Thursday, 8 November 2012

Obama's re-election is tragic, but failure to preach the Gospel of Life is worse

The re-election of Barack Obama, the most anti-life and anti-family president in US history, is indeed tragic. The truth, however, is that his re-election is but a symptom of a greater evil which extends not just across the US but across the world.

One clue is in the demographics of those who voted for Mr Obama. Analysts of the poll results pointed out that women, Hispanics, immigrants and young adults were more likely to vote for Mr Obama than for Mr Romney. A large proportion of those groups (which also overlap considerably) is Catholic - yet they voted to re-elect a president who has declared himself effectively to be a enemy of the Catholic Church over the issues of abortion, contraception and homosexuality.

Another clue is the fact that, as Fr Frank Pavone of Priests for Life said:
"Many in Church leadership failed to connect the dots between personnel and policy. They prayed and preached against the HHS mandate [President Obama's anti-life healthcare plan], but then were silent about the election, and called the police to remove citizens who leafleted the Church parking lot trying to inform voters about where the candidates stood on this issue."
A third clue is in a comment made to me recently by someone who has attended Mass every Sunday for four decades in Wales. He told me that he had never once heard a pro-life sermon.

These clues - and there are countless more I could list - tell me that the failure of Catholic leaders to preach and apply the Gospel of Life will make future elections of anti-life politicians inevitable.

It is all very well for Church spokesmen like Cardinal Dolan and Fr Lombardi to highlight the culture of life, religious freedom etc. in the wake of Mr Obama's re-election. But unless the Gospel of Life is actually used in practice to stop abortion, contraception and the destruction of marriage among Catholics themselves, there won't be any Catholics left for Mr Obama to persecute. This radical application of the Gospel of Life requires some of the following actions (and many other similar ones):
  • the dismissal from office of prelates who give succour to the culture of death - such as Archbishop Rino Fisichella
  • the banning from every Catholic church of publications which undermine the Gospel of Life - such as The Tablet
  • the removal from Catholic schools of pornographic sex education programmes (such as "Living and Growing") and the unequivocal banning of government agencies committed to giving schoolchildren access to abortion which have operated in Catholic schools with the co-operation of the Catholic Education Service in England and Wales.
In 1988, Pope John Paul II said*:
"The common outcry on behalf of human rights is false and illusory if the right to life is not defended with maximum determination."
Last night's election results are a rude reminder to the Catholic Church today of that fundamental reality.

* My thanks go to Paul Kilbane of SPUC Crosby branch for reminding me of this quotation. 

Comments on this blog? Email them to johnsmeaton@spuc.org.uk
Sign up for alerts to new blog-posts and/or for SPUC's other email services
Follow SPUC on Twitter
Like SPUC's Facebook Page
Please support SPUC. Please donate, join, and/or leave a legacy

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Pro-life, pro-family commentators react to Obama's re-election

Top story:

Pro-life, pro-family commentators react to Obama's re-election
Pro-life and pro-family commentators have reacted to the re-election of anti-life and anti-family Barack Obama as US president. Abby Johnson, the former Planned Parenthood centre manager now pro-life figure, said: “Time to get involved in the prolife grassroots movement." [LifeSiteNews.com, 6 November] Dale O'Leary, an expert on the homosexual agenda, wrote: "We must protect ourselves and our families by strengthening our own institutions. We must create an alternative culture, one which will resist the culture of death." [Dale O'Leary, 7 November] Michael Matt, editor of The Remnant Catholic newspaper, wrote: "Barack Obama is not the problem, by the way. We are!  Abortion is ... Obama has been reelected because America, like any nation, will always get the leaders she richly deserves." [The Remnant, 7 November]

Other stories:

Abortion
Embryology
Sexual ethics
General
Comments on this blog? Email them to johnsmeaton@spuc.org.uk
Sign up for alerts to new blog-posts and/or for SPUC's other email services
Follow SPUC on Twitter
Like SPUC's Facebook Page
Please support SPUC. Please donate, join, and/or leave a legacy

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Bishop Hopes preaches the Gospel of Life in Westminster Cathedral

DSC_0816Yesterday Westminster Cathedral was the latest stop on the pro-life "Ocean to Ocean" pilgrimage, during which a copy of the icon of Our Lady of Czestochowa is travelling across Europe as a focus for prayer and hope for the Gospel of Life (see more details in my blog last Wednesday).

Alan Hopes, Catholic auxiliary bishop of Westminster, celebrated Mass and led devotions attended by an estimated 2,000-plus faithful. Anthony Ozimic, SPUC's communications manager, represented SPUC in the Cathedral and many SPUC supporters were there too. Earlier in the afternoon, SPUC held a meeting in the Hinsley Room, connected to the Cathedral, on the theme of "Ocean to Ocean", which was addressed by several pro-life speakers.

Below are some key extracts from Bishop Hopes's sermon. I wish to thank the bishop for his powerful words and encourage readers to read the sermon in full. Among other things, Bishop Hopes said:
DSC_0863"Tonight we welcome into our Cathedral the replica of the famous and much venerated icon of Our Lady of Czestochowa. It was commissioned in January of this year to be a witness to the Gospel of Life and to the Civilisation of love – pro Life and pro Family ... entrusting to her maternal intercession a reclaiming of the dignity of human life and of respect and support for the Family and of a restoration of family values."
...
"The icon of Our Lady of Czestochowa...has been the object of desecration, abuse and contempt. Scarred by assaults the message of this sacred image is a reminder in spite of anything man can do, the true beauty of God’s love will shine brightly. How marred is our own world by such assaults on the dignity of human life – from the easy discarding of innocent lives in the tragedy of abortion, to the easy discarding of life as it nears its completion in the so called “right to die” and “mercy killing”."
...
"How marred too, is our world by the assaults on the dignity and the sacred nature of marriage and family life. From the beginning God shows us that the family is a sacred unity given by him to provide stability for the human race ... Today’s ideas of living with one another and entering into the commitment of marriage, the acceptance of unfaithfulness and sexual immorality, the provision in law of pre-nuptial agreements which is symptomatic of a general disregard for marriage, the proposed marriage of same sex couples – none of these can replace the ideal of the family – mother, father children - which God intends should provide stability for society as a whole."
...
DSC_0870"Let us pray fervently, today, before the image of Our Lady of Czestochowa that those who are in power will seek to uphold the dignity of human life until the tragedy of abortion and assisted killing is no more; and to support and strengthen the family and the values of family life."
Comments on this blog? Email them to johnsmeaton@spuc.org.uk
Sign up for alerts to new blog-posts and/or for SPUC's other email services
Follow SPUC on Twitter
Like SPUC's Facebook Page
Please support SPUC. Please donate, join, and/or leave a legacy

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Nadine Dorries-style radically pro-abortion 'time-limit' legislation must be rejected

Last Wednesday, members of the House of Commons debated the issue of abortion time-limits (full text). Nadine Dorries MP had secured parliamentary time for an adjournment debate in Westminster Hall. Such debates last typically for 90 minutes and no vote is held on the debate's subject. The debate served to show the dangers inherent in the campaign to reduce the upper time for social abortions.

Among other things, Nadine Dorries
  • promoted abortion on demand:
"I am pro-choice, and I believe that, up until 12 weeks, that should be the case. I am delighted that more than 90% of abortions in this country take place before 12 weeks."
  • called for the Abortion Act to be extended to Northern Ireland:
"[T]he law on abortion should be equal in all parts of the Union. Abortion law needs to be reformed in the UK, and there needs to be parity across the board."
"If any abortion provider is to come to Northern Ireland, Marie Stopes is probably the best bet. Marie Stopes is one of the most professional and non-advocacy-driven abortion providers. It has no political ideology and is concerned only for the health of the woman, and it operates in a professional manner. So I think that, if Northern Ireland is to have an abortion provider, Marie Stopes are the people to have."
  • mispresented the history of abortion law reform - "In 1990, the 1967 Act was amended to reduce the upper limit from 28 weeks to 24 weeks." - which is not true. Because of amendments to the abortion law made by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology (HFE) Act 1990, the previous limit - which was based on the capability of the baby to be born alive, not a fixed number of weeks (28) - was abolished. A 24-week time limit was introduced, but only for certain cases. In other cases, including where the abortion is carried out on grounds of disability, abortions can be and are now carried out right up to the time of birth. Every child who had reached the stage of development of being "capable of being born alive" was protected by the pre-1990 law. Since 1990 that protection has been removed. So the effect of the HFE Act 1990 was to increase the time-limit for abortion in most instances and in many cases right up to birth. 
  • backed discrimination against disabled babies:
"I want to make it clear that my proposal to reduce the upper limit does not include babies with foetal abnormalities or, sadly, disabilities. That is a discussion to be held, as I have said, between parents and doctors. Abortion is available up until birth for foetal abnormalities. My proposal applies to abortions for social reasons."
    So let's be clear about the implications of the Westminster Hall debate on the abortion 'upper limit' last Wednesday. Nadine Dorries made it crystal clear that she wants:
    • to introduce radically pro-abortion legislation in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy,which would have the effect of increasing substantially the numbers of abortion during that period
    • extending such legislation to Northern Ireland; and
    • reinforcing current discrimination against disabled babies, allowing them to be aborted up to birth.
    A Nadine Dorries-style bill must be firmly rejected by the pro-life movement.

    Such radical pro-abortion legislative thinking - sometimes wrongly and grotesquely presented as being based on good pro-life tactical thinking - has a tragic history, to which I allude above and to which I will return again shortly.

    Comments on this blog? Email them to johnsmeaton@spuc.org.uk
    Sign up for alerts to new blog-posts and/or for SPUC's other email services
    Follow SPUC on Twitter
    Like SPUC's Facebook Page
    Please support SPUC. Please donate, join, and/or leave a legacy

    My talk on ending abortion in the UK

    On 15 September, SPUC Midlands Region held a conference in Loughborough. I addressed the conference and William Astor kindly made a video of my address, entitled "Ending Abortion in the UK". You can watch the video below on on YouTube:



    Comments on this blog? Email them to johnsmeaton@spuc.org.uk
    Sign up for alerts to new blog-posts and/or for SPUC's other email services
    Follow SPUC on Twitter
    Like SPUC's Facebook Page
    Please support SPUC. Please donate, join, and/or leave a legacy