Friday, 26 July 2013

Bishop Davies says "we must bear true and faithful witness to marriage" in the face of the homosexual agenda

Mark Davies, the Catholic bishop of Shrewsbury, has issued a pastoral letter this weekend in which he says that:
"we must bear true and faithful witness to marriage"
and that:
"The redefinition of marriage by the Government’s recent legislation does not, and cannot, change Christian teaching on marriage, the family, or sexual morality"
Bishop Davies also says that because marriage is:
"ordained by God for the creation of the family and future generations",..."[i]t would be hard to over-estimate in these respects the importance of marriage for human well-being and our ultimate good."
On behalf of SPUC, I wish to express my gratitude to Bishop Davies for his strong leadership and clear vision for a pro-life and pro-family future.

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Thursday, 25 July 2013

Family campaigners worldwide must protest against Cameron’s plan to export same-sex marriage

SPUC is calling upon family campaigners worldwide to protest against the British prime minister’s plan to export same-sex marriage, following David Cameron’s speech (see notes 1 & 2 below for extracts) last night at a reception at No. 10 Downing Street, the prime ministerial residence, to thank those who had engineered the rail-roading of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act through Parliament.

We are calling for international resistance to the British prime minister’s global plans to impose sexual licence on children and poor families. SPUC will be contacting church leaders, politicians and family campaigners worldwide to alert them to this threat by the British government, asking them to protest to the British embassies in their countries. Same-sex marriage is a counterfeit version of marriage and thus undermines real marriage, which is the best protector of children, both born and unborn.

From the very start of his prime ministership, Mr Cameron and his government have been obsessed with promoting the culture of death around the world. This includes spending hundreds of millions of pounds on the promotion of abortion and contraception. People anxious to defend life and family in their countries must warn their fellow citizens about these insidious activities of British government officials.

Antonia Tully, national coordinator of SPUC’s Safe at School campaign, commented:
"Mr Cameron’s comments about children (see note 2 below) is yet more evidence that legalising same-sex marriage will lead to the promotion of homosexuality in schools. The real scourge in schools is the sexualisation of children, not least through the material which homosexual groups use to target children.”
SPUC has published a position paper on same-sex marriage explaining why SPUC campaigns for real marriage, and a background paper to be read in conjunction with the position paper and which provides some additional references and reflections.

Notes:

1) Mr Cameron thanked ministers and officials (known as the ‘bill team’), saying:
"I’ve told the bill team I’m now going to reassign them because, of course, all over the world people would have been watching this piece of legislation and we’ve set something, I think, of an example of how to pass good legislation in good time. Many other countries are going to want to copy this. And, as you know, I talk about the global race, about how we’ve got to export more and sell more so I’m going to export the bill team. I think they can be part of this global race and take it around the world."
Mr Cameron also said:
“There’s a lot more work to be done as Britain in the Commonwealth, talking to our Commonwealth partners about decriminalising homosexuality in various countries.”
2) In clear references to how the same-sex marriage law will provide momentum to promoting homosexuality in schools, Mr Cameron said:
"I think of young children growing up at school, who might be uncertain about their sexuality, knowing that now, in the highest place in the land – in Parliament – we’ve passed this law that says that marriage is for you, whether you’re gay or whether you’re straight. And I think that is so important to young people growing up."
and
"There’s a lot of work to be done on homophobic bullying in schools, which is still a scourge in our country. There’s a lot of work to be done in terms of hate crimes and how we stop and stamp that out in our society."
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Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Leading Irish moral theologian warns of totalitarianism threatening conscience

Last night the Irish Seanad (senate) voted by 39 votes to 14 for the government's bill to legalise abortion  - read Pat Buckley's blogpost today for a reflection. The bill will now pass to Michael D. Higgins, Ireland's pro-abortion president, for his approval.

Dr Vincent Twomey, emeritus professor of moral theology and perhaps Ireland's leading moral theologian, has written an important article published today in The Irish Times entitled: "Conscience, a last bulwark against totalitarianism" and subtitled "The attempt to suppress dissent on the abortion Bill marked a new low". In the article, among other things he says:
  • "Jerry Buttimer TD, chairman of the Oireachtas committee on the Bill, played a central role in getting the Bill passed. As a seminarian at Maynooth, he was exposed to the kind of fundamental moral theology that denies moral absolutes, such as direct abortion, and places politics superior to (supposedly private) moral convictions. Whatever the rationalisations used, the net effect of all this was the attempt by the Taoiseach, Minister for Health and chief whip to put pressure on anti-abortion colleagues to vote for legislation they knew to be wrong."
  • "The imposition of the whip in such a debate on life and death crushes the small voice of conscience more effectively than any torture chamber."
  • "It is well to remember that, in the aftermath of totalitarianism, the German people in 1949 wrote the primacy of the conscience of elected representatives into their constitution. Those representatives are expressly instructed that they are not bound by orders or instructions; they are answerable only to their conscience. Conscience is the last bulwark against totalitarianism."
Dr Twomey's last point about Germany is very important. In 1937 Pope Pius XI issued the encyclical Mit brennender sorge ("With burning sorrow"). In it the Pope exposed the Nazis'
"[s]ecret and open measures of intimidation, the threat of economic and civic disabilities, [which] bear on the loyalty of certain classes of Catholic functionaries, a pressure which violates every human right and dignity."
He expressed his compassion for Catholics persecuted for opposing the anti-life Nazi state, who "have often to face the tragic trial...of being hurt in [their] professional and social life", and commended them for their "heroisms in moral life". He warned that:
"The resulting dereliction [by Nazism] of the eternal principles of an objective morality, which educates conscience and ennobles every department and organization of life, is a sin against the destiny of a nation, a sin whose bitter fruit will poison future generations."
And he taught:
"[I]it will be every one's duty to sever his responsibility from the opposite camp, and free his conscience from guilty cooperation with such corruption. The more the enemies attempt to disguise their designs, the more a distrustful vigilance will be needed, in the light of bitter experience."
Also see my blogposts:
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Russian Orthodox Moscow Patriarch speaks out strongly against same-sex marriage

Patriarch Kirill, primate of the Russian Orthodox Church, delivered on Sunday a strongly-worded sermon against same-sex marriage. According to the Interfax news agency which covers Russia:
Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia regards the recognition of same-sex "marriages" in Western countries [as] an omen of the end of the world.

"Lately we have been facing enormous temptations when in a number of countries the choice of sin is approved and justified by law, and those who do as their conscience tells them and fight laws imposed by such minorities are subjected to reprisals. This is a very dangerous apocalyptical symptom and we must do our utmost for sin to be never approved by state laws throughout the expanses of Holy Rus[sia] because it would mean that the nation is entering the road of self-destruction," he said after a Sunday church service in Red Square.

He said that today enormous efforts are being bent "to persuade all of us that the freedom of choice is the only value and that nobody has the right to encroach on it, even if a person chooses evil, even when a person chooses socially dangerous behavior, on condition that the provisions of civil law are not violated," he said.

However, it is an open secret "how easily these provisions can be circumvented," the patriarch said.

"We know that no law, even the most perfect one can eradicate crime, corruption, evil, lies or confrontation. Only a person who has made a free choice of goodness can do that," Patriarch Kirill believes.
LifeSiteNews.com also reports:
"his warning at a meeting in Moscow in May this year with Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Thorbjorn Jagland, where he said, “Today we have a very dangerous development, the laws regarding same-sex marriages and adoption of their children which go against the moral nature of man.”

“If people choose this lifestyle,” the Polish news service Interfax quoted him saying, “it is their right, but the responsibility of the Church is to say that it is a sin before God”.

What the Russian Orthodox Church is concerned about, Kirill said, “is not the fact of the existence of this sin - it has always existed. But we are deeply concerned that for the first time in the history of the human race sin is being justified by law. This opens up the prospect of a dangerous development, which will contribute to the moral degradation of society.”"
I pray that, for the sake of our families, bishops throughout the world will have the same courage to speak out with the same clarity and strength as Patriarch Kirill. See below some of my blogposts about the Orthodox Church on pro-life/pro-family issues:
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Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Must-read pro-life news-stories, Tue 23 July

Top stories:

Man in forced abortion threat case grateful to SPUC
The young man at the centre of the abortion case in the Dublin High Court on 16 July has said he is extremely grateful to the pro-life groups which helped him prevent his girlfriend from being forced to travel to England for an abortion. SPUC and Women's Net crisis pregnancy agency had provided him with advice and support when he approached them earlier in the week. Liam Gibson SPUC's development officer in Northern Ireland, said: "This case highlights the very serious issue of women being coerced into having abortions. [SPUC, 22 July]

Explicit sex ed agenda challenged by pro-family campaign Safe at School
In a letter published in The Telegraph newspaper, SPUC's Safe at School campaign has challenged the agenda of groups who want explicit sex education to be imposed upon primary schools under the cover of science lessons. The letter from Safe at School was written in response to a letter published in The Telegraph on 19 July from the Sex Education Forum, the Mothers' Union and the Royal College of Nursing, among others. The letter from Safe at School, written by its coordinator Antonia Tully, said: "Most parents are not drawing their children’s attention to genital organs and schools shouldn’t either." [SPUC, 22 July]

Liverpool Care Pathway: 1st pro-life group to sound alarm welcomes review's recommendation
The first pro-life group to sound the alarm about the Liverpool Care Pathway (LCP) has welcomed a report's recommendation that the LCP be replaced. SPUC Pro-Life warned about the LCP as long ago as September 2008, in an article ("Liverpool Care Pathway – comfort for the dying or backdoor euthanasia?") in its newspaper The Pro-Life Times. On Saturday, the Council of SPUC Pro-Life, its democratically-elected governing body of grassroots activists, passed a motion welcoming the recommendation. [SPUC, 22 July]

Pro-life leaders react to US Bishops agency’s funding of pro-abortion groups
Pro-life leaders are expressing outrage after LifeSiteNews.com revealed that Catholic Relief Services, the US Catholic bishops’ overseas aid agency, is funding two leading pro-abortion organisations, CARE and Population Services International (PSI). John Smeaton, SPUC's chief executive commented:  “Firstly, CARE and PSI's knowledge that, year after year, CRS will give them millions of dollars for ostensibly ethical projects enables them to budget and plan ahead for their unethical activities. Secondly, receiving millions from CRS helps whitewash their reputations in the wider world and entrenches their presence in the countries where they operate. Lastly, there are legions of pro-life/pro-family Catholic initiatives which desperately need funding, such as MaterCare International, the Billings Ovulation Method and Culture of Life Africa. CRS' millions for CARE and PSI should be given to them instead." [LifeSiteNews.com, 19 July]

SPUC Scotland responds to nursing home director's assisted suicide comments
SPUC Scotland has responded to a nursing home director's comments about assisted suicide. Dr Chai Patel, chairman of a large chain of nursing homes, seemed to promote the idea of people being offering the choice of assisted suicide. A spokeswoman for SPUC Scotland said Dr Patel represented "a corporate, money-making body that no doubt sees from the example of Dignitas that there is a lot of money to be made from suicide clinics and can only lead one to conclude that these comments are about business not care. "[They] send out a dangerous message to those in our society who are elderly, infirm or dependent on others for some kind of help, support or care. Illness and old age do not rob people of dignity, but treating them as disposable or placing quality of life judgments on their existence does. Giving good care and understanding and time to those in need is the real act of mercy." [Scottish Catholic Observer, 19 July]

Other stories:

Abortion
  • Reported death of woman, following 2012 London abortion, introduced in final week of Ireland's abortion debate [Pat Buckley, 22 July]
  • Pro-life activist's former abortion clinic in Texas closes [CNA, 19 July]
  • Abortion: Whatever happened to fathers and sex? [SPUC youth blog, 17 July]
Embryology
Population
Sexual ethics
  • Gay ‘marriage’ a ‘sign of the apocalypse’: Russian Patriarch [LifeSiteNews.com, 22 July]
  • Sikh temples advised to deregister as marriage venues over same-sex marriage lawsuit fear [Telegraph, 21 July]
  • Ex-gay activist begins 10-day walk to Washington D.C., protests against cartoons promoting homosexuality to children [Christian Post, 22 July]
  • Nights away from mum 'leave babies less secure' [Mail, 22 July]
  • Anglican archbishop of Kenya condemns support for civil partnerships by Archbishops of Canterbury and York [Tablet, 22 July]
  • Lesbian couple and their sperm donor fight for custody over children [Daily Telegraph, 20 July]
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Monday, 22 July 2013

Liverpool Care Pathway: 1st pro-life group to sound alarm welcomes review's recommendation

The first pro-life group to sound the alarm about the Liverpool Care Pathway (LCP) has welcomed a report's recommendation that the LCP be replaced.

SPUC Pro-Life warned about the LCP as long ago as September 2008, in an article ("Liverpool Care Pathway – comfort for the dying or backdoor euthanasia?") in our newspaper The Pro-Life Times.

The Council of SPUC Pro-Life, our democratically-elected governing body of grassroots activists, passed the following motion yesterday:

"This Council:
  • welcomes the call by Baroness Neuberger's review panel for the Liverpool Care Pathway to be phased out;
  • salutes those relatives who have struggled to protect patients on the LCP;
  • thanks all health care staff responsible for raising concerns about the LCP in public;
  • congratulates the Pro-Life Times for raising concerns about the LCP in 2008;
  • welcomes any proposal to prioritise ethical individualised care, which should include patient assessment by competent individuals and which should avoid not only over-burdensome treatment, but should also avoid over-sedation, neglect and the wrongful withdrawal of nutrition and hydration; and
  • urges the Executive Committee to maintain its vigilance to identify and resist approaches which entail or lend themselves to euthanasia or assisted suicide."
Anthony McCarthy of SPUC Pro-Life told the media:
"SPUC welcomes the recognition, by an independent review, that the Liverpool Care Pathway is "the wrong approach" to end-of-life care and that it "should be replaced over the next six to 12 months.

"SPUC Pro-Life has supported consistently those medics who have criticised vocally the LCP. We will be closely examining any new proposals that may be put forward following the review. SPUC Pro-Life will be doing so with caution and in the knowledge that we live in an increasingly euthanasiast culture."
The LCP's implementation was draconian, with brave consultants such as Professor Patrick Pullicino threatened for highlighting the deaths that it can cause. Brave medics, families of victims and enterprising journalists have been at the forefront of exposing this structurally deficient pathway, often receiving little support from establishment figures who disagreed on its dangers.

SPUC is opposed to the giving of burdensome treatment to patients for whom it is no longer appropriate. We are also opposed to neglect of any patient. We want to protect the lives and welfare of vulnerable people by giving them what they need, when they need it, knowing that life has value at every stage.

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Explicit sex ed agenda challenged by SPUC's Safe at School campaign

In a letter published today in The Telegraph newspaper, SPUC's Safe at School campaign has challenged the agenda of groups who want explicit sex education to be imposed upon primary schools under the cover of science lessons (see third letter at http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/letters/10193965/Let-patients-monitor-NHS-trusts-but-dont-follow-Labours-example.html ).

The letter from Safe at School was written in response to a letter published in The Telegraph on 19 July from the Sex Education Forum, the Mothers' Union and the Royal College of Nursing, among others (see 11th letter at http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/letters/10189069/Where-are-the-experts-coming-from-in-order-to-save-failing-hospitals.html) The letter from Safe at School, written by its coordinator Antonia Tully, reads:
Sex-free schooling

SIR – Sex education is, and should remain, a non-compulsory subject in primary school (Letters, July 19). It should not be smuggled into science classes, depriving parents of the crucial legal right to withdraw their children.

Our campaign, Safe at School, is about supporting parents, as the primary educators of their children, in protecting their offspring from graphic sex education.

The new primary science curriculum recognises that introducing sexual issues into the lives of young children under the guise of science is inappropriate. It lists the body parts that children at Key Stage 1 should be able to identify and that list contains no sexual organs.

Teachers do not have to worry about giving the “correct names” for genitalia or otherwise. This supposed need for children aged five to seven to be able to name correctly their genitalia is not going to safeguard them. Quite the reverse, it will stimulate an unhealthy interest in their sexual organs and is a violation of their privacy. Most parents are not drawing their children’s attention to genital organs and schools shouldn’t either.

Antonia Tully
Society for the Protection of Unborn Children
London SE11
Antonia also told the media today:
"Safe at School first identified the abuse of the National Curriculum in primary schools whereby sex education was being taught in science lessons. Last summer, Nick Gibb, then schools' minister, confirmed for Safe at School that it was wrong for sex education to be inserted into primary schools under the guise of science.

Distressed parents contacted me saying that their children's schools were telling them that sex education was a compulsory part of the science curriculum and that they could not withdraw their children. Nothing adequately expresses the horror parents experience when they actually see the cartoon films of sexual activity which their young children are subjected to in the classroom."
See also:
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Man in forced abortion threat case grateful to SPUC

court building, Dublin
The young man at the centre of the abortion case in the Dublin High Court on 16 July has said he is extremely grateful to the pro-life groups which helped him prevent his girlfriend from being forced to travel to England for an abortion. SPUC and Women's Net crisis pregnancy agency had provided him with advice and support when he approached them earlier in the week.

On Friday 12 July, the young man's girlfriend was taken from their home in Northern Ireland by her parents and brought to Dublin. Shortly afterwards, he discovered that an abortion had been arranged to take place within a matter of days, despite the fact that she wanted her baby.

Already 20 weeks pregnant, she had given up smoking, had picked out baby clothes and was receiving appropriate ante-natal care. Earlier in pregnancy she had expressed a desire to have her baby even if the child was disabled. Having taken her to Dublin, however, her parents had prevented the child's father from contacting her. Concerned for the safety of his girlfriend and their baby, the young man was desperate to find help. After discussing the situation with SPUC and Women's Net, it became clear that a legal intervention to prevent her from being taken out of Ireland was the only realistic option. He was then put in touch with a legal team in Dublin who was able to act on his behalf.

The result of this action was to remove the pressure being applied to the young woman. Having assured the Court that she would not be prevented from having her baby, the psychiatric assessment called for by the Court to establish her wishes was no longer required and the application was withdrawn.

Liam Gibson SPUC's development officer in Northern Ireland, told the media:
"This case highlights the very serious issue of women being coerced into having abortions. Despite the slogans, women frequently undergo abortions because they feel they have no choice. No woman should be compelled by parents, a husband, boyfriend or even financial pressures to have an abortion. And no one can give proper consent without being informed of the serious and potentially life-long consequences of abortion. These are issues which the Irish government has completely ignored in its rush to legalise abortion in Ireland.

In this case, the fact that the young woman would have had to travel to Britain for an abortion provided vital time in which a forced abortion could be prevented. Other women have not been so lucky."
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