Saturday 6 March 2010

I am speaking today at the University of Gdansk

Today I am speaking at the University of Gdansk at a day conference organized by Human Life International, Poland. The meeting room is being provided free of charge by Solidarity, the first independent trade union in the former Soviet bloc, whose former leader, Lech Walesa (pictured), won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1983 for the part he played in Poland's push for freedom.

I am speaking today about the threat to freedom posed by the British government's sex and relationships education proposals in the Children Schools and Families bill which has its second reading in the House of Lords on Monday. I urge my visitors in the UK - before reading any further - to read my post of yesterday to find out what you can do to lobby peers.

I am explaining to over 200 delegates from across Poland that the British government's legislative proposals are designed to extend confidential access to abortion for children in every state school in the country, including Catholic and all faith schools, and to make explicit sex education compulsory for little children from five years old.  I am telling them - with considerable shame as a Catholic myself - that the government's draconian legislation is being supported by the Catholic authorities in England, including Catholic bishops of England and Wales.

I am saying:
Britain is witnessing the fulfilment of the prophetic message of Humanae Vitae, Pope Paul VI's historic encyclical which celebrated its 40th anniversary last year. Speaking about the inseparable connection between the unitive and procreative aspects of sexual intercourse he wrote: "Finally, careful consideration should be given to the danger of this power passing into the hands of those public authorities who care little for the precepts of the moral law. Who will blame a government which in its attempt to resolve the problems affecting an entire country resorts to the same measures as are regarded as lawful by married people in the solution of a particular family difficulty? Who will prevent public authorities from favoring those contraceptive methods which they consider more effective? Should they regard this as necessary, they may even impose their use on everyone."
I'm telling Polish delegates that it's vital that the pro-life movement in Europe studies the history and consequences of the overwhelming rejection of Humanae Vitae by Catholics in the West, following its publication in 1968 and the failure of Catholic leaders to teach the truth of Humanae Vitae. I say:
One of the consequences of this failure is an article published on the front page of Osservatore Romano in March last year, written by Archbishop Rino Fisichella, the president of the Pontifical Academy for Life. His article appears to defend a direct double abortion carried out on a little Brazilian girl. Whilst the issue has been clarified by the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Archbishop Fisichella insists that the clarification vindicates his original article. This is a major scandal for the Church and seems to create a dubium about abortion at one of the highest levels just as happened 40 years ago on contraception.
Finally, reflecting on the worldwide drive for abortion I am telling delegates that the Polish people's resistance to the culture of death and, historically, to totalitarian regimes, has inspired the world. I conclude:
But there is a new totalitarianism which persecutes the unborn, families and parents. It's a totalitarianism in which, to name but one country, Catholic bishops in England and Wales are involved in imposing.

Our crisis began with the rejection of Humanae Vitae. It will end with its acceptance and implementation.

The acceptance and implementation of the prophetic teaching of Humanae Vitae will only be possible if there is a radical change in the nomination policy of Bishops throughout Europe. The nominations of bishops who do not have a sustained and genuine track record of fidelity to the teachings of the Magisterium on the transmission of human life (Humanae Vitae) must stop. Such nominations must stop because the cost in babies' lives is simply too great. Humanae Vitae which has been re-stated in Pope Benedict's Caritas in Veritate must become central to your movement. You and your bishops will go on to lead the world provided you are united on the totality of the truth on human life and its transmission.
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