Saturday, 29 October 2011

Fr Mark Swires is leading from the front in east London

Fr Swires & youth at opening rally
On Thursday I blogged about the good example of a pro-life priest in Italy who rings his church bell every time an unborn child is killed by abortion at the local town hospital. Yesterday I blogged the excellent letter by Fr Leon Pereira O.P. standing up to Dr. Jon Cruddas, the pro-abortion MP. For another great example of priestly pro-life witness Londoners can look to Fr. Mark Swires of Brentwood diocese. Thomas McMahon, bishop of Brentwood, has on several occasions led prayer vigils outside abortion centre.

Fr Mark joined a group of Christians, Muslims, and local residents in Stratford, east London last week, who are trying to have a newly-established BPAS abortion centre shut down. Fr. Mark spent the whole day with the group, leading prayer at the opening rally (pictured), handing out pro-life literature, manning the street-stall (pictured), and engaging with the public. We need more and more priests to follow the example of Fr. Mark witnessing to the Gospel of Life.

Sr Rosalind (left) & street stall
Also pictured is Sister Rosalind, an Anglican and a new member of SPUC, who also spent the whole day with the group. Sr. Rosalind has since told us how keen she and others in the area are about keeping up the pro-life momentum.

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Friday, 28 October 2011

Fr Leon Pereira stands up to pro-abortion Jon Cruddas MP

Fr Leon Pereira O.P.
Fr Leon Pereira (pictured at a 40 Days for Life London vigil), a Dominican priest, has spoken out against the invitation to Dr Jon Cruddas, the pro-abortion MP, to speak at a Catholic conference at Blackfriars, the Dominican hall at Oxford university tomorrow. You can read Fr Pereira's letter on the blog Catholics: Called to be faithful, not compromise. I quote some key extracts from Fr Pereira's excellent letter below.

According to an email from Fr Richard Finn O.P. of the Las Casas Institute (the conference organisers) to Daniel Blackman, Dr Cruddas is now unable to attend the conference (Fr Finn did not cite the reason for this). Nonetheless, my son Paul and other faithful pro-life/pro-family Catholics will be going ahead with a prayer vigil of reparation for the invitation to Dr Cruddas outside Blackfriars tomorrow. There is no indication that either Las Casas or Blackfriars cancelled Dr Cruddas' appearance, and therefore the purpose of praying in reparation for their invitation to Dr Cruddas remains.

From Fr Leon Pereira's letter:
"Dr Cruddas’ voting record as an MP on abortion and same sex unions is not in keeping with the teaching or mind of the Catholic Church. This matters all the more because I am given to understand that Dr Cruddas describes himself as a ‘practising Catholic’ - a designation at odds with his actions as an MP. His actions appropriate the dimension of scandal precisely because he is a public figure. Therefore what he says and does in public which is contrary to Catholic faith and morals, all the while describing himself as a ‘practising Catholic’, are a scandal to the Faithful and prone to reinforce the assumption that perhaps these things (abortion, same sex unions, etc) do not matter, and that Catholics may reasonably conform their mind to that of the age, and still somehow (mysteriously!) remain fully Catholic without incurring any penalties whatsoever. That is a grave wrong wrought against God and His Church.
...
"The invitation, although not an awards ceremony, nevertheless takes on the air of an accolade ... Is it inconceivable that he or his supporters may say that he was honoured by an invitation to Blackfriars...?"
...
"There seems to be an assumption in this country that to be Catholic is to be Labour. This naivete reached a nadir in the fawning displayed by our Church over that most reprehensible couple Tony and Cherie Blair. In Mr Blair’s case, I cannot understand how he could be received into the Church without a public abjuration of his erroneous beliefs and practices - for example, his own voting record on abortion. These were errors he committed before he became a Catholic, but they were in the public sphere, and his reception as a Catholic without any recantation is a continuing scandal."
...
"The great irony is that Dr Cruddas (who has woefully failed to stand up for the Catholic teaching on abortion by his voting) has been invited by an institute committed to ‘justice and peace’ (our normal shorthand for Catholic Social Doctrine) when the single greatest justice and peace issue in our country is abortion!"
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Thursday, 27 October 2011

I pray that God will send us more pro-life priests like Fr Emilio Salatino

Fr Emilio Salatino is the parish priest of Santa Lucia church, Cosenza, in the southern Italian region of Calabria. Don Emilio rings the bell of his church in mourning every time an abortion is performed at the local hospital. See below a video report (in Italian) about Don Emilio's beautiful witness to the sanctity of human life. On the 44th anniversary of the passing of the Abortion Act 1967, and during the latest 40 Days for Life campaign, I pray that God will send our world many more courageous pro-life priests like Don Emilio.


A Cosenza parroco fa suonare le campane a morto... by TMNews

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Today's must-read pro-life news-stories, Thu 27 Oct

Fr Philip Bene, Holy See UN rep
Top stories:

UN ratchets up campaign to impose abortion worldwide

A new UN report which demands that every country in the world removes all legal and practical restrictions on abortion and contraception has been debated. The report was presented by Anand Grover, the UN special rapporteur on health, at the UN in New York on Monday. Fr Bene, the Holy See's representative, spoke out strongly against one of the report's most sinister aspects. He said: "The proposal of the Special Rapporteur to circumvent spousal and/or parental consent for the implementation of contraceptive and sterilizing techniques stands in stark contravention of the very nature of marriage and parenthood." [John Smeaton, 26 October] http://goo.gl/cMVg4

Teenage boyfriend's punch killed unborn boy, court hears
A British teenager has been charged with child destruction after punching his pregnant girlfriend. The unborn boy, later named Taylor,  was seven months' old. [Metro, 26 October] http://goo.gl/20rVt Anthony Ozimic of SPUC commented: "It is anomalous that an isolated act of child destruction is prosecuted whilst hundreds of other acts of child destruction are committed every day through abortion with the full backing of the law and the state."

May Fr Vincent Melia, SPUC campaigner, rest in peace
Marileine Ollerenshaw of SPUC's north-east England region reports the following sad news: "Father Vincent Melia, from St. Matthew, Ponteland, passed away last night. His body will be received into the church on Sunday evening and his funeral will be on Monday. Father Melia has been, for as long as I can remember, a strong supporter of SPUC and was, till recently, the chairman of the Ponteland branch. He kept encouraging people of all faiths and none to help the unborn and all those who have no voice. He will be sadly missed in the pro-life movement." [John Smeaton, 26 October] http://goo.gl/kuxQB

Other stories:

Euthanasia
Population
Sexual ethics
General
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Wednesday, 26 October 2011

If Catholics and others followed Bishop Hopes's lead, abortuary would close

I mentioned earlier this month that Bishop Alan Hopes, an auxiliary bishop in Westminster, is leading a pro-life vigil in London tomorrow week - on Friday, 4th November.

Ecumenical Diablog makes the prophetic observation that if 20% of practising Catholics were to follow Bishop Hopes's lead - the abortuary at which Bishops Hopes will be giving witness would close.

That's true.

Read Ecumenical Diablog and my post to find out details - whatever faith (or none) you practise.

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May Fr Vincent Melia, SPUC campaigner, rest in peace

Marileine Ollerenshaw of SPUC's north-east England region has just sent me the following sad news:
"Father Vincent Melia, from St. Matthew, Ponteland, passed away last night. His body will be received into the church on Sunday evening and his funeral will be on Monday. Father Melia has been, for as long as I can remember, a strong supporter of SPUC and was, till recently, the chairman of the Ponteland branch. He kept encouraging people of all faiths and none to help the unborn and all those who have no voice. He will be sadly missed in the pro-life movement."
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UN ratchets up campaign to impose abortion worldwide

Anand Grover
Pat Buckley, one of SPUC's representatives at the United Nations (UN), blogged yesterday about the debate on a new UN report which demands that every country in the world removes all legal and practical restrictions on abortion and contraception. This report was presented by Anand Grover (pictured), the UN special rapporteur on health, at the UN in New York on Monday. Do read Pat's blog-post in full. Fr Bene, the Holy See's representative, spoke out strongly against one of the report's most sinister aspects. He said:
"The proposal of the Special Rapporteur to circumvent spousal and/or parental consent for the implementation of contraceptive and sterilizing techniques stands in stark contravention of the very nature of marriage and parenthood."
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Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Today's must-read pro-life news-stories, Tue 25 Oct

Blackfriars Hall, Oxford
Top stories:

Opposition to latest London abortion clinic growing
Opposition to a newly-opened British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS) abortion centre is gaining momentum. Last Saturday (22 October) a large group of Christians, Muslims and local residents united to spend the day campaigning against the BPAS centre in Stratford, which has been opened secretively. 40 days for Life and the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC) organised the day, with support from Muslim organisations, local churches and residents. [SPUC, 25 October] http://goo.gl/kLY7i

UK Catholics to hold vigil outside talk by pro-abort Catholic MP
A group of British Catholics will hold a vigil this Saturday outside an Oxford university Catholic college where a pro-abortion Catholic MP is due to address a Catholic conference. The group, "Catholics: Called to be faithful, not compromise" will pray in reparation for the invitation to Dr Jon Cruddas. The group is calling for Blackfriars Hall (pictured) to cancel the talk. [Smeaton's Corner, 22 October] http://goo.gl/wUa0v

UK man demoted for opposing gay marriage
A Englishman has been demoted by his employer for opposing gay marriage. Adrian Smith, a Christian working as a manager for a housing association, had explained his opposition to gay marriage in a comment on Facebook. Mr Smith has now started legal action against his employer. [Mail, 23 October] http://goo.gl/t8zHd

Other stories:

Abortion
Embryology
Euthanasia
Population
Sexual ethics
General
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Opposition to latest London abortion clinic is growing

Here is a joint press release from SPUC, 40 Days for Life London, the Christian Peoples Alliance and the Islamic Medical Association UK:

Opposition to latest London abortion clinic growing

stratford20111022Residents, Christians and Muslims unite to protest over “secretive” centre near Westfield Stratford City and 2012 Olympic Park

London, 25 October 2011: Opposition to a newly-opened British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS) abortion centre is gaining momentum. Last Saturday (22 October) a large group (pictured) of Christians, Muslims and local residents united to spend the day campaigning against the BPAS centre in Stratford, which has been opened secretively.

Thousands of pro-life magazines and campaign flyers, offering practical and educational help, were distributed around the busy shopping centre and newly-opened Westfield. 40 days for Life and the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC) organised the day, with support from Muslim organisations, local churches and residents. Alan Craig, ex-Newham councillor and former leader of Newham Christian Peoples Alliance, opened the day, saying:
“BPAS has become a large money-spinning business and this new centre in Stratford is pure commercial opportunism by them to take advantage of Westfield Stratford City and the Olympics. BPAS have a vested interest in doing as many abortions as possible. Don’t think for one moment that they are concerned with the best interests of women and children.”
Alan was joined by Dr. Majid Katme, spokesman for the Islamic Medical Association. Dr. Katme noted that: “Today is not a one-off event, but only the beginning of this campaign.” Fr. Mark Swires, a local Catholic priest, led the group in prayer outside the BPAS centre.

Plans were first uncovered by a team of researchers from SPUC led by Daniel Blackman. Following discussions with local residents, SPUC launched a public awareness campaign and local residents sent letters to Lyn Brown their MP, and to local councillors. Mr Blackman, who organised the day, said:
“This campaign is unique in that we are trying to have an abortion facility shut down before it’s even up and running. The way local residents and tenants have been treated by One Housing is disgusting. Killing unborn children is wrong and contributes nothing to preparing for the 2012 Olympics and paralympics, quite the opposite.”
In a separate move, neighbours of the abortion centre, including residents in the same building, have petitioned Mick Sweeny, chief executive of the landlord One Housing, protesting that they have been kept in the dark about the secretive and controversial move. They wrote**:
"We are extremely concerned that the ground floor at 32-36 Romford Road, Stratford E15, has been leased out to abortion-providers BPAS to carry out terminations up to, currently, 14 weeks, and furthermore that this has been done without any informed consultation.

One Housing is apparently proud of its reputation for social responsibility, offering according to your website welcome support to tenants with complex and multiple needs, to those suffering from mental ill-health, to teenage parents and to those with learning difficulties. We welcome these One Housing values that prioritise vulnerable people.

However these values are directly contradicted by BPAS who - with One Housing’s agreement - will terminate unborn and unwanted children on your premises. Furthermore BPAS’s Chief Executive has made it plain and public that she reckons mothers of disabled unborn children should be allowed to terminate their pregnancy up to full term; this of course is extremely threatening to your disabled tenants who may reasonably conclude that BPAS believes disabled children are of less intrinsic worth than unimpaired children.

Abortion is a very sensitive issue to all concerned, and we object strongly to the crass insensitive decision you have made to allow BPAS to use your premises here. Furthermore we strongly object that, in abdication of your responsibilities to us as your local tenants, you did not see fit to consult or even inform us.

We would be grateful if you would urgently reverse your decision and terminate the BPAS lease."
ENDS
  • Daniel Blackman (SPUC and 40 Days for Life) can be contacted on 07432 633427.
  • Alan Craig (Christian Peoples Alliance) can be contacted on 07939 547198.
  • Dr. Majid Katme (Islamic Medical Association UK) can be contacted on 07944 240 622.
Notes for editors:
* A high-resolution of a photograph (above) of the vigil can be downloaded at http://www.spuc.org.uk/images/stratford20111022
**Copies of the full letter to the chief executive of One Housing are available on request.

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Sunday, 23 October 2011

Dad inspired by new-born son to work for the unborn

This week I had the pleasure of greeting James Croucher at SPUC HQ who's training for the Anglican ministry and who recently raised £672.59 running in the Farnham Marathon.

Not only is James a first-time marathon runner for unborn babies, he's a first-time dad of a new-born baby, Charlie - pictured below.

He told me that for he and his wife, Charlie's birth really brought home to them the reality of abortion.

Linda Davidson, SPUC's receptionist (pictured with James and me above), first heard from James last June.  She tells me:
"James was keen to see what SPUC was all about and was trying to decide to which cause to donate his time, energy and funding.  I asked him to pop in and have a chat. During our talk he said he that abortion really affected him.

"I sent him off with lots of our material to read and he came back shortly afterwards to say that he had decided on SPUC for his debut in the Farnham Marathon. He had never run a marathon before and didn't even particularly like running! He said: 'I don't enjoy running but remembering the cause should get me around."
So thank you, from the bottom of our hearts, James! And thanks Charlie (and Charlie's mum, of course) for inspiring your dad to work so hard for babies and their mothers by supporting SPUC.


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