Wednesday 12 May 2010

The new government and the Catholic bishops' policy spell dangers for both born and unborn children

After 13 years of anti-life laws and policies being enacted by the Labour government, we face a renewal of such laws and policies under the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition. David Cameron has made clear that faith schools should not be free to teach that abortion is wrong. Andrew Lansley, who is expected to be named health secretary, has made clear his support for easier access to abortion. Nick Clegg has confirmed his support for an anti-life approach to sex education.

However, as a Catholic parent, I consider that a greater threat than the coalition government is the policy of the Catholic bishops of England and Wales. The Catholic Church in this country has responsibility for over 2,000 schools and for over 5,000 parishes. It is estimated that there are between 900,000 and 1 million practising Catholics in the UK, more than the membership of the Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrat parties put together. The Catholic Church is a major body in this country which clearly has the size and potential influence to provide truly significant resistance to the culture of death emanating from parliament. Yet the Catholic bishops' conference of England and Wales supports laws and policies which extends the culture of death already at work in our hospitals and schools.

Archbishop Peter Smith, on behalf of the bishops' conference, issued a statement this morning, saying:
"In wishing the new government well, it is good for us all to recall that many of the deep seated problems of our society can only be addressed through a renewal of shared values. Change for the better cannot be left to politicians alone to bring about. It needs all of us."
Yet Archbishop Smith's way of addressing "problems", renewing "shared values" and "change for the better" has the appearance of endorsing pro-assisted suicide policy. Also, as I have mentioned before, Archbishop Smith, on behalf of the bishops' conference, publicly opposed SPUC's campaign on the pro-euthanasia Mental Capacity bill (now Act), welcomed the bill, accepted the Blair government's assurances on the bill, and co-operated with the government in ensuring its passage through parliament. The Act enshrines in statute law euthanasia by neglect.

The Catholic Education Service (CES), which represents the Catholic bishops of England and Wales, worked closely with the Labour government to promote the government's anti-life plans for compulsory sex and relationships education (SRE). It has appointed Greg Pope, a former Labour MP with a lengthy anti-life and anti-family records, as its new deputy director. Also, the CES welcomes into Catholic schools Connexions, whose job it is to make abortion and contraception available to children, without parental knowledge or consent. Connexions is a government agency which is committed to giving schoolchildren, under the age of 16, access to abortion and abortifacients without parental knowledge or permission. Connexions' advisers are trained to tell young people that they can obtain abortion and abortifacients without parental knowledge or consent.

Vincent Nichols, archbishop of Westminster, said last week:
"I...wish to signal unambiguously the Church’s readiness to work with whoever is forming the Government."
Yet we know that Archbishop Nichols' idea of working with government is to go along with prevailing ideas on sex and relationships education.

Our children and grandchildren will never be safe from the culture of death emanating from government and parliament until and unless Catholic episcopal policy in this country is reversed.

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