Friday, 24 July 2015

Bishop Afrifah-Agyekum is right to link marriage with sanctity of life

As I blogged earlier today, Bishop Afrifah-Agyekum, the Chairman of the health department of the Ghanaian Catholic Bishops' Conference and Bishop for Koforidua Diocese, said earlier this week:
“as the leadership of the Catholic Church in Ghana, we the Bishops recognize that a grave responsibility is imposed on us by our apostolic mandate to reiterate the Church’s true and beautiful teachings on the sanctity of life, the beauty of love, the purity of marriage and family life and the dignity of human sexuality”.
I am delighted that the Ghanaian Catholic bishops' conference are clearly linking marriage (the permanent exclusive union of one man and one woman) to the protection of human life. Earlier this year I spoke at Cleveland Right to Life's Convention "Bringing America Back to Life" and, if you have time, you can view my talk entitled "Why the Pro-Life Movement must embrace the defence of marriage and the family or face defeat".

I also made it clear in my talk that pro-life victory can only be won when church leaders who can reach out to millions of faithful worldwide are working together with the pro-life movement in the unambiguous proclamation of the pro-life, pro-marriage, pro-family message. That's why the forthcoming Family Synod in Rome is so critical. Please pray for its outcome.


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Ghana's bishops launch pro-life conference in context of Family Synod

Ghana's bishops launch pro-life conference
The Bishop in Charge of Health of the Ghana Catholic Bishops’ Conference (GCBC) on Wednesday, July 22, 2015 launched a Pro-Life Conference, which is aimed at leading Ghanaians to a deeper reflection of the Gospel of Life and appreciating of the sanctity of life, purity of marriage and the dignity of human sexuality.

The two-day Conference (in which I will have the honour to participate on behalf of SPUC) will be held at the Holy Spirit Cathedral in Accra from Saturday, August 7 to Sunday, August 8, 2015  on the theme: Promoting Life and Family Values in the Continuing Culture of Death.

In October 2014, the Holy Father, Pope Francis convoked an Extraordinary Synod on the family in Rome to enable the Church to reflect on the vocation and mission of the family in the contemporary world and to fashion a response to the very challenges that the family of today faces.

Bishops at the Synod observed that over the years, but most importantly in recent times, there had been an increasing encroachment of the proponents of the culture of death in almost every part of the world including Africa.

From African bishops the Synod discovered that the spread of the culture of death was evident in the persistent attempts by some international organisations, wealthy nations and philanthropists to limit, suppress and even destroy the source of human life among Africans.

Launching the Conference at the National Catholic Secretariat, Bishop Afrifah-Agyekum said that recognizing that Ghana is at the heart of the storm and struggle between the culture of life and culture of death in Africa necessitated the organisation of the Conference.

“Realizing the urgent need for the Church in Ghana to rise up and promote the Gospel of life in speaking against the emerging culture of death in Ghana,” was also one of the reasons for the conference, he added.

He noted that the Conference was to strengthen the witness of the faithful and other Christians to promote the dignity of life from conception to natural death; promote long cherished values of family life such as unity, indissolubility, openness to life and incorporating government, leaders and people in the project of building an authentic culture of life in Ghana.

He said that “The Catholic Church acknowledges the important role she has to play in concert with other like-minded Christian groups and Civil Society Organisations in renewing a pro-life mission in the world and calling on contemporary society to a deeper reflection of the Gospel of life.”

He said “as the leadership of the Catholic Church in Ghana, we the Bishops recognize that a grave responsibility is imposed on us by our apostolic mandate to reiterate the Church’s true and beautiful teachings on the sanctity of life, the beauty of love, the purity of marriage and family life and the dignity of human sexuality.”

Bishop Afrifah-Agyekum, said the Conference was aimed at teaching and training the faithful to understand the Gospel of life and to stand and defend the pro-life position of the Church.

In an interview after the launching, the Bishop said the unconditional respect for the right to life of every innocent person from the moment of conception to natural death is one of the pillars upon which every civil society stands and therefore the State has the primary duty to defend life.

To be actively pro-life is to contribute to the renewal of society through the promotion of family values and the common good, he added, stating that there can be no democracy without the recognition of every person’s dignity nor can there be a guarantee of true peace unless life is defended and promoted.

He lamented that the culture of death was emerging in Africa in a form of population control measures being proposed and propagated in African Nations by some multi-national organisations which had implanted themselves in Africa as a Family Planning Organisations.

He noted that in reality, these organisations were promoting unnatural and artificial means of birth control such as abortion, sterilization, vasectomies, the use of condoms over and above the natural family planning the Catholic Church upholds.

Activities lined-up for the two-day Conference include, a prayer campaign had been declared in all parishes, rectorates and stations from July 22, 2015, lectures by both local and international speakers on August 7, 2015; a pro-life/pro-family match from the from the Holy Spirit cathedral through some principal streets of Accra on August 8, 2015 and the issuing of a communiqué and the encouragement of the mass-media to take up the pro-life campaign throughout the country.

The press launch was attended by members of the Ghana Medical and Ethics Commission, Staff of the National Catholic Secretariat (NCS), and Diocesan Directors of Communications.


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Thursday, 23 July 2015

Children of homosexual couples oppose same-sex marriage


Like me, you may be interested in watching this video.

The video simply provides anecdotal evidence supporting the overwhelming case in support of marriage, the lifelong union of a man and woman which is open to children, as the best social context for children to be raised.

No other grouping offers such a high level of that security and stability that human beings need to flourish. Research shows overwhelmingly that children growing up within marriage do better in terms of health, educational success, careers and their own marriages. It is precisely because children matter, that real marriage between one man and one woman matters so much.

In the British context and no doubt elsewhere in the world, we should never tire of pointing out that Government statistics show that (in Britain) children conceived outside of marriage are 4 to 5 times more likely to be aborted than those conceived within marriage.

Tragically, last month, the US Supreme Court,ruled there is a constitutional right for same-sex couples to marry, which no state may deny. In doing so they may well have been misled by research from the American Sociological Association (ASA).

According to Dr Patrick Fagan:
The ASA has weighed in strongly supporting same-sex marriage and same-sex parenting with the potent claim that “the clear and consistent social science consensus is that children raised by same sex parents fare just as well as children raised by different sex parents.” This is a selective and dishonest reading of the research.
In a devastating critique, of the ASA, which can be read in full, Pat Fagan details four national survey reports that, through their sample size, give the lie completely to the ASA’s assertions.

We must do everything we can, without fear, if we truly care about children, born and/or unborn, to resist the march of the ideological footsoldiers of the homosexual "rights" lobby not least in their moment of triumph in the US and in Ireland.

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Another young man inspired to join pro-life fight

Ettore (Finaldi) is 15 and at St Thomas More school in Eltham, south London. He belongs to an Italian family and is the eldest of five children.

He came to SPUC's HQ in London to do work experience, and to learn about pro-life work, and he was very much impressed and inspired - as you will see from the letter of thanks received yesterday from Rhoslyn Thomas, SPUC's youth officer and Ettore's line manager whilst he was working for the Society.
Dear Miss Thomas,

I am writing to thank you for giving me a placement at SPUC. I really enjoyed it. I feel I have learned a great deal whilst I was here about the pro-life movement. I particularly enjoyed the trip to the Houses of Parliament and writing the blog. What I found most interesting was how we put the data [concerning new pro-life supporters] into a database. I have also loved working with the great staff.

This has given me an insight into the world of work and I have loved the independence, and using my time for a brilliant cause. Working in the pro-life field has shown me that I want to join SPUC in the future. I will definitely be going for the internship in three years’ time, I have also spoken to Elizabeth Foody about volunteering here in the near future when I have holidays! I would just like to thank you again for this great opportunity.

Yours sincerely

Ettore Finaldi
I don't know about you, but I love Ettore's vision, his sense of independence and his clear commitment to the pro-life cause. I hope he inspires you too ...

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Tuesday, 21 July 2015

SPUC speaks for unborn children at the UN

 SPUC's Pat Buckley at
the Human Rights Council in Geneva
One of SPUC's most important activities is to be a virtually constant presence at the United Nations where we battle for the right to life of unborn children.

Pat Buckley and Peter Smith are the Society's representatives at the UN - and they are there right now during the final stage of the ongoing negotiations of the Sustainable Development Goals and Targets (of which more another day) ... Spare a prayer for them, if you would.

Between them, Pat and Peter have clocked up 35 years of patient lobbying of UN delegations from around the world. In great measure, it is thanks to their work (and the work of our international pro-life collaborators) that, for all their terrifying power, the pro-abortion lobby has failed to establish abortion as an internationally-recognised "human right".

SPUC’s UN envoy Patrick Buckley made a powerful intervention in defence of the right to life of unborn babies at the United Nations Human Rights Committee in Geneva last week. The Committee is preparing a new General Comment for Article 6 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. A discussion day on the Article gathered together key people and representatives of organisations worldwide on both sides of the debate. You can read below Patrick Buckley’s intervention made following SPUC’s written submission at the Human Rights Committee:
Honourable members of the Human Rights Committee,

My name is Patrick Buckley and I speak on behalf of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children.

We have submitted a comprehensive document setting out the reasons unborn babies deserve protection before as well as after birth, both from the point of view of international law and of relevant scientific research.

This Committee has afforded itself a once in a generation opportunity to consider the implications of Article 6 of the ICCPR but we remind the members that in accordance with the provisions of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties they cannot reinterpret the provisions of the Treaty or expand its meaning.

The basic question is, will the Committee do the right thing and use this opportunity to protect the right to life of the most vulnerable human beings? Or on the other hand will the Committee bow to the ongoing demands of the abortion lobby and attempt to establish a right to kill the unborn rather than logically interpreting the International Bill of Rights and specifically the ICCPR in accordance with its provisions and in accordance with the provisions of the Vienna Convention?

Based on sound science, human embryos, from the moment of fertilisation, are new living human beings because of their unique genome and their ability to direct their own development. To use the words of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights 1948 we are all members of the “human family”. So we say that from the moment of fertilisation we all share a common humanity and that human embryos are equal members of the species homo sapiens. We also say that each stage of development is equal in value to every other stage.

There is a connection between the self-interest of certain communities and the line to be drawn between recognition of persons and non-persons. That self-interest may be driven by eugenic, economic, social or political factors such that those a society wishes to exclude are deemed to be non-persons. History is replete with examples of this phenomenon many of which have been set out in our detailed submission. This should not be allowed to happen.

However cleverly the arguments are presented the taking of a human life the killing of a human being is a heinous crime it is called murder. The killing of the defenceless, the most vulnerable human beings, the unborn baby is the most heinous of crimes and and we call on the Committee to outrightly reject it.

Denying embryonic and foetal human beings their inherent rights can only diminish the whole of humanity and hinder the search for truth that is the essence of the scientific and human endeavour.

Jus cogens (or ius cogens) is a peremptory norm of general international law from which no derogation is permitted and which can be modified only by a subsequent norm of general international law having the same character. The right to life of all human beings has the nature of an intransgressible norm already contained in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the ICCPR, the Declaration of the Rights of the Child 1959 and the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

We call on the Committee to reject all practices that enable negative discrimination against human embryos and foetuses. Chief among these are the legalization of abortion and approval for all research that harms or destroys human embryos. Moreover, because human embryos and foetuses cannot consent, even research that is supposed to be directed to their benefit must only be considered with the highest degree of ethical scrutiny.
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Catholics and pro-lifers worldwide receive leadership from Africa's bishops


Culture of Life Africa, an international, Africa-centred, pro-life group is doing simply amazing work in Africa - as are the Catholic bishops in Cameroon, Nigeria, Ghana and many other nations. The Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC) is proud of our association with their work.

As a Catholic, I am proud of the pro-life leadership being shown by Catholic bishops in Africa for the following reason ... they are showing themselves to be true shepherds of the universal flock of Catholics and the worldwide pro-life, pro-family movement in their prophetic opposition to abortion, contraception, same-sex marriage ideology being imposed on our children, and population control. This is happening at a time of unprecedented confusion evident at the highest levels in the Catholic Church.

Earlier this month, for example, the Catholic bishops conference of Nigeria issued a powerful resounding statement in the wake of the Irish referendum which had accepted same-sex marriage by popular vote and the US Supreme Court decision which had ruled that there is a constitutional right for same-sex couples to marry, which no state may deny. The Nigerian bishops wrote:
“Accepting this western trend by officially endorsing homosexual unions or “same-sex marriage” will be devastating and detrimental to our nation, Nigeria as it will lead to the inevitable deconstruction of the family and the society at large with other serious but negative implications.”
Watch this great video from Cameroon illustrating the pro-life message of the Catholic Archdiocese of Douala, Cameroon, as well as Culture of Life Africa, led by Obianuju Ekeocha (Uju for short) and supported by French-speaking, North East England based, Jean Fleron. SPUC was grateful to be invited by Culture of Life Africa to make a modest donation to their extraordinary, outstandingly generous, pro-life work in Africa, the good consequences of which are experienced by people and nations around the world.

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