Sunday 23 March 2008

“Stop exploiting embryonic human beings”: Bishop of Lancaster plea to Gordon Brown

In a passionate Easter homily, the Bishop Patrick O’Donoghue is once again fighting strongly in defence of human life in the public forum saying: “As your bishop, I want to join my voice to that of Cardinal Keith O’Brien and others, in protesting in the strongest terms against the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill”. See my blog of yesterday: Courageous Scottish Cardinal speaks out

Bishop O'Donoghue tells Gordon Brown bluntly to "stop the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill". In another passage, listing the many guises of death in Britain today, he refers to
"euthanasia through the withdrawal of food and fluids" and says "here the numbers are countless".

Last week, I blogged on the calm eloquence with which the Bishop of Lancaster stood his ground before the House of Commons Children, Schools and Families Select Committee – defending not only the position of the Catholic church, but also defending human life, parental rights, and the rights of the family.

Last night, Bishop O’Donoghue preached at the Easter vigil Mass with passionate eloquence. Please write to the media supporting what he says and write to your Member of Parliament to oppose the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill. Full a full briefing on the Bill, click here.

Finally: Write to Bishop Patrick O’Donoghue to thank him for his clarity, and for the moral authority of his Easter message – to the Catholic faithful, to the general public, and to the British government. Write to him at

Here’s an extract from his homily which I urge you to read in full:

"We must hold on to the hope of these words: Jesus conquered death! We need to hold onto this truth today because death takes on so many guises; through legalised abortion – that kills nearly 200,000 children a year, through experimentation on the unborn, that has resulted in the deaths of 2.2 million, and euthanasia through the withdrawal of food and fluids, here the numbers are countless.

"Jesus has conquered death, but the powers of death and evil still strive to overcome the light of love and life. The tragedy is that the authority and power of Government seem to be behind the greatest threat to the dignity and rights of human life.

"As your bishop, I want to join my voice to that of Cardinal Keith O’Brien and others, in protesting in the strongest terms against the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill. If this bill becomes the law of the land, it will allow the creation of animal-human hybrid embryos for medical experimentation.

"Supporters of this so called ‘medical’ experimentation, justify it by offering the hope that at some unknown date in the future the dissection and destruction of unborn human life will lead to cures for truly terrible diseases, such as cancers, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s and M.S.

"All right thinking people will agree that we must seek to discover cures for diseases that cause so much human suffering. But compassion cannot result in us exploiting and destroying the life of unborn human beings.

"Many in government, the media and research are so strident in promoting research on embryonic humans that they forget to mention that the greatest strides in discovering cures derive from adult stem cell research - not the defenceless unborn.

"We need to ask who are these vested interests in the promotion of experimentation on embryonic humans and the creation of animal-human hybrids. I read about them but I’ve yet to find them in person.

"The Prime Minister has made it clear that he wants Britain to be the world's number one centre for genetic and stem cell research. He sees it as building up the hi-tech sector of British industry and contributing to economic growth.

"It is good to develop British industry and foster economic growth, but not through exploiting and destroying embryonic human persons.

"A society that seeks medical cures and economic development at the cost of human rights, human dignity and human life is ‘monstrous’. It is not the defenceless, human-animal embryo, that is ‘monstrous’; it is we ourselves who have become ‘monsters’ for allowing the exploitation of the unborn for our economic and medical gain.

"On this holy night when we celebrate life conquering death, I want to make two appeals as your Bishop:

"First, to the Prime Minister and his ministers. Please stop the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill. Stop exploiting embryonic human beings, and support adult stem cell research instead…

"…Second, I call on the Catholic community - clergy and laity - to speak with one voice and insist that parliament: protects and cherishes human life. Pray, Protest, and Petition your Member of Parliament to stop this monstrous medical experimentation on human beings.

"Never give up hope, nor allow it to be dimmed, because the light of Christ shines out in the darkness, and the darkness can never overcome Him."

The bishop also released a robust press release in advance of his homily which you can read here. His postal address is in the press release.