Sunday, December 31, 2006

Rights of the Dying Disabled

Background briefing. Most of us will be disabled one day - prior to death - and this is an important development.

From LifeSite News: The newly approved United Nations 'Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities' which has been adopted by the General Assembly forbids nations which sign on to it from denying 'food and fluids' to disabled persons.

Article 25 of the Convention, which deals with health, directs (in sub-section f) nations to 'Prevent discriminatory denial of health care or health services or food and fluids on the basis of disability.'

Commenting on the development, Alex Schadenberg of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition told that 'To cause death by dehydration by denying food and fluids to a person based on their disability or cognitive ability, such as Terri Schiavo, is to kill them by euthanasia.'

In March 2005 Schivo died of dehydration and starvation after being intentionally denied food and fluids for 13 days. Autopsy results revealed she could have lived at least another ten years if she had continued to receive food and fluids.

Schadenberg said the section was 'the most important' of the Convention 'because if it is recognized it will act by protecting people with disabilities, who are not otherwise dying, from being killed by dehydration.' Schadenberg noted that such deaths are a form of euthanasia.

'To kill a person by dehydration is the ultimate affront to the equality and dignity of the human person who is so devalued that they are even denied the most basic necessity, food and fluid,' he said.

'Quality of life concerns can never justify euthanasia of persons with disabilities, whether by action or omission,' he explained. 'These deaths are often motivated by eugenic and economic considerations and they are sold to the general public based on a philosophy of end-of-life choice.'

Concluding, Schadenberg said, 'Article 25 (f) must be heeded by all governments as a way of ensuring true equality and freedom for all people with disabilities, especially the cognitively disabled.' See the full Convention online at [LifeSiteNews]


Friday, December 29, 2006

Stepney Graveyard Bulldozed by Archdiocese of Westminster

Background briefing. This unedifying story has been reported in the Catholic press (including The Tablet) and in the secular press, including the Evening Standard and Private Eye.

Summary of Private Eye story: the Catholic Parish of St Mary and St Michael, Commercial Road (Stepney), in he Archdiocese of Westminster, had a graveyard given to it in 1851. The Archdiocese has appropriated this land for part of a new school, despite vehement protests from parishoners and others. The parish priest, Fr Francis van Son, tried to prevent the builders coming onto the site, and was arrested for aggravated trespass; the police later recognised that this was wrongful arrest, as he had the right to be there.

Parishoners formed a limited company to fight the Archdiocese in court, and lost in the High Court. (English law, unlike canon law, regards the property of parishes as being at the disposal of dioceses.) The Archdiocese threatened to pursue them personally for its legal costs, and forced them to sign a 'gagging order'. Fr van Son has been forced to retire.

Readers may remember the recent case of the Diocese of Lancaster, whose appropriations of parish funds - legal under British accounting rules, but contrary to Church law - has led the Apostolic Nuncio to demand a strict accounting from every diocese in England and Wales. See here for the Catholic World Report on that story, and here for Bishop O'Donoghue's pastoral letter on the subject; see here for some commentary.
Hat-tip to Domenico Bettinelli.


UN Gives Accreditation to Pro-Paedophilia NGO

Update: it has been confirmed that the UK was among the countries voting in favour of these accreditations. (Hat-tip to C-Fam).

Background briefing.
The normalisation of paedophilia is is the next item on the agenda for radical homosexual groups: be warned.

From the 'Friday Fax' (C-Fam):Radical Homosexual Groups Approved by UN with Bush Support, by Bradford Short

The U.N. Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) recently granted official status to three gay-rights non-governmental organizations (NGOs): the Danish National Association for Gays and Lesbians, the Lesbian and Gay Federation in Germany (LSVD) and the International Lesbian and Gay Federation (ILGA). ECOSOC granted the consultative status to the gay-rights NGOs despite the fact that the UNCommittee on Non-Governmental Organizations recommended against it, and the fact that one of the groups had clear links to pro-pedophilia organizations in the past.

ILGA is probably the most infamous of the groups granted ECOSOC consultative status last week. A “global federation of organizations and individuals seeking to” advance gay rights, ILGA, was repeatedly rejected forofficial UN status many times in the past several years for its connection to a child-sex group called the the North American Man/Boy Love Association
(NAMBLA). NAMBLA is probably the leading pro-pedophilia group in the United States. ILGA is said to have expelled NAMBLA but, according to UN delegations, refused to condemn adult-child sex. ILGA said “these groups had joined ILGA at an earlier stage of ILGA’s development, at a time when ILGA did not have in place administrative procedures to scrutinize the constitutions and policies of groups seeking membership.” This claim, at least until last week, gave UN delegations pause since the name "North American Man Boy Love Association makes it fairly clear the group promotes homosexual sex between men and children.

Another approved group, the Danish National Association for Gays and Lesbians considers itself to be an organization that takes a “conservative” approach to gay-rights advocacy in Denmark. That is, its support for gay “marriage,” for gay adoption, and for laws that would force churches to bless gay unions, all are “conservative” endeavors because in doing these things Danish homosexuals do not “want to change the world,” they “just want to be in
it on equal terms.” The Association does understand, however, the concerns of “subversive” Danish homosexuals, who want to prevent the “extensive heterofication of [Danish] society” that they say is happening because gays are pursuing “conservative” ends, such as marriage. In this way does the Association understand itself as a moderate gay-rights group.

LSVD includes member divisions such as “LSVD fresh,” which is supposed to be a support group “for youngsters” who are gay.

Twenty-three nations on the Council voted for the groups’ accreditation, while sixteen voted against it, and ten abstained. Among those voting in favor of the gay-rights groups was the United States, which has recently been voting in favor of groups that advance the homosexual agenda at the UN. One UN permanent representative told the Friday Fax that, “while the Bush
Administration has been solid on life issues, it seems irrational to me that they insist on favoring gay groups that clearly seek to undermine marriage and the family.”

See UN report here.


Babies saved in Scotland

Background briefing. The initiative of the late Cardinal Winning of Glasgow (who died in 2001; picture left) to provide support for women with 'crisis pregnancies' is nearly ten years old. The support is provided by the Sisters for the Gospel of Life, and has now helped 2,102 mothers, saving many babies from abortion.

See here for a very positive article in the Scotsman; here for the Cardinal Winning Pro-Life Initiative.

Hat-tip to the Hermeneutic of Continuity.


Tuesday, December 26, 2006

The Mystery of Christmas

After the insults heaped on Our Lady by the film 'The Nativity Story', we came across this description of the Birth of the Saviour in Abbot Gueranger's 'The Liturgical Year', in the section on Midnight Mass:

'Midnight comes. The Holy Virgin has been longing for this happy moment. Her heart is suddenly overwhelmed with a delight which is new even to her. She falls into an ecstasy of love. As her Child will one day, by His almighty power, rise through the unmoved barrier of His Sepulchre; so now, as a sunbeam gleaming through purest crystal, He is born, and lies on the ground before her. With arms outstretched to embrace her, and smiling upon her: this is her first sight of her Son, who is also the Son of the Eternal Father! She adores - takes Him into her arms - presses Him to her heart - swathes His infant limbs - and lays Him down in the manger.'

A Happy and Holy Christmas to all!


Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Dorries' Termination of Pregnancy Bill

Background briefing: If Dorries gets the opportunity to present her flawed bill again, we will need to lobby MPs.

Dorries vows to try again. From SPUC: British MP has said that she plans to renew her call to reduce the time limit for abortions. Nadine Dorries, a Conservative, is to publish a new version of her bill which seeks to reduce the timescale from 24 weeks to 20 weeks. She said that her especial aim was to reduce the number of "barbaric" abortions involving lethal injections. The bill also calls for a one-week "cooling off" period between a request for am abortion and it being performed to allow time for counselling.

Previous update: the earlier bill was defeated. From SPUC: Nadine Dorries, a Conservative MP, presented a 10-minute rule bill today in the House of Commons to amend the law on abortion. The bill, which under Commons procedure stood no chance of becoming law, was defeated by 187 votes to 108. Mrs Dorries said her bill aimed to lower the time limit for abortion from 24 to 21 weeks - but it would not have affected the upper limit for disabled babies and some others, which is birth. Most late abortions are on grounds of disability. The bill proposed a 10 day "cooling off" period, following which women would be fast-tracked for abortion. Ms Dorries affirms that she is in favour of the so-called woman's right to choose on abortion. [SPUC]

Original appeal from SPUC. The Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC) is seriously concerned about a proposed new abortion bill announced by Mrs Nadine Dorries, a Conservative MP.

Tomorrow mid-afternoon (Tuesday 31st October) Mrs Dorries will introduce a 10 Minute Rule Bill to amend the Abortion Act. This is a device to give the subject public attention.

1. Mrs Dorries misleadingly claims to be seeking a reduction in the upper time limit for abortion "from 24 to 21 weeks".

The abortion law was changed by Parliament in 1990 to permit abortion up to birth of disabled babies and for some other babies. Mrs Dorries's bill will mean abandoning disabled babies, who will still be allowed to be killed up to birth if her bill is passed. The 24 week limit which appears
in the Abortion Act only applies to abortions done, effectively, on social grounds.

2. Mrs Dorries wants to fast-track all abortions - even those over 21 weeks.

In a letter to MPs (18th October 2006), she says that her "bill will call for...a swifter accelerated process between the final consenting decision to the termination itself, so that women are not left waiting for long having made the decision to terminate..." In the same letter, she says: "I
would be interested to hear if you, like me, have had women at your surgery who have either been refused an abortion by doctors who oppose abortion, or who have had to wait for significant lengths of time after making the decision to have a termination." Mrs Dorries's bill would, therefore, put even more pressure on doctors with a conscientious objection to abortion.

3. Mrs Dorries's bill would contain a ten-day cooling-off period between a woman's first appointment and the abortion.

SPUC is seeking clarification on the details of this proposed period. Its presence in the bill does not make the other parts of the bill acceptable. In fact, its presence is justified by Mrs Dorries on the basis of a woman's choice and, thereafter, a woman's alleged right to access an abortion
quickly once that choice has been finally made. She says on her website: "It is vitally important that the principle of informed consent is established before any woman makes the decision to terminate a pregnancy. However, should the decision be to terminate, once this cooling off period has finished, my Bill would ensure that a woman could be fast tracked for a termination." (Our emphasis)

4. The pro-abortion lobby has a substantial majority in the House of Commons.

The pro-abortion majority in the House of Commons means that there will be ample opportunity for Mrs Dorries's bill to be made worse by amendments, and bringing about another pro-life catastrophe, as happened in 1990 when Parliament voted for abortion up to birth. Already, leading Parliamentarians, under the guise of discussion about late abortions, are
calling for changes to the law to allow even wider access to abortion.

5. Mrs Dorries says "I fully endorse the woman's right to choose" (press statement, 11th October)

Mrs Dorries claims that she is concerned to reduce the number of abortions. However, in reality her bill may mean that even greater efforts will be made to kill the unborn.

Please telephone your MP (on 020 7219 3000), expressing their concerns, and asking him/her to oppose Nadine Dorries's Bill. If you are unsure who your MP is, please visit If you want further information, please contact Anthony Ozimic by email at or by telephone 020 7222 5845


Saturday, December 16, 2006

'The Nativity Story' film condemned

Background briefing: this film is disrespectful in several ways to the Blessed Virgin Mary. See 'LifeSiteNews' for a thorough review of the film, here.


Friday, December 15, 2006

Blogger Beta

We have now converted this site to 'Blogger Beta'. This means (among other things) that all posts (including old ones) have 'labels' at the bottom. If you click on one of these, you will get all the posts which have that label. This is a good way of finding related items on the site.

The Blogger 'Search this site' box at the top of the page now also works much better.


Thursday, December 14, 2006

Morning After Pill given out in advance

Background briefing.

From CFNews. Women and young girls are being offered the chance to stock up on 'morning after' pills at £10 a time by Britain's leading abortion provider.

The charity BPAS says keeping the pills at home will stop more women from getting pregnant after unprotected sex, despite studies showing advance supplies do not reduce the abortion rate. It said it would be prepared to sell pills to schoolgirls under the age of consent. The move sparked outrage last night with critics saying it would encourage women to use the powerful drug as contraception without thinking about the consequences. There will also be concerns about storing such powerful pills in bathroom cabinets where children could get hold of them. The new campaign is the first to openly promote the commercial sale of emergency contraception in advance. Pharmacists are permitted to sell the pill only to women who have already risked pregnancy - at around £26 a time - although GPs and family planning doctors may give prescriptions in advance to patients.


Haringey Council threatens Christian charity

Background briefing.

From CFNews. Gosia Shannon, the organiser of a Family Centre for Eastern European migrants who have settled in London, was told last month by Haringey Council that unless the Centre agreed to renounce all expression of Christianity from the voluntary services they provided, they would lose the vital funding they received from the local authority. In one of the letters from the Council, it was said 'We expect all our services to be inclusive and without religious content, so I was concerned to learn that Gosia leads the singing of songs about loving Jesus in every session. I asked Gosia to leave this song out in future but she is still refusing to do so.' This response came after the Family Centre sought to change its name from 'The Polish Drop-In Centre' to 'The Polish and Eastern European Christian Family Centre'.

Reacting to the use of the word 'Christian' in the name of the organisation, Haringey Council explained that this could damage the funding that was currently provided. Gosia, motivated by her Christian faith, set up the voluntary centre, including mother and toddler groups, in order to help and meet the needs of Eastern European migrants as they sought to integrate and settle into life in London. Andrea Minichiello Williams, Public Policy Officer at the Lawyers' Christian Fellowship comments 'The scenario highlights one of the main threats posed by the Government's controversial Sexual Orientation Regulations. If the Regulations come into force unamended, they will require all local authorities to withdraw funding from Christian voluntary organisations, if those organisations wish to espouse the Biblical position on sex outside of heterosexual marriage' Gosia's family centre had sought to explain to Council officials that 'we welcome gay people but will not promote gay values' Thomas Cordrey, Public Policy Analyst at the Lawyers' Christian Fellowship, commented 'The dedicated voluntary work done by thousands of Christians across Britain is jeopardised by these Regulations. The losers will be the most vulnerable, lonely and isolated people in society who currently benefit from Christian voluntary work. If the Government press ahead with these Regulations, no Christian organisation in receipt of public funding will be able to refuse to promote or assist homosexual practice.' Mr Cordrey continued 'The issue is broader than sexual orientation. These Regulations deny the ability of Christian organisations to hold to basic truths in the Bible that we should not promote or assist conduct which God says is wrong. Christians must continue to insist that the Government alter their stance so that Christian organisations can continue to receive public funding for the work they do, as well as adhere to the Bible's teaching'. [Lawyers Christian Fellowship]

As the shadows of legislation such as the Sexual Orientation Regulations begin to fall upon us, CF NEWS asked for a comment from Haringey Council on whether public prayer is a consideration when giving a judgement on funding, but is still waiting for a response.


Christian Institute Legal Defence Fund

Background briefing.

From CFNews. The Christian Institute has set up a Legal Defence Fund with the aim of funding the costs of legal action and the associated campaign work in cases of national importance for religious liberty. There are a growing number of cases where Christian freedom is being restricted by official bodies, often acting completely outside the law. Parliament and the courts have laid down many precious rights and freedoms in the UK. These freedoms need to be used.

The first case which will be supported by the Fund is the legal action by Joe and Helen Roberts against their local police force and council. When the couple telephoned the Council to complain about its gay rights policy, the Council asked the police to intervene. Two police officers visited Joe and Helen to 'educate' them about their Christian beliefs on homosexuality. The police have accepted that the Roberts committed no crime - and have not even stated which crime they were investigating when they interrogated the Roberts. Yet they still maintain they had the right to interrogate them about their beliefs. The Council accepts that its procedures were wrong. Yet they still say they did nothing wrong in calling in the police to tackle Joe and Helen about their beliefs. The actions of the authorities have even been condemned by prominent supporters of homnosexual rights, but still the police and the Council think their actions were lawful. Joe and Helen Roberts are suing Lancashire Police and Wyre Borough Council in the High Court. They are taking legal action to stop the police and the Council from ever doing the same thing again to someone else.

Other cases

Brian Herbert was one of nine firemen who had refused on moral grounds to take part in a 'gay pride' march in Glasgow. The firemen, from Cowcaddens fire station in Glasgow, had also become aware of a 'kiss-a-fireman' competition being run by a local homosexual bar and expected to be harassed. Their employer, Strathclyde Fire and Rescue Service, disciplined the men for not attending the 'gay pride' march. Herbert, Red Watch manager at Cowcaddens fire station in Glasgow, was demoted with a £5,000 yearly pay cut. The Christian Institute paid a barrister to help Mr Herbert appeal against his employer's decision. His rank and pay were successfully restored.

In 2004 the Christian Union of Hull University was threatened with expulsion from the Student Union because it would not allow unbelievers to run the UCCF CU. The Christian Institute helped the CU get legal advice and instruct a solicitor. Through its solicitor it informed the Student Council that its decision not to ratify the CU constitution was unlawful. There was a clear breach of the 1986 Education (No 2) Act which guarantees freedom of speech on campus, as well as European Convention rights on freedom of speech and freedom of religion. The Student Council backed down and ratified the CU's constitution.

In 2002 a church in South Wales, Maesteg Christian Centre, was threatened with legal action by a transsexual. The church had refused to allow the man to use the ladies' lavatory or attend ladies' meetings. The Centre realised that if the transsexual succeeded in using the law to get his way, not only would they suffer but other churches would face the same threat too. With the help of a barrister and The Christian Institute, the church applied to the court to strike out the legal action. The judge agreed there was no law to support the transsexual's case and it was thrown out of court.

Author and Christian campaigner, Stephen Green, was arrested and committed for trial for handing out gospel tracts at a 'gay pride' event. The police said he was arrested because of the Bible verses in the tracts. The Christian Institute asked supporters to pray and write to the Crown Prosecution Service. The case was dropped.

The Anglican Bishop of Chester was investigated by the Cheshire constabulary in November 2003 after he told his local newspaper about research showing that some homosexuals re-orientated to heterosexuality. The police passed a file to the Crown Prosecution Service who decided not to prosecute.

Swedish Pastor Ake Green was sentenced to one month in jail after giving a sermon in which he said homosexuality was a 'deep cancerous tumour' in society. However the Supreme Court of Sweden acquitted him on appeal. The UK homosexual lobby is demanding a 'homophobic hatred' law here.

In 2004 Phillip Jensen, Dean of St. Andrew's Cathedral in Sydney, was speaking
at Cambridge University Christian Union putting forward 'a traditional biblical view on homosexuality'. He was reported to the police for making comments 'likely to incite homophobic violence'.

Harry Hammond, street preacher from Bournemouth, was convicted by magistrates of a public order offence because he held a sign saying homosexuality was immoral.

The Christian Institute website is at


Monday, December 11, 2006

Parliamentary Committee calls for Population Control

Background briefing: if this becomes Government policy, we will call for lobbying. The findings of the Committee derive from ideology rather than facts; many of the most fast-growing economies have fast-growing populations (such as Morocco); the growth of many other developing countries is threatened by falling birth rates (such as Korea); aggessive population control measures in China and India, including forced abortions and sterilisations, have led to appalling social consequences, including serious gender imbalances in the population. The fact that at a certain stage of development fertility tends to drop spontaneously (due to later marriages, for example) lends spurious support for the Committee's key claim, quoted: "No country has ever raised itself out of poverty without stabilising population growth." This obviously proves nothing.

From SPUC: A British parliamentary group has concluded that the UN's Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are "difficult or impossible to meet" without curbing population growth. The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Population, Development and Reproductive Health will publish a report later this month claiming that high birth rates result in poorer infant nutrition, higher risk of death in pregnancy and childbirth and less chance of receiving education, as well as impacting on the environment. Richard Ottaway, MP, the group's vice-chairman, recommended increased sexual education for women and easy access to birth control. He said: "No country has ever raised itself out of poverty without stabilising population growth. And the MDGs are going to be difficult or impossible to attain without a levelling out of population growth in developing countries...We have the solution; it's not that difficult. The question is, will we go for it?" [BBC News, 8 December]


High Court authorises murder of PVS sufferer

Background briefing: the only possible intention in removing food and water here is to cause death; until recently that would have placed this action under the legal definition of murder.

From SPUC: A High Court judge has ruled that doctors may withhold life-sustaining care, including food and water, from a woman in the so-called persistent vegetative state (PVS). The patient in a British hospital was recently given the drug zolpidem, but her condition showed no improvement. [Guardian, 6 December] A spokesman for SPUC pointed out that PVS was not a terminal illness and says "It is precisely because this woman is not dying that the court has been asked to authorise her intentional killing - euthanasia by omission." [SPUC, 6 December]


Child benefit for the unborn

Background briefing. Another example of 'joined up government': these babies can in many cases legally be killed, but now their existence and importance is to be acknowledged by the benefits system.

From SPUC: From April 2009, mothers in Britain will receive child benefit (a state allowance) from the 29th week of pregnancy, instead of from the baby's birth, as at present. The changes, worth up to £200, were announced by the chancellor of the exchequer (finance minister) in his pre-budget report. The change is designed to encourage healthy eating . [BBC, 6 December]


Hagia Sophia Petition

Current status: please sign, here.

Following the Pope's visit to Turkey, and in light of Turkey's aspiration to join the European Union, please sign this petition to have Hagia Sophia, the great church of Constantinople built by the Emperor Justinian, returned to Christian worship. This petition is to be presented to the European Union, which is urged to make this gesture a condition of membership for Turkey.

Roman Catholic participation in this petition is a fitting gesture towards the Greek Orthodox in Turkey, and especially to Patriarch Bartholomeos, who welcomed the Holy Father so graciously.

The petition organiser's home page has more information about the church and the campaign.

Hat-tip to Catholic Church Conservation.


Sunday, December 10, 2006

Government plans legalisation of human-animal hybrids

Update: from Comment on Reproductive Ethics:
Josephine Quintavalle of Comment on Reproductive Ethics has made the following
comment on this issue:-

The proposals in relationship to the creation of animal/human hybrid embryos are particularly worrying because licence applications have been with the HFEA since the beginning of November and we believe the responses will now be rushed through and will be in favour.

The Government will propose that the creation of hybrid and chimera embryos in vitro should not be allowed, but the law will contain a power enabling regulators to set our circumstances in which the creation of hybrid and chimera embryos may be allowed under licence, for research purposes only.

Currently there are two licence applications to use animal eggs, fused with human tissue, for research purposes (King's College (Dr Stephen Minger and Newcastle University (Dr Lyle Armstrong). Prof Wilmut is also expected to make application as well. On the HFEA website it is stated that they will reach a decision on these applications in January. It goes without saying the the current Govt is very keen to lead the world in stem cell research, and these proposals are meant to further that ambition.

A recent precedent. Recently the HFEA stated in a public consultation document on egg donation, that they had issued a licence for egg-sharing for research, even though they had not concluded their public consultation on the issue at stake. They argued that they have to consider applications when they are received and cannot delay response simply because they are engaged in a public consultation on the matter. In this instance they also added that 'If, after due consideration, the Authority decides that egg sharing for research is not
appropriate, it will be possible for the Licence Committee to review their decision for the egg sharing licence based on the new policy'. A classic piece of HFEA absurdity.

I believe they will use the same rationale to grant in January the licences applied.

Current status: protests, please, to the HFEA, MPs and the Minster responsible, Caroline Flint:

The Government is proposing, in a document leaked to the Sunday Telegraph, to make sweeping changes to the laws governing in vitro fertilisation. The requirement for couples seeking fertility treatment to include a 'father' (let alone be married) is to be scrapped; permissions will also be available for researchers to create hybrids of humans and animals, using (for example) the nucleus of a human cell and the ovum of an animal.

These appalling proposals must be opposed urgently.

For the Sunday Telegraph report, see here.


Iain Duncan Smith: homosexual adoptions 'irrelevant'

Current status: protests, please. Iain Duncan Smith, head of the Conservative Party's 'Social Justice Policy Unity', while saying many good things about the need to support conventional families, evaded questions about the appropriateness of homosexuals adopting children, claiming that the small number of homosexuals mad the question 'irrelevant'. His refusal to endorse homosexual adoption may annoy liberals, but his refusal to condemn it is a dereliction of his duty as a Catholic politician.

See Sunday Telegraph article here. For Cardinal O'Brien's clear condemnation of homosexual adoption, see here.

Readers may remember Duncan Smith's ambivalence about Catholicism when he was leader: calling himself an 'Anglo Catholic', and receiving communion in an Anglican service (for both stories, see here). Like many Catholic politicians, he seems to be Catholic only when it suits him.

Contact Duncan Smith through his website here.


Saturday, December 09, 2006

Pornography: a US Bishop's advice

Background briefing: Bishop Loverde, Bishop of Arlington, Virginia, has issued a Pastoral Letter on pornography which is worth at least quoting.

The full text is here.

Quotation: "Where the pornographic mentality has invaded even mainstream media - and certainly, what is now offered on cable and even broadcast television increasingly approaches pornographic content, citizens must demand that public officials whose service is to regulate such media take immediate and effective action. Contrary to the self-serving defense of some media outlets, such actions are not censorship, but rather the demand for an end to the exploitation of persons and the degradation of public morality."

Hat-tip to Hermeneutic of Continuity and CFNews.


Friday, December 08, 2006

EU Aid for Abortion: debate in Strasbourg

EU Development Finance Instrument (Mitchell Report)

There will be a debate and vote in the European Parliament next Tuesday in Strasbourg at Second Reading on a new legal instrument to regulate overseas aid expenditure. The original text of this legislation proposed by the European Commission and accepted by the European Parliament at First Reading did not contain any reference to the controversial terms 'reproductive health' and 'reproductive rights' which are interpreted by many, including the World Health Organisation, as including abortion. However, the text which has now come back to the European Parliament from the Council of Ministers includes both these terms.

The Rapporteur for this legislation, Irish MEP Gay Mitchell, is conscientiously opposed to abortion and is concerned that common European funds, which include contributions from taxpayers in the Republic of Ireland and other countries where abortion is both illegal and
unconstitutional, should not be used to finance either the performance or promotion of abortions in Third World countries. We very much support him in this stand and staff from our Brussels office have been helping collect MEPs' signatures for amendments.

Please consider contacting your MEP/s (details available on ) to ask them to support the amendments (nos. 1, 2 & 3) tabled by Gay Mitchell and 62 colleagues in the vote on Wednesday to remove these controversial references from the text.

Please pray that these amendments would receive support from a broad group of MEPs and that the European Parliament would protect early human life. Please also pray for strength and wisdom for Gay Mitchell and his colleagues.

For MEPs, see here.


Thursday, December 07, 2006

Hospital patients and data protection

Background briefing: to combat a long-standing scandal, Scottish Bishops are petitioning the Scottish Executive and Westminster to allow hospital chaplains access to information about the desire of patients for the Sacraments.

From CFNews: Pressure from the Catholic Church could force the Government to look again at the way the Data Protection Act is used in practice, after the issue was raised with the Scottish Executive. A working party, under the control of Bishop Vincent Logan, has been looking into the issue for the better part of a year, concerned that many Catholic patients in hospitals up and down the country are being denied their Last Rites. Under the Act , patients' personal details are not allowed to be passed on to hospital chaplains without the patients' consent, meaning that many seriously injured or ill patient's, unable to physically give consent due to the seriousness of their injuries, could be denied the attentions of a priest during their hour of need. 'A change in the law is clearly needed as the current law clearly causes difficulties,' said Scottish Catholic Media Office Director Peter Kearney. 'At present using data protection rules, once the religion of a patient has been recorded it cant divulged to non employees. 'What we would like to see is an official list of religious representatives that could be given access to this information. ' Following the campaign from the Church, politicians in Scotland have now signed a petition demanding changes to the Data Protection Act, and are also encouraging politicians in Westminster to look again at the way the Data Protection Act is implemented in the nation's hospitals.


Threat to Catholic Schools in Northern Ireland

Current status: please support the Bishops in their opposition to the Government initiative.

From CFNews: The Catholic bishops of Northern Ireland have said that they cannot support proposals for a radical restructuring of the region's schools.
The bishops were responding to a report by Sir George Bain, who had been commissioned to propose a comprehensive policy for the schools of Northern Ireland. In that report, Bain pointed to the large number of schools without enough students to justify their expenses, and suggested a steamlining of the system that could lead to the closing of over 400 schools. In their December 6 statement, the bishops said that the proposals 'oppose a serious threat to the right of parents to choose a Catholic Education for their children'. The Bain plan would give a government panel the responsibility for determining which schools are closed or merged with others. That approach, the bishops said, would 'radically undermine a long-cherished Catholic education system which has been recognized for the strength of its distinctiveness and the richness of its tradition and diversity as contributing to the raising of school standards and the promotion of a culture of tolerance and understanding'

For the full text of the Irish Bishops' press release, see here.


Wednesday, December 06, 2006


Administration: we welcome comments on this blog, but there is a delay in their publication because they are moderated. We will not allow this site to be used for attacks on the Church and morality.

However, we would like to share with our loyal readers a portion of one comment which will not be published in full:

'Go rot in heaven.'

Thanks, 'Anonymous', we hope and pray you will too!


Rowan Williams in St Sabina, Rome

Current status: protests, please.

From the New Liturgical Movement blog: "There were many people who were very concerned with the celebration of an Anglican Eucharist in the Church of Santa Sabina in Rome at the conclusion of Dr. Williams visit -- particularly as there are two Anglican churches available to any Anglican cleric in Rome.

A suggestion has been made that people consider (respectfully) writing to Cardinal Bertone detailing their concern over the matter and expressing their hopes that it should not happen again, so as to prevent confusion and/or scandal amongst the faithful, as well as to encourage true ecumenical endeavour."

Cardinal Bertone may be reached at:

His Eminence
Tarcisio Cardinal Bertone
Secretary of State
00120 Vatican City State

See the NLM post for some comments on their post.


Sunday, December 03, 2006

SORs and the EU

Background briefing. Dr Slysz's letter is important: the EU origin of many contentious UK laws is ignored or covered up by the Government and even the 'euro-sceptic' press. However, the British Government still has a range of options in how to implement EU legislation, one of which is to risk the wrath of the Commission by ignoring it altogether. (Think of France's illegal, but perfectly effective, ban on British beef, and the 'Stability Pact'.) What tends to happen is that the Government uses EU initiatives to impose laws in Britain which go far beyond what EU law, strictly, requires. On the other hand, if member states go back to the Council of Ministers with the message that the implementation of the gender-equality law is politically impossible, then the EU will back down.

Dr Slysz, an historian, stood for the London Assembly for the UK Independence party; see his article on the EU published in Christian Order, here.

Letter to the Catholic Herald, December 1st, from Dr Gregory Slysz, in part: (The Government withdrew its Gay Rights ammendment to the Provision of Goods and Services Bill (2005)): 'However, after intense lobbying of the Government by gay rights groups and, crucially, after a stern warning by the European Union Commission that the Bill, as it stood, would be in breach of the EU's gender legislation, the Government was obliged to amend the Bill accordingly. As such, any hesitation by Ruth Kelly ... was mere posturing...
Maybe this development will finally convince those Catholics, lay and cleric alike, who hitherto have been unaware of the dangers of EU secularism, that the EU's "values" on so many key issues are incompatible with Christian teaching.
Yours faithfully, Gregory Slysz.'


Government leaders press the case for condoms

Background briefing. Blair and Brown polish their anti-Catholic credentials, with attacks on Church teaching and insistence on sex education.

From CFNews: Prime Minister Tony Blair urges church leaders to 'face up to reality' and drop a ban on condoms.
In an interview to mark World Aids Day, the Prime Minister said people should be able to use protection to save lives. Mr Blair, speaking to MTV, said: 'I think if all the churches and religious organisations were facing up to reality, it would be better. The danger is if we have a sort of blanket ban coming from religious hierarchy saying it's wrong to do it, then you discourage people from doing it in circumstances where they need to protect their own lives. The danger of them not doing so is that you get people who are sexually active and sometimes in circumstances where they may be forced into the sex trade, for example'. Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown has told The Independent that 'We must also improve sex education, promote safe sex and improve access to funding for proper protection against sexual infection. Although Aids funding has increased dramatically in recent years, it is a fact that funding for condoms has not kept pace with the need.'. The Government's Select Committee on International Development (Second Report): 'Questions of morality are not the issue: what is important is finding the most effective way to halt the spread of HIV/AIDS' (Emphasis added). Catechism of the Catholic Church : 'The innate language that expresses the total reciprocal self-giving of husband and wife is overlaid, through contraception, by an objectively contradictory language, namely, that of not giving oneself totally to the other. This leads not only to positive refusal to be open to life but also to falsification of the inner truth of conjugal love, which is called upon to give itself in personal totality.... The difference, both anthropological and moral, between contraception and recourse to the rhythm of the cycle . involves in the final analysis two irreconcilable concepts of the human person and of human sexuality.


Pope Leo XIII's Prayer to St Michael

Holy Michael, Archangel, defend us in the day of battle. Be our safeguard against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray, and do thou, Prince of the Heavenly Host, by the power of God, thrust down to Hell Satan, and all wicked spirits who wander through the world for the ruin of souls. Amen