Saturday, 28 November 2009

"This is a warning to Catholics" say Spanish bishops

"This is a warning to Catholics, that they can't vote in favour of this and that they won't be able to receive communion unless they ask forgiveness ... They are in an objective state of sin".
This is what Juan Antonion Martinez Camino (pictured right), the spokesman of Spain's Catholic bishops' conference, told a news conference about Spanish Members of Parliament who had voted in favour of a bill to make abortion more readily available.

I'm in Sydney, Australia, for my son's graduation at Campion College where one of the guests will be Cardinal Pell, the redoubtable church leader who's known for taking a similar position on such matters.

Pro-lifers and pro-life strategists should never underestimate the significance of such statements for the following reasons:
  • Such statements reflect accurately the gravity of voting to kill the innocent. We would not be surprised by bishops refusing Communion to politicians who would vote to kill bishops. Their refusal would reflect the seriousness of the politicians' sin in voting in such a way. The same is true of bishops' refusal of communion to politicians voting to kill unborn babies.
  • Such statements have the effect of building a great campaign for life, called for in Pope John Paul II's great encyclical on pro-life matters Evangelium Vitae, 95, in which he said: "What is urgently called for is a general mobilization of consciences and a united ethical effort to activate a great campaign in support of life".
The "united ethical effort", to which Pope John Paul II refers, comes about because when the bishops make such appropriate, bold, statements, they reflect and strengthen the sentiment of ordinary people throughout the world whose respect for the fundamental human right to life is written in their hearts. Abortion supporters both inside and outside the churches will know for certain they have lost their campaign when bishops' conferences throughout the world follow the Spanish bishops' example.
    As I said in my talk (also in  Spanish and Italian) at the 4th World Congress for Life in Spain earlier this month:
    "Here in Spain, the unity between the pro-life movement and your Catholic bishops on life issues is your greatest asset in your battle against your government's attacks on human life, marriage, parental rights and responsibilities, and the family. The loss of that unity would be the greatest threat to your pro-life and pro-family battle. The Church and the pro-life movement throughout Europe must learn from your example."
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    Cardinal Newman is not patron of dissenting Catholics

    I was pleased to read last night the inside story on the meeting between Cherie Blair, the wife of the former British prime minister, and Reverend Jack Sullivan, who was healed through Newman’s intercession in 2001.  The post appeared yesterday on The Cause for the Canonisation of John Henry Cardinal Newman.

    It turns out that Jack was taken, in an unscheduled arrangement, to see Cherie Blair for a private visit, without being told about her prominent campaigning opposition to Catholic Church teaching on the culture of life.  The Newman Cause had been completely unaware of the visit, reported in Times Online (‘Discovering Newman the priest’) and is in this week’s edition of the Catholic Herald (November 27th ‘Jack Sullivan reflects’ p. 11).

    Mrs Blair is pictured above cutting a special 75th anniversary birthday cake for FPA and offering the cameraman a condom.

    The Newman Cause blogpost states:
    "As soon as he was made aware of Mrs Blair’s record of public dissent from the Church’s teaching, Jack requested that all reference to meeting her be removed from the published recollections of his visit. The article on Times Online was duly amended yesterday (November 26th), but unfortunately Jack’s request came too late to remove the reference to Mrs Blair from the print version of the Herald.

    "The conjunction of Mrs Blair’s ‘conscientious’ dissent from the teaching of the Church with Jack Sullivan’s apparent endorsement of her could do harm to Newman’s reputation, and that is our reason for posting this clarification. Newman is indeed the great teacher of the rights and duties of conscience. It is of the greatest importance that his teaching is not used to make him the patron of Catholics, like Cherie Blair and others, who in the name of conscience practice dissent from the Church’s teaching ..."
    "Amen" to that I say. What on earth is the motivation behind arranging such a visit, without telling Reverend Jack Sullivan the truth about Cherie Blair?  Make sure you read the full blogpost, especially Catholics  - who need to know what's being done in their name.

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    Valuable critique of government sex education

    Christine Hudson is a mother and a leading SPUC activist from Plymouth. She's pictured here at this year's SPUC conference on the left, with (l-r) Peter C. Smith of SPUC Evangelicals, her son Benedict, Rev. Arnold Culbreath, and her daughters Rosie and Anna Hudson. Christine has sent me the critique below of the sex education policy in Britain. Do please read it carefully, as it gives you valuable material to use when opposing the government's plans to make sex education compulsory - please also read and respond to SPUC's campaign alert

    Compulsory sex education is against our children's best interests
    Christine Hudson of SPUC Plymouth

    Compulsory sex education from age five comes as no surprise, given that the nanny state has been pursuing an ideological agenda in this area for many years. Such legislation, nonetheless, does come as a further blow to the:
    • pro-life movement
    • autonomy of parents
    • innocence of our children and their absolute right to mature at their own rate without sex featuring disproportionately on their horizon.
    Abortion and the abortifacient morning-after pill are the lynchpins of the government’s teenage pregnancy strategy. The aim is to rid children and young women of unplanned pregnancies. These pregnancies are the result of sexual activity encouraged by government and our society, with little or no attention paid to the age of consent.

    Compulsory sex education will allow your children or grandchildren to be de-sensitised about their bodies. Children will be exposed to the facts of the sexual act from key stage two (age seven), whilst learning that they don't have to have babies if they don't wish. This approach won't improve the teenage pregnancy and abortion rates. There has never been so much sex education or contraception, yet Britain's teenage pregnancy and abortion rates are Europe's highest.

    Dr Malcom Potts, IPPF's first medical director, and a consultant on contraception and family health, has written:
    “As people turn to contraception, there will be a rise, not a fall, in the abortion rate” (1)
    “No society has controlled its fertility.....without recourse to a significant number of abortions. In fact abortion is often the starting place in the control of fertility.” (2)
    (1) report, Cambridge Evening News, 7 February, 1973
    (2) "Fertility Rights", The Guardian, 25 April, 1979
    Dr Judith Bury, former director of Edinburgh's Brook Advisory Centre, an abortion referral agency, has written:
    "Twenty years ago women were more resigned to unwanted pregnancy, but as they have become more conscious of preventing conception, so they have come to request terminations when contraception fails. There is overwhelming evidence that, contrary to what you might expect, the availabilithy of contraception leads to an increase in the abortion rate."(1)
    (1) "Sex Education for Bureaucrats", The Scotsman, 29 June, 1981
    The government is:
    • teaching morals- and values-free sex education
    • urging parents to do likewise
    • promoting sexual activity separated from its procreative function via the misnomer of "safe sex"
    • directing our children that sex is only for pleasure and that any unwanted pregnancy can be got rid of.
    Parents whose children attend faith schools need to be reminded that these schools are also subject to compulsory sex education. The Catholic Education Service (CES) in England and Wales has welcomed the imposition of compulsory sex education. This welcome is despite the fact that Catholic teaching says otherwise. The Pontifical Council for the Family has written:
    "Chastity includes an apprenticeship in self-mastery which is a training in human freedom. The alternative is clear: either man governs his passions and finds peace, or he lets himself be dominated by them and becomes unhappy". (1)
    "Parents are the first and most important educators of their children, and they also possess a fundamental competency in this area: they are educators because they are parents. They share their individual mission with other individuals or institutions, such as the Church and the State. But the mission of education must always be carried out in accordance with a proper application of the principle of subsidiarity. (2)
    (1) "The truth and meaning of human sexuality: guidelines for education within the family", 18.
    (2) ibid, 23.

    The CES knows that, although school nurses must follow guidelines laid down by school governors when in a classroom situation, in a one-to-one setting (such as in a confidential clinic), they act in their capacity as health professionals. The guidelines from the department of health they follow in that capacity don't sit happily with pro-life beliefs!

    Compulsory sex education is a bitter pill. Once passed, legislation is hard to dismantle, as pro-lifers know in their fight to repeal pro-abortion laws around the world. Compulsory sex education is a further completed tick-box on the list of Western Marxism (e.g. the Frankfurt School proposals). The  Polish church authorities, more astute than the CES, have recently admitted:
    "We have to remember who was the first to introduce the idea of sex education. It was communist ideologue Gyorgy Lukacs in Hungary, who thought promiscuity was the best method to fight the institution of marriage, in order to fight Christianity."
    With the highest teenage pregnancy rate in Europe, the benefits of saturation sex education have yet to be demonstrated. It has been known for many years that oral contraception can act in an abortifacient mode and that a high percentage of young girls presenting to doctors with unplanned pregnancies were using contraception. It is also well known that teenage contraceptive user failure rates are high. Despite its claim that parents play an important role in the matter of teenage pregnancies, the government has in fact been eroding parental rights through the years:
    • 1973: National Health (Reorganisation) Act allowed birth control for all, including children.
    • 1974: Department of Health & Social Services (DHSS) memorandum of guidance (section G) advised doctors that they could provide contraception to girls “of whatever age” without parental consent of knowledge.
    • 1977: DHSS memorandum of guidance advised doctors that they could refer under-age girls for abortions without parental knowledge or consent.
    • 1984: The Court of Appeal ruling in the Gillick case, which challenged government guidance. For 10 months it was unlawful for doctors to provide contraceptives to under-age girls without parental knowledge or consent. During this 10-month period the pregnancy rates for under-16s remained unchanged, while the number of pregnancies actually declined slightly from 9,096 to 8,829.
    • 1985: The House of Lords overturned the Court of Appeal's judgment in Gillick after the DHSS appealed. The Lords reinstated the previous policy but insisted that secrecy from parents should be “most unusual” and that doctors should only withhold information from parents “in the most exceptional cases”.
    • 1986: "Safe Sex" condom campaign to combat HIV/AIDS effectively ignored the Lords' qualifications in Gllick by promoting the pill and condoms to teenagers of any age without parental knowledge or consent.
    • 1992: “The health of the nation: a strategy for health in England” white paper aimed to reduce the rate of conceptions amongst the under-16s by at least 50% by the year 2000. It failed.
    • 1999: “Teenage pregnancy report” aimed to reduce under-18 pregnancies by half by 2010. This is also destined to fail.
    • 2000: Revised guidance by the Department of Education on sex and relationship education. The guidance encouraged the provision of contraceptive advice and supplies to under-age children by health professionals operating on school premises and in confidence if the child wished. School nurses, employed by the local primary care trust, although working on school premises are not bound by any education legislation, permitting the provision of the contraceptive pill and the abortifacient morning-after pill without parental knowledge or consent.
    • 2000: morning-after pill released on prescription with no age restrictions.
    • 2001: morning-after pill released for sale without prescription to over-16s.
    • 2002: MAP can be obtained free from the Family Planning Association, doctors' surgeries and school nurses.
    • 2004: Department of health revised guidance on contraception, sexual health and reproductive health services (including abortion) for under-16s. The guidance places strong emphasis on the duty of confidentiality. Good-practice guidance made it explicit that under-16s did not require parental consent or notification to procure an abortion.
    • 2006 (Jan): Sue Axon lost her court bid for the right to be informed if her daughter was seeking an abortion. Her case challenged both Gillick and the 2004 guidance above.
    • 2006: Two government documents, “Looking for a school nurse?” and “School nurse: practice development resource pack” were issued with the aim of expanding or developing a school nursing service. This aim would include providing contraceptive advice and ‘support[ing] young women to access services to make timely choices about emergency contraception, pregnancy or abortion.....and remind young people where they can access confidential support and information”, as well as providing ‘emergency contraception’ (i.e. morning-after pills) and pregnancy testing on school premises (with school-governors' permission).
    • 2006 (April): Girls as young as 12 given free morning-after pills over the counter in chemists' shops without the parental knowledge, if primary care trusts discern a problem in their area with teenage pregnancies.
    • 2008: The government says it wants a school-nurse clinic in every secondary school.
    • 2008: Parents excluded from a government review of sex education delivery in schools.
    • 2009-2010: From April, doctors receive payments for giving teenagers advice on sexual health and encouraging young women to use long-acting contraceptive implants, injections or the coil (all of which can act abortifaciently), if they present for morning-after pills or abortion. Available without parental knowledge.
    In reality, just as parents have been deceived and undermined by these actions, so, in many schools, sex education policies don't do what they say and only pay lip-service only to the role of parents. Many school sex education policies will contain the following line or the like:
    “Endeavours to involve parents and all other interested parties in sex education issues, whilst complementing and supporting the role of parents who are key figures in helping children with the physical and emotional aspects of growing up.”
    Many parents will, as I have discovered over the years, find these extremely hollow words.

    The issue of confidential clinics is just as contentious. Jim Knight, the schools minister, said in a parliamentary answer (3 Oct. 2006):
    “The nature and scope of health services in a school are for the school governing body to decide. Where schools are developing links with health as part of extended services, the Education Act 2002 requires them to consult widely before putting services in place.”
    My personal experience with a secondary school in Plymouth is that the school and local education authority (LEA) are devious. Although the head-teacher has admitted that the school provides a service which sign-posts pupils to confidential services, the school denies that this is an extended service because it does not actually deliver this service on school property. The school thus maintains that government guidance does not apply. Therefore, despite the guidance, most parents at the school continue to be ignorant of this clinic and what it offers!

    In complaining to the LEA, I was incredulous to find that the LEA was happy to accept the school’s word that it doesn’t offer a sign-posting service. The LEA admits it has no powers to enforce its guidance upon  schools. Such are the problems that pro-life parents are up against

    It is vital that we all make our anger felt over the new proposals to make sex education compulsory. These proposals are not in the best interests of the next generation. It is imperative that parents, grandparents, ministers of religion and anyone concerned by these developments write to teachers, head teachers, chairs of governors, priests, vicars, LEAs and newspapers to convey their concerns and disapproval. Please also read and respond to SPUC's campaign alert.

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    Thursday, 26 November 2009

    Act now to stop the government's compulsory sex education and its anti-life agenda

    SPUC has launched a major multi-faceted campaign against the government's plans to make sex education compulsory. The legal basis and operating principles of the government's plans are contained in its Children, Schools and Families bill, which is awaiting its second reading in the House of Commons.

    Not since the Abortion Act 1967 has there been such a determined effort to promote universal access to abortion, seeking to expand abortion access for children under the age of consent without parental knowledge or consent. It is vitally important that parents, teachers, clergy and all concerned with protecting children both brief themselves and take immediate action to oppose the government's plans.

    The Catholic Education Service (CES)'s general support for the government's plans is a disgrace. The CES must resist this most terrible attack on unborn children, young people and the rights of parents as the primary educators of their children. Anything less will be a historic betrayal. Without a total reversal of policy, Catholics may well feel that not since the 16th century reformation would have Catholic bishops so supinely capitulated to the demands of the state. The government's intentions are so blatant that we can be in no doubt as to the pressures on Catholic schools and as to the dangers in store for children and young people if this legislation is passed. Pope Pius XI wrote in his famous 1937 encyclical against Nazism:
    "We address Our special greetings to the Catholic parents. Their rights and duties as educators, conferred on them by God, are at present the stake of a campaign pregnant with consequences. The Church cannot wait to deplore the devastation of its altars, the destruction of its temples, if an education, hostile to Christ, is to profane the temple of the child's soul consecrated by baptism ... Then the violation of temples is nigh, and it will be every one's duty to sever his responsibility from the opposite camp, and free his conscience from guilty cooperation with such corruption. The more the enemies attempt to disguise their designs, the more a distrustful vigilance will be needed, in the light of bitter experience ... [D]o not forget this: none can free you from the responsibility God has placed on you over your children. None of your oppressors, who pretend to relieve you of your duties can answer for you to the eternal Judge, when he will ask: 'Where are those I confided to you?' May every one of you be able to answer: 'Of them whom thou hast given me, I have not lost any one' (John xviii. 9)."
    Please act now to challenge the government's pro-abortion sexual health agenda in schools. Please:
    • read our new flyer (pictured), order a supply and distribute in your area
    • ask local clergy to include our notice in their next weekly bulletins and announcements, and work with them to distribute the flyer
    • read our critique Sexual Health in Schools 2009 which explains the government's pro-abortion sexual health agenda in schools
    • write to Gordon Brown, the prime minister, opposing compulsory sex education. Send a copy of your message to your own MP. You can write to them at: House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA or email them via
    • write to your local schools. Urge them to oppose the plans to make sex education compulsory. Also ask schools to write to Ed Balls MP (secretary of state for children, schools and families), to the prime minister and to the local MP.
    I'm grateful to Norman Wells and the Family Education Trust for their permission to reproduce extracts from their latest update on the government's sex education plans:
    "The Qualifications and Curriculum Development Agency (QCDA) [held a consultation] as part of the government's larger consultation on Curriculum Reform. The QCDA report on consultation responses reveals that over two-thirds (68 per cent) of respondents disagreed with making PSHE education a statutory subject, and 79 per cent agreed that parents, carers and guardians should be allowed to maintain the right to withdraw their children from the sex and relationships education element of PSHE education. When the full 12-week consultation did not deliver the results the government had hoped for, in October it quietly commissioned a survey of 1,791 adults and 1,661 parents and asked some leading questions aimed at securing a semblance of public support for making PSHE education statutory and for limiting the right of parents to withdraw their children from sex education. The government conveniently ignored the results of the public consultation and chose to give greater weight to the October survey than to the full public consultation.

    "The government has no evidence that children who are currently being withdrawn from sex education classes are at greater risk of teenage pregnancy or sexually transmitted infections and no evidence that imposing sex education on them regardless of their parents' views will bring any positive benefit.

    "Dr Trevor Stammers, a trustee of the Family Education Trust, debated the government's proposals for sex education with Gill Frances, the Chairman of the Teenage Pregnancy Independent Advisory Group on a recent edition of the BBC Radio 2 Jeremy Vine Show. In the course of the interview, Jeremy Vine asked Gill Frances whether young people would be taught to value their virginity in sex education classes. His question was met with a stunned silence. Struggling to regain her composure, Gill Frances said she could not answer that, adding that the subject would be taught 'in a framework of values', and that sexual activity should take place in 'mutual relationships - never coercive', 'in trust with each other'."
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    Tuesday, 24 November 2009

    Monsignor Reilly will visit England 4 - 5 December

    Catholics will be interested to know that Monsignor Philip J. Reilly (pictured), founder of the Helpers of God's Precious Infants, will be visiting England next month. Here are the details of his visit:

    Friday 4 December: Talk on “Reasons for hope in this epic struggle for life.”
    7.30pm St. James’ Spanish Place church hall, 22 George Street, London, W1U 3QY.

    Saturday 5 December: Helpers' vigil from Ealing Abbey to Mattock Lane.
    Times approximate:
    09:15: Holy Sacrifice of the Mass at Ealing Abbey, Charlbury Grove, W5 2DY.
    09:55: Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament in the side chapel.
    10.05: Prayerful and peaceful procession to Marie Stopes abortion centre, Mattock Lane, Ealing. Processing with image of our Lady of Guadalupe, Holy Rosary and hymns.
    11:45: Return procession to Ealing Abbey with prayers and hymns. Benediction in side chapel.
    12:15: Break for tea And get-together. Please bring packed lunch.

    Directions: nearest station is Ealing Broadway, which is served by District line and Central line tube and Network Southeast mainline. Could be a 20 minute or more walk from station. Car parking.

    For those of you who are unable to join the procession, please consider coming to Ealing Abbey for Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament during the vigil, or be with us spiritually.

    For further information contact:
    Helpers Of God’s Precious Infants
    P.O. Box 26601, London, N14 7WH
    Telephone: (020) 8252 3109

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    Monday, 23 November 2009

    Misdiagnosed 'coma' case challenges euthanasia mentality

    The newly-revealed case of Rom Houben (pictured right) who was misdiagnosed for 23 years as being in a coma-like state, challenges the pro-euthanasia mentality which exists regarding severely incapacitated patients.

    Mr Houben, a Belgian man, was paralysed by a car accident. Until three years ago, Mr Houben had been misdiagnosed as being in a persistent vegetative state (PVS, more correctly termed PNS or persistent non-responsive state). Doctors assumed he was unconscious, when in fact he has near-normal brain function and can hear and understand his surroundings. Following new tests which revealed the misdiagnosis, Mr Houben has been provided with equipment to read and type.

    Janet Thomas of No Less Human, a group within SPUC Pro-Life, told the media today:
    "This case highlight the huge dangers in assessing profoundly disabled people as having lives not worth living. Surely, with all the medical resources at our disposal, a truly civilised society would be concentrating on saving and improving life, not terminating it. It is encouraging to hear that Rom Houben has not succumbed to despair but is setting out to enjoy the life he has. We should remember that we call ourselves human 'beings'. It is what we are, not what we can do, that makes us unique.

    "Rom Houben is not the first example of a person diagnosed as being in PVS but in fact being aware of the world around him. Jean Dominique Bauby, former editor of Elle, wrote the book 'The Diving Bell and the Butterfly' while only able to blink an eyelid. Marian Sallery [1] of north Wales spent 11 years unable to communicate although fully aware of the world around. She was not diagnosed with Locked-in Syndrome until after her death. Keith Andrews of the Royal Hospital for Neurodisability [2] found in 1996 that, of 40 people diagnosed as being in PVS, nearly half were completely misdiagnosed.

    "According to some criteria, PVS is regarded as permanent after the first year. Following the 1992 Bland judgment, and under the Mental Capacity Act and related professional guidance, such patients are in danger of being dehydrated to death."

    [1] Lilian Sallery, "Futile or Fruitful". Paper given at the conference "Implications of the Bland Judgment", organised by ALERT (Against Legalised Euthanasia - Research & Training), House of Lords, 25 May 1993.
    [2] K. Andrews et al., "Misdiagnosis of the vegetative state: retrospective study in a rehabilitation unit." BMJ 1996; 313: 13-16

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    Sunday, 22 November 2009

    Lithuania defends parents as primary educators

    Lithuania is to be admired for standing up to the powers that be and striking a blow for national sovereignty against an attempt by the European Parliament (EP) to condemn their recently approved child-centred legislation. In particular we must admire their willingness to stand firm for parents as the primary educators of their children in the face of an attempt to indoctrinate children and repress parents by trying to impose novel doctrines of human sexuality on their children.

    I posted two blogs in September on the EP resolution condemning Lithuania’s newly enacted law and asking the Fundamental Rights Agency to review it. “Slovak MEP defends European Children” and “European Parliament in radical move against member state government”

    Slovak MEP Anna Zaborska was quoted at the time as saying "Today a national law from Lithuania which aims to protect minors from sexualisation by society is condemned by the EU institutions. I consider our meeting to be a manipulation of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights. This text is not a legally binding instrument. The EU Parliament is ignoring the legitimacy of the national Parliament of a Member State. The EU Parliament also requests an Opinion of the Fundamental Rights Agency, but this Agency has no mandate to assess the legal quality of a national law”.

    In response to the unacceptable interference by the European Parliament in its internal affairs the Lithuanian Parliament on 10 November adopted a resolution seeking to overrule the EP resolution. This Lithuanian resolution deals with the illegitimacy of the EP resolution having no Treaty basis thus rendering it illegal, but it is nonetheless a "soft law" measure. This is particularly important as the EP is more powerful now under the Treaty of Lisbon.

    The resolution called on the Lithuanian cabinet to file suit by Nov 17th in the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg pointing out that the EP resolution lacked legitimacy and demanding that it should be invalidated. The Lithuanian resolution also dismissed the EP resolution as an “unlawful action caused by lack of competences” and “may serve as a dangerous precedent” if not invalidated.

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