Friday, 23 July 2010

Children understand the truth about human life, says Joe Lee of SPUC Scotland

I am grateful to Joe Lee (pictured furthest right), the development officer for SPUC Scotland, for sending me a report of a recent public awareness campaign run by SPUC Scotland. Joe Lee and Lucy McCully (pictured left of Joe), SPUC Scotland's education officer, took the pro-life message to the people of Scotland. 

In his report Joe explains that the purpose of the roadshow was to educate the Scottish public about the reality of human development before birth. The SPUC Scotland team also explained the facts about embryo experimentation, abortion and euthanasia, to those who were interested.

Joe offers an interesting reflection in his report of the roadshow. He says:
[t]here was a great deal of interest in the stall, with people generally being supportive. The many children that came to our stall were very interested in the foetal models that we had on display and instinctively knew that they were model babies. They don't call them embryos, or foetuses, but simply babies. It's amazing how innocent children can cut through all the jargon of the abortion debate and instantly get to the heart of the matter.
Joe also rightly reflects on the urgent need to educate children about the truth of human life, in order to promote a culture of life.

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
Join SPUC's Facebook group
Please support SPUC. Please donate, join, and/or leave a legacy

Don't hold your breath when reading new Ofsted report on sex and relationships education

The BBC, and a host of other news services, reports today Ofsted's claim that lessons about sex, relationships and health are not good enough in 25% of schools in England.
"Teacher embarrassment and lack of knowledge were often to blame, Ofsted said in a report based on findings at 92 primary and 73 secondary schools."
Whilst it will undoubtedly be interesting to read in detail this 43-page report (36 pages if you cut out the blank spaces on various pages) and its recommendations, I am not holding my breath that it will provide any hard evidence that alleged "better" sex and relationships education will make for the better results. 
Paul Tully, SPUC's general secretary, pointed out earlier this year (in a SPUC briefing you should read in full on the previous government's unsuccessful legislative plans for sex and relationships education):
"Advocates of sex education often try to explain the poor outcomes of current sex education by saying that it is not taught consistently, that it is delivered by non-specialised or poorly-trained teachers, that it does not have sufficient status as a subject, or that it doesn’t link information to local sexual health services."
Paul looked at a number of studies researching into the problem. One of these studies, entitled SHARE, was designed to combine the most effective educational techniques available, including small group work, role-playing, handling condoms, interactive video, etc. The study by Henderson, Wight and others, appeared in the British Medical Journal [BMJ 2007 Jan 20 334(7585) 133] in an article entitled Impact of a theoretically based sex education programme (SHARE) delivered by teachers on NHS registered conceptions and terminations: final results of cluster randomised trial.

Paul notes:
Despite all this care and effort, the researchers concluded about SHARE that: “This specially designed sex education programme did not reduce conceptions or terminations by age 20 compared with conventional provision. The lack of effect was not due to quality of delivery.”

In fact, earlier published data had suggested a higher rate of abortions among the SHARE programme pupils.
As David Paton, professor of industrial economics at Nottingham University Business School, has pointed out: the government had spent £250 million on developing a programme to provide information on sex, including contraception and abortion, and to link schools to sexual advice clinics. While the rate of pregnancies in under-18s had fallen, pregnancies among under-16s, sexually transmitted diseases and teenage abortion rates had increased.

We must persuade our new coalition government, not least Michael Gove, the secretary of state for education, that it's time for a new chapter in sex and relationships education - by abandoning the government's devastating failure in the classroom and by recognizing parents' rights and responsibilities as the primary educators of their children - rights recognized by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (as I pointed out in my talk at 4th world pro-life congress in Spain last year).

I will, no doubt, return to the Ofsted report and its findings, very soon.

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
Join SPUC's Facebook group
Please support SPUC. Please donate, join, and/or leave a legacy

Catholic Church will never celebrate same sex unions "not now, not in the future, not ever" says fearless Scottish bishop

Two leading Catholic bishops have struck a blow for the culture of life by opposing homosexual "marriage". As I will never tire of pointing out, the great pro-life leader (regardless of one's faith) Pope John Paul II observed in Evangelium Vitae (97) that we can't hope to build a culture of life unless young people are taught the authentic truth about human sexuality.

The Herald (Glasgow) reports on a fearless Scottish bishop, Philip Tartaglia (pictured), telling David Cameron, the British Prime Minister that the Catholic Church will never celebrate same-sex unions - "not now, not in the future, not ever" - even if the law changes to allow religious celebrants to conduct gay marriages.

How startlingly different is this language, expressing Catholic doctrine and defending civilised family values, from that of Archbishop Vincent Nichols, the archbishop of Westminster, to which I referred earlier this week.

Equally different from Archbishop Nichols's are the words of Cardinal Juan Cipriani Thorne, the archbishop of Lima, who reportedly told Peruvians this week they must not imitate the bad examples of countries like Argentina, whose Senate recently approved so-called homosexual “marriage.”

Finally, Catholic News Agency tells us today that:
"Next month, former Judge Fernando Ferrin Calamita will be forced to pay the Spanish government $127,000 for denying a lesbian couple’s request to adopt a girl.

"Ferrin, who is married and a father of seven, was a judge in the Spanish towns of Huesca, Bejar and Chiclana. He also served as a family court judge in Murcia from 1999 to 2008, when the Supreme Court suspended him for two years and three months for ruling against the controversial adoption."
Visitors to this blog may like to write to this just man to congratulate him on his courageous stand for the culture of life. I don't know his address but I'm sure if you write via the Spanish organization, Professionals for Ethics, mentioned in the CNA story, your message will reach him.

And if you want to write to thank Bishop Tartaglia his address is philiptartaglia@aim.com


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
Join SPUC's Facebook group
Please support SPUC. Please donate, join, and/or leave a legacy

Abortion industry and some church officials use lies to defend culture of death

Live Action are a pro-life group in the US, led by young people, with a focus on promoting the pro-life cause through media. They describe themselves on their website thus:
We are a youth led movement dedicated to building a culture of life and ending abortion, the greatest human rights injustice of our time. We use new media to educate the public about the humanity of the unborn and investigative journalism to expose threats against the vulnerable and defenseless.
What a fantasitc mission statement! One of the ways they do this is to focus on exposing the lies told by the abortion industry. If you haven't heard of them, it is well worth looking at their website and seeing how they have done this in the past. Below is their latest video, which accompanies a press release.



Live Action have, of course, identified an important facet of pro-life work. Lies are frequently used by the abortion industry and by abortion activists. It is crucial that the pro-life movement work to identify and to expose these lies.

Recently I have blogged about how forces within the UN are trying to promote a right to abortion through the false claim that legal abortions are needed to improve the maternal mortality rate.

As a Catholic parent and as a pro-life campaigner, I find even more troubling the lies promoted by the Catholic Education Service (CESEW), an agency of the Catholic Bishops Conference of England and Wales. The Catholic Education Service has repeatedly deceived Catholics and non-Catholics in this country by claiming that the sex education policies of the previous UK government were compatible with Catholic moral teaching. They claimed this despite Ed Balls, the former minister for children, schools and families, categorically stating that Catholic schools must promote abortion, contraception and homosexuality.

Moreover the CESEW continue to welcome Connexions into Catholic schools, whose job it is to make contraception and abortion available to children without parental knowledge or consent.


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
Join SPUC's Facebook group
Please support SPUC. Please donate, join, and/or leave a legacy

Thursday, 22 July 2010

Commons sex ed move blocked but danger ahead

Last night moves in the House of Commons to impose sex education on schools through amendments to the government's Academies bill were defeated. An amendment by Diana Johnson (pictured), the Labour MP, sought to impose personal, social and health education (PSHE) on academies. It was rejected by 314 votes to 200. Caroline Lucas, the Green MP, moved, though withdrew, a complementary amendment, which would have imposed the national curriculum on academies. These amendments, if successful, would have been significant moves towards the pro-abortion lobby's goal to impose sex and relationships education (SRE) on all schools via PHSE and the national curriculum.

Anthony Ozimic, SPUC's communications manager, told the media today:
"We welcome the failure of these amendments as a defeat, albeit temporary, for the abortion industry's demand for unfettered access to pupils. The abortion lobby in parliament trotted out the old pro-abortion myth that sex education in schools reduces teenage pregnancies. It was claimed that, in the Netherlands, comprehensive sex education has kept the teenage pregnancy rate much lower than in the UK. The Netherlands, however, has no national curriculum, sex education starts later than in UK schools and family units are stronger.

"Although these amendments failed last night, we know that the pro-abortion lobby will table similar legislation later this year. We therefore call upon concerned parents to lobby their MPs to warn them of that danger."
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
Join SPUC's Facebook group
Please support SPUC. Please donate, join, and/or leave a legacy

Monsignor Barreiro gives forthright Catholic analysis of challenges facing pro-life movement

In my work for the SPUC I am privileged to meet people of all faiths and backgrounds who are working to defend the sanctity of human life.

Last week I was in Rome where I met and worked with Monsignor Ignacio Barreiro Carámbula (pictured), director of the Rome office of Human Life International. His love of the unborn has led Monsignor Barreiro and Human Life International to develop one of the most imaginative projects in the world for building a culture of life.

Here are a few questions I put to Monsignor Barreiro - and his forthright replies offering a distinctively Catholic analysis of the challenges facing the pro-life movement:
JS: What, as a priest, drew you to work in the pro-life movement?

IB: From the beginning of my priesthood in 1987 I was very much concerned with how much the contraceptive mentality has been accepted by regular church-goers. After receiving an excellent formation on moral theology from Msgr. William Smith at St. Joseph’s Seminary in the Archdiocese of New York, I was surprised to see how little the faithful knew about the teachings of the Church on generosity with life and how rarely the Encyclical Humanae Vitae was mentioned in Church. If there is a contraceptive mentality then what happens is that when contraception fails, the next step is to make recourse to abortion to avoid an undesired pregnancy. After contraception and abortion are accepted all sort of monstrosities follow, like euthanasia and  so-called homosexual marriage.

JS: What is the role of the Rome Office of Human Life International?

IB: The Rome Office of HLI has three main areas of activity:
1. To present information to the Holy See on matters concerning life and family. We also assist pro-lifers worldwide to present their concerns in Rome.
2. To assist in the formation on life and family issues of the thousands of seminarians and young priests from all over the world who are doing their studies at Roman Universities. For that reason we have built a growing specialized library that soon will reach more than six thousand catalogued volumes plus a sizeable collection of academic magazines.
3. To carry out a pro-life apostolate in Italy. We have been active in many campaigns and we have spoken at many conferences in this country.

JS: What is the greatest challenge facing defenders of human life today?

IB: The greatest challenge that we are facing today is that Faith is becoming watered down. It is true that some will defend life in an integral way from a natural law perspective, but we have to be realistic: most of the dedicated apostles of life base their struggle on their Faith. In his first homily during his visit to Portugal the Holy Father stated “Often we are anxiously preoccupied with the social, cultural and political consequences of the faith, taking for granted that faith is present, which unfortunately is less and less realistic.” (Benedict XVI, Homily in Terreiro do Paço of Lisbon, Tuesday, 11 May 2010) Analyzing the actions in the twentieth century of political leaders who considered themselves Christians we will find a perplexing lack of coherence between the faith they claimed to have had and their political actions. It is evident that these unfaithful Catholics have to be made accountable for their actions. But considering the realistic assessment of the Holy Father, the main question for us and for the future, is not how much Christians are coherent with their faith, but to what extent that faith really exists. So then our main challenge is to try to build again the Faith after the terrible crisis that the Faith of many within the Church has suffered in the second half of the twentieth century. It is only through the restoration of the Faith and the Sacred Liturgy that we will be able to build again an integral culture of life. Nobody lives and dies on behalf of a watered-down Christianity that is ready to make compromises with the world. So we have to live and preach the Faith in its integrity, in full continuity with the constant magisterium of the Church and without any compromises with the world. I am not saying anything new here, that was the message that I delivered in my talk on November 22nd at the London Oratory on, the role of the priest in promoting the Gospel of Life.

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
Join SPUC's Facebook group
Please support SPUC. Please donate, join, and/or leave a legacy

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Archbishop Nichols shows remarkable political prescience

Earlier this month I reported that Archbishop Nichols (pictured) had an exchange on Catholic teaching and gay unions during an interview on BBC's Hardtalk (Friday, 2nd July).

Stephen Sackur, the Hardtalk interviewer, asked the archbishop:
"Some of their vicars are also prepared to sanction gay unions. That church is showing flexibility. Is the Catholic church not going to have to do the same eventually?"
To which the archbishop replied:
"I don't know. Who knows what's down the road?"
Archbishop Nichols's politically-correct response, of course, utterly betrays both Catholic and non-Catholic parents striving to pass on the culture of life to their children, especially in the light of Pope John Paul II's teaching that it is "an illusion to think that we could build a true culture of human life if we did 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." (Evangelium Vitae, 97)

However, I do congratulate him on his prescience politically.

Only yesterday, Simon Hughes MP, the deputy leader of the Liberal Democrats, said that the government will give gay couples the right to civil marriage. (For non-UK readers, the Liberal Democrats form part of a coalition government in Britain with the Conservative party.)

And only yesterday, Barack Obama, the US president, commented on the UN's accreditation of the International Lesbian and Gay Human Rights Commission (ILGHRC) as follows:
"I welcome this important step forward for human rights, as the  International Lesbian and Gay Human Rights Commission (ILGHRC) will take its rightful seat at the table of the United Nations. The UN was founded on the premise that only through mutual respect, diversity, and dialogue can the international community effectively pursue justice and equality.  Today, with the more full inclusion of the International Lesbian and Gay Human Rights Commission, the United Nations is closer to the ideals on which it was founded, and to values of inclusion and equality to which the United States is deeply committed."
ILGHRC says on their website:
"We advocate for the elimination of discriminatory laws, policies and practices, such as sodomy laws ... "
and they say:
"Representatives from our staff were among those who helped develop the Yogyakarta Principles—a set of principles derived from existing law and jurisprudence, articulating how international human rights law applies to sexual orientation and gender identity."
I have commented before about the Yogyakarta principles which, according to one leading expert, represent "a deliberate attempt to manipulate our understanding of ‘Human Rights’ in order to promote the self-serving social agenda of a small cluster of vociferous and politically well-connected advocacy groups".

I said in my post earlier this month regarding Archbishop Nichols's interview, that Pope Benedict is being shepherded into a politically correct broad church in England - and, I might add, one that's being led with remarkable political prescience as well as correctness.


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
Join SPUC's Facebook group
Please support SPUC. Please donate, join, and/or leave a legacy

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Nicklinson euthanasia push undermines security of us all

No Less Human, a group within SPUC Pro-Life representing disabled people, has responded to the legal challenge launched today by Tony Nicklinson (pictured) who is seeking voluntary euthanasia by lethal dose.

Janet Thomas of No Less Human told the media today:
"The killing of vulnerable, innocent people, whether able-bodied or not, is never right, even when those people ask to be killed. The deliberate killing of any innocent person damages the interests of us all.

"Mr. Nicklinson feels he wants to die because of his disabilities - as if human value and worth are to be measured by physical ability. Human worth lies not in what people can do but in what they inherently are. Each human life whether damaged or not whether a short one or a long one is a gift of incomparable value

"Mr Nicklinson says he is fed up with his life and can see no purpose to it, but this is also said by many able-bodied victims, often teenagers or young adults who leap off bridges, hang themselves or jump under trains.

"Many people in No Less Human have found that coping with their disabling conditions can be improved. These improvements come via positive help and support from family, friends and the community, and by a refusal to accept that there is any life which is worthless.

"Society, through its laws against murder and assisted suicide, comes down in favour of life. Every time someone decides that there are lives not worth living, he or she damages the security of all of us"

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
Join SPUC's Facebook group
Please support SPUC. Please donate, join, and/or leave a legacy

"Unjust judge" is appointed to Irish Supreme Court

The Irish Independent reports today that former High Court judge Liam McKechnie (pictured) was last night appointed as a judge of the Supreme Court by President Mary McAleese at a ceremony at Aras an Uachtarain.

Here's a man who, Pat Buckley tells us, had the temerity to describe a disabled baby at the centre of a case on which he ruled as "an aberration of nature".

He reminds me of the kind of judge Jesus had in mind in the parable of the unjust judge "who neither feared God nor had respect for people".

 May God judge him more mercifully than he appears to judge the disabled.

There's more worrying news about the Irish Supreme Court in Pat Buckley's post today.  The Irish government and government officials are steadily seeking to advance the culture of death in Ireland. I've no doubt that good Irish citizens will continue to do everything in their power to resist such advances.

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
Join SPUC's Facebook group
Please support SPUC. Please donate, join, and/or leave a legacy

Monday, 19 July 2010

African babies under threat from pro-abortion push at Uganda summit

Please help to counter an immediate threat to the unborn and mothers in Africa. From today (19 July) until 27 July the African Union is holding a summit in Kampala, Uganda. The summit will consider a number of documents that openly promote abortion in Africa. The greatest danger to the unborn comes from a review of the Maputo Protocol. The review promotes universal access to "reproductive health" services - codewords for abortion - and seeks to decriminalise abortion throughout Africa.

It is vital that we act immediately to counter this threat. If the summit approves the pro-abortion document, those texts will then be used repeatedly against all African countries that currently protect the unborn against abortion.

Please act immediately by contacting the governments listed at http://bit.ly/93yv8I Please tell them that:
  • you oppose the review considering the decriminalisation of abortion to be considered at this week's African Union summit in Kampala, Uganda
  • maternal death rates are unacceptably high, but lowering them can and should be achieved without killing unborn babies
  • evidence suggests that the best way to achieve better maternal health is by improving access to healthcare (e.g. antibiotics, drugs to prevent haemorrhage, blood transfusions, clean facilities, properly trained health professionals)
  • access to legal abortion in countries where abortion is currently illegal does not achieve the desired goals and may lead to an overall increase in maternal deaths
  • legal access to abortion conflicts with the existing international legal framework
  • upholding the rights of women and of their unborn children is a consistent and complementary approach to dealing with existing weaknesses in health care systems.
More information in support of these points are at http://www.spuc.org.uk/campaigns/matmor20091202

Please forward any replies that you receive to political@spuc.org.uk

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
Join SPUC's Facebook group
Please support SPUC. Please donate, join, and/or leave a legacy

Sunday, 18 July 2010

Watch this beautiful anti-abortion video

I'm grateful to That The Bones You Have Crushed May Thrill and to Paul, my son, for drawing attention to the beautiful video simply called Pro-Life Song and Video (Anti-abortion). By the way we should be proud to be "anti-abortion" and we should use that way of describing ourselves more often, especially after viewing this video.



I disagree with That The Bones You Have Crushed May Thrill on one point: I think the song that accompanies the video is great and should be turned on loud when viewing it!

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
Join SPUC's Facebook group
Please support SPUC. Please donate, join, and/or leave a legacy