Thursday, 13 June 2013

Stonewall scandal at Catholic university college points to bureaucrats as the problem

Pope Benedict  in the chapel
of St. Mary's University College, Twickenham
Deacon Nick Donnelly of the excellent Protect the Pope blog reports that St Mary's University College, Twickenham (known colloquially as Strawberry Hill):
"subjected its PGCE students to a two-hour anti-homophobic bullying workshop run by Stonewall on its premises. The ‘training’ session lasted from 4pm to 6pm on Thursday 6th June."
A similar scandal occurred recently at a Catholic primary school in Wimbledon and seems to be happening in other Catholic schools and colleges.

Strawberry Hill is one of the most prominent Catholic educational establishments in the UK, and hosted Pope Benedict in September 2010, where he said:
"the much-discussed Catholic ethos...needs to inform every aspect of school life"
including
"the self-evident requirement that the content of the teaching should always be in conformity with Church doctrine."
The doctrine of the Catholic Church on this matter is expressed in the Cathechism of the Catholic Church as follows:
"Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts* as acts of grave depravity, tradition has always declared that "homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.” They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved."
SPUC has been sent a copy of the Stonewall presentation given at Strawberry Hill which was used as the basis for the workshop. The presentation goes beyond the subject of homophobic bullying. It:
  • attacks Christian teachers who have objections to homosexuality
  • advocates the inclusion of homosexual equality into curricula
  • attacks Section 28 of the Local Government Act 1988 which (before being repealed in 2003) prevented the promotion of homosexuality in any state-maintained school
  • provides a recommended reading list of homosexual books
  • promotes homosexual parenting
  • links to websites which, among other things, promotes 'gay pride' marches.
The college's website reveals that, among its 'equality scheme objectives', are:
  • "To ensure mechanism for students to declare sexual orientation"
  • "Ensure that information on sexual orientation is collected at Registration"
  • "To improve confidence in declaring sexuality"
  • "To develop information for students to improve their confidence to declare [their sexuality]"
  • "Ensure support for transgender staff and students"
Many of the members of the college's board of governors are nominated by the Catholic Education Service (CES). Mgr Marcus Stock, General Secretary of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales, recently reminded schools, in a document published on behalf of the CES and the Bishops' Conference, that Catholic schools have a duty of:
"integrating Gospel values and the teachings of the Catholic Church into every aspect of learning, teaching and the totality of school life."
However, considering that it is the CES who is recommending to Catholic schools that they 'tackle homophobic bullying', I wonder if it is staff there who are also responsible, either directly or indirectly, for the Stonewall presentation at Strawberry Hill and for its homosexual equality objectives. After all, the CES's deputy director is Greg Pope, a former Member of Parliament whose anti-life and anti-family parliamentary record includes support for homosexual civil partnerships and allowing homosexual couples to adopt children. A statement of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith leaves the grave immorality of such legislation beyond any doubt:
"Allowing children to be adopted by persons living in such unions would actually mean doing violence to these children, in the sense that their condition of dependency would be used to place them in an environment that is not conducive to their full human development. This is gravely immoral and in open contradiction to the principle, recognized also in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, that the best interests of the child, as the weaker and more vulnerable party, are to be the paramount consideration in every case."
It would seem that this might be a case of the bureaucats who work for the bishops letting the the bishops down.

However, on a very positive note, how timely that Archbishop Müller, the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, is visiting Scotland this week to deliver a strong message upholding parents as the primary educators of their children. In the prestigious "Cardinal Winning Lecture" at the University of Glasgow he will say:
"It is opportune at this present moment, amidst the rapidly changing state of society, of higher education generally and also of the Church, to reflect on the nature and distinctiveness of Catholic Education and on the challenges it both faces and also presents ... "
and he says:
"the State has the duty and responsibility to facilitate the wishes of Catholic parents to educate their children according to their desire to pass on their faith to their children."
Anthony Ozimic, SPUC's communications manager who is also a graduate of St Mary's bioethics master's degree course, would like to hear from other Simmarians (past or present) who object to the homosexual agenda infiltrating St Mary's and who may be interested in joining together to make their objections known to the relevant persons. Write to Anthony at anthonyozimic@spuc.org.uk

* Why is the Catholic Church's teaching on homosexuality (and sexual ethics generally) 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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Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Must-read pro-life news-stories, Wed 12 June

Top story:

Congratulations to Alan Hopes, Catholic bishop-elect of East Anglia
John Smeaton, SPUC's chief executive, has congratulated Alan Hopes, currently auxiliary bishop of the Catholic archdiocese of Westminster, upon his appointment as bishop-elect of East Anglia. Bishop Hopes has given public witness to the sanctity of human life, of marriage and of the family, in particular supporting vigils outside abortion centres. In a sermon Bishop Hopes gave in Westminster cathedral last November, he prayed "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." [John Smeaton, 11 January]

Other stories:

Abortion
  • U.S. Cardinal Raymond L. Burke discusses the relationship between contraception and the culture of abortion. [YouTube, 11 June]
  • 40,000 march against abortion bill in Dublin [LifeSiteNews.com, 10 June]
  • Government drags its feet for almost 18 months over investigating doctors in 14 NHS trusts who pre-signed abortion forms [Peter Saunders, 9 June]
  • Brazilian evangelist leads tens of thousands against abortion, gay unions outside National Congress [LifeSiteNews.com, 9 June]
  • Irish government acting like totalitarian regime on abortion, say religious orders [Irish Times, 7 June]
Euthanasia
Population
Sexual ethics
General
  • No greater calling in life than rescuing people from the brink of death, says HRH the Duke of Cambridge [Telegraph, 10 June]
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Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Congratulations to Alan Hopes, Catholic bishop-elect of East Anglia

I wish to congratulate Alan Hopes, currently auxiliary bishop of the Catholic archdiocese of Westminster, upon his appointment as bishop-elect of East Anglia. Bishop Hopes has given public witness to the sanctity of human life, of marriage and of the family, in particular supporting vigils outside abortion centres - see below a list of my blogposts. In particular, I recall the sermon he gave in Westminster cathedral last November, when he said:
"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.
...
"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."
Bishop Hopes preaches the Gospel of Life in Westminster Cathedral (6 November 2012)

I felt proud of Bishop Hopes, the auxiliary bishop of Westminster (31 March 2012)

Catholic bishops in England give increasing support to pro-life vigils (26 March 2012)

Please support Bishop Alan Hopes, under attack from abortionists (19 March 2012)

If Catholics and others followed Bishop Hopes's lead, abortuary would close (26 October 2011)

Bishop Hopes to lead 40 Days for Life vigil in London (13 October 2011)

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Monday, 10 June 2013

Archbishop Tartaglia backs Catholic adoption agency's struggle against unjust regulation

Archbishop Tartaglia "We hope that
common sense will prevail"
The Glasgow based St Margaret’s Children and Family Care Society is resisting demands from the OSCR, the Scottish Charities Regulator, to abandon its long-held position that the best interests of adopted children are served by having them placed preferentially with a mother and father within the stable union of marriage.

The OSCR claims that Saint Margaret's position would have a negative impact on cohabiting and same sex couples. Despite there being another 36 adoption agencies in Scotland, the regulator has deemed it important that Saint Margaret's effectively disassociate itself from the Church or face closure.

St Margaret’s Board Member, Brian McGuigan, has expressed the organisation’s determination to carry on: "fighting this at every available opportunity as Saint Margaret's origins and identity are inseparable from the Catholic Church and her values and moral teaching in respect to marriage and the family".

Strong support for their position came from Archbishop Philip Tartaglia, Arcbishop of Glasgow and administrator of the Archdiocese of St Andrews and Edinburgh, who has described St Margaret’s as "a treasure of the Church in Scotland" which can be sure that "the whole Church is united in support for its work".

Hundreds gathered in support of the charity at St Andrew’s Cathedral on Sunday. The charity is appealing to the Scottish Charities Appeal Tribunal and, if necessary, is prepared to take its case to the Court of Session.

Archbishop Tartaglia said:
"The whole church is united in support for [St Margaret's Children and Family Care Society's] work and we hope that common sense will prevail, and it will be allowed to continue to serve children in Scotland who need loving families.”
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