Friday, 15 July 2011

Today's must-read pro-life news-stories, Friday 15 July

Bishop Thomas McMahon
Abortion
Embryology
Euthanasia
Population
Sexual ethics
General
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Thursday, 14 July 2011

Archbishop Nichols' pastoral centre to host conference for dissenting Catholic gays

Next week Quest, "a group of lesbian and gay Catholics", will be holding its annual conference. The conference venue is the All Saints' Pastoral Centre at London Colney. The centre is both owned by, and part of, the Catholic Archdiocese of Westminster, headed currently by Archbishop Vincent Nichols. Quest's website gives a clear indication of how Quest and those commentators who support it dissent defiantly from Catholic teaching on sexual ethics*:
  • "[H]omosexual sex is not an incomplete or less perfect expression of human sexuality ... I also want to affirm that I regard heterosexual and homosexual sex as having the same potential and value ... I disagree fundamentally with Church teaching on this issue." [link]
  • "[T]he teaching of the Vatican Congregations....is incompatible with the Gospel" [link]
  • "Quest, an association for lesbian and gay Catholics, welcomes in general the government's proposals to provide for legal recognition of same-sex partnerships." [link]
Archbishop Nichols has a clear duty to cancel the Quest conference. Here are the clear instructions of Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict XVI) as Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in a 1986 letter to all the world's bishops regarding homosexuals [my emphasis in bold]:
“All support should be withdrawn from any organizations which seek to undermine the teaching of the Church, which are ambiguous about it, or which neglect it entirely. Such support, or even the semblance of such support, can be gravely misinterpreted. Special attention should be given to the practice of scheduling religious services and to the use of Church buildings by these groups, including the facilities of Catholic schools and colleges. To some, such permission to use Church property may seem only just and charitable; but in reality it is contradictory to the purpose for which these institutions were founded, it is misleading and often scandalous”.
Will Archbishop Nichols once again fail to uphold Catholic pro-life and pro-family teaching, or will he surprise us with a new-found fidelity?

*Why is the Catholic Church's teaching on sexual ethics important specifically for the pro-life movement? The late Pope John Paul II, the great pro-life champion, taught in no. 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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This morning's must-read pro-life news-stories, Thursday 14 July

Crosswalk
Abortion
Embryology
Euthanasia
Population
Sexual ethics
General
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Wednesday, 13 July 2011

May Bishop Michael Evans, defender of the unborn, rest in peace

Michael Evans, the Catholic bishop of East Anglia, died earlier this week after a long period with cancer. I wish to put on record my gratitude for Bishop Evans' defence of the unborn when Amnesty International decided to campaign for the decriminalisation of abortion and access to abortion worldwide. Below are some extracts from the statement Bishop Evans issued announcing his decision to leave Amnesty International after 31 years of active membership. May he rest in peace.
"...[O]ur proper indignation regarding pervasive violence against women should not cloud our judgement about our duty to protect the most vulnerable and defenceless form of human life. The International Convention on the Rights of the Child was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1989, and became a binding treaty for those countries which ratified it. Its Preamble quotes from the 1959 Declaration on the Rights of the Child, that 'the child, by reason of his or her physical and mental immaturity, needs special safeguards and care, including appropriate legal protection, before as well as after birth'. This must surely be part of the body of international human rights law to which Amnesty International is committed.

The Catholic Church shares Amnesty's strong commitment to oppose violence against women (for example, rape, sexual assault and incest), but such appalling violence must not be answered by violence against the most vulnerable and defenceless form of human life in a woman's womb. Catholics would want to show practical compassion for such women, and ensure for them all the medical and spiritual care and support they need. But there is no human right to access to abortion, and Amnesty should not involve itself even in such extreme cases...

To support access to abortion even in dire situations compromises Amnesty's mandate to 'Protect the Human'. In time Amnesty may seek to develop this policy further, but even this current limited decision makes it very difficult for Catholics to remain members of Amnesty or to give it any financial support. Very regretfully, I will be ending my 31 year membership of Amnesty International, which included in the 1980s several years on the British Section Council and its Religious Bodies Liaison Panel...

[Amnesty's] regretable decision will almost certainly divide Amnesty's membership and thereby undermine its vital work. Among all human rights, the right to life is fundamental. Commitment to work to 'Protect the Human' can only be deeply compromised by any support for access to abortion..."
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Tuesday, 12 July 2011

This evening's must-read pro-life news-stories, Tuesday 12 July

actress Gabriella Seo Hyun-jin with Cardinal Cheong
Abortion
Euthanasia
Sexual ethics
General
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MP tells SPUC meeting: Sanctity of life probably most important aspect of Christianity

myself, Paul Kilbane and Anne Fearon of SPUC Crosby, Joe Benton
Last Friday evening, Joe Benton, Labour MP for Bootle, addressed the annual general meeting (AGM) of SPUC's Crosby branch, held at St. Helen’s Catholic Church. Mr Benton is joint secretary of the All-Party Parliamentary Pro-Life Group (APPPLG).

I was accompanied to the meeting by Anthony McCarthy, SPUC’s newly-appointed Education and Publications Manager.

Mr Benton expressed his horror about aspects of sex and relationships education (SRE) in schools, including in Catholic schools. He spoke eloquently about the sanctity of human life, saying it was probably the most important aspect of our Christian faith. He emphasised his appreciation of SPUC and the support it had offered him in dealing with pro-life issues in Parliament.

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Monday, 11 July 2011

This evening's must-read pro-life news-stories, Monday 11 July

Abortion
Euthanasia
Population
Sexual ethics
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Sunday, 10 July 2011

Germany is forgetting the lessons of history as it votes for eugenics

On Thursday the German Bundestag (parliament) voted in favour of allowing pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD). Reuters reports that Kerstin Janich, a Bavarian woman whose four-year-old son had died of a genetic disease, said:
"It's not about allowing a 'designer baby' with blond hair and blue eyes or a sick child not deserving to live. It's about the suffering of an entire family, for siblings and relatives and friends."
Yet however much defenders of PGD seek to distance themselves from eugenics, PGD is all about stopping human beings suspected of disability from being born, so others can evade their duty of compassion. The word compassion means "to suffer with" (Latin: cum passio), not evading suffering by eliminating the disabled person. Germans must realise that attempting to justify PGD as preventing suffering is not dissimilar to the Nazis' attempts to justify sterilisation, euthanasia and 'racial purity' programmes. Here is a propaganda poster from the Nazi period:

"60000 RM: this is what this person suffering from hereditary defects costs the community of Germans during his lifetime. Fellow citizen, that is your money, too."
There is no difference in the moral status between a one-day old embryo and the oldest of pensioners. So, whatever the attempted justification and whomever the victim, PGD shares with Nazi eugenics basically the same fatal discrimination against the vulnerable, the sick and the disabled. I pray that the German pro-life movement will be strengthened so that Thursday's vote can be reversed at the earliest opportunity.

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