Wednesday 18 May 2011

Anti-life and anti-family speakers are due at a English and Welsh Catholic bishops' agency conference

This July the National Justice and Peace Network (NJPN) will hold its 33rd annual conference. NJPN is an agency of the Department of International Affairs of the Catholic Bishops's Conference of England and Wales (CBCEW). One of this year's speakers is Frances O'Grady, deputy general secretary of the Trades Union Congress (TUC). Ms O'Grady is quoted on the front page of a leaflet entitled "Abortion - a trade union issue" published by Abortion Rights, formed in 2003 from the merger of the National Abortion Campaign (NAC) and Abortion Law Reform Association (ALRA). The leaflet quotes Ms Grady saying:
“access to birth control and abortion has allowed immeasurable economic, educational and social benefits for women. Now is the time to stand up again to defend women’s right to choose”
Also, last year Ms O'Grady addressed the TUC's annual lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGBT) conference thus:
"Much has been achieved over the past decade but some hugely difficult challenges remain for LGBT people in Britain and across the world ... While we may have made real legal advances in the UK, we have yet to see a parallel shift in social attitudes."
Another person due to speak at the NJPN's conference is Jon Cruddas, Labour MP for Dagenham and Rainham. In December Mr Cruddas told The Catholic Herald that abortion:
"should be safe, legal and rare".
Since the year 2000 Mr Cruddas voted 18 times with the anti-life lobby, for example voting in favour of the:
  • anti-life Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill (now Act) at second reading (which denotes approval for the bill's principles) 
  • pro-euthanasia Mental Capacity Bill (now Act) at second reading and third reading (which denotes approval of the bill as a whole)
Mr Cruddas has also expressed his pride in his voting record in support of the homosexual agenda.

I will be writing immediately to Mrs Anne Peacey, the NJPN's chairman, and to Bishop Declan Lang, the Department of International Affairs' chairman, to urge them to cancel the invitations extended to Ms O'Grady and Mr Cruddas. In June 2004 the US bishops' document "Catholics in Political Life" said:
"The Catholic community and Catholic institutions should not honor those who act in defiance of our fundamental moral principles. They should not be given awards, honors or platforms which [JS: i.e. "as this"] would suggest support for their actions."
You may also like to write to Mrs Peacey and Bishop Lang, both at 39 Eccleston Square, London, SW1V 1BX.

* Why is the issue of homosexuality important specifically for the pro-life movement? The late Pope John Paul II, the great pro-life champion, taught in no. 97 of his 1995 encyclical Evangelium Vitae 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. 

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