Wednesday 29 April 2015

Vatican endorsement of UN development goals threatens unborn children

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The international pro-life pro-family coalition Voice of the Family, which is managed by SPUC, has today published the following important report. 

A statement signed by the heads of both the Pontifical Academy of Science and the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences has endorsed the United Nation’s proposed creation of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) despite current drafts reflecting a strong pro-abortion agenda.

The endorsement comes after a workshop held at the Vatican yesterday on climate change and sustainable development entitled “Protect the Earth, Dignify Humanity. The Moral Dimensions of Climate Change and Sustainable Development.”

In his contribution to the workshop UN Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon, connected the upcoming papal encyclical on the environment with the proposed SDGs. He said:

This year, with the upcoming encyclical, the Sustainable Development Goals Summit in September, and a global climate agreement, we have an unprecedented opportunity to articulate –and create – a more sustainable future and a life of dignity for all.

Tragically, far from ensuring “a life of dignity for all”, the draft SDGs constitute a concerted attack on the right to life of unborn children and the rights of parents as the primary educators and protectors of the their children.

Thre are currently three draft sets of sustainable development goals and it is anticipated that final agreement will be reached at the end of July this year.

In a statement delivered yesterday on behalf of Voice of the Family Patrick Buckley of the Society for the Protection of Unborn outlined some of the grave moral problems associated with the SDGs as currently proposed by the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network. Buckley said:

Goal 4 is to “achieve gender equality, social inclusion, and human rights for all”. The call for an end to preventable deaths of infants and children under the age of 5 excludes unborn children, despite the fact that the Convention on the Rights of the Child in its preamble recognises that “The child by reason of his physical and mental immaturity, needs special safeguards and care, including appropriate legal protection, before as well as after birth.”

Goal 4d, which states “Ensure universal sexual and reproductive health and rights” is completely unacceptable. Such language is routinely used by the international pro-abortion and population control lobby to refer to the legalization of abortion on demand and access for children, without parental knowledge or consent, to abortion and birth control drugs and devices in countries throughout the world.

Goal 5, “Achieve Health and Wellbeing at all ages”, also includes a reference to sexual and reproductive health and family planning.

Today (29th April 2015) saw the publication of a paper entitled “A Statement of the Problem and the Demand for Transformative Solutions”, which strongly endorses the creation of SDGs. The authors of this document include Bishop Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo, Chancellor of the the PAS, Professor Margaret Archer, President of the PASS, and leading abortion and population control advocate Professor Jeremy Sachs. Sachs is one of the architects of the Millennium Development Goals and a member of the Executive Board of the Sustainable Development Solutions Network, which drafted the proposed Sustainable Development Goals referred to above.

The document states:

The UN Member States have announced their determination to place Sustainable Development at the center of global cooperation, building a holistic cooperative strategy on the pillars of economic progress, social inclusion and environmental sustainability. This would involve the adoption of new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to help guide global cooperation during the course of future generations. All people of good will should encourage their governments to undertake these commitments to action.

It concluded:

In view of the persistence of poverty, the widening of economic and social inequalities, and the continued destruction of the environment, we support and endorse the call for the adoption by 2015 of new universal goals, to be called Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), to guide planetary scale actions after 2015

Only through the empowerment and education of women and children throughout the world will we be able to attain a world that is both just and sustainable. We have a clear moral obligation to do this, and will benefit greatly by succeeding in this goal.

This is not the first time that the PAS has co-operated with the United Nations to promote Sustainable Development Goals.

The Pontifical Academy for the Sciences and the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences (PASS) jointly held a workshop last May entitled “Sustainable Nature. Sustainable Humanity. Our Responsibility.

The final document of the workshop strongly endorsed the development of Sustainable Development Goals. Signatories included Peter Cardinal Turkson, the main drafter of the upcoming papal encyclical, Bishop Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo, Professor Margaret Archer, President of the PASS, and Professor Jeremy Sachs.

The statement said:

In view of the persistence of poverty, the widening of economic and social inequalities, and the continued destruction of the environment, the world’s governments called for the adoption by 2015 of new universal goals, to be called Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), to guide planetary-scale actions after 2015. To achieve these goals will require global cooperation, technological innovations that are within reach, and supportive economic and social policies at the national and regional levels, such as the taxation and regulation of environmental abuses, limits to the enormous power of transnational corporations and a fair redistribution of wealth. It has become abundantly clear that Humanity’s relationship with Nature needs to be undertaken by cooperative, collective action at all levels – local, regional, and global.

The technological and operational bases for a true sustainable development are available or within reach.  Extreme poverty can be ended through targeted investments in sustainable energy access, education, health, housing, social infrastructure and livelihoods for the poor.

In neither statement do the Pontifical Academies drawn any attention to the plight of the unborn children who are deliberately targeted by the proposed SDGs. While the draft SDGs may also contain laudable goals it is completely unacceptable to sacrifice the rights of unborn children in pursuit of those goals.

If the PAS and the PASS endorse the SDGs as they currently stand they will be endorsing abortion and the violation of parental rights. Voice of the Family calls on both Pontifical Academies to strongly reject the UN’s population control agenda, which is being pursued under the cover of protecting the environment.

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Tuesday 28 April 2015

Leading global pro-abortion advocates speak at Vatican conference

Ban Ki Moon, UN Secretary General
Two of the world's leading pro-abortion advocates were addressing a Vatican workshop on the environment today.

At the same time, a press conference at the Palazzo Cesi, in Rome, organised by the Heartland Institute, was addressed by two leading SPUC officials on behalf of Voice of the Family, warning that the population control lobby was advancing its agenda by means of the workshop held today by the Pontifical Academy for Sciences.

The following statement was delivered by Patrick Buckley, UN envoy of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children, who was joined in Rome by Maria Madise, SPUC's international manager and manager of Voice of the Family:
Voice of the Family statement on the workshop “Protect the Earth, Dignify Humanity. The Moral Dimensions of Climate Change and Sustainable Development” held at the Pontifical Academy for Sciences, 28th April 2015

We wish to express our grave concern at the presence of Ban Ki Moon, the UN Secretary General, and Professor Jeffrey Sachs, Director of the Earth Institute, at the Vatican workshop Protect the Earth, Dignify Humanity. The Moral Dimensions of Climate Change and Sustainable Development held by the Pontifical Academy for Sciences (PAS), Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) and Religions for Peace on April 28th 2015 in anticipation of the new papal encyclical on the environment.

Ban Ki Moon and Professor Jeffrey Sachs are noted advocates of abortion who operate at the highest levels of the United Nations.

The Vatican workshop aims to “raise awareness and build a consensus that the values of sustainable development cohere with values of the leading religious traditions, with a special focus on the most vulnerable.”

Unfortunately, pro-life and pro-family advocates who lobby at the UN have witnessed the environmental issues become an umbrella to cover a wide spectrum of attacks on human life and the family. These attacks pose an immediate threat to the lives of the most vulnerable – the unborn, the disabled and the elderly – as well as grave violations of parental rights.

In light of the attacks on innocent human life witnessed at the UN under the guise of environmental concerns, we are troubled to note the Vatican workshop’s desire “to help build a global movement across all religions for sustainable development and climate change throughout 2015 and beyond”. This timetable exactly coincides with the negotiations of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at the UN, which include strong attacks on life and family. The SDG agenda will determine the direction and financial aid for the third world countries for the next 15 years.

Understandably the population control, pro-abortion lobby must be feeling very much empowered by the influence being exercised in the Vatican by two of the culture of death’s leading figures, Ban Ki Moon and Professor Jeffrey Sachs, especially just before the publication of an encyclical on the environment.

Ban Ki-Moon, who is one of the main speakers at the workshop at the Pontifical Academy of the Sciences, has on many occasions promoted the so-called “right” to abortion worldwide. (1) He also issued a controversial new report this year on sexual violence in conflict zones, which was critical of the lack of “safe abortion” in many conflict situations. The directive openly defies the consensus at the UN that abortion is an issue that should be left to individual nations.

Dr Jeffrey Sachs, who is also addressing the meeting, is a well-known international proponent of population control and abortion. (2) Sachs is one of the architects of the millennium development goals and a member of the Executive Board of the Sustainable Development Solutions Network. The Network has proposed draft Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which contain provisions that are radically antagonistic to the right to life from conception to natural death, to the rights and dignity of the family and to the rights of parents as the primary educators of their children.

Our concerns relate specifically to Goals 4 and 5.

Goal 4 is to “achieve gender equality, social inclusion, and human rights for all”. The call for an end to preventable deaths of infants and children under the age of 5 excludes unborn children, despite the fact that the Convention on the Rights of the Child in its preamble recognises that “The child by reason of his physical and mental immaturity, needs special safeguards and care, including appropriate legal protection, before as well as after birth.”

Goal 4d, which states “Ensure universal sexual and reproductive health and rights” is completely unacceptable. Such language is routinely used by the international pro-abortion and population control lobby to refer to the legalization of abortion on demand and access for children, without parental knowledge or consent, to abortion and birth control drugs and devices in countries throughout the world. (3)

Goal 5, “Achieve Health and Wellbeing at all ages”, also includes a reference to sexual and reproductive health and family planning. (4)

In the light of all that has been said, it will be clear why Catholic families all over the world are greatly concerned that Vatican institutions may embrace the language of the United Nations, which, on the surface, speaks of protecting the environment while in reality providing cover for an anti-life and anti-family agenda. Any discussion on the environment must stem from understanding that the family, defined correctly, is the key to sustainable development, particularly at this time when the Synod on the Family has been called by Pope Francis to consider problems facing the family.

The family according to article 16.3 of the Universal Declaration (1948) is the “natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State”.

Furthermore, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the post-2015 development agenda must take account of the family; this is, in fact, recognised by the UN Secretary General’s 2011 Family Report. (5)

Accordingly, Voice of the Family proposes that the SDGs should contain a goal to strengthen the family and include realistic targets in that regard.

The holding of this vitally important conference in the Vatican at this crucial time in-between the two family synods and in the lead-up to the publication of the Sustainable Development Goals, and with the participation of these leading international pro-abortion advocates, is all the more worrying in the light of the most recent statement of Hilary Clinton saying, effectively, that opposition to abortion must cease to exist, even in the teaching of the Church.

We wish to place on record our view that, in any international agreement concerning the future of the human family, it is indispensable to assert the obligation for states to provide for the legal protection of the right to life of every human being from the moment of conception until natural death and to uphold the family as the fundamental group unit of society.
Footnotes
(1) In September 2010 at the Human Rights Council in Geneva and Navanethem Pillay, the then UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, launched a report “on discrimination against women, in law and practice, and how the issue is addressed throughout the United Nations human rights system”. In that report they called for the policing of nations worldwide to “address the refusal of physicians to perform legal abortions”

(2) In his book Common Wealth: Economics for a Crowded Planet Paperback – 26 Mar 2009 which deals with “global warming, poverty, war, deforestation and mass extinctions”, Sachs argues for legalised abortion.

(3) For example, in a speech on October 12th 2009, Wellington Webb, appointed by Barack Obama as special adviser to the US mission to the United Nations, confirmed that the Obama administration will be promoting legalised abortion throughout the world, targeting adolescents in a worldwide abortion drive. The ambassador was speaking at the UN's 15th anniversary commemoration of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD). His speech expressly committed the US government to promoting "access to reproductive health commodities and services for adolescents". Webb stated: "President Obama, Secretary Clinton and Ambassador Rice have all underscored the strong support of the United States for human rights, women's rights and reproductive rights as well as universal access to reproductive health and family planning".
Hillary Clinton, Obama's appointee as US Secretary of State, had already made it clear that when the US government speaks of reproductive health, it's a term which includes access to abortion. In April, 2009, Hilary Clinton told Congressman Chris Smith at a hearing of the US Congress Foreign Affairs Committee "We happen to think that family planning is an important part of women's health and reproductive health includes access to abortion ... ”

(4) http://unsdsn.org/resources/goals-and-targets/

(5) “The majority of the Millennium Development targets, especially those relating to the reduction of poverty, education of children and reduction in maternal mortality, are difficult to attain unless the strategies to achieve them focus on the family.” (SG Family Report 2011 (A/66/62–E/2011/4)
“The stability and cohesiveness of communities and societies largely rest on the strength of the family.” (SG Family Report 2011 (A/66/62–E/2011/4)
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Monday 27 April 2015

Birmingham's March for Life takes us back to geographical roots of the evil of abortion

On St George's Day last week, March for Life published a short piece explaining why it's most appropriate to hold the event in Birmingham:
"Birmingham has infamous historic roots with the abortion movement. The largest single abortion provider in the UK is BPAS (the British Pregnancy Advisory Service). This organisation was founded in Birmingham in 1968 and was originally known as the Birmingham Pregnancy Advisory Service. On Saturday May 16th we will be going back to the geographical roots of this evil to shower it with our witness of truth."
Check out the March for Life website for details of the event.

March for Life has also published a moving testimony to the power of God working through a person's witness to the unborn child and his or right to life at "evil's sanctuary" (what a powerful phrase!) - that is, outside an abortion clinic in a 40 Days for Life campaign.

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Friday 24 April 2015

Colombian archbishop: The Church will close health centres if you force us to practise euthanasia

It's good to read today in EWTN news the robust rejection of the culture of death by a leading Colombian archbishop:
"A top Colombian archbishop warned that if the country's government persists in forcing Catholic hospitals to start practicing euthanasia on patients, the Church will close all its health centers.

"Bishop Juan Vicente Cordoba Cordoba – head the Colombian Catholic bishops' conference [sic]* – vowed that the bishops would appeal to 'national and international legal institutions and if we don't get answers on euthanasia, we will proceed to close all our hospitals if they insist on forcing us to kill.'"
The full story makes inspiring reading.

May I suggest to visitors to my blog that they draw the attention of their diocesan bishop to this story? This is exactly what our bishops should be saying to the government:
If you force us to teach pupils that a man and a man can get married, we will close our schools
If you force us to give children in our school information on and/or access to contraception and abortion 'services' we will close our schools
... instead in one diocese after another at best (with rare courageous exceptions), failing to resist, and at worst actively going along with government policies.

Once again, the words of Jesus Christ, which I quoted two days ago on my blog, spring to mind regarding such church leaders:
"But he that shall scandalize one of these little ones that believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone should be hanged about his neck, and that he should drowned in the depth of the sea." (Matthew: 18,6)
*Bishop Juan Vicente Cordoba Cordoba is president of the Colombian Catholic Bishops' Committee on Life.

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They are not afraid! The Nigerian pro-life movement awakens

Today, Rhoslyn Thomas, SPUC's youth organiser, has kindly written the following account of the growing Nigerian pro-life movement:

When I was asked by the co-founder of Culture of Life Africa, Obianuju (Uju) Ekeocha, to attend the International Pro-life & Family Conference (hosted by the Catholic Ecclesiastical Province of Ibadan, Nigeria), I didn’t know what to expect, but I knew I wanted to be there.

The first day of the conference

Uju is effectively living a double-life: by day, she is a Specialist Bio-Medical Scientist in the UK, by night, she is a pro-life activist, having meetings with pro-life leaders and doing radio and television interviews to defend the traditional culture of life in Africa. In her spare time, she is campaigning and pushing against anti-life giants to keep Nigeria, and the rest of Africa, free from their clutches.

Uju delivers the keynote address at the conference

Uju’s pro-life mission began when she penned an open letter to Melinda Gates, who was hosting a conference in London which focused on spreading contraception to the 69 poorest countries in the world, most of which were in sub-saharan Africa. Since then, she has campaigned all over Africa, in the UK and at the UN to keep African parents and their babies safe from Western plans to limit their families (or even better, to have no families at all)


Nigeria is currently at the centre of a battle where Western organisations are desperate to export abortion, contraception and the full acceptance of homosexuality (and all that entails) to countries where these things are currently illegal and rejected by the population in general. Organisations like the UNFPA are even recruiting Nigerian people to spread this message ‘from the inside’. Brian Clowes of Human Life International, who spoke at the conference in Ibadan, speaks of the “colonisation of the mind”. This is where organisations seek to destroy the traditional pro-life, pro-family mind of the targeted people and make them eager to participate in their own mass absorption into the culture of the coloniser.

This conference was called to educate and inform faithful Nigerian Catholics in how to battle against these organisations, equipping them with knowledge of the dirty tactics that will be used and the techniques and ideologies which are being proposed. The Nigerian Catholic bishops recognise that they must lead the Catholic faithful in this fight (read the conference resolutions).

(left-right) Archbishop Abegunrin, Bishop Badejo, Bishop Ajakeye, Archbishop Emeritus Alaba Job, Bishop Arogundade, Reverend Fr Francis Adesina - Rector of SS Peter & Paul Seminary, Ibadan.

This year was the third pro-life conference to be held in Nigeria, but the first in Ibadan. I was not sure what to expect, but whatever I was expecting, it was not on this level.

Some 1,500 Nigerian Catholics (and some Muslims) had travelled from all over Nigeria to attend the two-day conference. When we arrived at the conference centre, we were greeted by four bishops and the Archbishop of Ibadan: Archbishop Gabriel Abegunrin.

Wendy Wright of C-FAM

The following day, we listened to talks on every aspect of the pro-life fight, from Uju’s keynote address, C-FAM’s Wendy Wright, whose title was ‘Resisting the Rising Tide of Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights’, Msgr. Paschal Nwaezaepu’s excellent overview of aggressive reproductive technology to Prof. M.C. Asuzu’s talk on Secular Humanism. I couldn’t believe the standard of speakers (including our very own Antonia Tully, speaking on sex education in schools) and the positive reaction from those listening and taking notes.

Brian Clowes of Human Life International

What struck me more than anything throughout the day was the consistent emphasis on the need for action. This was the message from all the bishops and all the speakers, especially the Nigerian ones: those who attend the conference must not hear the truth, be told of the threats to their country and their culture and then return home and do nothing. This cannot happen because the consequences of inaction at this stage are too serious.

Antonia Tully presents the SPUC foetal model set

We cannot all travel the world or appear on television, but we can all be a witness in our own families and communities, we can all pray for the protection of human life, we can all write letters, vote for politicians who are committed to protecting life, raise our children to be pro-life and ensure they are not being taught evil at school. This is exactly the message which I would give to any pro-lifer in any country, but to hear it from a bishop or a professor is so much more powerful.

Participants from the march return to the university, wearing the conference hats and t-shirts

What I also heard were stories from people such as Jerry Okwuosa, Director General of the Project For Human Development (PHD). They describe themselves as “a not-for-profit NGO which promotes family values, the dignity of the human person, authentic rights of women and children, the dignity of labour and other pristine values which form the substructure for the building of our national values”. These are the kind of people who have been holding the fort since the 1970s, when attempts were first made to legalise abortion in Nigeria. Jerry regaled us with stories of tracking down illegal abortionists who would run away once they saw him coming, of walking into pharmacies and asking as loudly as possible where they kept their contraception because he knew they would be the shame of the village when it was found what they were selling.

It was not all happy stories though. The fact is that abortions happen in Nigeria, and they are not rare (although we do not have figures, since they are all illegal abortions and therefore undocumented). Uju told us that she knows there are illegal abortion centres run by Marie Stopes International in both Lagos and Abuja, but nothing is done to stop them.

Antonia walking on the march with Jerry Okwuosa of PHD (left) and Brian Clowes

On the second day of the conference, we took part in a huge March for Life through the town of Ibadan, around the area surrounding the university.

This lasted about two hours and, as far as I know, there were the same number of people (around 1,500 people) on this march. Everyone was full of energy, holding banners, playing instruments, chanting and singing. I saw in some pictures afterwards that there were even some people carrying small caskets.

Some people were even running up to those standing on the street to challenge them on abortion, contraception and homosexuality. They are not afraid!

Antonia and Uju speaking with the Vice Chancellor of Ibadan University

It was extremely humid but nobody seemed to care as they danced up the street and sang “Yes yes to life, no no to death” with Bishop Badejo and Archbishop Abegunrin leading them. There was an overwhelming feeling of joy on the march.


Rhoslyn helping to carry a banner on the March for Life

In the afternoon, each of the speakers delivered their workshop presentations to at least three groups. I found everyone in the groups who attended my workshop to be very eager to learn but also very knowledgeable and full of zeal. They just wanted to spread this pro-life message to as many people as possible. Antonia had brought SPUC literature to distribute to those attending the workshop and I’m told it was all gone after the first group!

Rhoslyn delivers a presentation later in the week

We could learn a thing or two from the pro-life movement in Nigeria. For one thing, my Dad asked me if the Nigerian bishops could please come and teach our bishops how to hold a pro-life conference! I pointed out that in spite of the joy and zeal at the conference, they have a huge mission in front of them. In many cases, more money is being spent by organisations like DFID on contraception in Africa than on education and sanitation. British Council scholarships are no longer commonplace, as they once were. Nigerians striving to protect the family must fight against all this and more. We cannot all campaign for them at the UN, but we can all speak out in our own way against this new form of colonialism. If you are the praying type, please re-double your efforts on their part.

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Wednesday 22 April 2015

Sinn Féin declares war on marriage and the family

Any idea enjoyed by Catholics or non-Catholics around the world that Sinn Féin is committed to the Catholic religion or to the common good must be completely dispelled today.

At a press event, reported today by Campaign for Marriage, they have declared war on marriage and the family by announcing a "vigorous" campaign to re-define marriage.

Furthermore, a Sinn Féin motion, below, is to be debated 27 April in Stormont:
That this Assembly welcomes the marriage equality referendum in the south of Ireland; notes that a growing number of parliaments across the world have embraced, and legislated for, marriage equality; respects the rights of the religious institutions to define, observe and practise marriage within their beliefs; and calls on the Executive to legislate for marriage equality for same sex couples so that all citizens will have the same legal entitlement to the protections, responsibilities, rights, obligations and benefits afforded by the legal institution of marriage.
As I report today, the Nigerian bishops have (accurately) described same-sex marriage as harming the innocence of children - a fact which is confirmed in schools around Britain where Stonewall, a militant homosexual group, has been invited into schools (not excluding Catholic schools) to train teachers on how to educate little children about marriage.

One cannot but recall the words of Christ:
"But he that shall scandalize one of these little ones that believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone should be hanged about his neck, and that he should drowned in the depth of the sea." (Matthew: 18,6)
Of course, everyone knows that Catholic teaching is unequivocally opposed to same-sex unions. What is also overwhelmingly clear to everyone who studies the evidence objectively, however, is that same-sex unions are deeply damaging to the common good.

The experience of legalising marriage for same-sex couples in Europe and North America shows that such legalisation has negative effects for real marriage and for families, shows latest evidence.

The evidence was presented to the House of Commons committee examining the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill, in a written submission by Dr Patricia Morgan, the British family policy researcher, on behalf of SPUC. The submission can be read in full at www.spuc.org.uk/campaigns/ssmsub20130301

Based on research and data from Sweden, Norway, Denmark, the Netherlands, Spain, Canada and the US, Dr Morgan concluded that:
  • as marriage is redefined to accommodate same-sex couples, this reinforces the idea that marriage is irrelevant to parenthood
  • same-sex marriage leads to the casualisation of heterosexual unions and separation of marriage and parenthood
  • Spain saw a pronounced acceleration in the decline of marriage following the introduction of same-sex marriage (same-sex marriage was introduced at the same time as the ‘express divorce bill’)
  • across all countries analysed, no causal link has been established to support the idea that same-sex marriage prevents marital decline
  • in the move to same-sex marriage, opposite-sex relationships have to conform to gay norms rather than vice-versa
  • a publicly-professed, legal, partnership does not prevent homosexual couples from breaking up more frequently than married heterosexual couples
  • experience with same-sex partnerships/marriage legislation tends to suggest that availability is all, and participation more or less irrelevant to sexual minorities
  • same-sex marriage may be the end-game of long-running anti-marriage, anti-family policy typified by Sweden
  • same-sex marriage may begin the process of severing marriage from family in otherwise family-friendly societies such as Spain and the Netherlands
  • same-sex marriage triggers dismemberment of family structures in family-friendly societies.
As a pro-life organisation, SPUC campaigns against same-sex marriage because:
  • marriage - the permanent, exclusive union of one man and one woman - is the basis of the family, the fundamental group unit of society. Upholding marriage is therefore in everyone’s interests.
  • marriage as an institution protects children, both born and unborn. Statistics show that unborn children are much safer within marriage than outside marriage.
  • same-sex marriage lacks basic elements of true marriage e.g. the complementary sexual difference between spouses necessary for the procreation and healthy upbringing of children.
  • same-sex marriage represents an attempt to redefine marriage, thus undermining marriage. This undermining lessens the protection for unborn children which true marriage provides.

Sinn Féin, and indeed any political party which seeks to foist the redefinition of marriage on the good people of Ireland, should be utterly ashamed of themselves and will be judged by history to have proved to be the enemies of marriage, the family and, above all, of children.

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Same-sex unions harm the innocence of children, say Nigerian bishops

SPUC's UK team with His Grace,
the Archbishop of Ibadan (full picture details
in story)
Antonia Tully, SPUC's Safe at School co-ordinator, and Rhoslyn Thomas, SPUC's youth organiser, spoke last week at major pro-life conference in Nigeria organised by the bishops of Ibadan Province.

In the picture to the right you can see SPUC's UK team with his Grace the Most Reverend Gabriel Abegunrin, Archbishop of Ibadan: from left to right, Emmi Egbuono, an SPUC member from London who came as a volunteer to support the SPUC team in her native Nigeria, Antonia Tully, leader of SPUC's Safe at School initiative, and, to the right of His Grace, Rhoslyn Thomas, SPUC's youth organiser.

 
Antonia has sent me this truly edifying account of their experience:
The Catholic bishops of the province of Ibadan have shown outstanding pro-life leadership in organising a two-day conference to inspire and inform the lay people and clergy in their care. And it was a truly inspirational event.

Over 1,000 people packed the conference hall - all brimming with enthusiasm and energy, eager to absorb the facts, figures and messages from a range of Nigerian and overseas speakers.

It was an honour for SPUC to be invited for a second year running to send speakers to address a conference organised by Nigerian bishops.

In a press statement prior to the conference the bishops in Ibadan Province headed by His Grace the Most Reverend Gabriel Abegunrin, Archbishop of Ibadan, said: "Witnessing to the dignity of human life should include the defence of marriage between a man and a woman,the promotion of chastity,the campaign against abortion and all forms of artificial birth control, as well as the promotion of natural family planning methods while seeking to empower all Nigerians to live a more dignified life".

A high point of the two day conference was the March For Life along a main road through Ibadan. This was a wonderful public witness to life and gave everyone a strong sense of belonging to a growing and vibrant pro-life movement. Throughout the duration of the march people sang "Yes, yes to life: No, no to death"; a song specially written for the march.

The message, to which Antonia refers,  for the pro-life movement everywhere from the bishops of Ibadan, is so clear and uplifting, I reproduce it in full below. People in every part of the world need to be empowered to live dignified lives and we can learn so much from these leaders of the Catholic faithful in Nigeria. On behalf of SPUC, I thank them for their prophetic words.

For those of us not privileged to be present, Antonia tells me that this ten minute video captures the atmosphere of the conference and the march:



Ibadan Catholic Ecclesiastical Province: 13-15 April Press Conference given at the Catholic Chaplaincy of the University of Ibadan, Oyo State

TOPIC: Protecting Human Life and Family Values in the Rising Tide of the Culture of Death

This Pro Life and Pro Family Conference is a response by the Catholic Bishops and Church of Ibadan Ecclesiastical Province to the dire situation around us of increasing violation of the sanctity of human life at every stage and in every manner. It is also in alignment with the Holy Father, Pope Francis who has convoked a special Synod dedicated to the family which was held in October 2014 and another one to hold in October 2015 to reflect on the means of sustaining and supporting marriage family life. This Conference will bring together Pro-life and Family advocates and resource persons, leaders, stakeholders from Africa, Europe and America and the general public to reflect with our Church in the Province of Ibadan on the family as the foundation of the Culture of Life. It will also help to develop strategies for defending the sanctity and dignity of human life.

The present situation of continual bloodshed due to wanton killing, terrorism, inter ethnic conflicts, ritual killing, armed robbery, murders, traffic accidents and suicide in Nigeria seriously calls to question our identity as Africans and our civility as a nation. As the general elections continue in Nigeria we feel compelled to speak up for respect for human life and dignity and the recovery of family values among our peoples.

Therefore, the following are the insights and contents of our Pro-Life and Pro-Family Conference:

1. God is the giver of all human life and only He has the right to take it. Every conceived child is formed and perfected in the image and likeness of God. Human life therefore begins at the moment of conception, and must be protected until natural death. Nigerians love life, they welcome children as precious gifts, celebrate motherhood and uphold marriage as a union between man and woman. Every child deserves a home and the love and care of a father and a mother.

2. Witnessing to the dignity of human life should include the defense of marriage between a man and a woman, the promotion of chastity, the campaign against abortion and all forms of artificial birth control, as well as the promotion of natural family planning methods while seeking to empower all Nigerians to live a more dignified life.

3. The family is God’s precious gift to humanity which ought to be continually cherished. It is the bedrock and foundation of the development of a better society because it has the primary role of educating children which provides formation of character and ensures ethical living.

4. Only sacramental marriage between a man and a woman forms the foundation for the human family. Such a covenantal union is the true source for procreation offered to man by God. This Conference will attempt to show the lie of same-sex unions as a grossly disordered phenomenon which should never be given legal status in Nigeria. The adoption or promotion of same-sex unions undermines the right to life, right to freedom of conscience, religious liberty, respect for moral and cultural values, etc. It also harms the innocence of children, degrades marriage and family life and destabilizes society, now and in the future.

5. For us, to be Pro-Life is to be Pro-Christ, for Jesus came to give life and life to the full (Cf. John, 10:10). We are however thankful that other religions have a strong sense of the sanctity of human life as a gift of God as well. It is therefore imperative for the Catholic Church and all religious organizations in Nigeria to be more courageous and consistent in Pro-Life activities in favor of human life, marriage and the family as counter-cultural antidotes to contemporary secular humanism and other anti-life ideologies and practices. This call is urgent, as campaigns and lobbies against life, marriage and family in Nigeria have become more intense at both the Federal and State legislative levels.

6. Government must recognize and respect the primordial origin of the family and do its profound moral duty to protect the weakest and the most vulnerable human beings from all threats. Professionals and practitioners of media particularly have a special responsibility before God in this regard. The right to life - the most basic of all human rights - applies to all, regardless of race, colour, creed, sex, religion, state of physical health, age, stage of development or condition of dependency. Government policies and programmes therefore ought to reckon with and protectt this fact of our common humanity.

7. We condemn the relentless promotion by some international organizations of Western style “sexuality and reproductive rights”, a euphemism for abortion, artificial family planning and a culture of contraception, as deceptive and unacceptable. Accordingly, we ask that all legislations for abortion, which is the intentional killing of innocent babies in the womb, be denounced and abrogated. We remain resolved in our efforts to ensure that abortion is never legalized in our country. We also wish to alert our people to the surreptitious infiltration of our school curricula by lobbyists of these corrosive anti-life agenda of pervasive contraception abortion and even homosexuality generally for monetary gains.

8. The entire human person belongs to God. This means that neither the human person nor his body parts can be reduced to commodity for commercial purposes. Therefore, we strongly condemn human trafficking, the sex trade, human egg trafficking, embryo manipulations and organ poaching or harvesting.

Finally in the name of our merciful God we call for an end to all forms of terrorism, ritual and political killing. As Pope Saint John Paul II of blessed memory exhorted us, we urge every person of goodwill to continue courageously to witness to the dignity of every human life at every stage and age and to the indispensability of marriage and family life in Nigeria for the development and sanity of our country and the future of all our children.

Thank you all for listening

Most Reverend Gabriel Abegunrin, Archbishop of Ibadan
Most Reverend Ayomaria Atoyebi, Bishop of Ilorin
Most Reverend Emmanuel Badejo, Bishop of Oyo
Most Reverend Felix Ajakaye, Bishop of Ekiti
Most Reverend Jude Arogundade, Bishop of Ondo
Very Rev. Fr Michael Okodua, Vicar General of Osogbo Diocese

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It is not true that more people equals more pollution

Steve Mosher
" ... It is simply not true that more people equals more pollution ... " writes Steve Mosher and Anne Morse of the Population Research Institute (PRI) in a powerful, instructive, article A War on Maternity Waged in the Name of Mother Earth.

"We have twice as many people living in the United States as we did in the early seventies, yet the skies over our major cities are clearer now than they were a half century ago. This is because the internal combustion engines that power our motor vehicles are no longer spewing out thousands of tons of particulate matter, sulfur dioxide, and other pollutants into the atmosphere as we drive. And this in turn is because we made a conscious decision to switch to cleaner burning fuels and install catalytic converters downstream from our engines ...

" ... No one can guarantee that any given infant will grow up to be a good conservationist, any more than any one can guarantee that any given infant will grow up into a happy well-adjusted adult. Everyone ... enjoys free will ... "

Population Research Institute has one of the best-informed, best-referenced websites in the world. It covers a huge amount of what all of us need to know and fully to understand in our struggle against the culture of death.

As I write this blogpost PRI is hosting an "Earth is for People Day" event where people can ask the president of PRI questions about the environment and population. PRI is answering questions from 10 am to 4 pm EST on Earth Day (i.e. from 3 pm today). SPUC's Fiorella Nash is tuning in. .. You can access the event here: https://www.facebook.com/events/375309469320756/

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Tuesday 21 April 2015

March for Life from conception - no exception!

Please read my article about why I support the March for Life in Birmingham next month. Come to the March for Life and build a strong, unequivocally pro-life/pro-family movement. And come to the March for Life to defend God!

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Monday 20 April 2015

Morning-after pill leads to higher rates of sexually-transmitted infections, study suggests

A recently-published study suggests that access to morning-after pills leads to higher rates of sexually-transmitted infections (STIs). The study was authored by Dr Karen Mulligan, associate professor of economics and finance at Middle Tennessee State University, USA. [Wiley Online Library, accessed 20 April] Dr David Paton, professor of industrial economics at Nottingham University Business School, told SPUC today: "It is very interesting to see further confirmation that access to emergency birth control (EBC) does not seem to reduce abortions but leads to higher rates of STIs. This paper is one of the first to explore the mechanisms whereby EBC affects STIs, finding that both rates of 'unprotected' sex and numbers of partners increase in response to over-the-counter EBC. Although this paper uses US data, it is consistent with evidence from the UK. In the light of the evidence from this paper, local and national governments urgently need to review their current policy of aggressive promotion of EBC to young people in schools, pharmacies and sexual health centres."

Other stories:

Abortion
Euthanasia
  • Senior figures in palliative medicine restate the doctors' case for opposing assisted suicide for their patients [Care Not Killing, 10 April]
Family issues
  • Girls face 'sharp rise in emotional problems' [BBC, 20 April]
  • Transgender father becomes another 'mother' to nine-year-old son [Mail, 19 April]
Fertility
Population
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Friday 17 April 2015

"I started jumping up and down at the bus stop with excitement"

" ... I started jumping up and down at the bus stop with excitement ... "

Find out why ... and support the March for Life in Birmingham on 16th May which is being  attended by Archbishop Bernard Longley, the archbishop of Birmingham, who spoke about the event in his homily in St Chad's Cathedral on Easter Monday evening.

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Northern Ireland Justice Minister misleads over abortion support

David Ford ignoring the evidence
Northern Ireland's Justice Minister is misleading the Province over public support for abortion.

SPUC described as "manipulative and misleading" claims by David Ford, the justice minister, that there is substantial public support for a liberalisation of the Province’s abortion law.

Liam Gibson, SPUC Northern Ireland development officer, accused the minister of disregarding the results of his own consultation on the legalisation of abortion for children diagnosed with severe disabilities:
"The minister’s claim that there is substantial support for his plans is contradicted by evidence.

Figures released by the Justice Department show that the the vast majority of those whose responded to the consultation rejected the minister’s proposals. There were 1,500 letters opposed to a change in the law, while only 133 letters supported the proposals. In addition, there was a petition of 23,622 signatures and 20,197 postcard delivered to the department.

Mr Ford appears to be determined to disregard public opposition to his plans to allow the killing of unborn children judged to be unworthy of the legal protection given to other babies.

The thousands of people who took part in the consultation to defend the right to life of the most vulnerable of unborn babies will not simply go away. We will ensure that the politicians in the Assembly will hold the minister to account."
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Tuesday 14 April 2015

How gender ideology threatens the human family: Dr Anthony McCarthy



Dr Anthony McCarthy, SPUC's head of education and research, addressed a conference on the subject of gender ideology last month at the Pontifical University of John Paul II in Krakow, Poland. Talks at the conference addressed the effects of gender ideology on politics, international law, the humanities and culture in general. The talk recorded here (in English and starting at 45 mins in) followed by a Polish/English Q&A session, tackles some of the philosophical issues lying behind gender ideology which constitute a major threat to the family, the unborn and respect for life in general.

We must deepen our knowledge of the ideology which threatens the happiness of our children and of future generations. I thoroughly recommend you give the time to hear and to reflect on Dr McCarthy's excellent talk.

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Monday 13 April 2015

Sinn Féin backs abortion for children with disability

Liam Gibson addresses
the Dungannon political seminar
Over the weekend I was speaking at a pro-life political seminar in Dungannon, Northern Ireland, in connection with the forthcoming general election.

The political seminar was expertly chaired by Charlotte McQuaid from Dungannon - who's currently teaching in Westport, County Mayo.

Liam Gibson, SPUC's NI development officer, told our seminar attendees that Sinn Féin blocked legislation in the Northern Ireland Assembly to close down Marie Stopes' abortion operation. It's ironic, he said, that Sinn Féin is propping up the British abortion industry rather than protecting the children of Northern Ireland. Liam also explained how Sinn Féin backs abortion for children with disability.

I travelled to Dungannon with Rhoslyn Thomas, SPUC youth officer. In her splendid presentation Rhoslyn made the point  that singling out the disabled for abortion is every bit as bad as legalising abortion on demand.

Later that evening, Rhoslyn and I parted company at Heathrow airport from where she flew to Nigeria to join Antonia Tully, SPUC's Safe at School organiser. Rhoslyn and Antonia are speaking at a pro-life conference organised by the Archbishop of Ibadan.

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Friday 10 April 2015

Cardinal Nichols' misleading statement at Chrism Mass

Cardinal Nichols holds press conference on synod, 21 October 2014
I was astonished to read in the Catholic Herald that Cardinal Nichols used his sermon at the Westminster Chrism Mass to claim that it is wrong "to think or speak of this Synod as a battle, a battle between contesting sides."

I was present in Rome during the Extraordinary Synod, working with representatives of other pro-family organisations as part of the Voice of the Family coalition. It was plainly evident to us, after numerous meetings with prelates on both sides of the divide, that a battle was taking place over crucial aspects of Catholic teaching and discipline relating to marriage and the family.

George Cardinal Pell, Prefect for the Economy, publicly stated that "radical elements" within the hierarchy were attempting to use the synod to undermine Catholic teaching on questions such as cohabitation and homosexual unions. They were, he said, using the issue of Holy Communion for the divorced and "remarried" as a "stalking horse" to help pursue these wider changes. 

These attempts to undermine the doctrine of the Church were strongly resisted on the floor of the synod hall, resulting in a partial reversal of the radical agenda outlined in the now notorious interim report. The final report remains gravely flawed however, as outlined in Voice of the Family's in-depth analysis.

This serious division between leading prelates is widening as the Ordinary Synod approaches. Cardinal Marx, Chairman of the German Bishops’ Conference, has claimed that the Church in Germany is not “a subsidiary of Rome” and that each bishops’ conference must “preach the Gospel in its own, original way.” Cardinal Müller, the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, has called this idea “absolutely anti-Catholic” and another German, Cardinal Cordes, has accused Marx of false mercy, “theological blurriness” and language better suited to the “counter of a bar”. Furthermore Swiss-German Cardinal, Kurt Koch, has stated that the dissenters are trying to adapt the faith to the world after the manner of some German Christians under the Nazi regime.

This sounds like a battle to me.

Those interested in knowing what really happened before and during the Extraordinary Synod will benefit reading from the detailed narrative overview produced by Voice of Family.

I found Cardinal Nichols' comments particularly surprising because he himself has taken part in the current battle over Church teaching. I wrote last week about his disappointment that language about homosexuality placed in the heterodox interim report was removed from the synod's final report. He has also expressed his openness to the admission of those in public and unrepentant mortal sin to Holy Communion, which would contradict twenty centuries of Catholic teaching.

I have previously documented many of Cardinal Nichols' statements and actions relating to homosexuality and homosexual unions.

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Scottish Catholic bishops make clarion general election call in defence of life and marriage

The Catholic Bishops' Conference of Scotland has just issued the following general election statement making clear that protecting the sanctity of human life is the fundamental issue for voters and for politicians as well as protecting the institution of marriage and the family as the basic unit of society.

The Scottish Catholic bishops have the courage to uphold the common good and, above all, to defend children, when so many politicians and party leaders make common cause to deny the right to life of unborn children and to undermine marriage and the family by legislating for genderless marriage.

Who cares about children destined, as a consequence of legislation, to be brought up in fatherless or motherless institutions? The Scottish Catholic Bishops' Conference cares ... thank God.

SPUC's online resource for May's General Election is now live. Please go to https://www.spuc.org.uk/campaigns/general_election_2015/constituencies/ and select your constituency. The page for your constituency will contain:
  • the voting record of the sitting MP (if he/she is standing for re-election)
  • the names of the main parties' candidates
  • ways to request information on the candidates' voting intentions (how they intend to vote on pro-life issues if elected to Parliament).
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Wednesday 8 April 2015

SPUC's General Election webpages are now live

SPUC's online resource for May's General Election is now live. Please go to https://www.spuc.org.uk/campaigns/general_election_2015/constituencies/ and select your constituency. The page for your constituency will contain:
  • the voting record of the sitting MP (if he/she is standing for re-election)
  • the names of the main parties' candidates
  • ways to request information on the candidates' voting intentions (how they intend to vote on pro-life issues if elected to Parliament).
We are continually receiving information from our supporters about candidates, so if we don't have any intelligence yet about the candidates in your constituency, we will contact you when it is available.

If you are able to help us gather more information about the candidates' voting intentions please order SPUC's General Election Handbook 2015 by emailing political@spuc.org.uk or by telephoning 020 7091 7091.

Thursday 2 April 2015

British women going abroad for surrogacy and IVF

The IVI fertility clinic in Madrid
According to The Telegraph newspaper, there is an increase in the number of British women travelling abroad for surrogacy and IVF. Figures suggest that 167 British children were born from surrogates last year, up from 47 children in 2007. One chain of private IVF clinics in Spain reports a 60% increase in British patients over the last decade. [Telegraph, 30 March] and [Telegraph, 28 MarchIVF is an anti-life practice in which the vast majority of human embryos are killed.

Other stories: 

Abortion
Euthanasia
Family issues
Population
General
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To defend marriage is to defend unborn children

Yesterday evening I was delighted to have the opportunity to speak at the church of Corpus Christi, Maiden Lane, at the invitation of the Parish Priest, Fr Alan Robinson.

I spoke on the subject of "Why the pro-life movement must defend marriage or face defeat."

In my talk I explained the profound interconnection between the defence of marriage and the defence of children, born and unborn. The family based on marriage is the natural habitat of children; destroy the habitat and you destroy the environment that children need to survive and thrive.

I also discussed the important research of Dr Patricia Morgan, commissioned and presented to Parliament by SPUC. Dr Morgan demonstrates the disastrous consequences that the redefinition of marriage to include same-sex couples has on traditional family structures and, consequently, on the life and well-being of children.

Speaking as a Catholic, I went on to discuss the attacks on Catholic teaching that are now emanating from within the structures of the Church, especially in connection with the Synod on the Family, the second and concluding session of which will take place in Rome this coming October.

I concluded my talk as follows:
At this point in history, observing events in the Church and in the State we have much to be fearful of, yet we know that we can take comfort from the fact that history shows that no matter how grave the crisis, a time will come when the Church and her teaching will stand vindicated, while error and sin will stand powerless and condemned. 
Antoine de Saint-Exupery, in his book Wind, Sand and Stars, writes:
 “Water is worth its weight in gold; the smallest drop kindles in the sand the green spark of a blade of grass. If rain falls anywhere, a great exodus brings life to the Sahara.”
The modern west, and the Church in many other parts of the world, seems, like the Sahara, to be a lifeless desert. Yet, just beneath the surface, life waits to be given the opportunity to spring forth. Faithful Catholics and all men and women of good will worldwide, many of whom we are privileged to work with in the pro-life movement, are the seeds of this new life. Let us pray that the harvest will be very great in the months and years ahead. 

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