Thursday, 30 October 2008
In the section About this site, Mrs Blair writes:
"This website is dedicated to the issues that concern me, to helping improve the position of women throughout the world by sharing information and by safeguarding and promoting human rights. At the heart of the website is the Women of the World section."
On a page in the Women of the World section, Mrs Blair says:
"The [United Nations] Convention [on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) ... is the only human rights treaty which affirms the reproductive rights of women".
"Reproductive rights" is a term commonly used to include abortion on demand.
The page ends by linking to the CEDAW committee, which is responsible for monitoring the implementation of the CEDAW convention. The CEDAW committee is notorious among pro-lifers for using the CEDAW convention to bully countries into allowing abortion, even though the convention doesn't mention abortion. Most recently, the CEDAW committee issued a report calling upon the UK government to decriminalise abortion in Northern Ireland.
Elsewhere on her website, Mrs Blair lists Human Rights Watch as one of the charities she supports. It should be noted that Human Rights Watch is one of the most radically pro-abortion international NGOs (non-governmental organisations).
Mrs Blair, like her husband Tony, is often listed as a Catholic. Yet like her husband, Mrs Blair has a long track-record of promoting anti-life and anti-family causes, in opposition to Catholic teaching. In July 2003, Mrs Blair endorsed the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF), the world’s leading promoter and provider of abortion, by hosting a private reception at 10 Downing Street (the prime minister’s residence) for IPPF’s “Lust for Life” fundraising campaign. At the annual Labour party conference in September 2005, Mrs Blair celebrated the 75th anniversary of the Family Planning Association (fpa), the UK branch of IPPF, helping to cut a special birthday cake (and pictured here jokingly offering a condom to the camera-man.) Both IPPF and FPA endorsed the failed campaign to remove the Holy See from the United Nations.
It is therefore deplorable that an abortion-promoter like Mrs Blair was invited to speak last week at the Dominican University of California. The university describes itself as a "university of Catholic heritage", which "seeks to embody Dominican educational ideals" such as "deep respect for the dignity and worth of the individual" and "respect for the human person, with a concern for individual human rights". What about the unborn, whom Mrs Blair is conspiring against?
Organisations associated with the Catholic Church (or indeed any group, religious or secular, opposed to abortion) should not invite Mrs Blair to their events - or her husband, as I blogged recently.
The signatories include human-biology research scientists, obstetricians, gynaecologists, professors of a range of disciplines, doctors in general practice and nurses. They have joined together to declare the truth about the human embryo.
The signatories' action is a collective response to this week's meeting in Paris of UNESCO's international bioethics committee, which is discussing whether so-called therapeutic cloning should be banned worldwide.
The declaration among other things, says:
"We, in our capacity as members of society who undertake scientific discovery and deliberate on scientific knowledge, herein pledge to respect the inherent rights of human embryos and foetuses during our quest for beneficial knowledge, just as we respect the inviolable and inalienable rights of children and adults."
It also says: "We request the removal of all existing permissions and practices that enable negative discrimination against human embryos and foetuses. Chief among these are the legalisation of abortion and approval for research that harms or destroys human embryos."
The declaration adds: "We declare that every stage in the developmental continuum of human life has the same right to life and right to protection from harm as all others."
The full text and current list of signatories is on the web at http://www.amnestyforbabies.com/scidec The declaration remains open there for signing, and scientists and physicians are invited to sign it.
UNESCO is the United Nations Education, Scientific, and Cultural Organization. UNESCO's International Bioethics Committee (IBC) was founded in 1993.
Wednesday, 29 October 2008
In England, the Catholic Education Service (CES), on behalf of the bishops, makes it clear that that it will collaborate with the government’s plans and that it hopes that parents will not choose to opt out by withdrawing their children from sex education.
In sharp contrast, Bishop Casimiro Lopez Llorente of Segorbe , the president of the Spanish Bishops’ Committee on Education, said last week that said last week parents have the right to conscientiously object to the controversial material included in the Education for Citizenship course which the government is imposing on all schools.
It's time that Catholic families in England and Wales were defended and encouraged by the Catholic authorities, as they are in Spain, rather than exposed to the insidious and determined agenda of the British government on matters relating to human sexuality and abortion, as I have said before on this blog. The teaching of the Catholic Church is, after all, the same in England and in Spain.
Tuesday, 28 October 2008
OPEN LETTER TO THE PRIME MINISTER
The grotesque implications of these procedures are utterly horrifying. The proposals in this Bill represent a breach of 50 years of ethical medical research. They by-pass the Declaration of Helsinki, the Human Tissue Act, the Mental Capacity Act and the Human Rights Act. Removing parts of people’s bodies without their consent, utterly flies in the face of all BMA and GMC guidance on consent to research.
+ Keith Patrick Cardinal O’Brien
Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh
Monday, 27 October 2008
"How should a 'fellow Catholic' respond? With profound humility, I suppose, but with a firm resolve not to be misled. The 'professors' identify themselves as 'individual faculty' whose opinions 'do not necessarily reflect the official position of the Ateneo de Manila University nor the Society of Jesus.'
"It is a crafty disclaimer. If they truly wanted to speak as individual Catholics, they could have done so without using the Ateneo label. But they clearly did not mind cashing in on Ateneo’s Catholic reputation.
"Opposition to House Bill 5043 arises mainly from the fact that it seeks, among other things, to legalize a State program of contraception and sterilization that will require married couples to contracept or sterilize themselves before engaging in marital sex, and make available contraceptives and sterilization devices as 'essential medicines' even to unmarried individuals. It also seeks to impose a 'mandatory sex education' on all children, from Grade V up to high school, without parental consent, to prepare them for 'a safe and satisfying sex life' ... "
Saturday, 25 October 2008
Referring to this year's 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Cardinal O'Brien said: "The harsh reality is that the noble words of so many high blown declarations have been matched with a barbaric indifference to the rights of the unborn."
Friday, 24 October 2008
However, yesterday's Independent reports that Tory frontbenchers are calling for a "thorough discussion of the 1967 Abortion Act, including proposals to cut the 24-week time limit as well as proposals to liberalise the law".
- David Cameron (pictured), leader of the opposition;
- George Osborne, shadow chancellor, and four shadow secretaries of state, including Andrew Lansley, shadow health secretary;
- 12 other Conservative frontbenchers, including a shadow health minister (Mark Simmonds);
- the Conservative party deputy chairman (John Maples), plus two Conservative party vice-chairmen (Justine Greening and Grant Shapps);
- other senior Conservative officials, including the chairman of the Conservative policy review (Oliver Letwin).
Thursday, 23 October 2008
Catholic Church will collaborate with statutory sex and relationship classes in primary and secondary schools
The British government announced today that it intends to make sex and relationship education compulsory throughout both primary and secondary schools. In a simultaneous announcement, the Catholic Education Service makes it clear, not only that it will collaborate with the government’s plans, but that it hopes that parents will not choose to opt out by withdrawing their children from sex education.
The CES says: “… the Government calls for PSHE [personal, social and health education] to be made statutory across all maintained schools in England, including primary and secondary. Programmes of study are still to be drawn up but reassurance has been given that these will not be so prescriptive in character as to involve conflict with Catholic teaching … The statutory rights of parents to withdraw their children from sex education remain but it is our hope that parents will not find the need to exercise this right as children are likely to benefit from experiencing SRE amongst their friends and peers. …"
The CES statement is painfully disingenuous – in view of what is known to be going on in Catholic schools as a consequence of government advisers already being welcomed by the Catholic Education Service in Catholic schools, a point I have a number of times in this blog.
And why does Catholic Church appear, through its Catholic Education Service in England, to be marching in step with the Government – even to the point of making their complementary policy announcements simultaneously?
The first task of everyone entrusted with the Gospel of life is, surely, to oppose government plans to promote and to entrench the abortion culture amongst young people of all faiths and none? SPUC will certainly be keeping its supporters posted on the implications of the government's plans and what constituents should be saying to their MPs.
Wednesday, 22 October 2008
During the debate, Sir Gerald Kaufman, a veteran MP not naturally supportive of the pro-life cause, pointed out that the bill raises "fundamental moral issues about human rights" which "goes to the heart of the origin of the human race".
David Burrowes, the Conservative MP who presented SPUC's petition against the bill to Parliament in the summer, pointed out loopholes which would allow even more macabre and sinister experiments than already clear from the face of the bill.
Edward Leigh, the veteran pro-life Catholic MP, said: "At the heart of the debates on this bill has been that we are treating the human embryo as a thing. The human embryo is not a blob of cells nor a potential human being, but a human being with potential. What we are doing today is very dangerous - we are making ourselves less than human by treating human embryos as things."
Andrew Selous, a Christian MP, protested at how the bill denies people their birthright, namely to have a relationship with their natural father and mother.
On the positive side, thousands of people across the country joined a concerted campaign in solidarity with unborn children. Prominent national church leaders, such as Cardinal Keith O’Brien, Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh, and Bishop Patrick O’Donoghue of Lancaster, showed that strong, clear, courageous stands can put the sanctity of human life at the forefront of public debate. Scores of doctors, lawyers and academics have defended the weakest of the weak.
Equally important have been the contribution of expert scientific and medical bodies and bioethicists, particularly on the issues of embryology, human-animal hybrids and stem cell research.
And in their powerful resistance, the politicians and people of Northern Ireland showed that a pro-life community cannot be bullied into submission by the ethically compromised Westminster establishment. I'm also blogging on this today.
Future generations will look back on this macabre bill and wonder how a supposedly civilised nation could have so devalued human life.
I just thank God that, as a result of the lobbying efforts of so many, Gordon Brown climbed down on abortion and effectively pulled Parliament back from the brink of voting for extreme pro-abortion amendments to the Abortion Act, including the imposition of the Abortion Act on Northern Ireland, which would have stripped away virtually all remaining vestige of protection for unborn children.
"This is a significant victory for the people of Northern Ireland and our pro-life politicians who have urged the Prime Minister not to allow the abortion lobby in Britain to impose the Abortion Act upon us", said Betty Gibson, the tireless leader of SPUC Northern Ireland over the past three decades.
It would seem that Gordon Brown has recognised the strength of opposition to liberal abortion within the Northern Ireland Assembly. The leaders of the four major parties in Northern Ireland wrote to every MP opposing the Act's extension, and assembly members made it clear that they would not implement the Act if it was imposed. And it's a year ago to the day since the assembly gave overwhelming backing to a motion rejecting the Act's extension.
The prime minister has seemingly realised that if pro-abortion MPs outside Northern Ireland ignored the assembly and forced a vote in Westminster, it could have created a constitutional dilemma, as I reported following the pro-life rally in Stormont over the weekend.
"Had these measures gone through then the lives of thousands of unborn children in both Britain and Ireland would have been threatened. We all owe Northern Ireland's politicians a huge debt of gratitude for their consistent defence of the sanctity of human life ," said Betty Gibson.
Tuesday, 21 October 2008
According to a press report: “Islamic Relief and UNFPA will be working together to ensure that more women and men have access to reproductive healthcare information and services, including during times of emergency … ” – which entails the promotion of abortion on demand, even in the desperately unsafe environment of refugee camps.
UNFPA is complicit in the promotion of a right to abortion throughout the world. UNFPA is also complicit in supporting and spreading widely "family planning clinics" which supply and/or promote:
- techniques, devices and/or drugs which abort unborn children;
- free birth control pills and condoms to our young, unmarried innocent boys and girls;
- free, immoral sex education;
- population control (e.g. China's one-child policy), including among Muslims;
- radical feminism, and "rights" for children in opposition to their parents & family;
- disrespect and/or manipulation of traditional moral and religious values.
- In 1979, the very year that China introduced its brutal one-child policy, UNFPA signed a "Memorandum of Understanding" with the Chinese government.
- In 1983, the year commonly regarded as the worst year for coercion, UNFPA gave one of its first two Population Awards to the minister-in-charge of China’s State Family Planning Commission. (The other award that year was given to Indira Gandhi, the Indian prime minister, whose government enforced compulsory birth control including sterilisation.)
- In 1985, Rafael Salas, UNFPA’s then executive director, told Premier Zhao Ziyang that "China should feel proud of the achievements made in her family planning program." (reported by The People's Daily, the Communist Party's official newspaper).
- In 1991, UNFPA's then executive director Nafis Sadik said: "China has every reason to feel proud of and pleased with its remarkable achievements made in its family planning policy and control of its population growth.” (Xinhua, 11 April 1991) In 2002 China's State Family Planning Commission gave Nafis Sadik its own Population Award.
- In 1999, UNFPA aided and abetted "ethnic cleansing" by indicted war criminal Slobodan Milosevic by assisting his regime's plan "to limit or forbid the enormous increase of the birthrate in Kosovo".
- In 2001, Thoraya Obaid, the new UNFPA executive director, said that over the past 20 years, China had seen notable achievements made in population control by implementing the family planning policy.
- In 2001, research by the (pro-life) Population Research Institute (PRI) found that UNFPA was complicit in population control against Muslims in the Chinese province of Xinjiang.
- In 2003, UNFPA exploited the aftermath of the war in Iraq to launch a campaign to provide "reproductive health" to Iraqi refugees. ("Reproductive health" is a euphemism which the World Health Organisation (WHO) has defined as including abortion on demand.
Monday, 20 October 2008
Jeffrey Donaldson, who is chairman of the All-Party Pro-life Group of the Northern Ireland Assembly, went on to say:
"Our opponents say that this issue is about equality. Well, where is the equality for the people of Northern Ireland when they can have no say over legislation that they don't want? The Good Friday Agreement, the Belfast Agreement says that all legislation in Northern Ireland must have public consultation. There must be an impact equality assessment. Where is the public consultation?"
"Abortion in Northern Ireland" she said: "Never, never, never. Ulster says no to abortion! We will not be silenced. That there are so many people here today shows the majority in Northern Ireland do not want abortion to be socially acceptable. Thank you for affirming publicly that human life is precious. I believe it is the duty of government to uphold God's law. We need to fast and pray in the coming days. In 2006 98 percent of Abortions in England and Wales were for social reasons. Only 0.4 percent were for a risk to the life of the mother. Abortion at any stage of pregnancy is the taking of a human life. Stand with me. A majority of people must have the moral conviction to say not in my name!"
Pat Ramsey MLA (pictured right) SDLP, representing the Foyle constituency, welcomed people attending the rally from all over Ireland including a delegation from Cork. He spoke about the joy a child brings into the world. Pat Ramsey recently said to an Irish Catholic newspaper that the imposition of the Abortion Act by Parliament in Westminster could threaten to bring down the Assembly which is already in difficulties over justice and policing powers.
Bernie Smyth (pictured below), the leader of Precious Life organising the rally, introduced Grace Kelly Smyth, her grand-daughter. She was born two days beyond the time limit for social abortions, she had to have eye surgery and needs oxygen everyday.
Joe Scheidler, (pictured right) national director of the Pro-Life Action League in Chicago, USA, gave testimony to the inspiration Northern Ireland gives to the people of the world, with its courageous stand in defence of the sanctity of human life.
For me the most moving speakers of the day were Lynn Coles (picture below left), of Silent No More, who spoke about her abortion experience, and Dr Sean O'Domhnaill (pictured below right), a psychiatrist and vice-chairman of the Mother and Child campaign in Ireland, who spoke about the gift of nine months and nine hours of life of an anencephalic baby whose birth he attended.
I spoke (pictured below, centre, with (L to R) Jeffrey Donaldson, Iris Robinson, Pat Ramsey and Dr Kieran Deeny) about how Northern Ireland's politicians and people had shown the world how to resist abortion - with determination and intelligence. The might of international institutions, the European Parliament, the Council of Europe, the mis-named Committee for the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women, all seeking to promote abortion in Northern Ireland and elsewhere in the world, had failed to overturn the weight of public opinion, and the strength of the political leadership in Northern Ireland, which steadfastly oppose the killing of the unborn. They had looked at pro-abortion politicians - Diane Abbott, Evan Harris and David Steel - in the eye and told them that they lied about backstreet abortion, when Northern Ireland has the lowest maternal death rate in the UK.
Liam Gibson, SPUC's Northern Ireland development officer, whose family have led SPUC's battle in Northern Ireland since 1981, paid tribute to Bernie Smyth and Precious Life for their bold and successful initiative in organizing the rally in Stormont. Commenting on Jeffrey Donaldson's speech (see above) he said:
"The Northern Ireland Act which implements the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement requires all legislation in Northern Ireland, even when it's introduced by the Northern Ireland Office (that is directly from Parliament) to be approved by the Assembly. It must be scrutinised for its implications for equality. This is done through a public consultation and an equality impact assessment. This is the case no matter how unimportant the legislation is. If the Executive or a majority in Assembly hold up the introduction of the Abortion Act or refuse to implement it at all, it will result in a major constitutional dilemma which the Gordon Brown would have to deal with. It could even call into question the future of the devolved institutions when they are already under pressure. It is crucial that MPs in England, Scotland and Wales realise just how important this issue is in Northern Ireland."
Sunday, 19 October 2008
Wednesday this week, 22nd October, will be one of the most significant dates in Britain’s history. That’s the day of the report stage and third reading of the government's Human Fertilisation and Embryology (HFE) bill.
What Parliament decides that day will be a matter of life or death for possibly countless millions of unborn children. The power of these two men in deciding their fate, particularly in relation to the extreme abortion amendments tabled by pro-abortion MPs, cannot be underestimated.
Of course, how all 646 Members of Parliament decide to vote that day is crucial – and if you’re from Britain or Northern Ireland and you’ve not already written to your MP to ask him or her to vote against pro-abortion amendments on Wednesday, do so now without any further delay. Or phone your MP on 020 7219 3000.
All votes of MPs are, of course, equal. But – even in a democracy – on certain occasions, some MPs are more equal than others! And that’s certainly the case this week.
Firstly, the Speaker of the House of Commons has a pivotal role to play in deciding which New Clauses on abortion will be debated and voted upon by the House of Commons during the Report stage of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill. The Standing Orders give the Speaker the power to select or not select, the new clauses and amendments that have been tabled to the Bill at its report stage.
The Speaker, his three Deputies and senior officials meet every day to discuss the handling of business before the House. It is during this meeting (which in the case of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill will be held on either Tuesday or Wednesday) that the selection of New Clauses and other amendments will be decided.
The Speaker’s selection itself is expected to be made available on either Tuesday or Wednesday morning. The criteria for selecting amendments at the Report stage are more stringent than at committee stage, and amendments re-opening issues (such as the abortion issue) already dealt with in committee are not usually selected for debate but it remains to be seen whether the debate held during the Committee stage in May will influence the Speaker.
The Government of the day, headed by Gordon Brown, the prime minister, can – and have done so on occasions - make representations to the Speaker to offer him their advice on whether to select or not to select certain amendments. Ultimately, it is for the Speaker to decide, in consultation with his senior Clerks and advisers, but everyone knows the influence of the Government of the day under the British parliamentary system.
Finally, Gordon Brown’s and the Government’s position on the extreme abortion amendments tabled by pro-abortion MPs will be crucial in influencing the votes of Labour MPs. So, if you believe in prayer, start praying now for wisdom for Gordon Brown and for Michael Martin MP.
Saturday, 18 October 2008
Our supporters follow the advice provided by SPUC’s Safe At School service to parents – and they check the personal planner and text books provided to pupils, including looking in their child’s school bag if necessary.
As you can see above the planner contains the details of British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS), Connexions, the Zone – the Youth Enquiry Service, and Junction/Junction Plus.
BPAS’s website proudly announces: “bpas is the leading provider of abortion services in the UK, with a national network of consultation centres and clinics”
Connexions, as I have pointed out in previous posts, is a government agency which provides careers advice to young people from 13 - 19 years old and which promotes access to abortion and abortifacient birth control amongst children under the age of consent without parental knowledge or consent, including in Catholic schools with the complicity of the Catholic authorities in England.
The Zone – the Youth Enquiry Service in Plymouth provides young people with confidential “sexual health” services which includes a range of abortifacient birth control services; and Junction/Junction Plus appears to be part of The Zone – the youth enquiry service.
SPUC’s Safe at School service aims to empower parents, teachers, school governors and others – giving them up-to-date information about the provision of sex education in schools and anti-life practices which take place either on the school premises (most notably school clinics which offer contraceptives and abortion referrals) or off the school premises, in services promoted within the school in various ways.
Friday, 17 October 2008
The Faiths Act Fellowship is an initiative of the Tony Blair Faith Foundation and is coordinated by Interfaith Youth Core.
Among Interfaith Youth Core's funders are:
- the Argosy Foundation , which has funded Medical Students for Choice , which “stands up in the face of opposition, working to destigmatize abortion provision among medical students and residents, and to persuade medical schools and residency programs to include abortion as a part of the reproductive health services curriculum”;
- Ashoka , which promoted, through its fellowship system, a right to abortion in Mexico;
- the Carnegie Corporation of New York , which includes abortion in its promotion of responsible parenthood;
- the George Family Foundation, which has given money to Planned Parenthood, one of the world’s leading promoters of abortion;
- the Hunt Alternatives Fund , whose grant-making includes the promotion of abortion under sexual and reproductive health, rights and services;
- the Nathan Cummings Foundation, which gave money to the Chicago Abortion Fund; and
- the Rockefeller Foundation, which is a funder of some of the world’s leading pro-abortion organisations.
I’m concerned, therefore, to see that World Youth Alliance (WYA) advertises in their newsletter this month as follows:
“Opportunity: The Faiths Act Fellowship
On September 25, a partnership was launched between the Tony Blair Faith Foundation and Interfaith Youth Core, to engage exceptional young people whose leadership motivated by faith will result in real impact on the lives of others. For more information, contact Eboo Patel at email@example.com.”
According to their website, the World Youth Alliance “is a global coalition of young people committed to promoting the dignity of the person and building solidarity among youth from developed and developing nations”. If that’s the case, they should be steering well clear of the Tony Blair Faith Foundation and its collaborator the Interfaith Youth Core. I am writing to them to express my concerns.
Thursday, 16 October 2008
It will be a scandal if the invitation to Tony Blair remains in place, until or unless he publicly repudiates his anti-life and anti-family political record. He is, arguably, one of the worst possible role models to present to young people. As I say in a letter to the organizers (reproduced in full below):
"In his encyclical Evangelium Vitae (91) Pope John Paul wrote: 'On the eve of the Third Millennium, the challenge facing us is an arduous one: only the concerted efforts of all those who believe in the value of life can prevent a setback of unforeseeable consequences for civilization'. In view of Tony Blair’s unwavering pursuit of legislation and policies in Britain and overseas promoting abortion and other anti-life measures, it is clear that he has been a principal architect of the worldwide attack on the value of life to which the late Holy Father refers in Evangelium Vitae."
Text of my letter to the organisers
Youth Meeting in Rome,
Ul. Foksal 11,
I am very concerned to note that Mr Tony Blair, the former British prime minister, has been invited to speak at the Youth Meeting at the European University of Rome, based on Pope John Paul II’s teachings, entitled “The Civilisation of Love”. You are possibly unaware of Tony Blair's anti-life and anti-family political record.
Since being received into the Catholic Church last year, Mr Blair has repeatedly refused to repudiate his strongly anti-life and anti-family political record.
On 11 January of this year, I wrote to ask Tony Blair if, in the light of his reception into the Catholic Church, he now repudiates:
- voting for abortion up to birth three times
- personally endorsing his government policy of supplying abortion and birth control drugs and devices to schoolgirls as young as 11 without parental knowledge or consent
- his government’s commitment to the promotion of abortion on demand as a universal fundamental human right
- personally championing destructive experiments on human embryos
- his government introducing legislation which has led to a law which allows, and in certain circumstances requires, doctors to starve and dehydrate to death vulnerable patients.
A week earlier (on 4 April 2008) at a talk at Westminster Cathedral, the primary Catholic cathedral in England and Wales, Mr Blair said: “There is nothing I look back on now and say that as a result of my religious journey I would have done things very differently but that is expressly not to say that I got everything right”.
It will be a scandal if the invitation to Mr Blair to speak at a meeting of young people based on the teachings of Pope John Paul II on the civilization of love remains in place. In his encyclical Evangelium Vitae (91) Pope John Paul wrote: “On the eve of the Third Millennium, the challenge facing us is an arduous one: only the concerted efforts of all those who believe in the value of life can prevent a setback of unforeseeable consequences for civilization”. In view of Tony Blair’s unwavering pursuit of legislation and policies in Britain and overseas promoting abortion and other anti-life measures, it is clear that he is a principal architect of the worldwide attack on the value of life to which the late Holy Father refers in Evangelium Vitae.
Not only has he failed to repudiate his political record on these matters, the Tony Blair Faith Foundation is now working with a partnership of organizations , including World Vision which calls for abortion on demand to be legalized in the world’s poorest nations – which was also, for Tony Blair’s government, central to the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals, as can be seen in his government’s position paper on sexual and reproductive health and rights (July 2004).
I urge that the invitation to Mr Blair to speak at this conference be withdrawn, until or unless he publicly repudiates his anti-life and anti-family political record. Public figures, especially those who may continue to seek political office, cannot be allowed to protect themselves from public scrutiny by being received into the Catholic Church.
I look forward to hearing from you.
SPUC national director
Wednesday, 15 October 2008
One can almost hear the pens of writers being sharpened at The Tablet (and similar so-called Catholic publications), which has recently carried advertising for an organization which promotes abortion, in order to describe the Archbishop of Guadalajara, Cardinal Juan Sandoval Iniguez, the Mexican cardinal concerned, as some kind of extremist.
In the event of such a development, which is pretty inevitable from past experience, we should point out that such publications would no doubt fully (and rightly) agree with the Cardinal if he were to say, for example: “those who promote and approve laws in favor of killing journalists are outside the Catholic Church and should not receive Communion”.
Those who should know better and who argue that different principles apply in the case of abortion, should have the courage to say openly that the unborn child is not a fellow human being and, therefore, not their neighbour.
In addition, where does the cardinal's statement leave Tony Blair, who refuses to repudiate his unwavering promotion of anti-life legislation and policies as an MP and Prime Minister even though he has been received into the Catholic Church?
Tuesday, 14 October 2008
In last weekend's edition of "The Universe", Alexander Desforges, spokesman for the Cardinal, disputed such an interpretation of the code, citing a letter from Lord Guthrie, the hospital chairman, which refers to “fidelity to the Hospital’s Roman Catholic foundation and character”.
Lord Guthrie's letter was sent to the hospital staff and consultants on 30th September 2008 together with a copy of the ethics code - or "new statement of ethics", as Lord Guthrie describes it. "HE the Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster who is our patron, has given his endorsement of this statement ..." Lord Guthrie says in his letter.
Having read the new (2008) statement of ethics and compared it with the ethics code approved by the Hospital Board at the end of 2007, which you can find here, I am astonished to read that the Cardinal has endorsed the new statement of ethics - which clearly fails to prohibit referrals for abortions and other procedures, which were so firmly prohibited by the 2007 Code.
I am also astonished by Alexander Desforges's misleading statement to The Universe. Read the two codes yourself and form your own judgement.
Luke Gormally comments on Fr Finigan's blog: "How can the Church in this country effectively defend the sanctity of life when its Chief Shepherd is prepared to approve a code which effectively accommodates referrals for abortion?"
I have blogged before about the the complicity of the Catholic authorities in England and Wales with government policy in providing access to abortion to schoolchildren in Catholic schools below the age of consent and without the knowledge or consent of parents.
Catholic Church leaders in England must stop the evil complicity with abortion provision. Pope John Paul II called on all people of good will to oppose abortion "with the strength and courage of those prepared even to be imprisoned and put to the sword" Evangelium Vitae, 73, and that's the spirit needed in any new episcopal appointments in order to meet the challenge presented by today's culture of death.
Monday, 13 October 2008
Fr Holden described the government's Human Fertilisation and Embryology bill as "one of the darkest pieces of social legislation ever to come out of this land", but urged his listeners not to despair in the face of such challenges.
Fr Holden preached (pictured) at the Rosary Crusade of Reparation, an annual Catholic procession in London from Westminster Cathedral to the Oratory in South Kensington. This year's crusade was offered especially for the defeat of the HFE bill.
As I was getting ready to fly home from Canada on Saturday, I watched Sarah Palin "live" delivering a speech in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, which included some timeless comments on Trig, her son who has Down's syndrome. In my opinion, hers was the most significant political speech of the 21st century.
She said: "I believe the truest measure of any society is how it treats those who are least able to defend and speak for themselves. And who is more vulnerable, or more innocent, than a child?
"When I learned that my son Trig would have special needs, I had to prepare my heart for the challenges to come. At first I was scared, and Todd and I had to ask for strength and understanding. But I can tell you a few things I’ve learned already.
"Yes, every innocent life matters. Everyone belongs in the circle of protection. Every child has something to contribute to the world, if we give them that chance. There are the world’s standards of perfection … and then there are God’s, and these are the final measure. Every child is beautiful before God, and dear to Him for their own sake.
"As for our beautiful baby boy, for Todd and me, he is only more precious because he is vulnerable."
Given that the most fundamental responsibility of political leaders is to protect the lives of citizens, Sarah Palin's speech is the most significant speech of the 21st century. What other major political figure in the world today is speaking up for people with Down's syndrome ? Not only does she stand up for the one of the most-discriminated-against groups of our time, she does so with total honesty with regard to her feelings towards Trig - from being scared about the challenges to come, to a sense of awe at Trig's beauty, and her powerful sense of maternal protectiveness towards him.
As Alison Davis, who leads No Less Human, a group within SPUC, has pointed out in her speech at Oxford University earlier this year, 92% of babies with down's syndrome are aborted each year in Britain and the percentage is about the same in the US.
You can read her full speech in LifeNews here.
Thursday, 9 October 2008
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
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
I have been in
- in the US
- in Britain
- in Northern Ireland
- in the Republic of Ireland through the pro-abortion lobby's action in the European Court of Human Rights
- in Kenya
- in the Philippines
- and through the Tony Blair Faith Foundation.
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
Monday, 6 October 2008
Bishop's letter yesterday on adoption by same-sex couples is an important development for the pro-life cause
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 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”.
Sunday, 5 October 2008
"Legalising abortion has no place in African Cultures and traditions" says Cardinal Njue, Archbishop of Nairobi
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.
"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 apostolate...in 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.
†John Cardinal Njue
Archbishop of Nairobi
and the Apostolic Administrator of Murang’a
28th September 2008"