Thursday 30 October 2008

Cherie Blair endorses radical pro-abortion UN agenda

A quick visit to Cherie Blair's website reveals that she endorses a radical pro-abortion agenda by the United Nations.

In the section About this site, Mrs Blair writes:

"This website is dedicated to the issues that concern me, to helping improve the position of women throughout the world by sharing information and by safeguarding and promoting human rights. At the heart of the website is the Women of the World section."

On a page in the Women of the World section, Mrs Blair says:

"The [United Nations] Convention [on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) ... is the only human rights treaty which affirms the reproductive rights of women".

"Reproductive rights" is a term commonly used to include abortion on demand.

The page ends by linking to the CEDAW committee, which is responsible for monitoring the implementation of the CEDAW convention. The CEDAW committee is notorious among pro-lifers for using the CEDAW convention to bully countries into allowing abortion, even though the convention doesn't mention abortion. Most recently, the CEDAW committee issued a report calling upon the UK government to decriminalise abortion in Northern Ireland.

Elsewhere on her website, Mrs Blair lists Human Rights Watch as one of the charities she supports. It should be noted that Human Rights Watch is one of the most radically pro-abortion international NGOs (non-governmental organisations).

Mrs Blair, like her husband Tony, is often listed as a Catholic. Yet like her husband, Mrs Blair has a long track-record of promoting anti-life and anti-family causes, in opposition to Catholic teaching. In July 2003, Mrs Blair endorsed the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF), the world’s leading promoter and provider of abortion, by hosting a private reception at 10 Downing Street (the prime minister’s residence) for IPPF’s “Lust for Life” fundraising campaign. At the annual Labour party conference in September 2005, Mrs Blair celebrated the 75th anniversary of the Family Planning Association (fpa), the UK branch of IPPF, helping to cut a special birthday cake (and pictured here jokingly offering a condom to the camera-man.) Both IPPF and FPA endorsed the failed campaign to remove the Holy See from the United Nations.

It is therefore deplorable that an abortion-promoter like Mrs Blair was invited to speak last week at the Dominican University of California. The university describes itself as a "university of Catholic heritage", which "seeks to embody Dominican educational ideals" such as "deep respect for the dignity and worth of the individual" and "respect for the human person, with a concern for individual human rights". What about the unborn, whom Mrs Blair is conspiring against?

Organisations associated with the Catholic Church (or indeed any group, religious or secular, opposed to abortion) should not invite Mrs Blair to their events - or her husband, as I blogged recently.

Scientists and physicians defend embryonic children as UNESCO committee meets

Scientists and physicians from around the world have presented a declaration on human rights for nascent human beings.

The signatories include human-biology research scientists, obstetricians, gynaecologists, professors of a range of disciplines, doctors in general practice and nurses. They have joined together to declare the truth about the human embryo.

The signatories' action is a collective response to this week's meeting in Paris of UNESCO's international bioethics committee, which is discussing whether so-called therapeutic cloning should be banned worldwide.

The declaration among other things, says:

"We, in our capacity as members of society who undertake scientific discovery and deliberate on scientific knowledge, herein pledge to respect the inherent rights of human embryos and foetuses during our quest for beneficial knowledge, just as we respect the inviolable and inalienable rights of children and adults."

It also says: "We request the removal of all existing permissions and practices that enable negative discrimination against human embryos and foetuses. Chief among these are the legalisation of abortion and approval for research that harms or destroys human embryos."

The declaration adds: "We declare that every stage in the developmental continuum of human life has the same right to life and right to protection from harm as all others."

The full text and current list of signatories is on the web at The declaration remains open there for signing, and scientists and physicians are invited to sign it.

UNESCO is the United Nations Education, Scientific, and Cultural Organization. UNESCO's International Bioethics Committee (IBC) was founded in 1993.

Wednesday 29 October 2008

The teaching of the Catholic Church is the same in England and Spain

There's a big contrast between the position adopted by the Catholic authorities in England and Wales and the Catholic authorities in Spain on government-imposed courses relating to human sexuality.

In England, the Catholic Education Service (CES), on behalf of the bishops, makes it clear that that it will collaborate with the government’s plans and that it hopes that parents will not choose to opt out by withdrawing their children from sex education.

In sharp contrast, Bishop Casimiro Lopez Llorente of Segorbe , the president of the Spanish Bishops’ Committee on Education, said last week that said last week parents have the right to conscientiously object to the controversial material included in the Education for Citizenship course which the government is imposing on all schools.

It's time that Catholic families in England and Wales were defended and encouraged by the Catholic authorities, as they are in Spain, rather than exposed to the insidious and determined agenda of the British government on matters relating to human sexuality and abortion, as I have said before on this blog. The teaching of the Catholic Church is, after all, the same in England and in Spain.

Tuesday 28 October 2008

Government is behaving like the Nazis says Cardinal O'Brien

Cardinal O'Brien has just released an open letter to Gordon Brown, the British Prime Minister. It is characteristically forceful and prophetic.

If you've not already done so, visit SPUC's latest lobbying alert on the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill, take the action recommended and lend support to Cardinal O'Brien's splendid open letter:


28 October 2008

Dear Gordon

I write this open letter to you on a matter of immediate urgency, namely tomorrow’s debate in the Lords on the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill. Although I was relieved that last week’s debate in the Commons on the Bill did not address the issue of abortion, I remain convinced that the Bill is misguided and certain sections are potentially most harmful.

Among these is Schedule 3 which has never been properly discussed in Parliament. It provides for taking tissue from incapacitated adults and children without their consent for the express purpose of creating embryos for research. It will be debated in the House of Lords tomorrow (Wednesday 29 October) with Government support.

The Bill could allow for the derivation and use of human eggs from the ovarian tissue of aborted baby girls, a proposal which was first aired by the HFEA in 1994. The HFEA public consultation at that time showed that 83.2% of the 9,000 respondents opposed the practice, and even the few in favour underlined the necessity of consent.

Should this Bill become law, removing tissue from incapacitated adults or children, without their specific consent in order to create animal-human hybrid or other embryos would be permissible, as would creating artificial sperm or artificial eggs from bone marrow or even cord blood.
The grotesque implications of these procedures are utterly horrifying. The proposals in this Bill represent a breach of 50 years of ethical medical research. They by-pass the Declaration of Helsinki, the Human Tissue Act, the Mental Capacity Act and the Human Rights Act. Removing parts of people’s bodies without their consent, utterly flies in the face of all BMA and GMC guidance on consent to research.

Such behaviour was last seen under the Nazis. Following the liberation of the concentration camps in 1945, the full horrors of the Nazi’s atrocities were revealed to a shocked world. The hideous savagery of their experiments convinced the civilized world that such practices must be outlawed forever. I am appalled that you are promoting a Bill which seeks, by stealth, to create a regime where extracting tissue and cells from human beings no longer requires their consent or involvement.

I am staggered that you would endorse legislation, which describes the creation of embryos from a person without their consent as 'non-invasive' and which enshrines the concept of ‘presumed consent’ in UK law. This legislation would set a nightmarish precedent, by allowing scientists to experiment on those lacking capacity - in the absence of explicit consent - largely as they see fit.

I urge you to amend Schedule 3 of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill as a matter of great urgency and human decency.

Yours sincerely in Christ

+ Keith Patrick Cardinal O’Brien
Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh

Monday 27 October 2008

Philippines statesman challenges academics using Catholic status to promote population bill

In a measured and authoritative article on his blog, Francisco "Kit" Tatad, disposes of the pretensions of a group of academics from Ateneo university purporting to speak on behalf of the Catholic Church. They support a bill before the Philippines parliament, entitled An Act Providing For A National Policy On Reproductive Health, Responsible Parenthood And Population Development, And For Other Purposes.

I have blogged on the bill (Philippines reproductive health bill has totalitarian elements) and SPUC commissioned and published a commentary on it prepared by Southern Cross Bioethics Institute.

Kit Tatad, a former cabinet minister, senator, publisher, editor and newspaper columnist has been at the forefront of Philippines politics for over 40 years. When he was just 29, he was the youngest person ever to be appointed to the cabinet.

A Reading from 14 Ateneo Professors, Kit Tatad's article, begins: "Fouteen 'Ateneo professors' argue that the highly controversial reproductive health bill 'adheres to Catholic social teaching' and that 'Catholics can support it in good conscience.' They ask 'our bishops and fellow Catholics' not to block passage of House Bill 5043.

"How should a 'fellow Catholic' respond? With profound humility, I suppose, but with a firm resolve not to be misled. The 'professors' identify themselves as 'individual faculty' whose opinions 'do not necessarily reflect the official position of the Ateneo de Manila University nor the Society of Jesus.'

"It is a crafty disclaimer. If they truly wanted to speak as individual Catholics, they could have done so without using the Ateneo label. But they clearly did not mind cashing in on Ateneo’s Catholic reputation.

"Opposition to House Bill 5043 arises mainly from the fact that it seeks, among other things, to legalize a State program of contraception and sterilization that will require married couples to contracept or sterilize themselves before engaging in marital sex, and make available contraceptives and sterilization devices as 'essential medicines' even to unmarried individuals. It also seeks to impose a 'mandatory sex education' on all children, from Grade V up to high school, without parental consent, to prepare them for 'a safe and satisfying sex life' ... "

Read on here. It's important for Catholics to be alert to the growing phenomenon of those who use their membership of the Catholic Church, or their official position within it, to undermine the teaching of the Church on the sanctity of human life and to impose anti-life policies on Catholic families. Regular readers of my posts about the situation of Catholics in England will recognise this trend. Former Senator Kit Tatad provides a good example of how to challenge their deceptive work.

Saturday 25 October 2008

Catholic Church is a "signpost for consciences" says Cardinal at SPUC Scotland conference

Yesterday I had the great privilege of introducing Cardinal O'Brien (pictured above with Ian Murray, SPUC Scotland director), the archbishop of St. Andrews and Edinburgh, as the principal speaker at SPUC Scotland's packed conference in Glasgow. "I am one of the many thousands of people in Britain and around the world who's very happy that this priest, born in Northern Ireland, was made a cardinal by Pope John Paul II", I said.

Cardinal O'Brien addressed his words to all people of good will, saying: "We must consider more the role of conscience and its link to the truth. For those of us here who are Catholics, our church is signpost for consciences and others look to us as a signpost for conscience. People of other faiths have said - thank God for the leadership you have given in our country" (a sentiment echoed by George Bell, a leading pro-life evangelical who attended the SPUC Scotland conference).

Referring to this year's 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Cardinal O'Brien said: "The harsh reality is that the noble words of so many high blown declarations have been matched with a barbaric indifference to the rights of the unborn."

He praised the work of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children saying: "SPUC has worked tirelessly in Scotland and the UK to fight the evil of abortion for almost 40 years but we must recognise that what really can be described as the forces of darkness have distorted the laws and consciences in our nation and that our situation is now worse than ever."

He went on: "I'm here to strengthen the resolve of SPUC and I hope that they and other pro-life groups will extend their message more and more in the world in which we live."

On Wednesday, MPs voted by 355 to 129 in favour of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology bill in their final vote on legislation which enshrines and extends the creation and abuse of human embryos outside the womb.

Cardinal O`Brien told his audience in Glasgow: "I called on our Members of Parliament to search their hearts and their consciences over the summer months to decide whether or not the value of human life really matters or is it simply one more commodity to be cast aside in our throw-away society."

The Cardinal said that while it was "a small mercy" that extreme pro-abortion amendments to the Abortion Act were not considered by MPs , the reality remains that the vote was a tragedy for Britain. "As a direct consequence of this legislation the value of human life will be eroded even further in the United Kingdom", he said.

The cardinal continued: "We live in the shadow of a spiritual problem ... The descent to the culture of death has come when God has been pushed aside ... We can apportion blame and lament inaction ... Those acting in our name reflect the society from which they come. Our ongoing battle should not be just with the elected but also with the electorate ... We cannot allow the fight for life to be perpetually politically focused - placing MPs as the ethical arbiters of all that we do ... If we reach out to our fellow-citizens one by one we can create a culture of life regardless of the laws ... We cannot let up in any way with regard to the law ... We must keep all of our campaigns going.

In spite of his hectic schedule, the cardinal stayed for the entire conference. He listened intently to a delegate (right) putting a question to Lynn Murray who spoke about the "culture of fear" surrounding expectant mothers as a result of the government's promotion of screening tests for disability.

Lynn Murray's fourth child, Rachel, has Down's syndrome and the fact that a baby has Down's syndrome is now being treated in hospitals as a death sentence for the baby. Rachel is now at the local secondary school and she's doing well. She's learned to read and write and "She knows everything that's going on" her teacher says. The disabled need to become their own advocates in the fight for life, Lynn Murray urged in a compelling, informative, talk.

Also speaking at SPUC Scotland's conference were Cathy McBean and Lucy McCully (pictured, right). Cathy manages the work of British Victims of Abortion and Lucy McCully, SPUC Scotland's Education Officer, spoke on youth pro-life activism and the international pro-life youth conference she's organizing on behalf of the Society in March next year.

Lucy's vibrant, forward-looking, presentation is a testament to the work of Ian Murray, SPUC Scotland director, who retires next year and who received a standing ovation from the conference. I was pleased to have the opportunity of thanking Ian, on behalf of the Society, for over thirty years work for the Society as a volunteer in SPUC's Dumbarton branch, as finance director and general secretary of SPUC in the UK, and as SPUC Scotland director. "Ian has taken the work of the Society the forward significantly in every role he has undertaken for SPUC", I said. Ian made clear that the pro-life movement was a lifelong commitment and he would be continuing to work for SPUC as a volunteer.

Friday 24 October 2008

Don't put your faith in a Conservative government on abortion

It was, of course, a great relief that well-organised, intelligent, pro-life lobbying resulted in the danger of pro-abortion amendments to the Abortion Act being averted for the time being.

However, yesterday's Independent reports that Tory frontbenchers are calling for a "thorough discussion of the 1967 Abortion Act, including proposals to cut the 24-week time limit as well as proposals to liberalise the law".

In other words, Conservative front-benchers are promising to do precisely what a wide range of pro-life groups have been campaigning against in recent months; and what SPUC has been warning about for years - a parliamentary debate on the upper limit for abortion in exchange for widening the law so that many more babies will be killed and women damaged by abortion.

It's not my intention to single out the Conservatives. The anti-life laws and policies put in place by Parliament at the behest of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown are costing the lives of countless unborn children, both in Britain and overseas, and countless vulnerable people through euthanasia by neglect.

But before anyone starts to imagine that it will be different under the Conservatives - bear in mind the promises being made by Tory front-benchers, above, and the following facts:

On Wednesday's final vote on the HFE bill as a whole, which legalised all manner of abuses of the human embryo, about a quarter of Tory MPs voted for the bill, including:
  • David Cameron (pictured), leader of the opposition;
  • George Osborne, shadow chancellor, and four shadow secretaries of state, including Andrew Lansley, shadow health secretary;
  • 12 other Conservative frontbenchers, including a shadow health minister (Mark Simmonds);
  • the Conservative party deputy chairman (John Maples), plus two Conservative party vice-chairmen (Justine Greening and Grant Shapps);
  • other senior Conservative officials, including the chairman of the Conservative policy review (Oliver Letwin).
With the anti-life votes of MPs of other parties, there would be a big majority for widening the abortion law, just as there was when Margaret Thatcher was prime minister in 1990 - when Parliament voted for abortion up to birth.

SPUC is non-party-political. We urge the public to check how their parliamentary candidates will vote on life issues - abortion, euthanasia, embryo research etc - regardless of their political party.

Let's stick to seeking to elect pro-life MPs, regardless of political party, and lobbying those MPs, regardless of their position on pro-life issues, once elected.

Thursday 23 October 2008

Catholic Church will collaborate with statutory sex and relationship classes in primary and secondary schools

On the day after Gordon Brown, the British prime minister, ensured that Parliament would not vote on pro-abortion amendments to extend the Abortion Act, the Government has announced plans which will ensure that children are being primed to embrace the abortion culture from 4 – 5 years old.

The British government announced today that it intends to make sex and relationship education compulsory throughout both primary and secondary schools. In a simultaneous announcement, the Catholic Education Service makes it clear, not only that it will collaborate with the government’s plans, but that it hopes that parents will not choose to opt out by withdrawing their children from sex education.

The CES says: “… the Government calls for PSHE [personal, social and health education] to be made statutory across all maintained schools in England, including primary and secondary. Programmes of study are still to be drawn up but reassurance has been given that these will not be so prescriptive in character as to involve conflict with Catholic teaching … The statutory rights of parents to withdraw their children from sex education remain but it is our hope that parents will not find the need to exercise this right as children are likely to benefit from experiencing SRE amongst their friends and peers. …"

The CES statement is painfully disingenuous – in view of what is known to be going on in Catholic schools as a consequence of government advisers already being welcomed by the Catholic Education Service in Catholic schools, a point I have a number of times in this blog.

And why does Catholic Church appear, through its Catholic Education Service in England, to be marching in step with the Government – even to the point of making their complementary policy announcements simultaneously?

The first task of everyone entrusted with the Gospel of life is, surely, to oppose government plans to promote and to entrench the abortion culture amongst young people of all faiths and none? SPUC will certainly be keeping its supporters posted on the implications of the government's plans and what constituents should be saying to their MPs.

Wednesday 22 October 2008

Tragedy of Commons' approval for embryo bill

This is a tragic day in British history. Tonight at Westminster, MPs voted by 355 to 129 to approve the government's Human Fertilisation and Embryology bill at its third reading, the last main parliamentary vote. This bill will extend the lethal abuse of the most vulnerable members of our society. It enshrines and extends the creation and abuse of human embryos outside the womb. SPUC will raise these fundamental issues at the general election.

During the debate, Sir Gerald Kaufman, a veteran MP not naturally supportive of the pro-life cause, pointed out that the bill raises "fundamental moral issues about human rights" which "goes to the heart of the origin of the human race".

David Burrowes, the Conservative MP who presented SPUC's petition against the bill to Parliament in the summer, pointed out loopholes which would allow even more macabre and sinister experiments than already clear from the face of the bill.

Edward Leigh, the veteran pro-life Catholic MP, said:
"At the heart of the debates on this bill has been that we are treating the human embryo as a thing. The human embryo is not a blob of cells nor a potential human being, but a human being with potential. What we are doing today is very dangerous - we are making ourselves less than human by treating human embryos as things."

Andrew Selous, a Christian MP, protested at how the bill denies people their birthright, namely to have a relationship with their natural father and mother.

On the positive side, thousands of people across the country joined a concerted campaign in solidarity with unborn children. Prominent national church leaders, such as Cardinal Keith O’Brien, Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh, and Bishop Patrick O’Donoghue of Lancaster, showed that strong, clear, courageous stands can put the sanctity of human life at the forefront of public debate. Scores of doctors, lawyers and academics have defended the weakest of the weak.

Many pro-life groups, representing a wide range of activity in the pro-life movement came together to work against the bill. Choose Life, CARE and Christian Concern for Our Nation led strong initiatives from the Evangelical and Anglican Christians. The Catholic bishops' conference of England and Wales gave strong encouragement to Catholic layfolk to speak out on the issue. Others spoke out from the Muslim tradition, the Jewish faith and from multi-faith and interdenominational groups.

Equally important have been the contribution of expert scientific and medical bodies and bioethicists, particularly on the issues of embryology, human-animal hybrids and stem cell research.

And in their powerful resistance, the politicians and people of Northern Ireland showed that a pro-life community cannot be bullied into submission by the ethically compromised Westminster establishment. I'm also blogging on this today.

Future generations will look back on this macabre bill and wonder how a supposedly civilised nation could have so devalued human life.

I just thank God that, as a result of the lobbying efforts of so many, Gordon Brown climbed down on abortion and effectively pulled Parliament back from the brink of voting for extreme pro-abortion amendments to the Abortion Act, including the imposition of the Abortion Act on Northern Ireland, which would have stripped away virtually all remaining vestige of protection for unborn children.

Gordon Brown's climbdown on abortion to be welcomed

Only seven months ago, in answer to a question from the Reverend Ian Paisley, Gordon Brown refused to rule out the imposition of the Abortion Act on Northern Ireland through the Human Fertilisation and Embryology (HFE) bill.

So ... Today's moves by Gordon Brown's government to prevent the HFE bill from being used to extend the Abortion Act to Northern Ireland (as well as being used to approve other pro-abortion amendments) are very much to be welcomed.

"This is a significant victory for the people of Northern Ireland and our pro-life politicians who have urged the Prime Minister not to allow the abortion lobby in Britain to impose the Abortion Act upon us", said Betty Gibson, the tireless leader of SPUC Northern Ireland over the past three decades.

It would seem that Gordon Brown has recognised the strength of opposition to liberal abortion within the Northern Ireland Assembly. The leaders of the four major parties in Northern Ireland wrote to every MP opposing the Act's extension, and assembly members made it clear that they would not implement the Act if it was imposed. And it's a year ago to the day since the assembly gave overwhelming backing to a motion rejecting the Act's extension.

The prime minister has seemingly realised that if pro-abortion MPs outside Northern Ireland ignored the assembly and forced a vote in Westminster, it could have created a constitutional dilemma, as I reported following the pro-life rally in Stormont over the weekend.

"Had these measures gone through then the lives of thousands of unborn children in both Britain and Ireland would have been threatened. We all owe Northern Ireland's politicians a huge debt of gratitude for their consistent defence of the sanctity of human life ," said Betty Gibson.

As Betty suggests, the uncompromising stand of Northern Ireland MPs placed Gordon Brown in a constitutional dilemma and may also have helped save Britain from extreme pro-abortion amendments to the abortion law. As a result of the government's programme motion on the business before the House of Commons on the HFE Bill, Gordon Brown ensured that none of the abortion amendments were reached - and so they all fell.

Tuesday 21 October 2008

United Nations body is set to deceive Islamic groups into promoting abortion

Dr A. Majid Katme, the coordinator of SPUC’s Muslim division is urgently contacting Islamic Relief and other Muslim groups in Istanbul to warn them about the pro-abortion agenda of UNFPA (the United Nations Population Fund).

According to a press report: “Islamic Relief and UNFPA will be working together to ensure that more women and men have access to reproductive healthcare information and services, including during times of emergency … ” – which entails the promotion of abortion on demand, even in the desperately unsafe environment of refugee camps.

UNFPA is complicit in the promotion of a right to abortion throughout the world. UNFPA is also complicit in supporting and spreading widely "family planning clinics" which supply and/or promote:
  • techniques, devices and/or drugs which abort unborn children;
  • free birth control pills and condoms to our young, unmarried innocent boys and girls;
  • free, immoral sex education;
  • sterilisation;
  • population control (e.g. China's one-child policy), including among Muslims;
  • radical feminism, and "rights" for children in opposition to their parents & family;
  • disrespect and/or manipulation of traditional moral and religious values.
Dr Katme has sent his Muslim colleagues a fact-sheet which includes the following information:
  • In 1979, the very year that China introduced its brutal one-child policy, UNFPA signed a "Memorandum of Understanding" with the Chinese government.
  • In 1983, the year commonly regarded as the worst year for coercion, UNFPA gave one of its first two Population Awards to the minister-in-charge of China’s State Family Planning Commission. (The other award that year was given to Indira Gandhi, the Indian prime minister, whose government enforced compulsory birth control including sterilisation.)
  • In 1985, Rafael Salas, UNFPA’s then executive director, told Premier Zhao Ziyang that "China should feel proud of the achievements made in her family planning program." (reported by The People's Daily, the Communist Party's official newspaper).
  • In 1991, UNFPA's then executive director Nafis Sadik said: "China has every reason to feel proud of and pleased with its remarkable achievements made in its family planning policy and control of its population growth.” (Xinhua, 11 April 1991) In 2002 China's State Family Planning Commission gave Nafis Sadik its own Population Award.
  • In 1999, UNFPA aided and abetted "ethnic cleansing" by indicted war criminal Slobodan Milosevic by assisting his regime's plan "to limit or forbid the enormous increase of the birthrate in Kosovo".
  • In 2001, Thoraya Obaid, the new UNFPA executive director, said that over the past 20 years, China had seen notable achievements made in population control by implementing the family planning policy.
  • In 2001, research by the (pro-life) Population Research Institute (PRI) found that UNFPA was complicit in population control against Muslims in the Chinese province of Xinjiang.
  • In 2003, UNFPA exploited the aftermath of the war in Iraq to launch a campaign to provide "reproductive health" to Iraqi refugees. ("Reproductive health" is a euphemism which the World Health Organisation (WHO) has defined as including abortion on demand.

Monday 20 October 2008

"I will not implement the Abortion Act" says Northern Ireland minister

Jeffrey Donaldson MP MLA (Democratic Unionist Party MP for Lagan Valley, Junior Minister in the Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister (OFMDFM) in the Northern Ireland Executive), pictured below, spoke last Saturday to thousands of people from all over Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland at a rally in Stormont, organised by Precious Life, against the proposed imposition of the Abortion Act on Wednesday this week in Westminster: "If Westminster imposes the Abortion Act, as a minister I will not implement that law".

Jeffrey Donaldson, who is chairman of the All-Party Pro-life Group of the Northern Ireland Assembly, went on to say:

"Our opponents say that this issue is about equality. Well, where is the equality for the people of Northern Ireland when they can have no say over legislation that they don't want? The Good Friday Agreement, the Belfast Agreement says that all legislation in Northern Ireland must have public consultation. There must be an impact equality assessment. Where is the public consultation?"

Iris Robinson MP MLA, (above) chairman of the Northern Ireland Assembly Health Committee, also stirred the rally with an eloquent, unambiguous pro-life speech:

"Abortion in Northern Ireland" she said: "Never, never, never. Ulster says no to abortion! We will not be silenced. That there are so many people here today shows the majority in Northern Ireland do not want abortion to be socially acceptable. Thank you for affirming publicly that human life is precious. I believe it is the duty of government to uphold God's law. We need to fast and pray in the coming days. In 2006 98 percent of Abortions in England and Wales were for social reasons. Only 0.4 percent were for a risk to the life of the mother. Abortion at any stage of pregnancy is the taking of a human life. Stand with me. A majority of people must have the moral conviction to say not in my name!"

Pat Ramsey MLA (pictured right) SDLP, representing the Foyle constituency, welcomed people attending the rally from all over Ireland including a delegation from Cork. He spoke about the joy a child brings into the world. Pat Ramsey recently said to an Irish Catholic newspaper that the imposition of the Abortion Act by Parliament in Westminster could threaten to bring down the Assembly which is already in difficulties over justice and policing powers.

Bernie Smyth (pictured below), the leader of Precious Life organising the rally, introduced Grace Kelly Smyth, her grand-daughter. She was born two days beyond the time limit for social abortions, she had to have eye surgery and needs oxygen everyday.
Joe Scheidler, (pictured right) national director of the Pro-Life Action League in Chicago, USA, gave testimony to the inspiration Northern Ireland gives to the people of the world, with its courageous stand in defence of the sanctity of human life.

For me the most moving speakers of the day were Lynn Coles (picture below left), of Silent No More, who spoke about her abortion experience, and Dr Sean O'Domhnaill (pictured below right), a psychiatrist and vice-chairman of the Mother and Child campaign in Ireland, who spoke about the gift of nine months and nine hours of life of an anencephalic baby whose birth he attended.

I spoke (pictured below, centre, with (L to R) Jeffrey Donaldson, Iris Robinson, Pat Ramsey and Dr Kieran Deeny) about how Northern Ireland's politicians and people had shown the world how to resist abortion - with determination and intelligence. The might of international institutions, the European Parliament, the Council of Europe, the mis-named Committee for the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women, all seeking to promote abortion in Northern Ireland and elsewhere in the world, had failed to overturn the weight of public opinion, and the strength of the political leadership in Northern Ireland, which steadfastly oppose the killing of the unborn. They had looked at pro-abortion politicians - Diane Abbott, Evan Harris and David Steel - in the eye and told them that they lied about backstreet abortion, when Northern Ireland has the lowest maternal death rate in the UK.

Liam Gibson, SPUC's Northern Ireland development officer, whose family have led SPUC's battle in Northern Ireland since 1981, paid tribute to Bernie Smyth and Precious Life for their bold and successful initiative in organizing the rally in Stormont. Commenting on Jeffrey Donaldson's speech (see above) he said:

"The Northern Ireland Act which implements the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement requires all legislation in Northern Ireland, even when it's introduced by the Northern Ireland Office (that is directly from Parliament) to be approved by the Assembly. It must be scrutinised for its implications for equality. This is done through a public consultation and an equality impact assessment. This is the case no matter how unimportant the legislation is. If the Executive or a majority in Assembly hold up the introduction of the Abortion Act or refuse to implement it at all, it will result in a major constitutional dilemma which the Gordon Brown would have to deal with. It could even call into question the future of the devolved institutions when they are already under pressure. It is crucial that MPs in England, Scotland and Wales realise just how important this issue is in Northern Ireland."

Sunday 19 October 2008

Please pray for Gordon Brown and for Michael Martin MP, the Speaker of the House of Commons

During the next 72 hours, please pray for Gordon Brown (pictured), the British Prime Minister, and for Michael Martin MP, the Speaker of the House of Commons.

Wednesday this week, 22nd October, will be one of the most significant dates in Britain’s history. That’s the day of the report stage and third reading of the government's Human Fertilisation and Embryology (HFE) bill.

What Parliament decides that day will be a matter of life or death for possibly countless millions of unborn children. The power of these two men in deciding their fate, particularly in relation to the extreme abortion amendments tabled by pro-abortion MPs, cannot be underestimated.

Of course, how all 646 Members of Parliament decide to vote that day is crucial – and if you’re from Britain or Northern Ireland and you’ve not already written to your MP to ask him or her to vote against pro-abortion amendments on Wednesday, do so now without any further delay. Or phone your MP on 020 7219 3000.

All votes of MPs are, of course, equal. But – even in a democracy – on certain occasions, some MPs are more equal than others! And that’s certainly the case this week.

Firstly, the Speaker of the House of Commons has a pivotal role to play in deciding which New Clauses on abortion will be debated and voted upon by the House of Commons during the Report stage of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill. The Standing Orders give the Speaker the power to select or not select, the new clauses and amendments that have been tabled to the Bill at its report stage.

The Speaker, his three Deputies and senior officials meet every day to discuss the handling of business before the House. It is during this meeting (which in the case of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill will be held on either Tuesday or Wednesday) that the selection of New Clauses and other amendments will be decided.

The Speaker’s selection itself is expected to be made available on either Tuesday or Wednesday morning. The criteria for selecting amendments at the Report stage are more stringent than at committee stage, and amendments re-opening issues (such as the abortion issue) already dealt with in committee are not usually selected for debate but it remains to be seen whether the debate held during the Committee stage in May will influence the Speaker.

The Government of the day, headed by Gordon Brown, the prime minister, can – and have done so on occasions - make representations to the Speaker to offer him their advice on whether to select or not to select certain amendments. Ultimately, it is for the Speaker to decide, in consultation with his senior Clerks and advisers, but everyone knows the influence of the Government of the day under the British parliamentary system.

Finally, Gordon Brown’s and the Government’s position on the extreme abortion amendments tabled by pro-abortion MPs will be crucial in influencing the votes of Labour MPs. So, if you believe in prayer, start praying now for wisdom for Gordon Brown and for Michael Martin MP.

Saturday 18 October 2008

Plymouth school promotes amongst its pupils Britain's leading abortion provider

I was contacted this week by a parent supporters of SPUC, one of whose children attends a non-denominational school in Plymouth.

Our supporters follow the advice provided by SPUC’s Safe At School service to parents – and they check the personal planner and text books provided to pupils, including looking in their child’s school bag if necessary.
It's essential that parents act as parents and exercise their rights and responsibilities as parents when children are so endangered these days by both state and church authorities.

As you can see above the planner contains the details of British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS), Connexions, the Zone – the Youth Enquiry Service, and Junction/Junction Plus.

BPAS’s website proudly announces: “bpas is the leading provider of abortion services in the UK, with a national network of consultation centres and clinics

Connexions, as I have pointed out in previous posts, is a government agency which provides careers advice to young people from 13 - 19 years old and which promotes access to abortion and abortifacient birth control amongst children under the age of consent without parental knowledge or consent, including in Catholic schools with the complicity of the Catholic authorities in England.

The Zone – the Youth Enquiry Service in Plymouth provides young people with confidential “sexual health” services which includes a range of abortifacient birth control services; and Junction/Junction Plus appears to be part of The Zone – the youth enquiry service.

SPUC’s Safe at School service aims to empower parents, teachers, school governors and others – giving them up-to-date information about the provision of sex education in schools and anti-life practices which take place either on the school premises (most notably school clinics which offer contraceptives and abortion referrals) or off the school premises, in services promoted within the school in various ways.

The Government and Members of Parliament may have the right to propose laws and policies which are then approved by Parliament; but Parliamentary democracy turns into tyranny when it approves laws and policies which rob parents of their fundamental rights and responsibilities with regard to their children or when it decrees that it's legal to kill unborn children.

Parents, teachers, school governors need to exercise their right and duty to resist government policy – which includes the provision of secret abortion to our children and grandchildren. SPUC’s Safe at School campaign exists to help you do just that. Telephone Safe at School at 020 7091 7091.

Friday 17 October 2008

Blair Faith Foundation initiative has deep pro-abortion roots

I have discovered that the Tony Blair Faith Foundation’s Faith Act Fellowship initiative, on which I reported last week, has deep pro-abortion roots.

The Faiths Act Fellowship is an initiative of the Tony Blair Faith Foundation and is coordinated by Interfaith Youth Core.

Among Interfaith Youth Core's funders are:
In my blog last week, I pointed out that The Faiths Act Fellowship works with World Vision, which is calling for abortion on demand to be legalised in the world's poorest nations. For Tony Blair's government also, abortion on demand was central to the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

I’m concerned, therefore, to see that World Youth Alliance (WYA) advertises in their newsletter this month as follows:

Opportunity: The Faiths Act Fellowship
On September 25, a partnership was launched between the Tony Blair Faith Foundation and Interfaith Youth Core, to engage exceptional young people whose leadership motivated by faith will result in real impact on the lives of others. For more information, contact Eboo Patel at”

According to their website, the World Youth Alliance “is a global coalition of young people committed to promoting the dignity of the person and building solidarity among youth from developed and developing nations”. If that’s the case, they should be steering well clear of the Tony Blair Faith Foundation and its collaborator the Interfaith Youth Core. I am writing to them to express my concerns.

Thursday 16 October 2008

Stop Tony Blair's invitation to speak in Rome on "civilisation of love"

Tony Blair, the former British prime minister, has been invited to speak at a youth meeting in Rome (28 - 30 November) for "young people who want to find solutions" to the "problems of modernity" in the spirit of John Paul II's call to "build a civilisation of love". The meeting is being held at the European University of Rome. Participants include H.E. Mrs Hanna Suchocka, Polish ambassador to the Holy See, Dr Carl A. Anderson, Supreme Knight of the Knights of Columbus, Father Paolo Scarafoni, Rector of the European University of Rome, and Cardinal Stanislaw Rylko, President of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, who is celebrating Mass on the final day of the meeting. I have posted the invitation letter and the programme.

It will be a scandal if the invitation to Tony Blair remains in place, until or unless he publicly repudiates his anti-life and anti-family political record. He is, arguably, one of the worst possible role models to present to young people. As I say in a letter to the organizers (reproduced in full below):

"In his encyclical Evangelium Vitae (91) Pope John Paul wrote: 'On the eve of the Third Millennium, the challenge facing us is an arduous one: only the concerted efforts of all those who believe in the value of life can prevent a setback of unforeseeable consequences for civilization'. In view of Tony Blair’s unwavering pursuit of legislation and policies in Britain and overseas promoting abortion and other anti-life measures, it is clear that he has been a principal architect of the worldwide attack on the value of life to which the late Holy Father refers in Evangelium Vitae."

Perhaps you would like to join me in writing to the organizers of the meeting - who are possibly unaware of Tony Blair's anti-life, anti-family record.

Text of my letter to the organisers

Organizing Committee,
Youth Meeting in Rome,
Ul. Foksal 11,
00-372 Warsaw

16 October 2008

Dear Friends,

I am very concerned to note that Mr Tony Blair, the former British prime minister, has been invited to speak at the Youth Meeting at the European University of Rome, based on Pope John Paul II’s teachings, entitled “The Civilisation of Love”. You are possibly unaware of Tony Blair's anti-life and anti-family political record.

Since being received into the Catholic Church last year, Mr Blair has repeatedly refused to repudiate his strongly anti-life and anti-family political record.

On 11 January of this year, I wrote to ask Tony Blair if, in the light of his reception into the Catholic Church, he now repudiates:
  • voting for abortion up to birth three times
  • personally endorsing his government policy of supplying abortion and birth control drugs and devices to schoolgirls as young as 11 without parental knowledge or consent
  • his government’s commitment to the promotion of abortion on demand as a universal fundamental human right
  • personally championing destructive experiments on human embryos
  • his government introducing legislation which has led to a law which allows, and in certain circumstances requires, doctors to starve and dehydrate to death vulnerable patients.
In reply, I received a letter on Tony Blair’s behalf, dated 9 April 2008, saying: “the [Tony Blair] Foundation will not be able to address the issue of pro-life, weighty though it is. Nor, I am afraid, will Mr Blair be able to enter into correspondence on his personal beliefs on this or indeed other issues”.

A week earlier (on 4 April 2008) at a talk at Westminster Cathedral, the primary Catholic cathedral in England and Wales, Mr Blair said: “There is nothing I look back on now and say that as a result of my religious journey I would have done things very differently but that is expressly not to say that I got everything right”.

It will be a scandal if the invitation to Mr Blair to speak at a meeting of young people based on the teachings of Pope John Paul II on the civilization of love remains in place. In his encyclical Evangelium Vitae (91) Pope John Paul wrote: “On the eve of the Third Millennium, the challenge facing us is an arduous one: only the concerted efforts of all those who believe in the value of life can prevent a setback of unforeseeable consequences for civilization”. In view of Tony Blair’s unwavering pursuit of legislation and policies in Britain and overseas promoting abortion and other anti-life measures, it is clear that he is a principal architect of the worldwide attack on the value of life to which the late Holy Father refers in Evangelium Vitae.

Not only has he failed to repudiate his political record on these matters, the Tony Blair Faith Foundation is now working with a partnership of organizations , including World Vision which calls for abortion on demand to be legalized in the world’s poorest nations – which was also, for Tony Blair’s government, central to the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals, as can be seen in his government’s position paper on sexual and reproductive health and rights (July 2004).

I urge that the invitation to Mr Blair to speak at this conference be withdrawn, until or unless he publicly repudiates his anti-life and anti-family political record. Public figures, especially those who may continue to seek political office, cannot be allowed to protect themselves from public scrutiny by being received into the Catholic Church.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Yours sincerely,

John Smeaton
SPUC national director

Wednesday 15 October 2008

Cardinal says legislators who promote abortion laws are outside Catholic Church

After the news of the disastrous developments at the Catholic hospital of St John and St Elizabeth in London, it’s good to wake up to news of a cardinal in Mexico (pictured) who says that those who promote and approve laws in favor of abortion are outside the Catholic Church and should not receive Communion.

One can almost hear the pens of writers being sharpened at The Tablet (and similar so-called Catholic publications), which has recently carried advertising for an organization which promotes abortion, in order to describe the Archbishop of Guadalajara, Cardinal Juan Sandoval Iniguez, the Mexican cardinal concerned, as some kind of extremist.

In the event of such a development, which is pretty inevitable from past experience, we should point out that such publications would no doubt fully (and rightly) agree with the Cardinal if he were to say, for example: “those who promote and approve laws in favor of killing journalists are outside the Catholic Church and should not receive Communion”.

Those who should know better and who argue that different principles apply in the case of abortion, should have the courage to say openly that the unborn child is not a fellow human being and, therefore, not their neighbour.

In addition, where does the cardinal's statement leave Tony Blair, who refuses to repudiate his unwavering promotion of anti-life legislation and policies as an MP and Prime Minister even though he has been received into the Catholic Church?

Tuesday 14 October 2008

Catholic hospital's ethical code, approved by Cardinal, fails to ban abortion referrals

Fr Finigan carries the disturbing news on his blog that Cardinal Murphy O'Connor has approved an ethics code (which you can find here) at St. John and St. Elizabeth's Hospital "which effectively accommodates referrals for abortion" – as Luke Gormally puts it, honorary fellow of the Linacre Centre for Healthcare Ethics.

In last weekend's edition of "The Universe", Alexander Desforges, spokesman for the Cardinal, disputed such an interpretation of the code, citing a letter from Lord Guthrie, the hospital chairman, which refers to “fidelity to the Hospital’s Roman Catholic foundation and character”.

Lord Guthrie's letter was sent to the hospital staff and consultants on 30th September 2008 together with a copy of the ethics code - or "new statement of ethics", as Lord Guthrie describes it. "HE the Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster who is our patron, has given his endorsement of this statement ..." Lord Guthrie says in his letter.

Having read the new (2008) statement of ethics and compared it with the ethics code approved by the Hospital Board at the end of 2007, which you can find here, I am astonished to read that the Cardinal has endorsed the new statement of ethics - which clearly fails to prohibit referrals for abortions and other procedures, which were so firmly prohibited by the 2007 Code.

I am also astonished by Alexander Desforges's misleading statement to The Universe. Read the two codes yourself and form your own judgement.

Luke Gormally comments 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?"

I have blogged before about the the complicity of the Catholic authorities in England and Wales with government policy in providing access to abortion to schoolchildren in Catholic schools below the age of consent and without the knowledge or consent of parents.

Catholic Church leaders in England must stop the evil complicity with abortion provision. Pope John Paul II called on all people of good will to oppose abortion "with the strength and courage of those prepared even to be imprisoned and put to the sword" Evangelium Vitae, 73, and that's the spirit needed in any new episcopal appointments in order to meet the challenge presented by today's culture of death.

Monday 13 October 2008

Shame, hope and the HFE bill

In a sermon last Saturday Fr Marcus Holden, a young Catholic priest of Archdiocese of Southwark, predicted: "In the future times, I believe people in this land will hang their heads in shame at what we their ancestors have done in these times."

Fr Holden described the government's Human Fertilisation and Embryology bill as "one of the darkest pieces of social legislation ever to come out of this land", but urged his listeners not to despair in the face of such challenges.

Fr Holden preached (pictured) at the Rosary Crusade of Reparation, an annual Catholic procession in London from Westminster Cathedral to the Oratory in South Kensington. This year's crusade was offered especially for the defeat of the HFE bill.

I wish I had a vote in the US presidential election

Sarah Palin (pictured with Todd, her husband, and their baby Trig) makes me wish I was a US citizen and that I had a vote in the forthcoming presidential election.

As I was getting ready to fly home from Canada on Saturday, I watched Sarah Palin "live" delivering a speech in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, which included some timeless comments on Trig, her son who has Down's syndrome. In my opinion, hers was the most significant political speech of the 21st century.

She said: "I believe the truest measure of any society is how it treats those who are least able to defend and speak for themselves. And who is more vulnerable, or more innocent, than a child?

"When I learned that my son Trig would have special needs, I had to prepare my heart for the challenges to come. At first I was scared, and Todd and I had to ask for strength and understanding. But I can tell you a few things I’ve learned already.

"Yes, every innocent life matters. Everyone belongs in the circle of protection. Every child has something to contribute to the world, if we give them that chance. There are the world’s standards of perfection … and then there are God’s, and these are the final measure. Every child is beautiful before God, and dear to Him for their own sake.

"As for our beautiful baby boy, for Todd and me, he is only more precious because he is vulnerable."

Given that the most fundamental responsibility of political leaders is to protect the lives of citizens, Sarah Palin's speech is the most significant speech of the 21st century. What other major political figure in the world today is speaking up for people with Down's syndrome ? Not only does she stand up for the one of the most-discriminated-against groups of our time, she does so with total honesty with regard to her feelings towards Trig - from being scared about the challenges to come, to a sense of awe at Trig's beauty, and her powerful sense of maternal protectiveness towards him.

As Alison Davis, who leads No Less Human, a group within SPUC, has pointed out in her speech at Oxford University earlier this year, 92% of babies with down's syndrome are aborted each year in Britain and the percentage is about the same in the US.

You can read her full speech in LifeNews here.

Thursday 9 October 2008

Final Commons votes on abortion and embryo research Wed 22 Oct

It has just been confirmed that the report stage and third reading of the government's Human Fertilisation and Embryology (HFE) bill will be on Wed 22 Oct. Radical pro-abortion amendments have been tabled for debate and voting at the report stage. The bill as a whole is also scheduled for its Commons third reading later that same day. After that, the bill will return to the House of Lords – who will be asked to approve the Commons’ amendments.

I realise that many of you will have already taken action, such as writing to your MP or distributing leaflets. We are immensely grateful for these efforts. We need, however, a last push to reach people who have yet to take action.

Please click here and take the requested action.

If you pray, please pray for the defeat of the abortion amendments and the whole bill.

Thank you again for your help. We know that MPs are receiving many letters, and we must reinforce this with phone calls too. Please do all you can.

Please act now before it's too late to protect unborn children.

Wednesday 8 October 2008

"I will prohibit my cabinet from voting for pro-life laws" says Stephen Harper, Canada's Conservative leader

As the general election in Canada approaches, Mr Stephen Harper, Canadian prime minister and Conservative leader, has warned parliamentary candidates not to answer pro-life lobbyists' questionnaires on their position on abortion. Candidates may be breaking the criminal code by doing so, Harper claims!

Jim Hughes, president of the impressive Campaign Life Coalition in Canada, whose international conference I attended last weekend, told delegates: "This is an attempt to limit the pro-life movement's democratic rights, by intimidating candidates in this way. But the electorate, not the politicians, will decide what the election issues are".

Jim Hughes reminded delegates that none of Canada's party leaders was pro-life. Through an all-party agreement, a "gag" law was passed by the Canadian Parliament drastically limiting the amount to be spent by third parties at a general election. "Campaign Life Coalition was the primary focus of that law," Jim told me. "Pro-abortion politicians hate us with a passion."

Stephen Harper has gone as far as saying that he will prohibit any member of his cabinet from voting for pro-life legislation if he wins the election.

As a first-time visitor to Canada, taking part a well-attended pro-life conference, my impression is that Stephen Harper and his pro-abortion allies in other parties won't silence the pro-life movement for long. It's a large, vibrant, growing, well-informed, well-led movement with young people very much in evidence on the platform and amongst the delegates.

Tuesday 7 October 2008

Tony Blair Foundation collaborates with worldwide attacks on the unborn

I have been in Toronto in recent days attending two international pro-life meetings addressing several immediate threats to unborn children:

At Canada's Campaign Life Coalition's international conference, I met John-Henry Westen (pictured right) and his LifeSiteNews team. I explained how Tony Blair, recently received into the Catholic Church, and his Faith Foundation was undermining Catholic teaching on the dignity and inviolability of human life. In a disturbing development, the Tony Blair Faith Foundation has teamed up with the Faiths Act Fellowship to promote the Millennium Development Goals. The Faiths Act Fellowship works with World Vision which is calling for abortion on demand to be legalised in the world's poorest nations - which was also, for Tony Blair's government, central to the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals, as I have previously pointed out.

At the International Right to Life Federation board meeting, Mr Bill Saunders, senior fellow and director of the Family Research Council's Center for Human Life and Bioethics (pictured left), said that, if Senator Barack Obama is elected US president, it will be Armageddon. Mr Obama's first action, if elected, would be to sign the Freedom of Choice Act, which is more radical and far-reaching than the infamous Roe v. Wade supreme court decision which in 1973 legalised abortion throughout the nine months of pregnancy throughout the US. If Roe v. Wade were revoked, the Freedom of Choice Act would overturn every state law against abortion. All of Mr Obama's appointments at the UN would be pro-abortion. At least two supreme court justices will be appointed during the next presidential term. If Senator John McCain is elected, whoever he picks will be better than the incumbents. If Senator Obama is elected, his choices will be worse.

Monday 6 October 2008

Bishop's letter yesterday on adoption by same-sex couples is an important development for the pro-life cause

Bishop Patrick O'Donoghue's letter yesterday to Catholic Caring Services, the social care agency of the diocese of Lancaster, regarding adoption by same-sex couples, is an important development for the pro-life cause in England and Wales.

His letter, which you can find here, states: "On grounds of conscience, formed by faith, we believe that same-sex partnerships do not provide the essential characteristics necessary for the well being and development of the child. I remain convinced that the best interests of children are served when they live with and are brought up by a married couple. Any dilution of this fundamental principle can harm children and undermine their paramount place in the whole question of adoption."

Quoting Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict XVI) in 2003, and after setting out what Catholic Caring Services must do to comply with the requirements of Catholic teaching, Bishop O'Donoghue says: "If however you are not willing to do this and if you insist on considering adoption applications from same-sex couples – an approach in direct conflict with the teaching of the Catholic Church – then with great sadness and regret I would have no alternative but to require Catholic Caring Services to take appropriate steps to remove its Catholic designation and confirm that it accepts that it will in future be acting independently of the Lancaster Diocese."

The reason why the bishop's stand on same-sex couple adoption is so important for the pro-life cause can be found in Pope John Paul II's Evangelium Vitae. In paragraph 97, 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.

Sadly, Bishop O'Donoghue contrasts sharply with the approach adopted by the Catholic bishops' conference of England and Wales on the separate but related issue of British government and EU law on the equal employment rights of male and female homosexuals, and bisexuals and transsexuals, which is to be enforced with the threat of severe legal sanctions.

The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales has produced Diversity and Equality Guidelines, a policy statement which (whilst it includes elements of Catholic doctrine) welcomes, seeks to implement and states that it will monitor this Government policy within the Church, including in Catholic schools.

The bishops’ document speaks about welcoming “the social and cultural changes which are required of us…”. It says “…it would be wrong to give some forms [of the six forms of discrimination listed by the Government] greater or lesser importance than others.” The document says that Catholics “must understand and comply with discrimination legislation”.

The bishops’ document calls on “those with authority at all levels of the church to be more aware of whether different groups are represented in the many facets of life of the Church e.g. schools…” and the bishops say: “…Organisations, institutions and diocese should consider appointing or entrusting someone with responsibility for diversity and equality”. Finally, the bishops warn: “We … intend to review progress … in two years”.

With the bishops of England and Wales now welcoming and guaranteeing the presence of homosexual, bisexual and transsexual teachers in Catholic schools in England and Wales, and in the light of Evangelium Vitae, paragraph 97 (above), is it not completely unrealistic to expect that Catholic sexual morality, including the sacredness of human life before birth, will be taught in these schools?

A pro-abortion document, prepared at the request of the EU Commission on the right to conscientious objection, links rights relating to sexual orientation to other supposed rights, including the “right” to abortion and the “right” to euthanasia and assisted suicide. The document quotes, in part, the Diversity and Equality Guidelines of the Catholic bishops of England and Wales in a generally approving way. The bishops’ guidelines and the EU experts’ document clearly agree that, subject to limited and narrow exceptions, Catholic organisations must ensure that no job applicant or employee receives less favourable treatment than another on the grounds of sexual orientation.