Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Voluntary Euthanasia Society stopped from monopolising 'dignity in dying'


From the Christian Legal Centre: In 2006 the Voluntary Euthanasia Society (VES) changed its name to Dignity in Dying. The group were seeking to monopolise the phrase to advance their ideology, particularly in the educational sphere. Many people felt that a monopoly of the words “dignity in dying” were misleading for an organisation which advocated euthanasia. In August 2007, the Christian Medical Fellowship, Alert and the United Kingdom’s Disabled People’s Council sought to stop the monopoly by challenging the phrase under the Trademarks Act 1998. We thank God that a victory has been achieved, because the VES withdrew its trademark applications for the words ‘dignity in dying’. This is a great step forward for pro-life groups, because it means that they are free to use the phrase ‘dignity in dying’ in a way that expresses the love and care people deserve at the end of life. The VES has kept its own stylised trademark - ‘dignity in dying - your life your choice’. VES had sought to set the tone of the debate surrounding end of life issues, but pro life groups have claimed back the language. We give thanks to God for this victory.


Pro-Life petition to the UN

Action: please sign the petition and pass it on!

From C-Fam: Dear Friend,

The UN will celebrate the 60th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights this December 10th. To celebrate this occasion, radical pro-abortion groups intend to present the UN General Assembly with petitions calling for a universal right to abortion. The largest, richest and most powerful pro-abortion groups are even now planning their attack on the unborn at the General Assembly.

Campaigns are being waged right now by International Planned Parenthood Federation and Maire Stopes International, the two groups responsible for more abortions than any other groups in the world. Both are beloved of the powers that be at the UN; and their efforts to promote an international right to abortion are welcomed by many UN Member States, perhaps most of the UN bureaucracy, and powerful US foundations that give millions to promote abortion at the UN and around the world.

We must stop them this December.

I am writing to ask you to sign a petition calling on UN Members States to interpret the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as protecting the unborn child from abortion. Did you know that the Universal Declaration calls for a right to life? Did you know that UN committees now interpret that as a right to abortion? We can stop them.

Please go HERE to sign the petition which we will present at the UN on December 10th, the celebration of the 60th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. At the very least we must match what the pro-abortion advocates will present to the UN that day! They will present thousands and thousands of names. WE MUST MATCH THEM!

Please send this email to all of your family and friends. Our goal is to present 50,000 names to the General Assembly. We need your help right now to block the pro-aborts from making huge progress for abortion at the UN.

We are going to run this campaign for the next six weeks. There is plenty of time to get this petition to everyone in your address book and all around the world. This is an international right. Please help us now.

Imagine the look on their faces when we slam down 50,000 names! Be a part of that.


Monday, September 29, 2008

Alzheimer's sufferers 'ought to die'


From SPUC: The medical ethicist who helped lay the foundation for the UK's embryology
law has suggested that dementia sufferers have a duty to die. Baroness Warnock, described as the country's leading moral philosopher, says patients are a drain on national resources. She appears to want assisted suicide and/or euthanasia, including for patients who are not in pain but feel they are burden on others. The Alzheimer's Society was shocked by Lady Warnock's remarks. [Daily Telegraph, 19 September] SPUC has described Baroness Warnock's views as "a regression to the brutal ancient world, when enforced suicide as a punishment was commonplace." [John Smeaton, 19 September] Lady Warnock chaired a committee on human fertilisation and
embryology in the 1980s.


Sunday, September 28, 2008

March for Indian Christians

Action: please support the march if you can. The persecution of Christians in India by Hindu militants must not be ignored by Christians in the West. There are many Catholics in India, yet this protest is being promoted by evangelical Protestants.

Post-colonial embarrassment is no excuse to ignore the sufferings of our fellow Christians in India, or the Christians being persecuted by Muslims in Iraq, by Buddhists in Sri Lanka, or Communists in China.

From Christian Voice: a march of witness has been arranged by Indian Christian Concern in central London on Saturday 4th October 2008.

Petitions will be handed at 10 Downing Street and at the India High Commission, the final destination, in order to highlight the plight of our Christian brothers and sisters.

The assembly point is Richmond Terrace SW1A off Victoria Embankment just north of Westminster Tube. The procession will start at 2:00pm. Please pray for the brothers and sisters facing persecution and also forward this to ask people to pray to join the protest march in London. Scripture says we all suffer if one part of the body suffers. It would be good if Christian leaders from all churches would join this initiative. Please encourage those you know to come.


Premature sexual activity linked to depression


From Lifesite, via CFNews: Research which appeared recently in the Journal of Health Economics has found that young girls who are sexually active often experience feelings of guilt, low self-esteem, regret and shame, and are far more likely to suffer from depression than those who remain chaste.

The study, by Joseph J. Sabia and Daniel I. Rees, of 14,000 adolescents aged between 14 and 17, used data from the U.S. government funded National Longitudinal Survey of Adolescent Health.

The study found that sexually active teen girls have more than double the rate of depression of those who are not sexually active - 19 percent compared to 9.2 percent.

The conclusion the study reached was that 'sexually active female adolescents are at increased risk of exhibiting the symptoms of depression relative to their counterparts who are not sexually active.'

Dr. Trevor Stammers, a lecturer on sexual ethics and chairman of the Christian Medical Fellowship in the UK, said the new study confirmed that most girls 'retrospectively showed regret about early intercourse.'

'It also shows as closely as we have been able to show so far that there is a genuine link between increased risk of depression and adolescent females engaging in sex,' Dr. Stammers said in a Daily Mail report. 'My experience is that, for girls, depression, regret and shame are very common.' [LifeSiteNews]


Christian Policeman to fight persecution


From the Christian Legal Centre: PC Graham Cogman, has taken his police force to an Employment Tribunal on grounds of harassment because of his traditional Christian values. PC Cogman, 49, from Sea Palling in North Norfolk, has been an officer with the
Norfolk Police for 15 years, having previously served in the RAF for 12 years.

PC Cogman is taking the unprecedented action as a serving policeman after a
series of complaints and investigations suggesting he is ‘homophobic’ –
something he strenuously denies. He says that the ‘over the top’ promotion of
homosexual rights within Norfolk Police makes being a Christian policeman, or
an officer with traditional family values, extremely difficult, unless a person
is prepared to ignore his or her conscience.

In 2006, PC Cogman was working at the force’s Great Yarmouth headquarters when
gay liaison officers put ‘politically correct’ pressure on all colleagues to
wear a pink ribbon supporting Gay History Month. PC Cogman claims police
stations were flooded with homosexual literature and posters, including the
promotion of a gay quiz night in pubs. As a member of the Police force, an
organisation which he feels is charged with upholding traditional standards of
freedom of speech and association, he emailed colleagues with an alternative
view on the subject, stating his Christian views and reminding them that
Christians, and other members of society, whom they serve as officers, believed
homosexual acts were wrong in God’s eyes.

PC Cogman was subsequently accused of failing to be tolerant and banned from
using the force’s internal email system. When the event re-occurred 12 months
later, PC Cogman again protested, especially when the promoters wanted to use
the Rainbow Symbol, which has special significance for many Christians. The
officer was summoned to a full disciplinary hearing. On the advice of lawyers,
and because he was told he would lose his job otherwise, he pleaded guilty to a
breach of the police code of practice and was fined the maximum, £1,200. When
PC Cogman then added a Christian text to his computer screen saver, he was
questioned again and in April 2008, he was interviewed about his faith and
beliefs. He now faces a further full disciplinary hearing and is in fear of
losing his job.


St David's Children's Society to offer children to gay couples

Local Action: Welsh Catholics should write to Archbishop Smith of Cardiff, who is the Chairman of the Trustees. St David's Children's Society covers Wales. The Board of Trustees is to confirm the decision 'next month'.

Archbishop Peter Smith
Archbishop's House
41/43 Cathedral Road
CF11 9HD

E-mail: arch@rcadc.org

A summary of the state of play with Catholic Adoption agencies in England and Wales (h-t The Tablet, 27/9/08):

Severing links with the Church to continue adoption work:

St David's Children's Society (Welsh dioceses)
Catholic Children's Society (Arundel and Brighton, Southwark, Portsmouth dioceses)
St Francis Children's Society (Northhampton)
The Catholic Children's Society (Nottingham)
Catholic Caring Services (Lancaster)
Nugent Care (Liverpool) ('already offers an adoption assessment service for same-sex couples')

Ceasing adoption work:

Catholic Children's Rescue Society (Salford)

Continuing adoption work under Catholic principles to test the law:

Catholic Children's Society (Westminster)
Catholic Care (Leeds, Hallam, Middlesbrough) ('expected to follow' Westminster's lead)
Fr Hudson's Society (Birmingham) (ditto)

One further scandal noted in the Tablet article is the attitude of Caritas Social Action Network, an organ of the Bishops' Conference, whose Director Phillipa Gitlin suggests that the agencies carrying on with their work under Catholic principles are being irresponsible. "...she warned that attempting to circumvent the law would leave the agencies "hostages to fortune" and risked the possibility of attracting a risky and expensive legal challenge."


Saturday, September 27, 2008

'Fit for Mission? - Church: CTS edition available

H-T to Fr Tim Finnigan, who writes: The CTS are publishing Bishop O'Donoghue's Fit for Mission? Church, which I wrote about at the end of August and (again the other day) with reference to Archbishop Piacenza's praise for the document.

The CTS edition will be an expanded version, drawing on Pope Benedict XVI's addresses and homilies in 2008 at World Youth Day and during his apostolic journey to France; as well as the writings of John Henry Newman, and others.

104 pages, £8.95, available from 10 October 2008. Advance orders can be placed now at the CTS website.


Victorian Society condemns Bishops over church closures

Action: please support the Daily Telegraph's 'Save Our Churches' petition, here. Hat-tip to Damian Thompson.

From the Telegraph, in part: Dr Ian Dungavell, director of the Victorian Society, said there was widespread dismay at the Church's "intransigent" policy of closing churches, many of which have thriving congregations.

St Marie's Church in Widnes, an Italian Gothic church designed by Edward Welby Pugin, is on a list of the ten most endangered Victorian buildings in Britain, to be published by the Society this week. Three other churches, including one of only three Swedish churches in the UK, are among those highlighted on the endangered list. More than 7,000 people have signed up to support The Sunday Telegraph's Save Our Churches campaign, which has been backed by politicians, celebrities and church leaders including Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, head of the Catholic Church in England and Wales.

The Archdiocese of Liverpool tried to have St Marie's demolished last year despite protests from local residents and the local council. It was saved at the eleventh hour after being designated as a Grade II listed building, but has remained closed and now faces falling into disrepair. Dr Dungavell said that that the influx of eastern European Catholics into the area, and across the country, made the Church's decision particularly baffling. "The Archdiocese is refusing to talk to us about their decision and seems determined to ensure that no-one can use it if they can't demolish it," he said.
Full article here.


Sex Abuse pay-out in Leeds Diocese


Frpm CFNews: Seven victims of a paedophile priest have won a fight for compensation from the Catholic Church in Leeds.

The men took legal action against Leeds diocese over abuse at the hands of Father Neil Gallanagh at St John's School for the Deaf near Wetherby in the 1970s. Now the diocese has agreed out-of-court settlements with the men, now in their 40s. No details are being made public on the sum they have received - though the Yorkshire Evening Post understands it is 'significant'.

Previous reports said the claimants each stood to get as much as £50,000 if they succeeded in proving wilful neglect by the diocese. The case of an eighth man is still ongoing.

The action has been led by David Greenwood, a solicitor with Dewsbury-based law firm Jordans. He said: 'No amount of money will ever make up for what happened to these men. That does not mean, however, that they should not be compensated for their ordeals.'

Mr Greenwood believes the diocese's decision to settle was prompted by a recent Law Lords ruling in favour of a Leeds woman attacked in 1988 by Lotto rapist Iorworth Hoare. The woman has been fighting, with the support of the YEP, for a six-year time limit on compensation claims from victims to be lifted.

Gallanagh was given a six-month suspended prison sentence in 2005 after he admitted indecently assaulting two teenage boarders at St John's between 1975 and 1980. Charges involving five other boys under 16 were left on file at the conclusion of the 75-year-old's trial.

It later emerged that Gallanagh already had a conviction for child abuse when he was given his job at St John's. He admitted attacking a nine-year-old boy during a day trip to the Isle of Man in 1960, when he was a priest in Northern Ireland.

A spokesman for the Diocese of Leeds said today it would be 'inappropriate' to comment until the group action was fully concluded.

In an earlier statement, when the compensation bid was first announced, the diocese said written records from the time were 'scant' and two bishops of the era had died. Since that time, the diocese had developed 'good policies and practice in regard to all aspects of the protection of children and vulnerable adults', the spokesman said, and it had 'co-operated fully when approached by statutory authorities in regard to historical cases'. [Yorkshire Evening Post]


Friday, September 26, 2008

FFM Parishes: O'Donaghue on being Catholic, 16

Another of our extracts from 'Fit for Mission? - Parishes' by Bishop O'Donaghue of Lancaster. Click on the 'label' FFM Parishes to see others. See the 'Fit for Mission?' website and download the full document. The previous title in the series, 'Fit for Mission? - Schools' is downloadable here (pdf). This generated a Facebook support group.

From section 10.9.3, pp8of
So can a Catholic in good conscience vote and campaign for a political candidate who supports and promotes abortion and/ or euthanasia or promotes a cut in international aid? My personal answer to this question is: I can’t and I won’t. But I do know some serious Catholics — people whom I admire on a whole range of issues — who will vote and campaign for MPs who hold all kinds of positions that are against the teachings of the Church. I know that they do sincerely struggle with their party’s position on, say, abortion or stem-cell research, and it causes them real pain. More importantly: They don’t keep quiet about it! They re-double their efforts to bring about reform of their party’s position.
In my opinion, it is only in these very strict circumstances that it is permissible to support and vote for a Member of Parliament who holds positions against the teaching of the Church. It is never permissible to casually vote for a candidate without knowing their stance on these issues, or to vote for them and leave it at that.
• I earnestly call on all Catholics in my diocese to support politicians who are opposed to abortion, euthanasia, research on embryonic human beings, or promote an increase in international aid, the support of migrants or campaign for the UN Millennium Goals.
• If all the candidates are anti-life then consider voting for the candidate who is most in sympathy with Catholic social teaching, for example on the question of international aid. However, never tire of campaigning to change the candidates mind on these life issues.
• Above all follow your conscience, informed by the teaching of the Church. It may be that you cannot vote for any candidate.


Thursday, September 25, 2008

Daphne MacLeod on the Crisis in the Church

Comment: Daphne McLeod argues below that the crisis in the Church is the result fo the 'new catechetics' which was imposed on the Church following the Second Vatican Council. She certainly has a point, and her organisation, Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice, has devoted itself to opposing bad textbooks used in Catholic schools, the creation of joint Anglican-Catholic schools and so on.

She contrasts her own view with that expressed recently in Christian Order, that the crisis derives from the liturgical changes which followed the Council. This also appears to be the view of the Pope, who famously wrote that the crisis comes from the 'collapse in the liturgy'. Pope Benedict and Christian Order's Rod Pead, of course, don't have exactly the same views on what needs to be done to put it right.

Mrs McLeod thinks her position is 'irrefutable', however, because the Church has not collapsed in places where the new catechetics could not be imposed, ie behind the Iron Curtain and in some developing countries. But it is not as simple as that. The strength of the Church in those places is in part explicable by other factors: economic, social, political. And the new catechesis cannot explain the mass apostacy of adult Catholics in the West: it wasn't just children who lost the faith. Something else was going on, and that was the liturgy.

But in any case, the contrast is too crude. Catechetics cannot be separated from liturgy. Fr Tim Finnigan wrote, on the contrast between the existing and the proposed new translation of the 1970 Mass, that the existing translation is so bad is makes correct catechetics about what is going on during Mass extremely difficult. It is often said, surely correctly, that liturgical abuses are a kind of counter-catechetics of the Blessed Sacrament, since what people see going on undermines their faith in the Sacrament. And so on. And it is just wrong to imply that people concerned about liturgy are not concerned about catechetics. Many of the people most concerned about the liturgy - people who attend the Traditional Mass - take their children out of school to teach them at home in order to ensure adequate catechetics.

'Lex orandi, lex credendi.' The rule of prayer is the rule of belief.

From Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice



Faithful and well informed Catholics know that the Church in Great Britain is in a very critical state. Every survey shows a further dramatic drop in Mass attendance, in reception of the Sacraments and in priestly and religious vocations. If this free fall continues unaddressed the future of the Church in this country is very bleak. To save us from being reduced to a Church consisting of only a few scattered Catholic families struggling to keep pockets of the faith alive in different parts of the country, this crisis needs to be recognised and corrective action taken urgently.

However, as with any critical situation, this action must be appropriate and the only way to be certain of that is to determine the definitive cause of this catastrophe. Here, unfortunately, faithful Catholics are deeply divided. The fashionable explanation, believed by a large number of good people, is that the principal if not the sole cause of all our problems is the replacement of the ancient Tridentine rite of Mass with the Novus Ordo rite. These Catholics devote all their time and all their resources to restoring the Mass of Ages and they have succeeded in bringing this rite back in many parts of the country. Now with the Summorum Pontificum the position is even better, but 97% of Catholic school leavers are still walking away from the Church every year so there is no significant improvement in our overall situation.

Other Catholics, fewer in number but just as concerned, who also love the Tridentine Mass and mourn its loss, realise that our present crisis is really due to “the widespread religious ignorance” of the Truths of the Faith found in so many Catholics under the age of fifty. If we don't know much about Almighty God we cannot love Him as we should, if we don't know Christ's teachings we cannot follow them, if we have been taught to despise the Church we will walk away from Her, whatever rite of Mass is being offered in our local church. Such Catholics devote all their energy and resources struggling to bring the Truths of the Faith back in all our schools and parishes.

This unfortunate division has arisen partly because two great changes occurred at the same time. Those who claim the new rite for Mass has caused our decline can show that it started when the rite was changed. And so it did, but only because the new teaching was enforced at exactly the same time. This is quite deliberate. The modernists who used the Council to resurrect their beliefs, (beliefs firmly stamped on by Pope Saint Pius X in his Encyclical Pascendi in 1907, ) knew that they needed a distraction if they were to succeed this time. Changing the rite of Mass was the perfect ‘red herring' because, as they foresaw, many excellent Catholics reacted so strongly they didn't even notice that the teaching given in schools and parishes was changed even more drastically. Sadly this deception is still distracting too many of us from the real cause of the Church's problems.

Perhaps Catholics who have no proper regard for the havoc caused by modernist catechetics don't realise how evil it is. They accept that the Faith is not as well taught as it used to be but they imagine it is still being taught after a fashion in Catholic schools. Unfortunately it is not. Anyone who actually examines one of the officially approved R.E. textbooks or who discusses religion with an intelligent Catholic school leaver, would soon realise this. Not only are our youngsters kept ignorant of even basic Catholic teaching and prayers, they have often been given a deep contempt for our Holy Mother Church which it is almost impossible to eradicate.

I realise my claims are very controversial so I will substantiate them with evidence it has taken forty years to discern. Recently the Catholic journalist Jeff Ziegler carried out a survey showing the number of priests, related to the number of Catholics, in every country in the World. This was published in Catholic World Report July 2008 and it shows a very interesting parallel. We must remember that the Novus Ordo rite was made mandatory world wide and has been said in every country where there are Catholics for over forty years, but not every country adopted modernist catechetics.

Thank God a situation the Modernists had not foreseen protected some countries from the new religion they had concocted. None of the Catholic priests and teachers who lived in countries behind the Iron Curtain were allowed to travel to the Study Weeks where the new religion was so cleverly taught. This means that Poland, Estonia, the Ukraine and others continued teaching the Faith to the next generation just as they always had since the time of the Apostles. They were, of course, celebrating the Novus Ordo rite of Mass but because they were properly instructed it was said reverently and without abuses. The other Catholics who were spared modernist catechetics were those in the poorer African and Asian countries who could not afford to travel to the Study Weeks set up to teach priests and catechists the new religion. They too have been able to continue teaching the Truths of the Faith as handed down to us by the Apostles.

Today, thank God, we have well instructed priests, crowded churches, stable marriages, and packed seminaries, in eastern European countries and in many African and Asian countries. Indeed, these countries are so well off for priests they are able to send priests as missionaries to help us and other countries decimated by modernist catechetics. My own experience in Arundel and Brighton Diocese is typical. Recently we had a very holy and learned Nigerian priest helping out in my parish. He offered Mass prayerfully and reverently and, although he had never witnessed it, was interested in the Tridentine Rite. He gave helpful, inspiring, spiritual sermons and joined us for the Rosary every day after Mass - the only priest to do so in over twenty years. He told us about the crowded seminaries in Nigeria and that he was engaged in building a new one to prepare some of those still waiting to become priests. The only thing these countries are short of is money and there we can help them while they help us spiritually.

Mr Zeigler's comprehensive survey confirms this situation. The countries which come out top with a high number of priestly vocations in relation to the number of Catholics, include Nepal, Macedonia, Thailand, India, S.Korea, Poland, Sri Lanka,

The Ukraine, Nigeria, etc. These are all countries which were spared the new catechetics though of course they had to accept the Novus Ordo rite. Countries at the bottom of his lengthy list with fewest priestly vocations include Luxembourg, The Netherlands, France, Ireland, Australia, Germany, Canada, Belguim Portugal, the United States and Great Britain – all countries which embraced the new teaching enthusiastically. It would be hard to over-estimate the damage modernist catechetics has done to the Church, but too many Catholics under-estimate it all the time allowing it to go merrily on.

We still get people talking about “the Novus Ordo led decline” . We are even told when comparing the ancient Tridentine rite with the Novus Ordo rite that “the former inspired full seminaries, full churches, full convents, floods of converts and an instructed and vibrant laity, while the latter emptied the Church.” ! (C.O. September 2008) If this were true there would be no countries with “full seminaries, full churches, etc.” as “the latter” has been mandatory throughout the world for forty years. However we do still have “full seminaries, full churches, etc” in many countries where the Tridentine Rite is almost unknown. Obviously, although the Tridentine rite helped when the teaching was sound it could never achieve such good results if the Faith was not being taught effectively.

‘Playing down' the evil inseparable from modernist catechetics contrasts sharply with the the reaction of Father Faber, (Cong Orat.) to the earlier modernist effort to distort Divine Revelation. He described their determination to present their beliefs as Catholic Truth as “ the sin of sins, the most loathsome thing which God looks down upon in this malignant world.” He would definitely not have seen it as something to ignore or at best to mention merely in passing as an afterthought.

In spite of all the evidence, it will take a real effort for some of us to admit that modern catechetics is the principal cause of our tragic decline. Even Mr Ziegler, although he must have worked hard on his remarkable survey, couldn't explain the discrepancy in priestly vocations he had uncovered. He speculated vaguely about poverty versus materialism but insisted that in the countries he visited the seminarians were obviously so devout their motives could not be doubted. Anyway we have poor people in the countries which are victims of modernist catechetics who do not want to be Catholics let alone priests.

However, anyone who actually looks at the situation in the whole Church with an open mind and avoids following the false trail laid for us by the modernists when they engineered this debacle, has to admit that it is knowing and loving Our Blessed Lord (Truth) which fills seminaries, convents and churches. So the time has come to think again if only because the fashionable theory doesn't fit the observable facts. I know it will come very hard after all these years to bring sound teaching off the back burner it has occupied for so long and put it first, second and third on our list of things to correct. There is no reason we cannot still work for a return of the Tridentine rite but without letting it take precedence over or crowd out the importance of a return to sound religious instruction. Unless we do make an effort to get our priorities right we cannot expect the Church to survive much longer in this country.

We must never forget that when our Lord commissioned His Church He told the Apostles “Go and teach everything I have commanded…” (Matt 28) This is what Christ founded His Church to do. As long as we go on failing to teach everything the Lord has commanded, we are failing Him, and we cannot expect full churches, packed seminaries, etc.

Daphne McLeod 23rd September 2008


Wednesday, September 24, 2008

FFM Parishes: O'Donaghue on being Catholic, 15

Another of our extracts from 'Fit for Mission? - Parishes' by Bishop O'Donaghue of Lancaster. Click on the 'label' FFM Parishes to see others. See the 'Fit for Mission?' website and download the full document. The previous title in the series, 'Fit for Mission? - Schools' is downloadable here (pdf). This generated a Facebook support group.

In this passage Bishop O'Donaghue talks about his experience bring grilled by a House of Commons committee, which we reported on here.

From section 10.9.2, p79f:
Reflecting on the encounter, I was disappointed at the basic lack of knowledge exhibited by some members of the committee about Catholic education, and the Catholic Church in general. There appeared to be an a priori suspicion and scepticism about the motives and practices of faith schools in general, and Catholic schools and the Church in particular. Any hint of evangelisation or catechesis, even within our Catholic schools, is increasingly viewed as intolerable indoctrination and proselytism.

I came away concerned that a breach seems to be growing between the State and the Church, and the position of faith in general, which will harm the ability of both to help the citizens of our county to ‘fulfil their personal and social vocation.’ As Gaudium et Spes puts it, ‘the more they co-operate reasonably...the more effectively they will perform this service to everybody’s advantage.’ (GS 76).

Of one thing I am certain, this breach will not be mended though compromising the faith and morals of Catholic doctrine. What is needed is evangelisation of state power through ‘its confrontation with the abiding objectivity of the natural moral law, itself an expression of the divine Wisdom, and the measure of all positive law on earth.’ (Aidan Nichols, The Realm, p.147).


Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Google backs down on blocking pro-life ads

Briefing. Life ebay and Youtube, Google has to be constantly harried to stop the viscerally intolerant liberalism of its staff effecting its policies. It blocked adverts for pro-life groups linked to the word 'abortion'. Threat of legal action has led to a change of heart.

From CFNews: Colin Hart, Director of the Christian Institute, emails: 'I am delighted to tell you that our legal proceedings against Google for blocking our abortion ad have been settled on amicable terms.

As a result of the court action and other representations made to Google in recent months, Google has reviewed its AdWords policy to enable The Christian Institute and other religious associations to place ads on the subject of abortion in a factual and campaigning way.

The new policy will apply world-wide with immediate effect. This is an important issue of free speech and religious liberty and we are very pleased with Google's constructive response to this matter.

This is yet another success for our Legal Defence Fund. We thank God for this result and we thank you for your prayers and support.


Monday, September 22, 2008

FFM Parishes: O'Donaghue on being Catholic, 14

Another of our extracts from 'Fit for Mission? - Parishes' by Bishop O'Donaghue of Lancaster. Click on the 'label' FFM Parishes to see others. See the 'Fit for Mission?' website and download the full document. The previous title in the series, 'Fit for Mission? - Schools' is downloadable here (pdf). This generated a Facebook support group.

From section 10.8.3, p76f:
Pope Benedict XVI makes it clear that the Church’s action for justice and love is quite distinctive. Our work for charity and social justice is done in the name and power of Jesus Christ. This is not the same as saying this work is done in the spirit of Gandhi or Martin Luther King, no matter how praiseworthy. When Christians work in the spirit of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, we do it ‘in Christ’, so that He is present and active in ways beyond our comprehension.

Practical activity will always be insufficient, unless it visibly expresses a love for man, a love nourished by an encounter with Christ. My deep personal sharing in the needs and sufferings of others becomes a sharing of my very self with them: if my gift is not to prove a source of humiliation, I must give to others not only something that is my own, but my very self; I must be personally present in my gift. (Pope Benedict XVI, Deus Caritas Est, 34).


Sunday, September 21, 2008

Comment on Sex Ed


From CFNews: Dr. Philip Ney on sex-
education I am a retired professor of psychiatry, having taught in 5 universities in different parts of Canada, Hong Kong and New Zealand. I have also run child and adolescent psychiatric units. I have been on school boards. It is from a review of the literature and from my experience that I write this brief opinion.

1) There is no particular need for 'sex education.' For many centuries there was no sex education, yet children were conceived and their parents enjoyed the process. Discovery of each other and what is pleasant in bed, on the wedding night and thereafter, is an important part of the exciting and unique pleasure that bonds the couple.

2) Sex education inhibits pair bonding. To educate young people about something that comes naturally robs them of the spontaneity and joy of sex that is vitally important for pair bonding and thus family stability.

3) The more sex education, the more sexual self-consciousness. There is substantial evidence that the more sex education, especially on technique, the more the couple is sexually inhibited. The greater the emphasis on sexual performance, the less communication and interpersonal intimacy there is.

4) The more sex education, the more sexual activity. It is quite conclusive now, that the more sex education, the more sexual activity and all the problems that go with that. The introduction of sex education is well correlated with the increase in abortion, STDs and boy-girl interpersonal problems. Good education gives people the desire to try it out or learn more experientially. Paradoxically, in that respect, current forms of sex education are good education but have the wrong results.

5) The earlier the sex education, the younger children explore sex and try various sexual techniques. Present evidence makes it possible to also conclude that the earlier the sex education, the earlier the sexual behavior. Thus sexual education is sexual titillation.

6) In preventing disease and pregnancy, sex education has been a failure. Sex education has had the opposite effect in preventing young people from engaging in 'risky sexual behavior.'

7) The idea of 'safe sex' has failed. Frightening children with the dangers of 'unprotected sex', drugs, fast driving, alcohol, etc. for many children has the paradoxical effect of increasing their interest in trying it.

8) The reliance on condoms has been dangerously misleading. There are sexually transmitted diseases (eg. Human Papilloma Virus) for which condoms offer no protection. The most effective use of the best condoms offers 87% protection from lethal HIV, transmitted by anal intercourse. Condom use has failed particularly in Africa. Condom use creates the false impression of safety, thus encouraging sex, when there is a 13% (at least) chance of dying as a result.

9) There is nothing in sex education that cannot be part of a more effective general health education. Everything of value in sex education can be integrated with the necessary knowledge of how the body and mind work. We found that by using the young person's curiosity and letting them discover how their heart, lungs etc. work, gives them a natural desire to protect something very precious - their body and mind.

10) The sex industry profits from sex education. There is an enormous sex industry that financially profits from natural biological drives and makes billions on fashions, condoms, contraceptives, etc. It is understandable they contribute to the sex problems.

11) Sex education creates mind absorbing conflicts and preoccupations. Exposing children to sexual titillation (sex education) creates conflicts and preoccupations that interfere with their mental health, education and personal development.

12) Sex education tends to result in mental images that interfere with the appreciation of nature and art.

13) No sex education teaches the beauty and hazards of pair bonding. To my knowledge there is no sex education program that informs kids about inadvertent pair bonding. Humans are made one flesh through sex. Thus many kinds of sexual behaviour create life long pair bonds. These interfere with the intimacy and durability of a later committed marriage. Statistics indicate that the more 'premarital' sex the more extramarital sex.

14) Many kinds of sex education, including 'chastity' education, leave a young person with the impression that any kind of sex except vaginal intercourse is okay when it is not.


Saturday, September 20, 2008

FFM Parishes: O'Donaghue on being Catholic, 13

Another of our extracts from 'Fit for Mission? - Parishes' by Bishop O'Donaghue of Lancaster. Click on the 'label' FFM Parishes to see others. See the 'Fit for Mission?' website and download the full document. The previous title in the series, 'Fit for Mission? - Schools' is downloadable here (pdf). This generated a Facebook support group.

From section 10.7.4, p73:
I am convinced another cause of the wide-spread violence lies in the Abortion Act of 1967. For 41 years we’ve lived in a state-sponsored culture of death that has killed 5 million children, and we’re now surprised that some of the surviving children have turned out violent with no regard for the sanctity of life?
How many children know that their mothers have had an abortion? What effect will it have on them knowing that they have been deprived of a brother or sister through abortion?
If a society holds human life so cheaply is it any surprise that young people will also hold life cheaply and engage in violence?
I encourage all our schools and parishes to continue to take steps to protect our young people from cultures of death, that seek to corrupt and exploit them.

From 10.7.5, p73
At every opportunity proclaim the right to Life – the most fundamental human right that underpins authentic work for justice and peace (cf. Mission Priority of the Final Proposals of the Fit for Mission? Parish review).
Pray, Protest and Petition the institutions that promote the culture of death – Parliament, the British Medical Association, the Royal College of Nurses, Brooke Advisory Centres, broadcasters, the tabloids and broadsheets.
I also ask all parishes to support Catholic organisations, such as Life groups, that provide counselling, advice, support and hospitality to women considering abortions.
Also consider actively supporting the following groups promoting the Gospel of Life: The Society for the Protection of the Unborn Child; Sisters of the Gospel of Life, Life and other pro-life organisations.
I ask all our parishes to support the work of Cenacolo as a way of challenging the culture of death spread by substance-abuse.
I also encourage our parishes to face the reality of suffering caused by alcohol abuse, through
promoting the work of their local Alcoholics Anonymous groups.


Friday, September 19, 2008

TUC demands more abortion

Briefing: another signal of the silencing of Catholic voices on the Left.

From Lifesitenews, via CFNews: The Trades Union Congress (TUC) has called for the total de-restriction of abortion in Britain. At its meeting in Brighton this week, the TUC announced its belief that abortion is a 'fundamental right.'

Proposition 19 of the Congress documents says, 'Congress believes abortion should be legally available at the request of the woman and the requirement that two doctors agree to her decision should be ended.'

Further, it says, 'Congress believes the law should be modernised to allow women, not doctors, to make the abortion decision, like every other medical procedure.'

The TUC is calling for its Women's Committee to campaign and lobby in Parliament and among other union affiliates to 'defend the current legal upper limit of 24 weeks and oppose any mandatory 'cooling-off' period and compulsory counselling.'The Committee should 'work closely' with abortion groups and 'ensure' a change in law to further liberalise the abortion law and to extend the 1967 Abortion Act into Northern Ireland, a move vigorously opposed by the parliament and people of Northern Ireland. In addition, the TUC called for more and 'improved' sex education and contraception, or 'family planning', in schools. John Smeaton, director of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children said that the proposals are deceitful in presenting abortion as an 'equality' issue.

'The truth is,' he wrote, 'that abortion hurts women and abortion is the antithesis of equal rights.''My worry is that promoting abortion in places of work will also promote an anti-woman, anti-motherhood, agenda in the workplace.' Smeaton says he is concerned that 'unscrupulous employers' will use the TUC policy of promoting abortion to avoid paying maternity leave. 'How convenient for employers to put their selfish business interests first under the guise of women's rights!'Very few real restrictions on abortion still exist in British law and the system as it is provides for virtually unlimited abortion on demand. The law requires that a woman obtain the approval of two doctors for abortion under 24 weeks gestation: but that approval is now a matter of form. Abortions for eugenic purposes on children suspected to have a 'serious' defect is without restriction.

In recent years, British abortion providers have been criticised but not penalised for referring women over the 24 week limit to other EU countries to obtain late-term abortion on healthy children. During the debates on the government's Human Fertilisation and Embryology bill, proposals have been put forward as amendments that will abolish these restrictions. Efforts to tighten restrictions and limit abortion have been defeated. In the same TUC document, Proposition 16 also chided the government for focusing on what it called 'traditional protections from discrimination on grounds of sex, race and age' and neglecting the 'newer equality strands' that support the homosexualist political movement's aims. The Congress calls for lobbying in support of the 'newer and more controversial strands' of 'equality' focusing on 'sexual orientation' and 'transgender status.'

With fifty-nine affiliated unions and a total of about 6.5 million members, the TUC remains a strong influence on the Labour party, which has its roots in trade unionism. The TUC was the body which initiated the Labour Representation Committee in the late 19th century which went on to become the modern Labour Party. Although there is no formal link between the TUC and the party, the major TUC affiliated unions still make up the great bulk of the British Labour Party affiliated membership.


Thursday, September 18, 2008

FFM Parishes: O'Donaghue on being Catholic, 12

Another of our extracts from 'Fit for Mission? - Parishes' by Bishop O'Donaghue of Lancaster. Click on the 'label' FFM Parishes to see others. See the 'Fit for Mission?' website and download the full document. The previous title in the series, 'Fit for Mission? - Schools' is downloadable here (pdf). This generated a Facebook support group.

From section 10.6.2, p69:
These statistics reveal the shocking depth and extent of the suffering and impoverishment of so many families and children due to the separation of the unitive and procreative nature of sexual love, and the wide-spread practice of pre-marital sexual behaviour. I am convinced that there must be profoundly damaging consequences for the family in a country were contraception and abortion are so wide-spread. No wonder so many children are suffering depression and mental illness in a country that is such a hostile environment for human life. No wonder divorce is so prevalent when family life is so often characterised by a lack of generosity or self-giving love.

From 10.7.3, p71:
What do we mean when we use the phrase ‘Culture of Death’? There is the legalised, state-sponsored culture of death, facilitated by some medical professionals, scientists, politicians and journalists. And there is the illegal, criminally facilitated culture of death that, for example, pushes drugs, trafficking in women and children for the sex industry, and facilitates degrading activities. Both the legal and illegal cultures of death reinforce and sustain each other through spreading the general darkening of conscience in society.

From 10.7.3, p72
As Bishop of Lancaster I have recently spoken out against a crime against life that the UK Government is enacting in the most degrading way – experimentation on embryonic human beings and the creation of human-animal hybrid. As I said in my Easter Vigil homily (2008):
‘The Prime Minister has made it clear that he wants Britain to be the world’s number one centre for genetic and stem cell research. He sees it as building up the hi-tech sector of British industry and contributing to economic growth. It is good to develop British industry and foster economic growth, but not through exploiting and destroying embryonic human persons’.
‘A society that seeks medical cures and economic development at the cost of human rights, human dignity and human life is ‘monstrous’. It is not the defenceless, human-animal embryo, that is ‘monstrous’; it is we ourselves who have become ‘monsters’ for allowing the exploitation of the unborn for our economic and medical gain’.


Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Victory for pro-life Trainee Doctor

Briefing: good news!

From CFNews: The Thomas More Legal Centre has issued a press release announcing they successfully represented a Roman Catholic Trainee Doctor, who was threatened with dismissal and was reported to the General Medical Council (GMC) because he refused to participate in abortion advice or the prescribing of the 'morning after pill'. The doctor was told that unless he changed his views he would be marked down as failed in his training to be a GP and he could also be reported to the GMC and potentially struck off the medical register. He was being pressurised to leave general practice altogether when he contacted the Thomas More Legal Centre, who advised him of his rights and drafted letters to his employers accordingly.

The GMC eventually confirmed the Centre's opinion that the doctor was acting in accordance with medical professional rules.


Tuesday, September 16, 2008

FFM Parishes: O'Donaghue on being Catholic, 11

Another of our extracts from 'Fit for Mission? - Parishes' by Bishop O'Donaghue of Lancaster. Click on the 'label' FFM Parishes to see others. See the 'Fit for Mission?' website and download the full document. The previous title in the series, 'Fit for Mission? - Schools' is downloadable here (pdf). This generated a Facebook support group.

This extract is of special importance for an understanding of the situation in the Church today: Bishops' Conferences are usurping the teaching role of bishops and making it harder for orthodox ones to speak out.

From section 9.9, p61
We must keep it clearly in mind that the Bishop is not the manager of his local branch of the Catholic Church, who reports to the board of the national Episcopal Conference. Rather the Bishop is ‘a visible source and foundation of the unity of the particular Church entrusted to his pastoral ministry’ (LG 23).
The presence of confident, courageous and prophetic bishops is vital for the well-being of the Church during this time of increasingly aggressive secularism. We need to remind ourselves of the authority and dignity of bishops:
Bishops preside in the place of God over the flock whose shepherds they are, as teachers of doctrine, priests of sacred worship and ministers of government.
By divine institution, Bishops have succeeded to the Apostles as Shepherds of the Church.
Bishops govern the particular churches entrusted to them as the vicars and ambassadors of Christ, by their counsel, exhortations and example, but also by their authority and sacred power. (Pope John Paul, Apostolos Suos, 19).


Monday, September 15, 2008

Amnesty International attacks cardinal on gay pride march

Amnesty International is now, it seems, officially an enemy of the Church. We've come a long way from helping prisoners of conscience. This is a protest, in Belfast, against the Cardinal of Riga's opposition to having a Gay Pride march in that city.

From LifeSite, via CFNews: Amnesty International participated this year in the homosexualist movement's efforts to insult and vilify the Catholic Church during the Belfast gay pride festival in August. Amnesty's Belfast director has admitted that the group was using the Belfast Pride event to target the Cardinal Archbishop of Riga, Janis Pujats, who has spoken out strongly against the homosexualist movement's efforts in Latvia.

Amnesty International, an ostensibly religiously and politically neutral human rights organisation founded by Catholics, has placed itself squarely in support of the homosexualists in their campaigns against Catholicism, an action that is particularly provocative in Northern Ireland, a country still riven by sectarian divisions.

The organisation posted to their website a photo of a homosexual demonstrator dressed up in mockery of a Catholic cardinal. Amnesty's Northern Ireland Programme Director, Patrick Corrigan, admitted in an email that the group understood the mock cardinal to be directed towards Cardinal Janis Pujats, the archbishop of Riga in Latvia. I

n addition to supporting the caricaturing of a Catholic bishop, Amnesty also sponsored a pre-parade lecture by notorious militant British homosexualist campaigner Peter Tatchell. Writing to Catholic campaigner Gregory Carlin, Patrick Corrigan wrote, 'I understand that Mr. MagLochlainn (president of the Northern Ireland Gay Rights Association) may have been making a satirical but serious point about the efforts of the Cardinal of Riga, Janis Pujats to have that city's Pride parade banned by the Latvian government.' PA MagLochlainn rode in the parade on a disability scooter adorned with a poster that read, 'Love is a human right' and that carried the Amnesty International name and logo.Cardinal Pujats has been in the crosshairs of the homosexualist movement in Europe since he spoke out strongly against the Gay Pride demonstrations in Latvia. He enraged the movement when, in May 2007, he published a letter in the Latvian newspaper, Ritienda, in which he described homosexual behaviour as 'total corruption in the sexual arena' and an 'unnatural form of prostitution'; he also condemned the public displays of sexuality that are part of Gay Pride celebrations.

Corrigan's email continued, 'As you may or may not be aware, our efforts at Belfast Pride this year were focussed on showing solidarity with the LGBT communities in countries across eastern Europe who are facing discrimination and persecution.'Corrigan also particularly thanked the Mayor of Belfast for his support for the anti-Catholic demonstration. 'We are pleased that so many politicians from a broad range of parties supported our campaign on the day and particularly pleased that Belfast's Lord Mayor demonstrated his support for a pluralist society.' Gregory Carlin wrote to the mayor of Belfast, Tom Hartley, objecting that 'Amnesty International are harassing and targeting Cardinal Janis Pujats of Riga because his eminence is opposed to public indecency.'

Dr. Esmond Birnie, an Ulster Unionist Party politician, has also asked Mayor Hartley why Amnesty is so deeply involved in the Gay Pride demonstrations, given the latter's association with anti-Catholic bigotry. Birnie objected to Amnesty's having sponsored the lecture by Peter Tatchell, who has recently been in the news accusing the Catholic Church of 'covering up' what he claimed was the homosexuality of John Henry Cardinal Newman, the great 19th century Catholic scholar. Birnie wrote, 'Lord Mayor's Office should...never be party to any proceedings which would seek to 'out' the deceased Cardinal Newman as a homosexual or which portray Cardinal of Riga Janis Pujats as a bigot.''It would for example, be an outrageous slur on both the Catholic Church and one of England's great Catholics for Belfast City Council to be part of any proceedings which sought to accuse the church of grave robbery,' he continued.Carlin is asking the Northern Ireland Parades Commission to impose criteria on parades 'which are motivated by 'outside influences' to target the most respected members of the Catholic hierarchy'.

Amnesty has come under heavy criticism in recent years for its increasing advocacy for the homosexualist movement as well as for the concept of abortion as a 'human right.' Many Catholics were dismayed when the organisation began to support anti-life, anti-family and anti-Catholic causes and groups.


Sunday, September 14, 2008

FFM Parishes: O'Donaghue on being Catholic, 10

Another of our extracts from 'Fit for Mission? - Parishes' by Bishop O'Donaghue of Lancaster. Click on the 'label' FFM Parishes to see others. See the 'Fit for Mission?' website and download the full document. The previous title in the series, 'Fit for Mission? - Schools' is downloadable here (pdf). This generated a Facebook support group.

This extract is of special importance for an understanding of the situation in the Church today: Bishops' Conferences are usurping the teaching role of bishops and making it harder for orthodox ones to speak out.

From section 9.8, p60-61
The Extraordinary Synod (1985) went on to highlight an area of concern about the conferences, that they must keep in mind the ‘inalienable responsibility of each bishop in relation to the universal Church and the particular Church’. Pope John Paul II’s apostolic letter Apostolos Suos further sought to highlight the necessity of limiting the authority of national Episcopal conferences, along with conference committees, commissions, advisors and experts in favour of the authority of the individual bishop in his diocese and through the bishop’s direct and personal co-operation in a national conference.

I must admit that during my 15 years as a bishop I have increasingly come to share certain concerns about the relationship between individual bishops and the National Conference:

Due to the division of areas of responsibility among the bishops, such as education, liturgy, healthcare, migrants etc, there can often be reluctance among the rest of the bishops to speak out on these issues, as if somehow they had handed over their competence in these areas to the responsible bishop and his particular committee. For example, there seemed some surprise in some circles that I had issued my teaching document, Fit for Mission? Schools.


Saturday, September 13, 2008

UN: the right to life means the right to abortion


From C-Fam: Last week, the Office for the High Commissioner on Human Rights, which is responsible for overseeing treaty compliance committees, released the concluding observations of the most recent sessions of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) Committee and Human Rights Committee (HRC). Both committees used the July sessions to pressure countries appearing before them to liberalize abortion laws, even though no UN human rights treaty mentions abortion.

The HRC, which monitors state compliance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), told Ireland that it “should bring its abortion laws into line with the Covenant” so that women would “not have to resort to illegal or unsafe abortion that could put their lives at risk or to abortions abroad.” The HRC cited Article 6 of the ICCPR, which states “every human being has the inherent right to life,” as justification for the concluding observation.

Since 2003, HRC has pressured at least 14 countries to legalize abortion or
liberalize laws by misinterpreting the ICCPR provisions like the “right to
life.” Abortion rights advocates claimed victory in the HRC in 2005, when the
Committee made an unprecedented ruling against Peru for allegedly violating the
rights of a woman who was denied permission by the government to obtain an

According to an analysis by Focus on the Family’s Thomas Jacobson, who has
been monitoring the work of the CEDAW Committee and the HRC, “The HRC now
interprets this article to mean that the ‘right to life’ of a pregnant woman is
violated if she is not permitted to terminate the life of her preborn child.
Pregnancy has come to be viewed as life-threatening (instead of life-giving).
To the HRC, the ‘right to life’ has become the ‘right’ to abortion.”

No binding UN treaty includes a right to abortion. Observers are becoming
increasingly concerned, however, by how mainstream committees like the HRC are
following the CEDAW trend of misinterpreting treaty articles and questioning
nations about their abortion laws. Over the last ten years, CEDAW has
pressured over 60 nations on abortion.

At the last CEDAW session alone, CEDAW Committee members questioned
Lithuania, Nigeria, Finland, the United Kingdom and Slovakia on their abortion
laws, using lowering maternal mortality as a pretext. CEDAW Committee members
blasted Lithuania on a draft law which would limit when and in what
circumstances abortions are allowed. Committee members also sharply criticized
Slovakia’s concordat with the Holy See, which protects the right of health care
workers to conscientiously object to participating in abortions.

While the rulings of treaty bodies are technically non-binding, abortion
activists have brought litigation throughout the world citing the ruling of UN
human rights treaty bodies, like the CEDAW Committee, in challenging laws
against abortion. Such arguments helped convince the Colombian constitutional
court to liberalize that country’s restrictions on the practice.

Both the CEDAW Committee and HRC are scheduled to hold their next sessions
in October in Geneva.


Friday, September 12, 2008

FFM Parishes: O'Donaghue on being Catholic, 9

Another of our extracts from 'Fit for Mission? - Parishes' by Bishop O'Donaghue of Lancaster. Click on the 'label' FFM Parishes to see others. See the 'Fit for Mission?' website and download the full document. The previous title in the series, 'Fit for Mission? - Schools' is downloadable here (pdf). This generated a Facebook support group.

From section 8.8.4, p53
I would like to encourage a greater devotion to the martyrs of our diocese, because I am very much aware of the truth of that ancient saying, ‘The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church’. There is something deeply life-giving about the martyrs’ witness to the truth
that will benefit our witness to the truth.


Thursday, September 11, 2008

France pushes homosexual agenda at the UN

Briefing: so much for the Catholic-friendly President Sarkozy soon to greet the Holy Father.

From C-Fam: (NEW YORK – C-FAM) Rama Yade, France’s Junior Minister of State for Foreign Affairs and Human Rights, this week announced that her country intends to
submit a draft “declaration” calling for the global decriminalization of
“homosexuality” at the United Nations (UN) General Assembly in December. She
made the statement at the Paris headquarters of the United Nations Educational,
Scientific and Cultural Organization, or UNESCO, which is hosting the 61st
annual conference of non-governmental organizations.

Ms. Yade cited France’s commitment to combat “homophobia” as part of a campaign to advance “universal” human rights. France holds the six-month European Union (EU) presidency through the end of the year, and thus will be able to speak on behalf of the 25 countries of the EU at the UN.

The announcement does not come as a surprise. French delegates had
indicated at the UN High Level Meeting on HIV/AIDS this past June that France
would seek to advance homosexual rights globally while holding the EU

What is unusual, however, is bringing the issue directly to the General
Assembly without first introducing it in the Third Committee – one of six
committees of the General Assembly, also known as the Social, Humanitarian and
Cultural Committee – where measures on social issues typically arise. Third
Committee debates on issues like sexual orientation and abortion tend to be
contentious, with language extensively negotiated.

A delegate from a country that consistently votes against attempts to
advance a pro-homosexual agenda told the Friday Fax that France was unlikely to
have the votes to secure a resolution in the Third Committee, and thus is
instead introducing a “political declaration” – distinct from either a
“resolution” or a “declaration” – which need not be voted upon. Any member
state can propose a political declaration, which other countries may then join,
before sending it to the Secretary General.

The delegate added that though political declarations are nonbinding, they
may reappear in a more definitive format later. Thus a resolution on the
Moratorium on the Use of the Death Penalty, which passed the Third Committee
last year, first appeared under the guise of General Assembly political

Currently, an estimated 90 countries throughout the world criminalize
sodomy. It is expected that this action by France and other like minded states
will touted by proponents as an action of the General Assembly which would be
false. The document would also be touted by advocates as a development of a
soft law norm that signals a movement by states toward a rights-based
acceptance of homosexual conduct. The United States Supreme Court decision
Lawrence v. Texas, for example, cited the emergence of new norms
internationally in striking down state anti-sodomy laws.

Ms. Yade appears to be the French government’s point woman in advancing
this agenda. Born in 1976 in Senegal and raised in Paris suburbs, she is a
member of French President Nicolas Sarkozy’s political party, the conservative
Union pour un Movement Populaire, or UMP, and a protégé of the President.

This past year there have been several calls at the UN for nations to
repeal anti-sodomy statutes, most notably at the UN High Level Meeting on


Wednesday, September 10, 2008

FFM Parishes: O'Donaghue on being Catholic, 8

Another of our extracts from 'Fit for Mission? - Parishes' by Bishop O'Donaghue of Lancaster. Click on the 'label' FFM Parishes to see others. See the 'Fit for Mission?' website and download the full document. The previous title in the series, 'Fit for Mission? - Schools' is downloadable here (pdf). This generated a Facebook support group.

From section 8.6, p47
As your bishop I am concerned that those in positions of responsibility pass on a full and complete exposition of Catholic doctrine. It is my duty to ensure that none of you are deprived of the right ‘to receive the message of the Church in its purity and integrity and not to be disturbed by a particular dangerous opinion’. (CDF, Instruction on the Ecclesial Vocation of the Theologian; 37). Dei Verbum sets up a series of checks and balances that should be used by theologians in studying scripture and by the faithful to judge the authenticity of sensational claims and media-hyped speculations.

Firstly, the Bible is the Book of the Church. In order for the meaning of the sacred texts to be correctly brought to light, ‘the living tradition of the whole Church must be taken into account along with the harmony which exists between elements of the faith’. (DV 12).

Secondly, the Bible has been entrusted to the Church. The Church has final judgement over the interpretation of Scripture, ‘which carries out the divine commission and ministry of guarding and interpreting the word of God’. (DV 12). As Pope John Paul II puts it, a Catholic does not take an individualistic approach to Scripture, based on the assumption that they can be better understood outside the community of believers. The opposite is true, Scripture has been entrusted to the Church, ‘in order to nourish faith and guide the life of charity.’ (His Holiness Pope John Paul II, Address on The Interpretation of the Bible in the Church, 10).

Thirdly, the Bible cannot interpret itself. The deeper understanding of sacred Scripture is not to be undertaken solely through the historical critical method, but also through attention to the content and unity of the whole of Scripture (DV 12), and through the study of the Fathers of the Church and sacred liturgies (DV 23).


Monday, September 08, 2008

FFM Parishes: O'Donaghue on being Catholic, 7

Another of our extracts from 'Fit for Mission? - Parishes' by Bishop O'Donaghue of Lancaster. Click on the 'label' FFM Parishes to see others. See the 'Fit for Mission?' website and download the full document. The previous title in the series, 'Fit for Mission? - Schools' is downloadable here (pdf). This generated a Facebook support group.

From section 8.5, p47
Let me be clear, disagreement and debate between people of good-will about reformable ideas and practises are to be encouraged in the Church. However, when such disagreement and debate becomes public dissent through organised opposition, lobbying and campaigns, there is a danger to the unity and well being of the Church.
I’ve also observed that Catholics who privately dissent from certain doctrines and disciplines of the Church are often prey to growing anger and disillusionment with the Church in general. What starts out as a doubt or scepticism due to some piece of historical-critical research, taken in isolation, becomes a type of creeping doubt about the certainty of doctrine. Doubting the historical authenticity of a saying or deed of Christ in the Gospel, they can eventually come to doubt the truth of the Church. Such doubts can lead to discontent with the Church, often focused against the person of the reigning Pope and the local bishop. It is common for bishops to receive letters and emails angrily demanding the Church change a doctrine of faith or morals, such as the Church’s opposition to contraception or homosexual life-styles, or the discipline of priestly celibacy, as if we are politicians who can be pressured to change
a political policy!
Let me be clear here, Church teaching is not the opinion of the Pope and bishops that can be changed by lobbying or through the succession of a new Pope or Bishop, but the teaching of Jesus Christ, Son of God, safe-guarded and preserved by the teaching office of the Church.
My heart goes out to all those who have become trapped in this unhappy state of doubt and discontent, to which we can all become vulnerable at one time or another. I pray for their enlightenment by the Spirit of truth and love.
I, like many others, am aware of the enormous socio-cultural pressures, exerted through the media, culture and politics, that propagate secularism and relativism which fuel dissent and indifferentism within the Church. As the people of God we must develop strategies and counter-measures to protect ourselves from forces that are destructive of faith.


Sunday, September 07, 2008

YouTube Censorship of pro-life videos: yet again


YouTube, the popular Internet-video website, blocked four videos from the pro-life student organization Live Action over the past two weeks, saying that the videos contained 'inappropriate content.'

YouTube gave neither advance warning nor specific reasons for why the videos were removed, and has not responded to Live Action's request to cease censorship and to unblock the videos for public viewing.

The videos include phone recordings of Planned Parenthood employees agreeing to process donations from a caller with a racist agenda (here). Earlier this year, the YouTube videos sparked national media interest, with TV, print and radio outlets reporting on the content, and some networks, like Fox News, broadcasting parts of the videos. Live Action media director David Schmidt said, 'These four videos have received over 160,000 YouTube views in total, with the oldest video having been public on YouTube for over seven months. Why are these videos being removed now?'

YouTube has censored videos from pro-life organizations in the past, as recently as this year. In February, an American Life League video criticizing a Planned Parenthood TV advertisement was removed from the site due to its 'inappropriate nature,' though the original Planned Parenthood advertisement remained on YouTube. In July, a short film by the pro-life Population Research Institute highlighting dishonest reporting from a pro-choice filmmaker was censored. YouTube eventually responded to criticism and restored both videos.

'It is discriminatory for YouTube to selectively censor material that clearly does not contain inappropriate content,' states Live Action president Lila Rose. 'We will continue to apply pressure on YouTube until it restores the videos.'

She points out that Live Action has compiled a compelling case of evidence on its website, LiveActionFilms.org, documenting how YouTube has selectively censored conservative groups. People can also view the banned videos on Live Action's website and learn how to help petition YouTube to restore the videos.


Saturday, September 06, 2008

FFM Parishes: O'Donaghue on being Catholic, 6

Another of our extracts from 'Fit for Mission? - Parishes' by Bishop O'Donaghue of Lancaster. Click on the 'label' FFM Parishes to see others. See the 'Fit for Mission?' website and download the full document. The previous title in the series, 'Fit for Mission? - Schools' is downloadable here (pdf). This generated a Facebook support group.

From section 8.4, p45
The [Second Vatican] Council clearly presents the Catholic understanding of the place and role of Scripture in the life of the Church and individual.
Dei Verbum starts from the premise that revelation is founded not only on the word Christ preached but also in the whole living experience of His person: ‘the Apostles, who by their oral preaching, by example and by observances handed on what they had received from the lips of Christ, from living with Him and from what He did, or what they had learned through the promptings of the Holy Spirit ‘(DV 7). We can conclude from this that the Word of God includes and also transcends the written word of Scripture.
The Council places Scripture within the framework of Tradition, with the objective content of Tradition – the teaching of the Church, the life of the Church and the worship of the Church – including and surpassing that of Scripture. Dei Verbum 8 states that Scripture is the inspired and privileged expression of the pre-existing apostolic Tradition, and is not an independent or separate norm. Therefore, the Tradition of the Church takes a logical precedence over Scripture.
As Karl Rahner puts it, it was a historical necessity that the apostolic preaching took concrete form as Scripture, but by ‘becoming a book it does not become an independent herald and norm of the faith’. Post –biblical Tradition is also necessary to transmit, interpret and explain the preaching expressed as Scripture. (Karl Rahner, Encyclopaedia of Theology, p.1550).


Friday, September 05, 2008

Brain death is not real death

Action: do NOT sign up for organ donation 'after death': they will probably take your organs BEFORE you die. Brain death is obviously not death: there are numerous cases of people recovering from it.

From Lifesitenews: Only a few weeks after a prominent article appeared in the New England Journal of Medicine noting that 'brain death' does not constitute true death, the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano has carried a front-page article noting that a declaration of 'brain death' cannot be considered the end of life in light of new scientific research.

Such a determination would prohibit single vital organ donation, such as heart transplants, for Catholics or Catholic institutions, since Catholic teaching requires such organ donors to be truly dead. If potential donors cannot be said with certainty to be dead, vital organ removal would in effect constitute killing the donor.

The L'Osservatore Romano editorial, published September 2, was written by Professor Lucetta Scaraffia, vice-president of the Italian Association for Science and Life and a member of the Italian National Committee on Bio-Ethics. She notes that the Vatican accepted the 'brain death' criteria 40 years ago when it was put forward by the Harvard Medical School. She notes that in 1985, 1989, and 2006, the Pontifical Academy of Sciences still maintained that brain death was 'the true criterion for death.'

However, Scaraffia added that the Church accepted the new definition of death 'with many reservations,' noting that 'in Vatican City State the certification of brain death is not used.'

Commenting on the L'Osservatore Romano article, Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said that it was 'interesting and authoritative' but 'cannot be considered a position of the Magisterium (teaching authority) of the church.'

The Catechism of the Catholic Church says on the subject of organ donation: 'Organ donation after death is a noble and meritorious act and is to be encouraged as a expression of generous solidarity.' The statement hinges on the establishment of true death of the donors. If not, complete removal of any vital organ would kill the 'donor.' Or, as Pope John Paul II put it in 2000, 'Vital organs which occur singly in the body can be removed only after death, that is from the body of someone who is certainly dead . . . This requirement is self-evident, since to act otherwise would mean intentionally to cause the death of the donor in disposing of his organs.'

For the general public, organ donation is becoming ever more controversial as accounts of patients declared 'brain dead' and living to tell about it are reported more and more frequently. Scaraffia points, however, to new scientific findings as raising questions for scientists. One of the new findings she points out is the case of a woman declared brain dead who could still bring an unborn child to birth while on life support.

The issue is sure to come to a head in the Vatican in the coming weeks as a Vatican conference promoting organ donation is set to take place in Rome in November. [LifeSiteNews]


Thursday, September 04, 2008

Catholic Truth Scotland: September Newsletter

This is now available for download here (pdf).


-Report and articles from the May Conference, pp1ff

-Priest tells parishioners not receiving from the Chalice is disobeying Christ, p1

-Glasgow priest pays £3,000 blackmail money to rent boy, p12

-Archbishop Conti of Glasgow defies the Vatican on the status of SSPX Masses in order to stop Catholics attending the Traditional Mass over the summer, p12

-'The Problem with the SSPX', p9

On Archbishop Conti, the Glasgow priest who says the Traditional Mass in that diocese went on his summer holiday without arranging any 'cover': the Masses simply ceased for several weeks. When asked whether the faithful could attend Masses said by SSPX priests, Conti replied that this would not fulfill their Sunday obligation ('your attendance would not be licit'): directly contradicting the published ruling of the Ecclesia Dei Commission, which was set up to deal with questions relating to the Traditional Mass.

Conti's disregard for the facts, and the good of Catholics attached to the Traditional Mass, is astonishing. Catholic Truth Scotland uses the same issue to point out some of the 'problems' of the SSPX.

See the Ecclesia Dei decision here.


FFM Parishes: O'Donaghue on being Catholic, 5

Another of our extracts from 'Fit for Mission? - Parishes' by Bishop O'Donaghue of Lancaster. Click on the 'label' FFM Parishes to see others. See the 'Fit for Mission?' website and download the full document. The previous title in the series, 'Fit for Mission? - Schools' is downloadable here (pdf). This generated a Facebook support group.

From section 7.4.3, p40
Pope John Paul II identified a loss of a sense of sin as a major problem within the Church and society in general, which he saw as an expression of a wider denial of God.
One of the influences behind the disappearance of the sense of sin can be traced to a catechetical approach that wrongly identifies a sense of sin with a morbid feeling of guilt or with the mere transgression of legal norms or cultural conditions (Pope John Paul II, Post synod exhortation, Reconciliatio et Paenitentia, 18).
This erroneous catechetical approach has its origins in the uncritical adoption of psychological and sociological models, such as the so called ‘person-centred theory’ of counselling with its criticism of moral judgement as judgementalism’.
We must never forget our capacity for self-deception as well as our readiness to reduce conscience to an ‘excuse mechanism’ (Ratzinger). As it is expressed in Psalm 19: 12, ‘Who can detect his own failings? Wash out my hidden faults.’ The absence of any sense of guilt could be a sign of profound spiritual desolation. Guilt is to spiritual health what pain is to physical health: a warning that something is wrong and so needs to be healed (Robert Spaemann). God’s mercy makes no sense without it.


Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Blasphemous statue prosecution

Action: prayers, please, for the success of this court case. This is an update on the story about the statue of Our Lord in a state of sexual arousal: see the first post here. The statue is based on a statue of the Sacred Heart. This is a really vicious attack on Christianity, and Catholicism in particular. The prosecution is being organised by Evangelical Protestants, however: a big 'thank you' to them!

Christian Voice is also campaigning to have the statue destroyed by its art-collector owners.

From Christian Voice: Following a Court Hearing earlier today, the Baltic Centre in Gateshead faces a Crown Court trial over its exhibition of the blasphemous statue of our Lord and Saviour owned by Anita Zabludowicz. Despite a string of technical arguments, Gateshead Magistrates allowed the prosecution, brought by Emily Mapfuwa with help from the Christian Legal Centre, to proceed. They did not agree to the Baltic Centre's application for the Crown Prosecution Service to take the case over, but said they would instead inform the CPS as a matter of course.

The case will now come back to the same court in 21 days for a committal hearing to the Crown Court. Outraging public decency is a common law charge which can only be heard in the higher court. The lesser charge of an offence under Section 5 of the Public Order Act 1986 was


Tuesday, September 02, 2008

FFM Parishes: O'Donaghue on being Catholic, 4

Another of our extracts from 'Fit for Mission? - Parishes' by Bishop O'Donaghue of Lancaster. Click on the 'label' FFM Parishes to see others. See the 'Fit for Mission?' website and download the full document. The previous title in the series, 'Fit for Mission? - Schools' is downloadable here (pdf). This generated a Facebook support group.

From section 7.4.2, p38.
Over the years I have observed in some of our parishes an over-emphasis on the community dimension of Mass that has at times eclipsed reverence and adoration of the divine. Of course, the role of the community is essential, but at times there are diversions and distractions, such as:
Performances within the Mass;
Noisy celebrations not conducive to prayer;
Concert pieces;
Extended signs of peace;
Endless commentaries and
Prayers of the Faithful that become collects or mini-homilies.

Such distortions can reflect the common Christological error of emphasising the humanity of Jesus, to the exclusions of any meaningful sense of His divinity.
I am certain that for liturgy to enable us to participate in the life of the Holy Trinity we must maintain a sensitive balance between human participation and reverence of the divine.


Monday, September 01, 2008

Reply to comments

'Anonymous' has left long comments on three posts so we thought it would save time to reply to the all at once.

Rolheiser may be 'much loved' by some but if he wants to deny systematically all Catholic thinking about suicide (and every other topic) it would be more appropriate for him to be published in a non-Catholic paper.

Pax Christi: the justification of war under certain conditions is a teaching of the Church (see the reference to the Catechism in the post) and if you don't like it you could always join the Quakers. Tertullian was ultimately a heretic. St Franz Jaegerstatter objected to fighting Hitler's unjust war, he was not a pacifist: this is admitted even by Bruce Kent in the excellent CTS booklet he wrote about him. St Francis of Assisi supported the Crusade. Etc. etc.. And why on earth shouldn't the Army recruit in schools?

And we never present personal political judgments as the teaching of the Church.

Church closures: Catholics have the duty to speak out against imprudent and unjust actions by the clergy: in doing this they are obeying Canon Law:

Can 212§3. According to the knowledge, competence, and prestige which they possess, they have the right and even at times the duty to manifest to the sacred pastors their opinion on matters which pertain to the good of the Church and to make their opinion known to the rest of the Christian faithful, without prejudice to the integrity of faith and morals, with reverence toward their pastors, and attentive to common advantage and the dignity of persons.

So: you don't actually have anything coherent to say, do you? You don't accept the teaching of the Church or the obligations of being a Catholic, so you attack the people who do. Why? Why hang around in a Church you don't believe in? Why try to wreck for others something which no longer means anything real to you? Why dishonour the saints and doctors of the Church by twisting their words to attack the Church they loved? Why tell us that human respect for the bishops should put an end to the defence of the good of souls?

How shameful. How stupid. How futile.


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