Saturday, 4 December 2010

Pope Benedict's words on homosexual unions are a lifeline for Catholics in England and Wales

Pope Benedict's forcefully reminded the world this week (in an address to the Hungarian ambassador to the Holy See) that "The church cannot approve legislative initiatives that imply a valuation of alternative models of the life of the couple and the family". His words are a lifeline for Catholics and people of good will in Britain struggling to protect their children from the culture of death in a country where leading Catholic bishops assist the government in imposing the "alternative models" to which the Pope refers.

The Catholic World Report this month reminds its readership about the opposite position* adopted by the Catholic Bishops of England and Wales, which includes:
  • Archbishop Nichols, the archbishop of Westminster, who said on BBC TV that he did not know "whether the Catholic church should one day accept the reality of gay partnerships"
  • Archbishop Nichols who said on BBC TV, the day after Pope Benedict left Britain for Rome, that the Catholic Bishops of Conference of England and Wales "did NOT oppose gay civil partnerships, we recognised that in English law there might be a case for those. We persistently said that these are not the same as marriage"
  • Bishop McMahon, the bishop of Nottingham, who is open to headteachers of Catholic schools being in same sex unions and who says the Church is not opposed to civil partnerships (Bishop McMahon is chairman of the Catholic Education Service of England and Wales)
  • Archbishop Nichols who, questioned about his support for the provision of Masses for homosexuals who openly dissent from Catholic teaching, told those who oppose what's going on to "hold their tongue".
We won't hold our tongues of course because, through this kind of scandalous abuse, and through Archbishop Nichols's and his fellow bishops' support for British government policies promoting unethical programmes of sex and relationships education, he is helping to impose on our families the corruption of our children and grandchildren.

Cardinal Raymond Burke, the prefect of the Apostolic Signatura, gave strong support to Catholics who refuse to hold their tongues about such matters. He said:
"Lying or failing to tell the truth, however, is never a sign of charity. A unity ... not founded on the truth of the moral law is not the unity of the Church. The Church's unity is founded on speaking the truth with love ... "
Pope Benedict told the new ambassador from Hungary last Thursday:
"Marriage and the family constitute the decisive foundation for a healthy development of the civil society of countries and peoples. Marriage as a basic form of ordering the relationship between man and woman and, at the same time, as basic cell of the state community, has also been molded by biblical faith. Thus marriage has given Europe its particular aspect and its humanism, also and precisely because it has had to learn to acquire continually the characteristic of fidelity and of renunciation traced by it. Europe will no longer be Europe if this basic cell of the social construction disappears or is substantially transformed. We all know how much risk marriage and the family run today -- on one hand, because of the erosion of its most profound values of stability and indissolubility, because of a growing liberalization of the right of divorce, and of the custom, increasingly widespread, of man and woman living together without the juridical form and protection of marriage, on the other, because of the different types of union which have no foundation in the history of the culture and of the law in Europe. The Church cannot approve legislative initiatives that imply a valuation of alternative models of the life of the couple and the family. These contribute to the weakening of the principles of the natural law and, hence, to the relativization of the whole of legislation, in addition to the awareness of values in society."
* The late Pope John Paul II, the great pro-life champion, taught in paragraph 97 of his 1995 encyclical Evangelium Vitae 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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Wednesday, 1 December 2010

SPUC steps up outreach to women patients as health department contradicts itself on abortion

SPUC is intensifying its campaign to inform women-patients and their doctors about the dangers of abortion, in response to a government proposal to increase access to abortion.

The Department of Health's white paper, “Healthy Lives, Healthy People” (pictured), published today, proposes “easy access” to abortion (section 3.43):
“We will work towards an integrated model of service delivery to allow easy access to confidential, non-judgemental sexual health services (including for sexually transmitted infections, contraception, abortion, health promotion and prevention)."
The proposal contradicts last month's claim (House of Commons, 2 Nov) made by Anne Milton, the public health minister, that:
"For me and for the Government, reducing the abortion rate is an absolute priority"
Paul Tully, SPUC’s general secretary, told the media this afternoon:
"Easy access to abortion will mean high abortion rates and consequent damage to women’s health and happiness. The previous government’s teenage pregnancy strategy, which promoted easy access to abortion and contraception, saw an increase of 2,000 abortions a year in England and Wales among teenagers. It is time for something different.”
In recent months SPUC has been sending information to GPs, briefing them about the reality and dangers of abortion, so they can in turn inform their patients who are pregnant and who may be considering abortion. SPUC will now intensify that campaign in the light of the government's proposal.

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Tuesday, 30 November 2010

***UPDATE: Worksop meeting CANCELLED due to weather conditions*** Parents to be warned about pornographic sex ed in primary schools

Extracts from a controversial sex education programme will be screened at a public meeting being held UPDATE: CANCELLED due to weather conditions in Worksop, Notts., to alert parents to the dangers of explicit sex education.

The programme under scrutiny is “Living and Growing”, produced by Channel 4. Used by Worksop primary schools as a resource to teach sex and relationships education (SRE), “Living and Growing” includes a cartoon of sexual intercourse, showing girls how to locate their clitoris and telling them that it feels nice when you touch it. This material is for children of seven to nine years of age.

Antonia Tully, the organiser of SPUC's Safe at School campaign, will advise parents that primary schools are under no legal obligation to deliver SRE, nor are they compelled to take advice from local authorities in their choice of programme for SRE. Antonia will speak at a public meeting organised by SPUC in Worksop on Wednesday 1 December, 7.30 pm, at The Crossing Church and Centre, Newcastle Street, Worksop.

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Monday, 29 November 2010

Pope Benedict thanks the pro-life movement and confirms the personhood of the human embryo

Pope Benedict, in his homily at Saturday night's vigil for all nascent human life, said [my emphases in bold]:
"Dear brothers and sisters, our coming together this evening to begin the Advent journey is enriched by another important reason: with the entire Church, we want to solemnly celebrate a prayer vigil for unborn life. I wish to express my thanks to all who have taken up this invitation and those who are specifically dedicated to welcoming and safeguarding human life in different situations of fragility, especially in its early days and in its early stages."

[T]here is no reason not to consider [the human embryo] a person from conception.”

"I urge the protagonists of politics, economic and social communications to do everything in their power to promote a culture which respects human life, to provide favorable conditions and support networks for the reception and development of life."
Pope Benedict echoed his vigil homily this morning in his address to the bishops of the Philippines on their ad limina visit. In a clear reference to the Reproductive Health bill which the bishops are fighting, Pope Benedict said [my emphases in bold]:
"Thanks to the Gospel's clear presentation of the truth about God and man, generations of zealous Filipino clergymen, religious and laity have promoted an ever more just social order. At times, this task of proclamation touches upon issues relevant to the political sphere. This is not surprising, since the political community and the Church, while rightly distinct, are nevertheless both at the service of the integral development of every human being and of society as a whole".

"At the same time, the Church's prophetic office demands that she be free 'to preach the faith, to teach her social doctrine ... and also to pass moral judgments in those matters which regard public order whenever the fundamental human rights of a person or the salvation of souls requires it'. In the light of this prophetic task, I commend the Church in the Philippines for seeking to play its part in support of human life from conception until natural death, and in defence of the integrity of marriage and the family. In these areas you are promoting truths about the human person and about society which arise not only from divine revelation but also from natural law, an order which is accessible to human reason and thus provides a basis for dialogue and deeper discernment on the part of all people of good will.”
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Sunday, 28 November 2010

Teaching young people about contraception may be abuse, says Maltese bishop

Malta, listed by the BBC as prohibiting abortion in all circumstances, has a clear-minded bishop, it seems, in Bishop Mario Grech, the bishop of Gozo (pictured).

He says that the education system may be abusing young people when it teaches them about contraception. (We have such abuse in schools here in Britain, including Catholic schools where it's taught  with the co-operation of the Catholic bishops of England and Wales through their agency the Catholic Education Service and where children are also given access to abortion "services").

If Malta has other bishops like Bishop Grech, who are clear-minded and outspoken, they have a far better chance of maintaining their law on abortion.

As Pope John Paul II taught in Evangelium Vitae [13]:
Indeed, the pro- abortion culture is especially strong precisely where the Church's teaching on contraception is rejected [My emphasis]. Certainly, from the moral point of view contraception and abortion are specifically different evils: the former contradicts the full truth of the sexual act as the proper expression of conjugal love, while the latter destroys the life of a human being; the former is opposed to the virtue of chastity in marriage, the latter is opposed to the virtue of justice and directly violates the divine commandment "You shall not kill".

But despite their differences of nature and moral gravity, contraception and abortion are often closely connected, as fruits of the same tree. It is true that in many cases contraception and even abortion are practised under the pressure of real- life difficulties, which nonetheless can never exonerate from striving to observe God's law fully. Still, in very many other instances such practices are rooted in a hedonistic mentality unwilling to accept responsibility in matters of sexuality, and they imply a self-centered concept of freedom, which regards procreation as an obstacle to personal fulfilment. The life which could result from a sexual encounter thus becomes an enemy to be avoided at all costs, and abortion becomes the only possible decisive response to failed contraception.
There is hard evidence for Pope John Paul II's teaching, as I have mentioned before. Professor David Paton, who holds a chair in Economics at Nottingham University, has shown in a paper entitled "The economics of family planning and underage conceptions" (this paper is not available free online, but if you would like a copy please contact me) that family planning, and increased access to it, increases the likelihood that teenagers will engage in sexual activity. Prof. Paton says: "I find no evidence that greater access to family planning has reduced underage conceptions or abortions. Indeed, there is some evidence that greater access is associated with an increase in underage conceptions..."


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