Tuesday, 31 March 2015

I interview Fr Peter West of Human Life International

I was at Human Life International (HLI) headquarters in Front Royal, Virginia, in the US, earlier this month meeting Monsignor Barreiro, head of HLI's Rome office & currently working at HLI HQ. I was en route to Cleveland, Ohio, where I was speaking on "Why the Pro-life Movement must embrace marriage and the family or face defeat" at Cleveland Right to Life's Convention.

Whilst there I had the pleasure of meeting again and interviewing Fr Peter West, vice-president of Mission for HLI.

We spoke about the worldwide work of Human Life International, in over 100 countries, many of the poorest countries in the world where they are building opposition to the culture of death. "We are small but we are the oftentimes the conscience ...  we are a voice which the opposition wants to stamp out ... It's a struggle between David and Goliath" he told me.

We spoke about same-sex marriage, about contraception being at the foundation of the culture of death, and about the terrible damage done by Rev. Theodore M. Hesburgh, C.S.C., president of the University of Notre Dame from 1952 to 1987, about whom Fr West has written recently, whose heterodox influence has been felt around the world which resulted in the loss of Catholic character of so many "Catholic" colleges around the world.

Fr Peter West's powerful educational ministry can be followed on Facebook and Twitter.



Comments on this blog? Email them to johnsmeaton@spuc.org.uk
Sign up for alerts to new blog-posts and/or for SPUC's other email services
Follow SPUC on Twitter
Like SPUC's Facebook Page
Please support SPUC. Please donate, join, and/or leave a legacy

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Cardinal Nichols' criticism of faithful priests is deeply disturbing



Cardinal Nichols conducting dialogue on the Synod via the press

I am deeply disturbed by Cardinal Nichols' criticism of the 461 brave priests who signed a letter upholding the unchangeable teachings of the Catholic Church on marriage and Holy Communion.

In the letter, which was published in the Catholic Herald yesterday, priests from all over England and Wales pledged to remain faithful to Catholic teaching and to offer true pastoral care to all those who find themselves in difficult situations.

A statement made by Cardinal Nichols' spokesman said:
“Every priest in England and Wales has been asked to reflect on the Synod discussion. It is my understanding that this has been taken up in every diocese, and that channels of communication have been established.”
It continued:
“The pastoral experience and concern of all priests in these matters are of great importance and are welcomed by the Bishops. Pope Francis has asked for a period of spiritual discernment. This dialogue, between a priest and his bishop, is not best conducted through the press.”
I find this statement astonishing for a number of reasons.

Firstly, Cardinal Nichols has himself used the press to indicate sympathy for views being promoted by the "radical elements" (to use Cardinal Pell's phrase) who want to dismantle Catholic teaching on marriage and the family.

I drew attention yesterday to the press conference at which Cardinal Nichols undermined Catholic teaching on the reception of Holy Communion by the divorced and "remarried".

The Cardinal also used the press to express his disappointment that the final report of the synod did not include controversial phrases originally placed in the notorious interim report. He told BBC Radio 4’s Sunday programme:

“I didn’t think it went far enough, there were three key words as far as I was concerned … ‘respect’, ‘welcome’ and ‘value’. I was looking for those words and they weren’t there and so I didn’t think that was a good paragraph.”
He added:
“I didn’t think it was a good text because it didn’t include those words strongly enough so I wasn’t satisfied with it.”
Secondly, it is hardly surprising that priests faithful to Catholic teaching would lack confidence in the "channels of communication" that are claimed to "have been established." I also mentioned yesterday that the official document produced by Bishops' Conference of England and Wales for clergy seemed nothing other than an instrument for intimidating priests who wish to remain faithful to the Church's traditional doctrine and discipline.

Is it any surprise that these brave priests would wish to speak directly to the Catholic faithful rather than trust "channels of communication" established by the same people responsible for this truly disgraceful document?

Indeed, in their press statement an anonymous priest was quoted who alleged that priests involved in the project had been intimidated by "senior churchmen."

Thirdly, and perhaps most importantly, how can any Catholic bishop object to priests using the media to express their loyalty to the teaching of Christ and their desire to give true pastoral care to all who need it?

Catholics should be very disturbed by the Cardinal's comments; very disturbed indeed.

Comments on this blog? Email them to johnsmeaton@spuc.org.uk
Sign up for alerts to new blog-posts and/or for SPUC's other email services
Follow SPUC on Twitter
Like SPUC's Facebook Page
Please support SPUC. Please donate, join, and/or leave a legacy

The Annunciation reminds us of the pro-life movement's sacred work

Monsignor Barreiro's and Father Peter West's article "Salvation begins in the womb; honouring the Annunciation" reminds us of the sacred work of the pro-life movement which seeks to protect Christ Himself in Whose image and likeness all of us are made at the moment of our conception. It's also a reminder why we must patiently and charitably correct our colleagues in the international pro-life movement who do not yet understand that we must explicitly oppose contraceptive drugs and devices which, according to the manufacturers, can stop the newly-conceived embryo from implanting in the lining of the womb. One of the consequences of failing to do so is the virtually worldwide acceptance of the IVF industry - including amongst Church-goers. According to peer-reviewed research up to 23 babies are killed (discarded), or used in destructive human embryo research, or frozen, or miscarry, for every one baby born by IVF. Today's culture of death is characterised by contempt for the the human embryo - contempt for our Saviour Jesus Christ Who began His life in the womb of Our Lady, the Mother of God, Whose consent to our redemption we celebrate today in the feast of the Annunciation.

Comments on this blog? Email them to johnsmeaton@spuc.org.uk
Sign up for alerts to new blog-posts and/or for SPUC's other email services
Follow SPUC on Twitter
Like SPUC's Facebook Page
Please support SPUC. Please donate, join, and/or leave a legacy

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

“Senior churchmen” accused of intimidating clergy faithful to Catholic teaching on marriage

I was greatly encouraged to read this morning the press statement released by the co-ordinator of the “Support Marriage Letter”, which reveals that 461 priests from across England and Wales have signed a letter urging those cardinals and bishops attending the Ordinary Synod to uphold Catholic teaching on the nature of marriage and to affirm the unchangeable doctrine and discipline of the Church regarding the reception of Holy Communion by divorced persons living in invalid civil unions.

The priests’ letter says:
“We affirm the importance of upholding the Church’s traditional discipline regarding the reception of the sacraments, and that doctrine and practice remain firmly and inseparably in harmony.”
I was however greatly concerned to read in their press statement the accusation that there “has been a certain amount of pressure not to sign the letter and indeed a degree of intimidation from some senior Churchmen”.

It should be shocking to us to hear that senior clerics are intimidating priests who simply wish to remain faithful to the unchanging teachings of the Church. Unfortunately, I was not surprised by this allegation.

Back in December the Bishops' Conference of England and Wales published a document that insinuated that priests who remain faithful to the Catholic doctrine and discipline of the sacraments are guilty of an attitude similar to the fourth century heresy of Donatism. It is difficult to see this as anything other than an attempt to intimidate clergy who are unwilling to go along with the radical agenda being pursued by senior clerics, particularly with regard to the reception of Holy Communion by the divorced and “remarried”, and with regard to attempts to undermine the teaching of the Church on homosexuality and same-sex unions.

The President of the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, Vincent Cardinal Nichols, indicated his openness to the reception of Holy Communion by the divorced and “remarried” at a press conference on 21st October 2014 despite authoritative and irreformable Church teaching to the contrary.

Cardinal Nichols’ views on, and approach towards, homosexuality and same-sex unions have been documented many times on this blog:
Please write to the following bishops who will representing the Bishops' Conference of England and Wales and inform them that you expect them to faithfully promote and defend the Catholic faith:

His Eminence Vincent Cardinal Nichols
Archbishop of Westminster
Archbishop’s House
Ambrosden Avenue
London
SW1P 1QJ
cardinalnichols@rcdow.org.uk

Rt Rev Peter Doyle
Bishop of Northampton
Bishop's House
Marriott Street
Northampton
NN2 6AW
bishop@northamptondiocese.com

Rt Rev Philip Egan
Bishop of Portsmouth (substitute if one of the above cannot attend)
Bishop's House
Bishop Crispan Way
Portsmouth
PO1 3HG
bishop@portsmouthdiocese.org.uk

Please also write to your own bishops to state your expectation that they will remain faithful to Catholic teaching on human life, marriage and the family and their intimate and intrinsic connection to the doctrine of the sacraments.

Comments on this blog? Email them to johnsmeaton@spuc.org.uk
Sign up for alerts to new blog-posts and/or for SPUC's other email services
Follow SPUC on Twitter
Like SPUC's Facebook Page
Please support SPUC. Please donate, join, and/or leave a legacy