Friday, October 31, 2008
Briefing. The new persecution has begun, and it is going to get worse. The Church, and Catholics as individuals, are being pushed out of one area of national life after another.
From CFNews: Family Education Trust director, Norman Wells, highlights an alarming trend in public policy and legislation
OVER the past 40 years, we have witnessed wave after wave of permissive legislation. It has never been easier to obtain an abortion or a divorce, young people under the age of consent have no difficulty in accessing contraception in complete confidence, homosexual couples can adopt and foster children and, through the Civil Partnership Act, legal recognition has been given to same-sex relationships.
The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill represents a further example of permissive lawmaking with its removal of the requirement to consider the need of a child for a father before granting IVF treatment and provisions allowing for the construction of animal-human hybrids, the creation of 'saviour-siblings'. and the increased use of embryos in stem cell research.
A new phenomenon
But now we are beginning to see a new phenomenon. No longer content with permissive legislation and standards. our social engineers are becoming increasingly prescriptive as they seek to impose their permissive attitudes and standards on those who have so far resisted them.
At the British Medical Association's annual conference in July. Liberal Democrat MP and honorary associate of the National Secular Society. Evan Harris. sought support for a motion aimed at placing limits on the statutory right of doctors and other healthcare professionals to conscientiously object to having anything to do with abortion or IVF services.
Thankfully the motion failed, but the issue is not going to go away. This autumn Dr Harris is proposing an amendment to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill aimed at requiring all doctors and pharmacists to prescribe or provide the full range of contraception and emergency hormonal birth control. It is the intention of the amendment that those who are unable in good conscience to facilitate the provision of treatment that has the potential to operate after conception has occurred should be presented with a stark choice: act against your conscience or seek alternative employment elsewhere.
Tony Calland. chairman of the British Medical Association's medical ethics committee, treats conscientious objectors to abortion with similar contempt. In a recent issue of the British Medical Journal, he asserted: 'It would be a bit stupid of someone who is a devout Catholic to become a gynaecologist, because they would he expected to carry out abortions.' Presumably Dr Calland's strictures would apply equally to an evangelical. a Muslim, an orthodox Jew, or anyone else with strong moral or religious convictions.
Conform or perish
Only last year. after initially denying that the sexual orientation regulations would have any adverse effect on the businesses of people who had a moral or religious objection to homosexual practice, the then Equalities Minister. Meg Munn. finally admitted that the regulations could have a major impact. In a letter to the Family Education Trust, she revealed that wedding photographers not wishing to be involved with civil partnerships would have to go into a different branch of photography, and suggested that a wedding chauffeur could always specialise in corporate travel. As for hotel proprietors, if they were not prepared to allow same-sex couples to share a double room, the only option open to them under the law would be to do away with double rooms altogether and only offer single rooms. The message could hardly have been clearer: you have got to conform or face going out of business.
There is now a danger that certain professions - including healthcare - will become no-go areas for people who refuse to submit to the new orthodoxies. But the situation we are facing is even more serious than that, because people of moral and religious principle are also being excluded from areas of public service and from vital caring roles.
The Sheffield magistrate, Andrew McClintock, was effectively forced to resign from the Bench because he could not in good conscience be involved in placing children for adoption with same-sex couples. And David and Heather Bowen, a couple from Somerset, have recently had their application to foster turned down because they occasionally use a smack to discipline their own daughter. There is no suggestion that they have ever used excessive force on their own child and they have willingly given an undertaking that they would not smack a fostered child, yet solely because of their views on smacking they were deemed unsuitable to foster.
Imposing a new morality
To put it at its simplest, for four decades we have tolerated, permitted and even promoted policies that cause harm, but until recently no one has been forced to do anything against his or her conscience. In the past we have been content to call good what centuries of Judaeo-Christian influence has regarded as evil; but now, we are beginning to call evil what historically has been recognised as good. Not only are we embracing a new morality, but increasingly we are seeking to impose it by force of law.
And what are the consequences of this? Is our permissive-turned-prescriptive approach contributing to a more caring and compassionate society? Not at all. We desperately need more public-spirited people to care for the most needy and vulnerable, yet these are the very people we are currently in danger of turning away when we place unacceptable limits on the exercise of freedom of conscience. [FYC]
Thursday, October 30, 2008
Briefing. The HFEA bill has been passed by the House of Lords; the number of Lords willing to vote for a small amelioration of it was a pathetic 39. Cardinal O'Brien is quite right to cite the historical experience of the Nazis: horror at what the Nazis did in their experiments set back the abortion/eugenics movement by thirty years. Now the time is up, and Dr Mengele is forgiven.
From SPUC: The British government's Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill is destined to become law. The House of Lords yesterday completed its third reading, approving all amendments by the House of Commons. [Official Report, 29 October] An attempt to restrict the research on human/animal admixed embryos was defeated. Lord Alton of Liverpool proposed that the bill should stipulate that such beings could only be used when there was no alternative. 202 peers opposed the amendment while 39 supported it. [Herald, 30 October] The leader of Scottish Catholics has compared the British government to the Nazis. In an open letter to Mr Gordon Brown, the prime minister, Cardinal Keith O'Brien, Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh, called the embryology bill misguided and compared its various provisions to the horrors of the Hitler regime. He writes: "The hideous savagery of [Nazi] experiments convinced the civilised world that such practices [had to] be outlawed forever." The cardinal urged Mr Brown to amend the bill "as a matter of great urgency and human decency." [John
Smeaton, 28 October] Lord Winston, the fertility specialist described the cardinal's remarks as unhelpful. [East Kilbride News, 29 October] The Catholic Archbishop of New York also referred to totalitarian regimes when writing about abortion. Cardinal Edward Egan described how Hitler and Stalin regarded certain groups as sub-human and likened this to the treatment of the unborn. [CNA on EWTN, 28 October]
From CFNews: Gary McFarlane, a Christian counsellor from Bristol, has been dismissed from his position at Relate after raising concerns about advising same sex couples on directive sexual therapy. Mr McFarlane had counseled same sex partnerships, but when it came to directive sex therapy, he felt that he would be directly encouraging sexual sin For several years he has been able to successfully counsel couples, helping them to restore their relationships. He has always received positive feedback from supervisors and clients. In 2007 Mr McFarlane, whilst training as a sex therapist, discussed the potential conflict with his supervisor. However managers at Relate did not offer to accommodate Mr McFarlane's position but instead suspended him in December 2007 for what they believed was a breach of the equal opportunities policy. As a result, Mr McFarlane lost all his clients and was unable to continue counselling. In January 2008 he was reinstated on the basis that he would conform to the equal opportunities policy with the proviso that he could mention his concerns about sexual counselling in the future. However, a short time after returning to his job, complaints were made by employees and Mr McFarlane was called into a disciplinary meeting and eventually dismissed in March 2008 after his employers concluded that he had failed to adhere to the equal opportunities policy. Mr McFarlane was not given an opportunity to discuss his views and no attempt was made to acccommodate his beliefs, despite his success as a couple's counsellor.
Mr McFarlane also feels that the relationship of trust he shared with fellow employees was broken down after he discovered that details of his confidential discussions with his supervisor were leaked to other members of staff. Mr McFarlane became aware of a petition signed by twelve members of staff, demanding that he be removed from his position because of his views on sexual ethics. He was labelled 'homophobic' by fellow members of staff and treated in an increasingly hostile manner in the weeks before he was dismissed.
The Christian Legal Centre is supporting Mr McFarlane as he brings a claim at the Bristol Employment Tribunal.
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
From mediawatch-uk: This was the headline in a recent edition of the Sunday Express, which went on to say that the BBC is facing a backlash over a shocking new television drama featuring gay sex, murder and Mother Teresa. The six part series about exorcism, called 'Apparitions', was the idea of Martin Shaw, who stars in it as a Roman Catholic priest. According to the report, graphic scenes in the prime time drama, to be screened in November. Include a man possessed by the devil and being skinned alive in a gay sauna. In another episode, a father is shown threatening a sexual assault on his daughter. Mother Teresa is seen on her deathbed, her mind seemingly inhabited by demons. The newspaper went on to quote mediawatch-uk's John Beyer, who warned that the graphic sexual and religious scenes will cause outrage. 'This series is likely be a clear breach of the Broadcasting Code. I'm surprised the BBC agreed to commission a show like this as a way of debating the battle between good and evil. There must be better ways of doing that. They've got people spitting on crucifixes and it is likely to cause serious offence to the Christian community. Considering the reaction to Jerry Springer the Opera in 2005. BBC really ought to know better'.
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Comment: Damian Thompson condemns the Catholic Education Service for endorsing Sex Ed. John Smeaton has been banging this drum for some weeks. Now a poll says that most people think it is the parents' job - just as the Church teaches. Are people waking up to the deliberate sexualisation of our children?
The Catholic Bishops honestly believe that by not condemning sex ed outright they can influence it - especially for Catholic schools - and minimise the damage. This is thinking typical of institutional people: they can't bear to be out of the loop, off the committees, not on good terms with politicians. But the version of sex education they are imposing on Catholic schools is completely wrong, condemned in advance by the Vatican, as we have repeatedly pointed out. And many Catholics don't send their children to Catholic schools, for one reason or another, and if they don't hear sex ed condemned, they will assume it is ok.
Parents must keep themselves informed, and be prepared to think the unthinkable: homeschooling. Sex education will only be defeated by a massive revolt by parents. Parents: the education of your children is your responsibility: you will be required to account for it on the day of judgement. Don't just go with the flow: get informed, get involved, or get your children out of school!
From CFNews: Three quarters of nearly 2000 respondents to a BBC's questionnaire said that parents should tell children about sex, with less than a quarter believing it should be teachers' responsibility. Two thirds of parents said they were worried about their children having sex too young, with three quarters putting the minimum acceptable age at 16.
The Government has announced that sex and relationships education is to become compulsory for all children in state schools from the age of five. Ministers insist parents will have a say in what is taught, but Labour MP Geraldine Smith has warned that the plans will rob children of their innocence.
Trevor Stammers, of Family and Youth Concern, has warned that 'valueless' education will simply exacerbate the problems the Government hopes to address, such as teenage pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.
Writing in The Times earlier this week, commentator Ross Clark said too much information simply gives children the impression that early sexual activity is the norm.
In his Daily Telegraph blog Gerald Warner, author, broadcaster, columnist and polemical commentator, claimed that the most widespread child abuse in Britain is perpetrated by the Government.
'Children as young as five will be given sex education under Government plans to cut teenage pregnancy and sexually-transmitted diseases.' Why? How many five-year-olds are pregnant or infected with a sexually-transmitted disease?
The reality is that the Government is determined to abolish traditional morality and to assert its control over children of all ages, to the exclusion of parents. Childhood innocence - what remains of it - is to be extinguished. There is an almost satanic fanaticism about Government-sponsored social engineers' determination to corrupt the minds of children through premature sexualisation.
As teenage pregnancies and the incidence of sexually transmitted diseases relentlessly increase, the demand is for ever more 'education', when the figures show that it is the endless focusing on sexual matters that has caused the problem. Would the authorities fight gun crime by issuing pistols to children? Yet, the story says, 'Jim Knight, the Schools Minister, who has led the review, insisted exposure to sex education before puberty reduced teenage pregnancy rates.' What a buffoon.
And what a sewer this country has turned into, with 12-year-old girls being groomed for promiscuity by vaccination against the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) - the 'slag jag' - as parents and teachers make clear what their expectations of them are. The source of this epidemic of decadence is to be found in the Palace of Westminster. Last night the swarming pathogens on the green benches voted to legalise the creation of human/animal hybrids - already banned in 21 countries - as well as the production of 'saviour siblings' and IVF for lesbians, both voted on without the formality of a debate.
Labour would not even permit its MPs a free vote on matters that are overwhelmingly issues of conscience. This degenerate regime regards teenage virginity as an illness, human embryos as tadpoles and the most basic human decencies as politically incorrect. The legalisation of human/animal hybrid research makes Britain a rogue state in the eyes of the civilised world; the Government prefers to describe it as 'ground-breaking'. So was Auschwitz. [Christian Institute, Telegraph]
Action please: the 'pastoral care' given to vulnerable young homosexual Catholics by the Archdiocese of Westminster has apparantly been delegated to the 'Soho Masses Pastoral Council' who take them to a gay bar before Mass. Please protest to Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor and Cardinal Levada and others - see below.
The Soho Masses Pastoral Council (see our dossier on this group) recently announced that it is forming a younger people's group. A newsletter was given out at the Soho Mass, which said:-
"Soho Masses Younger People's Group invites you to their first gathering, 5th October, 13.30pm. Meeting in front of Thistle Hotel, Charing Cross Station; from there to the Retro Bar and ending up for the 1st Sunday 17.00pm Mass at Warwick Street. The group provides an opportunity to meet and socialise with other younger people part of, or visiting the Soho Masses. Further details - email@example.com"
An internet search shows that the "Retro Bar" in Charing Cross, mentioned in the SMPC leaflet, is listed as a "gay bar". The diocese states that the Masses run by this group are "part of the diocese of Westminster's pastoral provision for LGBT Catholics, parents and families", so it would appear that Westminster believes that it is good pastoral practice for young homosexual people to be taken to gay bars before going to Mass and receiving Holy Communion.
Complaints please, to
Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor (Email)
London, SW1P 1QJ).
Also to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith:-
His Eminence William Cardinal Levada,
Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith,
Piazza del S. Uffizio, 11,
00120 Vatican City State,
Also to the Pontifical Council for the Family:
President of the Pontifical Council for the Family
Piazza S. Calisto, 16
00120 Vatican City State, Europe
Phone: 011 39 06 6988 7322 Fax: 011 39 06 6988 7214
Secretary: Most Rev. Archbishop Josef Clemens pcpl @ laity.va
Also the Congregation for Divine Worship
Prefect of the Congregation for Worship and Sacraments
Palazzo delle Congregazione Piazza Pio XII, 10
00120 Vatican City State, Europe
Phone: 011 39 06 6988 4316 Fax: 011 39 06 6988 3499
Secretary: Most Rev. Archbishop Domenico Sorrentino
Monday, October 27, 2008
From CFNews A leading UK adult stem cell scientist has left his post at Newcastle University and is heading to France, alleging UK universities and funding agencies continually prioritize embryonic stem cell research over his work - despite the superior clinical success of adult stem cells.
Colin McGuckin, professor of regenerative medicine at Newcastle University, told Times Higher Education that he had to put his patients and staff first. 'The bottom line is my vocation is to work with patients and help patients and unfortunately I can't do that in the UK.' He said France offered a 'much better environment' both to 'cure and treat more people' and to 'do good work'.
The Catholic professor's research on umbilical cord blood and adult stem cells at Newcastle has led him to conclude that the U.K. is fixated on embryonic stem cell research to the 'detriment' of adult stem cell research, and therefore is taking his research team of 10 to the University of Lyon because France sports a 'much more reasoned balance' between the two stem cell branches.
'(France) is very supportive of adult stem cells because they know that these are the things that are in the clinic right now and will be more likely in the clinic,' said McGuckin. 'A vast amount of money in the UK from the Government has gone into embryonic stem-cell research with not one patient having being treated, to the detriment of (research into) adult stem cells, which has been severely underfunded.'
'You would barely know that adult stem cells exist at Newcastle,' he added.
Addressing the specific barriers he faced while employed at the north-eastern university, McGuckin mentioned he had to turn down £1.8 million in funding because of insufficient laboratory space and more notably, he said that he was forced to decline a £10 million investment towards a company he was attempting initialize because the university's business development office 'could not get it together.'
Newcastle is finding it hard to keep top stem cell scientists, as McGuckin's forerunner Miodrag Stojkovic quit his post in favor of one in Spain in 2006.
Newcastle has released a statement saying they never received a £10 million offer but did try extensively to come to an agreement with McGuckin and are currently taking measures to increase the school's academic facilities.
McGuckin is not alone in criticizing the U.K.'s lack of attention to adult stem cell research. Anthony Hollander, a professor of rheumatology and tissue engineering at the University of Bristol reiterated McGuckin's concerns.
'We desperately need more funding for adult stem-cell research because with these cells we really can make a difference to patients' lives, and we can do it now, not in ten years' time as is promised for embryonic stem cells,' said Hollander.
In related news, last Friday, MP David Burrowes presented his Umbilical Cord Blood (Donation) Bill in second reading to the House of Commons, which if passed will, among other things, require the Secretary of State to promote the effectiveness of umbilical cord blood and encourage women to donate their babies' after-birth umbilical cord blood.
This bill stands in stark contrast to the just passed U.K. Labour government's Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill, which legalized the creation of cloned human/animal embryos for experimentation.
McGuckin commented on these recent controversial happenings: 'Cord blood has already cured around 10,000 people, but despite this much of the UK stem cell funding goes towards other types of stem cells including embryonic stem cells, which are not expected to cure people in the next 50 years. Value for public money demands that this is addressed and patients get what they need.'
Briefing: more research
From CFNews: Children from broken homes are almost five times as likely to suffer from emotional disorders as those whose parents stay together, new research shows.
The findings from the Office of National Statistics add to the mounting evidence of the damage caused by family breakdown, with experts warning things could get worse.
Family breakdown was far more significant than most 'household' factors such as financial circumstances, although having two unemployed parents was also a factor.
Children from so-called 'reconstituted' families containing step-parents and step-siblings were also more likely to suffer emotional problems.
Patricia Morgan, academic and expert on the subject of family breakdown, said: 'This does not come as a surprise, and things are going to get worse.
'Broken families and serial fathers produce homes full of conflict and chaos and they are terrible for children.'
Although the study did not differentiate between married and cohabiting families, another study released earlier this month showed that one in four children of cohabiting parents suffer family breakdown before they start school at the age of five.
This was compared with just one in ten children of married parents who experience a divorce or separation by the same stage.
One teacher speaking at the annual conference of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers in March warned that the children of 'so-called blended families' fell behind their peers from traditional families.
Phil Whalley said: 'The great sadness is that the consequences of an unstable family background are felt long into adult life.
'Those who under-achieve in their education are more likely to go on and live dysfunctional lives and be unable to support a stable family life for their own children.
'In short, as a society we are in danger of creating an expanding, perpetuating and toxic circle.' [Christian Institute]
Sunday, October 26, 2008
Briefing: good news. Kiddies' versions of the canon of the Mass reinforce the idea that liturgical prayer should be 'accessible' rather than 'sacred'. This theory, which is contrary to the entire liturgical tradition of the Church, has created the banality and tedium which is, among other things, driving young people out of the Church. Anything mysterious, poetic, or profound has been turned into mush - but now it seems the process is being put into reverse, assuming they don't just produce new ones as bad as the old - and that hardly seems likely. The new translations, when they appear, will be another big step forward.
From CFNews: Bishop Arthur Serratelli of Paterson, NJ., chairman of the US Bishops Committee on Divine Worship, has informed the US bishops that the Vatican will remove the Eucharistic Prayers for Children from the Roman Missal.
According to a CWN report Bishop Serratelli 'disclosed the Vatican plans in a letter to the American bishops. He reported that the Congregation for Divine worship, plans 'to publish a separate text at a later time'.
The Eucharistic Prayers for Children, like many other liturgical texts, have been criticised for failing to convey an adequate sense of the sacred in the liturgy. In recent years, the Vatican has made special efforts to recover that sense of the sacred, and to curtail the proliferation of liturgical texts in order to encourage consistency in the liturgy.
'This does not change our present practice', Bishop Serratelli wrote in his September 29 letter. The change will take effect at an unspecified future date. However, the US bishops committee has decided to suspend work on a new translation of the existing Eucharistic prayers for children. In light of the coming change, Bishop Serratelli said that he was removing that item from the agenda for the November meeting of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops'. [The Wanderer]
Saturday, October 25, 2008
Briefing. See here for the list of people, including representatives of 'faith groups', consulting with the Government on this - they include Oona Stanard of the Catholic Education Service.
are not suggesting that five and six-year-olds should be taught sex." Religious groups could produce guidance in addition to the state's guidance. The Christian Voice organisation said teaching young children about sex was wicked and would encourage promiscuity. [BBC, 23 October] The Catholic Education Service has announced that it will cooperate with the plan and hopes parents will not withdraw their children from lessons. SPUC has called the service's statement disingenuous after government advisers were welcomed by them in Catholic schools. SPUC's national
director writes: "The first task of everyone entrusted with the Gospel of
life is, surely, to oppose government plans to promote and to entrench the
abortion culture amongst young people of all faiths and none[.]" [John
Smeaton, 23 October]
Friday, October 24, 2008
Action: the Boys Scouts movement is no place for Catholics. Any readers with links to the Scouts should protest, and withdraw from it if they refuse to change their policy.
From Christian Voice: The Scout Association was today accused by a Christian group of harming the children in its care by grooming them for sex.
Boys and girls barely out of their cub scout units could be referred under the guidance to sex clinics where they would be given condoms. Simon Carter, head of media at the Scouts, refused to give Christian Voice a lower age limit for the children who could be so advised. In a statement, Chief Scout Peter Duncan said: 'We must realistic and accept that around one-third of young people are sexually active before 16.'
Incredibly, the Scouting Association expects scout leaders to take time out from their traditional activities to research the contact details of local contraceptive services and sexual health (VD or STD) clinics. Scout leaders are advised to meet up with Government teen sex activists and to know where scouts and their girlfriends can find supplies of the abortifacient morning-after pill and pregnancy testing.
'If asked,' it says, 'you should try to provide details of local emergency contraception provision, which you can obtain from the local Teenage Pregnancy Coordinator.'
The factsheet 'Promoting good sexual health within Scouting' even suggests taking a unit of Explorer Scouts (aged 14-18) down to the local Venereal Disease clinic. There is 'no need' to seek written parental consent, it says, blithely, advising leaders simply to tell the Scouts' parents or carers that it is going to happen.
In a reference to the Fraser Guidelines, the guidance says 'an adult in Scouting may give advice without the parents' knowledge and consent' if 'the adult cannot persuade the young person to inform his or her parents.' Then in a Q&A section, which clearly betrays the fear of the Scouting HQ that Scout leaders will be less than happy with the guidance, the guidance says 'many young people will want to talk to someone who is not their teacher or parent. Sometimes an adult in Scouting will be the easiest person to approach.'
Church-based scout groups are told not to let their faith get in the way of sending children to anti-Christian agencies such at the fpa and Brook Advisory for information. 'Religion,' the Scouting Association Fact Sheet says, 'should not be a barrier to providing appropriate advice'. Scout leaders may also ride roughshod over the children's religious beliefs, including those of Christians and the Muslim girls featured heavily on the Scout website. While lip service is paid to 'respect' for 'everyone's religion and cultural beliefs', 'all young people are entitled to appropriate advice and information,' it says.
A web-page on the scouting web-site (www.scouts.org.uk/shis ) shows that part of that 'appropriate advice and information' is where to get an abortion, with weblinks to both Marie Stopes and British Pregnancy Advisory Service, the 'big two' abortion providers in Great Britain. Links are also given to the Terrene Higgins Trust, which promotes homosexuality, and to websites claiming that condoms protect against all sexually-transmitted diseases funded either by the Government or contraceptive providers.
Stephen Green, National Director of Christian Voice, said today:
'We have sadly grown used to schools corrupting children behind their parents' backs, but now scout leaders are coming under pressure to do it as well. While Peter Duncan throws up his hands despairingly about the one-third of children he claims are sexually active, he is doing nothing to support the two-thirds who aren't.
'The Scouts have traditionally emphasised good works and the health benefits of an outdoor life. By encouraging premature sex, they are putting all of that at risk.
'Scout leaders should be teaching boys the virtues of chastity and chivalry, emphasising self-control and self-respect, showing them the value of caring for themselves and for others and of having respect for young women. Girls in the Scouts need to hear about the virtue of modesty and the value of their virginity.
'Instead, Scout leaders are going to send boys along to sex clinics and shove their pregnant girlfriends into the grasping clutches of abortionists. By promoting the condom culture, they will make it inevitable that the current rates of teenage pregnancy, abortion, sexual-transmitted disease and consequent infertility amongst the young will increase. On top of that, they are preparing boys for sexual advances from predatory homosexuals including some who may be drawn to positions in the scout movement itself. Their advice falls little short of grooming children for sex. "Be prepared" never included that.
'Ironically, the Scout Movement may well do what its Child Protection Policy specifically rules against, by exposing the young people in its care to all the physical, sexual and emotional harm associated with illicit sexual activity. Such harm can range from feelings of inadequacy that he or she is not sexually active to pregnancy, the emotional scars of abortion, and the contracting of sexually-transmitted diseases, chronic conditions such as genital warts and those which result in infertility which condoms are powerless to prevent.
'Young people deserve better than this bleak assumption that they are no better than farmyard animals. The Scouting hierarchy appear to have stumbled on the challenge of the teenage sex problem, and like rabbits caught in the headlights, the only people they thought of approaching were those in the teen sex industry who have a vested interest in keeping young people sexually active. They should have spoken to pro-life and pro-family groups as well. But their inexperience in this field does not excuse them. A word from the Lord about millstones around necks comes to mind. They should revise their advice drastically. In the meantime, Christians involved in scouting, churches associated with scout groups and parents should make very clear their complete opposition to these disgraceful developments.'
Last year the Girl Guides started a similar programme called 'Get Wise' to teach about 'sexual health'. The programme appears to have sunk into embarrassed obscurity, but the organisation's website has a page called 'fit for life' which promotes new age treatments such as aromatherapy, colour therapy (whatever that might be) and yoga. [The page has been removed, but here's Google's cached version.] Unlike the Scouts, there are no links to abortionists, although there is one weblink to the fpa and another to a Government url astonishingly called www.playingsafely.co.uk', as if sex is just an adolescent recreational activity. The link is redirected straight to a suggestive NHS website called condomessentialwear.co.uk.
The Scouting Association advice comes as figures show the number of sex offenders is on the increase.
Thursday, October 23, 2008
Comment: good news that abortion will not be extended to Northern Ireland by this bill, but very bad news that hybrid embryos will be created in the UK.
The government succeeded in scheduling discussion of amendments so that
there was not enough time to discuss abortion-related issues, including
the extension of British abortion law to Northern Ireland. Mr Jeffrey
Donaldson MP MLA said that issue should be decided upon by the province's
legislative assembly. [BBC, 22 October] Mrs Betty Gibson, chairwoman of
SPUC Northern Ireland, said: "The leaders of the four major parties in
Northern Ireland wrote to every MP opposing the extension of the Act and
many members of the Assembly made it clear that they would not implement
the law if it was imposed. In the face of such opposition the prime
minister has realised that, if pro-abortion MPs outside Northern Ireland
ignored the Assembly, it would have created a constitutional dilemma which
he would have had to deal with." [SPUC, 22 October]
MPs and others wrote to The Times newspaper to express their concern that
the extension of British abortion law to Northern Ireland might not be
debated. Ms Diane Abbott and others complained that current law
discriminates against poorer women. [Times, 22 October] People from
Northern Ireland yesterday delivered a petition, opposing the extension of
British abortion law, at 10 Downing Street, the prime minister's official
home in London. The petition was coordinated by Ms Bernadette Smyth who
organised a rally on the matter in Belfast on Saturday. [BBC, 22 October]
Comment: the level of argumentation here is unfortunately typical of the militant atheist gang: 'There's probably no God' is not an argument but a prejudice. Educated Catholics should not only have faith in the existence of God but know it as a fact provable from nature: God is the best, indeed the only, explanation, of the order and beauty of the Universe, the history of the Church and the holiness of the saints. To avoid this conclusion people like Dawkins apparently just refuse to consider the evidence. Certainly his absurd 'The God Delusion' book does so.
The British Humanist Association's success in raising money for this stunt is a sign of the times.
From the BBC, in part: Bendy-buses with the slogan "There's probably no God" could soon be running on the streets of London. The atheist posters are the idea of the British Humanist Association (BHA) and have been supported by prominent atheist Professor Richard Dawkins. The BHA planned only to raise £5,500, which was to be matched by Professor Dawkins, but it has now raised more than £36,000 of its own accord. It aims to have two sets of 30 buses carrying the signs for four weeks.
The complete slogan reads: "There's probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life."
As the campaign has raised more than anticipated, it will also have posters on the inside of buses as well. The BHA is also considering extending the campaign to cities including Birmingham, Manchester and Edinburgh. Professor Dawkins said: "Religion is accustomed to getting a free ride - automatic tax breaks, unearned respect and the right not to be offended, the right to brainwash children."
Read the full story here.
Catholic teaching on faith and reason is expressed pithily in Pius X's 'Oath Against Modernism':
I profess that God, the origin and end of all things, can be known with certainty by the natural light of reason from the created world (see Rom. 1:90), that is, from the visible works of creation, as a cause from its effects, and that, therefore, his existence can also be demonstrated: Secondly, I accept and acknowledge the external proofs of revelation, that is, divine acts and especially miracles and prophecies as the surest signs of the divine origin of the Christian religion and I hold that these same proofs are well adapted to the understanding of all eras and all men, even of this time.
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Action: please join the protest. It is unfortunately typical of the 'Justice and Peace' brigade to take no interest in justice and peace for the unborn.
From CFNews: Eric Hester < firstname.lastname@example.org > emails : ''This coming week the Westminster Archdiocese Justice and Peace Commission Annual Day will take place on 25th October 2008 at St John Fisher Church in North Harrow. A main speaker is Jon Cruddas, who is described as 'a Catholic and MP for Barking and Dagenham'. According to evidence from the websites of both Alive and Kicking and The Christian Institute, in May this year Mr Crudas voted against even the least reduction in abortion. Three days before the Justice and Peace Day, on 22nd October, there will be the debates in the House of Commons to make abortion even easier. If Mr Crudas does not vote against these amendments, but merely abstains, or (heaven forbid) votes for easier abortion then he will obviously be a most unsuitable person to address and Catholic group let alone one that mentions the word 'Justice'. I have written to the Cardinal to say that if Mr Cruddas does not oppose easier abortion on Wednesday, then he must not be allowed to speak. Others might want to contact the Cardinal (His Eminence Cardinal Murphy O'Connor, Archbishop's House, Ambrosden Avenue, London SW1P 1QJ), or Barbara Kentish (given as contact) Telephone: 020 8888 5518 email email@example.com'
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Victory! Thanks to complaints, and the action (presumably) of Bishop Hollis and the web editor Rose Marr, the three dissident 'Catholic' homosexual groups we discuss below have been excluded from a revised version of the list. It still has a number of secular organisations which oppose the Church's teaching: the Samaritans, Age Concern, etc., and the Sexual Health Line. It is wrong for these groups to be endorsed by a Catholic bishop, but at least those using these groups won't be expecting a specifically Catholic approach.
Worse is the continuing inclusion of 'Marriage Care', which, despite being listed in the national Catholic Directory 2008, has no respect for Catholic teaching on marriage and promotes sex education. We have been campaigning to remove this from the Catholic Directory here.
You can download the revised list here.
Original post (13/07/08)
Action: complaints, please, to Bishop Crispian (email), the editor of this part of their website (email), and copies to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (contact details). Previous complaints to the web editor, Rose Marr, elicited the response that the Bishop has approved the list.
The website of the Diocese of Portsmouth includes a downloadable Word document claiming to list organisations 'supporting the family'. This includes several good Catholic organisations, some dubious secular ones (the Samaritans, for example, support abortion; Age Concern promotes the homosexual agenda), the formerly Catholic Marriage Care (see our dossier), which supports gay marriage and sex education, and three self-styled Catholic groups which campaign against Catholic teaching about homosexuality: Quest (see our dossier), the Roman Catholic Caucus of the Gay and Lesbian Christian Movement (see our dossier), and Catholics for Aids Prevention and Support (aka Positive Catholics), which is an off-shoot of the RCCGLCM, run by its leading figure, Martin Pendergast.
The parent organisation of the RCCGLCM, the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement, call the Pope a 'homophobe' (the picture on the right is from their conference), and Pendergast read out a conference statement attacking the Catholic bishops of England and Wales for opposing the Sexual Orientation Regulations. Quest publicly campaigns against the Church's discipline on homosexuals in seminaries, and sought to undermine the bishops stand against the sexual orientation regulation, criticising Archbishop Vincent Nichols. For the full details see our dossiers.
There are more very dubious groups on this list but complaints should focus on these last three groups, since they explicitly claim to be Catholic and explicitly dissent from Church teaching. None of them accept the Church's teaching that homosexuality is intrinsically disordered and that heterosexual marriage is based on a 'complementarity' between the sexes which is lacking in homosexual relationships: the constant teaching of the Church reiterated in the Catechism of the Catholic Church:
2357 Homosexuality refers to relations between men or between women who experience an exclusive or predominant sexual attraction toward persons of the same sex. ... Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity, tradition has always declared that "homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered." They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.
It is a grave scandal that these groups are being put forward as supporters of the family when they deny the Church's teaching on sexuality, whereas a genuinely Catholic homosexual support group, the Encourage Trust, is excluded from the list. There is no possible justification for the endorsement of the Diocese of Portsmouth for these groups, and none of the three is included in the national Catholic Directory (Quest was thrown out of it by Cardinal Hume); on the contrary the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, 'The Pastoral Care of the Homosexual Person', 1986 says:(See here for the full text.) 17: 'All support should be withdrawn from any organisations which seek to undermine the teaching of the Church, which are ambiguous about it, or which neglect it entirely.'
Here is the list in case they remove it from the site (information about other groups here would be gratefully received):
Tel: 0800 009 966
Alanon & Alateen Helpline (10am-10pm)
Tel: 020 7403 0888
Anti-Bullying Campaign Helpline for Parents
Tel: 020 7378 1446
Association of Interchurch Families
Paul and Lucy Docherty
Tel: 01329 233602
Association of Separated and Divorced Catholics
National Enquiry Line Tel: 0113 264 0638
(support for those who have lost a spouse through death, separation or divorce)
Called to be One: a national pastoral and mutual support network for Catholic parents of Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual People
Sue/Paul Tel: 01642 465020
Care for the Family (promotes family life and helps those hurting because of family breakdown)
Garth House, Cardiff, CF15 7RG
Tel: 029 2081 0800
Carers in the Community
(for those caring for people with mental illness)
Tel: 01642 818332
Tel: 020 7901 4875
Catholic Association for Racial Justice
Tel: 020 8802 8080
Catholic Blind Services
Tel: 0121 441 5577
Catholic Children’s Society
(professional care of children requiring family placement)
Tel: 020 8668 2181
Reading Office Tel: 0118 987 5121
Winchester Office Adoption Tel: 01962 842024
Foster Care Tel: 01962 854652/01962 842024
Catholic Deaf Association
Voice Tel: 0161 834 8828
Fax: 0161 833 3674
CFH – The Caring Fellowship
Chairman: Jim Sharpe Tel: 01753 863283
Secretary: Paula Medd Tel: 023 92 369183
Catholics for Aids Prevention and Support
Tel: 020 8986 0807
Catholic Office for the Protection of Children and Vulnerable Adults (COPCA)
Tel: 0121 233 1963
Fax: 0121 236 3379
Catholic Women’s League
Branch President: Stella Adams Tel: 023 92 467394
Branch Liaison Officer: Dinah McLaughlin Tel: 01962 627494
Child Death Helpline
Tel: 0800 282986
Childline (for children in frightening situations)
Tel: 0800 1111
Compassionate Friends Helpline
Tel: 0845 123 2304
Tel: 0870 167 1677
Tel: 020 7247 8776
Fax: 020 7247 8765
Domestic Violence Helpline
Tel: 0808 2000 247
Drinkline (9am-11pm Monday to Friday)
Tel: 0800 917 8282
Tel: 0800 776600
Faith and Light
(an international Christian Association of people with learning difficulties, their families and friends, founded by Jean Vanier)
John Williams Tel: 023 80 260061
(Natural family planning & access to local teaching services)
FFLAG (Family and Friends of Lesbians and Gays)
Helpline Tel: 0845 652 0311
Gamblers Anonymous Helpline
Tel: 020 7384 3040
Get Connected – a referral service for young people
Tel: 0808 808 4994
Gingerbread Advice Line
Tel: 0800 018 4318
Immigration Advisory Service
Tel: 020 7967 1200
Life Fertility Care Programme
(provides supportive Natural Infertility Treatment and Natural Fertility Management)
Life Pregnancy Care Service
The National Hotline: Tel: 01926 421587
www.lifeuk.org (main website)
www.preghelp.org (pregnancy help)
Lone Parents Helpline
Tel: 0800 018 5026 (9am-5pm Monday to Friday)
(Wednesday now open to 8pm)
National Helpline: Tel: 0845 660 6000
(lines open 10am-4pm Monday to Friday local rate)
Bournemouth 0800 389 3801 01202 672788
Newbury 0118 946 2529 -
North East Hants 0800 389 3801 01252 677176
Oxford 01865 742019 01491 873193
Portsmouth 0800 389 3801 023 92 263191
Reading 0118 946 2529 -
Southampton 0800 389 3801 01962 882636
National Association of Ovulation Method Instructors (NAOMI)
National Board of Catholic Women
Tel: 023 92 610026
Tel: 0808 808 4000
National Missing Persons Helpline
Tel: 0500 700700
NSPCC (anyone concerned about a child at risk)
Tel: 0808 800 5000
PACT Prison Advice and Care Trust
Tel: 020 7490 3139
Parentline Plus Helpline
Tel: 0808 800 2222
Family Caring Trust
Tel: 028 3026 4174
Positive Parenting Publications
Tel: 023 92 528787
Quest Linkline for gay and lesbian Catholics and their families
Tel: 0808 808 0234
Rainbows (for children affected by loss)
National Office Tel: 01582 724106
Rethink (to help everyone affected by mental illness to recover a better quality of life)
Tel: 020 89 746814
Retrouvaille (for those whose marriages are in difficulties)
Tel: 08000 327858
Roman Catholic Caucus: Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement
Tel: 020 8986 0807
Tel: 08457 909090
Sands: Still birth
Tel: 020 7436 5881
Tel: 0845 767 8000
Sexual Health and National Aids
Tel: 0800 567 123
SOBS: Bereaved by Suicide
Helpline Tel: 0870 241 3337
Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC)
Tel: 020 7222 5845
Society of St. Vincent de Paul
Tel: 01202 418354
Teams of Our Lady
(married couples growing spiritually and as a community)
Chris and Frankie Lane
Tel: 01329 310785
The Portsmouth Diocesan Tribunal
The tribunal seeks to assist, within canon law, those whose marriages have broken down and are seeking to establish whether they are able to marry in the Catholic Church
Tel: 01252 878789
Fax: 01252 871120
Union of Catholic Mothers
Diocesan President: Maureen Meatcher
Tel: 0118 979 0359
Worldwide Marriage and Engaged Encounter
Portsmouth Diocesan contacts: Chris and Mary Farrall
Tel: 01962 620289 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Eastern Region Co-ordinators: Tony and Pam Darroch
Tel: 0118 981 1105 Email: email@example.com
Young Minds Parents Information Service
Tel: 0800 018 2138
Please advise us if any changes or additions are
needed to update this information
Department for Pastoral Formation: 01329 835583
From the Christian Institute: John Humphrys has attacked the Bible's four Gospels on the BBC quiz show Mastermind, saying they are unreliable accounts of the life of Jesus. Contestant Kathryn Price, a Christian, appeared on the show which was broadcast on Friday 10 October at 8pm. Her specialist subject was the Gospels of the New Testament. Before the general knowledge round of questions, Humphrys launched into an assault on the reliability of the Gospels.
'Now, the Gospels, a tricky subject in a way,' he said, 'because if you want to find out about the life of Jesus and you read all four gospels you'll get different versions won't you. Which are we meant to believe?' He then went on to say - wrongly - that none of the Gospels were eyewitness accounts. When Mrs Price defended Luke as a thorough historian who said he had investigated Jesus' life very carefully, Humphrys replied, 'but he would say that, wouldn't he?'
Mike Judge of The Christian Institute said, 'it is inconceivable that a Muslim contestant answering questions on the Koran would be treated in the same way.
'Can you imagine the BBC allowing John Humphrys to ridicule Muslims saying, 'the Koran is a tricky subject because there are up to 20 different versions'?'
This is the latest in a series of controversies involving the BBC's bias against the Christian faith.
Last week the BBC exposed itself to criticism for its treatment of Christian characters after EastEnders' Dot Cotton was ridiculed for objecting to a gay kiss.
Last month a Christian best-selling author said he was blacklisted by the BBC. G P Taylor says a BBC producer told him the publicly-funded broadcaster could not be 'seen to be promoting Jesus'.
In 2006 executives at the BBC admitted that they would consider broadcasting a scene where the Bible was thrown away but they would never do the same with the Koran.
In the same year the Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, said that Christians took 'more knocks' in BBC programmes than other faiths.
Dr Sentamu said: 'They can do to us what they dare not do to the Muslims. We are fair game because they can get away with it.' [Christian Institute]
Monday, October 20, 2008
Update: Blair will not speak at the conference.
A spokesman for the organisers of the Catholic youth conference in Rome have told LifeSiteNews.com that although former U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair was invited to deliver the keynote address at the conference, he ultimately declined to attend.
Conference organisers confirmed that Blair had been invited to deliver the address by conference organizers, despite his position as one of the 'principal architects' of what the late Pope John Paul II called the world-wide 'culture of death.'
The spokesman told LifeSiteNews.com that Mr. Blair had been considered as a speaker for the conference, that has as its theme the teachings of John Paul II, because he is the founder of the Tony Blair Faith Foundation, and because he has spoken on 'globalisation and faith' at Yale University. The spokesman said that this would have made him an 'interesting' speaker. Blair's non-appearance at the conference was not the decision of conference organisers but of Mr. Blair himself.
The spokesman would say only that conference organisers were 'happy with the decision' made by Mr. Blair not to appear.
Action (16/10/08): complaints, please, to the organisers of this event:
Youth Meeting in Rome,
Ul. Foksal 11,
They tell us: We would like to invite you to Rome to a meeting of professionally and socially active young people, those who are not afraid to discuss the challenges and problems of modern life and who would like to find solutions in the spirit of Pope John Paul II’s call to ‘build a civilisation of love’. We welcome young people between the ages of 25- 35 to participate in the meeting and in particular the peers of the pontificate of Pope John Paul II, those who are celebrating their 30th birthday this year.
And yet they are inviting the most anti-Catholic Prime Minister this country has had in modern times, a man committed to the legality of abortion, who persecuted the Church to such an extent that Catholic schools are no longer recognisable as such, Catholic adoption agencies are being closed down, and Catholic charities face re-writing their charitable 'objects' in a purely secular way. Tony Blair is the worst possible person to address Catholic young professionals on the application of Pope John-Paul II's teaching.
Hat-tip to John Smeaton, who gives more commentary.
It is interesting to see that the image the organisers have chosen for the conference appears to show the Catholic Church going down the tube.
From CFNews: A Catholic adoption agency has suffered a severe blow in its battle to stay within the control of the Church. The Catholic Children's Society of the Archdiocese of Westminster, whose president is Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, wanted to change its charitable objects so it could be exempt from new gay rights laws.
It applied to the Charity Commission in the hope that it would not have to assess gay and lesbian couples as adopters and foster parents, a practice described by Pope Benedict XVI as 'gravely immoral'. But commissioners have informed the trustees of the agency that their application has been unsuccessful. Jim Richards, the agency director, said: 'We have got an answer and the answer is 'no'. They have turned down the request. We will now have to consider our next step based on that decision. It is quite a lengthy letter and we want our solicitors to look at it before we decide what to do. It is a decision for our trustees.
'We don't want to rush things, we have to proceed with due deliberation. There are still avenues to explore and objective decisions to be made. We will have to look at all this in the clear light of day.' He added: 'Underlining all this, of course, is our wish to continue as a Catholic agency within the diocese carrying out the teaching of the Church. That is the wish of the trustees.'
Mr Richards said the letter was with Church solicitors and would not discuss its contents further.
He said that agency trustees will meet this week to consider lodging an appeal.
The agency has just under three months to decide whether to either close, comply with the law and leave the control of the Church, or to defy the Government and test the law in the courts.
Five of the 11 Catholic adoption agencies, which together find new homes for 250 children a year, have broken ties with the bishops after trustees caved in to pressure to comply with the regulations ahead of the New Year's Day deadline set by Tony Blair last year.
Another agency has pulled out of adoption altogether while two others have yet to announce their intentions.
Like Westminster, the adoption agencies of Birmingham and Leeds also wanted to continue their policies of placing children only with married heterosexuals and single people and they too have applied to the Charity Commission to change their objects. Trustees of the three agencies knew that their positions could be challenged in the courts but were willing to test the law. The agencies were advised by lawyers that they first needed to amend their constitution so that they could comply with the legislation brought in under the 2006 Equality Act.
They hoped to satisfy Regulation 18 of the SORs which allows limited discrimination in 'pursuance of a charitable instrument' or if 'the restrictions of benefits to persons of that sexual orientation is imposed by reason of, or on the grounds of, the provisions of a charitable instrument'.
At present, the constitution simply refers to helping couples who wish to adopt, and the society sought to protect itself by amending its constitution to refer directly to married heterosexual couples.
Neil Addison, a barrister and author of Religious Discrimination and Hatred Law, said that the agencies could still get their way if they tried to change their objects to state explicitly that they were Catholic institutions instead of vaguely asserting that they would only deal with married couples.
He said they needed to 'take a different route and state in their objects that they must act in accordance with the teachings of the Catholic Church and that would provide them with the legal protection they need and protection under religious discrimination law also'.
The decision by the charity commissioners, however, will represent a huge blow to London's Catholics, who raise thousands of pounds each year for the society. In 2001 the comedian Frank Skinner donated £125,000 he won on ITV's Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?
The Westminster CCS is the oldest Catholic adoption agency in the country and was founded by Bishop Richard Challoner in 1764 when penal laws made it technically illegal to be a Catholic in Britain.
Today it supports some 3,000 children, young people and their families each year through a network of family centres and nurseries, and its fostering, adoption, counselling and child protection services, as well as working with travellers and families on low incomes.
Each year the society finds new families for about 15 'hard-to-place' children with severe emotional or behavioural problems, or who are disabled - and it is this service that is at risk from the regulations.
The agencies act by finding couples and individuals willing to adopt and preparing them to meet legal and local authority criteria for adoption. They are then matched with children put up for adoption by social workers.
As Prime Minister, Mr Blair pushed through laws designed to encourage greater use of adoption in 2002, and as part of the reforms gay couples were allowed to adopt for the first time.
The SORs have created civil laws that give homosexuals the power to sue individuals or institutions for alleged discrimination.
Dr Thomas Ward, President of the National Association of Catholic Families, comments: 'Irrespective of this wicked law these hundreds of vulnerable Catholic children remain the moral responsibility of the Catholic Bishops. Are they now going submit to the law or protect our children? [Catholic Herald, CF News]
From LifeSiteNews: Public homosexual activity in parks and public bathrooms must not be impeded by law enforcement officials except as a last resort, says a new set of draft guidelines for UK police.
Deputy Chief Constable Michael Cunningham of Lancashire Police, who drew up the 21-page report, titled 'Guidance on Policing Public Sex Environments', wrote, 'In any event it is not for the police to take the role of moral arbiter.' Rather than arresting those who have sex in public, the police should instead guard the 'human rights of those people who frequent open spaces' to seek anonymous copulation partners, an activity known as 'cruising.'
'The police role is to ensure that any complaints are dealt with fairly and professionally and that where individuals are engaged in lawful activity they may do so safely,' said the report. Mr. Cunningham is the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) spokesman on homosexual issues.
The constable encouraged police to study sex websites for insight into the whereabouts of homosexual sex hot spots. Such websites show, among pornographic advertisements, dozens of public haunts for homosexual men seeking anonymous sex - among the most notorious being Dartford Heath, where public sex has been said to have spiraled 'out of control.'
The report complained that previous activity on the part of police officers to stop public sex has alienated the gay community. The report blames law enforcement for leading to homosexual 'self-harm,' citing the fact that some homosexuals have attempted suicide who 'may have been arrested, charged or come into contact with the police in such a situation.'
'The impact of enforcement can also be severe and rarely resolves the community problems associated with the existence of a public sex environment,' wrote Cunningham.
'This impact can be extreme and can include humiliation, breakdown of relationships and the 'outing' of men living in an opposite sex relationship being perceived as 'gay.''
The ACPO already enforces guidelines for police officers handling the public indecency claims against homosexual cruising, which emphasize 'the value of building trust with local LGBT communities' to ensure that action against homosexual activity be 'fair, necessary, and legitimate.' The guidelines were authored by the ACPO Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Working Group in 2000 to provide 'a comprehensive LGBT policing strategy centered around anti-homophobia.'
Cunningham's report will now be submitted for approval by a committee of senior police officers before it is put in place across England and Wales. [LifeSiteNews]
Sunday, October 19, 2008
From LifeSiteNews: Vladimir Spidla, the Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities, has backed away from suggestions that EU member states will be coerced to recognise same-sex partnerings. In an interview for Destination Equality magazine, Spidla said that it is up to individual member states to decide whether to legally recognise same-sex partnerships.
Speaking of the EU's new 'anti-discrimination' directive, Spidla said, 'Within European legislation we have gone as far as we can go. If a state accepts the equality of these relationships then that state cannot discriminate. And there are already some infringement procedures against some states on this matter.
'However, whether the state accepts these unions or not is a basic national competence. And we don't interfere with that. I think that we found the best possible balance in the proposal of the directive.'
He continued, 'These are national competences over things that are very sensitive and which are not the subject of European legislation so we preserve them in that way and I think that at this moment there is the best possible balance.'
When asked whether same-sex partners recognised legally in one country could lose their status when moving to a country that does not, Spidla responded that his 'goal and my political aim is equal protection against discrimination on all grounds throughout the whole EU.
'And of course when it comes to transferability of social entitlements I am also trying to ensure that transferability is as universal as possible. That is my approach.'
But Spidla's assertion that states can opt out of the 'gay rights' and 'anti-discrimination' policies, flies in the face of much recent history at the European Union's various rights bodies. His own recent work shows no sign of letting up on pressuring member states to accept same-sex unions as the equivalent of natural marriage.
In February this year, Spidla initiated legal proceedings against Germany and 11 other member states for failing to implement the EU's directives on 'anti-discrimination' issues. Spidla's 'letter of formal notice' to Germany, Latvia and Lithuania complained that Germany's same-sex civil union registration does not sufficiently match the rights granted couples in natural marriages.
In addition, the commissioner singled out Estonia, France, Finland, Greece, Hungary, Republic of Ireland, Italy, Malta, the Netherlands, Sweden, and the Czech Republic in a memo that set out in detail the transgressions of each country on 'discrimination' laws and warned that a 'reasoned opinion or letter of formal notice' would be sent to each.
Earlier this month, British Liberal Democrat MEP Sharon Bowles put forward a declaration that demands that all member states recognise the same-sex 'marriages' and civil partnerships of all other member states, as part of the freedom of movement provisions of the EU.
The declaration followed a speech by the policy director of the most prominent of the EU's homosexualist lobbies. Christine Loudes, of the European branch of the International Lesbian and Gay Association (ILGA-Europe) told the European Parliament's Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs on Fundamental Rights in the EU that recognition of civil same-sex partnerings is one of the issues of 'freedom of movement and mutual recognition of LGBT families relationships in the EU.' Bowles admitted in August that she had drafted the declaration 'with the participation of the International Lesbian and Gay Association (ILGA) Europe.'
In August this year, the Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA) of the European Union called for binding EU regulations that would equalize the legal status of couples in natural marriages with that of same-sex partners across Europe. The 165-page report said that EU law should force member states, in which there is no registered-partnership or 'gay marriage' legislation, to treat people in these arrangements as married couples. It also recommended policies aimed at 'promoting visibility of homosexuality and other gender identities' and criminalizing homophobia through 'hate crime' legislation. [LifeSiteNews]
Saturday, October 18, 2008
From LifeSiteNews, via CFNews: An adoption agency in Lancaster has decided that there is no need for recourse either to Catholic teaching or to the approval of its bishop to continue calling itself Catholic. Catholic Caring Services of Lancaster has told their bishop that they will go ahead with plans to include homosexual partners as prospective adoptive parents and at the same time continue to retain their 'Catholic' character.
Jim Cullen, chief executive of Catholic Caring Services announced that the registered religious charity will consider homosexual partners and at the same time, 'will remain a Catholic charity, operating the same services, with the same staff, same values and same ethos.' 'We are confident,' he said, 'that this course of action is the only transparent and certain way to preserve our services for some of society's most vulnerable children and adults.' In a media release, the charity said it 'always has been compliant with the law and is confident that compliance with the new equality legislation will not compromise its determination and moral responsibility to retain as paramount the best interests of the child.'
The agency went on to say that its decision had been reached after two years of 'consultation and dialogue, particularly' with Bishop O'Donohue.
The dialogue appears to have been one-sided, however. This summer, the trustees of Catholic Caring Services voted 6-1 to reject a suggestion by Bishop O'Donohue to have the agency reflect a completely Catholic orientation. The trustees approved an 'open policy' under which it will accept homosexual and lesbian partnerships for consideration. The bishop responded that the agency, funded by the diocese, could not allow children to be adopted by homosexual partners and retain the name 'Catholic.'
'I find it unthinkable, indeed heart-breaking, that Catholic Caring Services, so linked to the Catholic Church since its inception, would abandon its position and capitulate to recent same-sex adoption legislation,' wrote Bishop O'Donohue in a letter to trustees.
Bishop O'Donohue issued an ultimatum to the agency saying it must explore 'all possible means' within the law to refuse homosexual adoptions or possibly be ousted from diocesan-owned properties and have its diocesan funding cut off.
In his letter, Bishop O'Donohue wrote, 'Catholic Caring Services is a Catholic Charity and was established with Catholic money provided to it in the belief that Catholic Caring Services Trustees would use that money in accordance with Catholic teaching.' Bishop O'Donohue also warned the agency that they would come into conflict with the government's Charity Commission if they tried unilaterally to redefine themselves as a secular agency.
The agency, however, would admit only that the SORs 'would appear to some to challenge the Church's views on marriage,' and asserted, 'At no time has any judgement been made that was not confidently based upon the child's best interests.'
Fr. Timothy Finigan, a theology professor at one of England's major seminaries, said the Sexual Orientation Regulations are impossible to reconcile to a Catholic ethos. 'It doesn't just 'appear to some', it clearly does, flatly, contradict the teaching of the Church about marriage,' Fr. Finigan told LifeSiteNews.com.
Fr. Finigan refuted the agency's claim that they could carry on being a Catholic institution while offering children to homosexual partners. 'Clearly the whole of the charity's ethos has been sacrificed if they intend to go along with this unjust legislation.'
'The church decides who is a Catholic charity and who isn't. And Bishop O'Donohue has made it clear that they will not be a Catholic charity if they go along with the SORs,' he said.
Fr. Finigan's opinion is supported by a document from the Vatican's highest doctrinal office that said that, far from being in the child's best interests, giving children to active homosexual persons for adoption constitutes an act of 'violence' to the child.
A 2003 statement from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, then under the leadership of Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict XVI), said that homosexual adoptions 'mean doing violence to these children, in the sense that their condition of dependency would be used to place them in an environment that is not conducive to their full human development.'
Among those to whom the new legislation would 'appear' to contradict Catholic teaching are the Catholic bishops of England and Wales, who attempted unsuccessfully to gain a legal exemption from the SORs for Catholic adoption agencies from the Labour government. But Tony Blair's government offered only a 'compromise' in which Catholic agencies had two years to comply or close. [LifeSiteNews]
Briefing: interesting new research from France.
From CFNews: Television channels aimed at pre-school children are damaging their development, researchers have claimed. Ofcom, the British TV regulator, has asked its counterpart in France to send research on the issue after that country took tough new measures to protect the young.
Across the Channel there hfas been alarm that parents are using dedicated channels such as BabyTV, which air all day and night, as a form of baby-sitting. French researchers found that watching television impacted on the development of children under three. Their study showed it delayed language learning, encouraged passivity, reduced concentration, increased agitation and caused sleep disorders.
From November TV channels in France will be banned from promoting the proclaimed 'educational benefits' on shows at aimed at under-threes.
It has also forced dedicated channels and programmes for this age group to issue a warning before they start. It states: 'Watching television can slow the development of children under three, even when it is aimed specifically at them.'
Now the Counseil Superior Audiovisuel has passed on its concerns to Ofcom.
Parenting groups here believe the regulator could use the French findings to force a similar clampdown on the UK TV industry.
In France the moves have been seen as an attack on foreign-run channels such as BabyFirstTV and Baby TV, which also air in the UK. The broadcasts are both transmitted from this country into France.
BabyFirstTV describes itself as a provider of shows 'designed to inspire a baby's learning'. The service, which lets children interact, does not feature any commercials and advises parents against long periods of viewing.
BabyTV also airs in the UK and France. It is designed to provide a 'safe, stimulating and educational environment' for toddlers. Similar internet services like this have also been launched in recent years.
A report by Official Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics in 2007 found watching entertainment TV before the age of three caused attention problems. Claude Knights, director of children's charity Kidscape, has called on Ofcom to make parents more aware of the dangers.
He said: 'It is really sad when TV is used as a babysitter or a means of controlling very young children.
'There may well be parents that don't realise the cumulative effects of exposure to TV. Ofcom should state the case and give the concerns about possible harm revealed in this research.'
Ofcom said: 'The CSA has made Ofcom aware of its concerns regarding TV programming aimed at very young children.
'Ofcom takes the protection of minors extremely seriously and notes that BabyFirstTV provides information to parents about how best to allow their children to interact with its programming and advises against long periods of viewing for young children.
'At present there has been no evidence supplied to Ofcom that proves such content is harmful to minors.
'However, Ofcom has asked the CSA for any research which supports their concerns and will consider in detail any research it can provide.' [Daily Mail]