Saturday, 8 February 2014

Michael Coren, Fr John Zuhlsdorf and myself at the Legatus Summit, Orlando, Florida

Yesterday I was delighted to meet Michael Coren and Fr John Zuhlsdorf at the 2014 Legatus Summit being held in Orlando, Florida:


Michael is a high-profile Catholic writer, public speaker, radio host and television talk show host, based in Canada and originally from Essex.

Fr John is one of the world's leading Catholic bloggers and well-known to faithful pro-life/pro-family Catholics in the UK and worldwide.

Our number one topic of conversation was the absurd report by the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child berating the Catholic Church for not promoting abortion, contraception, etc.

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Friday, 7 February 2014

Dublin's Divine Mercy conference defends invitation to Fr Timothy Radcliffe, dissenter from Catholic teaching on sexual ethics

Fr Timothy Radcliffe O.P.
As readers may recall, I and other concerned pro-life/pro-family Catholics have objected to the invitation to Fr Timothy Radcliffe O.P. to speak at Dublin's Divine Mercy conference on 22/23 February. Fr Radcliffe is well-known as a veteran dissenter from Catholic teaching on sexuality. Deacon Nick Donnelly of the excellent "Protect the Pope" blog has detailed Fr Radcliffe's dissent. The conference's organising committee has issued a statement (see below) defending the invitation to Fr Radcliffe. The statement emphasises the committee's assertion that they
"stand with the Church in all matters of faith and morals"
which begs the question: If that is so, why are they inviting and defending someone who clearly does not "stand with the Church in all matters of faith and morals"?

STATEMENT FROM THE DIVINE MERCY COMMITTEE

What does the Lord require of us?
            “To act justly and to love tenderly and to walk humbly with your God”                                                                                                                                                                                      Micah 6:8
The nature of devotion in the history of Catholic spirituality is that it is clearly centred on reverence and respect:  reverence for God and the things of God and respect for our neighbour and the things of our neighbour. These are two qualities which are commended by St. Faustina:
           
“As for you be always merciful to other people and especially towards sinners”   (SFD 1446).
“On the cross the fountain of My mercy was opened wide by the lance for all souls - no one have I excluded.” (SFD 1182).

Following inquiries with appropriate Church authorities we have invited  Fr Timothy Radcliffe O.P. to address the Divine Mercy Conference in Dublin on the theme “OUR FATHER…THY WILL BE DONE on Saturday 22nd and Sunday 23rd February, 2014. Fr. Radcliffe is a respected and much sought after international speaker on scripture and spirituality. He works closely with Church leaders on an international level and we believe he will have an important message to share with us.

Through this statement, we wish to acknowledge all those who expressed concern or had reservations , and we want to assure all who participate in the Divine Mercy Movement that in line with St Faustina’s teaching,  we stand with the Church in all  matters of faith and morals as faithful disciples of Our Lord Jesus Christ. 

In keeping with St. Faustina’s  message the purpose of the Conference is to glorify God’s Mercy and encourage fidelity to the Catholic Church in these difficult times.   

We would like to conclude with these words of St. Faustina’:
            “Love is a mystery that transforms everything it touches into things beautiful and pleasing to God,” (SFD, 890).

Please pray for the Conference and pray for the victory of LOVE in the world.

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Wednesday, 5 February 2014

My meeting in New York with the papal nuncio to the United Nations

This week I am working with Peter Smith, one of SPUC's chief lobbyists at the United Nations in New York. During my visit I had the honour of meeting Archbishop Francis Chullikatt, the papal nuncio, to discuss the growing presence of pro-abortion organisations at the UN:


Today I launched an appeal to pro-life groups worldwide to join our experienced lobbying team to fight against US, British and EU policy of promoting the legalisation of abortion in every country of the world.

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UN committee overstepped mandate in pro-abortion attack on Catholic Church, say pro-life UN lobbyists SPUC

A United Nations (UN) committee on the Rights of the Child overstepped its mandate in its pro-abortion attack on the Catholic Church, said lobbyists for SPUC at the UN.

SPUC is recognised officially by the UN at a non-governmental organisation NGO, and provides most of the pro-life lobbying efforts at the UN institutions in New York and Geneva.

SPUC was responding to a report published today by the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child which attacked the Catholic Church's teachings on abortion, contraception and homosexuality, under the guise of a critique of the Church's handling of child sex abuse cases. The report, among similar things, recommends that the Catholic Church:
  • identifies "circumstances under which access to abortion services can be permitted" (section 55)
  • "overcome[s] all the barriers and taboos surrounding adolescent sexuality that hinder their access to sexual and reproductive information, including on family planning and contraceptives" (section 57a)
  • "ensure[s] that sexual and reproductive health education and prevention of HIV/AIDS is part of the mandatory curriculum of Catholic schools" (section 57c)
I am in New York with Peter Smith, one of SPUC's UN lobbyists, and as I told the media earlier today, the committee has overstepped its mandate by making demands well beyond the scope of the actual wording of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. There is nothing in the Convention which requires the Catholic Church or any other body to facilitate abortion, contraception or homosexuality.

There is a great deal of hypocrisy in the committee's report. Under the cover of seeking to protect children against sexual abuse, the report promotes damage to children - the destruction of unborn children through abortion and the destruction of born children's innocence through the promotion of contraception and homosexuality.

The Holy See's representatives made clear to the committee last month, Catholic leaders are facing up to the shocking child abuse scandals within the Church. Pro-life and pro-family groups throughout the world must  - like SPUC - come to the UN to help the Holy See in its vital work of protecting  unborn children and the marriage-based family. This work is under constant attack by the Catholic Church's enemies, as manifested in the committee's report today.

Any pro-life/pro-family groups interested in lobbying at the UN are invited to contact me for help and advice regarding accreditation and related issues, on +44 (0)7785 325808 or at johnsmeaton@spuc.org.uk

Notes:

The report references general comment 15 which was condemned by Archbishop Chullikatt of the Holy See in a speech to the UN General Assembly in October:
"In light of the recent output of the Committee on the Rights of the Child, my Delegation would like to address some elements of General Comments 14 and 15. These Comments, my Delegation must point out respectfully, represent only the opinions of the Committee; they do not constitute agreed language and lack all force of judicial precedence. Whatever is contained within them that is not consistent with the normative text of the Convention and other international instruments constitutes a disservice to the best interests of children. Expressions such as “sexual orientation” or “gender identity” (General Comment No. 14 [2013], par. 55, and No. 15 [2013], par. 8)), on which no international juridical consensus exists, are used spuriously and very unfortunately in these Comments. The recommendations, for example, States submit children to education and direction on sexual health, contraception and so-called “safe” abortion (par. 31) without the consent of their parents, caregiver or guardian; abortion be promoted by States as a family planning method (par. 54, 56, 70), and so-called “sexual and reproductive health information or services” be provided by States, irrespective of providers’ conscientious objections (par. 69). Such recommendations are particularly reprehensible. No abortion is ever “safe” because it kills the life of the child and harms the mother.
The Holy See strongly urges the Committee to revise its General Comments in conformity with its guiding international instruments: beginning with the Convention itself, which affirms the right to life of the child, “before as well as after birth” (Preamble, par. 9), the right of conscience [7], and full respect for the rights, responsibilities and duties of parents regarding their children[8]; and including also the explicit affirmation by the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) that abortion should never be promoted as a family planning method (par. 7.24)."
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Monday, 3 February 2014

Places still available at the UK's premier pro-life youth event

The 7th International Pro-Life Youth Conference will start on Friday 7 March and there are still places available, at what is the UK's premier pro-life youth event. The conference runs until Sunday 9 March and will be held this year at University of Wolverhampton, Telford Campus Conference Centre.

Here's what Daniel Blackman of SPUC's youth team told LifeSiteNews.com last week about the conference:
"Inspiring conferences are vital to the life of the pro-life movement. Friendships formed, ideas exchanged, stories shared. For a few days young adults spend time in a community atmosphere, the sort of community they are trying to build amid the culture of death so many of us find ourselves in.

Our youth are indeed the future, but they are also right now the activists, witnesses, leafleters, marchers, writers, speakers, and volunteers.

SPUC, the world's oldest prolife organisation is holding its youth conference for them, and for those who want to join this movement. This conference only happens once a year. Don’t miss out. Attend now, to be equipped to make a pro-life change tomorrow."
The expert speakers include:
  • Dr. William Newton, dean and lecturer, Steubenville University, USA
  • Dr. Igor Beloborodov, Institute for Demographic Research, Russia
  • Fiorella Nash, novelist and SPUC researcher
  • Dr. Helen Watt, senior research fellow, Anscombe Bioethics Centre
  • John-Henry Westen, co-founder and editor-in-chief of LifeSiteNews
  • Patrick Buckley, head, European Life Network
  • Dr. Tom Ward, founder, National Association of Catholic Families (NACF)
  • John Smeaton, SPUC's chief executive
Some reasons why young adults aged 16-35 should attend:
  • a line-up of international experts speaking on up-to-date pro-life topics
  • opportunities for questions, panel discussions/debates so that you can ask and discuss the most important pro-life issues we face today
  • a top quality range of literature for you to take away
  • the chance to spend three days in the company of other young pro-lifers in the UK and abroad. You’ll make new friends and learn about the pro-life and student experiences of others
  • each day you’ll be served meals and refreshment. These are great opportunities to talk with the speakers and relax with other young adults
  • we’ll guarantee you entertainment and a reasonably-priced bar for drinks. Previous conferences have included films, talent shows, ceilidh bands and dancing.
All for the price of only £100.

Do not delay. If you’re booking as part of a group it’s best to start organising early. Booking early also means you’ll be able to book your coach or train tickets at a cheaper price.

To book, contact SPUC via:
The SPUC youth blog has a permanent page dedicated to the conference.

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