-sex marriage. 

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