A huge rally in Madrid was led last Sunday by a veritable who's who of Catholic European leaders, against the Spanish government's legislation to make abortion available on demand, including without parental consent for 16 and 17 year-olds. Check the list below for cardinals, archbishops and bishops who attended the rally - from the Vatican, from Spain, from Poland, from Holland, from Germany, from Austria, from Portugal, from Italy and from France.*
The Daily Telegraph reports that Cardinal Antonio Rouco, the leader of Spain's Roman Catholics, spoke as follows about the Spanish government's plans to legalize abortion on demand for young people of 16 and 17 years without parental permission:
"Who denies to defend a human being so innocent and weak, already conceived but not born, commits a grave violation of moral order."And last month Juan Antonion Martinez Camino, the spokesman of Spain's Catholic bishops' conference, told members of the Spanish parliament:
"This is a warning to Catholics, that they can't vote in favour of this and that they won't be able to receive communion unless they ask forgiveness ... They are in an objective state of sin".In the meantime, back in England, our church leaders are not only failing to break their silence on government legislation in the Children, Schools and Families bill, the Catholic Education Service (CES), on behalf of the Catholic bishops of England and Wales, gives general support to compulsory sex education
Moreover, the CES (of which Archbishop Nichols was chairman until his appointment as archbishop of Westminster this year) welcomes Connexions into Catholic schools. Connexions is a government agency which is committed to giving schoolchildren, under the age of 16, access to abortion and abortifacients without parental knowledge or permission. Connexions' advisers are trained to tell young people that they can obtain abortion and abortifacients without parental knowledge or consent.
Through the Children, Schools and Families bill, the government not only wants universal sex education, but it also wants to use all state secondary schools, including Catholic ones, as centres for promoting access to contraception and abortion services. Not since the Abortion Act 1967 has there been such a determined effort to promote universal access to abortion.
Archbishop Nichols (as reported on the Bashing Secularism blog, which cited an interview in Standpoint magazine), appears to believe that British government policy means that Catholic schools have "retained their rights through the governing body that their sex and relationships education is delivered according to Catholic ethos and teaching". This is simply not the case.
The government has accepted all the major recommendations of the 2007/2008 report by the Teenage Pregnancy Independent Advisory Group. The report's major recommendations include that:
"The Government's current review of SRE should ...* Here are the Catholic leaders listed as being present at last Sunday's rally in Spain:
- ... [s]tate clearly that all schools including faith schools must teach all aspects of SRE within the context of relationships in an anti-discriminatory way; contraception, abortion and homosexuality are all legal in this country and therefore all children and young people should be able to learn the correct facts
- ... [m]ake explicit links to young people's advisory services and provision of contraception and sexual health services and demonstrate this by teaching young people how to access services"
- Cardinal Antonio María Rouco Varela, archbishop of Madrid and president of the Spanish bishops' conference
- Cardinal Agostino Vallini, vicar-general of Rome
- Cardinal Ennio Antonelli, president of the Pontifical Council for the Family,
- Cardinal Stanisław Ryłko, president of the Pontifical Council for the Laity
- Cardinal Paul Josef Cordes, president of the Pontifical Council Cor Unum
- Cardinal Luis María Martínez Sistach, archbishop of Barcelona
- Cardinal Augustín García-Gasco y Vicente, archbishop-emeritus of Valencia
- Cardinal Carlos Amigo Vallejo, O.F.M., archbishop-emeritus of Seville
- Cardinal Philippe Xavier Ignace Barbarin, archbishop of Lyons (France)
- Cardinal Georg Maximilian Sterzinsky, archbishop of Berlin (Germany)
- Archbishop Józef Michalik, archbishop of Przemyśl (Poland) and president of the Polish bishops' conference
- Bishop Franciscus Jozef Maria Wiertz, bishop of Roermond (Holland) and vice-president of the Dutch bishop' conference
- Bishop Klaus Küng, bishop of Sankt Pölten (Austria)
- Archbishop Renzo Fratini, apostolic nuncio to Spain
- 42 Spanish archbishops and bishops from Portugal, Italy, Austria and France
- 1,200 priests
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