Friday 23 April 2010

Pope Benedict, not party leaders, protects children, born and unborn

Last night's debate between Gordon Brown, David Cameron and Nick Clegg demonstrated clearly their unanimity on abortion, embryo research, homosexuality and contraception (see pp.16-18 of the transcript). 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. He warned about:
"public authorities who care little for the precepts of the moral law".
William L. Saunders Jnr, a distinguished US attorney and bioethicist, has written:
"Article 16 [of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights] declares: 'The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State.' Thus, article 16 recognizes the common sense fact, sometimes overlooked by governments and international organizations, that the family exists prior to the state, is the foundation of the state, and that the state is obligated to protect it."
For many years in Britain, our government has been pursuing a policy of providing access to abortion and birth control drugs and devices for children under the age of sixteen without parental knowledge or consent. The Children, Schools and Families bill threatened to entrench and extend this policy by forcing all state schools to provide sex education. That danger was only averted by the pressure put by pro-lifers and their allies on parliamentarians to drop the bill's offending clauses in the wash-up prior to parliament's dissolution for the general election.

Whichever party forms the next government, the defence of human life in parliament will rely on individual MPs voting pro-life and resisting pressure from party managers. Anyone concerned for the protection of human life should contact SPUC for information and resources to help them assess their local candidates. The unanimity of the three party leaders makes it all the more important that voters base their choice on how their local candidates promise to vote if elected to parliament.

On the issue of child sex abuse within the Catholic Church, the party leaders responded as follows:

David Cameron:
"I think the Catholic Church has got some very, very serious work to do to unearth and come to terms with some of the appalling things that have happened, and they need to do that."
Nick Clegg said:
"I do welcome the Pope's visit, but I hope by the time he does visit, there is a greater recognition that there has been terrible, terrible suffering, there have been abusive relationships which have left immeasurable scars on individual people's lives and we need a process of openness and then healing. You can't undo the tragedies of the past, but you can be open about them so people can start to move on."
Gordon Brown said:
"[T]he church has got to deal with these problems, and it's got to make sure that there is an open and clean confession about what has happened, and that we help those people who have been put into difficulty by this abuse."
None of the party leaders mentioned the incidence of child sex abuse outside the Catholic Church, and their comments all gave the impression that the Catholic Church hasn't responded to the problem of child sex abuse. Although the three party leaders all welcomed the Pope's forthcoming visit, their unfair and unbalanced criticism merely adds fuel to the anti-Benedict fire. Massimo Introvigne, an Italian sociologist of religion, in an excellent analysis of the issue, has asked:
"Why are old and very often well-known cases being exhumed in 2010 on a daily basis, always attacking the Pope?"
Dominic Lawson points to the answer in yesterday's Daily Mail. He quotes Professor Richard Dawkins, the anti-life atheist scientist, who wrote in his book "The God Delusion" (2006) that:
"[W]e live in a time of hysteria about paedophilia, a mob psychology that calls to mind the Salem witchhunts of 1692 ... The Roman Catholic Church has borne a heavy share of such retrospective opprobrium ... I dislike the Catholic Church, but I dislike unfairness even more. I can't help wondering whether this institution has been unfairly demonised over this issue, especially in Ireland and America."
Mr Lawson then points out how in recent months Prof. Dawkins has forgotten what he wrote and is now defaming Pope Benedict and the Catholic Church over the same issue.

As I blogged last month, it is clear that Pope Benedict is being defamed by opponents of the sanctity of human life and the dignity of the human person. It is therefore incumbent upon pro-lifers of all faiths and none to help defend the good name of Pope Benedict, one of the world's great pro-life leaders and the head of the world's largest pro-life organisation.

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