Friday, 10 October 2014

Why the pro-life movement needs leadership from Catholic bishops

Last Tuesday I addressed the Lepanto Foundation in Rome.

My talk, which was well-received, addressed the following three key points:

– Pro-life movements must defend marriage

– Leading Catholic officials are cooperating with the ‘culture of death’

– The pro-life movement can only defeat the ‘culture of death’ when Catholic leaders join the pro-life battle

The full text of my talk can be found on the Voice of the Family website.

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Michael Voris of Church Militant TV pops into Voice of the Family's Rome HQ

It was good to have Michael Voris of Church Militant TV and his team pop into our Voice of the Family headquarters at the Salvatorian Motherhouse close to St Peter's in Rome where we're serving the Synod Fathers on the basis of the truths: that sacramental marriage, binding parents together in an indissoluble union, is the greatest protector of children both born and unborn; the artificial separation of the unitive and procreative dimensions of the sexual act is a major catalyst of the culture of death; parents are the primary educators of their children and it is through the education and formation of parents, and future parents, that the culture of life will be built. From left to right: John-Henry Westen of LifeSite News, Matthew McCusker and Maria Maria Joanna Madise of SPUC, Michael Voris, Matt and Charlie, of Church Militant TV and Patrick Buckley of SPUC.

Fortunately, many Synod Fathers - albeit not widely reported by the media - are standing up for the Catholic position on marriage and are courageously seeking to protect our families in their interventions at the Extraordinary Synod. For full reports and commentaries go to Voice of the Family and subscribe for our future posts.

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Thursday, 9 October 2014

Archbishop Kaigama attacks anti-family population control lobby at Synod

Bishops march for life in Abuja, Nigeria
Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama (pictured to the right in the photo) President of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Nigeria and Archbishop of Jos, has made a landmark intervention in the Synod here in Rome in which he emphasised the sacredness of marriage and of life - and powerfully opposed the agenda of the population control lobby.He said:
"Now you come to tell us about reproductive rights, and you give us condoms and artificial contraceptives. Those are not the things we want. We want food, we want education, we want good roads, regular light, and so on. Good health care."
His Excellency's strong intervention echoes what he said in June this year at a pro-life conference organized by the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Nigeria in Abuja when I had the honour of addressing a private meeting of the Catholic bishops. At their pro-life conference, Archbishop Kaigama said that Nigerians refuse to be terrorised by the abortion lobby.

Archbishop Kaigama's full intervention at the Synod was as follows:
We are confronted with some issues, and sometimes [they are] quite perplexing. We recently had a big conference on pro-life issues, and in that conference, we came out very clearly to ascertain the fact that life is sacred, marriage is sacred, and the family has dignity.

We get international organizations, countries, and groups which like to entice us to deviate from our cultural practices, traditions, and even our religious beliefs. And this is because of their belief that their views should be our views. Their opinions and their concept of life should be ours.

We say, "No we have come of age." Most countries in Africa are independent for 50, 60, 100 years. We should be allowed to think for ourselves. We should be able to define: What is marriage? What makes the family? When does life begin? We should have answers to those [questions].

We are wooed by economic things. We are told, "If you limit your population, we're going to give you so much." And we tell them, "Who tells you that our population is overgrown?" In the first place, children die -- infant mortality -- we die in inter-tribal wars, and diseases of all kinds. And yet, you come with money to say, "Decrease your population; we will give you economic help."

Now you come to tell us about reproductive rights, and you give us condoms and artificial contraceptives. Those are not the things we want. We want food, we want education, we want good roads, regular light, and so on. Good health care.

We have been offered the wrong things, and we are expected to accept simply because they think we are poor. And we are saying poverty is not about money. One can be poor in spirituality, poor in ideas, poor in education, and in many other ways.

So we are not poor in that sense. We may be poor materially but we are not poor in every sense. So we say no to what we think is wrong. And time has gone when we would just follow without question. Now, we question. We evaluate. We decide. We ask questions. This is what we do in Africa now.
Our Voice of the Family team had the great honour of meeting His Excellency Archbishop Kaigama and Bishop Osei Bonsu, the president of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Ghana and Bishop of Konongo-Mampong, last weekend in Rome just before the Synod began.

Fortunately, many Synod Fathers - albeit not widely reported by the media - are standing up for the Catholic position on marriage and are courageously seeking to protect our families in their interventions at the Extraordinary Synod. For full reports and commentaries go to Voice of the Family and subscribe for our future posts.

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Archbishop Fisichella promotes false understanding of conscience once again

Once again, Archbishop Salvatore 'Rino' Fisichella (pictured, right), President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization, employs a false understanding of conscience to justify a position which is contrary to Catholic teaching.

I have written previously about the archbishop's article in L'Osservatore Romano in 2009, which implied that there are difficult situations in which doctors enjoy scope for the autonomous exercise of conscience in deciding whether to carry out a direct abortion. On that occasion, Archbishop caused irreperable damage to the cause of protecting unborn children, the weakest, most vulnerable members of the human community.

Today in La Stampa, he uses a false understanding of conscience to cause damage to the integrity of marriage - and once again, it's children who will be the principal victims, including unborn children, since children conceived outside of marriage - the exclusive, permanent union of one man and one woman - are 4-5 times more likely to be aborted than those conceived inside marriage

Matthew McCusker, an SPUC researcher, and a spokesman here in Rome for Voice of the Family, commented:
"Archbishop Fisichella does not sufficiently distinguish between a well-formed and an ill-formed conscience. The Church would not be acting mercifully or pastorally if she changed her teaching or practice to accommodate ill-formed consciences. Her pastors would in fact be neglecting their clear duty to assist Catholics to form their consciences in accordance with the truth."

In his interview in La Stampa, Archbishop Fisichella responds as follows:
*Would you readmit remarried divorcees to the Eucharist in certain cases?*

"I don't want to start judging and theorising based on specific cases. But who in today's world can say they have not had cases of members of their own families living together or divorcing? Unfortunately, we are immersed in a reality in which the beauty of marriage has been wounded. There has been too much emphasis on the Canonist, or legal, dimension of marriage, which has led us often into the waters of legalism. Recuperating the sacramental dimension would make it easier to find different solutions, in continuity with original doctrine. Here we return to the primacy of conscience. Nothing and no one can intervene in this. Of course, it must be a conscience that is illuminated by the Word of God, that is reflected upon and that accepts the obedience of a path."
Fortunately, many Synod Fathers - albeit not widely reported by the media - are standing up for the Catholic position on marriage and are courageously seeking to protect our families in their interventions at the Extraordinary Synod. For full reports and commentaries go to Voice of the Family and subscribe for our future posts.

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Wednesday, 8 October 2014

We will protect disabled children in Northern Ireland, vows pro-life movement

The pro-life movement in Northern Ireland has vowed to oppose any attempt to remove the Province’s existing protection for children diagnosed before birth with serious disabilities. Responding to the announcement that David Ford, the Justice Minister, wants to legalise the abortion of disabled children, SPUC predicted that the public would overwhelmingly reject his proposals.

Liam Gibson, SPUC’s Northern Ireland development officer told the media today:
"Abortion advocates alway seek to use so-called hard cases to advance their agenda of abortion on demand. They try to present abortion as a compassionate response for parents who learn their unborn baby is seriously ill. While every case is unique, each one is a tragedy.

Unfortunately, while some women in Northern Ireland receive help and support from their obstetric team, others do not. Some women have been given inadequate or even inaccurate information about their baby's condition, which can leave them feeling that abortion is their only option. Others have spoken publicly about the pressure placed on them to consent to an abortion.

It is important to note that, decades after the passage of the Abortion Act in Britain, there is no research to support the popular assumption that abortion is easier on the mother psychologically. In fact, there is compelling evidence that a significant percentage of women are damaged emotionally by abortion and can suffer extreme stress, anxiety or depression. Women who choose abortion because their babies are disabled are particularly at risk of serious post-abortion depression.

Abortion is not a genuinely compassionate response to a crisis pregnancy. That is why the pro-life movement has in recent years attempted to highlight the desperate need for perinatal hospice care for families who need help and support when facing a very difficult and heartbreaking time in their lives.

Perinatal hospice care applies the principles of palliative medicine to babies diagnosed before birth with life-limiting conditions.

This type of care allows parents to grieve properly for the loss of their child by ensuring that their baby's life, no matter how short, is not meaningless. Parents who have experienced perinatal hospice care speak of it in overwhelmingly positive terms.

Unborn children are one of the most vulnerable groups in our society. This is especially true if they are disabled. Unlike Britain - where disabled babies can be aborted right up to birth - the law in Northern Ireland does not place any less value on the life of a disabled child, even if that life is tragically short. The pro-life movement is committed to protecting all children from abortion, regardless of their disabilities.

It is vitally important that as many people as possible take part in this consultation exercise to ensure that this lethal form of discrimination against the disabled is kept out of Northern Ireland."
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Voice of the Family, co-founded by SPUC, meets Synod Fathers

Archbishop Stankevics from Riga, Latvia, with Maria Madise
Maria Madise, SPUC's international, UN and research officer, and director of Voice of the Family, co-founded by SPUC, sends the following report from our team's headquarters here in Rome, 100 yards from St Peter's Square:
Dear Colleagues,

We are now three days into the Extraordinary Synod on the Family and have grown to 15 pro-life and pro-family groups from 8 different countries and 4 continents. Voice of the Family is undoubtedly becoming louder -recognising marriage as the strongest protector of children, both born and unborn; the contraceptive mentality separating love and life as the major catalyst for the Culture of Death; and parents as the primary educators of their children.

Here are some highlights of the past few days.

On Saturday Voice of the Family team had the honour of dining with Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama from Nigeria, Bishop Joseph Osei Bonsu from Ghana and our pro-life friends in Italy gathered together by Obianuju Ekeocha, of Culture of Life Africa. Both bishops were very attentive to all ideas and inputs from everyone present and received the Voice of the Family position paper as well as the response to the Bishop Bonny proposal with great interest. We hope to meet them again at one of our receptions with their brother bishops.

Video interviews will appear on Voice of the Family website later today.

On Monday we had our first reception where we had the pleasure of welcoming Archbishop Stankevics from Riga, Latvia. His Excellency, a former sportsman and engineer, addressed the gathering as follows:
- The Culture of Death starts the destruction from introducing contraception, then abortion, then euthanasia. When they destroy the family, they have destroyed the Church.
- He mentioned a specific law of overtones -- that makes absurd laws seem normal. He had seen homosexual groups following this approach very specifically and reached a point where it seemed to him that their agenda could never be defeated. It was then when he had realised that the scientific approach is what we can depend on in defending the faith.

Having acquainted himself with SPUC's research, the Archbishop thought that we are moving very much in the direction that he wants to take when addressing the Synod. Later he shared his personal story with us. His mother had chosen life for him, when his own aunt, a doctor, had wanted to abort him. This deeply moving interview will be available on LifeSiteNews as well as on Voice of the Family. Our culture has become the culture of abortion survivors. With countless lives lost to abortion, abortifacients and IVF, it has become a privilege to be born, once conceived. That fills one with sadness, but also with great desire to at least in some way turn this privilege –life – into a hymn of joy and gratitude, prudence, justice and fortitude. Archbishop Stankevics is a beautiful example of that.

Yesterday John Smeaton and John-Henry Westen from LifeSiteNews spoke at the Lepanto Foundation at a monthly conference organised by one of the most distinguished Catholic thinkers and historians today Professor De Mattei. It was Professor De Mattei, who pointed out something very clear for us: truth can tolerate the evil. But evil cannot tolerate the truth. It has to destroy the truth in order to exist.

Both speeches were received very warmly. Should the Synod Fathers speak with the same insight and zeal for families as John did, the flock would be firmly led on the narrow path of goodness and truth. The powerful ending of John-Henry's address highlighted that every child has a right to be conceived in the loving union of a married husband and wife.

We are having our second reception tonight.

Please follow our news, articles and interviews via voiceofthefamily.info.

Our latest stories:

Pro-family coalition condemns bizarre Synod proposal by Algerian bishop
http://voiceofthefamily.info/wordpress/?p=169

Synod: radical Bonny proposals rejected comprehensively in response by pro-life coalition
http://voiceofthefamily.info/wordpress/?p=164

Synod is time to remember, not abandon, Church teaching on homosexuality
http://voiceofthefamily.info/wordpress/?p=180

Cardinal Brandmüller says family care must conform to doctrine
http://voiceofthefamily.info/wordpress/?p=193

Catechesis, not confusion, needed to reclaim families for Church, says Cardinal Burke
http://voiceofthefamily.info/wordpress/?p=196

Key extracts http://voiceofthefamily.info/wordpress/?p=205 from Familiaris Consortio, the Apostolic Exhortation of Pope John Paul II promulgated following the 1980 Synod of Bishops, stating that:
"At a moment of history in which the family is the object of numerous forces that seek to destroy it or in some way to deform it, and aware that the well-being of society and her own good are intimately tied to the good of the family, the Church perceives in a more urgent and compelling way her mission of proclaiming to all people the plan of God for marriage and the family, ensuring their full vitality and human and
Christian development, and thus contributing to the renewal of society and of the People of God." (Familiaris Consortio, 3)

Synod testimony on welcoming gay couples is 'damaging', says pro-family coalition
http://voiceofthefamily.info/wordpress/?p=216

Yours sincerely in Christ,
Maria
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Monday, 6 October 2014

Zenit news agency reports on Catholic bishop who appears to back IVF

Johan Bonny, Bishop of Antwerp
Zenit news agency reports today on the work of our pro-family and pro-life coalition, Voice of the Family, and in particular our criticism of the Bishop of Antwerp and the fact that he appears, totally contrary to Catholic teaching, to endorse the use of IVF which typically involves the destruction of human embryos.

Click on the Voice of the Family link to receive updates of our work in Rome.

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