Wednesday 31 December 2008

Massacre of the innocents – British-style

The Christmas season is a special time for celebrating the sanctity of human life – seen in the conception and birth of Jesus. It’s also a time to commemorate unthinkable attacks on the sanctity of human life – seen in Herod’s massacre of the innocents.

My son’s missal for December 28, the Feast of the Innocents, reads: “To picture the desolation in more vivid colours, Jeremias recalls Rachel whose lamentations are heard in Rama, bewailing her children because they are not. Like a compassionate mother, the Church robes her priests today in vestments of mourning, and suppresses the Gloria and Alleluia.”

As a Catholic living in England, I see the priest’s mourning vestments as symbolizing the Church’s mourning for its own responsibility in the massacre of the innocents in Britain.

I think of the ambiguous position of the Catholic authorities in relation to the provision of abortifacient birth control and abortion to children in Catholic schools, without the knowledge or consent of the children’s parents.

I think of the invitation to Tony Blair to speak in Westminster Cathedral, who refuses to repudiate, since his reception into the Catholic Church, the anti-life laws and policies he supported and promoted as prime minister and as a Member of Parliament.

I think of the failure to ban abortion referrals at the Catholic hospital of St John and St Elizabeth in London.

As Luke Gormally, honorary fellow of the Linacre Centre for Healthcare Ethics, rightly commented on Fr Finigan's blog: "How can the Church in this country effectively defend the sanctity of life when its Chief Shepherd is prepared to approve a code which effectively accommodates referrals for abortion?"

But the situation is even worse than that. How can any pro-life group effectively defend the sanctity of human life when the pro-life ethic is undermined by leading representatives in England and Wales of the largest pro-life group in the world, the Catholic Church?

I make no apology for being so blunt. Pope John Paul II instructed Catholics to be so when he wrote: “ … We need to begin with the renewal of a culture of life within Christian communities themselves. Too often it happens that believers, even those who take an active part in the life of the Church, end up by separating their Christian faith from its ethical requirements concerning life, and thus fall into moral subjectivism and certain objectionable ways of acting. With great openness and courage, we need to question how widespread is the culture of life today among individual Christians, families, groups and communities in our Dioceses. With equal clarity and determination we must identify the steps we are called to take in order to serve life in all its truth … ” (Evangelium Vitae, 95).

The massacre of the innocents in Britain will not be effectively opposed whilst the ambiguous policies of the Catholic authorities in England and Wales in relation to the government’s anti-life legislation and policies are maintained.

Tuesday 30 December 2008

Censorship rules OK at the Guardian (on eugenics)

A couple of weeks ago I reported on the Guardian's censorship of comments critical of the eugenicist philosopher, Peter Singer. He had written an article in the Guardian on the subject of AIDS in South Africa. He argued that Thabo Mbeki, the former South African president, was responsible for the deaths of thousands of South Africans because of his policy on the cause of AIDS and on the use of anti-retroviral drugs.

I was informed that, in the online version of Singer's article, one commentator named "ContraSign" left the following comment [at 10:25am]: "Whatever the rights and wrongs of Mbeki and AIDS, Peter Singer, who supports infanticide and euthanasia, is no person to lecture anyone about saving human lives. The death toll from Singer's eugen(i)cist ideas would dwarf any death toll attributable to Mbeki."

A few minutes later, ContraSign's comment was replaced with the message:"This comment has been removed by a moderator. Replies may also be deleted." I suggested that my visitors may like to write to the Guardian to express their opinion. Pauline Gateley, amongst others, did so - and she sends me this report:

"Dear John,

I have persisted with the Guardian and had what you may find an interesting exchange with the moderators concerning the Mbeki article and their moderation policy. Because they have an irritating way of not using the reply facility on email but starting the exchange afresh each time I have had to copy and paste the exchange together myself and have therefore set it out in the natural chronological order so that you can read from the top down. The Guardian’s are in red, mine in black:

To: ''
Sent: Thu 18/12/2008 17:05

I sent the message below to userhelp and now realise it should have been to you:

Dear Sir/Madam, I note that the comments submitted by ContraSign have been deleted by the moderators and that my challenge to this (as PaulineG) has also now been deleted. In the interests of free debate I am at a loss to understand how this can be justified. Nothing that Contrasign or I said is untruthful. Peter Singer’s position is well known and he himself would not deny the truth of his support for infanticide and euthanasia. Perhaps ContraSign’s observation was in the nature of an ‘ad hominem’ but these are not normally deleted, as anyone following CiF debates on Catholic news will be well aware. I therefore ask you, in the interests of fair play and free and balanced debate, to explain how these deletions fit with your general moderation policy and I look forward to your response.

Yours faithfully,

Pauline Gately

From:; on behalf of;
Sent: Fri 19/12/2008 11:10

Hi Pauline,

It is our policy to delete comments that refer and reply to a post that has broken our community standards and been removed, hence why yours was removed.

It is also policy not to discuss users comments with anybody other than that user themselves. We would give the same response if anybody enquired about a comment of yours.

Best wishes,

(Community Moderator)

To: ''
Sent: Fri 19/12/2008 13:26

Hello Todd,

Thank you for your reply. I see where you are coming from and respect your policy as stated. I have now submitted a complaint re stevehill’s comment. Having followed a number of these threads I am well aware that the Pope seems to be freely and regularly defamed without apparent challenge and references to Galileo are all but mandatory in any thread touching on Catholicism and accepted even where wildly off topic. Yet Peter Singer’s well documented and acknowledged views are off limits. I understand your confidentiality rule but what I am seeking here is consistency. In particular, are ‘ad hominems’ acceptable or are they not?



From:; on behalf of;
Sent: Fri 19/12/2008 14:25

Thanks for the reply Pauline,

Ad hominem attacks are not acceptable. If you spot any, please use the 'report abuse' function to bring the comment to our immediate attention.


(Community Moderator)

To: ''
Sent: Fri 19/12/2008 16:09

Thank you, Todd, will be helpful going forward. But I note that stevehill’s comment remains. So, for the avoidance of doubt, is it acceptable to defame the Pope?



From:; on behalf of;
Sent: Fri 19/12/2008 20:04

Hello there Pauline,

As per our community standards we may remove anything that is legally problematic. Again, if there's a comment you believe warrants removal, then please do report it and the moderators will make a decision.

Best wishes,


To: ''
Sent: Fri 19/12/2008 21:30

Hello James,

Thank you. As I mentioned to Todd, I have reported stevehill’s comment on the Singer/Mbeki piece (17th December, 8.32 am) but note that it remains. I am struggling with this. This is what stevehill says:

“Malicious or not, the former South African president's Aids policy is responsible for hundreds of thousands of deaths” (quote from article) He stands shoulder to shoulder with the Pope then, who contends that even married couples may not use condoms if one of them is HIV positive."

So, we have a gratuitous defamation of the Pope (off topic) in which it is claimed that he is responsible for hundreds of thousands of deaths. Simplistic and defamatory comments of this sort fail to address the fact that if the Church’s teachings were followed consistently, in its entirety and in all circumstances the risk of contracting Aids, including within a marriage in which one partner is infected, would be minimised and the death toll from Aids would be much lower, not higher, than it is. In fact the World Health Organisation acknowledges that abstinence and marital fidelity is a strategy capable of completely eliminating the risk of infection from HIV. I accept, of course, that you will not comment to me on another person’s contribution. But I do ask that you explain to me how a comment of this sort can be deemed acceptable. If your only concern is whether it is legally problematic then perhaps you anticipate being on safe ground because the Pope’s lawyers would be kept remarkable busy if they followed up every such defamation. But does that make such defamation acceptable? Is your policy to permit defamation, even of such a serious nature, if it is unlikely to be subject to legal challenge? I am sorry to be so persistent and I thank you and Todd for your patience, but I do feel I have not yet received a full response on this.

Best regards,


[Dear John] I have received no reply to this last.

Best regards and good wishes for Christmas,


Saturday 27 December 2008

Humanae Vitae and truth about marriage intimately linked to the pro-life message

As a pro-lifer, I am grateful for Bishop Campbell's translation of Pope Benedict's 2008 Christmas Address to the Roman Curia. (Bishop Campbell, pictured, is coadjutor bishop of Lancaster.)

It's clearer than ever from this papal address, given two days before Christmas, that Catholic teaching on the full truth about human sexuality - "the nature of the human being as man and woman" - is intimately linked with Catholic teaching on the sanctity of human life.

In an illuminating passage, Pope Benedict urges the world to re-read Humanae Vitae. He reminds mankind, showing no fear of the hostility of politically-correct opponents of church teaching: "The great Scholastic theologians have characterised matrimony, the life-long bond between man and woman, as a sacrament of creation, instituted by the Creator himself and which Christ – without modifying the message of creation – has incorporated into the history of his covenant with mankind ... Beginning from this perspective, it would be beneficial to read again the Encyclical Humanae Vitae: the intention of Pope Paul VI was to defend love against sexuality as a consumer entity, the future as opposed to the exclusive pretext of the present, and the nature of man against its manipulation ... "

I have referred in previous posts to how "the nature of man" has been manipulated, in fulfilment of Pope Paul VI's prophecy, both inside and outside the Catholic Church, as a result of ignoring, and ignorance of, the message of Humanae Vitae: the promotion of abortifacient birth control and abortion, without parental knowledge or consent, including in Catholic schools, in England and Wales; coercive abortion in China, funded by the overwhelming majority of the world's governments (including the Republic of Ireland); the countless lives destroyed through IVF practices - also so widely accepted amongst Catholics.

Pope Benedict echoes Pope John Paul when he says the devaluation of the "language of creation" leads to "the self-destruction of man". In paragraph 97 of Evangelium Vitae, Pope John Paul teaches 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.

All of this is very timely for us in England - the Pope's address and Bishop Campbell's speedy translation of it - especially when the link between the sanctity of life and the church's teaching in Humanae Vitae has been so unfortunately challenged in an interview in The Catholic Herald this past week.

Wednesday 24 December 2008

Higher abortion rate for black Americans may have eugenic implications

Southern Cross Bioethics Institute, bioethical advisers to SPUC, have sent me the following analysis of a disturbing new paper published by the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons:

Commentary for SPUC on Does Induced Abortion Account for Racial Disparity in Preterm Births, and Violate the Nuremberg Code?, Rooney et al., December, 2008

“The great irony is that abortion has done what the [Ku Klux] Klan only dreamed of.” (Dr Alveda King, niece of Rev. Martin Luther King, human rights campaigner.)

Black American women and their children are 4.3 times more likely than non-black American women to be subject to a procedure that was never tested on animals. Added to this inequality is the resulting high rate of preterm and extremely preterm births, and associated disability, in black infants – triple the risk of early preterm birth, and quadruple the risk of extremely preterm birth. This is according to a paper published this year in the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons, by Rooney, Calhoun and Roche. [1]

This procedure is abortion. It seems that no animal testing or small human studies have ever been undertaken for the most common method of abortion, vacuum aspiration. This violates the Nuremberg Code that has required, since the 1940s, that “the danger of each experiment must be previously investigated by animal experimentation.”

Animal experimentation possibly has higher ethical standards than the average abortion clinic. For example, in Australia the National Health and Medical Research Council’s Code regarding animal research mercifully entails that “investigators must assume that foetuses have the same requirements for anaesthesia and analgesia as adult animals of the species, unless there is specific evidence to the contrary”. [2]

The tragedy here is not simply that the principle of the Nuremberg Code has been broken. Rather it is that abortion is now known to have substantial risks to women’s health, and to the health of their future children. Not to mention the deadly nature of the procedure for their unborn child.

As Rooney and colleagues note, there is a large body of research evidence to show that abortion is a risk factor for early preterm birth and extremely preterm birth. Extremely preterm birth infants have a 129 times higher risk of cerebral palsy, as well as higher risks for other disabilities and health problems.

But rather than proceeding by the accepted scientific method of initial animal studies, these risks have been established by subjecting millions of women all over the world to abortion. In effect, this means that millions of women have participated in an experiment using the most common method of abortion, vacuum aspiration, and have not been made aware of the risks involved in such experimentation.

In 2004, 38.2% of all surgical abortions in the US were performed on black women. But black women make up only 12.5% of the US female population. So black women have an abortion rate 4.3 times that of non-blacks.

Is this an important cause of the observed higher rates of preterm birth among black American babies? Rooney and colleagues think so, and point to the dramatic drop in abortion in Poland (a 98% drop between 1989 and 1993) which was followed by a substantial drop in the rate of preterm and extremely preterm birth rates.

In summary, this paper makes the following disturbing points:

  • abortion has not been subject to the usual rigorous process of experimentation before being applied on a large scale to women and children;
  • in particular, no animal studies are known to have been undertaken using vacuum aspiration abortion procedures;
  • black women have an abortion rate 4.3 times higher than non-black women in the US;
  • abortion is now known to increase the risk of preterm and extremely preterm birth in infants born later in the woman’s life; so that not only are more black children killed in the womb, but more experience disability from birth.

At the very least, this data calls for abortion consent forms to carry clear information regarding the risk of preterm and extremely preterm birth, and exactly what that means for a woman’s future children. As Rooney and colleagues point out, “even if an adverse risk from a medical treatment is merely a potential or plausible risk, the patient must be warned of it.” Notably, the May 2007 online consent form provided by Planned Parenthood of Australia makes no mention of the established link between abortion and preterm birth.

The other key issue emphasised by Rooney and colleagues is the high abortion rates of Black American women compared to others. This serious issue must be investigated for its possible eugenic implications.

[1] Rooney B, Calhoun BC and Roche LE (2008), Does Induced Abortion Account for Racial Disparity in Preterm Births, and Violate the Nuremberg Code?, Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons Vol. 13, No. 4, Winter, pp. 102-104

[2] National Health and Medical Research Council (2004), Australian Code of Practice for the Care and Use of Animals for Scientific Purposes, 7th Edition, Australian Government, Canberra, p. 31.

more items from our news summary

The European Court of Human Rights has refused to hear an appeal concerning the semi-conscious woman in Italy whose father wants her to die from dehydration. Judges said they would not hear the matter because the Italian pro-life organisations bringing the case were not linked to Ms Eluana Englaro. Monsignor Ignacio Barreiro of Human Life International, Rome, claimed the court, in Strasbourg, France, was biased towards allowing euthanasia. He said: "[The judges] do not hold in high esteem the life of the handicapped. They take a utilitarian position - that people like Eluana Englaro are 'useless mouths'. [That] their life has no social value." The Italian government should issue a decree to save her. [LifeSiteNews, 23 December]

The UK family doctors' body says prescription-free birth control pills will not cut teenage pregnancy because girls forget to take them. Dr Sarah Jarvis, women's health spokeswoman for the Royal College of General Practitioners, recommends implants and coils instead. [BBC, 24 December] Hormonal birth control, including pills, implants and coils, can cause early abortion.

The Russian Orthodox church has expressed its support for the Grand Duke of Luxembourg's refusal to approve the legalisation of euthanasia. Locum tenens Metropolitan Kirill of Moscow wrote that legal euthanasia destroyed traditional morals. It: " ... encroaches on the sacred gift of life, [a] reverent attitude to which was nurtured in Europe's Christian culture for years." It also perverted doctors' professional duty. The Luxembourg parliament has changed the grand duke's status so the bill can be passed. [Interfax, 22 December]

The British government is running a consultation in England on a scheme for monitoring so-called living wills made under the 2005 Mental Capacity Act. The Care Quality Commission would inspect hospitals and care homes, speaking to patients and residents. [Nursing Times, 22 December]

Money intended to improve midwifery has not reached British hospitals, according to the Royal College of Midwives. Professor Cathy Warwick suggests 10s of millions of pounds destined for recruitment have yet to arrive, risking women's health. Central government said the money had left them while health trusts denied having it. [Telegraph, 22 December] The royal college's former president suggests women who give birth need 10 days resting in bed afterwards. Widespread advice is to move around to stop problems like deep-vein thrombosis. Ms Caroline Flint says on a DVD that bed rest allows for bonding with, and feeding of, babies. [Telegraph, 19 December]

A UK survey suggests only around a fifth of nurses agree with the legalisation of assisted suicide. [ on Response Source, 22 December]

Vitamin D deficiency in expectant mothers increases the likelihood of the need for Caesarean section, according to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism. Boston University School of Medicine and Boston Medical Centre, Massachusetts, studied more than 250 women and speculate that a lack of the nutrient could diminish muscle strength. The Health Research Forum, said a lack of vitamin D also made pre-eclampsia more likely. [Mail, 24 December]

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Tuesday 23 December 2008

items from SPUC's news summaries

There will reportedly be no prosecution of a doctor who admitted going with a woman from Scotland to Switzerland where she killed herself with barbiturates. Dr Michael Irwin, 77 (right), was investigated by police for two years after he went to Dignitas, Zurich, with Ms May Murphy, 75, who had multiple system atrophy. Surrey Police say they lack evidence to pursue the case. Dr Irwin, a former UN medical director, says he has provided plenty of evidence and would do it again. [Independent, 22 December] Dr Irwin resigned as chairman of VES (now Dignity in Dying) after conspiring to assist in a suicide on the Isle of Man in 2003.

Birth control and pregnancy tests are being offered to 11-year-olds in schools in England without parental knowledge. Morning-after pills are being given to children in Wiltshire, which has a high rate of sexually transmitted infection. The Life organisation said it was irresponsible. Evidence suggested such moves did not cut pregnancy or abortion. [Western Daily Press, 22 December] The main British opposition party says in a report that children aged 11 and above should be taught about refusing consent to sex. The Conservatives' Ending Violence Against Women also says sex education should not be value-free [Sunday Telegraph, 21 December] John Smeaton of SPUC said: "We shall study the Conservatives' report. Current sex education policies have comprehensively failed and must be entirely rejected by policy-makers."

A member of the Pontifical Academy for Life has described how some prenatal testing is licit and even desirable. Dr Carlo Bellieni, director of the department of intensive neonatal therapy at Le Scotte University Polyclinic, Siena, Italy, told Zenit that prenatal testing can be genetic or non-genetic. The former is not presently performed with a view to curing the child. However, certain non-genetic testing can be used to benefit the unborn and mothers. Routine testing could encourage parents to want perfect children. Even if there was no intention to abort, some tests such as amniocentesis carried risks. Father Tadeusz Pacholczyk of the National Catholic Bioethics Center, Pennsylvania, has pointed out that prenatal testing for Krabbe's leukodystrophy means that parents can seek matched bone marrow to treat the child in good time. Spina bifida could also be treated in utero. [Zenit on EWTN, 22 December]

A jury in America has called for legal clarity on organ donation. They issued a statement just after acquitting a California surgeon of harming a patient to obtain his kidney and liver. They found that Dr Hootan Roozrokh did not harm Mr Ruben Navarro, 25, when using a technique involving removing him from life support before extracting organs. Mr Navarro survived for eight hours after being taken off a ventilator. [New York Times, 18 December]

Doctors in South Korea are appealing against a court order to stop giving food and drink to a 75-year-old woman in a coma who is not dying. Kim Ok-kyung's family asked that all support should be withdrawn at Severance Hospital, Seoul, saying her existence was painful and meaningless. [LifeSiteNews, 19 December]

A report on state-funded abortions in Australia reportedly found that babies born alive after attempts to abort them were being left to die. Senator Guy Barnett of Tasmania may propose that the Medicare system stops funding second and third trimester abortions, of which there have been more than 10,500 since 1994 [ABC, 22 December]

Scientists have used chemicals to make nerve cells from a young patient's skin tissue, which could help develop treatments for spinal muscular atrophy. The University of Wisconsin-Madison will be able to study the new cells which exhibit the characteristics of the currently incurable disease, says Nature magazine. [Daily Mail, 22 December] The team says the technique could also help with understanding Huntington's and other diseases. BBC, 22 December]

A state's supreme court has ruled that pharmacists and pharmacy owners can bring a legal challenge against a regulation requiring them to supply morning-after pills. Governor Rod Blagojevich of Illinois ordered in 2005 that pharmacists should dispense the drugs or resign. Americans United for Life said the ruling was "a huge victory for the freedom of conscience of all healthcare providers." [LifeSiteNews, 19 December]

A woman's obesity does not significantly reduce the IVF success rate, according to a study of 1,700 women in Aberdeen, Scotland, by the city's university; it seems age is a more important factor. The researchers, whose work is published in Human Reproduction suggest obese women should still lose weight to avoid an increased risk of miscarriage. [BBC, 21 December]

An opinion poll suggests public support in developed countries for IVF and pre-implantation genetic diagnosis. The 22,500 respondents to a survey by the BBVA Foundation in Europe, the US, Japan and Israel were less keen on sex selection and on using technology to enable over-45s to have children. Most approved of the use of donated sperm if a man is infertile, but not to try to have an intelligent child. [Medical News Today, 21 December] The BBVA Foundation is a "social responsibility" body associated with the Spanish Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria. The full report is available here.

You can see our archive of news on our website and you can subscribe to emails, including those containing news summaries, also on the site.

Courageous Bishop Patrick O'Donoghue stands up to the State to defend marriage

Please write to the Bishop to thank him for his great leadership.

With formidable courage and clarity Bishop Patrick O'Donoghue has defended marriage from the ravages of the parental state - an issue which, for many of us, is intimately connected to the defence of the sanctity of human life. I reproduce in full below the letter to priests and people in his diocese, which will thrill and inspire Catholics and people of good will throughout Britain and other parts of the world.

Please pray that the Bishop of Lancaster's stand marks a turning point in standing up to the parental state - rather than being governed by unjust laws and policies even within the intimate sanctuary of our schools and families.

From: Rt Rev Patrick O’Donoghue
Bishop’s Apartment
Cathedral House
Balmoral Road
Lancaster LA1 3BT
Tel 01524 596050

17 December 2008

My dear Priests and People,

Catholic Caring Services

Thursday 11 December 2008 will forever be etched in my memory, because it was on that day that the relationship between the Diocese of Lancaster and Catholic Caring Services suffered an irretrievable breakdown.

This relationship – which had been forged by countless thousands of laity and clergy over more than 100 years – ended when the Trustees voted 9-1 in favour of dropping ‘Catholic’ from their title, signifying their capitulation to Government legislation on ‘same sex’ adoption with no attempt at resistance.

The Trustees rejected out of hand my repeated pleas in writing and at Meetings of the Board and with the CEO that we should seek an exemption under Human Rights & Religious Freedom Legislation, or failing this, attempt a legal challenge.

Where does this leave us as the Diocese of Lancaster?

As Bishop, I have now been forced to resign from the Board of Trustees of Catholic Caring Services because I consider such membership incompatible with my duty as a Catholic Bishop, with a responsibility to safeguard doctrine and morals, and to care for the well-being of the Catholic children and parents of this great Diocese of ours.

One of the fundamental responsibilities of a Catholic Bishop in the current climate is to protect and defend the sacrament of marriage. My insistence that Catholic Caring Services cannot have an ‘Open Policy’, that includes ‘same sex’ partnerships, rests on the fact that children develop and thrive best in the context of marriage.

The Church’s teaching on marriage rests on Jesus’ re-iteration of His Father’s revelation in Genesis, ‘Have you not read that the Creator from the beginning made them male and female and that He said to them: This is why a man leaves his father and mother and becomes attached to his wife, and the two become one flesh. (Matthew 19:4-5; cf. Genesis 2:24).

It is God’s intention that children are nurtured and raised by a loving father and mother, who become role models to boys and girls about what it means to be a husband and wife, a mother and a father. That this is seen as an unrealistic ideal by some in politics and the media shows how far our society has distorted morality.

If Catholic Caring Services truly hold that the needs of children are paramount it would do whatever possible to ensure that a child is placed with a father and a mother.

Whatever devalues marriage and the fundamental importance of a child having a mother and a father must be resisted by all Catholics and people of good will, because not only is the good of the child put at risk, but also the good of society.

This does not mean that I do not value the love, devotion and self-sacrifice of single parents, but it is also my duty to safeguard the ideal of marriage, particularly when it is under such sustained attack.

Consequences of the Trustees’ decision

I would want to make it clear that the new charity is no longer a Catholic charity and can no longer operate as an agency in the name of the Catholic Church of this Diocese (cf.Canon 300; cf. 216).

As a direct consequence of the Trustees’ decision, it is with great sadness that the Diocese will now begin the process of implementing the actions that I outlined in my letter of 5 October 2008:

a) The Charity Commission will be informed by the Diocese that the Trustees of Catholic Caring Services are no longer prepared to act in accordance with Catholic moral teaching and for that reason Catholic Caring Services is no longer regarded by the Church as being a Charity acting in the name of the Catholic Church.

b) The Trustees must now approach the Charity Commission to ask their approval of the name change from Catholic Caring Services to Caritas Care. They must also change the Objects of Catholic Caring Services, removing the reference to “the Roman Catholic Church both in this diocese of Lancaster and elsewhere in the United Kingdom”. It will be up to the Charity Commission to decide whether the Trustees of Catholic Caring Services are lawfully entitled to make such changes.

c) With deep sadness I must declare that all churches, parishes, schools and other Catholic organisations or societies are to have no formal associations with Catholic Caring Services and the new charity is no longer entitled to have access to Diocesan Collections - The Good Shepherd (Bishop’s Fund), or the Christmas Crib collections.

d) With regard to the properties in the ownership of the Diocesan Trustees, but currently occupied by Catholic Caring Services – including Tulketh Rd, Wellington Rd and Marian House, Beech Grove (all in Preston) – it will be now be necessary for the Diocesan Trustees to conduct a review of the terms of the leases to determine:

i) whether there is any potential breach of the terms of occupation
ii) whether the new charity’s responsibilities are within our Memorandum and
the Articles of Association.

e) The Diocese will, of course, now need to review the receipt and usage of past and future legacies and/or bequests made in favour of Catholic Caring Services and determine whether it is appropriate for any past legacies and/or bequests to be repaid to the diocese or future legacies/bequests to be retained by the Diocese.

It pains me beyond measure to make the above decisions, and certainly, I have done everything in my power to prevent this tragic rejection of the Church’s moral teaching.

Catholics must follow the teaching of the Church

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has stated that allowing children to be adopted by persons in homosexual unions is gravely immoral. (CDF, Considerations Regarding Proposals to Give Legal Recognition to Unions between Homosexual Persons. 2003).

All Catholics have a clear obligation to abide by the moral teaching of the Church. If, in conscience, they decide that they cannot follow the Church’s teaching they should resign – as a matter of integrity – from any position of authority they hold in the Church or an agency of the Church.

In my judgement the Government is imposing a great injustice on the Catholics of this country by forcing Catholic social agencies to choose between co-operating or not cooperating with acts that are gravely immoral. It is a violation of our consciences and our religious freedom.

Though I accept that the Trustees of Catholic Caring Services have been faced with a difficult decision, I cannot accept their unwillingness to challenge this unjust law. It is this unwillingness that has left me with no choice but to make this painful decision.

Though Catholic Caring Services are involved in a whole range of valuable work with the disabled, the disadvantaged and the marginalised, how can I allow the Catholic Church to be associated with a body that has chosen a path that co-operates with actions that are against the explicit moral teaching of the Church?

Renewing our commitment to social caring

Now the diocese is faced with a pressing challenge and opportunity, because Catholic Caring Service’s decision to break with the teaching of the Church does not mean that the Diocese of Lancaster is abandoning our work with the disabled, the disadvantaged, and the marginalised. Furthermore, I am determined that we will continue to support the marvellous commitment of parents who adopt children.

As we look confidently to the future there are three positive and practical steps to take which I would recommend for immediate action:

1. The formation of a new Diocesan Adoption/Fostering Support Service with the task of positively encouraging and canvassing married couples to adopt/foster. The offer of help, pre-and post adoption, will also be in this brief. The funding of this Service will come from the Christmas Crib, Good Shepherd and other Collections etc.

2. The Diocese will take steps to increase its engagement with individuals, groups and organisations (i.e. SVP) in establishing a systematic programme of active social care in all of our parishes and deaneries. I know, too, that much is being done in this field already.

3. The Diocese will set up a Social Care Commission to develop and facilitate increased support at parish-level for all involved in the care of the vulnerable, especially children wherever they may be. They are truly the caring face of the Church!

The immediate priority for the new Social Care Commission will be the establishment and oversight of the Diocese’s new Adoption/Fostering Support Service.

Please do all you can to strongly support the Crib Collection in your parish this Christmas and send the proceeds marked ‘Adoption Support Service’ directly to:
Mr Paul Ryan,
The Diocesan Finance Office,
The Pastoral Centre,
Balmoral Road

The money that people donate to this collection will be used to help improve the lives of vulnerable children and a sign, too, of support for the Diocese and its Bishops in their decision.

I would like to thank those members of the clergy and laity who have supported and advised me during some of the most difficult months of my episcopacy, including social work professionals, moral theologians and lawyers. I would also like to thank all who have offered their prayers for the resolution of this crisis. Please continue praying for the success of the work ahead of us.

With every good wish and prayer this Christmas,

As ever in Christ,
+Patrick O’Donoghue
Bishop of Lancaster

Friday 19 December 2008

Deadly agenda for US and the world prepared for Obama presidency

As Barack Obama prepares to become the 44th President of the United States next month it is not just Americans who should be concerned by the inauguration of a man who holds such extreme anti-life views.

Few politicians anywhere espouse policies as extreme as Mr Obama’s. In 2001, when as a member of the Illinois State senate, he repeatedly voted against a law requiring medical personnel to give treatment to babies who survived abortion.

In no sense could the survival of a child after an abortion be considered a threat to his or her mother yet Mr Obama believed helping such a baby to live would undermine the legal right to abortion. Explaining his opposition to the Illinois Born Alive Infant Protection Act he said:

"...whenever we define a pre-viable fetus as a person that is protected by the equal protection clause or the other elements in the Constitution, what we're really saying is, in fact, that they are persons that are entitled to the kinds of protections that would be provided to a – child, a 9-month-old – child that was delivered to term. …

"I mean, it – it would essentially bar abortions, because the equal protection clause does not allow somebody to kill a child, and if this is a child, then this would be an anti-abortion statute..."

Although he sought to avoid the issue of abortion once he had secured his party's nomination, the abortion industry has not forgotten that he told them "...the first thing I’d do as president is, is sign the Freedom of Choice Act."

While the US Supreme Court's ruling in Roe v Wade made legal efforts to limit abortion virtually impossible, a number of regulations have been successful in gradually reducing the abortions figures in recent years. The Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA) would remove these. It could end the bar on the the use of tax-payer's money to provide abortions, dispense with waiting periods and inform consent requirements and as well as parental notification laws of States where clinics are prevented from carrying out secret abortions to underage girls.

An insight into the radical agenda influencing the incoming US government is provided by “Advancing Reproductive Rights and Health in a New Administration,” a memorandum signed by 60 or so pro-abortion organisations, including International Planned Parenthood Federation, the biggest promoter of abortion in the world, and a group which calls itself Catholics for Choice.

Despite its publication by the Obama-Biden transition team on the President-elect official website, it is unlikely that such a detailed and wide-ranging paper was intended to be seen by the public. It is so precise in its demands that it even contains draft wording of executive orders the abortion industry wants Mr Obama to sign within the first 100 days of his presidency. It also lists abortion advocates suitable for government jobs and the names of those the abortion lobby would like to see appointed as judges to federal courts.

Amongst its demands is coverage in any tax-payer-subsidised national health care programme. Such a programme would almost certainly compel all major hospitals, including Catholic hospitals to provide abortions. Other proposals made in the 55-page document include:
  • a dramatic increase in the funding for birth control clinics from its present $300 million to $700 million in the next financial year;
  • allocation of $50 million on "comprehensive" sex-education promoting abortion and abortifacients birth control, while stripping abstinence-only sex-education programmes of all funding;
  • $20 million to be spent on teenage pregnancy programmes;
  • $10 million for the promotion of the morning-after pill;
  • removal of budgetary restrictions on abortion in the federal sector, such as military facilities and prisons;
  • "reinvigoration” of the National Task Force on Violence against healthcare providers, code for getting tough on pro-life opposition at abortion facilities;
  • the appointment of only pro-abortion judges and officials;
  • re-establish liasion between women's groups and the White House; and
  • a review the Federal Refusal Rule proposed last August aimed at protecting medical personnel who object to involvement in abortion.
This last point is crucial since more and more doctors and medical staff want nothing to do with abortion. The abortion lobby realises that legalised abortion is of limited value if doctors are not available to perform the opperation. For its own survival, the abortion industry must ensure that doctors with a conscientious objection to abortion must be legally compelled to facilitate them.

In the international arena the authors of the memorandum want Mr Obama to:
  • allocate $1 billion in funding for birth control and abortion programmes;
  • give $65 million to the UNFPA, which is complicit in coercive abortion through its involvement in China’s coercive one-child policy;
  • “reclaim” US leadership in the field of women's health in developing nations by providing $900 million for maternal mortality action, including action against so-called unsafe abortion - a public relations spin for pressuring governments of poor nations to legalise abortion;
  • meet the Bush administration's spending plans on HIV/AIDS programmes but integrate birth control programmes with AIDS prevention schemes (Bush’s pledge not to support programmes which do not oppose prostitution should, however, be revised)
  • issue new guidance on USAID policy so that it can fund programmes involving abortion.
And finally, the memorandum calls on Mr Obama to press for US ratification of the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women or CEDAW treaty. The CEDAW implementation committee is notorious for its attempts to bully countries into liberalising their abortion laws. It has repeatedly called upon the UK government to impose the Abortion Act upon the people of Northern Ireland. Ratification of the CEDAW treaty will be an early warning that the US is ready to use its wealth and considerable influence to pursue the goal of making access to abortion a human right. Although the CEDAW treaty does not mention abortion, its reference to "reproductive rights" is constantly, albeit wrongly, interpreted by the CEDAW committee to include the right to legal access to abortion.

If Barack Obama complies with each of these demands the effects will be felt for a generation not just in the US but across the globe. As I wrote recently the world is facing a time of unprecedented danger. This danger is intensified when leading world figures such as Tony Blair, (who refuses to repudiate, since his reception into the Catholic Church, the anti-life laws and policies he supported and promoted as prime minister and as a Member of Parliament) and Cherie Blair (who has a long track record of supporting anti-life groups and anti-family causes which she has failed to disown) appear to be manipulating the Catholic Church, which is the largest organization worldwide with a mission to defend human life and the family.

Wednesday 17 December 2008

Join the pro-life resistance by supporting SPUC's White Flower appeal

Every January (in England and Wales) many Catholic churches have for thirty years held SPUC's White Flower appeal, when the Society explains the importance of pro-life issues, details SPUC's work and appeals for your financial help and personal support. It is particulary important for Catholics to support the White Flower Appeal this coming January in the light of intensified attacks by the culture of death not only upon life itself, but also upon pro-lifers who speak out without equivocation, not least those seeking to uphold or exercise a conscientious objection to abortion.

I think particularly of teachers and parents "whose lives are made difficult"* as a result of government policy to provide children under the age of 16 with access to abortion, without parental knowledge or consent, including in Catholic schools.

In the face of another (but by no means unrelated) culture of death, viz., Nazism, 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."
Far from bowing to the state, he called upon Catholics to "counter these erroneous developments [Nazism] with an uncompromising No from the very outset".

This year 2008 marked the 65th anniversary of the trial and execution of the leaders of the White Rose Society, a group of Christian students at Munich University who, with the moral support of courageous Christian shepherds, resisted Nazism. These students read the famous 1941 sermon by Clemens August von Galen, Catholic bishop of Munster, against the Nazi euthanasia programme. One of the group, Hans Scholl, stated in the spring of 1942: “Finally someone has the courage to speak”. Bishop Galen's protest prompted and encouraged Hans Scholl and fellow student Alexander Schmorell to write their own anti-Nazi leaflets in June-July 1942. Bishop von Galen was hailed as "The Lion of Munster" for his resistance to Nazism, was honoured after the war by being made a cardinal and was beatified (declared "Blessed") in 2005 by another German pro-life church leader, Pope Benedict.

The students took a white rose as their symbol, to represent purity and innocence in the face of evil. Pictured here is Hans Scholl (left), Sophie Scholl (centre), and Christoph Probst (right) with a white flower between them. (The 2005 film 'Sophie Scholl - The Last Days' has won many awards.) SPUC adopted the same symbol for both our organisation and our annual appeal.

So please help SPUC build an heroic resistance to today's culture of death by supporting SPUC's White Flower Appeal. You can help in a number of ways: speaking to local Catholic parish priests about holding an appeal at their church (if they aren’t already doing so), supporting our parish organisers by handing out appeal materials and collecting donations, or reading the appeal talk or bidding prayers. Contact me at for more information.

*A phrase from Pope John Paul II's prayer in Evangelium Vitae, 105

Guardian censors comments criticising eugenicist Peter Singer

Peter Singer, the world's most prominent anti-life philosopher, has written an article in today's Guardian on the subject of AIDS in South Africa. Singer's argument is that Thabo Mbeki, the former South African president, is responsible for the deaths of thousands of South Africans because of his policy on the cause of AIDS and on the use of anti-retroviral drugs.

An hour or so ago I was informed that in the online version of Singer's article, one commentator named "ContraSign" left the following comment at 10:25am:
"Whatever the rights and wrongs of Mbeki and AIDS, Peter Singer, who supports infanticide and euthanasia, is no person to lecture anyone about saving human lives. The death toll from Singer's eugen(i)cist ideas would dwarf any death toll attributable to Mbeki."
A few minutes later, ContraSign's comment was replaced with the message:
"This comment has been removed by a moderator. Replies may also be deleted."
ContraSign then posted the following comment at 10:49:
"Why has the moderator deleted my comment questioning Peter Singer's locus standi in a debate about saving human lives, based on his well-documented support for eugenics and the likely consequences of it? If my comment was unacceptable, why is stevehill's comment on the Pope acceptable?"
(ContraSign was referring to another, uncensored comment which claimed that the Pope, like Mbeki, is also responsible for hundreds of thousands of deaths, because the Catholic Church prohibits the use of condoms, including within marriage where one spouse is HIV-positive.)

Soon after, ContraSign's complaint was again replaced with the message:
"This comment has been removed by a moderator. Replies may also be deleted."
What a tragedy it is that the Guardian only seems interested in saving lives on politically fashionable issues like AIDS, important though that is - whereas the plight of disabled people threatened by Singer's ideas is hushed up.

Please support ContraSign, and the right of people to challenge Peter Singer's credibility on the subject of saving human lives, by emailing a complaint to

Saturday 13 December 2008

Pray that Barack Obama, Tony & Cherie Blair, change to become ambassadors for the unborn

Breda Laffey, a leading Catholic evangelist from Ireland, has made a call for prayer for Barack Obama, the US President-elect - that he will have a change of heart on abortion and go on to become a great US president. Breda was speaking before Mass at a prayer group last night in north London which Josephine, my wife, and I have been attending these last sixteen years. As a Catholic myself, at a time of unprecedented danger for humanity, I strongly support that call. The threat to countless millions of lives following the outcome of the US presidential election is serious and growing ever constantly, as I have been reporting recently. We must use every effort, intellectual, political, and spiritual, to confront this danger.

I also urge my fellow-Christians and believers in God also to pray for Tony and Cherie Blair - that they too will have a change of heart and join the campaign against legalized abortion.

Last week I described how Tony Blair (pictured) was reinforcing his pro-abortion links. I have frequently mentioned his refusal to repudiate, since his reception into the Catholic Church, the anti-life laws and policies he supported and promoted as prime minister and as a Member of Parliament.

Also last week, I pointed out Cherie Blair's long track-record of supporting anti-life and anti-family causes, when I drew attention once again to the scandalous invitation to Mrs Blair to speak at a conference in the Angelicum, a leading Catholic university in Rome.

From the initial reports of the conference, it seems that at no point in her remarks did Mrs Blair state an opposition to abortion, nor did she explain why she has supported the leading pro-abortion organisations IPPF, FPA UK and Human Rights Watch. Neither did she explain her specific endorsement, on her own website, of the inclusion of reproductive rights in CEDAW (the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women), which the CEDAW committee inteprets to include abortion.

It also seems that a concerted effort may have been made at the conference to caricature critics of Mrs Blair's invitation as being unable to distinguish between abortion and contraception and Mrs Blair's position on them. It should be noted that forms of contraception, by their manufacturers' own admission, can kill newly-conceived human life. The Vatican made the same point last Friday, in their newly published Dignitas Personae.

I fear that the conference may well have been stage-managed so that Mrs Blair did not have to explain her track-record of endorsing pro-abortion organisations, enabling her and others to bubble-wrap her dissent from Catholic teaching. I will be writing to Mrs Blair to put to her the questions which were conspicuously not put to her at today's conference.

I am deeply concerned that both Tony Blair and Cherie Blair may be manipulating the Catholic Church at a time in human history when its uncompromising witness on the sanctity of human life is being threatened by governments and politicians - like Barack Obama - with laws which seek to criminalise conscientious objection to destroying human life.

However, today, as the great feast of the birth of Jesus Christ approaches, who like Barack Obama, Tony and Cherie Blair, and the rest of humanity, lived for nine months in His mother's womb, I put all these matters aside. I appeal to you to follow Breda Laffey's lead. Pray for Barack Obama and for Tony and Cherie Blair: that they will have a change of heart - and that they will use their influence in the world to save lives and become powerful ambassadors in the world for the unborn and for the value and inviolability of human life.

With the election of Barack Obama, this is a time of unprecedented danger for humanity. Christians may like to join me in saying one Our Father daily for the US president-elect and for Mr and Mrs Blair. Write to me at to let me know if you will join me in this daily prayer. And please share this message with others.

Friday 12 December 2008

Powerful re-statement of ethical unacceptability of IVF in new Vatican Instruction

In an Instruction published today, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has powerfully re-stated the ethical unacceptability of IVF.

Fr John Fleming (pictured right), SPUC’s bioethics consultant, and a corresponding member of the Pontifical Academy for Life, has sent me his review of Dignitas Personae which I publish in full below.

The Vatican’s unambiguous prohibition of IVF is expressed in compassionate terms. As Fr Fleming points out, below: “ … [Dignitas Personae] reminds us that the Church is not unmindful of the ‘legitimacy of the desire for a child and understands the suffering of couples struggling with problems of fertility. Such a desire, however, should not override the dignity of every human life to the point of absolute supremacy.’[1]

Regarding what can be done with frozen embryos, the Instruction rejects destructive research, providing children for other couples, surrogacy and pre-natal adoption. Fr Fleming comments: "Sounding a note of exasperation with the continuing use of embryo freezing, itself an insult to human dignity, and the plight of the 'thousands of abandoned embryos', [Dignitas Personae] describes it as 'a situation of injustice which in fact cannot be resolved.'" [2]

It’s as if the church is saying to the secular world: “You created this situation by wantonly and irresponsibly creating human embryos in vitro and you are asking the church to solve the problem. It’s up to you to solve this unjust situation yourself by stopping creating embryos outside the body and freezing them.” [1] DP, n 16 [2] Ibid and DP, nn 18-19

Fr Fleming's review in full:
The new document on bioethics from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), Dignitas personae (DP), addresses a range of new issues that have emerged since 1987 in the light of the criteria set out in the Instruction Donum Vitae (1987) (DV). DP also examines some issues that had already been treated in DV but which were in need of additional clarification.

The document has many positive things to say about the importance of science and its achievements. At the same time it recognises that “there are also persons in the world of philosophy and science who view advances in biomedical technology from an essentially eugenic perspective.”[1]

The First Part

The First Part of DP deals with the anthropological, theological, and ethical aspects of human life and procreation. While supporting developments in science which “serve to overcome or correct pathologies and succeed in re-establishing the normal functioning of human procreation”, DP condemns those developments which “involve the destruction of human beings or when they employ means which contradict the dignity of the person or when they are used for purposes contrary to the integral good of man.”[2]

Then DP sets out what it considers to be the fundamental ethical criterion used in DV which is to be used to evaluate all moral questions arising from any procedures which involve the human embryo:

Thus the fruit of human generation, from the first moment of its existence, that is to say, from the moment the zygote has formed, demands the unconditional respect that is morally due to the human being in his bodily and spiritual totality. The human being is to be respected and treated as a person from the moment of conception; and therefore from that same moment his rights as a person must be recognized, among which in the first place is the inviolable right of every innocent human being to life.[3]

The Second Part

Following a detailed discussion of the implications of this fundamental ethical criterion, and especially within marriage, DP then deals with “New Problems Concerning Procreation”.

Again, DP makes it clear that the Church approves techniques which act “as an aid to the conjugal act and its fertility.”[4] Some techniques to remove obstacles to natural fertilisation such as “hormonal treatments for infertility, surgery for limited endometriosis, unblocking of fallopian tubes or their surgical repair, are licit.”[5]

But DP reiterates the ethical unacceptability of in vitro fertilisation (IVF) since “all techniques of in vitro fertilisation proceed as if the human embryo were simply a mass of cells to be used, selected, and discarded.”[6] DP comments on the very high wastage of human embryos associated with IVF and related procedures. “In many cases the abandonment, destruction and loss of embryos are foreseen and willed.”[7]

The case against IVF is forcefully put in terms of the commodification of the embryo as an entity to satisfy criteria which must be satisfied such that the gift of life is not accepted unconditionally.

At this point DP considers the plight of frozen embryos in storage, unwanted and abandoned. What is to be done with them? Immediately excluded are the uses of embryos for destructive experimentation, the provision of children to other infertile couples, and surrogacy. DP describes the proposal for “prenatal adoption” as “praiseworthy with regard to the intention of respecting and defending life”[8], but is nevertheless to be excluded ethically because it occasions similar ethical problems to the transfer of embryos to other infertile couples and surrogacy.

Sounding a note of exasperation with the continuing use of embryo freezing, itself an insult to human dignity, and the plight of the “thousands of abandoned embryos”, DP describes it as “a situation of injustice which in fact cannot be resolved.”[9]

The ethical unacceptability of the dissociation of “procreation from the integrally personal context of the conjugal act” is emphasised again in DP. At the same time DP reminds us that the Church is not unmindful of the “legitimacy of the desire for a child and understands the suffering of couples struggling with problems of fertility. Such a desire, however, should not override the dignity of every human life to the point of absolute supremacy.”[10]

Unacceptable procedures widely practised, but considered by the Church as ethically illicit, also include intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) [11], freezing embryos [12], freezing oocytes [13], embryo reduction of multifetal pregnancies [14], preimplantation diagnosis with the purpose of ensuring that only embryos free from defects, or being the desired sex or other particular qualities are transferred [15], and new forms of interception and contragestion such as the morning after pill. [16]

The Third Part

The Third Part of DP then moves on to consider “New Treatments which Involve the Manipulation of the Embryo or the Human Genetic Patrimony”. These issues include gene therapy, human cloning, the therapeutic use of stem cells, and hybridisation.

The discussion of these issues is carefully nuanced with somatic cell gene therapy being seen as generally acceptable while germ line gene therapy is not. Gene therapy put in service of enhancing a human being as distinct from a therapy for pathology is also called into question. It is seen as an attempt to create a new type of human being” such that “one can recognise an ideological element in which man tries to take the place of his Creator.” [17]

Human cloning is seen as intrinsically illicit whether done for so-called reproductive purposes or so-called therapeutic purposes. [18] On the other hand the use of stem cells is evaluated positively when stem cells are taken from the human body in ways “which do not cause serious harm to the subject from whom the stem cells are taken.” Examples of this are when stem cells are taken from an adult, the blood of the umbilical cord at the time of birth, and from foetuses which have died from natural causes. The taking of stem cells from a living human embryo invariably causes the death of the embryo and is therefore gravely illicit. [19]

There is a long discussion on hybridisation with the Church drawing attention to the significant moral and health dangers associated with the mixing of animal and human genetic material.

In its conclusion DP notes that the Church often seems to be presented as having a moral teaching which contains too many prohibitions. DP answers this criticism, and refers to the many other moral prohibitions with which all would agree, such as slavery, racism, unjust discrimination and marginalisation of women, children, and ill and disabled people. In other words the Church continues to apply the principles of the culture of life which exclude certain practices in order that the intrinsic dignity of the human being and his or her inviolable and inalienable rights are properly safeguarded, and not discounted to meet utilitarian considerations.

[1] DP, n 3 [2] DP, n 4 [3] Donum vitae, 1,1:^45 80 (1988), 79, cited in DP, n 4 [4] DP, n 12 [5] DP, n 13 [6] DP, n 14 [7] DP, n 15 [8] ibid [9] ibid and DP, nn 18-19 [10] DP, n 16 [11] DP, n 17 [12] DP, nn18-19 [13] DP, n 20 [14] DP, n 21 [15] DP, n 22 [16] DP, n 23 [17] DP, n 27 [18] DP, nn 28-29 [19] DP, n 32

Thursday 11 December 2008

A great prayer for life is urgently needed

Here is a message which may be of particular interest to Catholic readers who live in London and the home counties - or to Catholic visitors to London.

It's a message this week from our pro-life colleagues in Good Counsel Network. They say:

"To make reparation on the 40th anniversary, for the passing of the Abortion Act in England on the 27th October 1967, in October 2007 the Good Counsel Network started to have Mass, Adoration & Benediction on each Monday & Tuesday. We have continued to have Mass, Adoration & Benediction on each Monday & Tuesday since. We are now trying to increase this to cover each weekday, Monday to Friday.

"We normally start with Mass at 12noon followed by Adoration until Benediction at 5pm, but times do vary so we will send out times as we book them. We really are in urgent need of more people to come for Adoration. If you can commit to a regular hour that would be a great help, but if not please don't be put off, you can tell us the day before or even on the day if you are coming. Your attendance is still helpful. Just telephone 020 7723 1740 to let us know when you plan to attend.

"This week will be the first full week that we will have, starting on Monday 8th December Feast of the Immaculate Conception with Mass (Old Rite) 12noon followed by Adoration until Benediction at 5pm, Tuesday Mass 12noon followed by Adoration until Benediction at 5pm, Wednesday Mass (Old Rite) 12noon followed by Adoration until Benediction at 5.15pm, Thursday Mass 3pm followed by Adoration until Benediction at 6pm and Friday, Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Mass 12noon followed by Adoration until Benediction at 5pm. Please pray for the success of this undertaking and that enough Priests will agree to come for Mass and Benediction. I hope to see you soon."

As Pope John Paul II said in Evangelium Vitae (100): "A great prayer for life is urgently needed a prayer which will rise up throughout the world"

Wednesday 10 December 2008

Tony Blair reinforces his pro-abortion links

Tony Blair (pictured) has now teamed up with one of Canada's best-known pro-abortion figures. Belinda Stronach (also pictured), a prominent businesswoman and former MP, has joined her foundation with Mr Blair's Faith Foundation in order to promote the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The British government under Tony Blair interpreted the MDGs as including a universal right to abortion on demand. When an MP, Belinda Stronach said that women's groups should only receive government funding if they are pro-abortion. The Blair-Stronach partnership will also promote the Faith Acts Fellowship, which the Tony Blair Faith Foundation runs in partnership with the InterFaith Youth Core. The InterFaith Youth Core is bankrolled by major pro-abortion foundations.

How much more evidence do religious leaders need about the close-knit ties of Mr & Mrs Blair to the culture of death before they realise they must act to block the Blairs' infiltration of faith communities?

Prescription-free birth control scheme is based on failed ideas

A trial to supply hormonal birth control without prescription is based on previous failed schemes.

"Previous pilot schemes, which promoted the morning-after pill through pharmacies claimed success because making them free increased the uptake" said Paul Tully, SPUC's general secretary, in a comment to the media today.

"The trials, however, were not shown to have decreased pregnancy or abortion rates. Nor did they bother to monitor the effect on sexually transmitted infections. Sexually transmitted infections may have been made worse, since the rampant increase in sex disease may be partly due to greater reliance on morning-after pills.

"We deplore this new move which threatens women, and promotes the silent abortion of early embryos in some instances - this is a recognised but hushed-up effect of many forms of hormonal birth control.

"The government is determined to promote birth-control drugs and devices to achieve its policy objectives, in defiance of common sense and evidence - as well as concern for health of women, some of whom suffer adverse reactions from hormonal birth control.

"Since the Teenage Pregnancy Unit was set up, it has intensified failed policies (like school-based sex ed, sex clinics for children, and more and more birth control for teens) and introduced new initiatives that have been equally futile (teen pregnancy co-ordinators across the country, school nurses as condom pushers).

"The determination of health service officials to pursue the failed policy of providing birth control drugs - including drugs which the manufacturers say are abortifacient - is further evidence of the contempt in which conscientious practitioners are held. If this route is pursued, only those prepared to co-operate in the surreptitious corruption of children will be allowed to run pharmacies."

Sky TV's assisted suicide documentary

SPUC is concerned about the ethics of tonight's Sky documentary which follows the assisted suicide of Chris Ewert (pictured) at the Dignitas suicide centre in Switzerland.

Anthony Ozimic, SPUC political secretary, commented to the media this morning:

"We are concerned that focusing upon one particular case will have a disproportionate effect upon the debate on assisted suicide, skewing viewer's perceptions. Many people, including patients themselves, often don't know that palliative care is highly successful in alleviating the symptoms of motor neurone disease. Craig Ewert's fears about his quality of life and the effect on his family could have been properly addressed with correct medical advice and full personal support. We fear the documentary will obscure the broader issues of how allowing assisted suicide devalues human life and endangers the vulnerable.

"Many terminally ill and disabled people, and the vast majority of medical professionals, are opposed to legalising assisted suicide. Assisted suicide sends a message to the terminally ill that caring for them is a waste of time, that their lives are no longer worth living and that they are better off dead.

"Assisted suicide also sends a message that no one really has dignity unless they have the option to be poisoned. Killing is not a valid answer to human suffering or a perceived loss of dignity. Every human being has equal and absolute dignity simply by being human. Assisted suicide makes a mockery of our laws on equality."

Tuesday 9 December 2008

Vatican backs Bishop of Lancaster in his stand against the culture of death

In a timely Vatican statement, Bishop Patrick O’Donoghue has received the strong endorsement of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Rome (CDF) for his teaching document, Fit for Mission? Church which called on schools and parishes "to protect our young from the cultures of death that seek to corrupt and exploit them".

Archbishop Luis Ladaria S.J. , Secretary to the Congregation, (pictured) expressed the hope that not only the faithful of Lancaster, but also 'Catholics throughout Britain, will find hope and encouragement' in Fit for Mission? Church.
If I may say so, Your Excellency, non-Catholics throughout Britain also find hope and encouragement whenever Bishop O'Donoghue raises his prophetic voice against prevailing trends in England and Wales!

Vatican endorsement of Bishop O'Donoghue's stand against the culture of death being promoted in schools could not come at a more important time, particularly when the position of the Catholic Education Service regarding the government's anti-life policy in schools is giving rise to such concern.

The government and its policy advisors are now promoting access to abortions through schools in the following ways: establishing school based health & sex clinics in all secondary schools; appointing ‘teenage pregnancy’ monitors – whose job is to keep down teenage births; giving school nurses and advisors (such as Connexions ‘personal advisors’) a clear remit to refer for abortions without informing parents; contributing to the early sexualisation of children by making sex education a statutory subject in all schools starting from age 5.

Earlier this year Cardinal Renato Martino, President, Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, and Archbishop Mauro Piacenza, Secretary, Congregation for the Clergy, congratulated Bishop Patrick for his challenging document promoting an authentic Catholic identity for today’s Church. First published in August 2008, in response to popular demand Bishop Patrick brought out an expanded edition with the Catholic Truth Society in October.

In March 2008 Cardinal Levada, Prefect to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith wrote a foreword to Bishop Patrick’s expanded edition of Fit for Mission? Schools. (CTS Do 779).
In the light of the recent controversy widely reported in the press concerning Fit for Mission? Church, Bishop Patrick is particularly encouraged by the CDF stating so clearly, ‘You and your collaborators are to be congratulated for alerting the faithful to the dangers of secularism and hedonism’.

Bishop Patrick expressed his delight at receiving Archbishop Ladaria’s letter on behalf of the CDF:

‘I would just like to express my heartfelt thanks to the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith for supporting the programme of renewal I have now fully set out in Fit for Mission? Church, and Fit for Mission? Schools. At the heart of both documents is the urgent appeal to Catholics throughout our country to reject the misinterpretations of the Second Vatican Council that have become so wide-spread. Once again we must commit ourselves without reservation to the fullness of doctrinal, moral and liturgical truth safeguarded by Peter!’

The Catholic Truth Society's expanded edition of Bishop Patrick O'Donoghue's "Fit for Mission? Church" is available at:

Further details:

Rt Rev Patrick O’Donoghue
Bishop of Lancaster
Bishop’s Office
The Pastoral Centre
Balmoral Road

Tel: 01524 596050

I'm sure that readers may wish to write to Bishop O'Donoghue to congratulate him on the backing he's receiving from the Vatican for his brave stand against the culture of death.