Thursday, 9 October 2008

Final Commons votes on abortion and embryo research Wed 22 Oct

It has just been confirmed that the report stage and third reading of the government's Human Fertilisation and Embryology (HFE) bill will be on Wed 22 Oct. Radical pro-abortion amendments have been tabled for debate and voting at the report stage. The bill as a whole is also scheduled for its Commons third reading later that same day. After that, the bill will return to the House of Lords – who will be asked to approve the Commons’ amendments.

I realise that many of you will have already taken action, such as writing to your MP or distributing leaflets. We are immensely grateful for these efforts. We need, however, a last push to reach people who have yet to take action.

Please click here and take the requested action.

If you pray, please pray for the defeat of the abortion amendments and the whole bill.

Thank you again for your help. We know that MPs are receiving many letters, and we must reinforce this with phone calls too. Please do all you can.

Please act now before it's too late to protect unborn children.

Wednesday, 8 October 2008

"I will prohibit my cabinet from voting for pro-life laws" says Stephen Harper, Canada's Conservative leader

As the general election in Canada approaches, Mr Stephen Harper, Canadian prime minister and Conservative leader, has warned parliamentary candidates not to answer pro-life lobbyists' questionnaires on their position on abortion. Candidates may be breaking the criminal code by doing so, Harper claims!

Jim Hughes, president of the impressive Campaign Life Coalition in Canada, whose international conference I attended last weekend, told delegates: "This is an attempt to limit the pro-life movement's democratic rights, by intimidating candidates in this way. But the electorate, not the politicians, will decide what the election issues are".

Jim Hughes reminded delegates that none of Canada's party leaders was pro-life. Through an all-party agreement, a "gag" law was passed by the Canadian Parliament drastically limiting the amount to be spent by third parties at a general election. "Campaign Life Coalition was the primary focus of that law," Jim told me. "Pro-abortion politicians hate us with a passion."

Stephen Harper has gone as far as saying that he will prohibit any member of his cabinet from voting for pro-life legislation if he wins the election.

As a first-time visitor to Canada, taking part a well-attended pro-life conference, my impression is that Stephen Harper and his pro-abortion allies in other parties won't silence the pro-life movement for long. It's a large, vibrant, growing, well-informed, well-led movement with young people very much in evidence on the platform and amongst the delegates.

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

Tony Blair Foundation collaborates with worldwide attacks on the unborn

I have been in Toronto in recent days attending two international pro-life meetings addressing several immediate threats to unborn children:

At Canada's Campaign Life Coalition's international conference, I met John-Henry Westen (pictured right) and his LifeSiteNews team. I explained how Tony Blair, recently received into the Catholic Church, and his Faith Foundation was undermining Catholic teaching on the dignity and inviolability of human life. In a disturbing development, the Tony Blair Faith Foundation has teamed up with the Faiths Act Fellowship to promote the Millennium Development Goals. The Faiths Act Fellowship works with World Vision which is calling for abortion on demand to be legalised in the world's poorest nations - which was also, for Tony Blair's government, central to the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals, as I have previously pointed out.

At the International Right to Life Federation board meeting, Mr Bill Saunders, senior fellow and director of the Family Research Council's Center for Human Life and Bioethics (pictured left), said that, if Senator Barack Obama is elected US president, it will be Armageddon. Mr Obama's first action, if elected, would be to sign the Freedom of Choice Act, which is more radical and far-reaching than the infamous Roe v. Wade supreme court decision which in 1973 legalised abortion throughout the nine months of pregnancy throughout the US. If Roe v. Wade were revoked, the Freedom of Choice Act would overturn every state law against abortion. All of Mr Obama's appointments at the UN would be pro-abortion. At least two supreme court justices will be appointed during the next presidential term. If Senator John McCain is elected, whoever he picks will be better than the incumbents. If Senator Obama is elected, his choices will be worse.

Monday, 6 October 2008

Bishop's letter yesterday on adoption by same-sex couples is an important development for the pro-life cause

Bishop Patrick O'Donoghue's letter yesterday to Catholic Caring Services, the social care agency of the diocese of Lancaster, regarding adoption by same-sex couples, is an important development for the pro-life cause in England and Wales.

His letter, which you can find here, states: "On grounds of conscience, formed by faith, we believe that same-sex partnerships do not provide the essential characteristics necessary for the well being and development of the child. I remain convinced that the best interests of children are served when they live with and are brought up by a married couple. Any dilution of this fundamental principle can harm children and undermine their paramount place in the whole question of adoption."

Quoting Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict XVI) in 2003, and after setting out what Catholic Caring Services must do to comply with the requirements of Catholic teaching, Bishop O'Donoghue says: "If however you are not willing to do this and if you insist on considering adoption applications from same-sex couples – an approach in direct conflict with the teaching of the Catholic Church – then with great sadness and regret I would have no alternative but to require Catholic Caring Services to take appropriate steps to remove its Catholic designation and confirm that it accepts that it will in future be acting independently of the Lancaster Diocese."

The reason why the bishop's stand on same-sex couple adoption is so important for the pro-life cause can be found in Pope John Paul II's Evangelium Vitae. In paragraph 97, Pope John Paul teaches that it is an illusion to think that we can build a true culture of human life if we do not offer adolescents and young adults an authentic education in sexuality, and in love, and the whole of life according to their true meaning and in their close interconnection.

Sadly, Bishop O'Donoghue contrasts sharply with the approach adopted by the Catholic bishops' conference of England and Wales on the separate but related issue of British government and EU law on the equal employment rights of male and female homosexuals, and bisexuals and transsexuals, which is to be enforced with the threat of severe legal sanctions.

The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales has produced Diversity and Equality Guidelines, a policy statement which (whilst it includes elements of Catholic doctrine) welcomes, seeks to implement and states that it will monitor this Government policy within the Church, including in Catholic schools.

The bishops’ document speaks about welcoming “the social and cultural changes which are required of us…”. It says “…it would be wrong to give some forms [of the six forms of discrimination listed by the Government] greater or lesser importance than others.” The document says that Catholics “must understand and comply with discrimination legislation”.

The bishops’ document calls on “those with authority at all levels of the church to be more aware of whether different groups are represented in the many facets of life of the Church e.g. schools…” and the bishops say: “…Organisations, institutions and diocese should consider appointing or entrusting someone with responsibility for diversity and equality”. Finally, the bishops warn: “We … intend to review progress … in two years”.

With the bishops of England and Wales now welcoming and guaranteeing the presence of homosexual, bisexual and transsexual teachers in Catholic schools in England and Wales, and in the light of Evangelium Vitae, paragraph 97 (above), is it not completely unrealistic to expect that Catholic sexual morality, including the sacredness of human life before birth, will be taught in these schools?

A pro-abortion document, prepared at the request of the EU Commission on the right to conscientious objection, links rights relating to sexual orientation to other supposed rights, including the “right” to abortion and the “right” to euthanasia and assisted suicide. The document quotes, in part, the Diversity and Equality Guidelines of the Catholic bishops of England and Wales in a generally approving way. The bishops’ guidelines and the EU experts’ document clearly agree that, subject to limited and narrow exceptions, Catholic organisations must ensure that no job applicant or employee receives less favourable treatment than another on the grounds of sexual orientation.

Sunday, 5 October 2008

"Legalising abortion has no place in African Cultures and traditions" says Cardinal Njue, Archbishop of Nairobi

A letter of support and congratulations is being sent today to John Cardinal Njue by pro-life leaders gathered in Toronto, where I'm attending a meeting of the International Right to Life Federation of which I am joint vice-president.

In a powerfully-worded message to Kenyan Catholics and to "people of good will" he calls on them to"stand firm" against "a parliamentary bill" on abortion, on which I have blogged before. SPUC's analysis describes the eugenic and coercive nature of the bill which leaves virtually no legal protection whatsoever for the unborn child.

The Cardinal's call to the Kenyan people is direct and totally clear: "Stand firm against this evil of abortion". He says: "For Almighty God there is no such thing as an 'unwanted baby' ... and he reminds Catholics of the Church's penalty for procruing an abortion: "'A person who procures an abortion, where the effect follows, incurs an automatic excommunication' (Canon 1398). This includes any human person who knowingly has the abortion and anyone who assists willingly and directly, such as the doctor, the nurse or others. Let it be understood that in the final analysis excommunication is the choice of the individual; it is not the choice of the Church."

Since I cannot find the pastoral letter on the internet I publish it below in full. Please write to the Cardinal to encourage him and his fellow bishops to continue in their prophetic and courageous witness.

"My dear Priests, Religious, Christians and people of good will in the Archdiocese of Nairobi, and Catholic Diocese of Murang’a, grace and peace of the Lord be with you.

"With this letter I want to thank you for all the work and activities of evangelisation and human development that you are undertaking in this our beloved nation Kenya. Your voice and life of witness gives us courage to move ahead preaching the risen Lord with confidence.

"As you may recall, we have all gone through tough moments when our country turned into a battleground and in weeks was torn apart by violence. Thanks to God and our spirit of reconciliation, sanity is slowly returning.

"The Disturbing Issue

"Another disturbing issue is slowly arising in our midst, and that is the parliamentary bill on legalising abortion. You already know the stand of the Catholic Church on this issue. Now, I call upon you to stand firm and defend the life of the unborn babies. Say and shout it aloud that: Abortion is the deliberate termination of a pregnancy by killing the unborn and defenceless child. Such direct action, willed, either as an end or a means, is gravely contrary to the moral law and to Christian teaching. Abortion is killing an innocent person and God says, “You shall not kill” (Exodus 20:13). The womb of any mother is supposed to be the safest place where the child, even just conceived, should feel most secure and loved. There is no way we shall support a society that destroys the unborn who have been created as a gratuitous gift from God to the community.

"The Evil of Abortion

"Stand firm against this evil of abortion. Abortion is not merely the removal of some tissue from a woman’s body. Abortion is not the removal of a living “thing” that would become human if it were allowed to remain inside the woman’s body. Abortion is the destruction of an unborn baby. Pregnancy is the period for this new human life to mature, not just to “become human”. It, already is human. This is why the Church considers abortion the killing of a human being, and why the Second Vatican Council called it an “unspeakable crime.” I remind you all to maintain the utmost respect for human life, from the time of conception. Even under threat, never use your knowledge to do what is contrary to the laws of humanity.

"There Is No Such Thing

"For Almighty God there is no such thing as an 'unwanted baby.' Every one is made in His image and likeness and is uniquely part of the divine plan. If there is a woman anywhere who does not 'want' her baby, I plead with her to nevertheless let that baby live. A great number of people want that baby as does the Church. We love that baby from the moment it is conceived.

"You formed my inmost being;you knit me in my mother’s womb.I praise you, so wonderfully you made me;wonderful are your works! My very self you knew.
(Psalm 139:13-14)

"Penalty for Abortion

"Current Church law states: 'A person who procures an abortion, where the effect follows, incurs an automatic excommunication' (Canon 1398). This includes any human person who knowingly has the abortion and anyone who assists willingly and directly, such as the doctor, the nurse or others. Let it be understood that in the final analysis excommunication is the choice of the individual; it is not the choice of the Church.

"Persons in Political Life

"The Church has called politics a “difficult but noble art.” I am aware of the enormous pressures on those who serve the people in the midst of constantly shifting political winds, and the demands of diverse constituencies which can at times be completely irreconcilable. However, all political office holders and candidates for public office should make clear their commitment to work against legislation supporting abortion and even to accept political defeat, should such be the result, rather than sacrifice human life.

"Catholics Holding Public Office

"Those of you who are Catholics and are holding positions of public responsibility should be distinguished by your sense of integrity. Your actions should be consistent with your faith and the moral principles taught by the Church in which you claim membership. In fulfilment of your public responsibilities, you must uphold public morality and promote public order and peace. You must work for laws and public policies that sustain human life and promote the common good. You must work hard to assure prenatal care for all women. You must work to correct injustices and all situations of evil that threaten human dignity and human rights. You must have a special concern for the disadvantaged and disenfranchised. In this you should be sensitive to the opportunities you have of enlightening and persuading others as to the proper moral response to the many problems of our day.

"Persons of Good Will

"This is the opportune time for you Catholics to constructively enter into the public debate. For that matter you must be informed, argue rationally, and show respect for those who have differing opinions, while at the same time evidencing the unwavering conviction that every unborn child has the right to life. One voice, one person reaching out, can literally make the difference between life and death. Work in your parishes, homes, offices, fields and on streets to create an atmosphere that tells the world you are followers of Christ, committed, as He was committed, to the sacredness of all human life.

“'The laity...exercise their the world as in the Church, in the temporal order as well as in the spiritual...The layman, at one and at the same time a believer and a citizen of the world, has only a single conscience; it is by this that he must be guided continually in both domains' (Decree on the Apostolate of the Laity, No.5).

"True Love Is the Way

"The ultimate answer to abortion lies in an understanding of love. There is probably no term we use more loosely than love. Love doesn’t come and go with the wind. Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous, (love) is not pompous, it is not inflated, it is not rude, it does not seek its own interests, it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury, it does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails (1 Cor 13:4-8). When we live in love, we outgrow our selfishness and we are always ready to give. Our Lord Jesus tells us that there is no greater love than to lay down our lives for our friends.

"Obviously, love of God requires that we keep His commandments. These Commandments still mean today in the Third Millennium what they always meant: sexual intimacies outside marriage and for pleasure are wrong. If we love young people we will not hesitate to teach them this. We must never underestimate them. Far more young people are prepared to be good than some adults realise. But adults must set the standards. Adults must be very clear in their own minds that lust is not love, and that, with the help of the sacraments, purity is possible.

"Finally, if we teach a true love of life, the life of the unborn, the aged, the disabled, the blind, and deaf, and retarded, if we teach that God loves every life He creates, we would go a long way toward ending abortion. The God of love has given to human beings the incredible capacity to share in His creation. We call that sharing “procreation.” The God of love never intended that human beings would kill human beings. Love is always creative, never destructive. That’s why love makes the world go round.

"Submit a Million Signatures for the Baby

This is the opportune moment to call upon you all to join in our preliminary steps to resist illegal legislations. Legalising abortion has no place in African Cultures and traditions. I request all Parishes, Chaplaincies, Religious Communities, Christians and people of good will to start submitting signatures so that after gathering them in their millions we move to petition the competent authorities to stop this campaign of discussing how to kill the unborn babies.

"This is our non-stop baby defending crusade for the next couple of months. Radio Waumini, Church announcements, posters and the National Mirror will keep you informed about our way forward.

"Let’s join hands to heal our nation Kenya. This is the time to reconstruct what was damaged, and not to spend time planning to annihilate the innocent unborn babies. May we embrace this struggle with courage and look at our future with hope.

"I impart on you my apostolic blessings.

"Your Shepherd
†John Cardinal Njue
Archbishop of Nairobi
and the Apostolic Administrator of Murang’a
28th September 2008"