Jack Valero (pictured right) is reported on Catholic Voices' website to have said:
"I think it's a joke that has gone wrong - light relief that has gone out of control. And I think Catholics will just take it like this, you know, that they'll think about it today and then they will forget about it."Sorry Jack, that's really not good enough, particularly in view of the unbalanced criticism of the Catholic Church during the prime ministerial debate last Thursday. May I respectfully remind you what Pope John Paul II said about abortion?
He said those that have been scarred by abortion would find the joke "a bit thin".
"Among all the crimes which can be committed against life, procured abortion has characteristics making it particularly serious and deplorable. The Second Vatican Council defines abortion, together with infanticide, as an "unspeakable crime" ...Pope John Paul II goes on to say (in relation to abortion and euthanasia):
" ... The moral gravity of procured abortion is apparent in all its truth if we recognize that we are dealing with murder and, in particular, when we consider the specific elements involved. The one eliminated is a human being at the very beginning of life. No one more absolutely innocent could be imagined. In no way could this human being ever be considered an aggressor, much less an unjust aggressor! He or she is weak, defenceless, even to the point of lacking that minimal form of defence consisting in the poignant power of a newborn baby's cries and tears ... " Evangelium Vitae, N. 58.
" ... But any State which made such a request legitimate and authorized it to be carried out would be legalizing a case of suicide-murder, contrary to the fundamental principles of absolute respect for life and of the protection of every innocent life. In this way the State contributes to lessening respect for life and opens the door to ways of acting which are destructive of trust in relations between people. Laws which authorize and promote abortion and euthanasia are therefore radically opposed not only to the good of the individual but also to the common good ... " Evangelium Vitae, No 72.Abortion, in other words, is not a matter of private morality of concern only to Catholics. On the contrary, Pope John Paul II teaches: "When a parliamentary or social majority that it is legal, at least under certain conditions, to kill unborn human life, is it not really making a 'tyrannical' decision with regard to the weakest and most defenceless of human beings? Everyone's conscience rightly rejects those crimes against humanity of which our century has had such sad experience. But would these crimes cease to be crimes if, instead of being committed by unscrupulous tyrants, they were legitimated by popular consensus? ... " Evangelium Vitae, N70
As Clement Atlee, the post-war Labour prime minister, said of Harold Laski when he sought to intervene in foreign affairs, I would say to Jack Valero: " ... a period of silence on your part would be welcome."
By way of contrast, I thought the Government's response was nearer the mark. David Milliband, the foreign secretary, was said to be "appalled" by the incident.
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