A continuing series; see here for the introduction, and here for more on feminism in the Catholic Church in the UK.
From Domestic Tranquility, p183.
If she is to leave her child in order to compete in the workplace equally with men and childless women, the tie that binds a mother to her child--the strong emotional pull that child exerts on here--must be weakened. A mother must steel herself if she is to leave her baby in a crib in a day care center or at home with a caretaker. She must suppress her longing to respond to the baby's cries and to satisfy that yearning for contact with her baby's body that her own body had been groomed to anticipate and desire. She knows, moreover, that her baby's cries will be answered by one with no special feeling of love for the child, but at most only a feeling of obligation to do as well as possible the job for which one is paid. To leave her baby requires a kind of defeminization of the women, a constriction of the longing to be with and care for her child that is integral to woman's humanity. It requires her to develop an attitude of remoteness and withdrawal from her baby reminiscent of those mothers who boarded their infants out with wet nurses in sixteenth to nineteenth century Europe.
Sunday, June 29, 2008
A continuing series; see here for the introduction, and here for more on feminism in the Catholic Church in the UK.
Friday, June 27, 2008
From SPUC: The Council of Europe's parliamentary assembly today approved a resolution
which contains pro-abortion language. The resolution and its accompanying report on abandonment at birth promotes "legal and easier access to sexual rights and reproductive health services" such as "contraception and abortion". John Smeaton, SPUC national director, said: "What kind of world do politicians live in where they call for the abortion of children in order to avoid their abandonment at birth? Quite apart from the cruel fate of the children aborted, this policy will result in the abandonment of the mothers who are being aborted, and the continuation of the social problems which the report claims to address. The resolution's title describes abandonment as the first form of violence yet this is untrue. The first form of violence is abortion. The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child defines children as every human being under the age of 18. It calls for protection before as well as after birth." [SPUC, 27 June]
From C-Fam: International Hate Crimes Meeting Puts Emphasis on "Homophobia" and “Transphobia” By Samantha Singson
Member States of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) were caught off guard in a meeting in Helsinki, Finland last week. They were expecting to discuss crimes motivated by racism, xenophobia, anti-Semitism and religious intolerance. Instead the OSCE staff presented them with a draft of a soon-to-be-published document that includes repeated references to “homophobia” and “transphobia.”
Sources inside the meeting told the Friday Fax that while the public portion of the meetings stayed on the agreed topics of racism, xenophobia and religious intolerance, working group sessions revealed serious concerns on the part of participating States over the draft document’s overwhelming focus on homosexual rights. Member States reminded the OSCE that it has no mandate to discuss “homophobia” or “transphobia” and that the OSCE ministerial council had previously rejected these issues as part of the organization’s hate crimes mandate. ["Transphobia is a new term that the cultural left uses to refer to discrimination against those who have undergone sex change operations or are otherwise confused about their sex.]
Thirty-eight states participated in the two-day expert-level meeting, which was organized by the OSCE’s Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights to facilitate hate crimes data collection between member countries and the OSCE.
One of the primary objectives of the Helsinki meeting was to finalize the 2007 annual report “Hate Crimes in the OSCE Region: Incidents and Responses.” The organizers of the meeting did not allow for a substantial discussion of the 250-page draft, which contained numerous references to “homophobia” and “transphobia.” Despite the lack of negotiations or consultations, at the close of the meeting the chairman declared that the report had been accepted through consensus.
Observers expressed concern that the OSCE is becoming more advocacy-driven in regards to homosexual rights and the organization has introduced terms like “transphobia” that have not been agreed to nor defined by Member States, rather than simply focusing on reporting and data collection.
As the largest regional security organization in the world with 56 participating states from Europe, Central Asia and North America, the OSCE addresses concerns ranging from policing strategies, counter-terrorism, economic and environmental activities to human rights. Tolerance and non-discrimination are included as part of the OSCE mandate as “violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms, including the freedom of thought, conscience, religion or belief, and manifestations of hate and intolerance continue to endanger stability and threaten security in the OSCE region.” OSCE Member States enjoy equal status, and decisions are taken by consensus on a politically but non-legally-binding basis.
The increasing OSCE focus on homosexual issues echoes an increasingly vocal campaign at the United Nations (UN). Gay rights groups have lobbied the UN to include “sexual orientation” on the list of other established non-discrimination categories such as sex, race and religion. To this day, the term has never been included in any binding, negotiated UN document. In the last year, UN officials and special rapporteurs have tried to get the UN to re-interpret existing human rights to include homosexual issues, such as same-sex adoption and legal recognition of same-sex unions, under the guise of non-discrimination.
Recommendations from OSCE member states on the draft 2007 annual report are due this week. The final report is expected to be distributed at the OCSE’s meeting in October.
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
Marriage Care was founded in 1946 as a Catholic organisation. It still finds a place in the Catholic Directory, claims to be a member of the 'Federation of Catholic Family Associations in Europe' (though does not appear on their site), has a priest (Canon Michael Cooley) on its board of directors, and absorbs Catholic resources, not least its volunteer counsellors, but it does not describe itself as a Catholic organisation: rather, 'It is a Christian organisation, developed from within the Catholic community, of people concerned about marriage, relationships and family life.' In actual fact it actively undermines Catholic teaching in a number of ways. In this it is typical of many good Catholic organisations which have undergone a collective apostasy: they deny the teaching of the Church, they undermine good morals, but they still want to use their traditional sources of support in the Church.
As long ago as its 1972 publication 'Preparing Engaged Couples for Marriage' it was dissenting from the Church's teaching on contraception, reaffirmed only four years earlier by Pual VI in Humanae Vitae. On page 81, in referring to sterilization, the Pill, IUDs, condoms, withdrawal and spermicidal creams it stated 'It is inaccurate to brand these methods as 'artificial' as though there was something necessarily wrong in man using artifice'
Today they manage the remarkable trick of denying that they are Catholic and yet giving the 'Catholic' contribution to debates on issues such as sex education. They are a member of the Sex Education Forum (see here); the Forum has as a formal aim 'To promote and raise the profile of children and young people’s entitlement to SRE through policy and advocacy work;' (see here). The Forum's 'fact sheets' include ones on the importance of teaching primary school children about the names of body parts, and 'safe' and 'unsafe' relationships (pdf) and the need to tackle homophobic bullying by promoting gay role models and getting in touch with such organisations as Stonewall (which voted Archbishop Nichols of Birminham as a runner-up 'bigot of the year') and the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement (whose recent conference banner denounced Pope Benedict XVI as a 'homophobe') (pdf).
Not content with their contribution to the Sex Eduction Forum, Marriage Care has its own sex ed materials. These, naturally, conform to the Government-approved non-judgmental model: the information the children are given to help them to make the most important decisions of their lives is almost exclusively value-free. Thus we see in a lesson plan preparing pupils for puberty:
Today it is common for sexual relationships to begin much earlier and the average age for first sexual intercourse is 17. ... Early sexual experience should not be taken lightly however, because of the dangers to health, both physically and emotionally. (See here)
To this is added information about contraception and sexually transmitted diseases:
Preparing young people for their journey onwards into adulthood necessarily includes the teaching of all aspects of sexual health. Although it is often one of the most difficult topics to talk about openly, by exploring these areas in the safe environment of school, young people are better equipped to make informed choices when presented with a new and potentially dangerous situation. (See here)
These excepts are taken from lesson plans intended for Key Stage 3, ie 13-14 yr-olds. This entire approach is contrary to the Vatican's guidance on sex education, which says that the 'age of innocence', during which children are not troubled by questions of sexuality, should be respected, and not violated by unwanted information and intrusive questioning, and that in general information should be given by parents, one-to-one, and in response to the questions and needs of the individual child (see here). It is almost incredible that a mixed-sex class-room of giggling 13-yr-olds should be described as a 'safe environment' in the context of exposing the most private aspects of children's physical and emotional lives.
Unsurprisingly Marriage Care espouses a 'modern' view of marriage which has little to do with Catholic teaching. For example, the Chairman, Terry Prendergast, repeatedly claims that the reason marriages were longer-lasting in previous generations was that they were 'patriarchal', whereas now women have taken on male roles, and that in the past marriages were made for a variety of reasons, whereas now they are made for 'love'. And of course the old conception and practice of marriage is much inferior to the new. (See here and here.) This combination of views may seem surprising in the head of an organisation dedicated to helping marriages stay together, but it is part of a feminist view that the rise in divorce is necessary for the liberation of women (despite the fact that women usually suffer more from it than men). The fact that earlier generations, imbued with Christian rather than materialist or feminist values, were loyal to their wedding vows is something Prendergast views with patronising pity: well, they didn't know any better, did they? He has also written in the Tablet in favour of sex before marriage, and is quoted condoning the blessing of illicit second marriages by priests (here), and praising same-sex partnerships (here).
The basic problem driving organisations such as Marriage Care out of the Church is the idea that they must be open to all comers: not so much from Christian love of neighbour as a desire for financing and acceptance by Government and the swarm of organisations that feed on the Government agenda. Thus Marriage Care tells us that 'we accept those who come to the organisation for help, support or education without any judgement or discrimination in relation to their marital status, creed, race, gender or sexual orientation.' But how can they claim that their counselling is informed by Christian values, and that they have a Christian conception of marriage as 'a covenant between two people and a sacramental union', if they are counselling gay couples about how to maintain their immoral relationship? Note that they describe marriage as a covenant between two PEOPLE, not a man and a woman. Without a Catholic understanding of what marriage is, they will not be effective in helping married people live out their vocations.
Marriage Care's work is a slightly modified or disguised version of the work of innumerable secular organisations which are working out the Government vision of value-free sex, homosexual marriage, and the combat of teenage pregnancy by teaching younger and younger pre-pubescent children how to use contraception. It is far more dangerous than these other organisations, however, even if it's message is toned down a bit, because it presents itself, and is presented by organs of the Church, as in some sense 'Catholic'. Thus, in addition to the damage they do directly by their counselling and sex ed. materials, they will lead astray individuals and schools, inside or outside the Church, who might be genuinly interested in a Catholic approach, and give comfort to those, like the Sex Education Forum, who want to claim that 'moderate' Catholics accept the sex education programme.
As with all pseudo-Catholic organisations, this damage must be opposed by exposing Marriage Care for what it is: a secular organisation feeding off the Church and the goodwill of Catholics, while actively undermining good morals and Catholic teaching.
The latest from ther Soho Masses Pastoral Council:
We have no intention of engaging in a prolonged correspondence with you but, further to your ‘Update’, 23 June and in the interests of accuracy, this is the actual wording used by the SMPC:
“Pride London takes place on Saturday, 5 July 2008. If you would like to volunteer to staff a stall in the Community Groups’ Market Place in Trafalgar Square, or help in other ways, please e-mail us … Joining with other Catholic groups, as well as people from other Churches and faiths, this offers important t opportunities for pastoral contact, support, advice and education.”
The SMPC’s aim is pastoral, while a parade or march would usually be understood to have a campaigning element, which is NOT what we are about. This is why we do not participate in the parade.
Ok, so they are not promoting the event: just encouraging churchgoers to attend the event in the interests of 'pastoral contact, support, advice and education.' There seems to be an acknowledgement that the parade promotes something that they should not be promoting. But taking out an official stall is close material cooperation in it: if it is bad, then the close material cooperation will need a lot of justification. Or perhaps it is not actually bad, but something their group wasn't set up to do, 'campaigning'. In which case they are lending support to the campaign by being an official stall-holder, listed as a participating group on the website, and so on. (The list isn't up yet this year, but they were on it last year.)
We're not the only people who see this association with LondonPride as a form of endorsement. The liberal think-tank Ekklesia makes the same connection, and even link it to the special Mass for dissident gays which will take place in Our Lady of the Assumption, Warwick Stree, on 6th July.
Can a Catholic group use the Pride event to witness to the faith? Of course, This is how to do it: it is called a counter-demonstration. The Orthodox Jews did it in Jerusalem; Christians in Elmira, New York (and were arrested for praying); the same thing happened in Norway; a Catholic men's group did it in San Jose, California: here's a picture.
So, SMPC: if you want to witness to the fact that the usual gay subculture promotes and celebrates promiscuity, and that this will lead those involved in it to misery, not only will we correct our stories but we'll join you there.
Monday, June 23, 2008
Update: a spokeman for the SMPC has sent us a response:
Not for the first time does your blog continue to promote misinformation about the Soho Masses Pastoral Council. The SMPC is not taking part in the Pride London Parade. It is taking the opportunity to provide information, advice, and pastoral contact by having a stall in the market-place for community organisations in the Trafalgar Square event which is quite separate from the Parade. The event includes Police, Trades Unions, and registered charities covering a range of issues, not solely concerned with LGBT matters, and a variety of speakers including the Mayor of London and Government Ministers. The conditions for holding such stalls are strictly administered and accountable to local bye-laws as well as Health & Safety regulations. There is no question of the SMPC, nor as far as we are aware of any other Catholic or Christian group ‘promoting immorality’.
Interestingly the concrete charge they deny is not one the CFNews item makes: that they are going on the parade. The fact that they wish to dissociate themselves from the parade suggests that they recognise that it is pretty hard to defend, from a Catholic point of view. But they go further than CFNews by confirming that, not only in the past have they run a stall, but they will be doing it this year too. The suggestion that the the Trafalgar Square stalls are 'quite separate' from the Parade is disingenuous but irrelevant: both are organised by Pride London (see the special page on their website here) and both promote immorality by celebrating the immoral gay subculture. The whole event is promoted in SMPC's literatures, handed out to Mass-goers.
From CFNews: The Soho Masses Pastoral Council (SMPC) is using its Masses in Soho to advertise and promote the annual 'Gay Pride' march through London, taking place this year on Saturday, July 5th ('Bring your Prince Charming, your Belle, or even your beast, and join us for one of the most visually spectacular Pride's ever'). The SMPC, in cooperation with the Roman Catholic Caucus of the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement (RCCLGCM), has in the past run a stall at this event with the dissenting group 'Catholics for Aids Prevention and Support'. The SMPC Mass leaflet for the 11th Sunday in Ordinary Time confirms that they are taking a stall again at this year's 'Gay Pride' event. The SMPC continues to operate with the approval of the Archdiocese of Westminster. [CFNews]
Sunday, June 22, 2008
Briefing. Another abuse of the language of human rights to deprive children of the right to a stable family life.
From CFNews: Unmarried couples in Northern Ireland will be allowed to jointly adopt children following a ruling announced by Law Lords. The Adoption (Northern Ireland) Order 1987 does not allow a couple to jointly adopt a child if they are not married. But this week judges in the House of Lords - the highest court in the land - have said the law breaches the Human Rights Act. An appeal was brought to the Lords by an unmarried couple from Northern Ireland. The woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, has a daughter from a previous relationship. The man she lives with wants to adopt the girl together with her mother. If the couple got married they could lawfully adopt the girl, but they have refused to do so. Adoption by unmarried couples - including homosexual couples - was legalised in England and Wales in 2002. However, critics said this was more to do with adults' rights than the best interests of children. The average length of cohabitation is two years, at which point a couple tends to marry or split up. Some 60 per cent of cohabiting couples go on to marry, but of those who do not 83 per cent will break up within 10 years. If cohabiting couples have a child, they are at least six times more likely to split up than married couples. Historically, this is why adoption law has required couples to make a legal commitment to each other before making a joint legal commitment to a child. [Christian Institute]
Saturday, June 21, 2008
Fromn CFNews: The Restituta Group comment : ''The Hospital Trustee's Annual General Meeting confirms our worst fears. The Cardinal has insisted upon a new Board for the Hospital Trustee Company and the question that arose was whether this new Board would follow the teachings of the Church or, as reported in an article in 'The Tablet', adapt the ethics of the Hospital to suit doctors, clinicians and others who wish to carry out procedures such as referrals for abortions which are totally unacceptable in a Catholic Hospital. It would now appear that the report in The Tablet was correct.
The Hospital's Annual General Meeting
This was held on 2nd June 2008 much earlier than usual. No accounts for 2007 were presented to the meeting and no auditors were appointed. It would seem that the purpose of the meeting was to consolidate the appointment of Directors sympathetic to the Cardinal's agenda. Under the articles a third of the directors have to retire at the AGM and can be presented for re-election. As most of the elected Directors had already resigned the agenda required Charles Fitzherbert, Jacob Rees-Mogg and Aida Hersham to retire.
Charles Fitzherbert is a Trustee of the Brampton Trust as well as being on the Hospital board. We have always understood him to be fully supportive of the Brampton House Development Plan whereby the St John's Wood Medical Centre entered the Hospital to provide unacceptable services. In December 2007 on the resignation of Lord Bridgeman he was appointed temporary chairman of the Hospital to guide the prospective Chairman, Lord Guthrie. At the AGM on 2nd June he stood for reappointment but was voted out with three appointees of Lord Guthrie voting against him: Nicholas Coulson, Jonathan Scherer and Julian Schild. This was a strange development. Had the unlawfulness of the actions of the Brampton Trustees dawned on him as a result of the Charity Commission's institution of an enquiry into those actions? Had he begun to see the light and therefore became unacceptable to the Cardinal's party?
Jacob Rees-Mogg was a member of the Ethics Committee and all along has supported the teachings of the Church. For his loyalty to the Church the Cardinal asked him to resign in February of this year. The Guardian newspaper reported on 22nd February 2008: 'The cardinal's primary objective has always been for St John & St Elizabeth to remain a Catholic hospital and several issues were jeopardising that aim, including GPs prescribing the morning-after pill and referring patients for abortions'.
Earlier in the article it said: 'Scalps from Tuesday evening's decision include Aida Hersham, a Persian heiress and socialite, and Jacob Rees-Mogg, son of former Times editor William Rees-Mogg'. .
This could only suggest to the reader that Jacob Rees-Mogg and Aida Hersham were in opposition to Catholic teaching and were asked for their resignation. They both knew this to be untrue and therefore refused to resign.
Mrs Aida Hersham although not a Roman Catholic but Jewish has always supported Catholic teaching and has been a very generous benefactor of the Hospital. It is understood that such was her concern over the proposed entry of the St John's Wood Medical Practice that she approached the Cardinal to make an offer to put up the necessary funds for them to be persuaded to relocate elsewhere. This might have involved over a million pounds. The Cardinal's response was to ask for her resignation in February.
As neither of them had resigned Lord Guthrie informed them that he was arranging for them to resign automatically and to be put up for re-election. He further said they would not get his support. Mrs Hersham having seen Charles Fitzherbert, with whom she had done gallant work in fund-raising, forced out, decided to resign at the meeting before a vote could be taken as did Jacob Rees-Mogg.
One of the incoming directors has been heard to say that the Cardinal has done an excellent job in rescuing the Hospital from the hands of Catholic fundamentalists. The Archdiocese has certainly learnt a great deal about spin from Mr Blair's former office.
The Cardinal's Agenda
After several years of watching developments at the Hospital we can only conclude that the Cardinal has no intention that the vision of Cardinal Basil Hume for a Centre of Catholic Medical Excellence should be followed. Instead his agenda would appear to be one of compromise with the current secular ethic or lack of one. The intervention of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith provided a set-back to this agenda when he was obliged to set out the teachings of the Church in March 2006. However we have never had any explanation of what he said privately to Lord Bridgeman, the then Chairman of the Hospital, the previous month in February 2006. A smokescreen was set up in the form of appointments to a new Ethics Committee whose deliberations would have taken years if left to the Committee's Chairman. Again it was a set back for the Cardinal's agenda when it delivered after a year an updated Code of Ethics - the 2007 Code. The Cardinal did nothing to persuade the Board to act within this 2007 Code or to prevent the entry of the St John's Wood Medical Practice in January 2008. Instead he found the new code an embarrassment and insisted on a new Board which has now been finally elected in June 2008 to carry out his agenda.
The Cardinal's New Board & New Ethics
We have always said that for the Hospital to become, once again, a truly Catholic work it must have a management which is imbued with a Catholic vision. Since the departure of the Sisters of Mercy in the 1980s this has been sorely lacking. Neither the present Director, Christopher Board, nor his assistant Claire Hornick have this vision and have clearly not been supportive of orthodox Catholic teaching. This has been pointed out on numerous occasions and yet the new Chairman Lord Guthrie expressed full confidence in the probity and competence of Chris Board and Claire Hornick at the AGM.
In their issue of 8th March 2008 The Tablet had reported that: 'The Cardinal is understood to have recognised that a strict, Vatican-sanctioned code of ethics he had wanted to impose at the hospital needs to be reassessed if the hospital is to survive'.
However, a spokesman disputed that this week: 'The cardinal expects the board to move forward according to the agreed code'. The new appointees will be expected to hammer out a code of ethics acceptable to all.
Although we have asked for clarification of this issue from the Archdiocese none has been forthcoming. At the AGM Lord Guthrie announced that there would be a new Ethics Committee under the chairmanship of Sir Mark Allen, a former department head at MI6. A licence to kill perhaps? Will Bishop Stack, Canon Brockie or Father John Wilson be members of this committee as of the previous one? We will be surprised if they are. Lord Guthrie said the previous committee had been too large. He further said that there was no time-frame for setting it up; it would be a leaner committee and its remit would be wide-ranging and everyone in the Hospital would be consulted. Its principles are to be applied more 'broadly'. Lord Guthrie was not prepared to say whether the new Code would allow the St John's Wood Practice or anyone else in the Hospital to practice contrary to Catholic teaching. We got the impression that we were unlikely to hear anything from the Committee before the next AGM. Furthermore the new Ethics Committee is to be a sub-committee of the board and not be in charge of ethical governance in the Hospital. Does this mean that governance on ethical matters will be removed from Catholic control and left entirely to the Medical Advisory Committee which has no Catholics on it and is under the chairmanship of Nicholas Goddard who, with the management, has organised the opposition to the 2007 Code of Ethics? The system of governance asked for by the Cardinal in March 2006 would appear to be a dead letter. The result of the Cardinal's actions would appear to be that no attempt will be made to implement any Catholic ethics.
The Legal Perspective
What needs to be clearly understood is that the defining law on the ethical practices at the Hospital is set out in the constitution:
4A. Ethics. The Hospital shall be conducted in accordance with the ethics of the Roman Catholic Church in communion with the see of Rome. The Trustee shall take all reasonable steps to ensure that all persons working in the Hospital shall comply with this requirement and be fully informed on the subject. In the event of any difference of opinion arising as to these ethics or the application thereof then such difference will be submitted to the person for the time being exercising Archiepiscopal jurisdiction over the Roman Catholic Province of Westminster whose decision shall be final and conclusive.
That is the defining statement. In the past the Code of Ethics was merely a guide to what the ethics of the Roman Catholic Church are. If there is now to be a Code of Ethics which is NOT in compliance with those Catholic ethics then its implementation at the Hospital will be unlawful and the Board of the Hospital will be in complete breach of trust. We hope everyone understands what is meant by a breach of trust. The Board like the Brampton Trust have been entrusted with money and assets on a solemn trust that they be used for Roman Catholic purposes. If they use that money and assets for some other purpose they are purloining those assets. Morally this is little different from robbing a bank; those responsible would be acting dishonestly and are not to be trusted. There are penalties financial, civil and criminal. If the Board follow this course they can expect to be pursued through the available legal channels whether the Charity Commission or the Courts.
The problem though is that the Cardinal could deny the teachings of the Church and inform the Board and the Charity Commission that secular ethics that allow abortion are acceptable in a Catholic hospital. The question that we now ask is whether the Cardinal will proceed in such a manner.
A second problem is that the Cardinal, through his Board, may attempt to get the constitution changed by deletion or severe modification of clause 4A. Lawyers unsympathetic to the Catholic cause have already suggested this is possible. If the Cardinal consents to this course of action he will be allowing the destruction of part of our Catholic heritage in a manner little different from those bishops who cowardly accepted the Henrician reforms.
A Sorry Story
So matters are now looking pretty bleak. Questions were put to the AGM about the current state of ethics. It was apparent that the whole subject of ethics was being put off until some future unknown date and in the meantime no regard will be had to Catholic ethics. Questions about Gender Reassignment Operations were again dismissed. The evidence for these is in the hands of the Board and it is utterly dishonest to say that there is no proof one way or another.
How have we come to such a pass? The Sisters of Mercy and other Roman Catholic nuns who nursed the soldiers in the Crimea under Florence Nightingale were acting out their vocation as part of the Church whose mission is to train men's souls for heaven. They sought to carry out that spiritual mission by corporal works of mercy. When they returned to England Cardinal Wiseman and the future Cardinal Manning encouraged them in a similar spiritual mission in founding the Hospital. As Monsignor Ronald Knox has written there is a risk that a 'spiritual message will lose itself in philanthropic endeavour … Her [the Church's] message is of the world beyond; on it her eyes are set; she tends, feeds, teaches her children distractedly, only that she may point them to heaven; she will not lose her soul in what the world calls charity'. [ 'Pastoral Sermons' Ronald Knox. Burns & Oates 1960. p.36].
Over the years the spiritual message seems to have been lost. The founders: Cardinal Wiseman, Cardinal Manning, Cardinal Bourne (who set up the Brampton Trust), the Sisters of Mercy and the many Catholic laymen amongst whom many of us can recognise our ancestors would never have contemplated that abortions would be facilitated or phalloplasties carried out for deluded and exploited women. What trace is there now of any spiritual message? The absence of the Church's spiritual message means the loss of souls. Does anybody care? Do not Bishops other than the Cardinal have concerns? It was remarked the other day that the English Channel seems to put off a miasma which rots brains in the littoral Dioceses; the further North one goes the situation does improve; contrast the actions of Cardinals Winning and O'Brien over the abortion issue with those of their southern brethren. If there are Bishops, theologians or any Catholics who disagree with us let them speak out. One of the most remarkable aspects of this whole affair is that not one Catholic has put to us a reasoned argument that we have got it wrong either factually, theologically, pastorally or morally. We hope we have the humility to acknowledge and accept any sound correction.
But how much bleaker the outlook must have seemed for those martyrs who kept coming to England's shores in penal times; we must therefore not lose hope and we must have faith. There is after all the possibility that we may have a new Archbishop of Westminster with different ideas in the not too distant future; we would suggest that the parable of the dishonest steward is not irrelevant and some should be hedging their bets: 'for indeed, the children of this world are more prudent after their own fashion than the children of the light' Luke ch 16: v.8. The next few verses are worth reading as well!
Secretary to the Group
Nicolas J Bellord.
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
Comment: a recent article by Jakob Cornides we reported here on the attempt to make abortion a 'right' throughout Europe and the world has clearly rattled Catholics for a Free Choice, who have published a response. This response so eloquently demonstrates the bankruptcy of their position that it is worth reproducing and commenting on it. See also our dossier on CFFC here.
From Catholics for a Free Choice: There are many flaws in the arguments presented by Jakob Cornides ('Human Rights Pitted against Man', IJHR, February 2008). I shall restrict myself to responding to just one: his assertion regarding religious beliefs on abortion.
Cornides asserts that 'practically all of the world's major religious traditions' are opposed to abortion and that it would therefore be impossible for any meaningful international forum to assert a right to abortion. In the first case, it's hard to see why religious opposition to a policy initiative should hold sway at any international or national forum. While religious voices should certainly be heard in such policy discussions, they should never be given extra weight because they are religious, let alone given veto power.
But no-one is saying that religious views should be given unfair extra weight. The fact that opposition to abortion is almost universal in world religions should be a veto on saying that opposition to abortion should be condemned as contrary to a universally recognised human right. It is absurd to establish as a 'human right' something which so many people, in accordance with their traditions, think is actually gravely wrong.
In addition, it is simply incorrect to say that most religious beliefs are opposed to abortion. Many denominations, including the Episcopal Church, the Presbyterian Church (USA), the United Church of Christ, the United Methodist Church, the Unitarian Universalist Association, as well as Reform, Reconstructionist and Conservative Judaism have all adopted official statements that support reproductive choice as a matter of conscience.
Translation: a bunch of liberal protestant denomenations have accepted abortion in restricted circumstances, contrary to the rest of the Christian world and their own predecessors. And in Judaism abortion is allowed in some highly restricted circumstances, many of which don't count as abortion at all (see below).
Specifically pertinent for my organisation, Catholics for Choice, it's important to note that there is much in the Catholic tradition that supports the pro-choice position. While a cursory examination of Catholicism might suggest a definitive and unchanging opposition to abortion, a more careful reading of church documents shows that Catholics may support the legalisation of abortion and its morality in a wide range of circumstances. [This is simply a lie. Catholic politicians may vote for laws or ammendments to laws which permit abortion if this is the only practical way to improve the law: eg voting for a lower age limit. Legalising abortion is always wrong. It is morally permissible for a pregnant women to have urgent medical treatment which may harm her baby, but this is not 'abortion'.] In addition, there is a deep regard for individual conscience at the heart of church teaching on moral matters - meaning that decision-making on abortion is left up to the individual. [Decisions are made by the individual - that is what conscience is. If they are in accord with morality, that is right, if they are not, that is wrong.]
It is also noteworthy that despite several opportunities, the official teaching forbidding abortions has never been proclaimed infallible. [Another lie. The teaching was declared infallible by John-Paul II in Evangelium Vitae section 62: quoted below.] The reality is that the official teachings against abortion do not meet the traditional tests for infallibility. A prerequisite for infallibility requires a consistent church position on the teaching, but the church hierarchy has favoured varying opinions regarding the moment of personhood throughout history. [An attempt to confuse two issues: debates on the 'moment of personhood' have never translated into controversy over the wrongness of abortion. Even if an early embryo is not a person, it is wrong to kill it: this is the constant teaching of the Church.]
During the second Vatican Council the Catholic church adopted the principle that laws must not prevent people of other faiths from practising their faith. Since many religions support a woman's right to choose, laws against abortion would violate their rights.
This is truly amazing. It refers to the Vatican II document Dignitatis Humanae which explicitly says that tolerance of other religions does not remove the state's obligation to maintain a 'proper guardianship of public morality.' (section 7).
Cornides is right that access to abortion is severely limited in many countries, but it is widely available in others. If we are to accept that human rights are truly universal, then we need to ensure that the human rights of women to decide when and whether to continue a pregnancy are also recognised. Until such time as women's human rights are considered universal, the law will continue to be a battleground for arguments such as these.
But the fact that abortion is at least restricted in almost all countries in the world is powerful testimony that it cannot be regarded as a universal moral right. Universal rights can only be enforced if they are based on a consensus: otherwise they become a tool by a monority to force everyone else in a certain direction. That is exactly what CFFC and their friends are trying to do.
Not for the first time, here is the infallible declaration on abortion from Evangelium Vitae 62 (1995):
Therefore, by the authority which Christ conferred upon Peter and his Successors, in communion with the Bishops-who on various occasions have condemned abortion and who in the aforementioned consultation, albeit dispersed throughout the world, have shown unanimous agreement concerning this doctrine-I declare that direct abortion, that is, abortion willed as an end or as a means, always constitutes a grave moral disorder, since it is the deliberate killing of an innocent human being. This doctrine is based upon the natural law and upon the written Word of God, is transmitted by the Church's Tradition and taught by the ordinary and universal Magisterium.
Monday, June 16, 2008
Action: please lobby MPs and raise awareness with these leaflets and so on. The disaster of the HFE Bill could go on getting bigger.
From John Smeaton's blog: Yesterday pro-abortion MPs tabled extremely damaging amendments to the Abortion Act via the HFE bill. It is critical that we act now to resist these amendments as strongly as possible.
The committee stage of the bill has now been completed and pro-abortion MPs have tabled abortion amendments to de-restrict abortions up to 24 weeks, and to empower midwives and nurses to perform abortion. Further amendments may be tabled to seek to extend the Abortion Act to Northern Ireland. More babies will die if such amendments are passed.
I know that many people have worked very hard in the fight against this bill. But today we must make a final push to stop these amendments being incorporated into it. Please order a quantity of our new leaflet "No to more abortion" http://www.spuc.org.uk/hfeabort.pdf and distribute them door-to-door, in the street and at churches. Order the leaflets by emailing email@example.com or by phoning SPUC on 020 7091 7091. The new leaflet complements the recent one "How should human life be treated" http://www.spuc.org.uk/hfeleaflet.pdf which is still current, and both leaflets can be distributed separately or together.
Please make it your top priority to distribute as many leaflets as possible in the coming week. The bill's report stage may start at the very beginning of July, so we have to act straight away to have an impact.
It's essential for people to contact their MPs to ask them to vote against amendments extending abortion. MPs can be contacted in writing at House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA, or by email. If you have internet access you can contact your MP (and find out your MP's name) via http://www.spuc.org.uk/mps Please copy any replies you receive to Anthony Ozimic, SPUC political secretary, either by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by post to SPUC HQ.
If you share my belief in the power of prayer, please pray for the defeat of the bill and the abortion amendments. 'Pray as if everything depended on God and work as if everything depended on you.'
From SPUC: If the Human Fertilisation and Embryology bill is passed it could permit cloned human embryos to be implanted in a woman after minimal further parliamentary discussion. This assertion has been made by Dr Evan Harris, a leading proponent of embryo research. Dr Harris says that Parliament is unlikely ever to approve placing cloned embryos in the womb, and suggests that the law should be more tightly drawn. The bill repeals the 2001 Reproductive Cloning Act which bans implantation of clones. [Times, 14 June] Those in favour of cloning often try to make a false ethical distinction between cloning for research and letting such embryos be implanted. Cloning brings a new person into being, whatever is subsequently done with him or her. Commenting on Dr Harris' statement, SPUC General Secretary, Paul Tully, said: "Dr Harris's intervention appears contrary to his usual approach. We have long argued that the present cloning rules are invidious - allowing the creation of 'second class' embryos who may only be used for research, and then must be destroyed. Allowing cloned embryos to be created for transfer to the womb would also be wrong but Dr Harris would not share our rationale for that."
Friday, June 13, 2008
From LifeSite, via CFNess: Almost exactly a year after Irish Democrat Ian Paisley Jr. was investigated and censured for a 'breach of his ministerial pledge of office' over statements against homosexuality, Britain's homosexualist lobby has unleashed its fury against Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party MP Iris Robinson. Robinson made the remarks that put her on the wrong side of the homosexualist movement during a radio interview when she was asked about a violent attack that had recently taken place in Belfast. Stephen Scott, 27, was attacked last Wednesday and suffered head and leg injuries. Police have said that the attack was 'homophobic' in nature.
The MP responded by condemning the attack against Scott. She also, however, condemned homosexuality as being immoral and suggested that Scott should seek therapy for his sexual preferences. 'I have a very lovely psychiatrist who works with me in my offices and his Christian background is that he tries to help homosexuals trying to turn away from what they are engaged in,' said Robinson. 'And I have met people who have turned around to become heterosexual. ' 'Homosexuality is not natural. My Christian beliefs tell me that it is an abomination and that is very clear. 'It is an offence to God, an offensive act and something that God abhors.'
She concluded, 'My Christian beliefs tell me to love the sinner but hate the sin, so I condemn the people who went out and kicked that gay man. 'I am clearly not saying that I want people to thrash the living daylights out of a homosexual man or women, because I don't. '
Homosexual rights activists in Northern Ireland responded by making a complaint to the police, which police confirm they are following up on. John O'Doherty, a member of the South Belfast District Policing Partnership, filed the official complaint. 'People like Mrs. Robinson need to learn that their comments have consequences,' said O'Doherty.
The Guardian also reported that the extremist homosexual activist group OutRage! has issued a call for homosexuals to publicly 'out' any homosexual members of the Democratic Unionist party that they may have had sex with as revenge for Robinson's remarks. According to The Guardian, OutRage! said it would be 'entirely justified' to publicly 'out' closet homosexuals in the party. 'We have always supported the protection of people's privacy who lead a double life, where they are gay but maybe still have a family,' said David Allison, a spokesman for OutRage! 'However in circumstances where you are a member of a political party which openly espouses homophobia than we think it is entirely justifiable that members of that party be outed. '
Jeffrey Donaldson, also a member of the Democratic Unionist Party, defended Robinson's right to speak her beliefs. 'This is a country where people have freedom of speech,' said Donaldson. 'If someone has made a complaint then the matter will be investigated. I don't believe that Iris has broken any law so I don't believe the police investigation will lead to anything. ' Robinson, a Christian, is the wife of Northern Ireland's new First Minister Peter Robinson, who has come to his wife's defense, while reaffirming his commitment to ensuring that Northern Ireland remains discrimination free. 'As far as the equality issues are concerned there is a legal obligation within the office of First and Deputy First Minister to ensure that no-one in our society is discriminated against,' First Minister Robinson said in response to a question from Naomi Long of the Alliance Party . 'I have to say even if there was no legal obligation I would be at the forefront defending anyone who was being discriminated against and I know my colleague, the member for Strangford (Mrs Robinson), would be alongside me in that. 'It is absolutely essential as far as this community is concerned that there is equality for people. 'Equality of opportunity should be at the forefront of all of our minds on all of these issues. '
A year ago Ian Paisley Jr. was investigated in Norther Ireland after he told HotPress magazine, 'I am pretty repulsed by gay and lesbianism. I think it is wrong. I think that those people harm themselves and - without caring about it - harm society. ' He continued, 'That doesn't mean to say that I hate them. I mean, I hate what they do. ' [LifeSiteNews]
Action: prayers, please, to sustain their resolve.
From CFNews: The Westminster Catholic Children's Society is defying rules compelling adoption organisations to place children with homosexual couples. New Labour's war on common sense has at last come up against a determined opponent. A Catholic adoption society is defying rules compelling such bodies to place children with homosexual couples. It believes it can do this within the law - a belief almost certain to be tested in the courts, given the zeal of homosexual rights organisations. But why should such battles be necessary? These rules, like so many others, were forced on this country by the EU Commission - in this case, the Employment Framework Directive of 2000. But as so often, Britain went further than Brussels required. Other EU countries did not extend the rules to cover adoption agencies. Clearly, the legislation was brought in to please the radical lobbies to which New Labour owes so much.
In the same way, the Government passed its anti-hunting laws to satisfy its class-warrior wing, giving little thought to the impossibility of enforcing such legislation. It cared more about placating its supporters than it did about the practical effects of its actions. And so it brought Parliament and the law into disrepute. Can a law obliging nuns and priests to go against their deepest beliefs be upheld in the courts? Is it any business of the law to intervene in matters of conscience?
Charities are entitled to abide by their own precepts, just as much as homosexuals are entitled to have private lives free from harassment. It is not as if the churches either have or seek a monopoly of adoption services. Until now, the only result of this new law has been to drive dedicated religious organisations out of the adoption system. The fate of so many children, who above all need good homes, is too important to be treated in this frivolous, dogma-driven way. The Westminster Catholic Children's Society deserves the support of all genuinely tolerant people for taking a serious issue seriously. [Daily Mail]
Briefing. This sort of thing happens all the time. If you agree to allow your organs to be taken 'after death' they won't actually wait for you to die, even in the UK, since people can recover from 'brain death'.
From SPUC: A patient, presumed dead, revived as transplant-surgeons in Paris began
the process of removing his organs. The city's university hospital's
ethics committee has reportedly been told that doctors massaged his heart
for 90 minutes before surgeons arrived. He began breathing and now can
talk and walk. France recently changed its law to allow the harvesting of
organs without a declaration of brain-death. [Telegraph, 10 June]
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
From CFNews: A prominent UK charity has been implicated in the production and distribution of a sexually explicit 'educational' pamphlet aimed at children as young as seven. The booklet has been removed from one school in West Surrey after complaints from parents, but the charity responsible, the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC), has defended the material, saying the sexual material is already covered by the national sex education curriculum.
The charity, ChildLine, a branch of the NSPCC, produced a 20-page illustrated booklet in order to help children identify and report instances of abuse, including sexual abuse. ChildLine operates a children's abuse telephone and internet hotline and helps connect children and families to social services. The NSPCC is the foremost UK charity working in child protection and the prevention of cruelty to, and abuse of, children.
The booklet, titled 'In the Know, Keeping Safe and Strong', includes a quiz in which children are to identify the abusive situation among three scenarios that include 'a goodnight cuddle from mum' and a visit to the doctor. The third says, 'Your uncle promises you a new MP3 player if you take your knickers off and sit on his lap.'
'We want to raise awareness so that children speak out sooner and, as necessary, receive the help and support that they need,' ChildLine's spokesman told the Daily Mail.
Thomas A Becket School, in Worthing, West Sussex, has pulled the booklets after complaints from parents. The school has since informed parents that extra copies of the booklet have been destroyed.
The Daily Mail quoted a father of two children at the school, Michael Auty, who said the booklet is wrong even for eleven-year-olds and is 'putting ideas in their heads'.
'I don't want my kids to look at their uncles and think, 'He might try and do something to me.' It would harm the family.'
'It's up to parents to explain to kids what they should do if they find themselves in a particular situation, but the language in this booklet is just too graphic.'
The NSPCC supports mandatory sex education for all children, and has argued against the view that natural marriage between one man and one woman is necessarily the only way to create stable relationships. It has also campaigned to reduce the age of consent for homosexual sex to 16.
The society has been strongly criticised by fathers' rights groups for its opposition to the rights of contact for both parents in cases of divorce, arguing that maintaining contact with the father is not necessarily in the best interests of the child.
In 2004, the fathers' rights group Fathers4Justice occupied the NSPCC offices claiming that the organisation 'ignores the plight of 100 children a day who lose contact with their fathers' and that they promote a 'portrayal of men as violent abusers'.
Even the extreme left has criticised the group. In an article on Spiked in 2004, Frank Furedi, a Marxist professor of sociology at the University of Kent, said the NSPCC is 'devoted to publicising its peculiar brand of anti-parent propaganda and promoting itself'. [LifeSiteNews]
Briefing. The wilder fringes of dissident Catholic groups like doing this kind of thing.
From CFNews. The Vatican declared this week that any women who attempt 'ordination' or any bishops who attempt to 'ordain' women are automatically excommunicated from the Church by their actions. The decree from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith is said to be absolute, universal and immediately effective. The decree which was published in the Vatican daily, L'Osservatore Romano, comes in the wake of several women attempting to be 'ordained' as Catholic priests.
The most recent attempt to ordain a woman occurred on May 4 in Winona, Minnesota when Kathy Redig, participated in a ceremony of ordination. Bishop of Winona Bernard Harrington responded to the news of Redig's purported ordination by saying it made him 'very, very sad.' The bishop also said that 'She, by her actions, has excommunicated herself.'
Another occurrence of attempted ordination occurred in St. Louis, Missouri on November 11, 2007. The ceremony involved a German woman named Patricia Fresen conducting a would-be ordination ceremony at a St. Louis synagogue. Fresen used the formula and rite of a Catholic ordination to 'ordain' as priests two St. Louis-area women, Rose Hudson and Elsie McGrath. The attempted ordination caused Archbishop Raymond Burke of the Archdiocese of St. Louis to declare the three women excommunicated for taking part in an attempted ordination of women to the priesthood.
The archbishop said the excommunication was part of his 'solemn duty' to protect the faith and unity of the Church. Archbishop Burke, who is regarded as one of the foremost experts on canon law, explained that this type of situation has been addressed before. In August 2002, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith also excommunicated two women who had taken part in an invalid ordination ceremony, he said. Patricia Fresen, the archbishop said, had 'formally and directly engaged' in founding a 'new and separate sect' called Roman Catholic WomenPriests USA.
The decree from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith also mentions that it applies to all people in communion with the Catholic Church, including any bishops or women who are members of the Eastern Churches. Anyone who incurs this excommunication can only be received back into the Church by the Apostolic See, the decree says. The declaration, which is signed by Cardinal William Levada, concludes by saying that it is absolute, universal and immediately effective upon its publication in L'Osservatore Romano. [CNA]
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
Briefing. If anyone was wondering who is the 'victim' when gay marriage is legalised and Catholic adoption agencies closed down, here is the answer.
From CFNews: Tom McFeely writes in the National Catholic Register: 'Dawn Stefanowicz says she knows from personal experience that what the American College of Pediatricians recommends is true. She is a Canadian woman who grew up in a homosexual household. She says Americans wouldn't support same-sex 'marriage' if they understood how it can harm children.
Stefanowicz, author of the book Out From Under: the Impact of Homosexual Parenting, rejects the claim of homosexual activists that same-sex households are just as healthy for kids as heterosexual homes.
'That hasn't been my experience or the experience of people who have contacted me who have been raised in a similar situation,' said Stefanowicz. 'We've all faced negative challenges in this kind of household.'
Brad Luna, director of communications for the Human Rights Campaign, said the larger body of evidence supports this.
'My response would be to look at every major psychological and child-welfare national organization,' he said, 'who have all come out and said that children raised with same-sex parents have no less development than children who were raised in a heterosexual relationship.'
The environment in which children are reared is absolutely critical to their development,' the college states in a position statement about homosexual parenting posted in the 'Position Statements' section of its website, acpeds.org.
'Given the current body of research, the American College of Pediatricians believes it is inappropriate, potentially hazardous to children, and dangerously irresponsible to change the age-old prohibition on homosexual parenting, whether by adoption, foster care, or by reproductive manipulation,' it says. 'This position is rooted in the best available science.'
The American College of Pediatricians' position statement references the many studies that have found that children thrive best in families with a married mother and father.
Dr. Michelle Cretella, a Rhode Island general pediatrician who is a board member of the American College of Pediatricians, said Luna is correct in saying that major medical groups have expressed support for homosexual parenting. But she said that they have done so despite the fact that scientific research has not established that such families are as healthy for kids as married heterosexual families.
Cretella said that when the American Academy of Pediatrics endorsed same-sex parenting in 2002, it acted on the recommendation of a small committee that she says had an agenda.
The academy endorsed homosexual parents over the specific objections of some committee members who noted the flaws in the research studies that found same-sex parenting to be as healthy as heterosexual parenting, she said.
A key methodological flaw in those studies is that they compared the well-being of children in homosexual households to those raised in difficult circumstances such as single-parent households that resulted from divorce, Cretella said.
None of the studies compared children raised by homosexual parents to children with two heterosexual parents in a stable, loving marriage.
Said Cretella, 'Because if you do that, and we have decades of studies that have compared children in a traditional home with children of single mothers, children of single fathers, adoptive children, stepfamilies, children raised by a mother and grandmother, and across the board socially, emotionally, intellectually and physically children reared physically by their two biological parents do better across all those measures.'
Cretella cited a recent meta-study conducted by two pro-homosexual researchers. It found that girls raised in homosexual households are more likely to be more aggressive, boys are likely to be less masculine and that both girls and boys engage in sexual experimentation at earlier ages and are more sexually promiscuous.
While the researchers who conducted the meta-study did not regard their findings as negative, Cretella said, 'those of us on the pro-family side look at that and say, 'No, you're rearing children with some gender confusion and you're putting them at risk for sexually transmitted diseases.''
Another documented consequence of same-sex parenting is an increased likelihood that children of same-sex parents will claim a homosexual identity themselves. Cretella noted that multiple studies have found that homosexually behaving teens and young adults suffer increased rates of depression, anxiety, eating disorders, addictions and suicidal thoughts.
And in the case of boys who adopt a homosexual lifestyle because of the influence of their same-sex parents, Cretella said, they face a 30% chance of being dead or HIV-positive by the age of 30.
Dawn Stefanowicz has personally experienced some of the negative consequences of homosexual parenting.
In the 1960s and 1970s, from the age of 10 months old, she was raised in a Toronto household where her chronically ill mother lived along with her father and a succession of his same-sex partners. Her father eventually died of AIDS in 1991.
Exposure to her father's promiscuous homosexuality hurt Stefanowicz in a variety of ways, she says. The fact that he had multiple same-sex partners generated profound feelings of insecurity, she said.
'I always had that fear, beginning as a little child, that I could easily be discarded although I was a dependent living in this household and he happened to be my biological father,' Stefanowicz said. 'His partners were more important than I was. That was the sense I had.'
Compounding her insecurity was the death by suicide of two of her father's sexual partners, and the confusion she felt about her own sexual identity because she was a young girl living in a home where male homosexuality and transsexuality were held up as attractive qualities.
Said Stefanowicz, 'It wasn't good enough to be a girl.'
Stefanowicz said she also learned from an early age that she shouldn't discuss what her family life was like. One of the things it included was accompanying her father to sites where the homosexual cruising subculture was occurring, such as parks and beaches and bathhouses.
Along with witnessing her father's abnormal sexual behaviors, Stefanowicz said she also had to deal with other problems that he and his partners had, including mental health issues and addictions.
Other adults who were raised in same-sex households have told Stefanowicz that they had to wrestle with the negative consequences of the same kind of experiences.
Said Stefanowicz, 'We see that as children and we are going to struggle with some of the same issues.'
Ignoring the Consequences
American College of Pediatricians board member Cretella said that the interests of children like Dawn are being ignored in the renewed debate over the legalization of same-sex 'marriage' that was triggered by last month's California Supreme Court decision legalizing such unions in that state.
'The way the issue has been framed by same-sex marriage activists is purely looking at individual rights - the rights of adults,' she said. 'And they have removed any concept of family from the definition of marriage.'
Cretella said this ignores the historical fact that the primary purpose has always been to bond the father to his children and the children's mother, in order to create a healthy family environment where children will thrive.
Said Cretella, 'Marriage has everything to do with family.'
Catholic psychiatrist Dr. Richard Fitzgibbons, co-author of the Catholic Medical Association's handbook 'Homosexuality and Hope,' said that highlighting this negative reality for children is critically important in explaining why same-sex 'marriage' should not be legalized.
'Children should not be placed in that lifestyle,' Fitzgibbons said. 'All of the sociological and psychological research makes it clear that the gold standard for children is a family life with a mother and a father who are married.'
Stefanowicz agrees. Through her Christian faith and years of counselling, Stefanowicz was able to come to terms with the damage caused by her upbringing and subsequently to marry.
Today, she is an accountant and home schools her two children and operates a website (here) dedicated to providing support and healing to other people reared in homosexual families.
And she's also determined to tell Americans about the heartbreak they are inviting if they allow courts and legislatures to legalize homosexual 'marriage' nationally, as Canada's federal parliament did in 2005.
Said Stefanowicz, 'I'm hoping that many, many people will wake up and start looking at children's best interests.' [NCR]
Briefing. More charities who have received money for Catholic purposes will be using it for non-Catholic purposes.
From CFNews: The Catholic Children's Rescue Society of the Diocese of Salford will halt a service it has provided since its foundation in 1886 by the time the Government's new homosexual rights legislation comes into force on New Year's Day. Kathy Batt, the director of the CCRS, said the agency would no longer recruit, assess or approve adoptive applicants, though it will continue to provide its post-adoption support services. 'The decision has been taken with regret by the trustees who have been fully informed all the way along,' she said. 'We did not want to separate from the diocese as other agencies have, though that is no criticism of them,' she said. 'In Salford it was quite clear that we did not want to break with the diocese because we have a faith-based agency and the patronage of the Church is very important to us.'
Bishop Terence Brain of Salford, the chairman of the CCRS, said the move to pull out of adoption was partly because of 'legal pressures'. A new social services charity called Caritas Salford Diocese will now be formed from a merger of CCRS and the diocese's Catholic Welfare Societies. Jim Dobbin, a Manchester Labour MP and a Catholic, said he was sure many people would be 'upset' by the demise of the adoption service. 'It is a tragedy,' said Mr Dobbin, the MP for Heywood and Middleton. 'There is a shortage of people willing to adopt generally in the country and there is something very wrong when some of the better and more efficient agencies feel they have to close because they can't conform to what the Government is demanding. I don't think there was any need for this legislation at all. It was forced through and was all done to avoid discrimination but all it has done is to introduce discrimination against agencies that operate according to the principles of a religious faith. The Government will rue the day when it pursued this line of action. It smacks of a secular attack on the Catholic Church.'
The decision comes a week after one of the largest Catholic adoption agencies confirmed it would cut ties with the Church in order to comply with the Sexual Orientation Regulations that were introduced under the Equality Act 2006 to ban discrimination against homosexuals in the provision of goods and services and to stay open for business. The Catholic Children's Society of Arundel and Brighton, Southwark and Portsmouth, founded in 1887, deals with about 50 of the 250 annual adoptions handled by the 13 Catholic adoption agencies of England and Wales. The agency has an annual turnover of about £4.5 million, most of which comes from government grants and contracts, but more than £500,000 a year is raised by Catholics in southern England through schools, parish gifts, wills and personal donations. Its annual 'Good Shepherd' appeal in schools and churches alone raises more than £100,000 a year.
The dioceses of Northampton and Nottingham also announced in April that they will withdraw from adoption and that their agencies - which place a combined 30 children a year with new families - will become independent. They will then be able to place children with gay couples but will no longer be able to appeal to Catholics for financial support. Other agencies must decide their futures over the summer in order to meet the deadline set by Tony Blair last year. The trustees of the Catholic Caring Services adoption agency of the Diocese of Lancaster in April voted by eight to two to cut ties with the Church in order to continue its work in finding new homes for 25 children a year and to protect the jobs of 200 staff involved in a range of social work.
But on Sunday Bishop Patrick O'Donoghue of Lancaster issued a letter through the parishes appealing to the trustees to reconsider their decision. He became the first bishop to declare publicly that he is willing to fight to retain his adoption agency, founded in 1934, in the control of the Church. 'Over the generations thousands of Catholics have prayed and contributed to this vital work carried out by their Catholic agency,' the bishop wrote. 'It would not only be heartbreaking, but also a tragedy, if decisions are taken that break this relationship.' The bishop suggested the trustees should amend the constitution to make it clear that the charity operated in accordance only with the religious principles of the Catholic faith. This, he argued, would be legally defensible under the freedom of religion clauses of the Equality Act 2006. 'This would mean that unmarried heterosexual couples would be rejected as prospective parents in the same way and on the same basis as same-sex couples,' he said.
The trustees of the charity and the bishop plan to meet this month to agree a final course of action. Neil Addison, a Liverpool-based Catholic barrister, said there was anger among Catholics at the apparent readiness of the agencies to become independent from the Church. 'Charity trustees seem to assume that they can stop being a Catholic charity and then simply carry on,' he said. But he said the charities were 'established by Catholics and given Catholic money on the basis that it would be used in accordance with Catholic beliefs. To use its funds for un-Catholic purposes seems unethical and possibly illegal,' said Mr Addison.
'It is sad that various Catholic charities are choosing to simply give up without even testing the law first. If gay rights activists had shown the same lack of moral courage homosexuality would still be illegal. If the adoption agencies had stood their ground I think even many gays would have supported them. The destruction of the traditional family is the greatest source of social evil in our society today and Catholic charities need to defend the family.' The bishops have repeatedly complained that they are being forced to give up control of their adoption agencies by the Government. They argue that the agencies cannot remain Catholic and comply with the new rules. One adoption agency chief executive has described the situation as the 'darkest hour in 150 years of Catholic social work in Britain'. The Government is still struggling to find new homes for many of the 4,000 children in care. Official figures last year revealed a 13 per cent fall in the number of children adopted, in spite of a target to increase adoptions by 50 per cent. [Catholic Herald]
From LifeSite, via CFNews: MPs have 'dulled' their consciences in a world of distractions and must repent of their 'attack' on innocent human life after the votes in the House of Commons on the Human Fertilisation and Embryology bill in May, says Keith Cardinal O'Brien. Cardinal O'Brien, the head of the Catholic Church in Scotland, in a homily in the crypt church at the House of Commons on Wednesday, wondered aloud, 'What does one say then, in the face of those who without guilt condemn the innocent in the womb, show disregard for family life and play God with the building blocks of life?' British Catholic politicians voted to allow the creation of human/animal hybrid clones and abolished the 'need for a father' in IVF treatments.
The Parliamentarians also voted down efforts to reduce the legal gestational age for abortion from its current 24 weeks. 'It has struck me,' the cardinal said, 'that for all the Church's calls for recognition of the inviolability of conscience, the sad reality is that the vast majority of politicians have given support to various attacks on human life with apparent lack of reproach from conscience.' At a reception at the Scotland Office, Cardinal O'Brien defended the coherence of Catholic Church's opposition to embryo research, saying that it is of a piece with other justice issues. The cardinal said, 'We can offer a reminder of the foundational values on which any just society must be built, values which uphold the dignity of all human life, which assert the necessity of supporting family life, of recognizing the limits of subsidiarity and the demands of solidarity.'
He called the pro-life position a comprehensive one: 'A call to give life to those many thousands dying each day through lack of food and drink; by joining in the anti-nuclear campaign and also the campaign for a greater awareness of climate change; by entering into the debate with regard to our present abortion laws and the great moral issues coming to the fore recently with regard to the Human Fertilization and Embryology Bill.' [LifeSiteNews]
From CFNews: Christianity is being discriminated against by the Government in favour of Islam and other minority faiths, according to a Church of England report. The damning critique of Labour, which is endorsed by the Archbishop of Canterbury, says ministers are only paying 'lip service' to the Anglican Church while 'focusing intently' on other religions. It claims Gordon Brown's Government is failing society and lacks a moral vision for the country. And in an end to decades of tension between the Church and the Conservatives, the comprehensive study praises the Tories for their 'strident' approach to combating poverty. Instead it says it is Labour which is failing to acknowledge the breakdown in society and excluding vital religious voices.
The report urges the Government to appoint a minister for religion, who would serve as the Prime Minister's faith envoy and utilise the untapped reserves of volunteers in churches and charities. It states: 'We encountered on the part of the Government a significant lack of understanding, or interest in, the Church of England's current or potential contribution in the public sphere. Indeed we were told that Government had consciously decided to focus...almost exclusively on minority religions.'
The highly critical report, titled Moral, But No Compass - a twist on Mr Brown's claim to have a 'moral compass' - carries significant weight as it has been endorsed by the Archbishops of Canterbury and York and expresses the views of three-quarters of the Church's bishops. It echoes claims made by the Bishop of Rochester, the Rt Rev Michael Nazir-Ali, last week that the decline of Christian values is destroying Britishness and has created a 'moral vacuum' which radical Islam is filling.
The report, which has been seen by The Daily Telegraph, says that while the Government has tried to improve social cohesion, it has failed to appreciate the potential contribution of Christian groups to the 'civic health and well-being' of society. 'We were told that while capacity studies had been undertaken by Government with regard to British Islam, similar studies had not been carried out for any of the UK's largest faith communities. If what we were told is correct, the churches simply do not register on the policy-making radar in serious terms. The Government has focused so intensely on minority faiths that it has failed to develop a coherent evidence base for the largest religious body in the UK, the Christian church.'
The report adds: 'The government is planning blind and failing parts of civil society. The government has good intentions, but is moral without a compass. Every participant in our study from the Church agreed that there was deep 'religious illiteracy' on the part of the Government.' A report published in 1985 damned Thatcherism for the growing spiritual and economic poverty in Britain. But now, in a remarkable shift in the stance of the Church, the Conservatives are praised for their 'genuine thirst to understand and combat poverty'.
The new study, commissioned by the Church and written by academics based at the Von Hugel Institute at Cambridge University, states: 'Despite many voices in the Church telling us, 'there is no difference between any of the parties on these issues,' the reality is otherwise. Of all our interviewees, Conservative advisors and politicians were among the most comfortable and enthusiastic regarding involving faith groups in this renewal of the third sector, and believed that Christian churches had something 'unique' to bring to the table as strong local leaders.' Eric Pickles, shadow secretary for communities and local government, said: 'David Cameron's Conservatives recognise that we have to tackle a damaged society and that poverty can't be cured without the help of voluntary organisations, such as the Church which plays a vital part. The Church has not retreated from the difficult problems faced by many communities.' [Telegraph]
Briefing. These court cases are extremely worrying. It is easy for the mere threat of legal action under untested legislation to change the behaviour of the more timid: in this case it will mean the end of the proclamation of the Church's teaching on sexuality, and any meaningful discussion of homosexuality as a psychological condition. It is important to stand up to these threats, which frequently turn out to be empty. It has taken ages for the case to be resolved: we reported it first here.
From CFNews: A Belgian bishop has been cleared of charges laid against him by a homosexual activist group. Monsignor André-Mutien Léonard, Bishop of Namur, was charged with homophobia under the pretext of the country's 2003 Anti-Discrimination Act. The accusations against Bishop Léonard pertained to his comments in an interview that appeared earlier this year in TéléMoustique, a weekly magazine in Belgium. In the April 2008 interview, Bishop Léonard, when asked his stance on homosexuality, stated that his position was that of the famous early psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud's - that homosexuality is the result of hindered sexual development. 'Homosexuals have encountered a blockage in normal psychological development, rendering them abnormal. I know very well that in a few years, I could be imprisoned for holding this position, but this could mean a bit of a vacation for me', said Bishop Léonard.
Bishop Léonard was met with criticism when many interpreted his comments to mean that homosexuals were 'abnormal' as persons, and he was quick to clarify that it is their behaviour that is abnormal, not their very person. Last week, after the reading of the interview in question, the Belgian courts ruled that, though the Bishop's comments may have been hurtful to homosexuals, they were not severe enough to be considered slander or discrimination. This type of situation is not new to Belgium. In 2004, similar allegations were made against the late Cardinal Gustaaf Joos of Brussels. At that time, the 80-year-old Cardinal was threatened with a lawsuit by the Center for Equal Opportunities and Struggle against Racism.
While actively upholding the Church's teachings on loving the sinner but not the sin when it comes to homosexuality, Cardinal Gustaaf Joos told a Belgian magazine, 'I am willing to write in my own blood that of all those who call themselves lesbian or gay, a maximum of 5 to 10 percent are effectively lesbian or gay. All the rest are just sexual perverts.' He added, 'Real homosexuals don't wander in the streets in colorful suits. Those are people who have a serious problem and have to live with that. And if they make a mistake they will be forgiven. We have to help these people and not judge them.' [LifeSiteNews]
Friday, June 06, 2008
A continuing series; see here for the introduction, and here for more on feminism in the Catholic Church in the UK.
From Domestic Tranquility, p164.
To credit the sexual revolution with providing previously unavailable sexual opportunities to women is to believe that there has ever been a time in history when relationships between women and heterosexual men were customarily marred by the man's refusal to have sexual intercourse with a willing woman. Such refusal has rarely been women's problem in dealing with heterosexual men. The only result feminists have accomplished by endorsing the sexual revolution has bee to deprive women of the societal support they need to refuse to engage is casual sexual intercourse in the fashion of sexually predatory males.
Tuesday, June 03, 2008
From SPUC: The British government has proposed that human tissue should be used tomake cloned embryos without the consent of donors, including dead ones.Health ministers have tabled an amendment to their Human Fertilisation andEmbryology Bill. Scientists complain that consent can be hard to obtain.[Sunday Times, 1 June] The measure would apply in cases where material mayalready been given voluntarily, but not necessarily for cloning. The bill'scommittee stage resumes tomorrow and on Thursday.
Briefing. The Catholic spokesman is spot on: pro-abortionists want abortion to be a routine procedure, like having an innoculation. Recently Scotland's abortion rate was revealed to be higher than ever.
From SPUC: A Scottish governmental agency has published a plan under which nearlythree quarters of women requesting an abortion will get one before nineweeks' gestation. Quality Improvement Scotland says there are fewercomplications with early abortions. Its report says post-abortioncounselling should be provided to women requesting it and that womenhaving an abortion should be offered birth control. The Catholic churchsaid: "There is a very real danger that this fast-tracking may lead toabortion being seen as a routine medical procedure. With our alreadysky-high abortion rates, this is a very dangerous and very unhelpfulmessage to send out." [Scotsman, 1 June]
Monday, June 02, 2008
Action: complaints, please, to the new bishop of Middlesbrough, Terrence Drainey, especially from residents of his diocese. When will bishops learn that dissent tunrs Catholics off the Church, and does not draw people back to it? One look at Fr Ed Hone, a notorious dissident on homosexuality well documented by Catholic Truth Scotland, and most lapsed Catholics would run a mile. For some examples of Fr Hone's views see here.
The Curial Office, 50A The Avenue, Middlesbrough, United Kingdom TS5 6QT
tel: 01642 850505
From the website of the Diocese of Middlesbrough: We are delighted that the workshops will be led by Father Ed Hone CSsR, Parish Priest in the Parish of St Patrick, Edinburgh. Father Ed is an experienced and inspirational speaker who has been involved in innovative approaches in reaching out to Catholics who no longer practise their faith, as well as in promoting an understanding of the Catholic faith to wider society.
From SPUC: The vice-chairman of the British Labour party's youth movement has resigned from his post after the organisation campaigned on the pro-abortion side when parliament was considering the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill. Mr Conor McGinn, a Catholic who remains a party ember, said abortion was a matter of conscience. Ms Geraldine Smith, Labour MP for Morecambe and Lunesdale, said the bill came from the party's etropolitan elite which did not represent the party at large. [Catholic Herald, 30 May]