Saturday, 15 January 2011

Durex advertises Mass for dissenting homosexuals

Earlier this week I mentioned that Vincent Nichols, the archbishop of Westminster, continues to cause confusion regarding Catholic teaching on homosexuality. I mentioned that the archbishop's most recent comments had been welcomed by Terence Weldon, the openly practising homosexual who helps organise the Archbishop Nichols-backed Soho Masses for dissenting homosexuals.

As if to reinforce my concerns, I see that Durex, the makers of barrier contraceptives, have advertised one of those Soho Masses, taking place last month, on their website for healthcare professionals.

The Durex website contains material of a character deeply hostile to Catholic teaching on human sexuality. It's not suprising, then, that they would promote the celebration of a Mass, the organizers of which are openly hostile to Catholic teaching on human sexuality and where attendees receive Holy Communion in spite of openly admitting they are and intend to stay in homosexual relationships.

What's so deeply shocking about the Durex advert for the Mass in Soho is the further evidence it provides of episcopal betrayal - the tragic betrayal of young people and Catholic families by Archbishop Nichols and his failure to give clear witness to the the truth on this matter and related matters. The late Pope John Paul II, the great pro-life champion, taught (Evangelium Vitae, 1995, para.97) 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, 14 January 2011

Boots' sale of morning-after pills in Ireland is unconstitutional

European Life Network of Dublin told the media today that Boots the pharmacists could violate the Irish constitution if they go ahead and supply morning-after pills. The network's Patrick Buckley said:
"Morning-after pills can cause an early abortion by stopping the early embryo from implanting in the womb. They're not just contraceptives.

“The action by Boots therefore contravenes both Article 40.3.3 of the Irish Constitution which protects unborn life and section 59 of the Offences Against the Person Act (1861). This states: ‘Whosoever shall unlawfully supply or procure any poison or other noxious thing, or any instrument or thing whatsoever, knowing that the same is intended to be unlawfully used or employed with intent to procure the miscarriage of any woman, whether she be or be not with child, shall be guilty of a misdemeanour.’

"Coming so soon after the ruling of the European court in the A, B and C case, Boots' decision shows just how rapidly the threat to unborn children is spreading in Irish society. Pro-life organizations and individuals can only hope to defeat these attacks by working together to defend all human life from the moment of fertilisation. If a referendum is to be offered pro-life people should insist that the wording of any new amendment should include protection for all unborn children regardless of the circumstances of their conception.

“The manufacturers of the so-called morning after pill claim it does not cause an abortion but they contradict themselves. The website of the manufacturer of the Plan B pill states: ‘Plan B temporarily stops the release of an egg from the ovary, prevents fertilization, prevents a fertilized egg from attaching to the uterus.’ However, the manufacturer’s website continues: ‘Plan B is not an abortion pill—if you take plan B you will not be terminating a pregnancy. If you are already pregnant and take plan B, there’s no evidence that plan B will harm you or the fetus…’

“Statements like this are used to make people believe that the morning after pill doesn’t destroy an unborn human life. Saying ‘Plan B prevents a fertilized egg from attaching to the uterus’ is just another way of saying it may cause the newly conceived embryo to die because it cannot implant itself in the lining of the womb. The term ‘a fertilised egg’ is misleading. Once fertilization takes place the result is a new embryo and therefore a new unique human life. For this reason, the use of Plan B may violate an unborn child’s constitutionally guaranteed right to life."
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Thursday, 13 January 2011

Pope Benedict denounces pressures on health professionals to participate in abortion

In his new year address to the Vatican's diplomatic corps, Pope Benedict XVI has highlighted the increasing pressure on individuals throughout the world to co-operate with laws that abuse and destroy human life. Pope Benedict said that:
"Christians are even required at times to act in the exercise of their profession with no reference to their religious and moral convictions, and even in opposition to them, as for example where laws are enforced limiting the right to conscientious objection on the part of health care or legal professionals."
Pope Benedict highlighted the recent success of the pro-life lobby in the Council of Europe in securing a right to conscientious objection to unethical practices for medical professionals .
"In this context, one can only be gratified by the adoption by the Council of Europe last October of a resolution protecting the right to conscientious objection on the part of medical personnel vis-à-vis certain acts which gravely violate the right to life, such as abortion."
Pope Benedict is referring to the reversal of the Christine McCafferty report last October. The council's parliamentary assembly rejected a proposed crack down on medical staff who refuse to be complicit in abortion and other anti-life practices, and instead voted for a resolution that protected the rights of medical workers. Prior to that vote, SPUC had written to its supporters and contacts in the member-states of the Council of Europe.

Despite successes such as these, it is vital that we all continue to follow Pope Benedict's example in speaking out against the increasing pressure from state authorities to co-operate with anti-life practices. Pope Benedict also spoke boldly about the need to oppose sex education which "reflect[s] an anthropology opposed to faith and to right reason". It is thought that Pope Benedict's comments refer to the situation in Spain, where the government introduced mandatory sex education classes for children between the ages of ten and sixteen in 2007.

However, Pope Benedict could just as easily have been speaking about the situation in this country where the government are assisted in their bid to provide children with contraception and abortion by the Catholic Education Service, through their co-operation with Connexions - an agency that trains its employees to promote contraception and to refer school children for abortion without their parents knowledge.

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SPUC to intervene in bedroom abortions case

We at SPUC have said that we will seek leave to intervene in a court case on the legality of so-called bedroom abortions. We are responding to a High Court challenge launched by the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS), one of Britain’s main abortion providers. BPAS is seeking to widen the scope for using the drug misoprostol, used in conjunction with RU486, the abortion drug. BPAS uses the drugs to poison the uterine environment and kill unborn children. Allowing misoprostol to be taken at home will increase the numbers of women delivering their dead child at home.

Paul Tully, SPUC’s general secretary, told the media tonight:
“Abortion is an appalling ordeal for women, as well as the killing of an unborn child. In taking this legal action BPAS is trivialising abortion and jeopardising women’s welfare. We will seek to intervene in this case on behalf of unborn children, whose right to life has been protected from the time of Hippocrates in ancient Greece to the establishing of international human rights law in modern times. In contrast, the right to abortion – the killing of an unborn baby - does not exist in English law or any international human rights instrument.

“Ann Furedi, head of BPAS, has said that ‘rising abortion rates are not a problem’ (Spiked Online, 31 March 2008). This cynical attitude is deeply disturbing”.
Some facts about RU486 and misoprostol:
  • The woman is directly involved in the abortion by having to take the pills herself.
  • The nature of the drug means that the woman must live with her abortion over the course of a number of days. The president of Roussel Uclaf, the original makers of RU486, said “The woman must live with this for a full week. This is an appalling psychological ordeal”. (Edouard Sakiz, chairman, Roussel-Uclaf, August 1990)
  • The woman may abort at home and suffer the distress of seeing the expelled embryo/foetus, which she is required to keep and return to the hospital or clinic to help determine if the abortion is complete. If BPAS challenge is successful, women taking misoprostol will go into labour at home. This can be very distressing as labour, usually associated with child-birth, now becomes associated with the delivery of a dead child.
  • Use of RU486/misoprostol may cause any of the following: haemorrhage requiring blood transfusion, severe pain requiring strong pain killers, incomplete abortion, rupture of the uterus, vaginal bleeding, abdominal cramping, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, headache, muscle weakness, dizziness, flushing, chills, backache, difficulty in breathing, chest pain, palpitations, rise in temperature and fall in blood pressure. The number and diverse nature of the side effects of RU486/ misoprostol point to the fact that these are powerful chemicals.
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Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Archbishop Nichols should stop causing confusion regarding homosexuality

According to The Tablet and other sources, Vincent Nichols, archbishop of Westminster, told BBC Radio 4's Today programme at Christmastide:
“When it comes to understanding what human sexuality is for, there is a lot that we have to explore. Because I think what is at one level in the broad perspective clear, is that there is an intrinsic link between procreation and human sexuality. Now how do we start from that principle, not lose it, and have an open ongoing conversation with those who say, well, that’s not my experience?”
Regarding Catholic teaching on homosexuality*, the archbishop is reported to have said:
“How do we bring together some principles that if you like are written into the broad book of nature, and individual experiences? That’s the area that we have to be sensitive and open to, and genuinely wanting to explore."
These comments have been welcomed by Clifford Longley of The Tablet and by Terence Weldon, the openly practising homosexual who helps organise the Archbishop Nichols-backed Soho Masses for dissenting homosexuals. Archbishop Nichols' latest comments are in tune with his comments last year (see my blogs of 4 April, 21 April, 4 July, 9 September, 11 September and 23 September) which clearly undermined Catholic teaching on homosexuality. His approach appears to be to make half-hearted acknowledgements of official Catholic teaching whilst softening up opinion among Catholics to allow practices contrary to that teaching. Those practices include "gay civil partnerships", Holy Communion for practising homosexuals and "openness" to the "experiences" of homosexuals.

This duplicitous approach is the motif of the Catholic bishops' conference of England and Wales, reflected in its approach to major pro-life/pro-family issues in recent times: abortion and contraception (e.g. Connexions in Catholic schools), euthanasia (e.g. the Mental Capacity Act), assisted suicide (e.g. prosecuting guidelines), sex education (e.g. departmental guidance) etc. How very different from the words of our Lord, Who instructed His Apostles to make their "yes, yes" and their "no, no" (Matt.5:37). Or Pope John Paul II who said:
"Given such a grave situation, we need now more than ever to have the courage to look the truth in the eye and to call things by their proper name, without yielding to convenient compromises or to the temptation of self-deception. In this regard the reproach of the Prophet is extremely straightforward: 'Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness' (Is 5:20)." (Evangelium Vitae , 1995, para.58)
When will our bishops, the successors of the Apostles, give us clear Christ-like leadership on pro-life/pro-family issues?

*The late Pope John Paul II, the great pro-life champion, taught (Evangelium Vitae, 1995, para.97) 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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Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Abby Johnson, former abortion centre director, gives hope for the unborn

In February I blogged about an amazing interview with Abby Johnson, the former director of a Planned Parenthood abortion centre in America who became pro-life. Abby has now published a book, "unPLANNED", about the reality of Planned Parenthood and of her pro-life conversion. LifeSiteNews.com has published the first chapter and below are some key extracts from Abby's stunning account.
  • "[Alt]hough I’d been with Planned Parenthood for eight years, I had never been called into the exam room to help the medical team during an abortion"
  • "To my knowledge, we’d never done ultrasound-guided abortions at our facility"
  • "I could not have imagined how the next 10 minutes would shake the foundation of my values and change the course of my life"
  • "I could see the entire, perfect profile of a baby. It looks just like Grace at 12 weeks, I thought, surprised, remembering my very first peek at my daughter, three years before, snuggled securely inside my womb."
  • "[A] new image entered the video screen. The cannula — a strawshaped instrument attached to the end of the suction tube — had been inserted into the uterus and was nearing the baby’s side. It looked like an invader on the screen, out of place. Wrong. It just looked wrong."
  • "My eyes flew to the patient’s face; tears flowed from the corners of her eyes. I could see she was in pain."
  • "As the cannula pressed its side, the baby began struggling to turn and twist away. It seemed clear to me that it could feel the cannula, and it did not like what it was feeling."
  • "I had a sudden urge to yell, “Stop!” To shake the woman and say, “Look at what is happening to your baby! Wake up! Hurry! Stop them!”"
  • "The last thing I saw was the tiny, perfectly formed backbone sucked into the tube ... I was frozen in disbelief"
  • "The image of the tiny body, mangled and sucked away, was replaying in my mind"
  • "[I]t hit me like a lightning bolt: What I have told people for years, what I’ve believed and taught and defended, is a lie."
  • "And right there, standing beside the table, my hand on the weeping woman’s belly, this thought came from deep within me: Never again! Never again."
  • "Like so many patients I’d seen before, she continued to cry, in obvious emotional and physical pain."
  • "I was...looking to understand how I found myself in this place — living a lie, spreading a lie, and hurting the very women I so wanted to help."
Anthony Ozimic, SPUC's communications manager, wrote in 2005 a dissertation on the subject of abortion centre staff. Anthony has sent me his reaction to Abby's story:
"Abby's insider-story is a powerful indication that among abortion centre staff, even the most senior staff, many may be unaware of the full reality of abortion. It also indicates that many may not be personally convinced that abortion is good, believing instead in their own rhetoric. This is a sign of hope for the unborn, because the brittleness of believing one’s own rhetoric will naturally crumble into self-doubt. The pro-abortion lobby has been complaining for years that fewer and fewer doctors want to be involved in abortion. Abby's story gives us a glimmer of hope that the abortion industry may one day collapse from inside."
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Monday, 10 January 2011

Honduran cardinal's boldness for life and family is a model for bishops

Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) has conducted an interview (see extracts below) with Cardinal Óscar Andrés Rodriguez Maradiaga, archbishop of Tegucigalpa, Honduras. Among things Cardinal Rodriguez said:
  • "[The International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF)] is one of the worst organizations and I have no fear in denouncing them"
  • "[O]nce you accept abortion, the next step will be to accept euthanasia. This is [the anti-life lobby's] global plan."
  • (about the right response to population questions): "What we need is not to reduce the guest at the table but to increase the seats so people can sit at the table to eat."
Cardinal Rodriguez's boldness in speaking out against the culture of death is a model for other bishops. Similarly, Cardinal Raymond Burke was asked recently: “What can the European bishops do against abortion?” Cardinal Burke replied that the bishops must “[e]ducate people about the reality of abortion” and “the intrinsic evil of destroying an innocent and defenceless human life”. Cardinal Burke added that:
“Very often bishops are silenced, or there is the attempt to silence bishops with the claim that the teaching on abortion is a peculiar belief of the Roman Catholic Church and therefore bishops are wrong to introduce this discourse into the public square, into civil discourse. But the fact of the matter is that the inviolability of innocent human life is part of the natural moral law that is written in every human heart; so that not only do bishops have the right to make this discourse in public and to insist upon the common good - which is first and foremost secured by the respect for human life itself - but they have the duty, for the sake of the world (which the Church is called to serve and to save) to announce this moral truth ... [Europe’s bishops must] insist with civil officials that if they are true servants of the common good, then they must first and foremost protect the right to life of the unborn.”
So I pray earnestly that bishops throughout Europe and the world will listen to Cardinals Rodriguez and Burke, rejecting any active or passive acquiescence with abortion (as we see with the Catholic bishops' conference of England and Wales) and become strong men who do their duty on behalf of the weak.

Extract from ACN interview with Cardinal Rodriguez, published 10 January 2011

ACN: Some Latin American countries have focused their strategies of poverty reduction through birth control. Can you tell us, is this a misguided approach and where is this approach coming from?

Cardinal: This has been for a very long time - perhaps fifty years - in the UN Population department. They decided that we were growing too fast. Of course we did in Honduras! We were only 1.5 Million in 1959 and we are now 7 Million, but we were under populated because of civil wars. We had a century of civil wars and sickness. When health conditions improved we started to grow, but we are still under populated as a country. We need labour to develop. There is a nation in South America. This country started birth control in the beginning of the 1950’s. What is the result? They never grew, and there is no industry that succeeds without consumers. They are so dependent on the bigger countries that surround them. This is a mistake. What we need is not to reduce the guest at the table but to increase the seats so people can sit at the table to eat.

ACN: "You just mentioned that the UN has had a hand in this. Would you say that the influence on birth control policy is coming from within the local government or is it coming from organizations such as the International Planned Parenthood Federation, that are external but imposing their policy on the continent?

Cardinal: "That is one of the worst organizations and I have no fear in denouncing them because they are using very dirty methods and even insulting those who do not agree with them. They’re paying, sometimes bribing and misinforming the population. We do not need this. We need help for development. We do not need bribes to corrupt the people in government. We need resources to be employed in favour of the people and not destroying the people."

ACN: "What would be the reasons for the IPPF and other organizations? What would be their agenda in the continent like Latin America?"

Cardinal: "They have decided that we are not good partners for their businesses because, as you know, since our continent is mainly a Catholic continent, we will never accept their “Philosophy” which is against Creation, against God. We are not comfortable with their reasoning, and of course, I’ve said it truly, and I have said it in the UN. For example my country decided that marriage is something according to natural law - the union between a man and a woman. Since there are lobbyists who do agree with this they will press our congresses, they will attack the Church saying that we are wrong but we know that we are not wrong and that we want to live in peace like human beings with no deviations."

ACN: "Abortion is a big issue at the moment. There is a great pressure on many of the Catholic countries in Latin America to entrench abortion in the law. Can one say that we are losing the battle in this regard? Do you see that the governments in the countries in Latin America will impose abortion?"

Cardinal: "They are trying to do it every two or three years and we have to be always alert. I’ve been a bishop for thirty years and I’ve been always opposing and talking in a reasonable way to the representatives of the Congress and until now we were able to stop that kind of law because once you accept abortion, the next step will be to accept euthanasia. This is their global plan. So what is the purpose? Is to destroy life. This is the culture of death that John-Paul II was always warning us about."

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Sunday, 9 January 2011

Jamaican pro-lifers are taking real action to resist the UK's export of the culture of death

Kingston, Jamaica
Last Sunday I was very happy to report that there is a flourishing pro-life movement in the former Soviet republic of Belarus. This Sunday I am also very happy to pass on a report of great pro-life action in Jamaica. A letter in this weekend's Catholic Herald newspaper here in England reports that Catholics in Kingston, Jamaica are building a
"hospital for those women who are struggling with their pregnancies. There will be pre-natal care, skills training, support of all kinds and, in the eventuality of being able to look after the baby, the mother can have him or her taken into care."
This initiative is a great way to respond to the UK's government's renewed export of abortion to the developing world. So congratulations to the Catholics of Kingston for giving pro-lifers around the world a great example.

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