Tuesday, May 31, 2011

SPUC announces recruitment of Bioethics heavyweight Anthony Mc Carthy

The Society for the protection of Unborn Children has today announced the appointment of Anthony Mc Carthy  as education and publications manager, the appointment being effective from July 1st next.

Anthony was previously a Research Fellow of the Anscombe Bioethics Centre, formerly the Linacre Centre for Healthcare Ethics, a bioethical institute serving the Catholic Church in the United Kingdom and Ireland. In the eight years he spent with the Centre, Anthony contributed to submissions to the Government on major bioethical issues. He has written on such topics for national publications, including the Daily Mail and the Daily Telegraph, and has argued the pro-life cause convincingly on Channel 4 News and the BBC. Anthony is the author of a book entitled "Cloning and Stem Cell Research" and has helped to edit a range of other publications in the field of bioethics.

Anthony will oversee SPUC’s educational work at home and abroad, be responsible for SPUC’s educational publications and the SPUC website. He has also been given the responsibility of managing, directing and developing SPUC’s outreach to secondary schools, universities and colleges and to young people in general across the country. Given his background in research, bioethics and public relations, SPUC believes he is the ideal candidate to represent the organisation publicly and to write about bioethical and pro-life issues on behalf of SPUC for a range of publications. [...]

Responding to his appointment, Mr McCarthy told the media earlier today:

“I am delighted and honoured to be asked by SPUC to become their Education and Publications Manager. I have been writing and speaking on issues in sexual and reproductive ethics, as well as other life issues, for years and relish the opportunity to educate young people ready to cast off the tired nostrums of the sexual revolution and the various promoters of the culture of death. [...]

Anthony is uniquely well-qualified to help SPUC fulfil that educational mission. The Society for the Protection of Unborn Children has been sending trained volunteer speakers to secondary schools for over four decades. SPUC's educational research trust produces 'How You Began', an educational set of realistic, anatomically-correct foetal models, which have been used in schools, medical schools and universities for over 20 years. They were designed and manufactured under the expert guidance of a team of leading foetal authorities including obstetricians and gynaecologists, pathologists and other experts in anatomy and embryology.

For complete text of SPUC announcement  follow this link

Norris' Presidential hopes dealt a body blow.

The campaign of Senator David Norris who recently declared his intention to stand for the Irish Presidency ran into major controversy yesterday when an article that appeared in Magill Magazine in January 2002 resurfaced, calling into question his suitability for such a high office.

An extract from the article in which Norris was interviewed by Helen Burke dealt in part with sexual matters is reprinted below

Senator David Norris, Magill Article 2002
Magill Magazine, January 2002, pp34-36                                             

David Norris: The Free Radical.
Interview by Helen Lucy Burke.

...I found some of his views on sexual matters deeply disturbing - notably on sex with minors...

"In terms of classic paedophilia, as practised by the Greeks for example, where it is an older man introducing a younger man or boy to adult life, I think there can be something to be said for it. And in terms of North African experience this is endemic.
Now again, this is not something that appeals to me, although when I was younger it would most certainly have appealed to me in the sense that  I would have greatly relished the prospect of an older, attractive, mature man taking me under his wing, lovingly introducing me to sexual realities, and treating me with affection and teaching me about life - yes, I think that would be lovely; I would have enjoyed that."...

"But I think there is complete and utter hysteria about this subject, and there is also confusion between ... paedophilia and pederasty..."[David Norris clarified this later, explaining that genital sexual penetration of juveniles of either sex would be inappropiate and harmful]...

"In my opinion, the teacher, or Christian Brother, who puts his hand into a boy's pocket during a history lesson, that is one end of the spectrum. but then there is another: there is the person who attacks children of either sex, rapes them, brutalises them, and then murders them. But the way things are presented here it's almost as if they were all exactly the same and I don't think they are. and I have to tell you this -- I think that the children in some instances are more damaged by the condemnation than by the actual experience."
The right of unfettered sexual activity guided by the principle of mutual consent would be Norris's perception of the way things should be, with a bar only on intimidation, bullying or bribery. He did not appear to endorse any minimum age or endure any protest that a child was not capable of informed consent.

"The law in this sphere should take in to account consent rather than age".

When I asked about incest, he hesitated, and concluded that in the case of girls a case could be made for a ban, as possible resulting pregnancy might be genetically undesirable...
The article can also be found on this link

Monday, May 30, 2011

Obama in Ireland

The president of the United States of America, Barack Obama, made a ‘whistle-stop’ visit to Ireland last week.   During the course of his less than one-day stop-over he was received by the President, Mary McAleese, at her official residence, he met some government officials, he travelled by helicopter to a small village in Co. Offaly from whence one of his ancestors emigrated to the US in the nineteenth century, and he was received with great enthusiasm in the centre of Dublin city where thousands queued from early morning in order to catch a glimpse of him.  Everywhere he went he was received with rapturous applause.   

But nobody seemed to be aware of Mr. Obama’s active support for and financing of the killing of unborn children worldwide.
People in many countries have expressed their surprise that there did not appear to be any opposition whatsoever to his visit, nor any demonstration of profound horror at his policies.   However, it would probably have been impossible to get through the massive security operation that surrounded him, and if anybody did manage to do so I have no doubt but that he or she would have been very quickly overpowered and removed.

To date, a solitary letter of dissent has been published in one national newspaper, as follows:

‘I just looked at the RTÉ coverage of the Obama visit.  I just wish Irish people knew how bad it is to be governed by him before they welcomed him so warmly.  He spends money we don’t have, creates higher taxes, apologises for foreign policy, not to mention the fact that he believes in the killing of the unborn.  Is it 2012 yet?’

The writer lives in Baltimore, Maryland, US.
Why was there a media consensus of silence with regard to his unparalleled support for abortion, both in his own country and also throughout the world?   Nor was there any mention of his promotion of the homosexual agenda, which is a huge attack on the family and on children.
The media, and government spokesmen and spokeswomen, were at pains to emphasise that Mr. Obama’s visit would make such a difference to relations between Ireland and the US in cementing same, but – more importantly – his visit would make a huge contribution to the tourist industry!
But, apart from Mr. Obama’s visit to Ireland being a part of his upcoming presidential election campaign, what was the real reason for his coming to Ireland.   Perhaps we should be grateful that at least he had, because of the Icelandic ash, to depart from our shores earlier than had been expected, and that he did not have the opportunity to spend one night in our country.   God help the poor deluded people of Ireland!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Hungarian Constitution

Roger Eldridge (Family Rights Institute of Ireland) has issued a very interesting email in relation to recent events in Hungary.   It seems that the new Hungarian Constitution contains statements that are not at all acceptable to the European Union.   

Here are some extracts from the Constitution:

‘Human dignity is inviolable.  Everyone has the right to life and human dignity; the life of a foetus will be protected from conception.
‘Hungary protects the institution of marriage between man and woman, a matrimonial relationship voluntarily established, as well as the family as the basis for the survival of the nation.
‘Hungary supports child-bearing.
‘The protection of families is regulated by a super majority law.’

And here is some of what appeared on the website of the ‘Liberals and Democrats’ group (ALDE) - in the European Parliament, prior to the approval of the new Constitution by a margin of 262 to 44 votes in the Hungarian Parliament:

‘Liberals and Democrats (ALDE) in the European Parliament, along with Amnesty International, the Hungarian Civil Liberties Union, the Helsinki Committee and other international and national human rights organizations are drawing attention to the serious threats the new Hungarian constitution, due to be approved in the Hungarian Parliament on Monday 18th April, poses to widely held European values: freedom, democracy, equality, non-discrimination and respect for fundamental human rights.
‘According to the text, the Fundamental Law and the catalogue of human rights it contains is to be interpreted on the basis of specific values such as faith, loyalty, the prominence of the community and the nation before the individual, the primary role of traditional families in society and the importance of Christianity in preserving Hungarian nationhood. …
‘Guy Verhofstadt, President of the Liberal and Democrat group in the European Parliament expressed his concern ahead of the constitution’s approval:  “…  We call on the Hungarian authorities to submit the text of the new Constitution to the European Commission for evaluation and to revise any parts thereof that do not conform to EU values.” ’
‘Specific details of the document which give rise to concern are: discrimination is not expressly prohibited on the grounds of sexual orientation, ethnicity, age and genetic features; the notions of marriage and family are defined to exclude single-parent families, cohabiting and same-sex couples; the protection of the life of the foetus from the time of conception is tantamount to a ban on abortion. …’

As Roger says, the new Hungarian Constitution must be really good if it threatens European values!

Fianna Fáil party members, together with an Independent member of the Irish Dáil, are members of the ALDE grouping in the European Parliament.

(This is a topic we will return to in due course when we have carried out an in depth analysis of the new constitution)

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Sex selection abortion in India

A new study published in the Lancet on Tuesday estimates that sex selective abortion of baby girls in India has led to 7.1 million fewer girls than boys up to age six. It also says that the gender gap that has widened by more than a million in a decade (according to an AFP report)

The study reveals that many Indian families, in which the first child is a girl, arrange for prenatal ultrasound testing with a view to establishing the sex of their babies and will abort a second female in the hope that a subsequent pregnancy will yield a boy.
In the study, researchers led by Prabhat Jha of the Centre for Global Health at the University of Toronto, analysed census data from 2011 and earlier.
They also examined over 250,000 births from national surveys to calculate the difference in the girl-boy ratio for second births in families in which the first-born child had been a girl.
They found that this ratio fell from 906 girls per 1,000 boys in 1990 to 836 girls per 1,000 boys in 2005, an annual decline of a half of a percent.

Declines were much greater in mothers who had gone to school for at least ten years than in mothers with no education at all. The same trend held true for wealthier households compared to poorer ones.

The increasingly lopsided ratio of girls to boys however is larger in wealthy households than poorer ones, the researchers reported.

Between 1980 and 2010, they estimate, up to 12 million girls may have been aborted because of their sex.

Well done to Fiorella Nash in highlighting the human tragedy associated with this barbaric practice in her BLOG

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

UK annual abortion statistics for 2010

The UK Department of Health annual abortion statistics released yesterday show another increase in the number of abortions and in addition it shows that the number of repeat abortions is also very high.
According to a SPUC news release  the latest annual abortion figures represent 190,000 unborn babies whose deaths were entirely avoidable. The figures for England and Wales show a slight increase in registered abortions over the previous year. Abortions were 8% higher than 10 years before in 2000.

In contrast however the figures relative to Irish women travelling to the UK, from both Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic for abortion, show a further decline for the ninth consecutive year.
The statistics released by the Department of Health show that in 2010, 4,402 women from the Republic of Ireland travelled to Britain for abortions, down from 4,422 for the previous year. It is the ninth consecutive year that Irish abortions have declined after more than a decade of upward trends. It marks a 34% decline since the high of 6,673 Irish abortions in 2001. Ireland’s abortion rate is now 4.4 per 1,000 female residents aged 15-44 where England’s is 17.5.
The number of women from Northern Ireland travelling to England for abortion has reduced from 1577 in 2001 to 1101 in 2010
Whilst it is tragic that any Irish woman (or any woman for that matter) feels the necessity to terminate the life of a baby nevertheless this continued downward trend in abortions is to be welcomed.
The recorded 34% decline in Irish abortions over the past nine years is an extremely encouraging trend and should be welcomed by everyone on both sides of the abortion debate. For years, abortion advocates claimed that an upward trend in abortions was inevitable. These claims have now proven to be false.
Those who constantly seek to change our laws to provide for legalization of abortion ignore both the humanity and rights of the unborn child and the long-term negative effects of abortion on women.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Malta to vote on divorce

LifeSiteNews reports that in the run-up to a referendum on divorce, due to be held on 28 May, a Maltese bishop, Bishop Mario Grech, has warned Catholics of ‘wolves in sheep’s clothing’ who are trying to introduce divorce into Malta.   He also warns that: 
‘You cannot not be loyal to Christ and say you are a Christian or a Catholic.  If you are not in communion with Christ’s teachings, you are not in communion with the Church and you cannot receive communion …. To be politically correct and not tell things as they are will lead us to be sorry.  There are the brigands among us who are utilizing every means possible to lead the flock astray.  They are going after marriage and then other things will follow.’     Would that other bishops spoke out in similar manner!
Bishop Grech also warned that 
“to be politically correct and not tell things as they are will lead us to be sorry. There are the brigands among us who are utilizing every means possible to lead the flock astray. They are going after marriage and then other things will follow.”

Monday, May 23, 2011

Dr. Garret Fitzgerald

Much has been written and said about the extraordinary contribution made to Ireland’s history and life by Dr. Garret FitzGerald, R.I.P., who died last week, and whose State Funeral took place on Sunday.    His legacy, particularly in respect of improving relations between Ireland and Britain, and in bringing about peace in Northern Ireland (the Six Counties), will undoubtedly be remembered for many generations into the future.  

There are, however, some aspects of Dr. FitzGerald’s work that will not be looked on too kindly by many people in Ireland – and that is what was called his ‘Constitutional Crusade’ to transform Ireland into a ‘pluralist and liberal’ society.

Numerous press tributes to him following his death made reference to this aspect of his legacy.   For instance, the Irish Examiner for 20 May 2011 had this to say of him:

‘He had a profound influence on social change in the Republic.  Besides lobbying for the separation of church and state, he spearheaded constitutional campaigns for the introduction of divorce and abortion.’

And another media outlet: 
‘A supporter of the liberal wing of the party [Fine Gael], known as The Just Society, he campaigned strongly in favour of Ireland joining the EEC in the 1972 referendum.  … A difficult economic situation led to tough and unpopular medicine, while in 1983 the electorate voted against Dr. FitzGerald’s advice to amend the Constitution to protect the life of the unborn, and three years later rejected the introduction of divorce.’
[To clarify this rather strange sentence – Dr. FitzGerald favoured the introduction of divorce, and he did not favour incorporating an amendment to protect the life of the unborn in the Constitution.]

There is a wonderful little book entitled The Facilitators (published by Brandsma Books Limited, many years ago). It tells you all you ever wanted to know about the ‘facilitators’ who are so successfully active in so many areas of life in Ireland today.  It also gives an in-depth account of what happened in the lead-up to the 1983 referendum mentioned above. I quote from the book: 
‘Two days before the referendum, Dr. FitzGerald made a long-promised address to the nation about his position on the Amendment.  He repeated the main arguments of the Anti-Amendment (pro-abortion) Campaign, referring to the possibility that the measure might actually usher in abortion, the difficulties it would cause for some methods of contraception; and to the women who would possibly die as a result of it.  As his trump card, he said it was his Christian duty to urge the people to vote against it'
This of course proved to be completely false in that it was precisely the passing of this amendment that has protected Ireland from the introduction of abortion. It should also be pointed out that despite Dr. Fitzgerald's dire warnings Ireland has the lowest level of maternal mortality in the world.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Report on UPR meeting Athlone

I have previously BLOGGED on the blatantly pro-abortion report "Your Rights Right now and the attempt to pretend it has very widespread public support in Ireland see BLOGS April 20th April 28th May 18th  

I also reported that the Irish Government has initiated a consultation process in various locations in Ireland.

I now have a report from Ray McIntyre who attended the Department of Justice Public Consultation which took place this week in Athlone on the Universal Periodic Review process.
The following are extracts from Ray's address to the meeting;
I’m involved in village development and education work in South Eastern Nigeria and supporting a health clinic project in western Kenya.
I’m also concerned with the erosion of Human Dignity and the denial of Fundamental human rights to the vulnerable in our own society, the disabled, the unborn and the elderly. I’m also an employer who is conscious of how the vulnerable situation of undocumented immigrants and women expecting babies can be exploited by the unscrupulous in this dire economic environment. The number of young unemployed men ‘’dying ‘’ in my town is truly shocking and no organisation appears addressing this issue.

However before I make a proposal regarding a human rights deficiency under our present law.
I have to speak about the RightsNow report. This report I am told is nothing to do with the Government however the presence of one of the RightsNow Coalition members would suggest otherwise (referring to the Amnesty representative, Ruth Gallagher who had just made a presentation which featured a slide with reproductive rights included as an area of concern that they will focus on).
I would respectfully ask our Government Civil Servants here tonight to note the following;

A significant number of Irish NGOs have found their name associated with this report by some manner or means. According to my investigations many of them were unaware that their name was going to be used to promote abortion. Unfortunately the extremely loose endorsement process on the RightsNow website has completely diminished any impact that the many legitimate human rights concerns highlighted in the report will now have.

The RightsNow report has been cleverly compiled and promoted by a Government Minister . Media reports of the launch have given the impression that every endorsing organisation listed actually supports the entire report.
The most fundamental human right to conscientious objection is also being breeched because today I have been told that these organisations will not be permitted to have their names and their endorsements removed from the report. That their names are set in stone now on the report, this is completely outrageous.
Ray continued by telling the meeting;

Our Government representatives and Civil servants here tonight will claim that this report is nothing to do with them. Well the presence of one the RightsNow coalition members in person of the Amnesty representative giving us a presentation (including call for Abortion Rights disguised by the language of Reproductive Rights) would indicate a certain degree of collaboration behind the scenes.
Indeed Minister Lynch at the launch said that (and I quote from the Irish Council for Civil Liberties website)
Minister Lynch said .. ‘’the document will be a valuable contribution to the preparation of the National Report…I welcome the ongoing co-operation on the UPR between the Civil Society Coalition and my Department. The lines of communication
have been extremely helpful so far and can only benefit the UPR process-and indeed the country-in the long run .I welcome your experience and feedback and look forward to continuing this good working relationship and I appreciate the participation that you have offered in my own Department’s consultation process.
I am delighted to launch this document and thank you for your hard work and achievement’’

So much for independence and objectivity.

As Minister Lynch said ‘’The lines of communication
Have been extremely helpful so far and can only benefit the UPR process-and indeed the country-in the long run ‘’
Yes Minister ! This process will indeed be good for the country……

Unless of course you happen to be one our thousands of Unborn Brothers and Sisters, able-bodied or disabled, black ,brown or white.
So much for the worthy aims of inclusion and diversity.
It appears that only certain human beings may qualify for certain human rights to be allocated according to the priorities set by the Human Rights Establishment.
This Human Rights Establishment are the new arbitrators of who can live and who can be allowed to have their little tiny lives ended prematurely and violently.


Friday, May 20, 2011

The Irish Presidency

Ireland's current President Mrs Mary Mc. Aleese will finish her second term of office this autumn.
Various candidates are currently seeking support and nomination for the Presidency once it becomes vacant and unless there is an agreed candidate there will be a Presidential election to fill the position.
Of course the country is also abound with rumours of other possible candidates.

For example it has been rumoured that Mrs. Mary Robinson, former president of Ireland, might be considering putting herself forward for a further term of presidency when the present incumbent, Mrs. Mary McAleese, stands down later this year.   Those near to Mrs. Robinson have denied the rumour.   However, it might be of interest to readers to be aware of Mrs. Robinson’s thinking in relation to various moral and ethical matters.

She campaigned vigorously for the provision of abortion - 

‘I would make abortion available in this country [Ireland] in limited circumstances. … It would be healthier to be more mature about ourselves, more honest.  Even for a country that regrets and feels a great sense of loss at the termination of life, it would be a preferable situation.  It would be a kind of coming to terms with the problem, instead of exporting it and moralising about it.’   She campaigned for contraception - ‘I consistently said that we need access to contraception to reduce the abortion rate.’  She campaigned for divorce, and fought for the ‘right’ to divorce before the European Court of Human Rights.  She campaigned successfully in favour of the decriminalisation of homosexual acts.  As her biography states: ‘By the end of the 1980s, Mary Robinson had won every liberal campaign medal there was.   A new generation was living comfortably within the freer society she had helped introduce, the older generation had begun to accept that the sky, after all, wouldn’t fall. …’ 

Here is another extract from her biography, describing a visit that she paid, as president, to the Vatican:  

‘President Mary Robinson drove in to the Vatican, through courtyard after courtyard, and drew up in front of a brilliantly dressed guard of honour.  There were the striped doublets and glinting helmets of the Swiss guard and the decorated lines of Papal Knights.  “What was very curious was that they were very colourfully dressed with medals and stiff white collars and plumes and you name it.  But when I got out of the car, it was quite clear they were surprised I wasn’t dressed in black.”  Queen Elizabeth had come in penitent black with a veil.  It was assumed that the President of Catholic Ireland would do no less.  Yet here she was in a smart green dress and coat with a cheeky sprig of Women’s Day mimosa – bareheaded.   Some critics would later say – barefaced.                                   
‘The Pope’s men were astonished.  “When I recognised that, I was delighted I had taken the decision that I had.  Far from feeling awkward about it, I felt that this was what I was about.  This is International Women’s Day, and I am an elected woman head of state and it is right that I should walk along and inspect this elaborate male guard not wearing a veil and a black dress!”
‘President and Pope met as two heads of state … Times had changed since the days when she had challenged the power of the Church over women’s lives and won.  Contraception liberated women to fight for all the other freedoms.  Mary Robinson had helped establish a new status and a new confidence among Irish women and her election was the very symbol of it.'

Thursday, May 19, 2011

End of life issues

In a week which, sadly saw Zurich in Switzerland vote massively in favour of keeping assisted suicide (see BBC report) it seems appropriate to return to dealing with end of life issues.

On a number of previous occasions I have written about the Forum on End of Life in Ireland and, although there have been many such occasions, I’d like to refer readers of my blog to them again now – in order to get an overall picture of the proceedings to date.   Here are the relevant dates: 29 March, 22 June, 30 June, 9 September, 5 October and 9 December 2009, and 22 June 2010.

The reason why I am coming back to the subject once more is that on Wednesday,
12 October 2011, a further meeting of the Forum will take place at Croke Park, Dublin, from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m.   The key theme of the day’s proceedings is ‘Resilience’.   Mrs. Justice Catherine McGuinness will chair the meeting and the guest speaker will be the Taoiseach, Enda Kenny.  Conor O’Clery (foreign correspondent and author) will also speak.
Four ‘workshops’ will be held during the day – Carers, Preparing the Public, Spiritual and Psychological Support, The Medicalisation of Dying.

It is curious to note that part of the heading on the flyer giving details of the event includes the words Bás in Eireann  - i.e. ‘Death in Ireland’.  [Bás in Eireann should of course read Bás in Éirinn]. 

For further details and booking requirements please follow this link 

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Controversy relating to pro-abortion UPR report deepens

The controversy about the pro-abortion report prepared by a group of NGO's for Ireland's Universal Periodic Review has deepened. We reported April 28th that a number of Catholic organisations whose names wrongly had been included in the list of those endorsing the report, subsequently denied they had done so and said they were taking steps to have their names removed from the list. It now appears that the Irish Council of Civil Liberties (ICCL) is refusing to allow many of these names to be removed.

Youth Defence in an article on the controversy yesterday, wrote: 

Organisations who have contacted the Irish Council of Civil Liberties seeking to have their endorsement withdrawn from the 'Your Rights, Right Now' report are now being told that they cannot do so. In an astonishing decision, the ICCL, say they will not allow endorsements to be withdrawn because the report and its endorsements - which includes a section calling for abortion - is "a matter of recorded historical fact which cannot be altered."

At least 12 organisations to date have confirmed that they wish their endorsements to be removed by the ICCL - but of those 12, only Trócaire has officially been removed from the document.
The Director of the ICCL, Mark Kelly wrote to other organisations stating that organisations which had previously supported the report (when they were unaware of its call for abortion) were unable to withdraw their endorsement because "the endorsement was recorded in the report and sent to the UN on 21 March 2011" and their endorsement of the 'Your Rights, Right Now' report "is a matter of recorded historical fact which cannot be altered now."
In a separate move the Irish Government has arranged a series of meetings to allow public discussion on the review
The first meeting which was held in DUBLIN on Monday 16/05/2011 generated considerable debate on the issue and when 20 out of 25 interventions related to the Human Rghts of the Unborn;a frustrated supporter of the pro-abortion report shouted..''move on! your groups are not mainstream!''.. 
Needless to say irrespective of the viewpoint that seeks to marginalise the issue the right to life of the unborn is fundamental. One cannot enjoy any other right if ones fundamental right to life is not respected. We urge pro-life individuals to attend one of the meetings preferably the one in your area and speak out strongly in support of the right to life of every human being born and unborn

The other venues for similar meetings are as follows 

ATHLONE, Wednesday 18/05/2011, 7-10 pm. Douglas Hyde theatre, Athlone Institute of Technology

KILKENNY, Friday 20/05/2011, 7-10 pm the Parade Tower, Kilkenny Castle

LIMERICK, Monday 23/05/2011, 7-10 pm Room 310, Mary Immaculate College, South Circular Road

SLIGO, Wednesday 25/05/2011, 7-10 pm   Room A0006, Institute of Technology Sligo, Ash Lane, Sligo

CORK, Friday 27/05/2011, 7-10 pm   Boole 1, University College Cork, College Road, Cork

DUBLIN, Monday 30/05/2011, 7-10 pm   Axis Ballymun Theatre, Main Street, Ballymun, Dublin 9

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Canadadian March for Life, Ottawa 2011

A massive 15,000 people took part in a March for Life in Ottawa, Canada, on Thursday of last week.   Amongst the crowd were Archbishop Prendergast of Ottawa, Bishop de Angelis of Peterborough, and Archbishop Gerald Lacroix of Quebec City and Primate of Canada, to mention just a few.

Also present during the March was a significant group of Eastern Rite clergy and lay people, together with groups such as Silent no More and others.   The huge crowd gathered at Parliament Hill in Ottawa, where they were addressed by a number of eminent speakers in the world of pro-life.

The blog, Socon or Bust, –- gives a great account of the occasion, together with quite a few photographs which give an excellent picture of the atmosphere of the day.   It is well worth a visit.

The blogger writes that: ‘The fact is that abortion is the most important issue of our time. People of faith and family know it.  Our opponents know it.  The only people who refuse to acknowledge it are the politicians who give us lame excuses that we should not be re-opening this debate, as if this issue was a settled issue.  Well, the reality is it’s not settled. …’

Indeed, those words could very well be applied to many other countries.   In Ireland, for example, a coalition of pro-abortion groups – Amnesty International, Irish Family Planning Association, etc., – has recently compiled a report, ostensibly on human rights in this country, and has already submitted their report for consideration to the UN Universal Periodic Review committee, which will be ‘examining’ the situation in relation to human rights in Ireland, next October.    However, the authors have incorporated the names of various organisations in the report, describing them as ‘endorsers’ of the report.     But the report carries a very definite ‘recommendation’ to the UN that Ireland should abandon her Constitutional protection of unborn children and make provision for abortions to be carried out in Ireland.   It now appears that a number of the organisations whose endorsement of the report is indicated thereoin were not aware that their name had been hijacked by the pro-abortion lobby, and one by one these organisations have been – thankfully – withdrawing their support for the report, following a request from pro-life groups and members of the public that they should do so.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Another article on Dr. Bernard Nathanson.

In a recent blog (2 March 2011) I wrote about the death of Dr. Bernard Nathanson.
Fr. Frank Pavone, of Priests for Life, in his Newsletter for May/June 2011, now gives us some further information about Dr. Nathanson:

‘Dr. Bernard Nathanson … and his colleagues launched the abortion rights movement and organizations, feeding false statistics to the media about the numbers of women dying from illegal abortion, and doing everything possible to marginalize the teaching authority of the Church, which they saw as their biggest potential obstacle. …
‘He eventually became pro-life through the evidence of science …
‘Dr. Nathanson said he and his colleagues had stolen the abortion issue from the Church and caught the Church asleep.  Speaking to clergy, he maintained, “We would have never gotten away with what we did if you had been united, purposeful, and strong.” ’

In an interview with Fr. Pavone in 1999, Dr. Nathanson said: “Well, you know Priests for Life is an extraordinarily fine group.  I don’t say that in order to make anybody feel better or flatter anyone.  It’s an unusual and a very unique group in that most of the priests whom I have encountered across this country [U.S.A.] and indeed around the world, shy away from the subject of abortion.  They somehow want to keep it under the rug and only pull it out when they’re ordered to.  In my own experience as a Catholic convert for the last several years, I’ve attended a great many Masses and listened to a great many homilies and I believe in three years I’ve listened to only one homily on the subject of abortion and that was here in St. Patrick’s Cathedral.’

That’s something that all of us should take note of.

The Associate Director of Priests for Life, Fr. Peter West, who was present at Dr. Nathanson’s funeral, has written: ‘The story of Dr. Nathanson is one of mercy and redemption.  A man caught in the darkness of evil, but never abandoned or rejected by God.  His life is a reminder to us all of the power of God’s love and mercy which is limitless and stronger than death.  Pray for others stumbling in the darkness, caught in the web of the culture of death, that they may see the light of truth and embrace it as fervently as Dr. Bernard Nathanson did.’

Saturday, May 14, 2011

The rescuing hug

The Integrated Catholic Life in a wonderful article tells us about a life giving hug and while this happened some time ago it has ongoing consequences in that it taught the lesson that love and relationship are vital ingredients for the human condition.  Link to article
Kyrie and Brielle Jackson were born on October 17, 1995, a full 12 weeks ahead of their due date.  The standard practice, that time, at The Medical Center of Central Massachusetts in Worcester, where the twins came into the world, was to place them in separate incubators in order to reduce the risk of infection.

Kyrie’s birth weight was two pounds three ounces.  She gained weight quickly and slept calmly.  Brielle, however, three ounces lighter than her sister, had breathing and heart-rate problems.  The oxygen level in her blood was low, and her weight gain was slow.

On November 12, tiny Brielle went into critical condition.  Her stick-thin arms and legs turned bluish-gray as she gasped for air.  Her heart rate soared.  The Jackson parents watched, terrified that their little daughter might die.

It is said that desperate moments call for desperate measures.  Nurse Gayle Kasparian, after exhausting all the conventional remedies, decided to try a procedure that was common in parts of Europe but virtually unknown in the United States.  With parental permission, she placed the twins in the same bed.  No sooner had she closed the incubator door, Brielle snuggled up to Kyrie and began to calm down.  Within minutes, her blood-oxygen readings improved.  As she dozed, Kyrie wrapped her left arm around her smaller sister.  Brielle’s heart rate stabilized and her temperature rose to normal.
In due time, the twins went home.  Their parents placed them, once again, in the same bed where they continued to thrive.  Even after five years, according to mom and dad, the twins still sleep together and, not surprisingly, still snuggle.

The photograph of Kyrie hugging her little sister, dubbed the “Rescuing Hug,” appeared in both Life magazine and Reader’s Digest.  It brought fame to the pair and spurred a growing interest in co-bedding premature twins, triplets, and quads.  The University of Massachusetts Memorial, for example, has co-bedded at least 100 sets of multiple birth preemies.  Observing this practice over a period of five years, the hospital staff there has not found a single case of twin-to-twin infection.  In addition, clinical studies have shown that premature twins enjoy substantial benefits when they are placed in the same bed together.  One researcher, Mary Whalen, reports the following benefits:
  • Decreased number of apnea problems
  • Improved blood-oxygen levels
  • Increased weight gain
  • Better feeding
  • Greater temperature regulation
  • Decreased agitation
  • Decreased length of hospital stays and likelihood of re-admission
Someone has said that we need four hugs a day for survival, eight for maintenance, and twelve for growth.  This may not be mathematically accurate, but it does illuminate a truth about human beings:  “I touch therefore we are,” is infinitely more revealing of human nature than “I think therefore I am.”
Science tells us that hugging is healthy in a variety of ways.  It strengthens our immune system, reduces stress, assists sleep, and is an antidote to depression.  Researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill state that cuddling with your spouse can be good for your blood pressure.  Kathleen Keating may not tell us everything we want to know about the mutual benefits of hugging in her book, The Hug Therapy, but she does make it clear that hugging can be wonderfully therapeutic in a variety of ways for people of all ages.

The word “miraculous” is often associated with the benefits of hugging.  It would seem that the word “natural” would be more suitable.  After all, we are naturally constituted with bodies. And it is through our bodies that we come into contact with the outside world and the people who inhabit it.  And it is by means of our bodies that we come to understand who we are as embodied persons.  Consider what the author of the “Theology of the Body,” Blessed John Paul II has said about how we function as human persons:  “As human beings, we are capable of participating in the very humanity of other people, and because of this every human being can be our neighbor . . . The Gospel also suggests this by using not the word other but the word neighbor.”

We adults are often blind to the obvious.  Sometimes it takes two premature infants (young enough to be dispatched through abortion as unwanted others) to remind us of what kind of beings we are, and that we are primarily natured to each other precisely as neighbors.  Yet we are embodied neighbors.  Through hugs and handshakes, smiles and squeezes, touches and tickles, kisses and cuddles, we honor and affirm one another.  This is not something we need to learn.  Brielle and Kyrie knew this long before they were conscious of it.  But it is something we may need to re-learn, and surely something we should never forget.

Participation reveals more truly the most fundamental dynamic of our human nature. Unfortunately, we are caught up in the frenzy of individualization, and as a result, sometimes forget who we really are.  In trying to secure our “right” to be an individual, we can easily lose sight of the more basic fact that we are persons whose destiny is to live and love in the interpersonal horizon of giving and receiving.  Little Kyrie’s hug encircles every one of us, reminding us in the most gentle of manners that we are called to participate through love in the lives of all our neighbors.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Sweden spurns the right to conscientious objection

In a direct attack on a Council of Europe resolution, upholding the right of medical personnel to conscientiously object to abortion, the Swedish Parliament voted yesterday to campaign against the resolution. 
The Swedish parliament approved a resolution by 271 to 20 which says 
"Sweden should support efforts which makes abortions free, safe and legal for all women. Sweden is one of few countries who are central in the international work focusing on sexual and reproductive health and rights."
The resolution includes an instruction to the Swedish delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Coucil of Europe (PACE) to work to change the resolution to uphold the right to conscientious objection passed by the COE last October and which  the following; "No person, hospital or institution shall be coerced, held liable or discriminated against in any manner because of a refusal to perform, accommodate, assist or submit to an abortion".

John Smeaton, director of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC), a UK-based, UN-recognised pro-life NGO whose lobbying helped pass October's PACE resolution, commented:
"Sweden's vote today shows the lengths to which the supporters of abortion are prepared to go to promote the killing of unborn children. There are no international conventions which recognise a right to abortion, whereas conscientious objection is a basic principle of international human rights law. October's PACE resolution was passed in a massively amended form because the original text was an outrageous attack upon the ethical standards of the medical profession, trained to preserve, not end, life.
"We will be working with our colleagues across Europe to ensure that Sweden's attempt to erode the right to defend life is thwarted", 

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Save the Date All Ireland Rally for Life July 2nd 2011

This years annual all Ireland pro-life rally will be held in Dublin on Sat July 2nd.

This will be the 5th ALL-IRELAND RALLY FOR LIFE  and you are invited to be at the Garden of Remembrance in Dublin 1 at 2pm on SATURDAY : 2 JULY 2011.

For more details visit the following link to view the Youth Defence YouTube video 

The rally for life location rotates between Dublin and Belfast. Last years Belfast rally was well attended and supported by groups and individuals from all over Ireland. 

Keeping Ireland abortion-free was the theme of the last Dublin rally held in 2009. This year however it must be emphasized that threats to the right-to-life of the unborn are now greater than ever before and come in myriad forms, not only within Ireland, but from the EU, The Council of Europe, The European Court of Human rights and the United Nations. The pro-life world nationally and internationally are invited to show solidarity with Ireland and our continual struggle to protect the lives of the most vulnerable during these grave times.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The demise of the Irish Council for Bioethics

‘The demise of the Irish Council for Bioethics gives us a good opportunity to reflect on the topic and how it is handled in Ireland.’   This is the heading for a piece written by Professor Desmond O’Neill, who is a consultant in geriatric and stroke medicine, in relation to the recent disappearance of the Irish Council for Bioethics – in its present form.    That Council is one of a number of quangos established (and demolished) by the previous government.   One of its functions was to invite submissions from the general public on a specific ethical question – and it then promptly ignored the opinions of those who provided submissions.

To get back to what Professor O’Neill had to say:

‘The changing profile of bioethics – the ethics of medical and biological research – in Ireland is fascinating.  Of most interest are the transitions: from when the Catholic Church had an inappropriately large influence on all aspects of Irish life, through a marked move to secularism and, increasingly, an evolution to what the philosopher Jurgen Habermas calls the “post-secular” age, in which we are secure enough to embrace a pluralism that makes space for reason, faith and the secular.  In this, we are assisted by Habermas’s methodological atheism – the search for the values and intellectual arguments of the major faiths, without bending to dogma.
‘The recent demise of the Irish Council for Bioethics affords an opportunity for reflection, and future developments would benefit from careful analysis of the experience. …
‘For those working in ethics in Ireland, the council provided a fresh public focus on the subject.  However, its remarkable consensus, most notably on embryonic stem cells, raised eyebrows. 
‘Although the council stated that it was not a representative body, even the most reasoned ethical debate cannot avoid an element of representation of the backgrounds of those involved – either overtly or without design.  Having a more clearly representative body of expertise would ease interpretation, avoiding the need to divine the dynamics of a council made by appointment, or of those who made the appointments.
‘More emphasis on academic involvement in bioethics might also be helpful. …   ‘Although all physicians on the council were senior and medically experienced (and clearly generous with their time and experience), little evidence of their formal engagement with the academic aspects of clinical ethics was apparent from searching MedLine.  [note: MedLine is the main medical database]
‘Reflection on structured interaction with other disciplines, such as theology, would be helpful.  Although one academic ethicist on the council was also a priest, there was no obvious formal linkage with advances in the theological thinking of the largest faith grouping in the State for this wide programme.  …’
The Life Institute (Ireland) recently published a report in booklet form entitled Join the DotsWho’s Behind the Push for Embryo Research in Ireland.   This gives an account of the background, links, and other information concerning organisations such as the Irish Council for Bioethics.   It makes for very interesting reading. A PDF copy of the report  may be downloaded on this link

Monday, May 9, 2011

Courageous Archbishop

Another courageous Catholic Archbishop!    This time, we report on what Archbishop Aldo di Cillo Pagotto, Archbishop of Paraiba, Brazil, has stated in relation to the homosexual movement, both in his own country and worldwide.  He says that neither Brazilian civil law nor Church law approves same-sex ‘marriage’, the validity and legitimacy of which lack the ‘essential conditions’ for the intended purpose of marriage, that is, ‘the fruitful union between a man and a woman, begetting children.’
Tradition, Family, Property tell us that Archbishop Pagotto, in his statement, goes on to say:

‘Missionary indoctrinators of the homosexual cause project their own fears and ambiguities onto the banner of homophobia…  They liken themselves to minorities excluded from society, such as victims of racism and prejudice.  They mobilize and advocate a political platform by creating the crime of homophobia which must be repressed and penalized. … Pressure groups shield the subjectivism of their sexual option behind human rights and impose themselves on society and the State by demanding the reforming of that which cannot be reformed: the natural and positive law established by the Creator. …’

In this way, same-sex ‘marriage’ is contrary to the order of nature and natural law –

‘The Church sees this as a suicide of natural law and the social bonds that establish the family as the basic cell of society.’

At present, there is a bill before the Brazilian Senate that would establish as a crime punishable with imprisonment any restriction on the practice or display of homosexuality.  The TFP organisation ends its report with the following warning:

‘Given the international nature of the homosexual movement campaign to impose its goals on society, the courageous statement by the Brazilian archbishop is a timely encouragement for all those who defend the sacred institute of the family based on matrimony as inscribed “in the very nature of man and woman as they came from the hands of the creator”.’
Indeed, Archbishop Pagotto’s words could well be applied to Ireland.   At a recent public meeting held to plan its equality agenda for the coming years, the Equality Authority (government funded) declared that two historic achievements in the area of equality during the past year were:  the passing of the Bill to recognise homosexual unions in law – giving them rights on a par with those enjoyed by married couples, and the large financial award made by the Courts to a ‘transgender’ person against their employer

Friday, May 6, 2011

Archbishop Chaput address to Notre Dame students

Archbishop Charles Chaput, of Denver (USA), gave the keynote address at the student-organised Right to Life lecture series at the University of Notre Dame recently.   The Archbishop chose ‘Politics and the Devil’ as the theme of his address to the gathering.     It is a lengthy document, and I hope that in having chosen a small number of excerpts from it I have not in any way detracted from the entire message.

‘All law in some sense teaches and forms us, while also regulating our behavior.  The same applies to our public policies, including the ones that govern our scientific research.  There is no such thing as morally neutral legislation or morally neutral public policy.  Every law is the public expression of what somebody thinks we “ought” to do.  The question that matters is this.  Which moral convictions of which somebodies are going to shape our country’s political and cultural future – including the way we do our science?
‘The answer is pretty obvious: if you and I as citizens don’t do the shaping, then somebody else will.  That is the nature of a democracy.  A healthy democracy depends on people of conviction working hard to advance their ideas in the public square – respectfully and peacefully, but vigorously and without apologies.  Politics always involves the exercise of power in the pursuit of somebody’s idea of the common good.  And politics always and naturally involves the imposition of somebody’s values on the public at large.  So if a citizen fails to bring his moral beliefs into our country’s political conversation, if he fails to work for them publicly and energetically, then the only thing he ensures is the defeat of his own beliefs.
‘We also need to remember that most people – not everyone, of course, but most of us – root our moral convictions in our religious beliefs.  What we believe about God shapes what we think about the nature of men and women, the structure of good human relationships, and our idea of a just society.  This has very practical consequences, including the political kind.  We act on what we really believe.  If we don’t act on our beliefs, then we don’t really believe them. …

‘The moral and political struggle we face today in defending human dignity is becoming more complex.  I believe that abortion is the foundational human rights issue of our lifetime.  We can’t simultaneously serve the poor and accept the legal killing of unborn children.  We can’t build a just society, and at the same time legally sanctity the destruction of generations of unborn human life.  The rights of the poor and the rights of the unborn child flow from exactly the same human dignity guaranteed by the God who created us.
‘Of course, working to end abortion doesn’t absolve us from our obligations to the poor.  It doesn’t excuse us from our duties to the disabled, the elderly and immigrants.  In fact, it demands from us a much stronger commitment to materially support women who find themselves in a difficult pregnancy. …

‘I have two final thoughts.  First, nothing we do to defend the human person, no matter how small, is ever unfruitful or forgotten.  Our actions touch other lives and move other hearts in ways we can never fully understand in this world.
‘Don’t ever underestimate the beauty and power of the witness you give in your pro-life work.   One thing we learn from Scripture is that God doesn’t have much use for the vain or the prideful.  But He loves the anawim – the ordinary, simple, everyday people who keep God’s Word, who stay faithful to his commandments, and who sustain the life of the world by leavening it with their own goodness.  That’s the work we are called to do.  Don’t ever forget it, if you speak up for the unborn child in this life, someone will speak up for you in the next, when we meet God face to face.
‘Second, a friend once shared with me the unofficial motto of the Texas Rangers: “No man in the wrong can stand up against a fella that’s in the right, and keeps a-comin.”  The message is true.  Virtue does matter.   Courage and humility, justice and perseverance, do have power.   Good does win, and the sanctity of human life will endure.  It will endure because if “God so loved the world that He gave his only Son” (Jn 3:16), then the odds look pretty good, and it’s worth fighting for what is right."

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Fr Ted Colleton RIP

On 26 April last the world lost a great pro-life advocate, and a fearless and outspoken defender of the unborn.  I am referring to the sad news that Fr. Edward Colleton, CSSp (Fr. Ted, as he was best known) has died, R.I.P.   He has been called ‘the pro-life giant’, and a video dedicated to his life and work (you can see it on the LifeSite website) calls him ‘The Lion in Winter’.

Fr. Ted was born in Ireland.  He entered the Holy Ghost Order as a young man, and he was ordained a priest in 1940.   Following his ordination, he was sent to work on the missions in Kenya.     Having worked there amongst the people for thirty years, following his outspoken criticism of some government policies the president, Jomo Kenyatta, expelled him from Kenya.  Fr. Ted’s Superiors then sent him to Canada where he worked ever since that time – with the exception of an occasional return to Ireland.   Jim Hughes, the national president of the Canadian Campaign Life Coalition, has said of Fr. Ted that ‘he was a wonderful example, giving everything he had for the unborn and vulnerable.  He never rested.’   

In a tribute to him, Niamh Uí Bhriain, of the Life Institute (Ireland), has written:
‘God rest you, Fr. Ted.  May a host of others rise to take your place.’

Just over a year ago (12 April 2010) I wrote the following about Fr. Ted in my blog:

‘The great pro-life priest, Fr. Ted Colleton, CSSp, who spent many years working in Kenya, during the course of an interview some years ago said that:
‘“I was in Kenya for 30 years with the people there and I was teaching.  I was the principal of schools there and pastor in charge of missions and I had never – this was 40 or 50 years ago, I had never heard of an abortion being committed in Africa … I had never heard of an abortion being committed, the idea of killing a baby.  This was among Africans who didn’t believe in the church, maybe didn’t believe in Christ, but they all believed in God.  I never met an African who was an atheist.”

‘Since his time in Kenya, Fr. Colleton (who is now about 97 years of age) has lived and worked in Canada where on numerous occasions he has been arrested and imprisoned for his pro-life work.’

Requiescat in Pace

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Beatification of Pope John Paul ii

Last Sunday May 1st 2011 saw the beatification of Pope John Paul ii.

There are so many things one could say about Blessed John Paul 11 but for the pro-life community he is particularly remembered for his steadfast defence of life from conception to natural death and his many expressions of the necessity of doing so throughout his life.

One of his major encyclicals “The Gospel of Life” (Evangelium Vitae) issued in 1995 was considered by John Paul II to be central to his entire pontificate. Evangelium Vitae calls us to “proclaim, celebrate, and serve” the gift of life, which is the foundation of society and of all the rights and goods we enjoy as individuals and identifies abortion and euthanasia as the fundamental and most serious moral problems of our day.

John Paul II in many of his addresses called for the foundation of a civilisation of love and he once told Fr Paul Marx founder of Human Life International that he was the “Apostle of Life” and that his work was the most important work on earth.

“You must bring this pro-life, pro-family movement all over the earth; and if you do that, you will be doing the most important work on earth."
Msgr. Ignacio Barreiro-Carámbula, current president of Human Life International, said,

“Like all who were blessed to have met him, I was moved by the warmth with which he greeted all in attendance and how he encouraged us in a very paternal way to strengthen our commitment in the defense of life and family.” [...] “Following the example of John Paul II, let us seek the loving intercession of our Blessed Mother, so that all the members of the Church would commit themselves to a vigorous and integral defense of life and family ”.
 The following short You Tube Cameo on the life of John Paul II was produced by Salt and Light

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Undermining Marriage and the Family

Treoir’, the National Federation of Services for Unmarried Parents and their Children in Ireland, is funded by the Family Support Agency which is actually a government agency under the Department of Family and Social Affairs. You may wonder why I am bringing Treoir to your attention at this particular time.   The reason is as follows – at the beginning of 2011 the Civil Partnership and Certain Rights and Responsibilities of Cohabitants Act 2010 became law here, and huge publicity was given on national television and in the main newspapers to the first same-sex ‘ceremonies’ that took place under the new legislation.  

This is where Treoir comes into the picture.   It seems that the assumption is that a number of these ‘civil partnerships’ may not last, and it is also assumed that many ‘opposite-sex’ couples (that is, ‘opposite-sex’ couples who have been cohabiting for a period of up to five years and who are now automatically covered in the Civil Partnership Act) may also split up.

In the last number of weeks Treoir has been advertising strongly on both national radio and in the national media, making sure that both ‘same-sex’ and ‘opposite-sex’ couples that are contemplating a break-up of their relationship are fully aware of the provisions for compensatory maintenance, pension adjustment, property adjustment or provision from an estate, that are available under the Civil Partnership Act.  

The Irish Times ‘Health Supplement’ (26 April 2011) carries an advertisement which asks: ‘Living Together? (Opposite or same sex couples) Since January 1st you may be eligible to apply for maintenance, property, pension and other benefits if your relationship ends.  Contact Treoir, the organisation for unmarried parents.  Be informed.’
The weekend ‘Magazine’ of the Irish Times recently carried this ad, prominently heading the Saturday television and radio programmes: ‘Cohabiting? (Opposite or same-sex couples) …’  Again, such couples are invited to contact Treoir!  

Then, Treoir launched a public awareness campaign to draw the attention of the ‘tens of thousands of unmarried partners’ to all the entitlements that they may claim if their partnerships break up, or if one partner dies.

It is mind-boggling!
As I have already stated, the Civil Partnership Act came into existence at the beginning of January 2011.  This is May 2011.     Doesn’t it look strange that the authorities are already, and in so forceful a manner, bringing to the attention of ‘same-sex’ and ‘opposite-sex’ couples the entitlements for which they may apply should their relationships end?
Are we, perhaps, seeing the real reason why the Civil Partnership Act was rushed into law, i.e., to undermine marriage and the family