Saturday, 8 May 2010

The pro-life movement should start a counter-revolution on the oral contraceptive pill

The UNFPA has drawn attention this week to the 50th anniversary of the approval of oral contraceptive pills in the US. The anniversary occurs tomorrow, Mother's Day in the US, as UNFPA is at pains to mention.

And today at an all-day symposium on the pill and its consequences “50 Years after the Pill — The Revolution Continues” is taking place in Washington. One of the speakers at this symposium is Nafis Sadik (pictured). (In 1991,  as UNFPA's  executive director Nafis Sadik said: "China has every reason to feel proud of and pleased with its remarkable achievements made in its family planning policy and control of its population growth.” [Xinhua, 11 April 1991] In 2002 China's State Family Planning Commission gave Nafis Sadik its own Population Award.)

I think counter symposia need to be organized by the pro-life movement worldwide, symposia for which I would suggest the working title "50 years after the Pill - the counter-revolution begins".

Such symposia should focus on the fact that virtually all contraceptive drugs and devices – with the exception of course of prophylactics like condoms – may work abortifaciently as their manufacturers freely acknowledge.

Also, two major sessions at this symposium should cover the fulfilment of Pope Paul VI's prophetic encyclical Humanae Vitae on artificial birth control and, in particular, the following extract from section 17:
"Finally, careful consideration should be given to the danger of this power passing into the hands of those public authorities who care little for the precepts of the moral law. Who will blame a government which in its attempt to resolve the problems affecting an entire country resorts to the same measures as are regarded as lawful by married people in the solution of a particular family difficulty? Who will prevent public authorities from favoring those contraceptive methods which they consider more effective? Should they regard this as necessary, they may even impose their use on everyone.”
The first of these sessions should be addressed by scholars who are expert in China's coercive abortion/birth control policy - the one-child policy - which provides such a brutally tragic fulfilment of Pope Paul VI's prophecy. The UNFPA's participation in China's forced abortion one-child policy is, of course, well-documented. China's policy is funded by regular donations from over 180 countries worldwide, including over 40 million US dollars from the UK in 2007.

The second of these sessions should be addressed by experts on how the Catholic church authorities in England and Wales are co-operating with the British government in imposing the use of birth control, including abortion, on Catholic (and non-Catholic) families. Catholic authorities, which include the Catholic bishops of England and Wales, are doing this by welcoming into Catholic schools Connexions whose job it is to make abortion and contraception available to children, without parental knowledge or consent. 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. This session might also deal with how Archbishop Vincent Nichols painted in an entirely positive light the British government's sex and relationship education proposals - which were defeated in Parliament just before the general election. These proposals which would have enabled the promotion and facilitation of abortion, contraception and homosexuality* in schools in England, including Catholic schools.

Finally, expert speakers should be invited to explain how countless human lives have been destroyed as a result of the rejection of Humanae Vitae and its teaching on the wrongfulness of the separation of the unitive significance and procreative significance of the conjugal act, not least through birth control and IVF practices, including amongst Catholics (albeit on the question of the separation of the unitive significance and the procreative significance of the marital act SPUC itself has no policy. The Society is made up of people of all faiths and none and SPUC’s remit is solely concerned with defending the right to life from conception till natural death.)

The pro-life movement, including everyone in the movement of all faiths and none, needs to understand and to teach the truth that our crisis began with the rejection of Humanae Vitae. It will end with its acceptance and implementation.  As a Catholic I am convinced that the acceptance and implementation of the prophetic teaching of Humanae Vitae will only be possible if there is a radical change in the nomination policy of Bishops throughout the world. The nominations of bishops who do not have a sustained and genuine track record of fidelity to the teachings of the Magisterium on the transmission of human life (Humanae Vitae) must stop. Such nominations must stop because the cost in babies' lives is simply too great. Humanae Vitae which has been re-stated in Pope Benedict's Caritas in Veritate must become central to our movement.

If any pro-life leaders are interested in the idea of organizing such symposia - do please contact me at johnsmeaton@spuc.org.uk

*(I emphasise that my comments above, both as a Catholic and as a pro-lifer, are motivated and inspired by John Paul II’s words in Evangelium Vitae, paragraph 97 that it is an illusion to think that we can build a true culture of human life if we do not offer adolescents and young adults an authentic education in sexuality, and in love, and the whole of life according to their true meaning and in their close interconnection.)

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Friday, 7 May 2010

There are plenty of chances and dangers in the new parliament

Last night's historic general election results present both opportunities and dangers for the pro-life movement. There were a number of good results:

Harrow East: Tony McNulty, the anti-life Labour minister, was defeated by Bob Blackman (Conservative), who assured SPUC of his intentions to vote pro-life if elected. A team of local SPUC members distributed many thousands of leaflets in the constituency.

Stockton South: Dari Taylor, the anti-life Labour MP, was defeated by James Wharton (Conservative), who also told SPUC of his intention to vote pro-life if elected. The local SPUC branch also distributed leaflets in Stockton South.

Cardiff North: Jonathan Evans (Conservative), a pro-life MEP and former MP, was elected. SPUC has worked closely with Mr Evans in various issues, and SPUC members were active in the constituency during the election campaign.

Many anti-life MPs lost their seats. Notable among them were:
  • Gillian Merron (Labour), public health minister
  • Sandra Gidley (Liberal Democrat), very anti-SPUC and pro-morning-after pill.
  • Jacquie Smith (Labour, home secretary), originally elected via the pro-abortion EMILY's List.
  • Oxford West and Abingdon: Dr Evan Harris (Liberal Democrat), perhaps the most anti-life MP, was defeated by Nicola Blackwood (Conservative). In 2008, I gave Dr Harris (popularly known as "Dr Death"), a special lifetime Orwell Award for his outstanding use of “political language ... designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.” (George Orwell)
Those are some of the individual highlights for the pro-life movement from last night's results. It's difficult to give an overall assessment. Some pro-life MPs lost their seats (e.g. David Drew, Labour, Stroud) and some pro-life hopefuls (Phillippa Stroud, Conservative, Sutton and Cheam) were not elected.

The most immediate concern for SPUC in this new Parliament is to protect children from the pro-abortion ideology which lies behind plans to make sex and relationships education compulsory in England from the age of five. SPUC is therefore to launch a campaign against sex education proposals as the new Parliament meets.

In the last Parliament, plans to make sex and relationships education compulsory from 5 to 16 years had to be abandoned by the (Labour) government when it was forced to negotiate with opposition parties in the “wash up” period immediately prior to the general election. Parents and children were betrayed by MPs and by church leaders in England and Wales who backed the government’s plans.

The three major party leaders and their parties have all signalled their support for an anti-life/anti-family approach to sex and relationships education (though the Conservative party's behaviour regarding the Labour government's bill has been inconsistent). Whichever party or parties form the new government, the danger is basically the same.

The government’s compulsory sex and relationships education (SRE) policies sought to impose their ideology regarding so-called sexual and reproductive health. This ideology included the confidential provision of abortion and birth control drugs and devices to children under the age of 16 without parental knowledge or consent, as Ed Balls, who was Secretary of State for schools, repeatedly made clear.

This ideology is embedded in the draft guidance on sex and relationships education published earlier this year by the Department of Children, Schools and Families, which is unaffected by the general election (and a change of government).

Parents must fight back against the policies promoting abortion and attacking young children’s natural reserve and innocence in sexual matters. Parents have a right and a duty to protect their children. They have been betrayed by MPs, and by Catholic and Anglican church leaders who have not told the truth, and who backed the government’s plans to make abortion and birth control drugs and devices accessible, on a completely confidential basis, to schoolchildren throughout England.

Parents have a right and duty to know if their young teenage children are receiving so-called sexual health procedures such as abortion, long-term birth control implants, the morning-after pill, or STD/HIV tests and treatment.

SPUC is therefore launching a parents’ right to know campaign and will be organizing regional seminars for headteachers and for parents on the threat posed by the draft guidance on sex and relationships education published earlier this year by the Department of Children, Schools and Families.

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Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Archbishop Fisichella should be sacked, not promoted

Catholic on Line seems pretty certain about rumours of the formation of a new pontifical council - a pontifical council for the new evangelization.

I might have shared this enthusiasm were it not for another rumour that Pope Benedict may be about to invite Archbishop Rino Fisichella (pictured) to preside over this new council.

Readers may recall that last February five prominent members of the Pontifical Academy for Life - following a meeting of the Academy - called on Pope Benedict to remove Archbishop Fisichella as President of the Pontifical Academy for Life.

Their unprecedented step was prompted by Archbishop Fisichella's opening address to members of the Academy in which he stood by the original wording of his article in L'Osservatore Romano, last year, which implied that there are difficult situations in which doctors enjoy scope for the autonomous exercise of conscience in deciding whether to carry out a direct abortion. I explained the potentially disastrous implications of Archbishop Fisichella's article in a talk at the 4th Pro-Life World Congress in Saragossa last November. Fr Finigan in The Hermeneutic of Continuity also covered the matter fully last July.

How, I wonder, would Frances Kissling, of Catholics for a Free Choice, respond to Archbishop Fisichella's appointment to such an important post - she who memorably said of the archbishop's article in L'Osservatore Romano that it "has opened a crack, through which women, doctors and political decision-makers can slip in"?

Or how would the US President Barack Obama and Hilary Clinton, his pro-abortion, secretary of state - who are bankrolling abortion worldwide - respond to such a papal appointment?

How would such a scandalous appointment affect the world's perception of Catholic moral teaching on abortion? And, in Obama's push for a universal right to abortion, how would such an appointment affect the world's perception of conscientious objection to abortion on the part of health professionals?

According to Catholic on Line:
" ... The new department will be aimed at bringing the Gospel back to Western societies that have lost their Christian identity ... There is a desperate need for such a new evangelization. Many Catholic Christians do not know what the Church actually teaches and have embraced what some have called a 'cafeteria Catholicism'- choosing what parts of their faith they will follow ... "
Yes - and that's precisely the problem with appointing Archbishop Rino Fisichella to such a role. The position set out by Archbishop Fisichella, like the collaboration of the bishops of England and Wales with the British government on life issues, are cancers which are threatening to destroy countless human lives. A perception that Cafeteria Catholicism prevails in the church will end up serving up the right to abortion worldwide.

In the interests of the lives of unborn babies worldwide Archbishop Fisichella should be removed form the Pontifical Academy for Life without the consolation prize of a promotion especially one which might make him a Cardinal.

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Pastoral department of Westminster archdiocese organizes tour of Our Lady of Guadalupe, patroness of the unborn

On the eve of the general election in the United Kingdom, many Catholic pro-lifers have been delighted to hear the announcement of a nine-month tour of England and Wales of a full-scale replica of the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe, known to Catholics as the patroness of the unborn.

The next stop in the tour is St John's cathedral in Portsmouth, this Saturday, 8th May, where the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe for England and Wales will be the focus of the annual rosary rally. The rally starts with Mass at 12.15 pm, followed by the rosary, a procession, hymns, prayers and Benediction. The day ends with tea at 3 pm.

A good account of how Catholics came to honour Our Lady of Guadalupe as the patroness of the unborn is provided by 2SecondsFaster.com

Edmund Adamus, Director of the Department of Pastoral Affairs in the Diocese of Westminster, is co-ordinating the nine-month novena tour which will conclude on 12th December 2010, the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. The image will be available on request beyond that date.

Edmund Adamus writes:
"The tour began between March 11-17 2010 with the full approval of Archbishop Nichols, the archbishop of Westminster, in Westminster cathedral hall for a day of devotions with hundreds of the faithful and it extended to three other London parishes, including the Shrine of Our Lady of Willesden, north London. Archbishop Nichols granted me, as the designated temporary custodian of the image, permission to ask each diocesan bishop to consider allowing the image to be welcomed in his diocese for devotional purposes for the cause of the Gospel of Life, the protection of the unborn, the sanctity of families and the home and the peace of the nation. This digitally reproduced image with official seals imprinted upon it is one of only 220 commissioned by Cardinal Rivera Carrera in 2004 and entrusted to the apostolate Life and Mercy Crusade in Mexico for distribution to every country which welcomes them."
More detailed publicity will be made known in the near future but anyone needing further details contact Edmund Adamus at edmundadamus@rcdow.org.uk or cathmacgillivray@rcdow.org.uk


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