Thursday, July 31, 2008

The Pope on clerical abuse

Briefing: the strength of the Pope's recent condemnation of clerical sex abuse at Sydney is worth noting. The UK is fare from free of these problems.

From Damian Thompson, in part (see his full post): It's true that the heyday of sexual assault by Catholic clergy was a long time ago, during the 1970s. But the heyday of the cover-ups was much more recent. Many bishops alive today were up to their necks in it; interestingly, liberal and conservative prelates were equally guilty.

Pope John Paul II did not respond adequately to the revelations that surfaced during his pontificate: in his confused old age, he even publicly honoured the founder of the Legionaries of Christ, Fr Marcial Maciel, long after it was clear that the guy was a sexual predator. It was Benedict who finally took action against the disgusting old hypocrite.

The Pope's strongly worded apology in Australia is part and parcel of his reforms of the whole Church: it cannot be divorced from his determination to breathe new life into moribund structures. The Catholic Church is emphatically not a nest of paedophiles, as its enemies claim; but for years it has been saddled with lazy and smug prelates - not just liberals, I hasten to add - whose sense of their own moral superiority helped protect sexual predators.

Do the bishops of the world and the administrators of the Vatican really share the Pope's deep sense of shame at what happened? I'm still not convinced.


Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Anglicans have 'spiritual Alzheimers', says Cardinal

Briefing. This is hilarious, and a welcome hint that the Vatican might start giving the ramshakle ecclesiatical structure which is the Anglican Communion the attention it deserves: very little.

From Damian Thompson: A senior Vatican Cardinal visiting the Lambeth Conference has delivered an incredible rebuff to its 650 Anglican bishops, telling them they are heading towards "spiritual Alzheimer's" and "ecclesial Parkinson's".

The comments by Cardinal Ivan Dias, Prefect of the Congregation for Evangelisation, must count as one of the rudest things a Vatican prelate has said to Anglicans since the dawn of the ecumenical era.

See the full post.


Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Internet porn not blocked


From CFNews: Almost a million UK households could access websites known to host images of child sex abuse despite a government pledge made two years ago to stop access to paedophile sites.

On Saturday night a coalition of leading children's charities, including Barnardo's, the NSPCC and National Children's Homes, described the situation as 'completely unacceptable'. They have written to the Home Office minister in charge of crime reduction, Vernon Coaker, urging him to take immediate steps to ensure all telecom companies offering internet access block customers from being able to see images that in some cases show children as young as a year old being sexually abused.

Around 5 per cent of consumer broadband connections can access the images because their internet service providers (ISPs) chose not to subscribe to a scheme introduced by the Internet Watch Foundation to bar known paedophile websites.

The list is available to all ISPs and companies such as BT and Vodafone have signed up to take it. Updated twice daily, it contains between 800 and 1,200 live child-abuse websites at any one time. But the revelation that some internet companies are refusing to sign up to the list undermines a key government pledge to tackle paedophile material on the internet.

In May 2006, Coaker said he hoped all internet companies would sign up to the scheme and that, if there was not 100 per cent take-up by the end of last year, the government would look to compel the industry to 'face up to its responsibilities'.

In their letter to Coaker, the children's charities said it was now time for the government 'to draw a line under this issue' by getting 100 per cent compliance from the industry. [Observer]


Monday, July 28, 2008

Liverpool priests defy their bishop: and the Pope

Briefing. This is an attempt to spike the Pope's policy of liturgical renewal, and of welcoming various traditionalists, Anglicans and the Orthodox into full communion. These priests would rather vegetate in the crumbling ruins the liberals have made of the English Church.

From CFNews (H-t Damian Thompson): Last month, it emerged that the Archbishop of Liverpool, Patrick Kelly, was preparing to turn the ailing church of St Vincent de Paul, Toxteth - designed by Pugin - into Britain's first parish dedicated to the traditional Latin Mass. Not so fast. Archbishop Kelly has now told parishioners: 'On Tuesday, 15 July, the proposal was presented, as Canon Law requires, to the Council of Priests. I have decided not to go ahead with the change that I proposed. Thank you for your courtesy and understanding, Please pray for me.'

And that's it: the Archbishop's full explanation of why an exciting and imaginative scheme has been scrapped. The plan also met the request by the Vatican that centrally located churches should be found for people who have requested the ancient liturgy. But the 'Council of Priests', apparently, thought differently. [Damien Thompson, Daily Telegraph]


Sunday, July 27, 2008

Policeman faces charges of homophobia


From CWNews, via CFNews: A decorated British police officer has filed a complaint before a local employment tribunal, charging that he has been harassed by his superiors because of his Christian beliefs.

Graham Cogman, a 15-year veteran of the Norfolk police force, says that he has been subjected to complaints and investigations because he strongly resisted a campaign to encourage support for 'Gay History Month' among the members of that force. Cogman has already been forced to pay a fine of £1,200 for alleged violations of department regulations, because he encouraged colleagues to resist the department's pro-homosexual campaign. He now faces further disciplinary hearings on charges that he has promoted 'homophobic' viewpoints.


Saturday, July 26, 2008

Catholic Directory 2009

Action: letters to the General Secretary of the Bishops Conference (see below): the Catholic Directory, according to the Bishops themselves, should not have organisations in it which are not Catholic. Decisions on who is to be included in the new edition are made in August.

Most notable among non-Catholic organisations in the 2008 Directory are

Progressio: (listed among 'International/Third World Catholic Agencies', p680) it does not claim to be Catholic; it opposes Catholic teaching on condoms and AIDS; it supports pro-abortion groups in South America.
See our dossier, and several posts by John Smeaton, the National Director of SPUC

Marriage Care: wrongly called 'Catholic Marriage Care' in the heading on p652 of the Directory, where it has a section all to itself, it no longer calls itself Catholic. It opposes Catholic teaching on Civil Partnerships and homosexuality, seeing no difference between counselling homosexuals in an objectively immoral relationship and counselling a married couple. The Chairman, Terry Prendergast, is on record (in The Tablet) as being in favour of sex outside marriage.
See our dossier.

Catholics for AIDS Prevention and Support (CAPS): (listed among 'Catholic Societies of England and Wales', p670) founded by Martin Pendergast, it is closely linked to the Roman Catholic Caucus of the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement. The LGCM explicitly rejects Church teaching on sexuality. CAPS shared a stall with the RCCLGCM at the recent LondonPride 'gay pride' march. It will not subscribe to a declaration of Church teaching on homosexuality. Pendergast tell us "Our line, whether in CAPS or the Lesbian and Gay Caucus, is that in reaching moral decisions as Catholics you respect the tradition of the church and listen to what its leaders are saying, but at the end of the day you have to reach those decisions yourself." (see here).
See our dossier.

In 2001 the Bishops Conference published a short document called 'Criteria for entry into the Catholic Directory', available from this page of their website, as a pdf (here). This tells us that 'ecclesiastical recognition is given to organisations so that they may be publicly known as both Catholic and of national significance'. It goes on to specify as the first criterion for entry:

'A fundamental commitment to the teaching and practice of the Catholic Church, particularly as expressed by the documents of the Second Vatican Council and the Catechism of the Catholic Church.'

This is explained in more detail: 'The word 'fundamental' relates to the key objectives of the organisation as formally written and as corporately pursued. It is tolerant of some variety of emphasis in expression and in operation, but not of deviation from ultimate loyalty to the Church, nationally or internationally.'

It is patently clear that Progressio and Marriage Care, which explicitly state that they are not (any longer) Catholic organisations on their websites, do not fulfil this criterion. It is equally clear that CAPS, whose work in based on the rejection (or at least the ignoring) of Church teaching on sexuality, does not either.

Please point this out to:

Mgr Andrew Summersgil, General Secretary,
Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales
39 Eccleston Square


Friday, July 25, 2008

Newman smeared

Update: see the excellent post by Fr Tim Finnigan here.

(20/07/08): it is a well-known trick of homosexual activists to claim that any close friendship of a person in the past (who can't answer back) is evidence of homosexuality: David and Jonathan, Our Lord and St John, etc. etc.. This tired old tactic is never too boring or unconvincing to be tried again: now Cardinal Newman's great friendship with Ambrose St John (and - shock! - his celibacy) is being slyly suggested as evidence of his being subject to a disordered sexuality. The utter absurdity of this idea speaks for itself.

The very fact that the Telegraph should ask Martin Pendergast, the well-known dissident gay activitist and former Catholic priest, for a quote on this subject shows the damage done to the Church, and the insults heaped on her saints, by individuals and groups claiming to be Catholic who reject her teaching.

For the Telegraph article, see here. For more on Pendergast see here.


CAPS/Positive Catholics: Dossier

Catholics for AIDS Prevention and Support was founded in the late 1990s; it was the successor organisation to 'Catholic AIDS Link' which folded in 1997. CAPS became a registered charity in 2003. 'Positive Catholics', founded in 2004, is described as 'supported by' CAPS, but they share an email address; it seems that for certain purposes, such as their retreats at Douai Abbey, CAPS calls itself Positive Catholics.

This switching between different front organisations is characteristic of the founder and usual spokesman of CAPS (and previously of Catholic AIDS Link), ex-Carmelite priest Martin Pendergast (officially the Executive Secretary of CAPS) who also has the 'Roman Catholic Caucus of the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement' and the 'Soho Masses Pastoral Council' to look after. While not always holding the highest-ranking position within these groups, it is he who usually talks to the press.

The point of having all these groups is that Pendergast and his friends can present different faces in different contexts. As a leading figure of the RCCLGCM, and its parent organisation, the LGCM, Pendergast was the one to read a statement, to be endorsed by their annual conference, condemning the Catholic bishops for their opposition to the Sexual Orientation Regulations; the conference banner described Pope Benedict as a homophobe (see our dossier on RCCLGCM/SMPC). The RCCLGCM could never get episcopal approval for Masses targeted at homosexual Catholics, but the same people calling themselves the SMPC have done exactly that. With CAPS they have gone a step further, being listed in the national Catholic Directory as a 'Catholic' organisation.

Pendergast is well known for his dissent from Catholic teaching. His long-term relationship with Julian Filochowski was formalised as a civil partnership in defiance of the Pope's condemnation of these, and his anniversary was celebrated by his friends with a book full of dissent from Church teaching; recently he has tried to claim Cardinal Newman was a homosexual. Wearing his CAPS hat, Pendergast makes little effort to hide his attitude to Church teaching. In the on-line newsletter 'Positive Nation', he was annoyed to read a letter reminding readers of Christian principles with regard to homosexuality:

I am not going to say my opinion, because the word of the Lord speaks for itself. When we live with a sin or are weak in an area, we should confess and admit our wrong and ask God for strength to forgo that issue. Having sex with the same sex is wrong in the eyes of the Lord, but we all have free will. I do not hate gays, we are all sinners that require God’s mercy and Grace.
All we need to do is pray that God removes us from our weakness. When God sees your willingness to be free from a sin, he will surely provide the strength and will forgive.
But please, gay people shouldn’t think it is Christians who impose this, it is in the word. And the word is our light. Pamela Murshore (see here).

He wrote in reply:

When Pamela Mushore brandishes her ‘one size fits all’ faith for all people she treads on dangerous ground. She uses the word ‘judge’, as if that were the most fundamental aspect by which the mystery of God might be known. The God who liberates rather than punishes is a God of love, not of fear.
She appears to read the Bible as if it were a book of rules to cover every occasion. Yet the Bible is the collected stories and reflections of peoples moving out of oppression and slavery into ‘the freedom of the children of God.’ It reflects the common human struggle to become more fully human, rejoicing in all that we are, including our sexualities.
Out of the love, caring, respect and solidarity so evident in the gay community’s first responses to HIV (and not just to gay men), is it not possible God might be showing a heterosexually dominant world new patterns of human loving? Catholics for AIDS Prevention & Support would strongly reject the false but no doubt sincere sentiments which Pamela seeks to dress up as biblical doctrine.
Martin Pendergast, Executive secretary - Catholics for Aids prevention and support.

The notion of 'rejoicing' in homosexuality is key to the attitude of the dissident Catholic circle to which CAPS belongs. It is obviously at odds with the teaching of the Church that homosexuality is 'objectively disordered' (see Catechism of the Catholic Church
2358). It is precisely 'rejoicing' in homosexuality, and more specifically the immoral gay subculture, which the LondonPride march is all about, and it is no surprise to see CAPS as an official participant, sharing a stall with RCCLGCM year after year (here's one report, here's another).

In an interview in Positive Nation, Pendergast tells us that Church teaching is optional as a guide:
"Our line, whether in CAPS or the Lesbian and Gay Caucus, is that in reaching moral decisions as Catholics you respect the tradition of the church and listen to what its leaders are saying, but at the end of the day you have to reach those decisions yourself."

There are innumerable groups working with AIDS sufferers which have nothing but contempt for the teaching of the Church. CAPS/Positive Catholics is unusual in attempting to reassure Catholics, who might be in some doubt about it, that the immoral lifestyle which contributes to the spread of AIDS is not wrong even from a Catholic point of view. All of us, not least when we have the reminder of mortality provided by an incurable disease, need to examine ourselves in the light of the teaching of the Church, and to repent and go to confession, but CAPS is doing its best to cut some of the most vulnerable Catholics off from this. It is an appalling situation that their claim to be 'Catholic' is being supported by the Catholic Directory.

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, 'The Pastoral Care of the Homosexual Person', 1986, has this to say: (See here for the full text.17:'All support should be withdrawn from any organisations which seek to undermine the teaching of the Church, which are ambiguous about it, or which neglect it entirely.'

Pseudo-Catholic organisations gain power from their assumed identity as Catholic, and use it to cause scandal. They must be exposed for what they are.


Thursday, July 24, 2008

Telegraph celebrates IVF

Briefing. The suffering - most often fruitless - of women undergoing IVF, and the health problems of IVF babies, should also be borne in mind, as well as the moral wrong of separating procreation from sex. See the Telegraph here.

From SPUC: A British national newspaper has published articles effectively celebrating the 30th anniversary of IVF. The Daily Telegraph describes the invention of IVF, the total number of children born by IVF, and how IVF has made genetic screening, donor conception, 'saviour siblings' and same-sex parenting possible. [Telegraph, 22 July] Anthony Ozimic, SPUC political secretary, commented: "The Telegraph says only in passing that there are ethical questions posed by IVF. We hope that the Telegraph will be fairer in the coming days and will consider the number of embryonic children who have been destroyed following IVF and its other damaging effects."


Another attempt to bring abortion to Norther Ireland

Action: please lobby your MP. Why are these mainland MPs so eager to change the law in Northern Ireland?

From SPUC: There is a proposal in the UK parliament to extend Britain's liberal abortion régime to Northern Ireland. Ms Diane Abbott, Labour MP for Hackney North and Stoke Newington, England, and colleagues from other parties have tabled an amendment to the government's Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill. All of the province's main parties oppose such a move, which may be debated in October. [BBC, 23 July] Mrs Betty Gibson, chairwoman of SPUC Northern Ireland, said: "This attempt to impose abortion on Northern Ireland is extremist, anti-democratic and arrogant. The leaders of all four major political parties and the four main Churches right across Northern Ireland's traditional divide have written to the government and all Westminster MPs calling on them to allow the issue of abortion law to be decided by the Province's devolved government." SPUC is offering free badges to people in Northern Ireland for them to wear to show their opposition to the proposal. [SPUC, 23 July]


Monday, July 21, 2008

BBC bias against Pope on WYD

Action: complaints, please, to the BBC from anyone who has seen its coverage, on radio, TV or the internet. This summary by the BBC will give you a flavour of the coverage.

Many people have noticed the remarkable feat achieved by the BBC: that the huge crowds of enthusiastic young Catholics praying and listening to the Pope have been largely ignored in favour of the sex abuse issue. The Pope's meeting with victims of sex abuse, and his courageous condemnation, and apology, for the abuse, have been taken by the BBC as an excuse to talk about almost nothing else - with the partial exception of noting a handful of homosexual activists handing out condoms.

As Fr Finnigan writes, Viewers relying on the BBC to find out what is happening in the world would gain the impression that the World Youth Day was an act of a defensive and beleaguered religious leader rather than a joyful celebration of youthful faith and Christian hope.

(And see here for how the BBC was criticised by an Australian newspaper for its coverage.)

Fr Ray Blake comments:I don't know what has appeared on the television but here the reporting on BBC Radio 4 has been appalling, one or two phrases of the Pope have been reported, but practically all the emphasis has been placed on the Pope's expression of shame for sexual abuse by clergy, when that has not been reported, there has been a great deal of emphasis on protesters against the Papal visit.

This summary - with accompanying pictures - by the BBC says it all. In between harping on about sex abuse and homosexual activists, it concedes that the event 'will be regarded as a resounding success by the Vatican'.

Regarded? By the Vatican? And what about by the BBC

But the BBC's Nick Bryant, in Sydney, says that overall the event appeared spectacular, and the young people who attended appeared to have been energised by the Pope.

It appeared spectacular? What's the difference between appearing spectacular and being spectacular? The young people appeared energised? Why not ask them and find out whether they were really energised?


Blogger priests to be gagged?

Briefing and comment: this is just a rumour, but it is not surprising that the Bishops of England and Wales are considering this - these priestly blogs rarely advance the kind of liberal slush which we get from organs controlled by the Bishops - but a heavy-handed attempt at censorship is likely to be counter-productive. A light-handed attempt won't make any impact at all, except to make the bishops a laughing-stock.

Valle Adurni notes the control bishops are used to having over Catholic publications, a control which is in danger of becoming irrelevant. Even the more conservative ones (like the Catholic Herald) are careful to avoid too strident criticism, since parish churches are they main distribution channel. As it is the Catholic Herald is simply not to be found in the churches of less conservative priests - no surprise that the more liberal Universe vastly outsells it.

Hat-tip to Mulier Fortis.


Support the Papa Stronsay community

Action: all trads should support them, now they are being reconciled to Rome, and the SSPX is turning its back on them. Please subscribe to their newspaper, The Catholic.

Briefing and comment:
The Transalpine Redemptorists of Papa Stronsay, now to be known as the "Sons of the Most Holy Redeemer" (Filii Sanctissimi Redemptoris: "F.SS.R"), were founded in the 1980s and have existed for for twenty years associated with the Society of St Pius X, the order founded by Archbishop Levebre to maintain the traditional Mass and doctrine of the Church. The SSPX is in less than complete communion with Rome, notably since Archbishop Levebre consecrated four bishops without the Pope's permission in 1988.

In recent years, and especially following the Motu Proprio, several small groups of Traditionalists have returned to full communion with the Holy See: the Institute of the Good Shepherd in Bordeaux is the best known. Such reconciliations are an intended and wonderful fruit of the Motu Proprio, and it is important that these communities get a good welcome. One day, we hope, the SSPX will be reconciled; at the moment, they are cutting off their long-standing contacts with the Papa Stronsay community, which include arrangements for the training of seminarians, apostolates, and the distribution of their newspaper, The Catholic. This is a pity. Catholics who like the Traditional Mass should show that the friends they lose in 'coming over' will be more than compensated by the friends they will gain: a concrete gesture would be to subscribe to this newspaper - only £10 a year! On-line form and snail-mail details on their blog.

Hat-tip to Rorate Caeli and Cornell Society.


Friday, July 18, 2008

Mothers rebel against full-time work

Briefing and comment: this may at last be a sign that mothers are beginning to resist the absurdly demanding role forced on them by feminists, of working full time while bringing up children. This is the price they were expected to pay to acheive the feminist goal of 'gender equality' in terms of numbers at every level of management.

From The Times, in part: The British Household Panel Survey, which involved 3,800 couples over eight years, found that women with part-time jobs were the happiest. They reported greater job satisfaction than those in full-time work and appeared more content than those with no job. By contrast, 78 per cent of fathers said that they were happiest working full-time.

Those shoulder-padded woman who used their stilettos to become prime ministers, QCs and consultants in the 1980s and dictated their briefs while they were giving birth now seem as old-fashioned as their big hair. The number of women in full-time professional and managerial roles peaked in 2001 in Britain. The number of married mothers working full time and with infant-age children has fallen by 6 per cent in five years across all educational levels.

Full story here.


More on Progressio

Briefing and comment: John Smeaton has been digging into the charity Progressio, which manages combine a denial that it is Catholic with a listing in the national Catholic Directory, and the privilege of using Catholic churches (even St George's Cathedral in Southwark) to distribute their literature. As if this wasn't impressive enough, Smeaton points out that Progressio's 'partners' in Latin America include organisations which not only promote abortion but also took part in the failed campaign by Catholics for a Free Choice to oust the Vatican from the United Nations.

Progressio must be unmasked as a thoroughly anti-Catholic organisation: opposing not just the Church's teaching on condoms and abortion, but undermining the Church's influence in the world.

(See here for our dossier on Progressio, and here for our dossier on Catholics for a Free Choice.)


The Flock Summer 08 available

The latest newsletter from Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice is available here.


Critique of ecumenism

Warwick Street Masses for Gay activists: contrary to earlier claims, still going on, as is the protest outside them promoted by PEEP.

Revisiting the Traditional Mass

The 'Genuine Crisis' in the Church


Thursday, July 17, 2008

Christian Charities: don't do social work if you spread the gospel

Action: please lobby Hazel Blears: Christian charities do social work inspired by their religious convictions: obviously. What they do is therefore an exemplification of Christian values: obviously. Their work is a major way in which the Gospel makes itself felt in the world: inevitably. Evangelisation and social work cannot be separated. Please tell Ms Blears.

Department for Communities and Local Government
Eland House
Bressenden Place

From LifeSite, via CFNews: Last year, the Charities Commission instituted a new criterion under which religious charities must prove that what they do is of 'public benefit', or face the loss of their tax status. Now a secretary of the Labour government has said that those Christian charities that engage in religious evangelisation will not also be allowed to conduct social service work. Hazel Blears, the Labour government's Communities Secretary is the author of a White Paper entitled 'Communities in control: real people, real power', that lays out the criteria for participation by Christian organisations in social services. But Blears indicated in the House of Commons that in the name of 'inclusiveness' Christian religious charities that are interested in promoting Christianity will be excluded from engaging in charitable social works. Although 'many people are motivated by faith of all kinds to do great acts of social good,' she said, 'I am concerned to ensure that if faith groups become involved, they do so on a proper footing - not by evangelising or proselytising, but by providing services in a non-discriminatory way to the whole community.'

Blears said she will draft a 'charter' for churches and Christian agencies providing community services. The charter will require groups to pledge to provide 'an inclusive service to our community' in a number of ways. One of these is, 'Never imposing our Christian faith or belief on others.' The Christian Institute, a non-denominational organisation that promotes traditional Christianity in public life, said that there have already been cases of Christian groups being denied funding because they refuse to compromise on their specifically Christian ethos.

In 2005, one Christian-run homeless shelter was threatened with the loss of £150,000 of funding unless it stopped saying grace at mealtimes and putting Bibles out for use by guests. Teen Challenge UK, an organisation in Wales that helps drug addicts, had £700,000 of funding withdrawn. Although the Welsh Assembly denies this was the reason, MP Bob Spink said in the House of Commons, 'The organisation's grant was removed essentially because it has Christian roots and is run by Christians.'

Last month Blears said that the 'sidelining' of Christianity in public life is 'common sense' and said that in the place of Britain's 1500 year Christian heritage, Islam should be promoted. Blears told BBC Radio 4's Sunday programme that the government's interest in Islam is 'just common sense. If we've got an issue where we have to build resilience of young Muslim men and women to withstand an extremist message.' Her comments came in the wake of a scathing Church of England report that accused the Labour government of being 'tone-deaf' to religious matters, especially in its lack of a fundamental grasp of the principles of Christianity, the country's officially established religion.

Blears immediately cemented the Church's point when she told BBC Radio that she found it a source of joy that 'we live in a secular democracy.' The Church of England bishop responsible for the report, the Rt Rev Stephen Lowe, said afterwards, 'That comes as news to me - we have an Established Church, but the Government can't deal with Christianity.' The Church of England's report effectively threw the weight of the Established Church behind the resurgent Conservative party that has been making significant overtures to Britain's disaffected Christian majority. The report, entitled 'Moral, But No Compass,' accused Labour of 'religious illiteracy', refusing to acknowledge the breakdown of civil order in society and of having excluded religious voices. The government, it says, 'consciously decided to focus...almost exclusively on minority religions.' [LifeSiteNews]


Government uses holiday season for NI abortion consultation

Action: NI residents must respond to the consultation and spread the word. Find it here.

From CFNews: The Northern Ireland executive has launched a consultation on the termination of pregnancy. It comes at the height of the holiday season in the province, where the 1967 Abortion Act does not apply. Mrs Betty Gibson, SPUC chairwoman in Northern Ireland, said: 'Publishing the draft guidance now means many people won't actually be aware of the document until they have returned to work in a couple of weeks. The Assembly is in recess and, even when politicians return to their constituencies, it may be September before they can discuss the proposals with their party colleagues - less than three weeks before the closing date for submissions. In the past, consultations on contentious issues have been launched during the holiday season in order to reduce the time available for objections. These draft guidelines contain some very serious flaws, not least the failure to acknowledge the suffering frequently experienced by women after abortion. We are determined that the final version of the guidelines should warn of the terrible psychological damage associated with abortion.' [Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety, SPUC]


Vatican: no condoms to curb AIDS

Briefing: condoms are an easy but false solution to AIDS, since they encourage the behaviour (promiscuity) which spreads the disease while only reducing, not eliminating, the risk of infection. This simple point is apparently incomprehensible to the condom-pushers, but that is because they think promiscuity and contraception are good in themselves.

From LifeSite, via CFNews: Following the report that an official of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) had told media, in defiance of established Catholic teaching, that the use of condoms by HIV and AIDS-infected spouses is morally permissible, this position was soundly trounced in an article in the Vatican Newspaper L'Osservatore Romano by a member of the Pontifical Council on the Family. Msgr. Jacques Suaudeau slammed the idea of condoms for AIDS prevention, saying it 'cannot be proposed as a model of humanization and development.' Msgr. Suaudeau also pointed out the danger of relying upon latex condoms to prevent the transmission of the AIDS virus: 'We are asked to believe that the HIV virus, 450 times smaller than spermatozoa, can almost always be magically blocked by a condom, without taking into account that spermatozoa themselves can pass through the latex barrier in 15 out of 100 completed sexual acts.'

The condom-for-AIDS theory, while directly contradicting the teaching of the Catholic Church as repeatedly reiterated by Vatican officials, also flies in the face of recent statistics showing a correlation between increasing rates of AIDS infection and the spread of condom use in the Philippines. In 2006, the Philippine Health Secretary reported that the number of HIV/AIDS cases almost doubled in three years from about 6000 in 2002 to 11,168 in 2006. This was the same period in which private companies and UN-funded international NGOs began bringing condoms into the country. In 2004 alone, DKT, a private organization run by a well-known US pornographer, with the support of the Packard Foundation, distributed 27.8 million condoms as well as chemical abortifacients and contraceptives in the Philippines. Indeed, in many countries, statistics have shown that far from reducing the transmission of AIDS, the use of condoms has greatly exacerbated the problem.

The relentless push by foreign 'experts' for condoms is being increasingly condemned by local governments in the developing world who have seen successful AIDS prevention programmes undermined by the western obsession with latex. The first lady of Kenya said in 2006 that the western programmes pushing condoms in her country were the primary culprits in the spread of AIDS. Lucy Kibaki spoke to Kenyan schoolgirls at an awards ceremony, telling them, 'The condom … is causing the spread of AIDS in this country.' Mrs Kibaki said the rapid spread of AIDS in Kenya could be put down to pressure from abroad to use condoms instead of practising self-control. 'I am not telling you to use condoms. I am not in favour of condoms.' Officials in charge of the most successful AIDS prevention programme in Africa have recently condemned the efforts by western advisors to undermine their programmes promoting abstinence and marital fidelity.

A Ugandan official wrote a piece last week for the Washington Post, saying that the western obsession with casual sex was killing the people of his country. The spread of artificial methods of contraception in the Philippines has long been one of the major goals of the international population control movement, funded through agencies like International Planned Parenthood and the United Nations Population Fund. The Philippines was one of the countries specified in a 1974 US government document, the National Security Study Memorandum 200 (NSSM), authored by Henry Kissinger, that re-directed the work of such international organisations as UNICEF into population control in order to protect US economic interests by lowering fertility rates in the developing world.

In 2002, the Catholic bishops conference of the Philippines issued a statement condemning the attempts by various international organisations to implement the NSSM 200 programme by pushing artificial contraceptives. Currently the attempt has been made again and the Church is vehemently opposing two pending pieces of legislation in the Senate and House of Representatives that will allow 'family planning' organisations to begin their contraceptive programmes in the strongly Catholic country. [LifeSiteNews]


Parents of St. Thérèse of Lisieux to be beatified

Action: prayers, please, to these exemplary parents, for parents everywhere.

From CFNews: Louis and Marie-Zélie Martin, parents of St. Thérèse of Lisieux, will be beatified on Mission Sunday at the Cathedral of Lisieux. Cardinal Saraiva Martins, retired prefect of the Congregation for Saints' Causes, made the announcement Saturday when he presided at a Mass at Notre-Dame Church at Alencon to mark the couple's 150th wedding anniversary. Mission Sunday is celebrated this year on Oct. 19. The news comes days after Benedict XVI recognized a miracle attributable to the intercession of Louis and Marie-Zélie Martin. It involved the healing of Pietro Schiliro of Monza, Italy. Pietro was born in 2002 with a fatal lung malformation. Italian Carmelite Father Antonio Sangalli suggested that the child's parents pray a novena to Thérèse's parents to receive the strength to endure their suffering. However, Pietro's mother decided to do the novena to ask for her son's cure. When Pietro regained his health, he and his parents went on pilgrimage to Lisieux to thank the Martins. [Zenit]


EU funds soft porn


FRom CFNews: In a 44-second video-clip, 'Film lovers will love this!', the European Commissioner in charge, Mrs. Viviane Reding (Luxembourg), promotes an made clip which is an abstract of soft porn and sodomy sex produced by her services (supported by our taxes). Under the doubtful title 'Let's come together', the video shows a thundering series of various bestial-like sexual intercourses between women and men, between men, and between women.

The Commissioner's spokesman in charge, Mr Martin Selmayr, explained to the press that film production, including of a pornographic nature, is part of the promotion policy of cultural diversity and artistic creativity, highlighting Europe's tradition of rich cinema. He also explained that this video clip was nothing other than the compilation of extracts of the films financed by the European Commission.

Thus, by Europe, our taxpayers' monies are contributing to fund porn and bestial sexual clips.

At the occasion of the 'eutube' launching (See
here) , within the framework of its new communication policy, in order to promote its activities, the European Commission took up pieces of its own videos on Internet.

The European Commission set up a Community programme MEDIA to support the film production in EU Member States. MEDIA supports the distribution of 9 films out of 10 in Europe, which are distributed apart from their country of origin. Each year, 2.5 million spectators view more than 15000 European 'films' in more than 100 festivals financed by MEDIA. Each year, 300 new European film projects are supported by MEDIA.

Mrs Viviane Reding (Luxembourg) is the EU Commissioner in charge of the implementation of the MEDIA programme [Euro-fam]


Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Template revision

more or less complete, thank you for your patience!

We hope that the results are not only easier to see and understand, but also make the blog easier to navigate.


Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Graglia against Feminism: 14

A continuing series; see here for the introduction, and here for more on feminism in the Catholic Church in the UK.

From Domestic Tranquility, p186
...By denying that the sex act derives any special significance from its procreative potentiality, the sexual revolution trivialized the sexual intercourse. And this trivialization fostered women's defeminization as society came to perceive women to be fungible with men and stripped of that aura of preciousness once conferred by their child-bearing capacities. When the prevailing mores teach that sexual intercourse is merely a morally indifferent, mechanical act designed to produce a physical sensation with any number of individuals and without the prerequisites of love and and commitment, the act--like inflated currency--loses value. ...And the the sex act becomes degraded in value--when it ceases to be a big deal--society decreases the value it places both on a child as the product of conception in this degraded act and on a woman in her role as mother of the child. Casual sex leads, as it were, to casual motherhood.


Monday, July 14, 2008

BMA considers barring pro-life doctors from seeing crisis pregnancy patients

Update: the BMA have held back from endorsing Evan Harris' proposal.

From SPUC: The British Medical Association has narrowly turned down a motion to require pro-life doctors to declare their views. Dr Evan Harris MP wanted physicians to have to use leaflets and posters state their preparedness (or otherwise) to co-operate with abortion and/or IVF. The association's annual conference voted by 50.6% to reject the proposal.

Briefing, 27/06/08.

From SPUC: A motion before the British Medical Association's annual meeting would
effectively bar doctors with a conscientious objection to abortion from seeing patients with unplanned pregnancies. The move comes from Dr Evan Harris, Liberal Democrat MP and member of the association's medical ethics committee. The Christian Medical Fellowship has published an analysis of the motion and Dr Harris's parliamentary agenda for more abortion. SPUC supports medics who object to abortion and has produced a flyer and a briefing for doctors. [SPUC director's blog, 26 June]

Here's the motion:

528 Motion by OXFORD DIVISION: That this Meeting:
(i) supports the rights of doctors and other health care professionals to conscientiously object to carrying out, or referring directly for, certain non-emergency lawful procedures, where:
(a) such conscientious objection is recognised in statute, as in abortion and IVF;
(b) the doctor recognises that s/he is not in a position to give balanced advice to patients considering that procedure and does not claim to do so;
(c) the medical practice makes every effort to inform patients in advance, for example through practice leaflets, which doctors are able to provide such advice and make appropriate referrals;
(d) in the event of seeing a patient seeking advice on such a procedure, the doctor must refer them to another doctor for such advice;
(e) in the event of seeing a patient seeking such a procedure, the doctor must, in line with GMC guidance, tell them of their right to see another doctor and ensure that the patient has sufficient information to exercise their right; but if the patient cannot readily make their own arrangements to see another doctor, the doctor must ensure that arrangements are made, without delay, for another doctor to take over their care.
(ii) calls on the GMC to ensure its guidance on personal beliefs and medical practice reflects this view;
(iii) calls on parliament to retain the statutory right of doctors and other health care professionals to conscientiously object in abortion and IVF services within the above limits."

Apart from anything else (d) is outrageous: a conscientious doctor is more capable of giving balanced advice on abortion than a non-conscientious one. The whole thing is an attempt to circumvent the legal protection for pro-life doctors which was one of the much-hyped protections included in the original Abortion Act. Without these protections the Act may not have been passed: now, of course, is the time to go back on the concessions to pro-life opinion they made back then.

Here is the GMC's guidance:

"GMC Good Medical Practice (2006)s8 If carrying out a particular procedure or giving advice about it conflicts with your religious or moral beliefs, and this conflict might affect the treatment or advice you provide, you must explain this to the patient and tell them they have the right to see another doctor. You must be satisfied that the patient has sufficient information to enable them to exercise that right. If it is not practical for a patient to arrange to see another doctor, you must ensure that arrangements are made for another suitably qualified colleague to take over your role."

This itself renders conscientious objection illicit: anyone with a thought-through objection to abortion has an objection to ensuring a patient will see a pro-abortion doctor. This guidance has not yet been legally tested. For a full critique of the GMC's document 'Personal Beliefs and Medical Practice' see here.


Sunday, July 13, 2008

Composer: Labour anti-Catholic


From CFNews: A renowned composer has declared that there is no place any more for Catholics in New Labour. James MacMillan, writing in the Daily Telegraph, argued that Catholics had been alienated by recent House of Commons votes on abortion, human-animal embryos and 'saviour siblings'. As a result, he predicted, Labour would lose the July 24 by-election in Glasgow East, where there are many working-class Catholic voters. 'To many old-style socialists, there is nothing more fundamental to a just and fair society than the protection of its most vulnerable members and their right to life', he wrote.

'The recent Commons vote represents a tipping point for many Labour voters in Scotland. Party numbers in both parliaments could soon be decimated.' Mr MacMillan has been composer and conductor with the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra since 2000. He has composed several Masses, including one which was commissioned by Westminster Cathedral. He has long had political concerns and was a Labour Party branch chairman in the '980s. But he fell out with Labour over what he cals their 'lifestyle liberalism' in such areas as the traditional family and education, sexual mores, artistic aspirations and religious belief.

There is 'a growing anti-Catholic prejudice' in the Labour Party, he wrote. He quoted Labour MEP Mary Honeyball saying that 'democracy and religion do not mix' and questioning whether Catholics such as Ruth Kelly, Des Browne and Paul Murphy should be 'allowed' a place on the front bench. Mr MacMillan argued that Christian beliefs had been 'dumped contemptuously' by the Labour Party. [Catholic Herald] 1464.22


Divorce leads to troubled children


From Life Site, via CFNews: On the 50th anniversary of a British longitudinal social study, researchers have revealed that the years of collected data indicate that a child whose parents are divorced is more likely to struggle academically, emotionally and in future relationships of their own, reports the Daily Telegraph.

'Divorce has repercussions that reverberate through childhood and into adulthood. Children from disrupted families tend to do less well in school and subsequent careers than their peers. They are also more likely to experience the break-up of their own partnerships,' the researchers said.

'The National Child Development Study (NCDS) is a continuing, multi-disciplinary longitudinal study which takes as its subjects all the people born in one week in England, Scotland and Wales in one week in March '958,' reads the website for the Centre for Longitudinal Studies.

The study compares over '7,000 people born in '958 with several other groups of similar size born in the subsequent decades.

Besides finding an increased divorce rate among couples, the study found that, contrary to the expectations of some, an increased social acceptance of divorce over the years has not reduced the negative effects experienced by the children of divorced parents.

'It might be expected that as divorce has become more commonplace, its effects might have reduced. Yet a comparison with children born in '970 shows that this is not the case,' the researchers said.

'The estimates across cohorts are surprisingly similar in magnitude and not significantly different from one another.'

The study found that children from divorced families are less likely to be educated, and are more likely to suffer depression and to be claiming benefits. [LifeSiteNews]


Saturday, July 12, 2008

Sacrilege compulsory in Stoke school

Briefing: a teacher told her pupils to pray to Allah, in Arabic, as part of a lesson on Islam, and punished those who refused or did it wrong. Either this is play-acting (an insult to Islam) or it is an attempt to coerce insincere religious acts (sacrilege).

From the Daily Mail, in part: Two schoolboys were given detention after refusing to kneel down and 'pray to Allah' during a religious education lesson. Parents were outraged that the two boys from year seven (11 to 12-year-olds) were punished for not wanting to take part in the practical demonstration of how Allah is worshipped. They said forcing their children to take part in the exercise at Alsager High School, near Stoke-on-Trent - which included wearing Muslim headgear - was a breach of their human rights.

Full story here.


Friday, July 11, 2008

Christian registrar wins tribunal over civil partnerships

Briefing: excellent news - Islington Council may appeal.

From the BBC, in part: A marriage registrar was harassed for refusing to conduct same-sex ceremonies, a tribunal has ruled. Lillian Ladele, who said the civil partnership ceremonies went against her Christian faith, hailed the decision as a "victory for religious liberty". The tribunal ruled that Miss Ladele was discriminated against on grounds of religious beliefs and was harassed. Islington council said it was "disappointed" and was considering an appeal against the ruling.

Miss Ladele said she was being effectively forced to choose between her religion and her £31,000-a-year job as a result. She said she was picked on, shunned and accused of being homophobic for refusing to carry out civil partnerships.

Full BBC story here. Previous post on this here (note the comments too).


BMA votes for sex ed in primary schools


From SPUC: The British Medical Association has voted for sex education in primary
schools. The annual representative meeting approved a motion by a vote of nearly 55%. Proponents said the move would reduce teenage pregnancy and sexually transmitted disease. [Scotsman, 10 July]


Hybribs bill: delay till the Autumn


From SPUC: The report stage of the British government's Human Fertilisation and Embryology bill has been postponed from next week till the autumn. The government insists the bill is still important. The Conservative opposition suggests the government is worried about a forthcoming by-election. [BBC, 10 July] SPUC says the postponement provides more time to lobby MPs on the pro-abortion amendments which have been tabled. John Smeaton, SPUC national director, said: "The effects of these amendments would include reducing medical scrutiny of abortion from two doctors to one, abolishing the need for any legal grounds for abortion up to 24 weeks, allowing nurses and midwives to carry out an abortion, extending locations where abortion can take place to include doctors' surgeries, local health centres, school sick rooms etc., and up to a two-year prison sentence for any pro-life counselling group which 'misled' expectant mothers by its adverts. Over the summer we intends to initiate widespread action highlighting the plight of unborn children and their mothers. We will continue to build our campaign against the Bill and against the pro-abortion amendments to the Bill. SPUC will be urging its supporters and local clergy to contact prospective parliamentary candidates in their constituencies to ask them how they would vote on the pro-abortion amendments if they were in Parliament."


Thursday, July 10, 2008

You-Tube censorship: again

Briefing and comment: Removing one video critical of pro-abortion activism without explanation, and then shame-facedly restoring it citing a 'mistake', may be an accident, but doing it twice looks like carelessness: or a deliberate campaign of censorship. For the first instance, see here.

From CFNews: has re-posted two videos in Spanish and English posted by the Catholic News Agency about the controversial abortion documentary 'The Decency Gap' that were pulled from the video-sharing site several days ago in response to pressure from abortion supporters.

The video entitled, 'The Decency Gap / Eve Reinhardt,' shows a meeting between Carlos Polo, director for Latin America of the Population Research Institute, and film maker Eve Reinhardt, who attempted to gain an interview with Carlos by hiding the true nature of the documentary.

'The Decency Gap' aims to promote the legalization of abortion in Latin America and is financed by the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF), the largest abortion provider in the world, Marie Stopes International and the Center for Reproductive Rights, as well as by the abortion organization PROMSEX of Peru.

The video features the encounter that took place several weeks ago in Lima and does not violate YouTube's terms of use in any way.

Although YouTube has not given an official explanation for initially taking the video down and then re-posting it, hundreds of users expressed their support to keep the video online.

Here's the video.


Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Curtis-Thomas: constituent 'rude' for pointing out contradictions

Action: constituents of Catholic MPs should give them no peace unless they agree to vote against the grossly immoral hybrids bill. Their arrogance is exemplified by Claire Curtis-Thomas, a Vice Chair of the Parliamentary All Party Pro-Life Group and a Catholic, who said in the Commons that she is 'not against abortion', receives money from the pro-abortion 'Emily's List', and doesn't want to say what her voting intentions are on the hybrids bill. She regards emails from constituents asking about these inconsistencies 'very rude'.

For the full story see John Smeaton.

No doubt she would consider it even more rude to mention that, according to Wikipedia, in 2003/4 she had the highest expenses claims of any MP (quite an achievement), her husband was fined for vandalising Tory election posters in 2005, and her posh double-barreled name is her own invention. Never mind all that! Just be genuine Catholic, Claire, and everything else will fall into place.

To send her an email go here.


Monday, July 07, 2008

Pro-Life GP cleared of misconduct


From SPUC: A doctor in western England who suggested to patients that they should consider alternatives to abortion has been cleared of professional misconduct. Dr Tammie Downes has persuaded some women not to go ahead with terminations. The General Medical Council investigated a complaint after Dr Downes described her views to a newspaper. She reportedly refuses to refer for abortion.


Hybrids bill: final votes

Action: please lobby your MP.

From Christian Concern for our Nation: Please now take the opportunity to email your MP to ask him/her to vote against;

Liberalising the Abortion Act. Some MPs are attempting to do this. See:

Human reproductive cloning. The bill as it stands has a loophole which needs
tightening up. This relates to the future proposal to allow for a child to come
from 3 individuals to prevent serious mitochondrial disease.

It is also vital you ask them to support an amendment regarding animal –human
hybrid amendments called the ‘Hunt test’. This amendment would ensure that
anyone who wanted to create mixed animal and human embryos would have to prove
that the research is needed, and that there is no alternative available.

Please also ask MPs to push for free votes on all these issues at the remaining
stages of the Bill, by signing Early Day Motion No. 1953. Currently the
Government intends to impose a whip, meaning that their MPs are not allowed to
vote according to their conscience.

Please see link to the EDM No.1953‰1

It is absolutely vital that as many people as possible email their MP AND the
Prime Minister now, expressing their concern over these issues, as well as
calling for a free vote at the ‘ Report’ and ‘3rd Reading’ stages on 14th
July. Please email your MP now – and as many of your friends and contacts and
ask them to do the same.

Please ask your MP take the brave step of ignoring any party whip to support the
Bill and to take the unusual step of voting against the Bill being read a third
time and passed for one or more of the following reasons:

As an issue of conscience; As a protest on the need for a free vote; As a
protest at the lack of time and the lack of justice in allowing only one day of
Parliamentary time for the report stage and third reading to debate and vote on
the many important issues raised in this Bill;

MPs’ email addresses are surname followed by first initial @
For example Gordon Brown would be
David Cameron would be

Briefing packs

Thank you for all your support so far – please take this late opportunity to
affect the final shape of this bill.

Please pray for the outcome at the Report Stage and 3rd reading on the 14th of
July, for guidance for the Government and MPs to act according to God’s will
and pray for a miracle to stop this Bill being passed.


Trans-Alpine Redemporists to seek reconciliation with Rome

Update: The Transalpine Redemptorists, a small traditionalist community on the island of Orkney, has been reconciled with the Holy See, the Rorate Caeli blog has revealed. Father Michael Mary, the vicar general of the Transalpine Redemptorists, announced on the group's own blog that the community had been informed that the suspension of its priests has been lifed by the Vatican. 'All canonical censures have been lifted,' he said, and the group has been welcomed into 'undisputed communion' with the Holy See. The traditionalist leader said that he had 'humbly petitioned' the Vatican for a restoration of communion, in a June 18 meeting with Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos, the president of the Ecclesia Dei commission. The Vatican replied positively on June 26, he reported. Father Michael Mary expressed his gratitude, and that of the Transalpine Redemptorists, to Pope Benedict XVI, 'for issuing, last July, the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum which called us to come into undisputed and peaceful Communion with him.'

Action: prayers, please,
22/04/08for this monastery on Papa Stronsay in the Orkneys. It has been one of the religious orders loosely affiliated to the Society of St Pius X, and therefore in 'imperfect communion' with Rome, since its inception. Now, following the Motu Proprio, they hope for reconciliation. This is one of the beneficial effects the Pope hoped for in issuing the MP; another small group, 'Oasis', based in Spain, has already been reconciled.

Hat-tip to Valle Adurni.

From the Redemptorists' blog, the Superior makes some interesting points:

  • The fact is that we have the Mass vindicated by the Pope; he is trying to change other things quickly; and he is calling us back to himself.
  • Yes there are still problems about ecumenism and collegiality, but problems are not new to the Church we can battle through them if we have the Mass.
  • Sooner or later we must all heed the Pope’s call or become something different from Catholic.
  • Some people will fear and will be a long time learning to trust the Pope again; God is merciful and God may wait. Some are nearly ready to accept the Pope. A lot are edified with what he is trying to do.
See the full post here.


Catholic schools provide access to abortion

Action: anyone involved in a Catholic school needs to know what is going on, and if necessary to complain.

From John Smeaton, in part: Nowadays in Britain and elsewhere, the Government is "imposing" the use of birth control, including abortion, on families; and the Catholic Church authorities in England and Wales are co-operating with the government in imposing it in England - by welcoming into its schools Connexions whose job it is to make abortion and contraception available to children, without parental knowledge or consent, a point I made last year in an interview with Zenit.


Progressio: promoted in a Catholic cathedral, it promotes abortion

Action: complaints, please, to Canon James Cronin, Dean of Southwark (St George's Cathedral) and to Bishop MacDonald of Southwark, through his secretary Monsignor William Saunders, at the promotion of Progressio. As we revealed in our dossier, Progressio dissents explicitly from Church teaching on contraception and is clearly pro-abortion as well - as this latest news also suggests.

From John Smeaton (after citing our dossier): …Not quite so sobering as the spring 2008 issue of Progressio’s own publication Interact, in which a development worker working with Progressio’s partner La Dignas writes of her desire to make a documentary about ‘the serious consequences of the total criminalisation of abortion’ in El Salvador.

By the sound of it, this documentary won’t share the sentiments of a pro-life petition signed by every one of the 84 lawmakers in the El Salvador Congress. "Every human being should be protected and respected from the moment of conception…until his natural death," the petition reads. "Our primary responsibility as legislators is to unconditionally defend life. We condemn abortion as an abominable crime." Possibly Progressio’s principal funders, the British Government, which promotes abortion on demand worldwide, would have something to say about it if the documentary adopted the same line as El Salvador’s lawmakers!

Progressio's position on the abortion law in El Salvador is ambiguous to say the least.

Not only is Progressio being promoted among worshippers at St George’s Cathedral, Southwark, it is listed in the Catholic Directory under “International/Third World Catholic Agencies”. Catholics have a right to expect agencies that claim any connection with the Catholic Church to uphold the Church’s teachings on sexuality and the sanctity of life. Agencies that fail to do so have no place looking for support in a Catholic cathedral.


Involuntary euthanasia standard on the NHS

Vigilance is essential for anyone with loved ones under the care of the NHS.

From LifeSite, via CFNews: A British 'end of life' care protocol approved for use by the National Health Service (NHS), has created a systematic, and legal, method of euthanising elderly and disabled patients, even while 'mercy killing' remains officially illegal, says a prominent expert in elder care. The 'Liverpool Care Pathway' will be used to eliminate patients deemed to be 'blocking beds' in the increasingly financially strapped public health system.

For years, NACF member Dr. Adrian Treloar, a psycho-geriatrician and senior lecturer at the Greenwich Hospital and Guys', King's and St. Thomas's Hospitals in London, has been sounding the warning that the NHS has an unofficial system in place to authorise the killing of vulnerable disabled patients with an unwritten policy of 'involuntary euthanasia' by deep sedation and dehydration.

On April 26, 2008, Dr. Treloar wrote a letter to the British Medical Journal, saying that the protocol known as the 'Liverpool Care Pathway' for dying patients, is a blueprint for systematic euthanasia of disabled patients. The Liverpool Care Pathway, which allows for 'continuous deep sedation' for patients judged to be incurable, was developed between the Royal Liverpool hospital and Marie Curie cancer hospices in order to standardise the medical approach to dying that could then be used as a template nationally. Combined with withdrawal of fluids, deep sedation leads quickly to death.

In 1999, the NHS dismissed Dr. Treloar's warnings as 'ludicrous.' But media coverage of families resorting to lawyers to stop the killing of their relatives has made it increasingly difficult for health officials to deny that there is an accepted euthanasia procedure in place. Dr. Treloar maintains that the motivation for killing patients judged to be incurable is not the relief of extreme suffering but the enormous pressure on the socialised health care system to make hospital beds available and the 'triaging' of costly tax-sponsored medical care.

Since that time, the government passed legislation in 2005 - the Mental Capacity Act - that, following existing guidelines from the British Medical Association, allows doctors to withhold all 'treatment,' including food and water, from patients who are judged to be incapable of making decisions for themselves. Under this law, doctors, and not the family and not the patient, have the last say in whether a patient is judged mentally capable. Once this judgement has been made, withdrawal of fluids can be ordered on the grounds that it is in the patient's 'best interests' to die. If families try to intervene to save their loved ones lives, social services and police can be, and have been, called to intervene.

Since 2000, the instances of helpless patients being denied the basic necessities needed to sustain life are becoming more prominent in the news. Only this week, the BBC reported on the case of Mrs. Ellen Westwood, an 88 year-old woman whom doctors had decreed was 'due to die' in February, and whose life was saved only after the determined efforts of her family and clergy resulted in her being removed from the hospital.

Dr. Treloar wrote that the Liverpool Care Pathway threatens patients because its 'eligibility criteria do not ensure that only people who are about to die are allowed on the pathway.'

'They allow people who are thought to be dying, are bed-bound, and are unable to take tablets onto the pathway. In chronic diseases such as dementia, dying may take years, but
such patients may be eligible.'

Elspeth Chowdharay Best, from the anti-euthanasia group ALERT, wrote recently, 'Death by dehydration has been occurring for some years in Britain without the new official blessing [of the Liverpool Care Pathway protocol] and sometimes challenged by relatives.'

The Sunday Times reported on May 18 this year that many families are 'dismayed' that their cases are not being included in a long-term investigation into ten suspicious deaths of elderly patients in a convalescent home in Hampshire between 1996 and 1999. Mike Wilson told the Times that his 91 year-old mother, Edna Purnell, had been out of bed and using a walking frame when she was transferred to the Hampshire unit for what was supposed to have been a brief period of rehabilitation.

Records show that Mrs. Purnell was put to bed and given morphine. The hospital threatened Mr. Wilson with arrest when he was caught feeding his mother. She was judged to be 'demented' and thus falling under the auspices of the Mental Capacity Act. Mr. Wilson told the times that his mother was not 'demented' before she was given morphine: 'We are in no doubt that this is what killed her.' [LifeSiteNews] 1462.8


Amnesty International pushes abortion in Mexico

Action: As the Vatican and the Bishops of England and Wales have asked, Catholic support must be withdrawn from AI, if this has not already been done: school groups and individual memberships, use of Church premises and fundraising.

From CFNews: The Catholic Family Institute (C-Fam) reports from New York on a story that no one yet has. ' We report that Amnesty International has filed a brief with the Mexican Supreme Court asking them to uphold the newly liberalized abortion laws in Mexico City. In its brief, Amnesty erroneously cites UN documents to support its claim. It also cites the non-binding recommendations of one UN committee. The other story we have today is how the US government has not only de-funded the pro-abortion United Nations Population Fund for its support of China's coercive one-child policy, but is also looking at other organizations who may face de-funding for similar reasons. Stay tuned.

Pro-abortion memorandum

Piero A. Tozzi and Juan Carlos Perez write : Global human rights group Amnesty International (AI), which officially abandoned its neutrality on abortion in 2007, has authored a pro-abortion legal memorandum addressed to the Supreme Court of Mexico asking the high court to uphold liberal abortion in Mexico City. The memorandum directly contradicts AI's previous position that 'there is no generally accepted right to abortion in international human rights law.'

AI's memo supports a liberalized first-trimester abortion law passed last year by Mexico City's Legislative Assembly that has been challenged by Mexico's Attorney General. AI cites several treaties signed by Mexico, including the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, the Convention Against Torture, and the Convention on the Rights of the Child, claiming that they require the Court to uphold the legislation.

As AI had previously acknowledged, however, no such right can be found in any of the treaties mentioned in AI's legal brief. Human rights treaties are consensus documents negotiated by governments, many of which outlawed abortion at the time of ratification, and thus are silent on the subject of abortion. To underscore that such treaties would leave their domestic laws unchanged, some countries made explicit formal interpretative statements and reservations at the time of signing protecting the rights of the unborn child.

AI's submission cites no treaty language in support of its argument that a failure to uphold the challenged law would 'result in violations of Mexico's international human rights obligations.' The Amnesty brief does, however, reference a report by a UN treaty monitoring body, the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, which pressured the Mexican government on abortion in 2006. Such committees are composed of unelected members many of whom are drawn from pro-abortion non-governmental organizations. Such committees take it upon themselves to reinterpret treaties and then try to get governments to agree even though committee pronouncements are non-binding.

AI's new approach apparently mirrors strategy adopted by the pro-abortion Center for Reproductive Rights (CRR), which along with the International Commission of Jurists filed a third-party intervention in the Mexico City case. In 2006, CRR had persuaded Colombia's constitutional court to overturn that country's pro-life laws based on the argument that by acceding to various treaties, a sovereign nation must conform its domestic laws to subsequent treaty body interpretations of what constitutes its evolving obligations.

AI was founded in 1961 by Peter Benenson, a Catholic convert, to combat human rights abuses by totalitarian and authoritarian regimes. Compared with more secular-oriented human rights counterparts, Amnesty International has historically drawn support from members of various religious denominations. After decades of defending human dignity without compromising the rights of the unborn, its 2007 abortion policy switch alienated a number of its long-time supporters, including Scottish Cardinal Keith O'Brien, Bishop Michael Evans - a member of thirty years standing - and activist priest Daniel Berrigan, S.J., all of whom have withdrawn support from AI as a result.


Saturday, July 05, 2008

Automatic Down's testing - and murder - of Scottish babies


From SPUC: Prenatal testing for Down's syndrome is to be offered to all pregnantwomen in Scotland. First-trimester nuchal translucency scans and bloodtests will be universally available in three years' time. Down's SyndromeScotland, said: "We do not believe that a diagnosis of Down's Syndromeshould be an automatic reason for a termination." SPUC Scotland was quotedas saying: "The fact is by constantly suggesting pregnant women should betested in this way we create a fear of disabilities such as Down's."[Scotland on Sunday, 29 June] An ultrasound scan at seven weeks' gestationwas misinterpreted to suggest that an unborn baby had died. Leona-LeeGray's mother declined offers of interventions to remove the child, whohas since been born in north-east England. [Mirror, 28 June]


Friday, July 04, 2008

Catholic and Muslim doctors defend conscientious objection


From SPUC: Doctors' organisations have reacted to a proposal to the British MedicalAssociation's conference which would require doctors to refer women forabortion. Dr Tony Cole of the Catholic Medical Association said: "Thistakes away the right of conscience already guaranteed by statute. This isopen to legal challenge." Dr Majid Katme of the Islamic MedicalAssociation said Muslim doctors were very unhappy. He said: "You cannotforce me, as a doctor, to do things against my conscience." [Daily Mail,30 June, and SPUC director's blog, 26 June]


Thursday, July 03, 2008

5th July: day of prayer and fasting for hybrids bill

Action: please answer the call of the Good Counsel Network.

From CFNews: The Good Counsel Network <> email us : 'On 5th July please pray and fast for the defeat of all attempts in parliament to liberalise the abortion laws. These would leave us with abortion on demand for women up to 24 weeks pregnant. Your prayer and fasting is urgently needed. For information on the day of Prayer and Fasting contact The Good Counsel Network on 020 7723 1740. Many thanks. God bless.


Ruth Kelly's courageous desertion of duty

Update: John Smeaton comments: SPUC Director John Smeaton emails: 'With great respect I think Nicholas Romer (CF NEWS item 1461.25) is wrong here. This is not a St. Thomas More situation. Check paragraph 4 of the CDF document on the participation of Catholics in political life:

Scientific progress has resulted in advances that are unsettling for the consciences of men and women and call for solutions that respect ethical principles in a coherent and fundamental way. At the same time, legislative proposals are put forward which, heedless of the consequences for the existence and future of human beings with regard to the formation of culture and social behaviour, attack the very inviolability of human life. Catholics, in this difficult situation, have the right and the duty to recall society to a deeper understanding of human life and to the responsibility of everyone in this regard. John Paul II, continuing the constant teaching of the Church, has reiterated many times that those who are directly involved in lawmaking bodies have a "grave and clear obligation to oppose" any law that attacks human life. For them, as for every Catholic, it is impossible to promote such laws or to vote for them

If Ruth Kelly is sent spiritual encouragement, SPUC will be isolated in pointing out the truly dreadful positions she has adopted whilst remaining a prominent member of Opus Dei. Remember she once defended her position as the minister responsible for embryo research.

Original post: Isn't it grand? Ruth Kelly, reportedly a member of Opus Dei, refuses to do her duty as an MP and vote against the grossly immoral HFE bill but will salve her conscience by being away. Well done, Ruth!

From SPUC: It is said that Ms Ruth Kelly MP, a Catholic cabinet minister, has been given permission to be absent overseas and, thus, abstain from voting onthe UK government's Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill. The other twoCatholics in the cabinet are expected to toe the party line. [Times, 1July, and Telegraph, 1 July] Anthony Ozimic, SPUC political secretary:"Parliamentarians have a grave and clear obligation to vote against anylaw permitting the intentional destruction of innocent human life, such asthe HFE bill. Abstaining is not a legitimate option for a pro-life MP.Arranging to be absent is an unacceptable fudge, as it would constitute adeliberate failure to protect the unborn from indignity, abuse and death."


Wednesday, July 02, 2008

HFEA again anticipates hybrids bill

Action: please lobby your MP.

From Christian Concern for our Nation: A foreshadowing of the future: HFEA grants human-pig hybrid embryo licenceThe Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) has recently granted alicence to the Clinical Sciences Research Institute, University of Warwick,which permits the creation of human-pig hybrid embryos for research purposes.

Although this licence—which takes effect today, July 1, 2008—is purportedlyenacted under the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act of 1990, the realityis that the 1990 Act clearly does not allow the HFEA to grant such licences.The Christian Legal Centre, together with Comment on Reproductive Ethics, hasalready filed legal papers for a Judicial Review over the decisions earlierthis year by the HFEA to grant licences to Newcastle University and King’s College London for their research into degenerative diseases using animal-humanhybrids.

Furthermore, it is important to note that, even if the HFEA were granted thepower under the 1990 Act to grant licences for the creation of animal-humanhybrid embryos, the 1990 Act provides that no licences may be granted at allunless:

(1) the licence appears to be necessary or desirable for one of anumber of articulated purposes and

(2) the HFEA believes that the proposed useof embryos for research is necessary for the purposes of that research.

In this instance, the HFEA has most certainly failed to meet the 1990 Act’sstringent standards for granting licences, in as much as these licences forcreating animal-human hybrid embryos are neither “necessary” nor “desirable.”

Empirical evidence shows that no significant advances have been made inembryonic stem cell research. Better yet, great advances have been seen indisease treatment resulting from research on adult stem cells, umbilical cordblood cells, and induced pluripotent stem cells (stem cells reprogrammed tohave the essential characteristics of embryonic stem cells). While true that Parliament has recently passed legislation that might allow forthe granting of licences for human-pig hybrid embryo research, the 1990 Act did not.

Furthermore, it is clear that the HFEA cannot claim that controversialresearch on embryonic stem cells is either necessary or desirable when otherviable, non-controversial, and more successful alternatives exist.Ultimately, the HFEA’s unjustified action is particularly disturbing in light ofstatements made by Professor Justin St. John, the leading researcher on thisproject at the University of Warwick. He stated, “This new licence allows us toattempt to make human pig clones to produce embryonic stem cells.” When we aretalking about making human pig clones, we should lament the dulling of oursocial conscience that permits such embryos to exist.

This underscores thedeplorable state of bioethics in which the UK now finds itself with the harshreality of what the passage of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill2007/8 means for the UK.

Finally, there are indications from sections of the media (but not confirmed byParliament) that the third reading of the Human Fertilisation and EmbryologyBill 2007/8 —which allows for the creation of these animal-human hybridembryos—will take place in Parliament some time next week. In the light of thisfact, we strongly encourage you to contact your MPs to ensure that your viewson the subject of animal-human hybrid embryo research and the importance ofprotecting human dignity are well represented in the upcoming debate.


Pendergast on dissent by priests

Briefing. Martin Pendergast is a well-know 'gay' activist who read a statement condemning the Bishops' opposition to the Sexual Orientation Regulations at the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement's conference, whose banner proclaimed Pope Benedict XVI to be a 'homophobe.' He nevertheless keeps in with the liberals among the clergy and tells us that many of them are prepared to violate Church law by blessing immoral relatioships.

In a comment on an on-line article by Austin Ivereigh, he writes: It should be pointed out that Austin Ivereigh's opinions represent his own personal prejudices. In spite of his previous career in high ecclesiastical places, not all UK Catholics would agree with his analysis. It is quite disingenuous to suggest that ''a Catholic priest who defied the rules of the Church like this would be simply removed from his parish by his bishop.''

Following the UK Civil Partnerships' legislation a number of couples have held celebratory liturgies in Catholic churches. These have included Masses of Thanksgiving and Services of Prayer and Blessing. These may well have been private occasions, but there has often been some recognition within the parish context of such events taking place.

When my partner and I celebrated the 25th Anniversary of our relationship in 2001 with a Mass of Thanksgiving, while the two Catholic bishops who were due to preside were requested not to by the local Ordinary, interestingly as a result of a breach of our privacy by The Daily Telegraph newspaper, the priest who stepped in suffered no such recriminations. When we celebrated our Civil Partnership in 2006 with a Liturgy of Midday Prayer in our parish, again no penalties were enacted either against the presiding priest, or the homilist, or our parish priest at the time. Indeed on the Sunday after, our names were included in the list of intercessions at Mass.

Instead of ''swirling tides of disintegration'' LGBT people, their pastors and families, are delighted that the vast majority of people in the pews, across many mainstream Churches, have enough common sense, commitment to justice, and not least Christian faith to recognise love when they see it and support it being celebrated.

As Ivereigh points out in reply to this comment, Pendergast is confusing wedding ceremonies with blessings and Masses of thanksgiving. A wedding service offered by a Catholic priest would probably stimulate a serious disciplinary response from the bishop. But Penergast is right that short of this priests get away with promoting, celebrating and supporting civil partnerships and the immoral relationships they formalise, contrary to Church teaching and the law of the Church. The Pope has personally condemned same-sex unions.


Heinz pulls indecent advert

Briefing and comment: never forget that complaints work!

From CFNews: A UK television commercial for Heinz mayonnaise which features two men kissing has been pulled by the company after it caused nearly 200 complaints. The advert shows a family scene, but 'mum' is played by a man with a New York accent. During the ad he kisses another man who plays the father role. It ends with the slogan 'Heinz Deli Mayo - Mayo with a New York Deli flavour.' According to the ad agency that created the commercial, the concept was supposed to convey the message that the product tastes so authentic 'it's as if you have your own New York deli man in your kitchen'. However viewers said it was 'offensive', 'inappropriate' and 'unsuitable to be seen by children'. Some parents said they had been forced to explain about same-sex relationships to their children after they saw the ad which was aired during daytime TV. The Advertising Standards Authority has not confirmed it is investigating the commercial, but with nearly 200 complaints it is already one of the most-complained-of ads this year.
Nigel Dickie, a spokesman for Heinz UK, said: 'It is our policy to listen to consumers. We recognise that some consumers raised concerns over the content of the ad and this prompted our decision to withdraw it. The advertisement, part of a short-run campaign, was intended to be humorous and we apologise to anyone who felt offended.'

Homosexual activist group, Stonewall, has called for a boycott of Heinz products for pulling the ad. The group is encouraging homosexuals to contact Heinz's customer support helpline to pressurise the company into making a reverse decision. [Christian Institute]


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