Saturday, May 30, 2009

Anti-Life Groups and RC Politicians

Pro-abortionists often say the Church is too concerned over life issues. What is truly amazing, however, is how little concerned the Church is, in terms of its institutions. Pro-Life groups don't find it easy to give presentations in Catholic schools and parishes; many bishops and priests would rather talk about something else in their sermons; little time and money is allocated to life issues in the clerical bureaucracy. Even more amazing, however, and scandalous, is that organisations and individuals can present themselves as Catholic while rejecting the Church's teaching on these important issues. There is obviously a close connection with the 'Justice and Peace' groups which ignore the issue of abortion or even quietly support the promotion of abortion.

The Anti-Life brigade
Click on the names to see our full dossier on each group

Catholics for a Free Choice (CFFC) This group was set up by and continues to be funded and promoted by pro-abortion campaigners to undermine the Catholic Church's opposition to abortion. Its leading members are not practicing Catholics, and it has few links even with dissident Catholic groups or theologians (though feminist-influenced groups tend to be committed to abortion, and link their websites to CFFC). The rhetoric of 'choice' is badly chosen, as they oppose the right of doctors to refuse to carry out abortions, and they oppose giving women with crisis pregnancies information or counselling which includes anything about alternatives to abortion.

All-Party Parliamentary Pro-Life Group (APPPLG)/ Passion for Life: The APPPLG is the officially recognised Parliamentary 'Group' campaigning, supposedly, against abortion, euthanasia and so on. Unsurprisingly, it is dominated by Catholic Members of Parliament. It has come as a shock to discover, on closer examination, that the individual views of officers of the APPPLG are not consistently pro-life, and that this ambivalence has found its way into their policy in Parliament, and in the campaign materials produced by a lobbying group, Passion for Life, which the APPPLG set up. Typically, officers of the APPPLG do not oppose legal abortion in principle: they tend to the view that there is simply 'too much abortion'. The Passion for Life campaign postcards, which were distributed in Catholic churches, included the slogan 'Abortion should be rare', an astonishing claim for a 'pro-life' group to make.

The APPPLG and Passion for life can be criticised on pro-life grounds; its members can also be criticised as Catholic politicians, who appear as such in the Catholic Directory, who are clearly dissenting from the teaching of the Church: see below.

Dissenting 'Catholic' Politicians
Only the most prominent are listed here.

John Paul II, continuing the constant teaching of the Church, has reiterated many times that those who are directly involved in lawmaking bodies have a "grave and clear obligation to oppose" any law that attacks human life. (Paragraph 4 of the CDF document on The participation of Catholics in political life)

Jim Dobbin accepts abortion when the mother's life is in danger

Lord Alton accepts abortion for the severely disabled.

Claire Curtis-Thomas is 'not against abortion'.

Ann Widdecombe accepts IVF.

John Gummer supported the Civil Partnerships Act

Tony Blair is anti-Catholic in almost every possible way

Ruth Kelly refused to vote against the bill to allow human-animal hybrids

Clare Short supported the hybrids bill


Aging Trendies

It is hard to know how to characterise these groups, who dissent on practically every aspect of Church teaching. What they have in common is that they are part of a phenomenon left over from the 1970s, the golden era of dissent, when it seemed possible that the Church would simply abolish clerical celibacy, ordain women, have lay-led Eucharists and in general 'get with it'.

Those who marry the spirit of the age are condemned to become widows. And this is what has happened to these sad people. What is astonishing, and scandalous, is that in certain ways they are still able to use Catholic resources and influence Catholics. For this reason they need to be exposed for what they are.

Click on the names to see our full dossier on each group.

Catholics for a Changing Church formerly 'Catholic Renewal Movement'. A collection of aging 'trendies' who dissent from the Church's teaching on an enormous range of issues: not only sexual morality but sacramental theology, the liturgy, authority in the Church, the ordination of women, etc. etc.. Many of their views on these other issues are present in the background of the single-issue groups, with many of which they have close links. An important part of a network of dissent.

Advent Group This is composed of former Catholic priests and religious, who, having abandoned their vows, now campaign to end celibacy for the clergy, and for their members to be reinstated in pastoral ministry, partly on the basis of views of the priesthood completely incompatible with Catholic teaching. Another part of the network of dissent.

Catholic Charismatic Renewal Big in the 1980s and early 1990s, their bizarre mixture of Catholicism with what they openly describe as Pentecostalism is now firmly on the wane. In continues to do damage, however, by exposing young Catholics to exaggerated and entirely untested claims of healing and spiritual experiences, and fostering a focus on feelings rather than the sacraments and the Church's teaching.


Feminism and Homosexuality

Feminism, as an ideology, is clearly completely contrary to the Catholic view of human nature and to Catholic practice. The fact that serious feminists regard an all-male clergy as inherently unjust gives the game away. Amazingly feminists have nevertheless been able not only to enter official Church structures but even exercise an ideological domination of them, through 'Women Word Spirit' and its historic stranglehold on the National Board of Catholic Women.

Just as Catholic women are the special targets of prosletising militant feminists, homosexual Catholics are targetted by militant gay groups which reject the teaching of the Church on sexuality and embrace the gay sub-culture. What is amazing, again, is that they have been able to do this for decades with some measure of official approval.

Click on the names to see our full dossier on each group.

Marriage Care, formerly the 'Catholic Marriage Advisory Service', then 'Catholic Marriage Care'. It is no longer 'Catholic' in its self-description but it is still in the Catholic Directory. Once a worthy organisation dedicated to marriage counseling, now they want to help people in all 'relationships', and undermine the Church's teaching on the nature of marriage and homosexuality. They also promote sex education, of a kind completely at variance with the Church's guidelines. The Chairman of Marriage Care has repeatedly spoken in favour of homosexual unions.

Women Word Spirit (WWS), formerly Catholic Women's Network (CWN). Recently ejected from the Catholic Directory, it still has a stranglehold on the National Board of Catholic Women, an official consultative body of the Bishops Conference of England and Wales, and its quarterly newspaper 'Catholic Omnibus' (which is now to be published only as a download). As Feminists they ceaselessly campaign for women's ordination, and also support abortion. They are part of a network of dissenting groups on the issues of contraception, the liturgy, clerical celibacy, homosexuality, and the role of women in the Church.

Roman Catholic Caucus of the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement (RCCLGCM)/ Soho Masses Pastoral Council (SMPC)
Two very similar organisations seeking to undermine the Church's teaching on homosexuality. Although neither is listed in the national Catholic Directory (Quest was ejected in 1998 for refusing to 'clarify' its position on homosexual sex) they have considerable success at local level organising Masses and other events with the agreement of bishops and priests. At their events, and in their literature, there is a pervasive assumption that a homosexual couple's sexual relationship is perfectly ok, and that the Church's teaching to the contrary is 'fallible' and wrong. They are supported by a handful of dissident theologians. They campaign to guide or even be put in charge of the pastoral care of homosexual Catholics, a remarkable attempt by the wolf to apply for the shepherd's job.

Catholics for AIDS Prevention and Support (CAPS)/Positive Catholic (successor to 'Catholic AIDS Link'): another organisation promoting dissent about homosexuality. It has close links to RCCLGCM, and is listed in the Catholic Directory. As Positive Catholics it organises an annual retreat in Douai Abbey.

The arguments used by apologists for these groups are examined here.

The Archbishop Romero Trust: an interesting over-lap between 'Justice and Peace' dissent (CAFOD, Progressio etal.) and the homosexual dissent. The Chair is Julian Filochowski, a former director of CAFOD, whose civil partner is Martin Pendergast, the leading figure in the RCCLGCM, SMPC and CAPS. So we find CAPS Masses promoting Romero (or Romero Masses promoting CAPS?) and both being promoted by the Justice and Peace establishment.


'Justice and Peace': dissident 'Catholic' groups

Catholics are naturally concerned with Justice and Peace. What characterises these groups is their complete unconcern about the issues of justice and peace about which Catholics have an important contribution to make to the contemporary debate as Catholics, and their fixation on issues - some genuine, some laregely imaginary - which are popular with the spectrum of opinion represented in the pages of the Guardian. So instead of talking about abortion, the lethal exploitation of the embryo, and the destruction of the family, they talk about third-world debt and climate change.

That, however, is not enough for us to include them in this list. For them to be there there must be pretty solid indications that they do not simply ignore Church teaching, but actually reject it. The joining in with the left-liberal establishment's agenda places the leaders of these organisations in a social context in which support for condoms to fight AIDS, contraception, abortion, and 'non-traditional family structures and lifestyles' is simply taken for granted. So with or without some attempts to veil the fact, these organisations reject the Church's teaching on these issues, to a greater or lesser extent.

What these groups are promoting is the same tired old rubbish as the government, the BBC, and secular quangos and NGOs. But they are doing it with Catholic volunteers and Catholic donations, with the approval of the Bishops (they all appear in the Catholic Directory for England and Wales) and therefore with special access to Catholic schools and parishes. This is a scandal and it must stop.

Click on the names of the groups to see our full dossier on each one.

The 'Justice and Peace' brigade.

Catholic Agency For Overseas Development (CAFOD) An official agency of the Bishops' Conference, contrary to its protestations, and to the repeated teaching of the Church, it promotes the use of condoms to combat AIDS. It also has a bizarre habit of employing people who reject the Church's teaching on sexuality in their private lives, or line their pockets at the taxpayer's expense: see a separate dossier here.

Progressio formerly Catholic Institute of International Relations (CIIR) It no longer calls itself 'Catholic' but still wants to milk its Catholic history to undermine Church teaching. It attacks the Church's position on the use of condoms against AIDS, and is also linked to groups which promote abortion.

livesimply, a joint project of CAFOD and Progressio, presents itself as applying Catholic teaching on justice, compassion for the poor and concern for the environment, but instead of doing anything - even mentioning - abortion, practical almsgiving, or anything else distinctively Catholic it wants Catholic parishes to promote low-energy lightbulbs and turning down the heating to 'save the planet'. Their 'ecumenical partner' is 'Christian Ecology Link', which supports not only contraception, but abortion, and even the forced abortions of the Chinese 'one child policy': this is so appalling we have done a dossier on them as well.

Pax Christi, a political campaigning group opposing nuclear weapons, the war in Iraq etc., consistently misrepresenting the Church's teaching on war. Without claiming to be a Catholic organisation in its self-description, it is not only listed in the Catholic Directory but collects money on 'Peace Sunday' in parish churches. It is part of the 'Justice and Peace' establishment which produces much hot air on global poverty while ignoring abortion, euthanasia and the attack on the family.

National Justice and Peace Network, an umbrella group and campaigning organisation working from diocesan offices around the country and promoting the ideas of all the above organisations.

The Archbishop Romero Trust, ostensibly promoting knowledge of the Servant of God Archbishop Romero, it has extremely close links to the militant homosexual groups noted here.


Thursday, May 28, 2009

Thank you James!

Both for the note of thanks on your blog for what we have been doing on this one, and for this brilliant picture:
James's Rule of Thumb:

If it seems inappropriate to put something in a thought bubble above an Archbishop's head, then it's probably inapropriate to show it to little girls without their parents' consent. Got it? Good.

Like James I find it hard to be charitable and optimistic about this situation.

Oh and by the way, this is the famous mis-labelled diagramme which is in the 'All That I Am' book approved by the Archdioces of Birmingham (under Vincent Nichols) and also by the Government's notorious Teenage Pregancy Unity. What sort of sex education did they get, to think that is a urethra?

And perhaps that is the worst thing about modern life - not just tyranny, but the tyranny of half-wits.


Monday, May 25, 2009

CAFOD people

Catholic Aid for Oversease Development (CAFOD) is well known for its dissent from the teaching of the Church on the use of condoms to combat AIDS; we have covered that in a dossier here. But as is invariably the case, this is not a case of faithful Catholics struggling with their consciences, but a bunch of very self-confident and well-paid liberals with no more than cultural and institutional links to the Church hi-jacking a once-Catholic organisation.

A former Director of CAFOD, Julian Filochowski, has caused a series of scandals by his public rejection of the Church's teaching. First, he entered a civil partnership with his long-term boyfriend, Martin Pendergast, who happens to be a militant homosexual activist who spoke at a conference which condemned the Pope as a homophobe. Then the happy couple celebrated their anniversary with a Mass, which until the news broke was to have been celebrated Bishop Crowley, then of Middlesbrough. Finally the same anniversary was the occasion of a book attacking the Pope and the teaching of the Church. See our post here.

CAFOD recruited Dermot O'Leary to head a fund-raising drive, despite the fact that this 'celebrity' is living openly in sin and publicly rejects the Church's teaching on contraception.

It seems that the current Director, Chris Bain (picture), shares a house with a Labour minister, Paul Goggins, and the pair have been caught out helping themselves a little generously to the House of Commons allowances, which are coming under increased scrutiny. It would be hard to think of a neater summary of the problems of the gang running so many Catholic instutions: a little too cosy with Labour, rejecting the Church's teachings, and with their snouts in the trough.

From The Daily Telegraph: Mr Goggins shares the house in south-east London with Chris Bain, who is the director of the Catholic aid charity Cafod and a friend since university.

They have lived together for the past 11 years. For the past three years, Mr Goggins, the MP for Wythenshawe and Sale East, has designated the property as his “second home” and claimed almost £45,000 in expenses for it. He did not tell the Commons fees office that he shared it. 

...Mr Goggins sat on the board of Cafod until June 2003 and was Charities Minister in 2005-06, when the size of Cafod’s government grant rose by nearly a third to £5.7 million. It dropped by a fifth the following year when Mr Goggins moved to the Northern Ireland Office but he said yesterday that he had no role in the funding of Cafod, which dealt primarily with the Department for International Development.

See the full story. Hat-tip to the Muniment Room.


Nichols: the sex ed scandal that won't go away

The Times and the left-wing press are trying to tar our newly installed Archbishop of Westminster with the Irish sex abuse scandal. This is a pretty low trick: he obviously isn't responsible for those crimes, and has condemned them. But there is something he is fully and completely responsible for, and that is the deliberate sexualisation of children in Catholic schools. I'm glad to say that, as a result of the Government's increasingly totalitarian drive on sex ed, the issue is being raised more and more urgently: see an excellent long post on the Sensible Bond, a letter from Eric Hester in the Catholic Times, and Jackie Parkes (and here).

What the sex education programme Archbishop has endorsed as Chairman of the Catholic Education Service and as Archbishop of Birmingham does can only be described as grooming children for illegal, underage sexual activity - just as the Government wants it to. The Catholic Education Service's defiance of Church teaching on sex education places it completely outside the Catholic debate. What is going on? Do they think that Catholics could volunteer to be death-camp guards if they were a little less brutal to the inmates than the other candidates for the job?

We have no inside information but we can say this. Bishops bear a responsibility for all the souls in their dioceses. Parents bear a responsibility for the souls of their children. Nothing the CES or the Government can say or do can change that. There is plenty of room in hell.

Matthew 18, whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.

 7Woe unto the world because of offences! for it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh!

 8Wherefore if thy hand or thy foot offend thee, cut them off, and cast them from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life halt or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet to be cast into everlasting fire. 9And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire.

 10Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven.


Immodest 'Theology of the Body' condemned

Update: another very good critique of Christopher West has been published David L. Schindler, Provost/Dean and Gagnon Professor of Fundamental Theology at the Pontifical Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family. This again points out that West uses the most revolting and immodest language and clearly fails to grasp the doctrine of Original Sin.

Comment, 17/05/09: this is a real problem - some Catholics who promote the 'Theology of the Body' are so keen to show they are not 'prudes' or 'Puritans' that they end up speaking immodestly and encouraging an attitude to sexuality which undermines purity. Hefner, mentioned below, was a depraved advocate of pornography. Alice von Hildebrand's words here are extremely wise: sex should be treated with sensitivity. The 'intimate sphere' is 'not a topic of public discussion'. It should horrify Catholics that theologians, catechists and Catholic teachers should consider talking about sexual desire and sexual experience with a view to desensitizing their hearers - that is exactly the aim of the radical sexual agenda.

From CFNews: Renowned Catholic thinker Dr. Alice von Hildebrand has criticized Theology of the Body speaker Christopher West, saying his approach has become too self-assured. She criticized his presentations as irreverent and insensitive to the 'tremendous dangers' of concupiscence.

Also cautious of West's remarks on his recent interview with ABC television were Mary Shivanandan and Fr. José Granados, both Catholic authors and theologians.

The news segment showed him calling for Catholics to complete 'what the sexual revolution began.' He also described 'very profound' historical connections between Hugh Hefner and Pope John Paul II.

West spoke to CNA on Friday, claiming the report somewhat sensationalized his views. He also denied several characterizations conveyed by the news story, explaining that he believed Hefner to be right in rejecting 'the disease of Puritanism' but radically wrong in beginning the 'pornographic revolution.'

He had told ABC that Hefner had a 'yearning,' an 'ache' and a 'longing' for love, union and intimacy.

In a Monday interview CNA spoke about West with Dr. Alice von Hildebrand, a Catholic philosopher and theologian who is professor emerita of Hunter College of the City University of New York.

Dr. von Hildebrand said she knew the 'gist' of Pope John Paul II's Theology of the Body and believed it was 'very indebted' to her husband Dietrich von Hildebrand's 1927 book 'In Defense of Purity.' She said there is obviously an 'abysmal difference' between the views shared by her husband and John Paul II and those presented by Christopher West.

Reporting that she had seen CNA's follow-up interview with West, Dr. Von Hildebrand was very critical of the speaker.

'My feeling is that Christopher West has become famous because he started discussing the Theology of the Body, which is extremely appealing topic. The difficulty is that, in the meantime, he became so famous that I do believe he has become much too self-assured and has lost sight of the extreme sensitivity of the topic.'

This is 'very troubling' because what she calls the 'intimate sphere' is something 'very mysterious, very profound, something that has a direct relationship with God.'

'My feeling is that his vocabulary and his way of approaching it totally lacks reverence.'

'Reverence is the key to purity,' she told CNA.' The intimate sphere 'is not a topic of public discussion' but is 'extremely serious.'

'It seems to me that his presentation, his vocabulary, the vulgarity of things that he uses are things that simply indicate that even though he might have good intentions he has derailed and is doing a lot of harm.'

She said people should not forget that we have been 'profoundly affected' by original sin.

'In paradise there was perfect harmony between Adam and Eve. There was no concupiscence.'

'After original sin, not only were we separated from God and condemned to losing eternity. On top of it, every single human faculty was affected. Our intelligence was darkened. Our will was weakened. And all of a sudden, we had the dreadful experience of something called concupiscence.

Before the Fall, there was no inner temptation to impurity between Adam and Eve even though they were naked, she explained. After they sinned, the two started to look at one another with concupiscence.

The Fall had consequences that are 'so serious' that it was only the Redemption and the grace of God could remedy.

The fight against concupiscence is 'not an easy process,' Dr. von Hildebrand continued. 'It is something that calls for holiness, which very few of us achieve. It is a sheer illusion to believe that by some sort of new technique we can find the solution to the problem.'

While one can lead a holy life in marriage, she said to become a saint is 'a long and difficult process that calls for a spirit of penance, a readiness to sacrifice.'

'The tragedy of original sin is that all the beautiful male qualities of strength, courage, objectivity, nobility, a chivalrous attitude towards women, degenerated. The danger created by original sin is that many men use their strength and become brutal and abuse women or look at women as mere objects of pleasure.

'Eve was also profoundly affected by original sin,' she added.

'To my mind the conflict between man and woman can only be healed by striving for holiness,' she said. 'There are many things Christopher West does not mention.'

Additionally, she charged that West does not mention the Old Testament figures who fell to sexual sin: David, King of Israel, who was blessed in 'an extraordinary way' but ordered the murder of the husband of a woman with whom David committed adultery.

'Adulteries lead to murder. It is one of the most abominable stories you can imagine,' she said, explaining the Prophet Nathan's rebuke of David led to the composition of Psalm 50.

She said it was upsetting to her as a youth to learn that a young man who prayed for 'the straight and honest heart so that I may serve my people' went on to have 750 concubines.

'How can you be so good when you're twenty, and lead such an abominable life when you're seventy?' she asked. 'As far as I can tell, this is something that Christopher West forgets, in this sphere which is extremely dangerous.'

She reported that a priest friend of hers had told her 90 percent of the sins that men accuse themselves of involve the Sixth Commandment against adultery.

Christopher West's approach makes him forget that sex is 'an extreme danger.' Though sex can be sanctified, that sanctification implies 'a humility, a spirit of reverence, and totally avoiding the vulgarity that he uses in his language.'

'I'm shocked and horrified by the words that he uses. His mere mention of Hugh Hefner is to my mind an abomination.'

Mary Shivanandan, a theologian who authored the book 'Crossing the Threshold of Love: A New Vision of Marriage in the Light of John Paul II's Anthropology,' was also critical of West's remarks.

'The sublime teaching of John Paul II's theology of sexuality is not well served by West's comparison to Hugh Hefner and his playboy bunnies,' she told CNA in a Monday e-mail. 'The late pope had a profound reverence for God's plan for human love, which such a comparison, no matter how well intentioned, can only diminish and degrade.'

Also providing comment for CNA was Fr. José Granados, a theologian who co-authored with Supreme Knight of Columbus Carl Andersen a book on John Paul II's Theology of the Body titled 'Called to Love.'

Fr. Granados said West's suggestion that John Paul II took the sexual revolution a step further was 'highly inadequate and open to serious misunderstanding.' He explained that Puritanism shares with pornography a negative vision of the body, viewing it without reference to the dignity of the person and to God's plan for man.

'It is deprived of its symbolism and its language,' he said. While Puritanism attempts to silence the body and its urges, the sexual revolution exalts them 'as an absolute.'

'Pornography is in no sense an attempt to recover the beauty of the body and sexuality, but a sign of despair regarding this beauty and the possibility of finding meaning in human love,' he said.

John Paul II's Theology of the Body recovers 'the meaning of the body' with reference to love and to man and God, Fr. Granados told CNA.

'The Pope's proposal is not just about sexuality, but about the truth of love as the foundation of the person's dignity and the meaning of reality; and about the family as the place where the person finds himself and his way towards happiness.

'Moreover, one of the results of the sexual revolution is precisely the pansexualism that surrounds our society. We cannot respond with a different kind of pansexualism, with a sort of 'Catholic sexual revolution,' which in the end promotes a similar obsession with sex, even if 'holy'.' [CNA]


Saturday, May 23, 2009

CAUK news service to be suspended

Keeping up with the flow of news requires more time than the contributors to CAUK are able to devote to the task, and we have decided to stop.

We aim to keep the 'dossiers' on dissident Catholic groups up to date; we think that this is the most important service offered by this blog.

The news appearing on the blog is usually available on the news services provided by SPUC, the Christian Institute, and CFNews (from the National Association of Catholic Families); C-Fam is an excellent source on developments at the United Nations and the EU. If you want to stay informed about the growing intolerance of Catholic belief and practice in the UK today we recommend these sources - they will send you email bulletins if you sign up for them.

For CFNews, email the editor:
For SPUC, see here.
For the Christian Institute, see here.
For C-Fam's 'Friday Fax, see here.


Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Marriage Care head praises civil partnerships

Briefing. This will not surprise readers who have seen our dossier on Marriage Care. This organisation is still listed the Catholic Directory.

From CFNews: Terry Prendergast, chief executive of Marriage Care says that the graces of the sacrament might also be found in other forms of relationships than heterosexual marriage.

In a speech to the Roman Catholic Caucus of the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement Mr Prendergast said: 'I have been thinking more and more of the sacrament of relationships, rather than the sacrament of marriage, if we are to believe that God's presence is expressed through all committed and loving relationships.

'It is my belief that the sacrament is present where you have love, commitment, consent, and covenant,' he said. 'On this basis I wonder how it is possible for anyone to make an adverse judgment about such relationships'.

But Victoria Gillick, the Catholic family campaigner, called for his resignation. 'He should go.' she said. 'Children do best within marriage and marriage is good for men and women but for the last 20 years it has not been at the forefront of Government policies and fewer people are getting married and more children are suffering. It really has to be explained, defended and supported by the 'best hearts and minds in the Catholic Church. ' [Catholic Herald]


Monday, May 18, 2009

Gay partnership used for tax dodge

Briefing. The law was and remains a complete nonsense.

From CFNews: The homosexual lover of the late comedy actor, Frankie Howerd, has entered into a civil partnership with the couple's 'son' to avoid paying inheritance tax.

The news will confirm the warnings of one financial advisor who criticised the Civil Partnership legislation when it was being proposed in 2003, calling it 'a tax dodgers' charter'.

A pair of elderly sisters who have shared a home for many years, caring for each other, cannot make use of the law because they are related.

According to the Daily Mail, 82-year-old Dennis Heymer has entered a homosexual civil partnership with Chris Byrne, 42.

Mr Heymer was manager and boyfriend for nearly four decades to Frankie Howerd, famed for his roles in Carry On films.

The pair met Mr Byrne as a 17-year-old when they lived in London. Mr Byrne then followed them to their Somerset home, after they took the teenager under their wing.

He has lived on the estate since Mr Howerd's death in 1992 where he now cares for the elderly Mr Heymer.

He says that he decided to marry the man who called him his 'adopted son' (although they are not officially related) so he could legally inherit the £800,000 four-bedroom cottage.

'The civil ceremony protects us legally with the property that Frank left Dennis and with my inheritance,' Mr Byrne is quoted as saying.

'It's not a romantic relationship, but it's a caring one. I look after Dennis because he's very frail now.'

In April 2008 two elderly sisters lost their legal battle to enjoy the same tax benefits as same-sex couples who register for civil partnerships.

The result meant that either Joyce Burden or her sister Sybil could be hit with a crippling inheritance tax bill if one of them dies, forcing their home to be sold to pay the bill.

The Civil Partnership Act 2004 allows same-sex couples to register as civil partners, exempting them from inheritance tax. However, the Act prevents partnerships from being registered between close relatives.

Before the law was passed it was argued by The Christian Institute and others that it ought to be extended to allow long-term cohabiting family members to register as civil partners, in the same way as same-sex couples. This would have made civil partnerships fairer and less like 'gay marriage'.

The plan was supported by 84 per cent of the public, and an amendment to include it in the new law was accepted by the House of Lords, but defeated in the Commons.

When the Civil Partnership legislation was being proposed in 2003 financial advisor Mike Warburton said: 'It would not make sense to allow any couple living together - whether gay or heterosexual - the same rights as married couples unless they also accept the obligations that go with that; otherwise, it will turn into a tax dodgers' charter.' [Christian Institute]


WHO's fantasy statistics to promote abortion


From C-Fam: 2 Susan Yoshihara, Ph.D. writes : A newly released research paper identifies structural flaws in United Nations (UN) data collection and analysis of global maternal health, finding that UN maternal heath policies based on the bad data are jeopardizing women's health in the developing world.

The paper, 'Removing the Roadblocks from Achieving MDG 5 by Improving the Data on Maternal Mortality,' by Donna Harrison, M.D., was published by the International Organizations Research Group (IORG) [IORG is a division of C-FAM, publisher of the Friday Fax]. The paper shows how the World Health Organization's (WHO) guidelines to UN member states require nations to collect faulty data while at the same time pressuring them to enact UN policies such as liberalizing abortion laws based on that data.

Harrison finds that the WHO's Reproductive Health Indicators are flawed because of 'quasi-legal, rather than scientifically-based definitions used to define maternal health.' Specifically, she examines WHO documents that equate 'safe abortion' to legal abortion, and 'unsafe abortion' to illegal abortion. Harrison said that even pro-abortion groups have taken WHO to task for its faulty definitions. She gives the example of Marie Stopes International, which claims that the abortions it performs in countries where it is illegal are safe.

WHO definitions also create confusion about the true number of deaths attributable to abortion, Harrison argues. This is because WHO guidelines require hospitals to count deaths from miscarriages (spontaneous abortions) in calculating maternal mortality, but not deaths from planned abortions. Maternal deaths due to planned, induced abortion are therefore not required to be recorded in government statistics, and the extent to which such abortions harm women is impossible to measure.

Despite this fact, WHO is promoting planned abortion as a way to improve maternal health. Citing WHO's 2006 report 'Sexual and Reproductive Health: Laying the Foundation for a More Just World through Research and Action,' Harrison says that 'the report details its extensive research and promotion of chemical or medical abortions in developing countries using mifepristone and misoprostol and manual vacuum aspirators, a technique used by some to perform abortions in countries where the practice is illegal under the auspices of 'fertility regulation.'…Without accurate data collection and analysis, the effects of such changes are often not perceived until years after damage has been done and may not be reversible at that late point.'

Harrison quotes WHO researchers who admit to 'adjusting the data' up to 50 percent based upon what they 'expect to find' in order 'to make the numbers turn out right.' To improve WHO statistics and policies Harrison offers several policy recommendations, including the collection of data 'for all pregnancy outcomes,' separating the data on miscarriages and induced termination, and refining the definition of 'induced abortion' to distinguish among terminations medically necessary to save the life of the mother, voluntary terminations performed in the hospital, and voluntary terminations performed in an outpatient setting.

If WHO does not improve what one World Bank researcher calls 'tortuous statistical techniques and educated guessing,' Harrison concludes, 'Policy decisions will be founded on political assumptions, rather than scientific fact.' [C-FAM]


Saturday, May 16, 2009

Home abortion drug: high failure rate

Briefing: something you should know as abortionists push for the wider availability of over-the-counter or GP Surgury abortions.

from Lifesitenews: Abortion advocates have promoted the dangerous abortion drug RU 486 (mifepristone) in part by saying it can cause an abortion without women having to have a surgical abortion. However, a new study shows the abortion drug fails anywhere from 16-23 percent of the time. When the mifepristone abortion drug fails, a follow-up surgical abortion is necessary because an incomplete abortion can result in major medical problems, including death. Melissa Strafford of the Boston Medical Center presented the results of her study at the recent American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists annual meeting. The abortion drug failed to complete the abortion in 23 percent of the women getting the two drugs simultaneously and failed to finish the abortion process for 16 percent of the women getting the drugs 48 hours apart. For Dr. Randy O'Bannon, the director of research and education for National Right to Life, there failure rates and need for surgical abortions present bigger problems for women. 'Those who have developed and promoted RU 486 have told women that the abortifacient offers them a way to have an abortion without the risk of surgery,' he told 'Attempts to make the process more convenient for women, for the clinics, may help the industry attract more customers, but as this latest study shows, it exposes women to additional risks.' [LifeNews]


Thanks for the link, Damian!

Damian Thompson does us the favour of linking to our story 'Bread Worship in Cumbria' about the bizarre letter in The Tablet purporting to describe a spontaneous lay eucharistic celebration in a Catholic parish church. The Tablet has issued another 'clarificatioin' in its letters page:

"A letter from Michelle Street entitled 'Act of memory' was published in the Tablet on 11 April. It described a moment in a church where parishioners took over the celebration of the Eucharist when the priest was unable to attend to celebrate Mass. This letter caused great interest, as well as consternation, among some readers. We published the letter in good faith, but it has since emerged after lengthy enquiries that the address in Grasmere, Cumbria, given on the letter does not exist, which causes us to be concerned that the letter might not have been genuine. We therefore apologise to readers and assure them that there will be even greater vigilance in future to establish that correspondence is authentic."

We were just about to post on this when Damian T. beat us to it, linking to us too - which is particularly gentlemanly since, he says, we are 'not fans of mine or this blog, I should add'. It is of course worth linking to CAUK for the 'full story' because we are the only publicly accessible place on the internet which has the full text of the original letter: you have to be a Tablet subscriber to see it on their website.

It's true that we've criticised Damian Thompson on occasion, but we've also given him credit where it is due. Perhaps Damian, like many people who post comments on this blog, can't understand how anyone in the blogosphere should have a good word for someone when they do something good, and criticism when the same person does something bad. Our approach seems obvious to us but it seems that almost no provocation would get Catholic Truth to say something nice about the bishops, or the Hermeneutic of Continuity to recognise when Joanna Bogle had made a mistake. That's the Punch and Judy nature of the medium, perhaps.


Children adopted by homosexual couples more likely to be bullied

Comment: this is pretty obvious, but the important point here is that the Scottish Executive has tried to suppress this report about the effects on children of homosexual children, and appear determined to ignore children's needs.

From the Christian Institute: Children adopted by same-sex parents are likely to face bullying, according to a report that the Scottish Government tried to keep secret.

However, same-sex parents are likely to turn a blind eye for fear of being blamed, according to the review of eight studies into gay adoption which ministers have now released under a freedom of information request.

Critics of gay adoption say the Government should have conducted more research into its effect on children before deciding to allow it in Scotland in 2006.

See the full story.


Friday, May 15, 2009

Critique of the 'new Catechetics'


An extract from an article on the Christendom Awake! website. Hat-tip to CFNews.

Citing a few of the developments in catechetical thinking that took place in the 1950s and the 1960s, she [Jane E. Regan] then goes on to conclude that "not even primarily" does catechesis take place "within an instructional setting . . . . It is not primarily instruction, but the very life of the faith community that shapes and forms our faith . . . . catechesis involves engaging with the ways in which faith comes to expression within our community—communal living, proclamation, teaching, liturgy, and service."

These are conclusions drawn by the modern catechetical movement, and therefore, in Regan's view, they must take precedence over whatever a Catechism or the GCD might say to the contrary. Also in the view of this particular author, the whole catechetical question has now been changed from "How are we to cover all of the topics in our time of instruction?" to "How are we to live within these dimensions of Christian life and learn to reflect on that living?" Once we recognize the community as the agent of catechesis, it becomes clear that the content of catechesis is not something we give or present to the learners, but rather a reality that we attempt to live out and incarnate with the life of the community.

But once we have accepted that "the content of catechesis is not something we give or present to the learners", we are reluctantly obliged to add: then the way has surely been opened up, and the justification handily provided, for henceforth giving little or nothing in the way of formal instruction at all—and for including no substance or truth content at all in catechesis. This, of course, is exactly the unhappy contemporary situation in catechesis, which so many Catholics have noticed and have been complaining about for a long time. This author's formulation of the question,
it would seem, is just one more variant of the widely noted tendency in modern religiou education simply to provide the students with "experiences" rather than trying to "teach" them anything, that is, the truths of the faith as they have been developed and handed down to us in the Church since apostolic times with the help of the Holy Spirit.

It is no accident, by the way, that this sort of new catechetical theory, which eschews content, gets itself adopted by professional Catholic religious educators at the very same time as their colleagues in secular education are also engaged in "dumbing down" intellectual content in modern education generally. Thus, in more ways than one, do Catholic religious educators today seem to be looking to the world for their inspiration and models far more than to the Church.

In the true Catholic context, of course, the antidoctrinal viewpoint of the new catechesis fundamentally misunderstands and misrepresents Christian faith. This faith is based first of all on the truths about God and about God's plan for us, revealed first in the Scriptures concerned with the history of God's chosen people and finally revealed in the life and words of Jesus Christ, who intended these things to be perpetuated in his Church. The new catechists make a crucial and fundamental mistake When they try to belittle or drop truth (again, "doctrine") and then perhaps imagine that they can still go on exhorting their students to be "good" and "loving", to serve justice, or to help the poor, and so on.

But what they have abandoned is the possibility of being able to give their students any reasons why they should serve justice or help the poor. Why should the students bother, when the whole secular culture urges them so insistently in the direction of self-will and self-satisfaction instead? The results of the attempt of the new catechesis to "catechize", while downgrading or dropping revealed truth were always bound to be disappointing in the nature of the case, and that is exactly the way things have turned out. The Catechism of the Catholic Church had to come, and
not a moment too soon.


Thursday, May 14, 2009

Opponents of gay adopted 'retarded'

Briefing. This has caused a storm. The Mail points out that the BAAF, which made the remark, are so concerned to avoid sending black children to white homes, or working class children to middle class homes, that they are placing fewer and fewer children with anyone. But the interests of the child are cast to the winds when it comes to homosexuals: as far as gay couples are concerned adoption is a service to which they have a right.

From the Daily Mail, in part: The British Association for Adoption and Fostering sets rules and organises training for social workers across the country. Every local council with a children's services department is a paying member of the organisation, and the bulk of its £6million-a-year budget comes from the taxpayer. It runs the national adoption register for the Department of Children, Schools and Families.

The 'retarded homophobe' attack was published in a BAAF guide to adoption for homosexual couples.

It was repeated in its newspaper Be My Parent, which advertises children who need homes. Would-be gay adopters were told: 'Most importantly, don't worry about society. Children need good parents much more than retarded homophobes need an excuse to whinge, so don't let your worries about society's reaction hinder your desire and ability to give a child a loving caring home.'

See the full story.


Daphne MacLeod's catechetical DVDs on sale

Comment: the chaps at PEEP and CFNews still have a little learn about links.  See Daphne MacLeod's DVD series on sale here and follow the instructions, or follow the mad series of steps described below!

This is highly recommended.

From CFnews: Daphne Mcleod's recent EWTN series on 'Discovering Our Glorious Faith ' is now available on DVD. On four discs Daphne discusses basic truths about: Almighty God - The Blessed Trinity - Sanctifying Grace - Ourselves in God's Image - Our Lady - The Church - the Bible Promise of a Redeemer - Jesus' Life on Earth - The Blessed Sacrament - The Moral Law - The Sacramental System - Our Life of Prayer - the Four Last Things.

This series is designed to help parents, teachers and catechists present the truths of the Faith to their charges. It is also being used in parishes as an Adult Education Course and by priests instructing converts. To purchase the set of four discs containing thirteen 30 minute talks, visit the EWTN web-site ( click on to 'Religious Catalogue' and then on the 'Quick Shop ' option at the foot of the page and enter order Number HDDOGF The cost is $40 plus p+p. 1543.36


Evangelium conference


Frm CFNews: Evangelium Conference 7th-9th August 2009, 'Explaining the Catholic Faith in the Modern World'. Speakers include David Quinn, journalist, former editor of The Irish Catholic' and founder of the Iona Institute; Fr Brian Harrison, theologian, writer and associate editor of 'Living Tradition'; Dr Helen Watt, director of the Linacre Centre for Healthcare Ethics, London; oFr Timothy Finigan, blogger and founder of Association of Priests for the Gospel of Life; Fr Nicholas Schofield, historian, author and Westminster diocesan archivist ; Joanna Bogle, broadcaster and writer; Dr Thomas Pink, philosopher, King s College, London; Fiorella Nash, writer and pro-life campaigner; Fr Jerome Bertram, author and historian; Fr Jeremy Davies, author and exorcist for Westminster; Fr Thomas Crean OP, author of 'A Catholic Replies to Professor Dawkins'; Dr James Bogle, barrister, vice-chairman of the Catholic Union; Fr Andreew Pinsent, philosopher and former particle physicist at CERN.

For more information or to reserve a place, visit Tel 07526 908741. Email :, or write to Evangelium, PO Box 28, Tenby SA69 9ZB. Price: Standard Accommodation (full board): just £95. Spaces are limited to 180 guests, so please book now. 


Euro Parliament refuses to condemn Pope over condoms

Briefing. A rare victory of common sense in the EU talking shop.

From Lifesitenews: The European Parliament has rejected a measure to condemn Pope Benedict XVI's anti-condom remarks, which he made during a trip to Africa in March.

The vote was 253-199 with 61 abstentions. The measure was intended to 'energetically condemn the recent declarations of the Pope, who has prohibited the use of condoms and has warned that condoms can even bring about a greater risk of illness.'

On March 17, the Pope told a reporter who asked about AIDS prevention that 'one cannot overcome the problem with the distribution of condoms. On the contrary, they risk increasing the problem.'

The Pope's statements, which have provoked a firestorm of criticism from UN officials and anti-family politicians such as Tony Blair, are supported by an increasing number of scientists who have observed an increase in the rate of HIV transmission in countries that emphasize the use of condoms as a protective measure.

European countries spend millions of Euros annually on AIDS programs for Africa that include the promotion and distribution of condoms, despite moral objections from the native population and the United Nation's admission that condoms have a 10% failure rate.

The Catholic Church teaches that artificial birth control is a grave sin. It has repeatedly denounced the use of contraceptives and called on nations to prohibit their sale and distribution.

The Belgian Parliament has already denounced Benedict's comments, and the Spanish Congress is considering a measure to do so. The authors of the Spanish measure have expressed hope that the Belgian legislation will create momentum in their favor; however, the defeat in the European Parliament is likely to undermine their case. [LSN]


Wednesday, May 13, 2009

AI campainging for abortion in Dominican Republic

Briefing. This is how low Amnesty International has sunk. Once they accepted abortion as a 'human right', it was never going to be a marginal issue.

From C-Fam: Piero A. Tozzi, J.D. writes : ' The politicized human rights organization Amnesty International has again taken a pro-abortion position in a nation's internal debate over abortion, coming out against the Dominican Republic's proposed protections for unborn life in its draft constitution and in the country's penal law. In so doing, Amnesty pits the rights of the mother against those of the unborn child while misrepresenting what international law says - or doesn't say - about abortion.

In a statement issued a few weeks ago, Amnesty International claims that the country's constitutional and legal reforms 'could lead to violations of women's human rights' and further claims that laws penalizing abortion would lead to increased maternal mortality. It also argued that the proposed protections of the unborn were inconsistent with the Dominican Republic's 'obligations under international human rights law.'

According to Amnesty, the penal law revisions 'would increase penalties for persons involved in carrying out an abortion.' Amnesty criticized the proposed revisions for allowing criminal prosecution of abortionists 'for providing abortion services that are safe.'

Critics point out, however, that in addition to being fatal to the child in utero, maternal health risks from abortion outweigh those associated with childbirth, particularly where the level of obstetric care is low.

Moreover, such claims about 'international human rights law,' which Amnesty also made in an informal 'friend-of-the-court' memorandum circulated last year among the justices of the Mexican Supreme Court, are contradicted by prior statements by the group. As recently as 2005, Amnesty acknowledged that 'There is no generally accepted right to abortion in international human rights law.'

Two years later, however, Amnesty International formally abandoned its previous objectivity and embraced abortion advocacy. According to Dr. Rachel MacNair, a former Amnesty member and Vice President of the group 'Consistent Life,' Amnesty's board 'railroaded' the new policy through, never announcing the results of a member vote on the issue.

Since Amnesty International abandoned neutrality on abortion, it has become an increasingly aggressive abortion advocate. Earlier this year it demanded that Mexican physicians be forced to perform abortions in cases of rape, even where doctors had conscientious objections to abortion. Noting the irony of a group founded to defend prisoners of conscience seeking to override conscience rights, MacNair called Amnesty's Mexican position 'too bizarre for words.'

Amnesty International's Dominican statement closed by praising the judicial activism of the Colombian constitutional tribunal that in 2006 struck down certain penal laws in that country protecting unborn life, implicitly calling on Dominican courts to do the same.

Amnesty's revisionist approach to global human rights is unsupported by traditional understandings of international law based principally on the consent of state parties to precisely-drafted and duly-ratified treaties. Activists have been pressing national courts to modify abortion laws to conform to their notions of evolving obligations and non-binding 'interpretations' by United Nations treaty compliance committees, which are often staffed with radical advocates.

Among major human rights organizations, Human Rights First still maintains neutrality on the abortion issue, in contrast with Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch. [C-FAM]


Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Status of religious charities clarified


From CFNews: Dame Suzi Leather, chairman of the Charity Commission told the bishops of England and Wales at their Low Week meeting that new Charity Commission rules, which require charities to report annually on their public benefit, do not pose a threat to Catholic charities. She said that 'advancing religion' in itself is still recognised as a public benefit.

'Providing opportunity to worship, conducting religious services and providing religious instruction are all perfectly capable in themselves of demonstrating public benefit . . . Put crudely, you don't have to run a soup kitchen as well as offer Mass'. She said she aimed to try and steer a balance between the demands of religious organisations and those of secularist lobby groups such as the British Humanist Society.

Catholic schools and dioceses and most religious orders are governed by charity law and are therefore regulated by the Charity Commission. Eighty-two Catholic charities, including all 19 dioceses of England and Wales, complained to the commission in 2007 over guidelines drafted to explain the new legislation. In their joint submission they said: 'We are concerned that the language used in connection with religious charities in the draft guidance is negative in contrast to that used for other sectors. The only comments about religious charities refer to 'risk', 'public concern' or benefit which are 'too vague or intangible';' they added. They also said that guidance about 'intangible' benefits, such as those of a spiritual or religious nature, was not sufficiently clear.


Monday, May 11, 2009

New Holy Days & Abortion ads petitions

Comment: while the Church removes the sacred still more from our daily lives, the Government inserts evil into our daily lives. These are two sides of the same coin. Please spend a couple of moments to register a protest.

To the new Archbishop of Westminster,' to reinstate the celebration of Ascension, Corpus Christi and Epiphany to their correct days.'

To the Prime Minister, to stop abortion advertising on television. (deadline 14 October 2009)


New abuse claim against the Jesuits


From The Tablet, in part: THE JESUITS could face a multi-millionpound damages bill after the High Court in London accepted claims of sexual abuse made by a former City lawyer.
Patrick Raggett, who is seeking up to £5 million, the biggest individual claim against the Church in Britain to date, said that the abuse by Fr Michael Spencer at the Jesuit-run Preston Catholic College in the 1970s had ruined his life.
Mrs Justice Swift ruled that even though the abuse took place more than 30 years ago, which the Jesuits argued made it “statute barred”, it was not too late for Mr Raggett to seek damages.
Meanwhile, a case involving three men who claim they were abused in homes in the 1970s
run by Nugent Care Society, a Catholic organisation, was heard in the High Court this
week. The men, who cannot be named for legal reasons, are spearheading a claim for damages
involving dozens of residents of institutions for troubled children, St Aidan’s and St Vincent’s, in the Liverpool area.


Sunday, May 10, 2009

The coming priest crunch

Comment: The Tablet is right: the bishops need to wake up to the problem. Their remedy: keep imbibing the liberal poison which has caused the problem - abolish clerical celibacy. But as the Pope has said, such solutions undermine the priesthood and make the problem worse.

From The Tablet, in part (2/5/09): There are expected to be 16 priests ordained for the dioceses of England and Wales this year. To sustain present numbers, there would need to be of the order of 70 priestly ordinations a year. Taking 19 as a recent annual average, and assuming
that they all move into parish ministry, the number of diocesan priests could drop from around 2,700 in 2005 to something like 650 35 years hence, a fall of more than 2,000 in the lifespan of an average priestly career. A Catholic Church in England and Wales with an average of 30 priests per diocese, which is what these figures would mean, is just not conceivable – unless of course the wholesale closure of parishes leads to a catastrophic drop in total Catholic numbers.


Saturday, May 09, 2009

Another anti-Catholic conference from the bishops' favourite gay activists

Comment: Damian Thompson reports on this year's Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement conference, which is using this as a banner in their advertising, placing the Holy Father in the middle of a group including all the best known anti-gay bigots of American fundamentalism, Islam and so on. The implication is the Pope is a homophobic bigot.

It is being advertised by the 'Soho Masses Pastoral Council' on their website, which is not surprising since the SMPC is simply another name for the Roman Catholic Caucus of the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement (see our dossier). Martin Pendergast is the leading figure of both, and it was he who emailed Damian Thompson about it.

What is astonishing, as Thompson points out, is that the SMPC is a group officially allowed to organise the 'gay Masses' in the church of Our Lady of the Assumption in Warwick Street by the Archdiocese of Westminster.

But we've been here before. The image above is the same as the one they used last year, which makes the accusation against the Holy Father even more explicit.
Thompson is hoping that Archbishop Nichols will make the connection and put an end to the crazy promotion by the Church of organisations which hate the Church and attack it in this ferocious way. We shall see. In the meantime it is extremely heartening that Thompson is publicing it: the present situation depends on people being able to pretend they don't see anti-Catholic nature of the SMPC. Let's see some more Catholic bloggers, and the Catholic press, shining a light into this dark corner.


Cardinal of Bologna restricts communion in the hand

Briefing. In response to the abuse of the Blessed Sacrament, both deliberate and through carelessness, the Cardinal Archbishop of Bologna has banned communion in the hand from those churches where the abuses are most common - the largest, where the congregation is less well known to the priests and include tourists and the like.

Let us pray that other bishops around the world take this elementary step to protect the Blessed Sacrament, as the law of the Church indicates that they should. 

In the meantime, there have been reports of the cessation of giving communion under both kinds, or on the tongue, in response to Swine Flu. The sharing of the chalice is clearly a hygine issue; the giving of communion on the tongue is not so clear, at least if it is done properly. See the end of this post.

Hat-tip to New Liturgical Movement and Fr Z. Below is an extract fro Fr Z's post, which is the original story with his comments in bold.

In recent weeks, parish priests and rectors of churches in our diocese received a communique of the provisions issued by the Cardinal Archbishop, in the face of grave abuses that have been confirmed in this regard. In particular, the Cardinal has ordered that in the Cathedral of St. Peter, in the Basilica of San Petronio and in the Shrine of the Madonna di San Luca, Communion must be distributed to the faithful only on the tongue.

The possibility to receive the consecrated Host in the hand that was granted may, in fact, give rise to "grave abuses", because there are those "who take away the Sacred Species to keep them as souvenirs", "who sell them", or even worse "who take them way to desecrate them in Satanic rituals." [This is a real situation in Italy! Some areas of Italy have high occurances of activity by manifestly Satanic groups. They break into churches and desecrate cemetaries and other holy places.] Thus writes Provicar General, Msgr. Gabriele Cavina in the letter to the priests which accompanies the provisions of the Cardinal, citing a text of [Archbishop] Malcolm Ranjith, Secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments.

"We must take cognizance", Caffarra Cardinal writes,"that unfortunately there have been repeated cases of profanation of the Eucharist, taking advantage of the possibility to receive the consecrated Bread on the palm of the hand, above all, but not exclusively, on the occasion of large celebrations or in large churches subject to the passage of numerous faithful.

From the Swindon Advertiser: Holy Rood Church in Groundwell Road has stopped offering communion wine and has asked worshippers to take communion by hand.

The move has been taken in a bid to improve hygiene standards at the church following recent Government guidelines following the swine flu outbreak.

Although there have been no confirmed cases of the virus in Swindon or Wiltshire, Monsignor Richard Twomey, pictured, is taking no chances.

See the full story.


Leeds adoption agency pursues appeal against SORs

Briefing. The Leeds agency is now the only English one pursuing this route.

From The Tablet: A CATHOLIC adoption agency in Leeds has decided to pursue its case with the Charity Tribunal next week. Catholic Care says it has been forced by the Charity Commission to
return to the tribunal, despite an initial hearing that found in its favour.

“We are doing this as a matter of principle, in spite of the high cost,” said Mark Wiggin, director of Catholic Care. The charity is resisting legislation obliging it to consider homosexual couples as adoptive parents.


Fr Corapi on the Notre Dame scandal

Fr Corapi speaks for the Cardinal Newman Society, an important conservative Catholic organisatiion in the US.


Friday, May 08, 2009

Patients starving in British hospitals

Briefing. This has been reported so many times it is becoming tedious. But it is also extremely worrying.

From SPUC: Patients are dying of malnutrition in British hospitals. A survey for the Health Service journal found that insufficient important and attention was given to feeding patients and to the quality of hospital food. Figures reveal that 242 died of malnutrition in NHS hospitals in 2007. [Daily Mail, 6 May] SPUC has warned that patients are at risk of euthanasia by omission under the Mental Capacity Act [SPUC director]


Thursday, May 07, 2009

Homophobic hate crimes: in the Lords

Action: please lobby the Lords who voted in favour of the clarification of the hate-crimes clause last time around. All they need to do is vote the same way again. To see the list of Peers’ votes, please click here.

From Christian Concern for our Nation: The ‘Chilling Effect’ on Free Speech of the Coroners and Justice Bill and How You can Help to Stop It

The offence of ‘inciting hatred on the grounds of sexual orientation’ is part of the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008 (‘CJI Act’). Lord Waddington successfully inserted a free speech clause into that Act, which clause 61 (formerly clause 58) of the Coroners and Justice Bill now seeks to remove. Clause 61 has been passed by the Commons. It reads as follows:

61 Hatred against persons on grounds of sexual orientation
In Part 3A of the Public Order Act 1986 (c. 64) (hatred against persons on grounds of sexual orientation etc), omit section 29JA (protection for discussion or criticism of sexual conduct etc).

Section 29JA (which clause 61 seeks to omit) reads as follows:

29JA Protection of freedom of expression (sexual orientation)
In this Part, for the avoidance of doubt, the discussion or criticism of sexual conduct or practices or the urging of persons to refrain from or modify such conduct or practices shall not be taken of itself to be threatening or intended to stir up hatred.

The provisions of the Bill are likely to be considered in the House of Lords shortly after its Second Reading on 18th May.

‘Stirring up hatred on the grounds of sexual orientation’ carries a sentence of up to seven years’ imprisonment. Without highlighting the legal distinction between ‘discussion’ on one hand and the ‘stirring up’ of ‘hatred’ on the other, ordinary people will be frightened into silence, unsure whether they can challenge the new morality that seeks to normalise and promote homosexual practice.

Nobody supports the stirring up of hatred, but equally no reasonable person should object to peaceful criticism and discussion of sexual behaviour. Repealing this clause would remove the clear legal protection for such criticism and discussion from the face of the statute. Issuing Guidelines to police and prosecutors cannot hope to undo the damage this will cause. If clause 61 is passed, the consequences would include a climate of fear surrounding the mere discussion of sexual ethics and potentially the silencing of the Christian view.

Let us stand as Christians for our freedom to make a peaceful and reasonable case for biblical sexual ethics.

Attempts to amend this same Bill to allow assisted suicide, including a
high-profile bid by former Health Secretary Patricia Hewitt, have so far
failed. However, we can expect further attempts by the pro-euthanasia lobby to
decriminalise assistance with suicide abroad during its Committee Stage, which
follows Second Reading. This would render the existing law inconsistent. People
would ask why it is acceptable to assist with a suicide abroad, but not at
home. The consequences are plain for all to see.

A concerted campaign is growing in the media to normalise the idea of legalising
assistance with suicide: Dr Philip Nitschke is in the UK once again promoting
different methods for committing suicide and this month Chris Woodhead, former
chief of OFSTED, has made known his desire to commit suicide in the Daily Mail.
Pray that the Lord would hold the line and that the sanctity of life would be
preserved in our law. For further information, read the latest newsletter from
Care Not Killing by clicking here and visit the website by clicking here.

Please use the list of Peers’ votes at the link below to find out which Peers
voted for the free speech clause in May 2008. Please write to as many as you
can, asking them to attend Parliament to vote for any amendment that would
remove clause 61. If you have any personal contact with a Peer, please seek to
persuade them of the necessity of voting for the free speech clause.

Please join our campaign to protect free speech and to prevent assisted suicide
by writing to Peers. Our updated Information and Action pack provides the
resources you need to do this quickly and effectively. Please click on the icon
on the right and take action as soon as you can. Remember, the date for the
Second Reading is Monday, 18th May, after which the Bill will be discussed in
Committee, when clauses are debated and amendments tabled.


Wednesday, May 06, 2009

HFEA 'not fit for purpose'


From SPUC: The head of an official inquiry has said that Britain's embryo regulator is "not fit for purpose". Professor Brian Toft, who chaired an inquiry into
gamete mix-ups at a London hospital, wrote to Sir Liam Donaldson, chief medical officer, saying: "The HFEA [Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority] should be reformed if it is ever to be fit for purpose". [Sunday Times, 3 May] Pro-life campaigners have frequently highlighted the HFEA's low ethical standards.  


Tuesday, May 05, 2009

£100 'smash and grab' from Catholic schools

Briefing. Like many really important things, this has not been picked up by the official Church organisation responsible for the matter - in this case the Catholic Education Service  - but by an independant group, the new Las Casas Institute.

From the Catholic Herald: The government has said that Catholics in England and Wales must pay £100 million to help rebuild and refurbish Catholic primary schools.

The size of the bill could force some dioceses to sell struggling schools or transfer them out of Church control so the Government will pick up the tab.

The figure is contained in a report published this week by the Las Casas Institute at Blackfriars Hall, Oxford, which called the move 'a smash-and-grab raid on the Catholic community'.

Diocesan officials across England and Wales are deeply worried about the cost and are trying urgently to work out a national strategy to deal with it.

The report, entitled Ed Balls, Michael Gove and the Challenge to Faith Schools, said: 'While professing public support for faith education in public... deep below the surface of public conversation and beyond the debates of Westminster, the Secretary of State has been introducing detailed rules that represent a smash-and-grab raid on the Catholic community and the wide range of stakeholders who benefit from its schools and their community service.'

The £100 million represents 10 per cent of the total cost of renewing Catholic primary school buildings under Government plans over the next 12 years. The plans, known as the Primary Capital Programme (PCP), were introduced after it was reported that the run-down state of buildings was harming children's education.

The previous school rebuilding programme, called Building Schools for the Future, was funded entirely by the Government.

In contrast the PCP requires a total of £350 million from the whole faith school sector. Each diocese is expected to negotiate the bill separately with all the local authorities in its area. Sympathetic local authorities may offer to pay some of the money if - as is likely in some cases - the diocese cannot afford it.

However, it is thought that the Conservative Party would pay in full for faith school rebuilding programmes - which would mean that the cost to the Catholic community would be nothing.

Stephen Morgan, chairman of the conference of diocesan financial secretaries and financial secretary of Portsmouth diocese, said: 'It's a really big problem, and a problem we don't have a way of solving at the moment.

'The Catholic community is growing and the new arrivals are not wealthy. It's all very well to ask Catholics in the leafy suburbs to pay extra money but it's more difficult if they are from Ghana or eastern Europe and living in the East End of London.'

Gerald Curran, financial secretary of Brentwood diocese, agreed that it would be very difficult for dioceses to raise the funds. He said: 'Basically the dioceses would not have that sort of money - it's a huge amount of money. Those primary schools that needed work would be immediately dealt with but others would have to be put on the long finger.'

Noel Loughrey, financial secretary of Salford diocese, said: 'It's clearly going to be difficult to raise the 10 per cent because of the sheer size of the sums involved.'

Martin Lockery, schools commissioner at Salford diocese, said it would be 'difficult, probably impossible' to raise the money - but that good relationships with local authorities meant the diocese would not have to pay the full 10 per cent.

He said one £6 million project to merge two schools into one - as part of the PCP - was funded entirely by Manchester City Council.

'We have ongoing conversations about what we can afford. The [Manchester] authority was well aware that suddenly having £600,000 thrown our way would be a non-starter. It was an acceptance of the reality of the situation,' Mr Lockery said.

No help from the CES

One financial secretary said dioceses had received no help at all from the Catholic Education Service. 'It was not even on the CES's radar - or if it was, they didn't let us know about it,' he said. The Catholic Education Service was not available for comment.

According to the Las Casas Institute report the £100 million bill is just one of a series of 'raids' by the Government on Catholic schools.

The report discloses that the Government has withdrawn its insurance cover for school buildings, transferring it to local authorities which are then not obliged to provide it.

In Hull, for instance, the local authority has demanded that Catholic schools pay for their own insurance. If this move were repeated across the country, the report says, the cost to the Catholic community would be £30 million a year.

The report also points out that under current Government regulations the Church cannot keep the proceeds from a sale of a school unless they are reinvested in another school in the same area. This means that if the Church tries to adapt to changing Catholic demography - to respond to an increasing need elsewhere in the diocese - it could lose tens of millions of pounds of assets.

Some claim the report is likely to reinforce a sense among Catholics that the Labour Government is hostile to Catholic education.

Last year Schools Secretary Ed Balls accused faith schools of breaking the admissions code in an 'unacceptable' way. Months later, a report by the schools' chief adjudicator said the vast majority of admissions arrangements at Catholic schools were 'fair, transparent and fully compliant'.

In 2006 the Government sought to impose a 25 per cent quota of non-Catholics on Catholic schools but was forced into a U-turn after pressure from the Church.

A spokesman for the Department for Children, Schools and Families said: 'The £1.9 billion Primary Capital Programme will rebuild or improve at least half of all primary schools in England, so that they reach 21st-century standards and help provide wider services for children and families in their communities.

'Since an Act of Parliament was introduced in 1944, it has been a requirement that voluntary aided schools contribute to the cost of any building work that takes place. Local authorities can, of course, assist voluntary aided schools with this contribution if they are able.' [Catholic Herald]


Monday, May 04, 2009

Damian Thompson on 'Gay Masses'

Comment. Damian Thompson writes coyly that 'I know I should steer clear of this subject': it is characteristic of him to provoke and simultaneously dread (or claim to dread) the comments on his blog about his own orientation, domestic arrangements, etc.. 

Here's the locus classicus of this: 'Calling all lesbian and gay Roman Catholics! ... Having lit the fuse, I look forward to your responses. Hint to people who don't like me, or fancy a spot of outing: this is your opportunity to get in a few digs'. In that post he was actually promoting the Warwick Street contribution to the London Gay Pride march - or ironically pretending to.

However we've never criticised him for what is a matter for the internal forum (despite his hints); as far as we care to know he's not a public sinner; the rest we leave to his conscience and the Good Lord. We have other criticisms of his journalistic standards: see 'How not to blog'.

What he says about the 'Gay Masses' in the church or Our Lady of the Assumption, Warwick Street, however, is spot on:

The Warwick Street formula is deliberately ambiguous, however. The community "enables all who take part in the Masses various ways to grow in their faith and integrate this with their sexual orientation". Meaning what? Sounds like don't ask, don't tell on the part of the diocese. Critics would say it amounts to having your rainbow-coloured cake and eating it.

Speaking of which, doesn't that rainbow rhetoric make you cringe? It's as outdated as, well, Bungle and Zippy. I don't know if the Warwick Street LGBT caucus has noticed, but young gay people tend not to be into that Castro stuff. Some of them haven't even read Tales of the City.

And as for young homosexual Catholics, well, some of them are Lefty activists but many are traddies who wouldn't be seen dead in Warwick Street unless Mass was celebrated in the Extraordinary Form. And this is just a guess, but I reckon most of them are pretty impressively celibate. I don't judge them, or gay couple friends of mine whose intimate life is none of my bloody business.

This is exactly right. The Warwick Street Masses, as we have always pointed out, don't cater for Catholics of a homosexual orientation, but for people who dissent from Catholic teaching in a way characteristic of the 'ageing lefty' type. The whole idea of Masses for specific groups like homosexuals is just embarassing to anyone who takes the Mass seriously. The way they do it, rainbow cakes and all, makes it even worse.

But Thompson is being optimistic when he suggests, at the end of his post, that Archhbishop Nichols may bring these Masses to an end. If he'd been reading CAUK, he's know that Nichols has beeen tolerating his very own 'Gay Masses', in Birmingham, for years. If they are ok in St Catherine of Siena, Bristol Street, Birmingham, why should he move against them in Our Lady of the Assumption, Warwick Street, Soho?


Pope Leo XIII's Prayer to St Michael

Holy Michael, Archangel, defend us in the day of battle. Be our safeguard against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray, and do thou, Prince of the Heavenly Host, by the power of God, thrust down to Hell Satan, and all wicked spirits who wander through the world for the ruin of souls. Amen