Tuesday 30 September 2014

Life and Family groups unite to back Extraordinary Synod on the Family

I am delighted to tell you about a growing coalition of pro-family and pro-life groups gathered under the name of Voice of the Family to offer our expertise and resources before, during and after the Extraordinary Synod on the Family. The Synod will be held in Rome between 5 and 19 October. Voice of the Family team will be working throughout that period at the Salvatorian Motherhouse on Via della Conciliazione.

Our position paper released yesterday, on the Feast of St Michael, states:
“The Synod provides an important opportunity to take concrete steps to address this crisis and give renewed impetus to the “New Evangelisation”. If the Synod is to be effective it is essential that the teaching of the Church is affirmed clearly and without ambiguity. All proposals which result from the Synod must be founded on the truths of the natural moral law and Divine Revelation.”
Voice of the Family aims to assist individual Synod participants as well as to serve the faithful by sharing our research and analysis via our media and contacts. At the heart of all our considerations are the following key principles:
1. Marriage, the exclusive, life-long union of one man and one woman, is the fundamental foundation of a stable and flourishing society and is the greatest protector of children, born and unborn.
2. The separation of the unitive and procreative ends of the sexual act, which is intrinsic to the use of contraception, has acted as a major catalyst of the culture of death.
3. Parents are the primary educators of their children:
“It will be impossible to engage in a ‘New Evangelisation’, or to build a new ‘culture of life’,” the position paper concludes, “if the true understanding of marriage and human sexuality is no longer understood and if parents are no longer free to educate their children according to the natural moral law and the teachings of the Catholic Church. There are many men and women of good will, who have the truths of the natural moral law “written on their hearts” (Rm 2:15), who are open to hearing the message of the Church when it is presented with clarity and confidence. It is our hope that the Synod will use this opportunity to help bring the good news of Jesus Christ to families across the world.”
To date Voice of the Family is supported by:
Your prayerful support is very important.

You can contact us at:
Voice of the Family
Tel. +44 20 7820 3148; +39 33 833 09443
Email: enquiry@voiceofthefamily.info
Web: http://voiceofthefamily.info

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Thursday 25 September 2014

New Northern Ireland Health minister supports abortion ban

Jim Wells MLA
New Northern Ireland Health minister supports abortion ban
Jim Wells, who has previously stated in an interview that the abortion ban in Northern Ireland should be upheld, including in cases of rape, has been appointed as Northern Ireland’s new Health minister by first minister Peter Robinson. Mr Wells said in the interview, which took place in August 2012, "That is a tragic and difficult situation but should the ultimate victim of that terrible act [rape] – which is the unborn child – should he or she also be punished for what has happened by having their life terminated? No." Although tipped to takeover at the health department two years ago, Mr Wells recently said that he would like to remain on Stormont's Justice Committee in order to oppose the Minister of Justice's plans to legalise the abortion of children diagnosed with a disability or conceived in rape. A public consultation on the proposal is expected to begin in the coming months. [Guardian, 23 September]

Spanish abortion law reform scrapped; justice minster resigns
Mariano Rajoy, the Spanish prime minister, has withdrawn a bill which would have reformed abortion law in Spain, limiting its availability only to cases of rape that have been reported to the police and cases where the mother’s health is considered to be in danger. Currently, Spain’s law allows abortion on demand up until 14 weeks. Alberto Ruiz Gallardon, the justice minister who championed the reform, resigned from his post soon after it was announced that the bill had been withdrawn. [Irish Times, 24 September]

Catholic Bishop of Shrewsbury asks for promotion of Gospel of Life
Bishop Mark Davies of Shrewsbury has spoken of the need to promote the "Gospel of Life with joy". Bishop Davies, who was attending an annual pro-life pilgrimage to Walsingham, said that, "We will be asked whether we stood idle all day or whether we prayed and made reparation, used our own voices for the defenceless and gave witness to the sanctity of human and family life." [Catholic Herald, 23 September]

Other stories:
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Tuesday 23 September 2014

Belgian murderer to be euthanised over prison suffering

Frank Van Den Bleeken
Top stories:

Belgian murderer to be euthanised over prison suffering
Frank Van Den Bleeken, a serial murderer and rapist in Bruges, Belgium, has been granted permission to commit suicide with the assistance of doctors. According to his lawyer, Mr Van Den Bleeken has expressed that he can "no longer accept the pain". According to Belgian law, those who wish to commit suicide in this manner must repeatedly express a "voluntary and well-considered" wish to die. Earlier this year, Belgium also legalised assisted suicide for children. [Mail, 16 September]

Schools under fire for offering STD tests during lessons
Parents of children in Brighton and Hove have complained after their 15- and 16-year-old teenagers were asked to take a chlamydia test in class. All secondary state schools in the area, except for one Catholic school, have signed up to the scheme. Brighton and Hove Council, who are running the scheme, said that it was in keeping with national guidelines and is designed to "demystify the test". [Telegraph, 21 September]

Non-embryonic stem cells used to use treat failing sight
A Japanese woman is the first person to be successfully treated for age-related macular degeneration (AMD) with pluripotent cells taken from adult tissue samples. The condition which was treated affects millions of elderly people and can result in blindness. A similar treatment is being developed which does involve the destruction of human embryos but is still being trialled. [New Scientist, 16 September]

Other stories:
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Friday 12 September 2014

Parents from legal outcasts to outlaws: Dr Tom Ward's address to Moscow family conference

Yesterday Dr Thomas Ward, founder and former President of the National Association of Catholic Families (NACF), addressed the major pro-family conference which was held this week in the Kremlin, Moscow. SPUC staff, as well as many colleagues from other pro-life/pro-family, are in Moscow, made a major contribution to the conference. Here is the text of Dr Ward's address on "Parents the Primary Educators of their Children; Parents from legal outcasts to outlaws"
"Madame Chairman,

Christian families of Russia thank you for your call to the generosity and joy of large families. It is a counter-revolutionary call to build a new Civilisation of Love and Life. It is a call to our families to replace today's dying Culture of Death with all its attacks on normality: on life, love, sexuality, marriage, family and Christianity itself. A culture of contraception, abortion, homosexualism and their indoctrination subtly enforced on our families at home and brutally imposed upon poor families abroad. A culture of planned demographic collapse. A culture in which the only protectors of children are their parents, their Primary Educators who may have little moral alternative to civil disobedience and imprisonment. But parental rights are the Achilles heel of the Culture of Death. It is here we must attack.

Having worked over forty years defending families I am convinced that the root of the Culture of Death is the artificial separation in sexual intercourse of love from life in contraception. Contraception is associated with a rise not a fall in the abortion rate. Hormonal contraceptives have been known to have an intrinsic abortifacient pharmacological action since 1926!

This separation of life from love has spread from contraception, to in vitro fertilisation and now logically, even theologically to homosexual "marriage ".

Ladies and gentlemen, contraception is the gateway to the culture of death and it is of itself wrong.

Contraception alienates life from love in a second unrecognised way. Secret contraceptive indoctrination and provision to children without parental knowledge or consent, by governments, separate our children from our protective love.

But if we parents contracept, how can we convincingly protect our children from contraception?

Revealingly both separations are promoted by one of the largest multi-nationals in the world, the birth control lobby.

Who removed our parental rights?

In 1922 Lenin initiated what was to become the Frankfurt School of Western cultural Marxism. His intention - to destroy the obstacle of Western Christian culture. The methods - the use of sexual instinct and overwhelming negative destructive cultural criticism. They targeted our families against the background of growing liberalism in church and state.

The same message different messengers:
  • “Communist society will take upon itself all the duties involved in the education of a child.” Alexandra Kollontai, the first Soviet People's Commissar for Social Welfare, 1920
  • "Children have to be freed from… religious and other cultural “prejudices” forced upon them by parents, civil and religious authorities […] sex education should be introduced in the 4th grade, (i.e. 9 to10) eliminating “the ways of elders” by force if necessary.” Brock Chisholm, who became the first director of the World Health Organisation in 1948
  • "It is now the privilege of the Parental State to take major decisions - objective, unemotional, the State weighs up what is best for the child....” Lady Helen Brook, who started the “secret” provision of contraceptives to the young - the very first step in the usurping of parental rights on education and medication.
  • “Parents – the most dangerous people of all.” A Family Planning Association spokeswoman
In 1974 the British Government prohibited doctors from contacting "parents of a child of whatever age" when she requested contraceptives.Parents legally challenged this in the courts. Law Lords ruled that when a doctor decided a child fully understood what was proposed the child could consent to all treatments and parents' rights stopped. This now covers abortion.

The UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women has instructed nations to ensure the right to sexual education, to contraception and abortion for girls and adolescents without parental knowledge or consent.

IPPF, based in London, is the nerve-centre of the world reproductive law reform. London is the centre of Common Law jurisdiction which covers one-third of humanity, the former British Empire. It operates in 189 countries including Russia.

Parents.. from legal outcasts to outlaws

Because of same-sex "marriage" legislation, Catholic adoption agencies ...caring in loco parentis for our most vulnerable Catholic children, have been outlawed.

The Education Act 1996 imposes a duty on state schools, including religious schools, to teach about marriage in the National Curriculum. With the legalising of same-sex "marriage", parents who object to this being taught in general classes have no right to withdraw their children. The school, because of its legal obligation to promote equality, is itself obliged to refuse permission. Because of same-sex "marriage" legislation, the exercising of the parental primary right to educate has been outlawed.

And on the teaching of Christian sexual morality in schools, the Parliamentary Committee on Human Rights has said:
"a curriculum which teaches a particular religion’s doctrinal beliefs as if they were objectively true… is likely to lead to unjustifiable discrimination”
Because of same-sex marriage legislation, the the right to teach Christian sexual morality as objective truth in educational institutions has been outlawed.

Never before in the history of free men has our human right to be the primary educators of our children been removed. It is enshrined in Genesis, in the New Testament, in the doctrine of the Orthodox and of the Catholic Church, in Aristotle and the Universal Declaration of the Human Rights.

Ladies and gentlemen, the demographic recovery of your great country will depend disproportionately on generous large families. They will depend upon legally-enforceable guarantees of their God-given, inalienable human right as Primary Educators.

Through these families Russia will, please God, become a Christian beacon of hope to all humanity.

A new civilisation of Love and Life will begin.
Начнется новой цивилизации любви и жизни.

It will be our civilisation.
Она будет нашей цивилизации

It will be God's civilisation.
Это будет цивилизации Бога

Christian Families of Russia, thank you.
Христианские семьи России, спасибо"
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Ian Paisley: SPUC mourns pro-life politician

SPUC has expressed its deep regret at the news of the death of Dr Ian Paisley and extended its condolences to Lady Paisley and their family.

Liam Gibson, SPUC's Northern Ireland development officer, told the media today:
"In his long political career as an MP, MEP, as First Minister of Northern Ireland and more recently as a member of the House of Lords, Dr Paisley remained a steadfast supporter of the right to life of unborn children.

His outspoken opposition to the extension of the Abortion Act to Northern Ireland meant that, even in the darkest days of the Troubles, there was some political common ground shared by Protestants and Catholics.

Although always remaining a controversial figure, many people within Catholic community greatly admired Dr Paisley for the firm line he took on moral issues, which was unambiguous and unapologetic.

During the debate in the House of Commons in 1990 on the introduction of the Abortion Act, Dr Paisley acknowledged the breadth of opposition to the Act, saying: 'The overwhelming opposition [to the extension of the Act] is amazing, because it stretches from the Unionist parties to the nationalist SDLP. It stretches from the churches to the students' union of Queen's University, which in no way could be called a conservative or right-wing body.'

When the Brook Advisory Centre opened in Belfast in 1992, Dr Paisley joined with people from  both sections of the community to oppose it.

In the very secular world of British politics Dr Paisley was never frightened to speak openly about his faith in God. He was always conscious that politicians would ultimately account to God for the policies they promote."
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Thursday 11 September 2014

Major international pro-family conference in Moscow - SPUC represented

Today and yesterday, a major pro-family conference entitled International Forum ‘Large family and the future of humanity’ has been held in the Kremlin, Moscow. SPUC staff, as well as many colleagues from other pro-life/pro-family, are in Moscow, making a major contribution to the conference:
  • Maria Madise, SPUC's International, UN and Research Officer
  • Pat Buckley, one of SPUC's representatives at the United Nations
  • Dr Thomas Ward, founder and former President of the National Association of Catholic Families (NACF)
  • Obianuju "Uju" Ekeocha, who runs Culture of Life Africa (COLA) 
John-Henry Westen of LifeSiteNews.com, who is one of the keynote speakers, reports that the conference has been attended by
"1,000 delegates from all over the world including over 200 from the West ... Put on by the St. Andrew the First-Called and the St. Basil the Great Foundations, the conference is sanctioned and supported by the federal government."
 Below is the statement issued before today's plenary session:

“Our World is going through an epoch of instability and social crisis closely inter-related with the global transformations in all key spheres of human development and civilisation,” states the concept of the International Forum for Large Family and the Future of Humanity, held in Moscow, 10 and 11 September. An impressive document composed to define the key principles of human existence and family that cannot change continues:

The most important factor in this epoch is the transformation of what it means to be a living, human being and to experience human dignity as intended by the Creator.

[… H]uman beings created in the image of God are no longer … the conceptual and ethical center of the whole of Creation.

With the profound philosophical transformations of the human concept, the historical foundations of civilized human life are now being forced to change and the concept of the family is not an exception. According to the overwhelming majority of people this modern-day ambiguity, relativity, and indeterminacy regarding family, creates the threat to the civilized existence of societies.

Only precise and univalent definitions may permit us to understand that behind the fuzzy explanations of modern humanism and jargon, there hides traits of degradation and deception that would lead to the death of humanity. Only truthful and accurate definitions contradicting the contemporary views allow us to make the conclusion: our era is not so much about the family crisis as the foundation of society, but the very idea of family.

Today, the meaning of family in the context of global ideological competition from self-interested post-modern humanists and challenges to ensure the survival and sovereignty of modern states grows to such an extent that the protection of the classical notions of normative behaviour, civilized man, the human family, and the definition of marriage have to be enshrined in national constitutions.

Humanity must move forward into the future based on the understanding that the natural family has been and remains the foundations of the civilization; and the family was – and still is – and forever will be the marriage between man and woman with many children.

The speakers include:
  • Natalia Yakunina (Russia; Chairwoman)
  • Archpriest Dmitrtry Smirnov (Russia)
  • Konstantin Malofeev (Russia)
  • Anatoly Antonov (Russia)
  • Donald Feder (USA)
  • Elena Mizulina (Russia)
  • Lawrence D. Jacobs (USA)
  • Hilarion (Chairman of the Department of exernal Church Relations, Moscow Patriarchate)
  • Francisco S. Tatad (Philippines)
  • Thomas Ward (UK, President of the National Association of Catholic Families)
  • Sharon Slater (USA, President of Family Watch International)
  • Christine Vollmer (Venezuela; President of Latin American Alliance of the Family)
  • Theresa Okafor (Nigeria; Director of Foundation for African Cultural Heritage)
  • Holy Patriarch Kirill (Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia)
  • Vladimir Yakunin (Russia)
  • Aymeric Chauprade (France)
  • Patrick Buckley (Ireland)
  • Obianuju Ekeocha (Nigeria/UK)
  • Radim Uchac (Czech Republic)
  • Archpriest Maxim Obukov (Russia)
  • John-Henry Westen (Canada)

The first day of the Forum with grand artistic celebrations for the family was held in the State Kremlin Palace. The plenary session and 10 roundtables today are taking place in the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour.

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Wednesday 10 September 2014

Tears and standing ovation at tribute for the late Alison Davis

Colin Harte 20140906
Dr Colin Harte
At SPUC's national conference 2014 last weekend, Dr. Colin Harte paid tribute to the legacy of the late Alison Davis in his presentation "Suffering for what we value". Colin was Alison's carer for a quarter of a century until her death last year. Colin's presentation received a standing ovation, with some delegates moved to tears.

Alison was the co-ordinator of No Less Human, a group within SPUC which defends disabled people. Below are some keys points from Colin's address.

Alison was an extraordinary person. She was willing to suffer for the pro-life movement.

The killing of Louise, a baby with spina bifida was a turning point in Alison's life from pro-abortion to pro-life. Her first letter on pro-life issues (2 March 1981, on sedating and starving newborn babies to death, following reports of such killings by Dr Donald Garrow) was another turning point. She started work for SPUC's Handicap Division in 1983, now know as No Less Human.

Abortion of disabled babies in Northern Ireland was a cause of concern to Alison. David Alton's abortion bill - and the support of many people in the pro-life movement for the bill - was another cause of concern and suffering to Alison. The bill excluded disabled unborn children from the protection given to those who were not disabled. Alison said:
"I felt I was alone in thinking it was like robbing the poorest. Having so little, they would not miss what was taken from them."
Ann Widdecombe, the former MP, said, who supported the Alton Bill, said: "We are bargaining, saying if we agree you can kill them [disabled unborn children and others] will you support us in trying to save a few thousand other lives?" (The Times, 25 October 1989) Colin found this shocking.

Alison's response to the suggestion that by supporting incremental legislation pro-lifers could, as it were, achieve a reverse of the slippery slope process, was: "It shouldn't take much imagination to realise that attempts to ascend a slippery slope are going to be not only frustrating but self-defeating."

Alison felt isolated within SPUC at that time. Respect and gratitude is due to John Smeaton and SPUC in the last decade for moving away from a position that excludes the disabled.

Alison believed in the infinite value of every human person. Some people argue that a value cannot be ascribed to human beings, because value refers to the utility of objects, and is therefore contrary to human dignity. But Pope St John Paul II taught that humans do have value: they are priceless. Alison was first struck by the infinite value of human beings when she heard the late Lord Jakobovits, the-then Chief Rabbi, speak at Essex University. The tragedy is not that millions of babies are killed, but the judgement that one human life is expendable. This is because each individual life has infinite value.

At the end of her life Alison received excellent care from her hospital, her doctors, and her nurses. She refused pain relief to gain more to offer to God in her last moments of life. She chose to die in pain. Alison believed that the greatest privilege in the world is to suffer.

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SPUC banned on spurious grounds by Dundee University Students' Association

SPUC has been banned on spurious grounds by Dundee University Students' Association (DUSA) from its Freshers' Fayre.

DUSA claims that SPUC's campaigns are contrary to DUSA's Constitution, and that SPUC has engaged in extreme behaviour at past Freshers' Fayres. DUSA has, however, failed to provide any evidence to back up their claims.

Rachel Kidd of SPUC Scotland said:
"DUSA has quoted several sections of its Constitution against SPUC, but none of those sections contains anything opposed by SPUC. Also, DUSA has been asked to back up with evidence its claim of extreme behaviour by SPUC at Freshers' Fayres, but has failed to provide any evidence.

From 2005 onwards, SPUC held a stall at Freshers’ Fayre for eight consecutive years without any problems. The stall simply offered factual information on the development of the unborn child and real help to women who may find themselves in a crisis pregnancy situation.

DUSA makes a great deal of noise about being fair and unprejudiced towards groups with differing views. SPUC's effectiveness in communicating the pro-life message on campus seems to have provoked DUSA to treat SPUC in an unfair and biased way."
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Tuesday 9 September 2014

Interview with Bishop Philip Egan on marriage and family life

Bishop Philip Egan agreed kindly to be interviewed after his address last Saturday to SPUC's 2014 national conference. In the interview Bishop Egan spoke about the "Catholic vision of sexuality, marriage, and family life." He was interviewed by Maria Madise, SPUC's newly-appointed International, UN and Research Officer. You can watch the interview below or on SPUC's YouTube channel.

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Monday 8 September 2014

Full text of Bishop Philip Egan's address to SPUC conference

Bishop Philip Egan (right)
I am glad to be able to share the full text of Bishop Philip Egan's address to SPUC's national conference, entitled: "The forthcoming Synods on the Family and the sensus fidei".

After Bishop Egan delivered his address, I blogged many of its key points. One further and important point I would like to highlight is that Bishop Egan is
"urging married couples not to use the word “partner” when talking of their spouses, but proudly to speak of “My husband” and “My wife”."
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The challenges which face young people joining the pro-life battle

Jim Hughes 20140907
Jim Hughes
Delegates at SPUC's national conference 2014 were energized by the inspiration and great humour of Jim Hughes, national president of Campaign Life Coalition in Canada and vice-president of the International Right To Life Federation. Here are some of the key points from Jim's address on "The challenges which face young people joining the pro-life battle"

The backbone of the pro-life movement is the person who looks out at you from the mirror every morning. Be joyful that God has called us to this work. We are the chosen. Many people had the opportunity to be here this weekend; you said yes. You have the knowledge and have to pass it on.

Jim said that he comes from humble origins. The late Blessed Mother Teresa said that the beautiful thing about the pro-life movement is that it's ordinary people doing extraordinary things. Jim started in the pro-life movement when his wife Ginny took him to a meeting of Ontario Right To Life. He said to myself: I'll give God two years of service in the pro-life movement. God laughed - Jim has now been in the pro-life movement for several decades.

The situation in Canada is dire. Many people, including clergy, are ignorant about the situation. Jim encourages pro-lifers to 'adopt-a-clergyman' to educate him. Listen to what individuals tell you, because we're going to win people over, not in groups, but one-by-one.

Young people are not the future of the pro-life movement; they are the present. The late Fr Richard Neuhaus said that the old have to mentor the youth. We need to build them up. The head of Priests for Life in Canada is one of Jim's former interns. Jim met John-Henry Westen when he was a seven year-old in shorts. John-Henry is now the head of LifeSiteNews.com, the world's largest pro-life news-agency. Pro-life organisations need to:
  • educate the summer interns
  • send young people to the United Nations
  • put young people in charge of something
  • watch them grow
  • give them responsibility.
Jim said that Campaign Life Coalition established the Parliamentary Pro-Life Caucus in the Canadian parliament. CLC also started Business for Life.

Jim warned of the dangers of unprincipled legislative attempts to change the law on abortion in a ostensibly pro-life direction. He also warned about abortion committees in hospitals - including both Catholic and Evangelical hospitals.

Jim, a veteran pro-life leader, concluded with these words of wisdom:
  • Look at the Sacrifice of the Cross - we can put up with a little bit of suffering - look at Alison Davis's story which we heard yesterday
  • Justice Clarence Thomas has said: In the end, it will not be the words of our enemies but the silence of our friends that can defeat us
  • Recognise that the people who don't share our views are human beings too, and equally loved by God
  • Deal with what's at your feet.
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Sunday 7 September 2014

Jim Dobbin RIP: SPUC conference delegates saddened to hear of MP's death

Jim Dobbin
Delegates today at the national conference of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC) www.spuc.org.uk were saddened to hear of the death of Jim Dobbin MP, who had been a long-serving chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Pro-Life Group (APPPLG). The news was received as many of the delegates were attending Catholic Sunday Mass in the conference centre chapel. The Mass was followed immediately by prayers for the repose of the soul of Mr Dobbin, who was prominent in Catholic public life, followed by Pope St John Paul II's pro-life prayer "O Mary, Bright Dawn".

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Saturday 6 September 2014

Bishop Philip Egan addresses SPUC's national conference

Bp Egan 20140906 #2
Bishop Philip Egan
This morning SPUC's national conference 2014 was privileged to be addressed by the Rt. Rev. Philip Egan, the Catholic bishop of Portsmouth, on the forthcoming Synod on the Family and the Sensus Fidei. Here are the main points from Bishop Egan's address.

What is a Synod?
An "Ecumenical Council" means a 'gathering of all', in order to discuss and decide about important matters. Ecumenical Councils are rare. A synod is a smaller gathering of bishops, such as bishops across a region or a province.

In preparation for a synod, the synod's secretariat sends out a scoping document for dioceses. The responses are sent back to Rome; and from those responses the secretariat draws up an Instrumentum Laboris, a 'working document'.

A synod is an advisory body. The Pope participates in the synod, and following the synod he issues an Apostolic Exhortation in response to the synod.

The synod on the family to be held in Rome in October is an Extraordinary Synod. The last Extraordinary Synod was in 1987 on the Catechism of the Catholic Church. This year's Extraordinary Synod is also unusual, in two ways:
1) it will be followed by an Ordinary Synod next year. The Apostolic Exhortation will be the Instrumentum Laboris for the next year’s synod
2) The 39 pre-synod questions were circulated widely throughout the Church so as to put forward concerns.

Why the family?
Pope Francis announced the synod on the family at the 2013 World Youth Day in Rio. The Pope said that today many young people do not want to get married. Also, people get married lacking maturity. This is where pastoral care needs to comes in. The pastoral care of the family is very complicated, including issues such as annulments, divorce, and access to Holy Communion. Pope Francis said the family is in crisis worldwide. The topic needs two synods to give an adequate treatment.

Instrumentum Laboris
Instrumentum Laboris, to me, is a remarkable document. It unambiguously restates Catholic teaching on the main family issues. At the same time, it emphasises God’s mercy and the need to spread it; highlights the lack of faith and lack of sufficient catechesis. The beginning deals with the Gospel of the Family, which is the term I especially like. The crisis of faith leads to a crisis of relationships and families. The Instrumentum Laboris ends with the prayer of the Holy Family.

In summary the Instrumentum Laboris deals with:
  • how to communicate Church’s teaching more effectively?
  • how to support those in need more mercifully?
  • how to support families in teaching about openness to life?
Crisis of faith
In Britain the crisis of the family is bound to the crisis of the faith. Secularism separates Church and State. The result is moral relativism. Nothing is solid.

It is no secret that many progressive Catholics look forward to changes in Church’s teaching and doctrine from the Synod. In contrast, Blessed John Henry Newman taught that Christian teaching tends to develop organically, like an acorn, with continuity. Doctrine develops rather than changes. Developments in doctrine must be consistent.

In history the Church has experienced major controversies. Today’s issue is the anthropology of a human being: what it means to created, fallen and then redeemed. The Sensus Fidei is the belief that the Holy Spirit endows each member of the Church, each baptised Christian, with an instinct to live in truth. Some members of the Church do not understand the Church’s teaching on marriage and family. Should the doctrine then be changed?

Bl. John Henry Newman taught observed that it has been the ordinary faithful who have passed on the Church's doctrine. Like others in the Church, the faithful should be consulted, not in a democratic way, but rather as a thermometer to check the weather. It is the doctrine that Christ wills for His Church. The doctrine is not always the balanced view, but it is the truth.

My personal hopes for the Synod:
1) A fresh, attractive, easy-to-understand idea of the Gospel of the Family. I would wish that the Synod requests from the Pope a presentation of the Christian understanding of birth, sex, death, male, and female. This would greatly assist religious education in our schools. I am actively considering appointing a couple in every parish as a ministry for marriage.
2) That the Synod will find a better way how to spread mercy for those in difficulties and irregular situations. Pope Benedict suggested we need a further study on the relation of faith and the Sacrament of Matrimony. Many people fall away from the Catholic Church because they fail to form a personal relationship with Christ.

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Sex education: the destruction of childhood

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Antonia Tully
The first address of day II of SPUC's national conference 2014 was given this morning by Antonia Tully, national coordinator of SPUC's Safe at School campaign, on the theme "Sex education: the destruction of childhood". Antonia spoke mostly about primary schools (ages five to eleven). This is what Safe at School is focusing on, because that is where the current battle on sex education is located. 

Reality of sex education in primary schools today:
Graphic materials are used in primary school sex education, "giving children the impression that sex is part of their lives". Same-sex issues are promoted and parents are excluded.

Living and Growing
Living and Growing is the most widely-used sex education programme. It sets a sort of 'gold standard' for the sex education lobby. Living and Growing:
  • makes young children aware of their sexual organs
  • introduces them to sexual intercourse.
  • normalises sex for young children.
Andrea Leadsom, the Conservative MP, said about Living and Growing:
“Until you have seen this, you can’t believe, how awful this programme is.”
Others who have seen it have said: there is nothing as horrible in our countries (US, in Europe)
Living and Growing has nothing to do with childhood
It features the voice-over of a young child accompanying the clip of sexual intercourse:
“They do look happy, don’t they?”
Sexual intercourse is thus presented as a game.

A recent letter from a parent in The Times revealed the great emotional agony children are experiencing as a result of sex education classes. Parents call Antonia saying:
"My child thinks now that she should be doing it."
A Journey of Love is a so-called “Catholic” approach somewhat similar to Living and Growing. It contains a teacher’s note that masturbation is a normal part of growing up.

Children and schools pitted against parents:
Modern sex education programmes have nothing to do with parents. Schools are deemed to be the experts. Parents are held at arm's length.
Children are encouraged to:
  • train your parents
  • talk to them as adults
  • show them that you can be sensible and very often they learn to be sensible too.
The idea that parents need to be trained is now getting into teachers’ heads. But the parents are the experts!

Child protection:
Ofsted has raised the question about the state of sex education in schools. The push is to equip children with tools to defend themselves, protect themselves. What really protects a child? Knowing that their parents are their protectors. Sex education lobby shifts the responsibility of protecting the child to the child himself. The Sex Education Forum has claimed that children will be vulnerable unless they get sex education in schools. Yet there is no evidence to support the claim that children need sex education to stop sexual abuse/exploitation. Calls to NSPCC and Lucy Faithful Foundation reveal that neither organisation was able to give any studies that his claim was based on.

Why sex education is destruction of childhood:
Children need a natural childhood in order to reach mature adult age.
It undermines the parents, and weakens the families.
In our over-sexualised culture, children need their parents to give them strength to cope with it.
If families are destroyed, lives are destroyed. This is why SPUC is working so hard on this.
No evidence that sex education is contributing to fall in teenage pregnancy. There has, however, been a fall in teenage pregnancies since 2008. Some possible reasons, suggested by Professor David Paton of Nottingham University, are:
  • more and more widespread use of long-acting contraception
  • immigration
  • fewer people leaving school with no qualifications.
  • less drinking.
Guidelines for school from the sex education lobby:
  • Parents now removed from the guidelines
  • Ask young people what they want to be talk about
  • Bring in experts
  • Treat sex as normal and pleasurable part of life
Safe at School approach:
  • Parents are at the head of what Safe at School is fighting for. Children need their parents to protect them. Young people are defenceless against anti-life propaganda. They have reduced resistance to the pressure of casual sex and abortion.
  • Parents are the experts in educating their own children about sexual matters, supported by schools. Parents teach their family's values to their children not schools. The role of parents is at the heart of the campaign against compulsory sex education. Keeping sex education non-compulsory is an acknowledgement that parents are responsible for their children, not the state.
  • No matter who wins the General Election 2015 there will be moves to introduce compulsory sex education. All three parties are heading toward the direction of the compulsory sex education.
  • We must prepare for a major battle to uphold the rights of parents as the primary educators and protectors of their children.We must get parents reaffirmed to be in the centre of their children’s lives. We cannot hope to defeat abortion, if the families are destroyed this way.
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SPUC's national conference 2014 opens with an African flavour

edwards 20140905
Bob Edwards
SPUC's national conference 2014 kicked off last night in Swanwick, Derbyshire. Follow our Twitter feed @spucprolife for updates throughout this weekend.

The conference was opened by Bob Edwards, SPUC's Honorary Treasurer, who has had a long and distinguished career in finance and in the charity sector. He was sure that many warm friendships would be established among the delegates this weekend.
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Rhoslyn Thomas
Next we heard from Rhoslyn Thomas, 25, SPUC's new Youth and Education Officer and the manager of SPUC's internship scheme. She introduced Eyo Esua, one of four of this year's interns. Eyo is a law student at Portsmouth University. He explained the many interesting and varied activities during this internship, such as researching charities, educational leafleting, and a protest outside the Polish embasssy. He discovered that many members of the public are generally against abortion. He charmed the audience by talk: "I'm Eyo, I'm 19, and I'm pro-life."
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Eyo Esua

The keynote address of the evening was given by Obianuju "Uju" Ekeocha, who runs Culture of Life Africa (COLA), an internet-based resource which monitors and publicises the attacks on the culture of life in her home continent of Africa. Uju organised the first ever pro-life conference in her native Nigeria in June 2013. She is outspoken against first world countries deluging the world’s poorest countries, most of them in Africa, with contraception and abortion. Here are the key points from her address:

Uju and SPUC:
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Obianuju "Uju" Ekeocha
Uju, who is a biomedical scientist, said that she grew up in Nigeria and has lived in the UK for 9 years. She thanked SPUC, saying she was impressed by the depth of SPUC's dedication. Not many pro-life organisations take a great interest in Africa. Uju has developed a very special pro-life friendship with Antonia Tully of SPUC.

Uju, Melinda Gates, Culture of Life Africa (COLA):
There is a clash of culture between the West and Africa
Melinda Gates, wife of Microsoft billionnaire Bill Gates, organised the London Summit on Family Planning, London. David Cameron spoke at the summit.
Melinda Gates' campaign may have to some good intentions but is going to:
  • start a contraceptive culture in Africa, when the current rate of contraceptive usage is simply not on a par with the Western world
  • distort the understanding of human sexuality
  • depreciate the value of motherhood, when in fact motherhood is celebrated in African culture
  • de-emphasise marriage, when in fact Africans aspire to marriage
  • spread ideology of radical feminism and culture of abortion - claimed not supporting abortion but contraceptive campaign will involve abortion as 'safety net'
On 5 August 2012, Uju wrote an open letter online to Melinda Gates. The open letter went viral, and sparked argument. Uju had to defend her position online and therefore had to do lots of research. She decided to launch Culture of Life Africa in February 2013, starting with a blog.

Current situation in Africa:
  • Abortion on demand is legal in only four African countries. 80% of African countries protect unborn children
  • Pro-abortion advocates hard at work - pro-abortion advocates don't sleep! In some countries (e.g. Kenya, Ghana) they're playing word games
Plot to pass pro-abortion law foiled in Nigeria!:
Recently a short, sweeping pro-abortion bill was inserted into the law in one Nigeria state. The bill looked like something from a Planned Parenthood guidebook. Uju said: "This has nothing to do with my country!" The bill was signed into law by the state's Governor but kept secret, with the text of the law locked away in a state government office. The tribal prince of Uju's town sent someone to sneak into the office and photocopy the bill - something he could have been killed for doing. The prince made the text public, which led to widespread outrage. The local Catholic archbishop organised opposition to the bill. In response, the governor not only repealed the law but publicly apologised for what had happened. So Africa can be kept pro-life!

Reality of abortion in Africa:
Where abortion is legal in Africa, there is coercion, post-abortion trauma (PAS), sexual violence, medical malpractice, marriage and family weakened, and suppression of conscientious objectors.

Where there is suppression by pro-abortion authorities in Africa, there is a lot of suppression - in South Africa, even religious sisters are not exempt from having to do abortion training and must therefore withdraw from health care! The rape culture in South Africa has actually worsened since legal abortion was liberalised in 1994. One million unborn babies have died through abortion in South Africa since then.

Man will decide if woman has abortion. Abortion clinic workers are poorly paid. There is inadequate crisis pregnancy care. Legal restrictions are not enforced because of corruption. Doctors are performing illegal abortions - though this is exaggerated by pro-abortion advocates in order to paint a false picture. Doctors, OB/GYNs: these people, the ones who are doing abortions, are in fact the ones who should be protecting life.

African medical systems are heavily influenced by the West huge pressure from West:
  • the UK's DFID (Department for International Development) - used to promote general education, now all they care about is sex education
  • IPPF (International Planned Parenthood Federation) - funded by the US et al.
  • MSI (Marie Stopes International) - has produced a video made to spread the pro-abortion message to young people
  • Amnesty International
  • Ipas - from North Carolina, trains lobbyists
A Safe Abortion Action Fund (SAAF) has been established. It exists only to lobby. It's a terrible thing and the UK is paying for it. This is cultural imperialism by Western politicians, and against African values, which includes valuing life.

The pro-abortion strategies in Africa include:
  • reframe the issue by calls to 'public health'
  • lobbying African leaders
  • campaigns at UN, EU, etc
  • media campaign
  • sex education - funded by United States et al.
  • questionable statistics
The anti-life lobby claim that there are large numbers of  'unplanned' pregnacies; yet the concept of 'unplanned' doesn't exist as an expression in African dialects! Where are they getting figures from? They have launched a project to condomise Africa, flooding the continent with condoms. For example, 118,800 condoms were shared at one event.

What Africa really needs is H.E.L.P.:
  • Health
  • Education
  • Life
  • Peace
The pro-life response:
There has been a powerful witness by SPUC in Nigeria. John Smeaton's talk to the Nigerian bishops has had huge fruits: the Bishops' Conference is inspired and ready to champion the pro-life cause; more pro-life outreach; and more international recognition of African pro-life spirit. So there is a way forward for a pro-life Africa:
  • frame the issue
  • lobby African leaders
  • humanise the subject
  • campaign at UN, EU, etc., especially get more Africans lobbying for life at UN
  • conduct media campaigns
  • educate the African public on life issues.
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Wednesday 3 September 2014

Protest held outside Polish embassy in defence of pro-life doctor

A demonstration has been held outside the Polish embassy in London to protest against the dismissal of Professor Bogdan Chazan from his post at Holy Family Children’s Hospital in Warsaw. The protest was organised by SPUC.

Professor Chazan was dismissed by the mayor of Warsaw after refusing to grant an abortion to, or refer for an abortion, a woman who was carrying a child with a disability. The child was born and has since died naturally.

Following Professor Chazan’s dismissal, Donald Tusk, Prime Minister of Poland, made a statement saying: "Regardless of what his conscience is telling him, [a doctor] must carry out the law", according to Polskie Radio.

Regarding the Prime Minister’s comment, Magdalena Ozimic (age 31), one of the protesters and originally from Szczecin (north-west Poland), said:
"It is very important for me to be a witness here as a Pole. We live in terrible anti-life times when even in Poland, where a huge majority declare themselves Catholic, the Prime Minister stands for killing the innocent. As a young adult I wanted to become a doctor, believing I would be saving people's lives. Unfortunately nowadays, young people who want to save lives may have to think carefully before embarking on a medical career. I hope Dr Chazan will get more support in Catholic Poland and we can do our best here to show our support as pro-lifers."
The event was attended mostly by young people, particularly from the Polish community. The aim of the demonstration was to call for the reinstatement of Professor Chazan to his post at Holy Family Children’s Hospital and to highlight the injustice of the dismissal. Unfortunately, the demonstration drew no visible reaction from the embassy itself; when enquiries were made, protestors were told that the ambassador was absent.

One Polish demonstrator, Slawek Wrobel, age 36, a historian, said:
"I cannot believe that, 10 years after the reign of John Paul II, our Polish pro-life pope, someone who cares about life can be dismissed from their job. I am also astonished that the Mayor of Warsaw, who has put herself forward as a good Catholic, has sacked Dr Chazan."
Particpants handed out leaflets to passers-by detailing the case of Professor Chazan’s dismissal and the situation surrounding Professor Chazan’s refusal to participate in the abortion.

Katarzyna Jabrocka, age 34, said:
"I came here to support the belief that Dr Chazan shouldn't be dismissed because he supported life. He should be enabled to continue his work as a doctor, and we are here today to support him."
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