Friday, 21 March 2014

We can be happy, say people with Down Syndrome

Please watch this beautiful testimony - addressed to mums - from people with Down Syndrome. They say "We can be happy ... Don't be afraid ... ".

On Sunday I am hearing a Mass, celebrated by Cardinal Vincent Nichols, to celebrate the work of the Lejeune Clinic and the unrivalled advice and help they have given to children with Down Syndrome and their parents, assisting Down Syndrome people with their education and development. The SPUC Education and Research Trust is proud of its long association with the clinic, ever since its inception, and the late Professor Jerome Lejeune was President of SPUC.

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

Suffer with Christ and defend life and marriage, says Bishop Mark Davies

In an interview with John-Henry Westen, editor-in-chief of LifeSiteNews.com, the Bishop of Shrewsbury, Rt Rev Mark Davies, delivered the following message to those involved in the pro-life movement and in the defence of marriage:
“I would say not to be afraid because I think we’ve got to have confidence that the essential goodness of the message that we are teaching, its truth, is going to attract the generations to come and what I often say is what we are doing now... is for the generations who will follow us.”
The bishop spoke of the ‘growing intolerance which we are seeing in society, which is in many way reducing the space in which Christians can live and give witness to their faith’. Bishop Davies called on those suffering under persecution to look to the Cross which he called a sign of ‘sharing the suffering of Christ’ and ‘the promise of victory... in so far as we remain united to Him in truth and in love.’

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

Thursday, 20 March 2014

Nigeria withstands the international anti-life sexual rights lobby

Pat Buckley, SPUC's lobbyist at the Human Rights Council in Geneva, reports to me today:
Nigeria has been resisting pressure to change its laws on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity. The outcome of the Nigerian Universal Periodic Review was presented at the Human Rights Council in Geneva on March 20th. H.E. Mr. Umunna Humphrey Orjiako (pictured right) spoke on behalf of behalf of Nigeria.
The report of the working group shows that Nigeria has rejected pressure from a number of member states to introduce 'same sex marriage'. Nigeria rejected the recommendations on sexual orientation and gender of the following states:
  • Austria
  • Czech Republic
  • Sweden
  • France
  • Uruguay
  • Argentina
  • Australia
  • Canada
  • The United States
Slovakia recommended the introduction of sex education in the school curricula and France called for the continuation of work in favour of women’s rights […] including respecting sexual and reproductive rights.
The Centre for Reproductive Rights called for more family planning, sex education and abortion and complained that there was inadequate access to so called 'safe abortion'.
ILGA, the gay-lesbian organization, substantially funded by the European Commission, expressed deep concern about the prohibition of same sex marriage. They complained about a witch-hunt against and arrests of homosexuals. They also complained that none of the recommendations on sexual orientation had been accepted by Nigeria.

Mr. Orjiako in winding up the debate told the meeting Nigeria does not witch-hunt anyone and the laws on 'same sex marriage' were arrived at through a democratic process to which no one can object.
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

Nigerian Catholic Bishops launch national pro-life seminar to prepare for Family Synod

Here are stirring words, simple words which are full of hope for humanity, from the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria (CBCN):
"In the light of various global attacks on Human Life, Marriage and the Family, which work to erode Christian and Cultural values, we urge all to join in the preparation for the forthcoming Extraordinary Synod of Bishops in October 2014 under the theme: "Pastoral Challenges to the Family in the Context of Evangelization". We congratulate all the dioceses in Nigeria which took part in recent consultations on the family initiated by the Holy See. As further preparation for the Synod, we, the Catholic Bishops of Nigeria, are organizing a Seminar on Pro-Life issues under the theme: 'Witnessing to the Dignity of every Human Life'. It will take place in Abuja from June 5 to 7, 2014 at This Day Dome, International Central Business District, Abuja. We hope in this way to affirm Christian families, Youth and organizations that promote the culture of life. We urge all people of goodwill to fully support the forthcoming Seminar."
It is encouraging for families, pro-life and pro-family groups that Catholic leaders in Nigeria seem clearly to understand the global crisis which has been triggered by the killing untold millions of unborn children during the past half century, largely financed by western governments, and by attacks on the rights of parents.

By way of complete contrast, this crisis is largely ignored by Christian leaders, including Catholic leaders, in the West.

As I said in my address to the Legatus Convention in Orlando last month:
Yes, in the US and the UK we have had our pro-life successes. We must be full of hope but we mustn’t kid ourselves, ladies and gentlemen:
  • The forced abortion regime in China is funded by the taxpayers of virtually every nation on earth as the IPPF, Marie Stopes International and UNFPA, funded by governments worldwide, co-operate with the Chinese government’s policies.
  • Developing nations worldwide are under pressure from our powerful western governments to legalize abortion, population control measures, and a homosexual rights agenda which threatens our children.
  • And in our own nations countless millions of abortions take place annually, recorded under the abortion statistics, and unrecorded under the guise of so-called contraceptive drugs and devices so overwhelmingly accepted throughout society and widely in use even within the Catholic community.
Let’s not kid ourselves. The pro-life movement, however hardworking, however well-informed, however blessed and strong we may be in our initiatives, the pro-life movement cannot defeat the culture of death on our own ... Pro-life organizations and the wider community must be fortified by unequivocal, unyielding voices of Catholic Church officials and bishops throughout the world.
Throughout Britain, Ireland and Europe, the failure of Catholic bishops to teach their flocks on matters relating to the fundamental right to life is directly responsible for great confusion and, consequently, for the failure of the overwhelming majority of Catholics, both clerical and lay, to provide truly effective resistance to the greatest legalized slaughter of human beings in the history of the world. Countless millions of unborn children are being killed each year and the policy of very many Catholic bishops in Europe is contributing hugely to this deplorable situation.
It is time for the church leaders everywhere, starting in Rome, to follow the increasingly courageous lead of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Nigeria.

Visitors to my blog might like to express their appreciation of what the Nigerian Catholic bishops' conference is doing by writing to their head office at csnabuja@cbcn.org or to John Cardinal Onaiyekan, Archbishop of Abuja at onaiyekan7@hotmail.com  or at onaiyekan7@yahoo.com

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, 18 March 2014

Here's a real message of hope for the pro-life movement in Britain

Nichola Pope on the right is pictured here with her friends
Patricia Benson (left) and Tilly Rock - from Castlerigg
Last week I received the following message from Nichola Pope who attended SPUC's youth conference earlier this month. It was one of the most inspiring, encouraging, messages I've ever received in nearly 40 years working at national level in SPUC:
Hello,

My name is Nichola Pope, I'm 22 years old and work at a Catholic youth retreat centre in the Lake District. I met you very briefly when I came to the SPUC youth conference on the weekend and feel like I've had something completely new breathed into me. I've never been to anything like the SPUC conference before and didn't know what to expect, but I'd heard of it through my parish priest who once asked me to read a letter of yours to the parish. What I experienced was a group of compassionate, faithful and genuine individuals who gave me back my faith in humanity. I felt enveloped in goodness and a real sense of solidarity in breathing God's love and life into the world and this 'culture of death'.  I've always believed that like you said, politcians can't and won't change world but only the conversion of hearts and minds will ever make a difference. I came back from the conference and tried to tell somebody about where I'd been on the weekend and what the general ethos and mission of SPUC is (and my wholehearted agreement with it) and with the reaction I got, exactly what you said at the last talk about 'the battle' completely came to light. I realised how hard it is and how hardened hearts have become, and it made me very sad... but even more determined to live a life of love and witness which cares for nothing but the life and welfare of others, whether it be inside or outside of the womb.
I have always, always been pro life, I'm quite positive I was pro-life before I even realised there was an option... but since the conference I feel more passionately about it more than anything I've ever felt passionate about and I want to thank you and all who are part of SPUC for your dedication, your love, your compassion, your encouragement and your inspiration.

Love and prayers always,
Nichola Pope 
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

112 nations at the UN form "Friends of the Family", SPUC's UN lobbyists report

Ambassador Jean Marie Ehouzou
Here's some encouraging news I'm hearing from the SPUC team at the Human Rights Council in Geneva:

Many UN member countries, sick and tired of the constant bombardment from European and other first world member states about same-sex marriage, contraception and abortion, have established an informal group known as Friends of the Family, consisting of 112 member states. This cross-regional group is being formed in the context of this, the 20th anniversary of the International year of the Family, and immediately prior to the 25th session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva.

Pat Buckley, one of SPUC's veteran lobbyists at the UN, tells me:
"When 112 member states come together to object to the agenda being forced on them through UN agencies and highlight their determination to support the family, as the fundamental group unit of society, as set out in the international bill of rights, one has to sit up and take notice. This new initiative will no doubt be stiffly resisted by the nations that promote the anti-life and family ideology but it represents the 'winds of change' in international relations and has the potential to lead to genuine appreciation of, and support for, the family."
The Group’s first initiative, consisting of a panel discussion on the role of the family as a vehicle in the fight against poverty, was held on Thursday, 13th March.  The meeting focused on the 20th anniversary of the International Year of the Family and looked at the potential for the development of a new development goal on the family now that the international community is negotiating a 15 year programme consisting of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The panel focused in particular on strengthening the family in its role as a stimulator of autonomous economic activities, a factor for social integration and intergenerational solidarity and an engine for development; all of which are important components in the development of the post 2015 development agenda.

The event was arranged by the new group together with the permanent delegations of the African Union, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, and the Holy See, and speakers included Archbishop Silvano M. Tomasi, Permanent Observer of the Holy See and Mrs. Sharon Slater, President of Family Watch International. The session was chaired by, H.E. Ambassador Jean Marie Ehouzou, Permanent Representative of the African Union.

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

What counts as abortion

Pro-lifers must be prepared to answer the most challenging questions facing doctors - and facing all men and women - on the matter of abortion.

In the current edition of the Catholic Medical Quarterly, Anthony McCarthy of SPUC argues that the induction of pre-viable unborn babies in order to save the mother’s life cannot be seen as morally acceptable. Either it involves an invasion of the baby’s bodily integrity of an impermissibly harmful kind or - at very least - it constitutes an expulsion of the baby from a place where it has a fundamental right to be.

This is a piece pro-lifers really need to read if they are to grasp the correct scope of the term abortion.

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

Monday, 17 March 2014

Defending unborn children is inseparably linked with defending real marriage: LifeSite's interview with SPUC's Anthony McCarthy


John-Henry Westen, LifeSite's editor-in-chief, interviews Anthony McCarthy, SPUC's education and publications manager, on the link between defending marriage and defending unborn children.

Anthony says:
  • “To really understand what the natural habitat of that child is — where that child will survive — we have to look at that institution that is built around that child, which is marriage.”
  • “What we do know is that a baby is much more at risk [of being aborted] if it is conceived outside of its natural habitat, that is, outside of marriage ... ”

Watch the interview above in full.

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