Saturday, 12 November 2011

The Catholic Herald advertises the Terrence Higgins Trust, radical anti-life and anti-family organisation

SPUC's staff have informed me that this weekend's edition of The Catholic Herald  - sold in just about every Catholic church in the United Kingdom - contains an advertising insert, addressed to "Dear Catholic Herald readers", from the Terrence Higgins Trust (THT). Terrence Higgins was a homosexual who was one of the first people in the UK to die from AIDS. Among other things, THT:
  • says about abortion: "The important thing to remember is that it is your body and your choice to continue with a pregnancy or not." The status of the unborn child isn't mentioned, nor are moral objections to abortion explained
  • links to the abortion providers BPAS and Marie Stopes and the pro-abortion group Education for Choice, on its pages on abortion
  • described "abortion and contraception services" as "an area of considerable unmet need"
  • says: "Some people worry that emergency contraception [the morning-after pill] is a form of abortion, but it is not, as an abortion involves removing a foetus from the womb. Emergency contraception works by preventing a foetus from being able to develop."
  • welcomed a finding that stem cells from mouse embryos could potentially lead to an embryonic stem cell cure for AIDS (The Times, 22 March 2004)
  • provides "living wills" (advance directives), now part of the pro-euthanasia Mental Capacity Act
  • attacked the Catholic Church's opposition to the promotion of condoms
  • made false claims about the benefits of sex education
  • says: "Some people think that being straight is ‘normal’ and that being gay or bisexual is ‘abnormal’. This is not true; no sexuality is better or more normal than another."
  • says: "Being gay is completely normal."
  • says: "Masturbation is completely natural, normal, and a good way of getting to know your body."
  • provides a explicitly-detailed guide to various - and some totally disgusting - sexual acts.
The inclusion of the THT advertisement in latest Catholic Herald comes only one month after the newspaper's inclusion of advertisements for Médecins Sans Frontières and the Alzheimer's Society, which also support anti-life practices. Following my blogpost a month ago about those inclusions, concerned readers wrote directly to The Catholic Herald's editor to complain. There is therefore no credible excuse for its latest failure to ensure that advertisements for anti-life or anti-family organisations are not inserted in its editions.

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Friday, 11 November 2011

SPUC Pro-Life is speaking out against Dr Philip Nitschke, suicide promoter

Starting tomorrow, Dr Philip Nitschke, president of Exit International, is touring the UK. He will lead public meetings and seminars, focused on advising people how they can commit suicide using a wide range of methods. Our colleague Dr Peter Saunders of the Christian Medical Fellowship (CMF) has an informative blog-post today all about Dr Nitschke.

SPUC Pro-Life has contacted the venues where Dr Nitschke is due to appear to urge them to cancel his appearances. SPUC Pro-Life is also emailing other users of the venues, local MPs, local councillors and local religious leaders, urging them also to contact the venues to complain. Below is a sample of SPUC Pro-Life's email letter. Readers of this blog may also like to email the venues to complain:
Letter from SPUC Pro-Life:
"We are writing to you in your capacity as [relationship to venue]. We are very disturbed to learn that [venue] will be hosting [date] a public meeting and seminar about suicide methods. The advertisements for the seminars explain that they provide “practical information” about ending life with barbiturates, gases, poisons and other prescription and non-prescription drugs.

These public meetings and seminars are being presented by Dr Philip Nitschke, director and founder of Exit International. He is on record as saying he believes that suicide pills should be sold in supermarkets and should be available practically on demand to even “the depressed, the elderly bereaved, the troubled teen”. I enclose Exit International’s most recent newsletter, which is an explicit guide to suicide, assisted suicide and euthanasia.

As an organisation which represents vulnerable people – including suicide survivors among disabled people – we hope you will share our disgust at Dr Nitschke being given a public platform for his sinister activities. A number of venues have in the past cancelled his speaking appearance, due to the deeply disturbing nature of his talks and the distress they cause to vulnerable citizens (whether or not they attend the events).

We therefore urge you to contact [the venue] to let them know that you object to its decision to host Dr Nitschke.

Yours sincerely, etc."
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Thursday, 10 November 2011

Fr Paschal Ryan is setting a great pro-life example

Fr Paschal Ryan, an episcopal vicar of the Catholic archdiocese of Westminster, was interviewed recently during a 40 Days for Life vigil outside the BPAS abortion centre in central London. Do watch the interview in full below or on YouTube. Among other things, Fr Ryan said:
"[The situation of abortion] is a situation of great need ... We hope that by our prayers that somehow [God's] grace may be active, both upon the people who are providing this terrible thing [abortion], also upon the women who are tempted, and on those who create this whole culture of death in which we live; and we are all to some extent involved in this. And so by praying, and by praying for this situation, we are to some extent at least setting ourselves apart from this culture in which we find ourselves."


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I found my mother's love letter to my dad

72 years ago today Margot, my dear late mum, wrote a beautiful letter to Jack, my dear late dad. She was overflowing with joy about his proposal of marriage. I found the letter in our attic at home and immediately shared it with my three sisters and brother. Naturally, they were all delighted to read it.

With all the attacks on love and marriage, and with the co-operation in this matter of certain Catholic bishops in England and Wales, directed most wickedly towards our children in school,  I found it magnificently uplifting to read the following words (which are even better in the original):
Copy of letter to Jack 10th November 1939
My Dearest Jack,

This is indeed the happiest letter I have ever wanted to write, and even before I begin I have a feeling that I shall probably experience great difficulty in compressing all my joyous thoughts into a single letter and yet what does it matter for I now have a whole life-time in which to write and talk to you. I can scarcely realize even now the magnitude of the wonderful thing that has happened to me and I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for the great honour you have done me by asking me to spend my future life with you. I am praying now that I may be worthy of you and I shall always thank God for sending me your love.

My dearest Jack, I love you very much and I am so utterly happy to be able to tell you this. I cannot imagine life without you.

I feel we have so much to discuss and plan - everything to look forward to which our life together will offer. It as though a great barrier has been lifted between us and I am confident that our united prayers have brought us to this beautiful decision.

The knowledge that we share the same glorious Faith has always been a source of great joy to me and is even more so at this moment, particularly as it was our common faith which originally brought us together.

And now Jack I must bring my letter to a close. May God bless you and look after you always.

With all my love,

Margot 
Thank you mum for writing these words:
  • “a great barrier has been lifted between us” which tells me and all your descendants all we need to know about the purity of true love and about what joy such purity brings; 
  • and “this beautiful decision” which teaches your descendants all we need to know about the sacredness of marriage and the fruits of marriage. 
And thank you dad, on behalf of all your children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren, for inspiring such a great love in my mother and for giving her such great love in return.

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Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Today's must-read pro-life news-stories, Wed 9 Nov

Dr Philip Nitschke
Top stories:

Check out SPUC's briefing and conference on maternal mortality
SPUC has launched a new briefing and conference on maternal mortality. The launches are in response to the coalition government's promotion of abortion in poorer countries, on the false pretext of reducing maternal deaths. The conference will be held in London on 20 March 2012. [John Smeaton, 9 November] http://goo.gl/uxSZ7

Write to local authorities to stop abortion 'duty' being imposed
The British government is planning to force local authorities to provide abortion services under the NHS reforms currently before parliament (the Health and Social Care Bill). This was stated by Anne Milton, the health minister, in a parliamentary answer. SPUC is calling upon supporters to write to their local councillors about the move. [John Smeaton, 8 November] http://goo.gl/5aatw

Scottish church leaders speak out against workshop by suicide campaigner
Christian leaders in Scotland have spoken out against a forthcoming workshop on suicide methods. Dr Philip Nitschke (pictured), an Australian euthanasia campaigner, is due to present the workshop in Edinburgh on 19 November. Ian Galloway of the Church of Scotland said: “To reduce the conversation about life and death to a workshop on how to help someone to kill themselves demeans our common humanity.” [Scotsman, 8 November] http://goo.gl/Pk4qS

Other stories:

Abortion
Euthanasia
Sexual ethics
General
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Check out SPUC's briefing and conference on maternal mortality

The coalition government continues to promote abortion intensively in poorer countries of the world – on the false pretext of reducing maternal deaths. We cannot ignore how our country is working to export the culture of death around the world. Please read SPUC's new briefing package entitled "Maternal Mortality and Abortion in Developing Countries".

The scandal of the UK exporting abortion around the world will be challenged at a conference in London next year entitled: "Abortion or Maternal Health: What should we be funding in developing countries?". Please note the date in your diary now: Tuesday 20 March 2012. The venue is Regent Hall, 275 Oxford Street, London W1. Speakers will include international medical and legal experts. Further details, including prices and booking forms will be circulated shortly, or check online for information at www.spuc.org.uk

Please alert your friends and contacts, especially medics, students, clergy, lawyers, third-world charity promoters, teachers, etc., to this event. They can e-mail: conference@spuc.org.uk to request further details and booking information.

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Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Write to local authorities to stop abortion 'duty' being imposed

According to Anne Milton, the minister for public health, the government is planning to force Local Authorities to provide abortion services under the NHS reforms currently before parliament (the Health and Social Care Bill). This was stated by Mrs Milton in a parliamentary answer. The changes will give responsibilities for commissioning health services to new Local Authority committees in England, and, according to Mrs Milton, the government plans to introduce statutory regulations to force local authorities to provide abortions as part of the new arrangements. This will create a conflict for any councillor who objects to abortion. Regulations forcing Councils to set up contracts with abortion providers (NHS or private) would also create the false idea that there is a legal right to abortion.

Until the new law is finalised and the regulations are drafted we cannot be certain what effect they will have, but we need to act now to alert local councillors to this threat.

Please write to your local councillors* and ask them to write to their chief executive requesting clarification of what the regulations will require. It is important to bear in mind that we are not saying that the current situation should be maintained, but that no statutory duty to commission abortions should be imposed on Local Authorities under the NHS reforms.

* The relevant local authorities are:
Unitary authorities (where these exist), Borough Councils (in London), Metropolitan District Councils, and County Councils elsewhere. (A helpful, informal guide to Local Authority structures can be found at http://www.gwydir.demon.co.uk/uklocalgov/structure.htm )

You can contact your local councillors via http://www.writetothem.com/

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Pope says Catholic Church obliged to protect values over and above individual cultures

Pope Benedict made many important pro-life statements yesterday in his address to the new German ambassador  - do read the whole address below. Of particular significance are his words:
"The Church...is obliged to protect those values which are valid for mankind as such, over and above individual cultures. Fortunately, a fundamental part of shared human values became law in the German Constitution of 1949 and in the Declaration of Human Rights after World War II."
SPUC has also been emphasising (through the Amnesty for Babies initiative and other campaigns) both the universality of human rights and the fact that the UN Declaration of Human Rights upholds the right to life of all unborn children from conception - and thus obliges all governments to ban abortion and destructive embryo research.
LETTERS OF CREDENCE OF NEW GERMAN AMBASSADOR

VATICAN CITY, 7 NOV 2011 (VIS) - This morning in the Vatican the Holy Father received the Letters of Credence of Reinhard Schweppe, the new German ambassador to the Holy See. In his remarks to the diplomat he recalled his own recent visit to the country of his birth which, he said, provided an opportunity "to reflect upon the service the Catholic Church and the Holy See can make in a pluralistic society".

"Many of our contemporaries see the influence of Christianity, and of other religions as a way of imposing a specific culture and lifestyle upon society", the Pope observed. "This view is not incorrect, but it is not a complete understanding of the Catholic Church, ... which has not only formed different kinds of cultural community in different countries, but has herself been moulded by the traditions of individual nations".

"The Church is aware - thanks to her faith - that she knows the truth about man, and thus that she is obliged to protect those values which are valid for mankind as such, over and above individual cultures", the Holy Father went on. "Fortunately, a fundamental part of shared human values became law in the German Constitution of 1949 and in the Declaration of Human Rights after World War II. ... Today, however, certain basic values of human life are again being put into question, values which defend the dignity man possesses simply by virtue of being a man. It is here that the Church sees she has a duty, over and above her faith, to defend truths and values that are under threat".

Pope Benedict went on: "We are not qualified to judge - to speak of one particularly important topic - whether an individual is 'already a person' or 'still a person'; even less so do we have the right to manipulate and, so to say, 'to create' man. Only a society which unconditionally respects and defends the dignity of each human being, from conception to natural end, can call itself a human society. ... If the Holy See enters into the field of lawmaking on fundamental questions that involve man's dignity - such as those that arise today concerning the prenatal existence of man - she does so not as a way of indirectly imposing her faith upon others, but of defending values which are evident to everyone because they concern the truth about human beings".

Benedict XVI then went on to refer to gender discrimination against women, describing it as "a critical problem which, due to materialistic and hedonistic tendencies, seems to be on the increase, above all in the Western world". The Pope highlighted how "a relationship which fails to take account of the fact that man and woman have equal dignity represents a grave affront to humankind. The time has come to take an energetic stance against prostitution and the widespread availability of erotic and pornographic material, also on the Internet. The Holy See will ensure that the Catholic Church in Germany takes clear and decisive initiatives against this form of abuse".

In conclusion, the Pope thanked the German federal government and the governments of the Lander for supporting the Catholic Church "which enjoys excellent openings in Germany", both to announce the Gospel and to help people in need through her social and charitable institutions "the work of which, in the final analysis, is of benefit to all citizens".
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Monday, 7 November 2011

It's more than Elton John's prejudice that we need courage to oppose

On The Guardian's website last Friday, Elton John, the pop singer, wrote (my emphases in bold):
“For too long schools have been afraid to take action [against homophobia]. They've feared the sort of moral panic generated by oddball fundamentalists, claiming that somehow seven-year-olds are being tutored in having sex ... There's an associated area where we're also all painfully under-serving our next generation. That's in our continuing failure to furnish them with an honest and appropriate sex education from the time they need it. Too often, we still take a near-Victorian approach to sex-and-relationship education which should be at the heart of our national curriculum ... We owe it to boys and girls to have a frank, open and realistic discussion with them before the age of sexual activity so that they're prepared and protected. There's no evidence – even if Tea Partiers in the US fancy the possibility – that abstinence campaigns either work or indeed successfully elevate the sanctity of marriage ... We can all contact our former school or the schools where we live, both primary and secondary, asking the headteacher exactly what he or she is doing to combat homophobic bullying and to equip young people with appropriate and robust sex education.”
This is the same Elton John:
Elton John's reference to "fundamentalists, claiming that somehow seven-year-olds are being tutored in having sex" is a reference to the campaigns of SPUC's Safe at School and its colleagues from other organisations fighting against the pornographic material being shown to primary school children.

But let's be clear: Elton John's agenda is not merely the uninformed blather of an ageing narcissistic 'star'. It is an agenda shared at the highest levels of the British government. Before the 2010 general election, David Cameron (now prime minister), Nick Clegg (deputy prime minister) and Ed Balls (then education secretary, now shadow chancellor of the exchequer) all agreed that schools, including faith schools, should be forced to teach that homosexuality is normal and harmless.

I therefore thank God that there are powerful signs of resistance to the homosexual agenda to be found. For example:
  • the foreign minister of Tanzania has said that his country rejects pressure by the British government to adopt so-called gay rights. Bernard Membe said: "We are not ready to allow any rich nation to give us aid based on unacceptable conditions simply because we are poor." Leaders in other African countries are also rejecting the Cameron government's pressure
  • Timothy Dolan, Catholic archbishop of New York, last month issued a strong statement forbidding Catholics in the archdiocese from any complicity in same-sex marriage.
We will all need great courage in the coming years to show such powerful signs of resistance to the homosexual agenda. Companies are already sacking or demoting employees who publicly oppose so-called gay marriage. It was very appropriate, therefore, that yesterday's Epistle at Mass was from Ephesians 6:
"Put you on the armour of God, that you may be able to stand against the deceits of the devil. For our wrestling is not, against flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers, against the rulers of the world of this darkness, against the spirits of wickedness in the high places."
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Today's must-read pro-life news-stories, Mon 7 Nov

Susan Tollefsen
Top stories:

I was wrong to have baby at 57, admits IVF mum
A UK woman (pictured) who gave birth at 57 following IVF has said it was a mistake to have children so late. Susan Tollefsen admits to struggling to raise her child now she is over 60. She said: "With the benefit of hindsight, I recognise that perhaps some of my critics were right." [Irish Independent, 7 November] http://goo.gl/8HmvB

UK court involved in euthanasia decisions should be open to public scrutiny, says court's judge
The head of an English which makes decisions on the treatment of the mentally-incapacitated has said that his court should be opened up to public scrutiny. Sir Nicholas Wall, head of the Court of Protection, said he is "increasingly encouraging judges who deal with life and death cases and those that involve the public interest – that is, deprivation of liberty safeguards or life support machine cases – either to sit in open court or to publish their judgments anonymously. The public deserve to know about how they are decided." [Guardian, 6 November] http://goo.gl/g9Yqv

Tanzania will not be bullied over gay rights issues, minister tells Britain
The foreign minister of Tanzania has said that his country rejects pressure by the British government to adopt so-called gay rights. Bernard Membe said: "We are not ready to allow any rich nation to give us aid based on unacceptable conditions simply because we are poor." Leaders in other African countries are also rejecting the Cameron government's pressure. [Pink Paper, 5 November] http://goo.gl/vIgz2

Other stories

Abortion
Sexual ethics
General
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