Saturday, 20 February 2016

The appointment of Cardinal Nichols to head Vatican dicastery on laity family & life would endanger families worldwide

Voice of the Family noted recently reports from credible sources that Vincent Cardinal Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster, is being considered as a candidate to head a Vatican’s new dicastery, which will be responsible for Laity, Family and Life.

Voice of the Family further notes that:
"Cardinal Nichols’s approach to Catholic teaching on human sexuality has caused the pro-life, pro-family movement grave concern for many years. Serious questions have been raised about his approach to issues as diverse as abortion, contraception, the rights and status of the embryo, sex education, homosexual unions and the reception of Holy Communion for the 'divorced and remarried'."
The appointment of Cardinal Nichols to head a Vatican dicastery on the laity and family and life would endanger families worldwide. I invite visitors to my blog to consider the Voice of the Family's plea:
"Voice of the Family asks all our readers to pray that the Holy Father will appoint a courageous witness to Catholic teaching on life and the family to this new position. The family today is under sustained attack. The victims of this crisis – unborn children, the disabled, the elderly, children at risk from corrupting sex education, parents struggling to bring up their children according to the moral law – need a strong voice to speak on their behalf. This will not be provided by the appointment of a steadfast opponent of orthodox Catholic teaching."
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Friday, 19 February 2016

SPUC Pro-Life Youth Conference is a golden opportunity for young people

We are now exactly 3 weeks away from the first day of the 2016 International SPUC Youth Conference, which will take place in Hoddesdon, Hertfordshire (a 40 minute journey from central London) from the 11th to the 13th of March. This conference has been vital in educating, uniting and inspiring the pro-life youth of today to go out and be witnesses to the pro-life cause at university, school, at work and within their own families and amongst their friends.

The conference is a golden opportunity not only for young people to learn more about current pro-life issues, but also for them to network and socialise with other like-minded people. In this age, when so many fear vilification for valuing human life and the family, it is more important than ever that young pro-lifers keep in contact with one another and support each other’s work.

This year, we have another exciting line-up of speakers, including Bobby Schindler who is the Executive Director of the Terri Schiavo Life & Hope Network – the organisation dedicated to his sister, who was starved and dehydrated to death despite the valiant efforts of her family. Other speakers include Obianuju Ekeocha, who is making waves in Africa through her pro-life work in defence of Africa’s traditional pro-family and pro-life culture. To read a short biography of each speaker, please visit the SPUC blog:

You can book your place through visiting the SPUC website here: . If you, or someone you know, would like to attend the conference but cannot afford the price of a place, please contact Rhoslyn Thomas on for more information on sponsored places at the conference.

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Thursday, 18 February 2016

Brave gender ideology opponent speaking in Westminster

I encourage you to attend the talk which will be given by Gabriele Kuby, hosted by the Westminster Diocese Office for Marriage and Family Life on 11 March, 2016*, entitled: "The Destruction of Freedom in the Name of Freedom"

Gabriele Kuby, who has said that her deepest motivation in life is the search for truth, has been the target of abuse for her brave work against ‘gender ideology’. She wasportrayed recently  in a play as a zombie who could only be killed with a bullet to the head. After the play’s premiere, in Kuby’s home country of Germany in a Berlin theatre, one of the other pro-family campaigners portrayed in the play had her car torched.

As pro-lifers, we should be very concerned about the rise in popularity of ‘gender ideology’. As Pope Emeritus Benedict said:
“…if there is no pre-ordained duality of man and woman in creation, then neither is the family any longer a reality established by creation. Likewise, the child has lost the place he had occupied hitherto and the dignity pertaining to him”
Gabriele Kuby will also be speaking on the following day at our annual SPUC Youth Conference in Hoddesdon (11-13 March). To book your place at the conference, visit:

* The meeting takes place at Vaughan House, 46 Francis Street, SW1P 1QN at 6.30 pm on 11 March

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Friday, 12 February 2016

Congratulations John Deighan, SPUC Scotland's CEO, on becoming a Knight of St Gregory

John Deighan, SPUC Scotland's chief executive, my opposite number in Scotland, has been invested as a Knight of St Gregory by Bishop John Keenan, the bishop of Paisley.

Bishop Keenan, commenting on John's richly-deserved honour, referred to:
"his outstanding contribution to Church and society as Scottish Bishops' Parliamentary officer over fifteen years.
"Congratulations", Bishop Deighan said "to his wife Angela and all the Deighans".
Well-done John! Your courageous service of the common good and the Church makes us all proud.

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Thursday, 11 February 2016

"Devastating" pro-abortion legislation rejected by Northern Ireland Assembly

Liam Gibson, SPUC Northern
Ireland officer
It's good to share good news this morning with visitors to my blog:
The Society for the Protection of Unborn Children, the UK’s largest pro-life organisation has welcomed the defeat of moves to liberalise abortion law in Northern Ireland.
The Assembly rejected an attempt to make it lawful to abort children diagnosed with a life limiting condition by 59 votes to 40, and also voted 64 to 30 against an amendment which would have made it lawful to abort those said to have been conceived through criminal sexual activity.

"Effect would have been devastating"
Liam Gibson, SPUC's Northern Ireland development officer said:

"It would be difficult to overestimate the significance of this vote by the Northern Ireland Assembly. Had these proposals become law, their effect would have been devastating.

"Although they were presented as allowing abortion only for a limited number of so-called hard cases, in reality they were an attack on some of the most vulnerable of children and would have led to widespread abortion."

"Children deserve special protection"
Mr Gibson continued: "Experience around the world shows that this kind of proposal is only the thin end of the wedge, and that abortion activists seek to exploit any loophole in the law, to discredit pro-life laws and deny legal protection to all unborn children. Their aim is to erect a false 'right to abortion' in law.

"International law recognises that all members of the human family share the right to life, and that children deserve special protection, including legal protection before as well as after birth.‎ This vote is a clear rejection of the idea that some children are less worthy of the protection of the law."
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Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Canadian doctor's chilling first encounter with physicians who kill their patients

Alex Schadenberg, the executive director of Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, has published an article describing the chilling moment when Dr Diane Kelsall (right), deputy editor of the Canadian Medical Association Journal, first encountered (in 1993) fellow health professionals, at a medical conference, attended by Queen Beatrix, in The Hague, who were explaining how to kill patients.

"Numerous attendees filed out of the session in silence, clutching handouts that described euthanasia protocols:

Administer this. If the patient is still breathing, administer that. If the patient’s heart is still beating, do this.
We stood in small groups, hardly able to grasp what we were reading. This was so contrary to everything we had been taught and everything we believed. How could physicians have crossed this line? When did “above all do no harm” turn into an algorithm for death?"

Twenty-plus years later, Dr Kelsall is chilled once again when she receives similar advice from the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario.

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Tuesday, 2 February 2016

In celebration of Margaret Cuthill, leading UK witness to the harm of abortion

Margaret Cuthill celebrates retirement
Last Friday evening, on the occasion of her retirement, we celebrated Margaret Cuthill's inspirational leadership for a quarter of a century of ARCH, Abortion Recovery Care and Helpline formerly known as British Victims of Abortion funded and administered by the SPUC Education and Research Trust. Margaret's counselling, her unforgettable witness as a post-abortion speaker, has helped to heal countless mothers following an abortion and has saved the babies of countless mothers-to-be.

I was honoured to pay tribute to Margaret's work during our celebration dinner - in these words:

In the heat and in the hurry of SPUC’s educational and political campaigning on behalf of unborn children and their mothers – it’s been deeply comforting to me and to my colleagues in the Society that the work of ARCH – Abortion, Recovery, Care and Helpline, funded and staffed by the SPUC Education and Research Trust for three decades – has been quietly active, reaching out to women suffering after an abortion, and helping mothers in crisis pregnancies to avoid abortion.

Bob Edwards, Chairman of SPUC Education
and Research Trust, talks to Sister Andrea Fraile
of Glasgow-based Sisters of the Gospel of Life. Across
the table is John Deighan, SPUC Scotland director
ARCH has been there, doing this great work, originally under the title British Victims of Abortion, for thirty years. And Margaret, whom we are honouring this evening on the occasion of her retirement, has been absolutely central to this work, leading and inspiring it throughout the UK from the office here in Glasgow, shared with our colleagues in SPUC Scotland, in so many ways, for 25 of those years.

Paul Tully, SPUC’s London-based general secretary, who started work for SPUC 35 years ago, provides a perspective from a distance on the quality and quiet effectiveness of Margaret’s work in these few comments that he sent me today:
"I don’t think I’ve ever had the chance to work closely with Margaret apart from referring people to her for help – whether for post-abortion counselling or support during pregnancy - but I do recall her moving contributions to a number of conferences, public witnesses, training sessions, etc, where she spoke of her experience of abortion and the survival of her daughter. Her simple, unostentatious honesty about the situation she found herself in and the harm of abortion were deeply impressive. Her work supporting other post-abortive women has been mostly unseen and unsung of course, but it is surely none-the-less appreciated by the many hundreds of women she has met with or spoken to over the years.”
And Katherine Hampton, who’s worked for the Society for 22 years, said to me today:
“My abiding memory of Margaret will always be the student lecture tour we did together back in 1995 – with speaking engagements from Dundee to Dover. As well as the school and university talks Margaret undertook on this tour, there were also local radio interviews that she did so well. It was her ability to keep telling her own personal story over and over again that particularly impressed me. I think that by the end of the tour I knew her story off by heart!”
Margaret’s courage and self-sacrifice in telling and retelling her powerful personal history and testimony regarding abortions must have saved countless lives, and given new hope and a sense of belief and self-confidence to countless women and men – either to recover and to begin again after an abortion, or to continue with a pregnancy or to give support to a mother-to-be. What Paul calls Margaret’s “deeply impressive unostentatious honesty” has saved lives and, I believe, through Margaret’s work in the media and in other significant public forums, has changed the nature of the abortion debate in Britain.

Anthony Ozimic, SPUC’s communications director, has been telling me about the significant media impact and coverage Margaret has achieved over the years conveying to the public the true nature of abortion and its damaging impact on mothers – for example, in The Independent on Sunday in 1993, on Sky TV in 1996, on the BBC in 2005, in The Scotsman in 2006, in the Sun in 2009, in the Telegraph in 2015 and in The Herald and in 2016 – and on countless other occasions in the print and broadcast media.

Anthony has sent this message to our celebration of Margaret’s work this evening:
“In the abortion debate in the media, there is often a clash of absolutes: between the right to life of the unborn child and the woman's right to choose. While it is good and proper for this clash to take place, it often seems to result in people remaining in entrenched positions. Margaret's compelling testimony and personal insight has the power to move hearts even when heads remain in the sand. No biased interviewer, no aggressive opponent and no irate caller can say credibly to Margaret: 'you were not there when you had the abortion'; 'your pain was not real', 'the women you've cared for don't exist'. Margaret's voice will be greatly missed."
Beneath the simplicity of Margaret’s quiet witness, everyone listening can sense a depth of experience and understanding which changes the listener. In my view, the listener undergoes a kind of conversion experience as Margaret tells us the full truth about abortion and its consequences. And like all great speakers, she knows when to burst into oratory, like at the press relaunch of British Victims of Abortion under its new name of ARCH five years ago. Margaret said that women were "tortured and tormented" by abortion. Quoting Shakespeare's Richard II, she conveyed the sorrow of abortion in these words:
“My grief lies all within, And these external manners of lament Are merely shadows to the unseen grief That swells with silence in the tortured soul”
Two beautiful sisters, Marion, left, and Margaret Cuthill, right, met in Glasgow 5 years ago to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Margaret's working as a post-abortion counsellor.

I was privileged to pay tribute to Margaret at the Glasgow celebration of her great work. This is what I said then – and I’ve no reason to change a word of it 5 years later:
“For me, Margaret embodies what the pro-life movement is all about. Quite apart from her daily counselling, Margaret has devoted her life to giving a courageous, powerful, personal witness concerning her own abortions. She's the most moving speaker on abortion I've ever heard, with her simple, understated witness. Again and again, over the years, her personal witness has helped to change the nature of the abortion debate in the UK, humanizing it, removing it from the level of confrontation, and introducing people, instead, to the truth. She certainly fulfils Pope John Paul II's prophetic address, in Evangelium Vitae, to women who've had an abortion: “With the friendly and expert help and advice of other people, and as a result of your own painful experience, you can be among the most eloquent defenders of everyone's right to life.” (EV, 99)
I love you Margaret, for what you have done for unborn children and their mothers. On behalf of so many people you've helped and inspired, thank you.

In closing this blogpost, on behalf of my fellow trustees on the SPUC Education and Research Trust, I also thank SPUC Scotland whose office has been shared by Margaret and her team this past 25 years. The SPUC Scotland team and its leadership (Linda Porter, followed by Ian Murray, followed by Donna Nicholson and now John Deighan) have given invaluable love and support and critical support and guidance to the ARCH team, critically assisting its vital compassionate outreach, for a quarter of a century. 

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