Call to action: have you signed the latest petition? Have you lobbied your MP? Act now!
The Cardinal's article in the Daily Telegraph today makes the important points:
1. The objection to giving children to homosexual couples to bring up derives from the insight that such couples are not psychologically suited to the tal0000k of child-rearing.
Comment: This is an insight of Natural Law. It is not a matter of revealed Divine Law, like the obligation to attend Mass. It is not principally an issue of religious freedom, but of morality.
2. This is an insight Catholics share with all other major religions, and with all people of good sense.
Comment: the classic secularist claim is that secularism is the 'lowest common denomenator' in a 'multi-cultural society': i.e. it is an honest broker between potentially irreconcilable views. In this case the opposite is true: all the major religions of the UK, and traditional British attitudes, are against this law; secularists are trying to impose a new morality, even a new religion, by force upon everyone in the land.
2. The Catholic position will not change, and these issues will not 'go away'.
Comment: every generation of anti-Catholic rulers think that they will be the ones to destroy the Church, or make her repudiate her beliefs. The Church buries her undertakers. When Blair is a footnote in the history books, the Catholic Church will still be teaching that homosexual couples should not be given adoptive children.
The Cardinal's case is unfortunately undermined by the practice of Catholic adoption agencies referring unsuitable parents to other adoption agencies. This immoral practice must stop. Please write to the Cardinal
Wednesday, January 31, 2007
Call to action: have you signed the latest petition? Have you lobbied your MP? Act now!
Tuesday, January 30, 2007
Background briefing. It should be noted that Muslims have different opinions about the morality of abortion, some schools of though allowing it until certain times after conception.
From SPUC: The Indian Muslim Welfare Society and the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC) held a Muslim-Christian conference in Batley, West Yorkshire, England on 27 January. The main speakers were John Smeaton, national director of SPUC, and Dr A Majid Katme, Muslim coordinator for SPUC and spokesman for the Islamic Medical Association in the UK. The topics addressed were abortion, euthanasia and sex education, along with abortifacient contraceptives and secret abortions. Dr Katme called on all Muslims to join the pro-life campaign, while Mr Smeaton condemned the silence about these issues. [SPUC, 29 January]
Monday, January 29, 2007
Background briefing: instead of closing down their two adoption agencies, the Church in Scotland plans to keep them running, maintaining their policy not to place children with homosexual couples, and then fight any legal action taken against them, under Article 9 of the Human Rights Act. For the full story in the Scotsman, see here.
Hat-tip to Valle Adurni.
Background briefing: a very interesting speach from a prominent newspaper editor.
From CFNews: Daily Mail Daily Mail editor Paul Dacre used a rare public speech last week - the Hugh Cudlipp lecture at the London College of Communications - to savage the BBC, accusing it 'under a figleaf of impartiality' of imposing its world view.
'Firstly, consider the sheer size of the corporation which is, despite its bleating about being underfunded, a conglomerate that employs 26,000 people, has a vast £3.2bn budget, and thinks nothing of paying £18m to a chat show host. Then consider this: the BBC employs more journalists and their support staff - 3,500 - and spends more on them than do all the national daily newspapers put together. Pervasiveness? Where there was once just a handful of channels, the BBC now has an awesome stranglehold on the airwaves reaching into every home every hour of the day. Like an amoeba, that reproduces itself by fission, the corporation just grows and grows. On TV there's BBC1, BBC2, BBC3, BBC4, News 24 and BBC World. Then there's Radios One, Two, Three, Four, Five Live, Five Live Sports Extra, 1Xtra, BBC 6Music, BBC7, BBC Asian Network and, of course, the BBC World Service. On the web, bbc.co.uk has a staggering 53 per cent of the British online audience and the corporation has just earmarked a £350m war-chest to expand into social networking on the internet
The BBC has 15 regional TV services across England plus 40 local radio stations and now - in a move that has huge implications for newspapers - is considering launching over 60 local TV news stations across the UK … But it's not the BBC's ubiquity, so much greater than Fleet Street's, that is worrying but its power to impose - under the figleaf of impartiality - its own world view …What really disturbs me is that the BBC is, in every corpuscle of its corporate body, against the values of conservatism, with a small 'c', which, I would argue, just happen to be the values held by millions of Britons
Thus it exercises a kind of cultural Marxism in which it tries to undermine that conservative society by turning all its values on their heads
Of course, there is the odd dissenting voice, but by and large, BBC journalism starts from the premise of left wing ideology: it is hostile to conservatism and the traditional right,
Like The Guardian's, the BBC's journalists, insulated from real competition, believe that only their world view constitutes moderate, sensible and decent opinion. Any dissenting views - particularly those held by popular papers - are therefore considered, by definition, to be extreme and morally beyond the pale …[Press Gazette]
Background briefing: even Channel 4 sometimes responds to criticism.
From CFNews: The television channel, Teachers TV, recently agreed at the eleventh hour to remove a controversial hree-part series on sex education from its schedule in response to concerns expressed by Family Education Trust (Family and Youth Concern). The series, presented by Davina McColl, entitled Let's Talk Sex, was due to be broadcast on the station on January 8-10, haying been previously broadcast on Channel 4 during March 2006. It was withdrawn after discussions between lawyers at Teachers TV and Channel 4 following the Trust's intervention.
In his correspondence with Teachers TV, Family Education Trust director Norman Wells, argued that the series contained a `lack of due accuracy' and gave 'undue prominence to views and opinions at variance with the facts', in contravention of the broadcasting code. The series was based on the false premise that sex education in the Netherlands is of a quite different character from that in the UK and that this accounted for the difference between the teenage pregnancy rates in the two countries.
Drawing on evidence contained in the Trust's report, 'Deconstructing the Dutch Utopia', Mr Wells pointed out that there is no uniform or standardised approach to sex education provision in Dutch schools, and there is a very wide variation of approaches adopted throughout the country - just as there is in the UK. In putting together the series, the presenter and production team chose to focus on the explicit end of a very broad spectrum, and leant heavily on the favoured 'hands-on' approach of a solitary 'Dutch sex education expert'.
The series attributed the Dutch 'success' entirely to `comprehensive, consistent and early' sex education, without considering any other factors that could account for the disparity between teenage conception rates in the Netherlands and the UK. Despite the fact that copies of 'Deconstructing the Dutch Utopia' and its related factsheet, 'Lessons in Dutch Mythology' were made available to the producer in the course of production, no account was taken of them in the resulting series.
The fact that Channel 4 are currently working on an edited version of the series before making it available to Teachers TV is a tacit admission that the series as originally broadcast did not comply with the broadcasting code. Given that the whole argument of the series hinges on a false premise, it is difficult to imagine how it can be edited in such a way as to make it compliant.
Copies of the factsheet, 'Lessons in Dutch Mythology: Why teenage pregnancy rates in the Netherlands are so much lower than in the UK', may be downloaded from Family & Youth Concern's website here.
For a taste of what the programming is about, see Channel 4's depraved website on 'Let's Talk Sex'.
Background briefing. If hospices don't understand the principle of 'cooperation in evil', then that is very bad news for their inmates. This hospice was founded and is still headed by an Anglican nun, Frances Dominica.
From CF news: A young disabled man who receives care for his life-limiting illness at a hospice run by a nun spoke on Friday of his decision to use a prostitute to experience sex before he dies. Sister Frances Dominica gave her support to 22-yearold Nick Wallis, who was born with Duchenne muscular dystrophy. Sufferers usually die by their thirties. Mr Wallis told staff at the Douglas House hospice in Oxford that he wanted to experience sexual intercourse. 'I discussed it with my carers and my parents …. I had to recognise that if was to experience sex I would have to pay for it out of my savings. The hospice staff, after taking advice from a solicitor, clergy and health care professionals, decided to help him. It was arranged for the prostitute to visit his home in Northampton.
Mr Wallis has decided to talk in public about his decision as part of the BBC documentary series about life inside Douglas House and its associated hospice for children, Helen House. He said he did not discuss his decision directly with Sister Frances, who founded the two hospices. 'I know that some people will say 'You are a Christian foundation. What are you thinking about?'. But we are here for all faiths and none,' she said. 'It is not our job to make moral decisions for our guests. We came to the conclusion that it was our duty of care to support Nick emotionally and to help ensure his physical safety.' Mt Wallis's story will be broadcast on 'The Children of Helen House', on BBC2, at 10pm, Tuesday. [Telegraph]
Background briefing. As so often, the Government forces through immoral legislation while the issues of real importance are ignored.
From CFNews: More than 1,500 'forgotten' children are languishing in care waiting to be adopted - even though there are thousands of couples desperate to adopt, The children are among 60,000 in care in England alone, living in foster homes or residential institutions. Hundreds are being denied the chance of adoption because local councils say they cannot afford the fees - about £26,000 per child -changed by voluntary agencies who find and approve suitable parents. The children's charity Bernardo's, which places 70 youngsters a year with adoptive families, said it had parents ready to take up to 50 more children, but councils had told them they did not have the funds. Other agencies reported similar refusals from local authorities.
The scandal of these 'forgotten children' shows that the crisis in Britain's care system goes far beyond the row over the Cabinet's refusal last week to allow Catholic adoption agencies an exemption from dealing with homosexual couples. These agencies place just over 200 children with families every year, but say they will close if forced to help homosexual adopters. Meanwhile, MPs alleged yesterday that some councils in England and Wales were taking babies from their parents and placing them in care before all other options had been exhausted - in order to meet government adoption targets. Ministers set a target of a 50 per cent increase in the number of children adopted between 2000 and 2006, Latest fifures show the target has not. been reached and the rise is only 32.1 per cent.
John Hemming, the Liberal Democrat MP for Birmingham Yardley, who has tabled a Commons motion, backed by 12 other MPs, on the issue, said he feared that babies were being taken because councils were under pressure to meet targets and it was easier to find parents for the very young, 'This is a national scandal,' he said. The Department for Education and the British Association for Adoption and Fostering denied the allegations. [Sunday Telegraph]
From CFNews: Children should be shown explicit videos of masturbation as part of sex education, campaigners said on Friday. Many pupils form impressions of sexual activity from internet pornography and need better lessons at school, said Rebecca Findlay of the Family Planning Association. Sex was still seen as too 'embarrassing' to be discussed. 'We need to be able to look at someone masturbating and see it not as pornography but as instructional.' Using such images in schools might help lift taboos around sex, she told the 'Times Educational Supplement'. 'What is masturbation? How do you do it? What does it feel like? These are conversations people should be having in sex education classes. But in British culture, sex is something embarrassing.' Dr David Limond, a lecturer from Trinity College Dublin, called for a more open approach to sex education that would provide a 'better transition' between' school, where sex was 'veiled and mysterious', and the adult s world where 'anything goes'.
'There seems to be no end to the ways in which children at school are violated over sexual issues', writes John Smeaton, the National Director of SPUC, in the current edition of 'Pro-Life Times'. 'In the September issue of the Pro-Life Times we exposed the violation of children in a Catholic primary school in south London who are subjected to animations of sexual intercourse and' discussion of masturbation. Now another parent has drawn our attention to intrusive questionnaires which 12 and 14 year olds are made to answer.
This is yet another parent who has turned to SPUC for support. This mother is at the end of her tether trying to make her local education and diocesan authorities (our emphasis, Ed.) understand that she does not want her children to answer these questions and that it is wrong for any children to have to do so. Questioning children on sexual matters is an invasion of their privacy, Adults can accept or decline to answer such questions. A child in a classroom cannot. Asking school children about contraception is an intrusion into their personal development. These questionnaires are another contribution to the unhealthy sexualisaton of youngsters who live in a society saturated in sexual messages.
Children and teenagers are the targets of a massive government programme of moral destruction. It forms a bleak panorama of ever more eplicit sex education from the earliest age, government agencies like Connexions facilitating underage sexual activity and schools which have become abortion referral centers. And now we have the questionnaires. Typically funded by the local health suthorities, with schools as willing participants, the questionnaires probe into a child's life in order to monitor how all these government vpolicies are working. SPUC is right to be concerned about all these issues, not only because of the harm being done to children, but also because we know that sexualising children leads to more abortions. If we want to change hearts and minds of the nation in favour of life, we have to tackle what is happening in the classroom where young hearts and minds are being closed to our message'. [Telegraph, SPUC]
Update: Gregory Slyzs has responded to this post; see 'comments'.
Background briefing. Christopher Booker is an expert on the ramifications of EU law for domestic law. As we noted in the earlier post on this issue, the Government tends to do more than the EU demands, and this is indeed the problem here, contrary to the letter to the Catholic Herald from Dr Gregory Slysz.
From CFNews: 'The sight of Chris Bryant and Angela Eagle, the Government's gay and lesbian shock troops, accusing the Catholic Church of trying to 'blackmail' the Government over the gay adoption issue prompted me to look at the explanatory notes to the Equality Act 2006 which set this furore in motion', writes Christopher Booker in today's Sunday Telegraph. 'The chief inspiration for the Act was EU directive 2000/78, 'a general Framewoik for equal treatment in employment and occupation' that outlaws any form of 'discrimination based on religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation'. Our Government chose to extend the meaning of 'employment and occupation' to adoption. But the directive also includes a clause stating that the EU 'respects and does not prejudice the status under national law of churches and religious associations'; and that 'Member States may maintain or lay down specific provisions on genuine, legitimate and justified occupational requirements which might be required for carrying out an occupational activity'. In other words, our Government could have allowed the Catholic Church still to refuse the adoption of children by gay couples (as is the case in other EU countries such as Poland), but it has deliberately decided not to make use of that exemption'. [ST]
Thursday, January 25, 2007
Background briefing: some interesting stereotyping from the BBC.
From CFNews: Opus Dei has complained to the BBC about what it says is a "defamatory" portrayal in primetime drama Waking The Dead. Two episodes of the crime series, shown last weekend, featured members of Opus Dei embroiled in a gruesome double murder. Opus Dei said the BBC broke religious guidelines by showing its members as "murderers, thieves and adulterers". The BBC said it had not yet received an official complaint. [BBC]
Current status: protests to Margaret Beckett, please. This story calls for careful reading: the one-child policy is itself an infringement of the human rights of Chinese citizens, to a normal family life free of coercive interference. The British Government can only bring themselves to condemn the inevitable fate of Chen Guangcheng, who has campaigned against the policy, on the grounds that his trial was unfair.
Beckett has no email address! Write to her: Rt Hon Margaret Beckett MP, House of Commons, London SW1A 0AA
From SPUC: The British Foreign Secretary, Margaret Beckett, has criticised the treatment of Chen Guangcheng, the lawyer who has campaigned against forced abortion and sterilisations in China. "I am deeply concerned by the news that the human rights defender, Chen Guangcheng has had his sentence upheld at appeal. The failure to uphold international fair trial standards in this case... suggests a backward step in China's progress towards building the rule of law. The UK has raised its concerns over the handling of Chen's case with the Chinese authorities on several occasions" The Foreign and Commonwealth Office describes the charges against Chen as "politically motivated by his highlighting of maladministration of the One Child Policy". [Foreign and Commonwealth Office, 15 January] SPUC comment: the UK government's statements seem calculated to avoid upsetting the Beijing regime, or criticising the one-child policy itself, which the Blair government supports.
Current status: please lobby your MEP. To find your MEP, and especially those on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety Committe, SPUC has listed them here.
From SPUC: The European Parliament's Committee on Environment, Public Health and Food
Safety is to vote on 30 January on a proposal for a unified market in medical products and therapies, which would mean such products would be legal in all Member States once given central authorisation. The group CARE (Christian Action, Research and Education) for Europe has expressed support for the principle of the proposal, which it is hoped will enable patients to gain access to treatments faster, but voiced concern over the lack of "ethical safeguards". SPUC has called for safeguards to exclude products derived from embryonic or foetal cells or human-animal hybrids; exclude products that involve germ line modification; and guarantee that all tissue and cell donations are voluntary and unpaid. SPUC has urged its members to lobby MEPs for the exclusion of unethical products from the proposals. [Christian Today, 16 January, and CARE and SPUC, 15 January]
Tuesday, January 23, 2007
Current status: please sign the petition, here. Deadline is 27th Feb.
The petition has been initiated by a private person, Michael Wonham (who can't spell), but it is being promoted by 'Full Time Mothers' and deserves support. The current tax regime constitutes an attack on the family.
The text: "It's agreed by many that one of the causes of 'problems' in our youth cmomunity is the difficulties that parents have on surviving on one income - forcing both parents to gain paid employment, leading to childcare difficulties. By reinstating the married couples of allowance, the couple can benefit from both tax allowances, even though only one is getting paid, increasing the possibility that mothers (or fathers) may be able to engage in more part-time work suitable for balancing income and childcare."
Sunday, January 21, 2007
Current status: local action as appropriate. The regular worshippers of this great historical church, built to commemorate the five Catholic martyrs who either came from or were captured in the village, deserve our support. The Catholic Herald has a leading article calling on Bishop Budd to ensure that Sunday worship continues in Chideock. Worshippers have set up a group called Friends of Our Lady Queen of Martyrs and St Ignatius.
Key facts: the parish has been merged with two others in the Diocese of Plymouth. The churches of the other parishes have an anticipated Sunday Mass and a Sunday morning Mass from the Parish Priest, Fr Shaddock.
It is diocesan policy to discourage priests from saying more than two Masses on a Sunday. Priests in the surrounding parishes continue to say more than this on account of the pastoral need. Fr Shaddock uses his spare time to practice as a psychoanalyst. He has now stopped saying Mass in Chideock even during the week.
The dissipation of the Sunday congregation at Chideock has put the finances of the combined parish into the red.
The stunning church, build in 1872 by the Weld family, is owned by the Weld Trust. The Trustees offered to increase their contribution to the church's upkeep and to pay a £10,000 stipend, if Fr Shaddock would say Masses there on Sunday. Fr Shadock rejected the offer, accusing them of simony.
See here for the Catholic Herald feature article. (This link will 'rot' when the next issue is published.)
Background briefing: a vigorous campaign by Catholics against the BBC's 'Popetown' cartoon series, which ridicules the Holy Father, resulted in the series not being screened in the UK. It was still available for export, however, and now the Catholic Bishops of Lithuania are taking legal steps against it. We wish them luck. If the BBC judged it too insulting the Church for viewing here, why are they selling it abroad?
For the story, see here.
Current status: please send notes of support to the Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster, Cormac Murphy O'Connor.
From CFNews: Doctors who are obliged under their NHS contract to prescribe the morning-after pill and refer patients for abortion will be allowed to work on the premises of a Catholic hospital, it was claimed this week. St John and St Elizabeth hospital in St John's Wood, North London, last month signed the lease for an NHS GP practice to operate on its Brampton House site. The move jeopardises the efforts of Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor to bring the hospital back in line with Church teachings on human life and sexual morality.
Last March the Cardinal called on the hospital, founded in 1856 and originally run by the Sisters of Mercy, to tighten up its Catholic ethos and revise its code of ethics after receiving a report from Catholic peer Lord Brennan into practices there. But a new code of ethics has failed to materialise. The hospital's ethics committee was disbanded last summer and a new committee - whose members include Auxiliary Bishop George Stack of Westminster, Canon Michael Brockie and Fr John Wilson - was set up in its place. None of its decisions has been made public. St John's Wood Medical Practice, the NHS centre planning to move into Brampton House - an £11 million redevelopment - will be bound under the terms of the lease to follow the hospital's code. But under its contract with the Primary Care Trust the practice will also be forced to refer patients for abortion and provide the morning-after pill. If the practice is found not to comply with the hospital's code of ethics it will be given one year's notice to close. Nicolas Bellord, secretary of the Restituta Group, which is campaigning for the hospital to keep its Catholic identity, said the decision to allow an NHS practice to work at Brampton House was made in 'direct defiance' of the Cardinal's letter. 'Unless action is taken now we will be in the position, by the summer of 2007, where the leading Catholic hospital in Britain will be providing a full abortion referral and family planning service,' he said. Mr Bellord added that he feared that the hospital would abandon its Catholic constitution under the Charities Act 2006, which allows charities to change their ethos according to current 'social and economic circumstances'. [Catholic Herald]
Background briefing: Rod Liddle, writing in the Spectator, has claimed that St Thomas Moore, as Chancellor of England under Henry VIII, was responsible for the deaths of 'a few hundred' Protestants. This is an outright lie; as the historian Eamon Duffy has been pointed out in a letter to the Spectator, only six Protestants were executed during Moor's Chancellorship, and Moore was involved in only three of those cases. Not exactly a bloodbath. It is worth noting that Protestants continued to be harassed and executed under the 'enlightened' Protestantism of Henry VIII and Elizabeth I, and later monarchs up to James II. Generally speaking they were genuinely guilty of grave breaches of the peace, including vandalism of churches, physical assaults on clergy, disruption of church services, or, most commonly, publicly speaking against the monarch of the day. Catholics, by contrast, were executed for the private exercise of their religion. St Thomas Moore is the only English politician to be canonised, for his saintly life as well as his heroic death for the Faith.
See here for his Catholic Encyclopedia entry, and here for more materials about him.
St Thomas Moore, pray for us!
Current status: please protest to the responsible Government minister, Alan Johnson (send a message to him here). This is an attack on the Catholic ethos of Catholic schools. The proposals were opposed by Catholic schools and the Catholic Education Service when they appeared in draft form late last year; they have now been published with no account taken of the objections made to them. They are due to be in force from September 2007.
From the Catholic Herald (summary): the newly released Schools Admissions Code, which unlike its predecessor code has the force of law, prevents parents from specifying a Catholic (or any) school as 'first choice', and prevents schools from using any means to determine the religious commitment of a family other than baptismal records and a parish priest's reference. Accordingly no account can be taken of interviews of parents or children, children's interests and hobbies, etc.. Geographical proximity to the school will in some cases take priority over other considerations. The new code has been condemned by Catholic Headteachers and the Catholic Education Service. It may lead to Catholic children being turned away from Catholic schools while non-Catholics are admitted.
See links for: Catholic Herald front-page story (link will 'rot' when the next issue comes out)
Catholic Education Service response to the Code when it was drafted.
Department of Education press release introducing the Code.
Friday, January 19, 2007
Current status: complaints, please. The BBC is screening a 'reality TV' series, the 'Baby Borrowers', in which 16-19 yr-old 'couples' are given sole charge of infants and then older children, to see how they will cope. All the people in the programme are being exploited, but by what reasoning the infants could deliberately be left open to abuse and neglect?
Hat-tip to Against the Heresies and Hermeneutic of Continuity.
See here for the BBC blurb on the series; and here for complaints.
Thursday, January 18, 2007
Current status: local action as appropriate. Every parent with children at school, of whatever denomenation, age group, or stated policy, needs to find out, urgently, what is happening in the name of 'sex education', 'PHSE', 'SRE' etc. . Teachers usually don't want you to know but don't be fobbed off: you must see the materials they are using, and you may not be able to believe your eyes. You have a right to know, and a duty to protect your children.
The following is SPUC's 'Open Letter to Concerned Parents' which sets out some of the facts; copies of this are available from SPUC, in the form of a leaflet. See here for our previous post on sex education.
Are your children safe at school?
We are asking this question because we are concerned about what is happening in classrooms during lessons on sex and relationships in both secondary and primary schools. We are concerned that abortifacient contraception and abortions are being aggressively promoted to teenagers in some secondary schools.
We are concerned that children are being exposed to explicit sex education in some primary schools.
We know that there are schools where headteachers are doing an excellent job in protecting those in their care from damaging sex education. But parents cannot take this for granted. Many schools are using materials which present sex in an explicit and crude way, which is likely to cause young children and teenagers to feel upset, confused and guilty.
Parents need to be aware that it is government policy to have more and more sex education in schools, even for the very youngest children, in order to bring down the teenage pregnancy rate. The figures for teenage pregnancies and abortions show this policy is failing badly. The tragedy of abortion is starting in the classroom.
This is why all parents of school age children should ask about the sex education their children may receive – parents are responsible in the first place for their children and need to be aware of what happens in the classroom. We have established the Safe at School Campaign to offer advice on how to go about this (see contact details below).
We want to share with you the experience of some of the parents and teachers who have spoken out publicly against unethical sex education because they want to protect their own children and those of other parents. What you read here could be happening to your children.
Explicit DVD animations of sexual intercourse
Stan and Patricia Wocial from Forest Hill in south London, had to remove their seven year old daughter from sex and relationship education at their local Catholic primary school, St William of York. This school uses the Channel Four Living and Growing programme which contains explicit animations of human sexual intercourse, accompanied by detailed verbal accounts of sex and masturbation.
As well as animated sequences showing sex and ejaculation, the series includes distressing scenes of a live childbirth, and treats alternative lifestyles as comparable to marriage. The programme also encourages primary school age children to investigate and discuss lurid magazines and TV soaps.
Mr and Mrs Wocial have struggled for two years to protect their child. They tried again and again to get the head teacher, school governors, church authorities, and their education authority to recognise the social and spiritual damage that may result from this kind of programme. Each time they were frustrated in their efforts.
How to put on a condom
Teacher Susan McLernon told us about her experience when a school nurse came to give a talk to her class of 13-14 year olds. The nurse demonstrated to these young pupils how to put a condom on an anatomical plastic model. She told the class the condom was chocolate flavoured because prostitutes do not like the taste of rubber. This took place at St John’s Catholic Comprehensive school in Gravesend, Kent.
Miss McLernon has taken a stand against this type of unethical sex education because she feels it sends the wrong message to young people about becoming sexually active.
Where to get contraceptives
Judith Stockton, who lives in Bolton, read a story in her local newspaper where the head of science at the Catholic secondary schools in the area was quoted as saying, “It’s terrible that kids are due to leave school when they’re 16 and aren’t learning about where to get contraceptives … Now we go out and get the contraceptive packs to show them.”
The school was Thornleigh school which her own son attends. Mrs Stockton challenged the headteacher, Father Martin Coyle, arguing that teaching abstinence in the school was a better way to protect young girls from the trauma of abortion.
Referral to an abortion provider
Connexions is a government agency which works locally to provide “access to personal development opportunities” for all young people aged 13-19 in England. Many schools have a partnership with Connexions, which makes use of local youth support services. Connexions personal advisers are also at work in all types of schools, including faith schools. A mother from the Midlands wrote to SPUC about her experience of Connexions.
On the advice from his sixth form college, this lady’s son went to Connexions for careers advice. But in his mother’s words “he got a lot more than that.”
Connexions advised this young man that at age 18 he no longer needed to listen to his parents. They put him in touch with a local housing charity for the young and within a week of applying he had the offer of a room.
He and his girlfriend also received a referral to an abortion provider who prescribed the morning-after pill, plus the contraceptive pill and a large supply of condoms to follow. This lady told us, “I will never know if my first grandchild was destroyed”.
In his mother’s words, “The suffering of a young man who has been duped into failing to protect his own possible unborn child is profound. My son remains deeply troubled.” ery parent should check what is being taught in their own child’s school. Please contact our Safe at School campaign, for advice and support about how you can protect your child from damaging sex education and harmful advice from outside agencies.
Call Safe at School on 020 7222 5845.
Yours sincerely, John Smeaton, National Director
Monday, January 15, 2007
Current status: everyone should have one of these. See here to order them. The cards address not only the possibility of patients' food and fluids being cut off on the absurd basis that they are 'treatment', but also the scandal of hospitals not passing on to Hospital Chaplains the names of Catholic patients, even when the patients have identified themselves as Catholic for this purpose.
From SPUC: Tens of thousands of UK Catholics now have ID cards telling doctors not to withhold liquid from them if they become ill. The card, produced by the Association of Catholic Women, reads: "In case of my admission to hospital, please contact a Roman Catholic priest. I would like my nursing care to include fluids - however administered." The production of the card follows fears about an increased acceptance of euthanasia. [The Observer, 14 January]
Background briefing. When the consultation appears on their website, we will ask for contributions.
From SPUC: The HFEA has announced a public consultation over whether scientists should be allowed to create hybrid human-animal embryos. The Human Fertilisation and Embryo Authority (HFEA) said it would not rule on any research applications until the consultation is completed in the Autumn. The decision comes after ministers proposed outlawing the mixing of human and animal cells to create embryos after critical public opinion. Two UK teams want permission to carry out the controversial research in an attempt to find cures to conditions such as Alzheimer's. Dr Evan Harris, the Liberal Democrat MP, is co-ordinating the support for human-animal embryos and said such research was widely supported. [BBC Online, 11 January] But the Church of Scotland said it was an ethical line "not too be crossed". A spokesperson said: "It is hard to see what respect is being shown in creating an embryo, purely to extract cells from it, which is both a hybrid of human and animal, and which is thereby so disrupted that it could never be viable." [Christian Today.com, 12 January]
Background briefing. The popular devotions mentioned here have often been the subject of official disaproval in recent decades: devotional images have been removed from churches, public devotions discontinued, and so on. Accordingly, the Cardinal's words are significant.
From The Catholic Herald: The Archbishop of Westminster said he lamented the decline of acts of popular piety - such as fasting and abstinence, the Stations of the Cross, praying the rosary and praying before the Blessed Sacrament -because they were a 'good means of deepening our faith'. Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor said such acts, as well as going to confession, a practice which is also in decline, were 'truly part of Catholic tradition and devotion and are a nourishment to our faith, and I would encourage them'. 'There are many other ways in which you, my dear people, can develop those practices which are truly rooted in Catholic tradition and bring you closer to Jesus Christ, the Saviour of the world,' he said in a pastoral letter read out at every Mass in the Archdiocese of Westminster last Sunday. 'How many people pray before meals or, indeed, after them, recognising that all we have is a gift from God?' he asked. 'How many parents pray, not only for your children, but with your children as they grow up? How happy I am when so many children tell me they pray at home at night with their parents before going to bed.' He said 'reading of Scripture and especially a reading of the four Gospels are things which are deeply significant for the nourishment of our faith'.
Friday, January 12, 2007
Background briefing. The good ladies of 'Women, Word, Spirit' (Catholic Women's Network, as was) are still smarting from a brilliant piece of satire by the Catholic journalist Joanna Bogle, which they published in their newsletter without realising that it was a spoof... ten years ago.
Here's Joanna Bogle's account of it.
Dissident feminists within the Church are still very much a dangerous and active force. For a full account of the situation, see Catholic Feminism.
Thursday, January 11, 2007
Current status: please write to the French embassy. Although we don't usually get involved in thigs outside the UK, the effective banning of homeschooling in France could easily influence thinking in the UK. This law is contrary to the right of parents to educate their children, which is fundamental to Catholic teaching on educatiion.
The French Ambassador to the UK is
French Embassy in the United Kingdom
LONDON SW1X 7JT
Tél. : (44) 207 073 1000
(The email links does not appear to work.)
From the Home School Legal Defence Association (of the US): January 9, 2007
>HSLDA--French Homeschoolers Need Your Help Immediately!
>Dear HSLDA members and friends:
>French homeschoolers are faced with a draconian bill which will be
>voted on by parliament within the next few days. We just received word
>about this bill today.
>Homeschooling is currently allowed in France. However, this bill would
>essentially outlaw homeschooling. No parent would be allowed to
>homeschool unless they showed that the health or handicap of their
>child makes it necessary for him or her to be taught at home.
>In addition, if a family could even prove they have a health issue or
>some other "serious" reason to justify their homeschool, they would
>then have to submit to a home visit by a government official each
>year. Also, their curriculum would be either provided by the "National
>Center of Correspondence Teaching (CNED)" or by an approved private
>French homeschoolers believe this bill will essentially outlaw
>homeschooling as they know it in France. They plead for your help to
>stop this restrictive bill.
>Homeschoolers in America have successfully stopped similar legislation
>in Ireland, the Czech Republic, and South Africa. In both Ireland and
>the Czech Republic, the restrictive homeschooling bills had already
>passed one house of parliament before we even got involved. Once we
>got involved the bills were stopped.
>At this point we need you to communicate with the French Embassy in
>Washington, D.C. In a few days we will send another email asking you
>to communicate directly with the parliament members.
>Please contact as soon as possible, by phone or email, the French
>Embassy and give them this message:
>"Amendments 127 & 128, which would virtually outlaw homeschooling, are
>being voted on by the French parliament. If passed, this would cause a
>travesty. We cannot believe that a free country like France would
>outlaw such a basic right as parents choosing to homeschool their
>children. Over two million children are being successfully
>homeschooled in America. Homeschooling works. We ask that you
>immediately convey to the French government our concern and request
>that the bill language prohibiting homeschooling in nearly all
>circumstances be withdrawn."
>Also, explain in a paragraph or two the wonderful success you have had
>Ambassador Jean-David Levitte
>Homeschooling has long been allowed in France. Homeschoolers have to
>have regular testing and sometimes they are visited by an official,
>but for the most part operate freely. This bill would completely
>change that legal atmosphere and make it impossible for 95% of
>homeschoolers to operate.
>Please take time to help our brothers and sisters in France, where the
>homeschool movement is small and they do not have a lot of
>organizations or numbers. Nonetheless, there are many sincere parents
>who love their children and want to faithfully teach them at home
>principles from the Word of God and personally train their children.
>If homeschoolers don't try to help, who will? Please take a moment and
>contact the French Embassy.
>Christopher J. Klicka
>HSLDA Senior Counsel
Wednesday, January 10, 2007
Latest update: House of Lords approve SORs for Northern Ireland, despite protest of 2,000 outside Parliament (9/1/07). See here for details.
See here for the Hermeneutic of Continuity's report of the rally, and commentary on the law.
Update: there will be a debate in the House of Lords, Tuesday on 9th January 2007, on the Northern Ireland SORs, and probably no debate in the House of Commons.
Sign a petition to HM the Queen against the SORs here.
Sign a petition to the Prime Minister against the SORs here.
Please encourage others to sign.
1. It has been announced that there will be an hour long SOR debate in the
House of Lords (Tuesday 9th January 2007) to consider Lord Morrow's motion to
annul the Northern Ireland SORs. This is the first (and possibly only)
opportunity for Peers to have an open debate about the SORs, and, because it
currently looks unlikely that the House of Commons will have a full debate
themselves, it is the best opportunity for the flaws with the Regulations to be
2. To coincide with the debate in the Lords (which is due to begin at
around 7:30pm) there will be a PETITION presented to the Queen during the
afternoon on the 9th January. PLEASE SIGN THE PETITION AND ENCOURAGE ALL THOSE
YOU KNOW TO SIGN IT. The petition is available at
3. Also set to coincide with the debate in the Lords will be a RALLY held
outside the Westminster Parliament from 5:30-8pm (we pray there will be a
simultaneous one held outside Stormont in Northern Ireland). We will be meeting
in Old Palace Yard, opposite the St Stephen's entrance. Please bring a torch.
THIS MAY BE THE ONLY OPPORTUNITY TO PUBLICLY DEMONSTRATE THE STRENGTH OF CHRISTIAN FEELING ABOUT THE NORTHERN IRELAND SORs. ALMOST EXACTLY A YEAR AGO THOUSANDS OF CHRISTIANS MADE THE EFFORT TO TRAVEL FROM ACROSS THE COUNTRY TO STAND OUTSIDE PARLIAMENT, UNITED IN PRAYER AND ACTION AGAINST THE RELIGIOUS HATRED BILL. HOURS LATER THE BILL WAS DEFEATED BY 1 SINGLE VOTE. NATIONAL NEWSPAPERS REPORTED ON THE SOLIDARITY AND COMMITMENT OF SUCH A LARGE GROUP OF CHRISTIANS SINGING AND PRAYING TOGETHER.
THIS NEW RALLY IS THE OPPORTUNITY TO STAND UP FOR THE FREEDOM TO LIVE ACCORDING TO THE BIBLE.
Please put the late afternoon/ early evening of 9th January in your diaries and
encourage all Christians to attend this important event.
4. In further excellent news, a High Court judge in Northern Ireland gave
permission to the Christian Institute to bring judicial review proceedings
challenging the legitimacy of the Northern Ireland SORs. On Thursday 21ST
December the judge decided not to suspend the Northern Ireland SORs whilst the
legal challenge is being heard. The full case will take place in the new year.
5. In another development, Ruth Kelly's department invited representatives
from the Lawyers' Christian Fellowship to meet with them today to "clarify what
the Regulations are not intended to cover". In the meeting, the Civil Servants
stated that no firm decisions had been made about the content of the
Regulations. This means that the continued constructive input of Christians to
the political process - explaining the reality of the dangers of the
Regulations should they come into force without adequate exemptions, is still
of great value.
The Civil Servants also wanted to emphasise that the Regulations would not
require Christian ministers to bless same-sex partnerships. However, they were
not prepared to firmly agree with the statement that 'these Regulations are not
intended to prevent faith schools promoting marriage without having to promote
civil partnerships' and it is of concern that they indicated that it was
unlikely there would be any exemptions protecting individuals on the grounds of
conscience. On the other hand, it was positive that the Civil Servants were
able to confirm that there was no intention to outlaw harassment on the grounds
of sexual orientation in the England, Wales and Scotland Regulations, even
though the Northern Ireland Regulations have done this.
6. It seems that there is also some good news from the House of Commons.
Although the prayer for annulment that was laid does not automatically lead to
a debate and vote on the issues, it has led to the constituting of a 'delegated
legislation committee' who will look into the matter. The committee will be
selected on the 10th January and will have a representative mix of Labour,
Conservative and Lib Dem MPs (the majority will be Labour). The Committee
itself is likely to meet during the week of the 15th January.
Previous Update: from Christian Concern for our Nation, 12/12/06:
1. Northern Ireland Assembly evenly split on the issue.
2. Cabinet split with Hain refusing to back down.
3. Lords Committee urges proper debate.
See here for full details.
Update: from Christian Concern for our Nation
1. An independent Opinion Poll commissioned by the Lawyers' Christian
Fellowship has shown that a sizeable majority of the population are opposed to
the method and content of the Government's proposals regarding the SORs.
2. Motions to annul the Northern Ireland SORs have been laid in both the House of Common and the House of Lords. Though this is excellent news, unfortunately, it is only if the Government choose to give time to these motions to annul that they will be granted the time in Parliament to be debated or voted on at all. Please get your MP and any local Peers to support these motions (see template letter toMPs, below).
3. In another move by the Government which may link to the fast-tracking of the SORs, Ruth Kelly has just appointed the chief executive of the gay lobbying group Stonewall, as one of the 'Equality Commissioners' for the new 'Commission for Equality and Human Rights' (see link below). This is the body with far reaching powers which will ensure the SORs are fully implemented - it even has power to fund court cases to ensure compliance with the Regulations. No representative of any faith group has been appointed to the Commission.
4. The e-mail address supplied for Ruth Kelly in the last e-mail update we sent has since become obsolete. The correct address is PSRuthkelly@communities.gsi.gov.uk
5. We call on everyone who feels strongly about the above issues, and the information we have mentioned in recent e-mails regarding the SORs, to join with us to TELEPHONE the following people to urge them to recognise the level and momentum of concern about this issue (it is important that if you are going to call, you do so as soon as possible, at the least within the next week - there are only 10 days of the Parliamentary session left before the SORs come into force in Northern Ireland):
Fiona Walker 0207 215 6696 (She is the Civil Servant in charge of the SORs at the department for Women and Equality Unit; Nick Vanbenschoten 0207 215 6206 (He is Fiona Walker's deputy) Meg Munn 0207 2193000 (this is the Parliament switchboard: simply ask for Meg Munn MP's office) 0207 215 5000 (this is the Women and Equality Unit switchboard: ask to go through to Meg Munn). 0114 263 4004 (Meg Munn's constituency number). Meg Munn is one of the ministers in charge of the England, Wales and Scotland SORs. Ruth Kelly: 0207 944 3013 (Her department number) 0207 2193000 (this is the Parliament switchboard: simply ask
for Ruth Kelly MP's office) 0207944 4400 (this is the Communities and Local Government Department switchboard: ask for Ruth Kelly). Ruth Kelly is the minister with primary responsibility for the England, Wales and Scotland SORs. Peter Hain: 0207 2193000 (as above, ask for Peter Hain MP's office). 01639 630152 (His constituency number). Peter Hain is the minister in charge of the Northern Ireland SORs.
NB We apologise if any of these numbers do not work - telephone numbers in Parliament get altered very quickly as politicians move department, move office etc.
If you are unable to get through, please leave a message explaining the issue you are phoning about and asking for your call to be returned. Please use the letter we sent to all MPs and Peers as a basis for the points you wish to make. The letter can be accessed at
Update: the Government's desperation to get the SORs into law is such that they are using a parliamentary mechanism (the 'negative resolution procedure') to avoid all debate and even the need for a vote, unless objections are made within forty days (of Friday 24th November). Peter Hain, the Minister for Northern Ireland, and MPs must be lobbied with special urgency: Email:firstname.lastname@example.org
For full details see end of this post.
Current status: letters to MPs, please, urgently. Ruth Kelly has delayed the implementation of these regulations, because of the powerful response to the consultation. Now they are being imposed on Northern Ireland, often used as a test-bed for legislation, in a stringent form and with very little consultation. The likely effects of this legislation for Catholics is difficult to exagerate, and stopping them is a top priority. The Catholic press has highlighted the threat to Catholic adoption agencies, which would be forced to close by the requirement such agencies cannot discriminate against same-sex couples.
From Christian Concern for our Nation.
After the recent news that the Government were delaying the England, Wales and Scotland SORs by 6 months to deal with the 'difficult issues' which minister Ruth Kelly admitted had been highlighted by the response of faith groups to theconsultation, it was a shock to find that behind the scenes the Government are rushing through identical Regulations in Northern Ireland (NI) using theirdirect rule powers, while the Northern Ireland Assembly remains suspended.
The Government have already published the final version of the NI SORs and theyare expected to be put before Parliament for a vote in a matter of days - the Government have said they will be in force by January 1st. This means the NI Regulations which have received far less thought and consideration, will set a precedent for the England, Wales and Scotland SORs which are not due to come into force until April 2007.
To rush the NI law through without even waiting to respond to the many submissions received to the NI consultation is unjust and undemocratic. It is a tactic which appears to deliberately undermine the process of consultation that has gone on in England, Wales and Scotland. That the Government have done this in a place with such strong religious traditions and beliefs as Northern Ireland only worsens the situation.
Finally, the NI Regulations dramatically extend the law beyond the original proposals. The NI consultation expressly stated that no law on harassment would be brought in, and yet only 6 weeks later, the published final Regulations domake it illegal to harass someone on the basis of their sexual orientation. This is extremely concerning because the definition of harassment relies largely on the perception of the person who claims they were harassed: all they need do is allege that someone has 'violated their dignity' or that someone created a 'hostile or insulting environment' for them, and they can take legalaction.
With press coverage criticising the action of the Bovernment (see links below) and pressure building from MPs and faith groups, the call to Christians is clear: contact your MP to urge them to oppose any vote being held on the NI regulations until the SOPRs in England, Wales and Scotland have been finalised. The NI regulations should not be allowed to set an unworkable precedent for British law.
For the Christian Concern for our Nation 'Latest News', see here.
For the original post on the SORs, see here.
For the Telegraph report, see here.
For an interesting discussion on the TotalCatholic forum, see here.
Update: from Christian Concern for our Nation:
Critical developments in the situation regarding the SORs have taken place over the past few days. Having taken many people by surprise in publishing the Northern Ireland (NI) Regulations early, and before even responding to the consultation process that had taken place, the Government have now accelerated the process still further by rushing to lay the NI SORs before Parliament late last Friday (24th November).
The laying of the Regulations coincided with our discovery that the Government have chosen to use a special Parliamentary procedure to push the Regulations through WITH NO NEED FOR ANY DEBATE OR VOTE IN PARLIAMENT AT ALL. This 'negative resolution procedure' means that the mere elapsing of 40 days from the date of the Regulations being laid will see the SORs become law in Northern Ireland. This in turn will set a dangerous precedent for the England, Wales and Scotland SORs which are due to come into force in April 2007.
The only way the NI Regulations can now be amended and improved to deal with the current infringement of freedom of conscience and freedom to practice Christianity that they create, is 1) by the Government agreeing to withdraw and amend them or 2) a member of the House of Commons or House of Lords seeking an annulment of the SORs and sufficient time being granted by the Government for such a debate and vote to take place.
Tuesday, January 09, 2007
Background briefing. The Catholics of Barbados were treated to the spectacle of the UK's most anti-Catholic Prime Minister of modern times reading the Lesson while on holiday in their country in August. This was mentioned by Quentin de la Bedoyere in his Charterhouse column in the Catholic Herald (Jan 5th), citing as his source Christopher Campbell-Johnson SJ.
Monday, January 08, 2007
Background briefing: this kind of evidence against the efficacy of the Morning After Pill - which itself often acts as an abortifacient - in reducing conventional abortions has been piling up for years, but UK politicians take no notice.
From SPUC: A review of 23 studies on the use of morning-after pills has concluded that, "[t]o date, no study has shown that increased access to this method reduces unintended pregnancy or abortion rates". Writing in this month's Obstetrics and Gynecology, the researchers nevertheless supported the availability of post-coital birth control, on the basis that it may increase the likelihood of women using more reliable means. In the US, the Plan B morning-after pill was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in August 2006. Pro-life people have opposed the drug because of its potential to cause early abortion by disrupting implantation. The lead author was Elizabeth G Raymond; co-author James Trussel has been a leading proponent of the drug. [Washington Times, 8 January]
Current status: Amnest International is considering adding the right to abortion to the rights it campaigns for. Amnesty members please fill in the consultation form, here.
From CFNews: Bishop Michael Evans of the Diocese of East Anglia writes : 'Amnesty UK is currently carrying out a consultation leading up to next year's AGM in March. They are asking members to consider whether Amnesty can call for safe abortions as a remedy in cases of abuses of sexual and reproductive rights, as a matter of right, or whether there should be limited circumstances when they could do so. A final decision will be made at the International Council Meeting in August 2007. Members of Amnesty can complete a questionnaire online at: www.amnesty.org.uk/consult
The deadline for the consultation is February 2nd, 2007. If you are an Amnesty member, please take the time to complete and send a questionnaire, which can be completed online.
Amnesty International is an organisation which has done great work for human rights since it was founded by Peter Benenson, a Catholic, in 1961. I have been a member for 30 years, including time as a member of Amnesty's British section Council and as chairman of its Religious Bodies Liaison Panel. Last year, I was asked to write the prayer for their new campaign. As much today as ever before, the world needs Amnesty and its members to work rigorously for the freedom of prisoners of conscience, for fair trials for all, and against torture and the death penalty. There are many Catholics involved in Amnesty, individually and as members of affiliated parishes and J&P groups. I was dismayed to hear, therefore, that the 2006 AGM of Amnesty International UK voted to move away from Amnesty's neutral stance on abortion and propose that Amnesty adopt a position that women have a right to legal, safe and accessible abortion should they choose to have an abortion. It is important to note that there has as yet been no change of Amnesty International policy on the issue: either the International Executive Committee or the 2007 International Council Meeting would make such a decision. But a positive vote by the UK section is potentially an important step towards such a change. The Amnesty UK AGM resolution called for further consultation among Amnesty's UK members. Catholic members need to play their active role in this consultation.
It seems to me there are two key points to me made: Firstly, Amnesty International was not founded to be an all-embracing human rights organisation, but rather to focus effectively - as it so clearly has - on certain key issues. Whatever the range of views of Amnesty members on abortion, moving from its neutral stance may well serve to undermine its effectiveness in its key areas of expertise and influence. It may also cause harmful divisions in Amnesty. Secondly, it would be very difficult for Catholics and many others to continue as formal members of an organisation which explicitly excluded some of the most vulnerable of all - the 'unborn human' - from its current campaign to 'Protect the Human'. The world needs Amnesty International. It has touched the lives of countless numbers of people across the world who have been wrongly imprisoned for their beliefs or subjected to inhuman and degrading treatment. Long may it do so - hopefully with the active support of Catholics worldwide. But this will be seriously threatened should Amnesty adopt a policy supporting the right to abortion. Those involved in decision-making at international level need to ponder this very carefully indeed. Please take action now'.
Sunday, January 07, 2007
Background briefing. The signatories are intellectuals and writers from all over the English-speaking world, and parallels similar declarations made by similar groups in France, Italy and Poland.
See the Declaration here; see some commentary here; sign up yourself here.
Hat-tip the the New Liturgical Movement.
Saturday, January 06, 2007
Current status: encouragement to Bishop Roche, please, particularly from members of his diocese (Leeds). The only 'contact' on the diocesan website is that of the 'Communications Director', who will presumably forward correspondance: email@example.com
The standard act of reparation for abuse of the Holy Name is to say the Litany of the Holy Name; we recommend this to our readers.
From The Universe: The Bishop of Leeds Arthur Roche has warned Catholics not to become complacent to the anti-Christianism infecting the nation's everyday life. In his New Year pastoral letter, the bishop said that he had been 'appalled' at the abuse of Jesus' name on television over Christmas.
'It was if my television set had been infested with anti-Christian and deeply disrespectful and derogatory sentiments,' he said. 'Yet, as St Paul reminds us: God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
He added: 'There is an ease and a carelessness today in which it is possible, without any resistance, to ridicule Jesus, his Church and his followers. The very first commandment teaches us not to take the name of the Lord in vain and Jesus himself taught us in the Our Father to honour the name of the Lord as holy. But Christians themselves must also guard against encouraging the use of such language by ensuring that they themselves do not fall into the same trap. The blasphemous abuse of the holy name of Jesus is something that can infest our own vocabulary because of it is so constantly and so flippantly used in every day speech,' he added. 'It is so easy to imbibe something that is poisonous to our own love for Jesus and the respect due to his name as if it didn't matter. We should do all we cannot to fall into that trap. It would be a timely New Year's resolution if we were to resolve to resist in our own everyday speech any abuse of his name. When many of us were at primary school we were taught to bow our heads when the name of Jesus was spoken. It would be a timely moment to re-establish that practice of reverence for the name, which is above all names. It would remind us of the honour and love due to the Saviour of the world who heroically died that we might have life.'
Current status: anyone connected with the 'Girlguiding' needs to protest. A key phrase here is the Guides' disclaimer: 'We won't be telling them what to do'.
From the Daily Telegraph: Lord Baden-Powell must be turning in his grave. A century after he founded the Girl Guide movement to imbue young ladies with a love of the outdoor life and clean living, the organisation has decided it is necessary to teach them about safe sex, date rape and abortion.
About 450 members across Britain will be trained as "peer educators" to run sessions on contraception, sexual health, bullying, eating disorders, binge drinking and stress management.
Girlguiding UK, as it is now known, said that its Get Wise programme was devised in response to complaints from girls that such sensitive topics were not adequately discussed in school.
Under the scheme, the trained counsellors, aged between 14 and 25, will visit Guide units and schools, using role-play techniques to debate the issues in the open.
Information packs, known as Reality Checks, will be given to the trainers on the various topics, including one on sex and relationships. It advises: "What you consider to be an inappropriate relationship may not be inappropriate to others."
The programme will be available for Guides aged between 10 and 14 as well as the movement's senior section for young women aged 14 to 25.
An adult leader will be present and parents will be informed in advance of the topics to be covered.
Denise King, the chief executive of Girlguiding UK, said that Get Wise would allow girls to discuss issues "relevant to their lives".
"As Britain's largest organisation providing a safe female-only space at the most formative time of their personal and social development, we see it as our responsibility to give girls and young women the knowledge, experience and confidence to understand and manage the issues they face."
Vicky Willis, 22, the programme's chairman, said: "We will not be telling them what to do."
But Norman Wells, of the Family Education Trust, claimed that the new peer education scheme "bears all the marks of adults abdicating their responsibilities for children and young people"."When parents and other authority figures fail to provide young people with moral guidance, they are abandoning them to a sea of relativism and forcing them to take decisions for which they lack the necessary wisdom and maturity."
Thursday, January 04, 2007
Current status: please sign the petition, here. and will run until 7 March 2007. Mr Beyer concluded “Almost 600 people have already signed but it is vital that it attracts hundreds of thousands of signatures so that the Prime Minister is not left in any doubt about the strength of public feeling against offensive and harmful pornography”.
From MediaWatch-UK: Tony Blair has recently set up a scheme of on line petitioning to enable the public to express their concerns about any issue directly to him. Lobby group mediawatch-uk has taken advantage of this to express support for the Government’s plans, set out in the Criminal Justice Bill, to make extreme pornography illegal.
Speaking today, John Beyer, director of mediawatch-uk welcomed the opportunity the online petitions give to the public. Our petition, which has been approved by officials at 10 Downing Street, calls upon the Prime Minister to “steadfastly proceed with plans set out in the Queen’s Speech and to widen the scope of the law to include a much wider range of pornographic imagery such as material rated R18 by the British Board of Film Classification. We believe that pornography contributes to a range of social and moral problems that attack the family and the fabric of our society. Mr Beyer went on: “the pornography industry has exploited to the full a law passed in 1959 that is inherently flawed and has failed miserably to fulfill the intentions of Parliament to strengthen the criminal law. The fact that very extreme violent material is so readily available proves that the 1959 Obscene Publications Act has had the opposite effect”.
Any British citizen or resident may sign the online petition and addresses will be kept confidential. The petition is at:
and will run until 7 March 2007. Mr Beyer concluded “Almost 600 people have already signed but it is vital that it attracts hundreds of thousands of signatures so that the Prime Minister is not left in any doubt about the strength of public feeling against offensive and harmful pornography”.