Tuesday 11 October 2011

Catholic newspapers should not host pro-abortion speakers or advertise anti-life groups

SPUC's copy of last weekend's edition (7 October) of The Catholic Herald (Britain's main Catholic newspaper) arrived at SPUC HQ, wrapped as usual in cellophane and containing advertising inserts. The larger of the two inserts was from Médecins Sans Frontières ("Doctors Without Borders") and the smaller insert was from the Alzheimer's Society.

As I have blogged in July 2008, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) both performs and defends abortion. And in 2007, Jose Maria Simon, president of the International Federation of Associations of Catholic Doctors, claimed that an MSF internal protocol advises MSF doctors how to get away with performing illegal abortions.

The Alzheimer's Society has lobbied for embryonic stem cell research and the pro-euthanasia Mental Capacity Act.

If that wasn't bad enough, the top banner of The Catholic Herald's front-page read:
Nadine Dorries
The MP launches our new series of talks
The advertisement inside read:
"The Friary Talks ... [Speakers] will engage you in Catholic subjects ... Chairing the talks is Cristina Odone"
As readers of this blog and the SPUC website will know, Nadine Dorries is pro-abortion. In her own words:
"I support a woman’s right to abortion—to faster, safer and quicker abortion than is available at the moment, particularly in the first trimester ... [Also] I would like the morning-after pill to be available from every school nurse and in every supermarket pharmacy—and it should be free for young girls..." (Hansard, 20 May 2008) "I can ensure [sic] you that if a Catholic group said they were going to set up and offer advice [to pregnant women considering abortion] I would be as against them offering advice as I am the abortion advisor.” (Independent, 30 August 2011)
Many readers will also know that Cristina Odone dissents from Catholic teaching on homosexuality, including attacking Pope Benedict over his approach to the issue. Catholic newspapers should not give platforms to, or accepting advertising from, organisations, politicians or individuals who oppose Catholic teaching on the sanctity of human life or the truth about human sexuality. In 2004 the U.S. bishops approved a policy stating, in part:
“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 would suggest support for their actions.”
"[P]latforms which would suggest support for their actions" has been interpreted to mean "speaking invitations, as these invitations would suggest support for their actions." In February 2008 a number of prominent US Catholic leaders signed a joint letter which:
"urge[d] our fellow leaders of Catholic schools, universities, hospitals, charitable organizations, advocacy groups, media and other institutions to refrain from all activities that provide a public platform to, or imply support or even neutrality toward, political leaders and candidates who advocate positions on serious moral issues that are clearly contrary to Catholic teaching, most especially the Church’s reverence for the sanctity of all human life from conception to natural death."
Comments on this blog? Email them to johnsmeaton@spuc.org.uk
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