Friday, September 30, 2011

Liechtenstein rejects proposal to legalise abortion

Congratulations are due to Prince Alois and the people of Liechtenstein for rejecting a proposal to legalise abortion during the first trimester of pregnancy “or if a child is severely disabled”
The proposal was rejected by a vote of 52.3% to 47.7% out of the11006 votes cast - a majority of 514 votes.
This latest threat to the life of the unborn in Liechtenstein arose when pro-abortion campaigners secured enough signatures for a referendum on the issue
His Serene Highness, Prince Alois threatened to use his veto power to block legalization had it been approved. He also said that legalizing abortion would lead to late term abortions for unborn children with a disability.
“Until now we have been proud to support people with disabilities in our country,” he said. “The proposal would discriminate against such people and allow them to be eliminated in the womb.”
Abortion is currently against the law whether performed in Liechtenstein or in another country.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Irish Presidential Election

The period for acceptance of nominations for the Presidency is closed and it is now evident that there are seven contenders for the office of President leading to the following Sky News report:

“Contenders for the Irish presidency include a former Eurovision song contest winner, an ex-IRA commander and a gay rights activist.”

The list of contenders is as follows: Dana Rosemary Scallon, Senator David Norris, Martin Mc Guinness Sinn Fein, Michael D Higgins, Labour, Gay Mitchell MEP Fine Gael,  Mary Davis former CEO of the special olympics ; and entrepreneur Sean Gallagher . We will report on the various personalities and their campaigns as they develop.
The reference to former Eurovision song contest winner refers to Dana Rosemary Scallon, who won the Europe-wide singing competition in 1970 and had a successful career as a television presenter and musician. Dana stood unsuccessfully for the post of President in 1997 however she made history in that election by opening up a new avenue for nominations to the Presidency by receiving the nominations of five county councils. While this was a constitutionally legitimate means of gaining nomination to compete for the presidency, the approach was unprecedented before her campaign. In the election she campaigned for family values, protecting the Irish Constitution and on Pro-Life issues.
In the 1999 European Elections Dana was elected to the European Parliament and served as an MEP for Connacht–Ulster until 2004, where as her record showed she continued the fight for Ireland, the Irish people and particularly the impoverished West coast of Ireland in Europe. 
Dana narrowly lost her European Parliament seat in 2004. 
In both Lisbon Treaty debates Dana supported the No side of the debates. She knew exactly what Lisbon would mean for Ireland in terms of loss of sovereignty on many fronts which is becoming more evident on a daily basis.
Dana's record speaks for itself. She's not afraid to stand up for what is right and she is certainly not afraid to stand up for her country her beliefs or the disenfranchised.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Results of teenage sexual encounters

An Irish newspaper proclaims the extraordinary conclusion that ‘Sex too early creates risk of disease and pregnancy’.     Disease and pregnancy – in the same breath?  
The so-called ‘Crisis Pregnancy Programme’ (formerly known as the ‘Crisis Pregnancy Agency’ but now incorporated into the Health Service Executive – well known for its practice of bringing pregnant Irish girls in its ‘care’ to the UK and elsewhere for the purpose of having their unborn babies aborted) has launched an initiative to encourage young people not to engage in sexual practices too early.    
If they are successful with their initiative the CPP people think that they might prevent young people from contracting a sexually transmitted disease – or they might even succeed in preventing a ‘crisis pregnancy’.   The acting director of the CPP is reported as saying that: 

‘Young people who experience first sexual intercourse before 17 years of age are 70 per cent more likely to experience crisis pregnancy in their lifetime, three times more likely to report having a STI and three times more likely to experience abortion.’     

It is doubtful if the CPP would consider promoting chastity amongst young people.
The Irish Minister for Children is reported as saying that it is necessary to ensure that ‘parents, teachers and youth workers are supported in taking an effective role in delivering relationships and sexuality education.’   In its annual report for 2010 the CPP expresses its concern at ‘barriers to the full implementation of the Relationship and Sex Education (RSE) in schools’, and it will soon be publishing a report on a project on ‘the knowledge and attitudes of the Irish population to contraception’.
The CPP is also the agency that promotes contraception, and in its literature it offers abortion as a ‘positive option’ to those who find themselves unintentionally pregnant

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The importance of informed conscience in casting our votes

The ‘race for the presidency’ occupies much of the media’s attention at the moment in Ireland.   Catholics, in particular, should be reminded that no matter what public opinion says, no matter what their individual likes or dislikes are, each voter in the upcoming presidential election must follow her or his own informed conscience in the choice she or he makes.  As Cardinal Raymond Burke said in Knock recently:

‘An erroneous notion of the moral law and of conscience has led to an equally erroneous exclusion of the discussion of the moral law and of questions of conscience from public life.  In many so-called advanced nations, we witness an increasing tendency to deny to citizens the most fundamental right, the right to observe the dictates of one’s conscience, formed through right reason and the teaching of the Church.  We witness the phenomenon in the language of political leaders who profess to be Catholics and yet vote for legislation which violates the moral law, claiming to hold personally to what the moral law demands but, at the same time, to be obliged by their political office to follow a different law in making decisions for those whom they represent and govern.’

He went to say that today: ‘The struggle is fierce, and the opposition is powerful.
[Emphasis added]
We must inform ourselves of the views of the candidates who say they are Catholic (this is most important), but we must also, of course, make ourselves aware and take note of the ideologies and agendas of those candidates for the presidency who are not Catholic, or who are not Christian.   What do these people stand for, what are their beliefs with regard to the sacredness of all human life from conception to natural death?  
What are their beliefs with regard to the dignity of marriage – the union of one man and one woman?  Will they uphold the Constitutional pledge to guard with special care the institution of Marriage, on which the Family is founded, and to protect it against attack? 
What are their beliefs with regard to the Constitutional recognition of the Family as the natural primary and fundamental unit group of Society?  Will they uphold the Constitutional guarantee to protect the Family in its constitution and authority, as the necessary basis of social order and as indispensable to the welfare of the Nation and the State?
All of these questions must be answered satisfactorily before we enter the polling booth on presidential election voting day.

We call on all our Archbishops and Bishops of Ireland – please make a public statement now, well in advance of the voting day, so that all Catholic voters are made aware of the importance of knowing the stance of each candidate with regard to the questions posed above

Monday, September 26, 2011

Day for Life

When Blessed John Paul II, in his Encyclical, Evangelium Vitae, proposed that a special Day for Life should be held throughout the world he said that he wanted this Day for Life to be celebrated ‘each year in every country, as already established by some Episcopal Conferences.  The celebration of this Day should be planned and carried out with the active participation of all sectors of the local Church.  Its primary purpose should be to foster in individual consciences, in families, in the Church and in civil society a recognition of the meaning and value of human life at every stage and in every condition.  Particular attention should be drawn to the seriousness of abortion and euthanasia, without neglecting other aspects of life which from time to time deserve to be given careful consideration, as occasion and circumstances demand. …’

It is very encouraging, therefore, to read the message of the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference for the 2011 Day for Life, which this year takes place on Sunday, 2 October.
In their Day for Life message, the Bishops quote Pope Benedict XVI – 
‘ …. We need to have the courage to place our deepest hopes in God alone, not in money, in a career, in worldly success, or in our relationships with others, but in God.  Only he can satisfy the deepest needs of our hearts.’
Continuing, the Bishops tell us:
‘As a Christian, the deepest joy in life does not come from what I have or what I can achieve.  It comes from the knowledge that even before I was formed in my mother’s womb I was known and loved by my Creator (Jer 1:5; Psalm 139): that from the first moment of conception to natural death I am loved personally by God and have an eternal future. … Building a culture of life also commits us to building a civilisation of love: it involves showing practical solidarity and concern for those around us who are in need.  A society that protects those who are vulnerable and weak contributes to our shared happiness: a society that shows love and concern for others who are in need enhances our quality of life.  … In one of the most powerful affirmations of the sacredness of life in the womb, [St.] Luke tells us that as soon as Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the child in her womb “leaped for joy” (Lk 1:44). …  By embracing a culture of life, and standing with those marginalized and deemed “useless” or a “burden” on society, we can turn the values of our consumer society upside down.  We can contribute to the happiness and quality of life of all by ensuring respect for the life of every person, from conception to natural death.  … Day for Life 2011 is a call for us to work for a society in which all are valued as created, loved by God, redeemed by Christ; not for their fame, or power or what they own but for their intrinsic worth. …’
The Bishops also quote from Pope Benedict’s Encyclical Caritas in Veritate: ‘Openness to life is at the centre of true developmentWhen a society moves towards the denial or suppression of life, it ends up no longer finding the necessary motivation and energy to strive for man’s true good. … The acceptance of life strengthens moral fibre and makes people capable of mutual help.’
[Emphasis added]
It is good to hear the Bishops talk about the vital importance of respect for human life at every stage, from the moment of conception to natural death.

But why, oh why, is this message not being announced from the pulpit of every church in Ireland?   Why is this message not being handed out personally to everybody as they are coming out of the church, particularly after Mass

Testimony of a young midwife

The following BLOG post from a Polish website Journalists against abortion is a stark reminder of the importance of the freedoms we sometimes take for granted, in this case, conscientious objection.

Human life is both the most basic and the highest value. Instead of deliberating about something so obvious as whether a child is a child from the moment of conception, why not accept this as a fact and protect this life without any dilemmas or justifications?

How much easier and more beautiful life would be for everybody, most of all for the doctors, midwives and medical students who can be pressured into taking part in abortions.  For these people, dealing with abortion in hospitals is often a real tragedy.

This was also my case.  I was hired by the gynecological ward of a Warsaw hospital.
I was happy since this was my first job. On the first day, I was told that as a midwife, I would not only protect and save human life, but also assist in abortions.  I am a religious and churchgoing person. I have my values, and I live by them. I was simply in a state of shock. I had never thought that something like that could happen to me. However, finding a job is not easy, and it had been a hard road to the gynecological ward.  But I knew one thing:  even if I had to lose this job, I would not set foot in “the operating room”.  I put this nice-sounding name in quotes because in fact it should be called a killing room.  I was very surprised that I was not given any choice. I was simply told that abortions were performed there and midwives took part in them as if that were completely normal. The head midwife said, “The doctor thinks it is helpful for women.”  I was not interested in what this doctor thought. I think abortion is killing innocent children, no matter whether these children are healthy or sick. A crime is always a crime.  I have the right to my own opinion, as well as the right to an honest job that does not go against my conscience.

I wondered: What will happen when it is my turn to assist with an abortion.  I could not possibly imagine that.  I did not want to go to work under stress, nor be a slave to my job.  I quickly quit since the head midwife said that she could not make an exception for me by allowing me not to work in the “operating room.”  Even if it could have been possible, sooner or later I would have quit, because it would have been hard to work knowing what happened behind that door.

I experienced what it is like to be so close to a crime which I had only heard about. I obtained a diploma in a wonderful specialty, and I think that the principle of my profession is to help and protect life, not to destroy it.

Maria Karwińska


Saturday, September 24, 2011

New Pressure on Ireland to introduce abortion

A UN Committee in its concluding observations on Ireland's compliance with the "Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment" (CAT) seeks to pressurise Ireland to introduce abortion.
CAT in issuing its most recent concluding observations resulting from the 46th session had this to say
26. The Committee notes the concern expressed by the European Court of Human Rights
about the absence of an effective and accessible domestic procedure in the State party for
establishing whether some pregnancies pose a real and substantial medical risk to the life of the mother (case of A, B and C v. Ireland), which leads to uncertainty for women and their medical doctors, who are also at risk of criminal investigation or punishment if their advice or treatment is deemed illegal. The Committee expresses concern at the lack of clarity cited by the Court and the absence of a legal framework through which differences of opinion could be resolved. Noting the risk of criminal prosecution and imprisonment facing both the women concerned and their physicians, the Committee expresses concern that this may raise issues that constitute a breach of the Convention. The Committee appreciates the intention of the State party, as expressed during the dialogue with the Committee, to establish an expert group to address the Court’s ruling. The Committee is nonetheless concerned further that, despite the already existing case law allowing for abortion, no legislation is in place and that this leads to serious consequences in individual cases, especially affecting minors, migrant women, and women living in poverty (arts. 2 and 16).
The Committee urges the State party to clarify the scope of legal abortion through
statutory law and provide for adequate procedures to challenge differing medical
opinions as well as adequate services for carrying out abortions in the State party, so that its law and practice is in conformity with the Convention.
The 10 member Committee urges Ireland to enact changes in law and policy to allow access to abortion despite the fact that the Irish constitution protects the right to life of unborn children. The Irish constitution "acknowledges the right to life of the unborn and, with due regard to the equal right to life of the mother, guarantees in its laws to respect, and, as far as practicable, by its laws to defend and vindicate that right."

Ireland has long been under pressure from the pro-abortion forces to kill innocent unborn babies. These forces have managed to get themselves into key positions in international institutions such as the UN in order to exert their culture of death globally.
Nation States at the UN however have opposed this agenda and have consistently refused to allow the pro-abortion forces to declare abortion to be a human right. Since the pro-abortion forces could not get what they wanted directly they devised a plan to find other ways to achieve their goal. 
They held a joint meeting of members of key groups such as members the convention monitoring committees, special rapporteurs along with UNFPA and others in Glencove New York and decided to reinterpret the convention texts to “FIND”  whatever they wanted the documents to say. Clearly this ruling by CAT is in line with this barefaced manipulation of international treaties

The Committee states that Ireland must establish "adequate services for carrying out abortions in the State party, so that its law and practice is in conformity with the Convention," despite the fact that the Convention against Torture does not reference or mention abortion. The argument by the Committee that access to abortion is necessary to "conform" to the treaty is an example of the pro-abortion strategy to create a "right to abortion" by stating falsehoods about international law and treaties over and over again until they begin to be treated as truth.
Marie Smith, Director of the Parliamentary Network for Critical Issues (PNCI) commented on the CAT concluding observations as follows,
"In this observation we read the most radical pro-abortion view coming from the Committee against Torture pressuring Ireland to provide access to abortion despite the fact that the treaty has nothing to do with abortion. The Convention is distorted to equate laws that protect unborn children from abortion with cruelty to women while ignoring the inhumane treatment of unborn children through the violence of abortion."

"The deliberate manipulation of this treaty which was enacted to protect lives in order to advance a radical pro-abortion agenda is a disservice to the women, men and children around the world who suffer daily from cruel and degrading treatment as well as outright torture."

Smith continues, "Hopefully the Irish government recognizes its sovereign right to determine its laws on abortion and maintains its constitutional protection for unborn children which results in Ireland-with the world's lowest maternal mortality rate-being the safest place in the world for women to give birth."

Friday, September 23, 2011

UN debates the Right to Health of Older Persons

The Human Rights Council last week debated a report on the right to health of older persons titled “Thematic study on the realization of the right to health of older persons”, prepared by Anand Grover the Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health,

Grover under the heading of palliative care says,

The Special Rapporteur is of the view that a holistic approach to health should also
address the process of dying. While this report does not consider issues of patient autonomy in respect of deciding to end life, it is nonetheless necessary to ensure that patients be able to make autonomous, informed decisions regarding the quality of health during the process of dying. That includes choices about access to adequate pain relief and other necessary interventions, location of death, and the ability to refuse treatment designed to prolong life when it is not desired by the patient. This requires clear, candid and non-judgmental discussion with medical practitioners, who should be adequately trained to deal with these delicate issues in order to enable older persons to “die with dignity”, as required from a human rights prospective.

Archbishop Silvano Tomasi Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the UN in Geneva  took “strong exception” to this indirect reference to assisted suicide despite what he termed the agreement of the Holy See with other aspects of the report.

Archbishop Tomasi addressing the report  at the 18th Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council, told the meeting, 

“We strongly believe that life is a gift that no person has the so-called ‘right’ to end, that death is the culmination of a natural process and no person, even the elderly or suffering person himself or herself, is entitled to cause or hasten the natural process of dying through biomedical or any other means"

Archbishop Tomasi’s concern focused on the reference to “issues of patient autonomy in respect of deciding to end life,” though he acknowledged that Grover had not dealt specifically with the issue “in the context of the present report.”

The archbishop said that the Church exhorts scientists and doctors to research prevention and treatment of illnesses linked to old age without ever bending to “the temptation to have recourse to practices that shorten the life of the aged and sick, practices that would turn out to be, in fact, forms of euthanasia.”

He said the Catholic Church sees the growing number of aging persons as a “blessing” rather than “a burden on society.” The Church sponsors 15,448 homes for the aged, chronically ill and handicapped persons around the world.

Irrespective of his concerns regarding the report reference to “deciding to end life,” Archbishop Tomasi was in agreement with other aspects of the report. He concurred with Grover that states should allocate more resources for geriatric care and train health personnel to treat elderly patients in “an appropriate, considerate and non-discriminatory manner.” Archbishop Tomasi also stressed the need to protect frail elderly persons from physical and emotional abuse by caregivers or family members 

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Poor Banished Children

While attending the SPUC conference last weekend I was chided by Fiorella De Maria Nash for my recent BLOG post "Great Catholic Writers" in which I commented about the paucity of intellectual Catholic writers today.

Fiorella challenged me to review her book "Poor Banished Children" and I promised to do so as soon as I can. This led me to look up the publication which is available either in normal book form or in an online version. 

According to the website the book Poor Banished Children is the tale of one woman's relentless search for freedom and redemption. The historical novel raises challenging questions about the nature of courage, free will, and ultimately salvation.
- An award-winning European novelist presents a powerful story of mystery, adventure, peril, suffering, faith, and courage
- A thrilling historical novel that explores the life and cultures of  17th century England, Malta and Africa
- A challenging work that tells the story of one woman's relentless search for freedom and redemption amidst great suffering, loneliness and despair. 

Publishers weekly says of the novel

De Maria writes an absorbing tale replete with Barbary pirates and concubines. In 1640, a badly injured woman washes ashore on the coast of England following an explosion at sea. Warda, the woman, has come a long way from the island of Malta where she was born, and her sickbed confession to a priest is a story of adventure, enslavement, and piracy. Disowned by her family, young Warda is raised by a Catholic priest who teaches her Latin and the healing arts and prepares her to live as an anchorite. But the landing of a pirate ship dashes that, and Warda is captured and sold into slavery in North Africa. Through changing circumstances and locales, she remains fiercely stubborn, balancing a refusal to concede to her circumstances with a ferocious desire to live at any moral cost. The author creates a memorable heroine and renders scenes set in unfamiliar places and times with only a few details and swift dialog. Varying viewpoints provide a fuller portrait of Warda, her aching soul, and her momentous choices. Catholic writer De Maria deserves a wide audience." (March, 2011)
Fiorella also commented to me that she is getting a bit fed up of reviews saying Poor Banished Children is 'depressing' and asks what do people imagine slavery was like? 

Perhaps I was a bit hasty in decrying the paucity of contemporary Catholic writers.

Report on two European Marches for Life "Berlin" and "Zurich"

Two "Marches for Life" took place in Europe last Saturday September 17th. One in Berlin and one in Zurich
The Berlin March for Life which lasted 2.5 hours commenced with a demonstration outside the Office of the Federal Chancellor and made its way Cathédrale Ste Hedwige (culte oecuménique)

Many people from all over Germany and other European countries gathered for the annual march for life to remember the aborted children and the innumerable women, men, and families who suffer from an abortion.
The Berlin march for life organisers called on German society and politicians to take action to really prevent and avoid abortion and to improve assistance for unplanned pregnant parents in need. They also expressed deep concerned about the silent increase of acceptance of euthanasia in Europe, as it is already being practiced again in some countries.
The march for life was organized by Bundesverband Lebensrecht, currently an alliance of  14 organizations and initiatives which focuses on different pro-life areas. The march was supported by several members of the German parliament and many people from different organizations and churches.

The Zurich event Marche pour la Vie  (Marsch für s’Läbe) met at Helvetiaplatz. 
The following are extracts from a report on the event by Mary Langlois who attended the event

“[…] This is truly an international battle, and prolifers all speak the same language. We listened to a professional social worker with achondroplasia, and a mother with adopted Down’s syndrome children, both telling us that life matters. It was evident that they were happy, fulfilled women, not tragic figures. The Down’s children played and smiled while their mother spoke, the social worker radiated confidence and joy. Beautiful posters of preborn children reminded us of the innocent victims of the unspeakable injustice of abortion. […]”

Mary also writes that the march attracted a group of angry pro-abortion protestors.

“Although the anti-life protesters were out-numbered by prolifers at least ten-to-one, police had to take measures to maintain order, a few times resorting to water hoses and tear gas, because protesters were entering the plaza where participants gathered, and behaving in a threatening way. Some carried crosses emblazoned with disrespectful slogans and items. I won’t dignify them by going into detail. Prolifers seemed unconcerned, and were certainly undeterred.”

The march according to Mary 

"wound through the streets of downtown Zurich for about two hours, with trams, buses, and cars detoured or stopped to make way. Shoppers, bystanders, and people  in cafes looked on, many showing subtle signs of support by waving a little or smiling, some frowning, some merely curious. We were flanked by vigilant police officers, young men from the prolife side helping with security, and a wonderful Brazilian-style music group bringing up the rear who provided an energizing drum beat that inspired us as we went along the route.

The March was inspiring and exciting. There is a real energy in Europe for life and family. Pope Benedict is defending European Catholic heritage, and people of all creeds are fighting back against the culture of death. We are not separated by language or culture. We are united in this cause.”

Both events were arranged to raise public awareness of the injustice of abortion and to offer information and help to people who have suffered from the consequences of abortion. The Zurich march was also held with the intention of proposing a new ban on abortion

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Unborn babies remembered in 9/11 commemerations

During the  recent 10th anniversary of 9/11 both in Pennsylvania and New York, in addition to those named in the commemerations, unborn babies who were victims were also remembered.
When the names of the victims in Pennsylvania were read out a bell was rung each time

Jill Stanek writes in her BLOG post
"Shanksville memorial service acknowledges preborn baby as 9-11 victim"
One of my Facebook friends was at the Flight 93 memorial service yesterday at Shanksville. She said the names were read. A woman’s name was read and also “an unborn child.”
The bell was rung twice.
Also in New York the 9/11 Memorial Lists 11 "Unborn" babies

Ten women who died on Sept. 11, and one in the Feb. 1993 bombing, were known to be pregnant. Their names are being listed on the memorial with the phrase "and her unborn"

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

SPUC annual conference

The SPUC annual conference which took place last weekend provided an excellent insight into the current state of the pro-life movement both in the UK and internationally. 
The presentations included an insightful talk by Fiorella Nash on maternal mortality, an in-depth look at sex education in schools by Antonia Tully and a particularly noteworthy address by Bobby Schindler in which he spoke of his family's battle to keep his sister, Terri Schiavo, alive after a court ruled that her nutrition and hydration be withdrawn. Other aspects of the conference included a wonderful presentation by SPUC youth members, the launching of the new SPUC talk for schools, a variety of workshops and the awarding of a pro-life award to Peter Saunders of Christian Medical Fellowship who gave a presentation on "How the pro-euthanasia lobby works".
We concentrate today on Bobby Schlindler's address but will return to some of the other topics in future BLOGS

Bobby told the conference his sister's death was the "Roe v Wade of the euthanasia movement in the United States." Bobby talked of his family's battle to keep Terri alive after a court ruled that her food and hydration be withdrawn back in 2000..

Bobby told the meeting that in the first 2 years following her collapse Terri's medical records showed that her rehabilitation treatment was effective and she was starting to speak. "We were very hopeful about these tiny steps," he recalled.

Things took a turn for the worse after a medical malpractice lawsuit in 1992 in which Terri was awarded $1.5m for her treatment and her husband Michael was awarded $600,000. According to Bobby it was after this ruling and receiving the monies that things changed for Terri: the relationship between Terri's husband Michael and the Schindler family broke down and all communications stopped in 1993.

Shortly after this the family learned Michael had requested nurses not to provide Terri with antiobiotics for an infection. When they refused he moved her to another facility with the same request. Those nurses also refused. By 1998 he had engaged a pro-euthanasia attorney and the family received a letter stating that they would seek to have Terri's food and fluids removed and that Terri had wanted this. In 1999 legislation was changed in the state to define food and fluids as medical treatment.

Terri's case went to trial in 2000 and the judge ruled in favour of Michael Schiavo despite the serious questions about her living will or that Michael was set to inherit the money from her death. Bobby said:

"I'm still to this day amazed at the publicity Terri's case received specifically because it was already happening every day. Before the case Terri was very much alive, but the media protrayed her as someone whose quality of life was so poor that this action was in her best interests. Even medics were surprised at how responsive she was despite being neglected for so long. My sister wasn't brain dead. They call this an end of life issue but it isn't. Terri was very much alive. It became an end of life discussion when she wasn't at the end of her life."

According to Bobby what happened to Terri is now ordinary practice across America. It has even been argued that the definition of articifical feeding should be expanded to include more than a feeding tube but also spoon-feeding and that even bringing a tray to patients as diet must receive medical approval. Bobby told the conference he estimates hundreds of thousands of vulnerable people are now directly affected by the sort of thing that happened to Terri, and that's not even looking at terminal sedation cases or other ways of putting people to death. Bobby said:
"We now decide who lives and who dies on a quality of life judgement."
He also said some vulnerable people are now being described as 'non-persons' by many academics in the States. He added:
"The biggest thing we're up against is apathy, people don't care until it happens to someone they know."
He also said the pro-euthanasia lobby is now very powerful and has the backing of a media willing to distort the truth and a growing insensitivity towards people like my Terri, compounded by the language people use to refer to the vulnerable. Language like 'vegetable' should be abolished from our vocabulary, he said, as it serves no purpose but it's entrenched in our mentality and is validated by our mainstream media.

Bobby ended by recalling the experience of his family as they watched over Terri in her final weeks. He said:
"Our family had to watch Terri die of dehydration, watch her deteriorate."
When people ask what she looked like at that time he says he can only compare her to victims of Auschwitz. Her appearance, he said, was horrific. She had blood pouring in her eyes in the last days. It was disturbing to watch and not a peaceful way to die. And for Bobby the most heart wrenching thing was watching my parents.
To compound the family's grief George Philos, Michael's attorney, gave a press conference after Terri's death and said she'd never looked so beautiful as in the last week of her death.

Since Terri's death her family has formed the Life and Hope Network to help other families in the same situation in the US and around the world.

Hope in times of distress and persecution

In these days, when everything appears to be so bleak – people forgetting God; the abuse of innocent people; wars, in which thousands are killed; abortion, where millions are killed; growing acceptance of euthanasia; the creeping advance of the homosexual agenda; breakdown of family life; suicide, unemployment, with its consequent problems of despair and conflict, etc. – the words of Pope Benedict XVI always give us a sense of hope and joy. Here is some of what he had to say while speaking at his General Audience in the Vatican on Wednesday, 14 September,

‘Today we reflect on Psalm Twenty-two, a heartfelt prayer of lamentation from one who feels abandoned by God.  Surrounded by enemies who are persecuting him, the psalmist cries out by day and by night for help, and yet God seems to remain silent.  In the Gospels of Matthew and Mark, the opening line of this psalm is placed on the lips of Jesus as he calls upon the Father from the Cross.  He too seems to have been abandoned to a cruel fate, while his enemies mock him, attacking him like ravenous and roaring lions, dividing his clothing among them as if he were already dead.  The psalmist recalls how, in the past, the people Israel called trustingly upon the Lord in times of trial, and he answered their prayer.  He remembers the tenderness with which the Lord cared for him personally in his earlier life, as a child in his mother’s womb, as an infant in his mother’s arms, and yet now God seems strangely distant.  Despite such adverse circumstances, through, the psalmist’s faith and trust in the Lord remains.  The psalm ends on a note of confidence, as God’s name is praised before all the nations.  The shadow of the Cross gives way to the bright hope of the Resurrection.  We too, when we call upon him in times of trial, must place our trust in the God who brings salvation, who conquers death with the gift of eternal life.’
And as Psalm 42, at the beginning of Mass, says:  Quare tristis es, anima mea, et quare conturbas me?  Spera in Deo, quoniam adhuc confitebor illi: salutare vultus mei et Deus meus.   Why art thou cast down, O my soul? And why dost thou disquiet me?  Hope thou in God, for I will still give praise to him: the salvation of my countenance, and my God

Monday, September 19, 2011

Dana for President?

The saga of the Irish Presidency and the list of contenders continues. Fianna Fail (FF) leader  Michael Martin already has egg on his face from his unsuccessful attempt to woo Gay Byrne to stand on the Fianna Fail ticket.

It is also public knowledge that Dana Rosemary Scallon approached Fianna Fail for support but if reports are to be believed rather than accept Dana, Martin would give Fianna Fail support to David Norris who was forced to quit the race for the park as a result of his support for a convicted paedophile.

Anthony Murphy editor of the Catholic Voice newspaper places this in context on Facebook 

I have been told on very good authority that at the last parliamentary meeting a number of the FF TD's and Senators wanted to nominate Dana Rosemary Scallon - Micheal Martin blocked this saying words to the effect "over my dead body" - now he is pushing for Norris. In other words Martin would rather endorse an advocate of a convicted rapist rather than an advocate of the family and the child. How this party has changed and how Dev must be turning in his grave!
 Perhaps it is high time for Fianna Fail to abandon Martin and seek a new leader

Maynooth's Masterclass on abortion

The ‘Masterclass’ on abortion (see my blogs for 11 July and 15 August last) went ahead, as scheduled, on Friday, 16 September.    A large number of security persons, together with gardaí (police), gave protection to the organisers, speakers, and participants.     Those from whom all of these people were being protected consisted of an impressive crowd of young and old defenders of the unborn who stood on both sides of the main road that runs past an entrance to the National University of Ireland at Maynooth, Co. Kildare, for about two hours – in the sometimes very heavy rain.   As the organisers refused to allow any of the pro-life people to attend the event, or even to get within any decent proximity of the meeting-room, it was then decided to enter the campus – carrying posters and placards – and circle the building peacefully three times.

It is horrific to realise that despite the many complaints to the organisers – the ‘Department of Adult and Community Education’ at NUI Maynooth, and the ‘Crisis Pregnancy Programme’ of the Health Service Executive of the Irish Department of Health – the ‘Masterclass’ actually took place.   As I mentioned previously, the title of the ‘Masterclass’ was ‘Termination: Dealing with complex issues’.   Only the title was changed, of course (from ‘Termination of pregnancy: A lawful choice’) – the content was not changed.
It is also particularly heart-breaking that such a programme should take place in a University which for many generations prepared young men for the priesthood.
 Another ‘Masterclass’ is scheduled to take place on 4 November – and the title this time is: ‘Supporting minors in crisis pregnancy’.    Now, I wonder what that deals with?   The Health Service Executive is the agency that is well known for bringing pregnant minors to the UK and elsewhere to have their babies killed by abortion.
Applications for attendance at this ‘Masterclass’ should be submitted well in advance of the closing date, 28 October 2011.

The Irish Family Planning Association (IFPA) and the Irish Council for Civil Liberties have criticised the Irish Government for not rushing forward – yet – to ‘implement’ the recent ruling of the ECHR Court in the A, B and C v Ireland case.  These two pro-abortion groups want the members of the Council of Europe’s committee of ministers who are meeting this week to call on the Irish Government to take prompt action in the matter.

Those who wish to introduce abortion into Ireland are very determined and it is therefore essential that greater attention is given to this blatant attempt to undermine Ireland's respect for the lives of unborn babies.
On another related front I would like to draw your attention once again to my blog of 16 September, where I highlight the necessity of contacting your MEPs in relation to the pro-abortion amendments that are proposed to be inserted in the document ‘Situation of fundamental rights in the European Union’ in the very near future.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Archbishop Tomasi: diverting funds for abortion and contraception "totally unacceptable"

Vatican Radio reports that;
The Holy See has condemned as totally unacceptable any attempts to divert funding for genuine health care in favour of programmes that provide or facilitate contraceptives and abortion. The Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations and Specialized Agencies in Geneva, Archbishop Silvano Tomasi made the remark yesterday in a statement he delivered to the 18th Session of the Human Rights Council. Archbishop Tomasi’s statement outlined the position of the Holy See regarding the need for a human rights-based approach to eliminate preventable maternal mortality. The Permanent Observer noted that the World Health Organization (WHO) has demonstrated that women in Africa die primarily from five major causes: hypertensive diseases, obstructed labour, haemorrhage, sepsis and infection, and HIV-related diseases.

He went on to say that the interventions known to address such medical crises include training and employment of skilled birth attendants, provision of antibiotics and uterotonic medications, and improvement of blood banking. He said the Delegation of the Holy See finds totally unacceptable any attempts to divert much-needed financial resources from those effective and life-saving interventions to increased programmes of contraception and abortion, which aim at limiting procreation of new life or at destroying the life of a child. Archbishop Tomasi concluded saying, “the Holy See Delegation expresses the firm hope that the international community will succeed in reducing maternal morbidity and mortality by promoting effective interventions that are based on deep and abiding values as well as on scientific and medical knowledge and that are respectful of the sacredness of life from conception to natural death"

Lobby your MEP to stop pro-abortion power grab

 The Society for the Protection of Unborn Children SPUC have issued the following alert.

Just before the close of the European Parliament session in July, the pro-abortion lobby held a meeting on sexual and reproductive rights. Wanda Nowicka (pictured), one of the speakers at the meeting, said: “We don’t need hard law [legislation]; we only need a movement for EU [European Union] competency [on abortion].”
 Picture shows pro-abortion lobbyist  Wanda Nowicka
The pro-abortion lobby has now put this plan into action, by proposing amendments to a report called “Situation of fundamental rights in the European Union”. The amendments have been proposed via FEMM, the European Parliament's women's rights and gender equality committee. The report and these amendments are due to be debated by the whole parliament in its plenary session on 14 November in Strasbourg.

The amendments are aimed at giving the European Commission competency over abortion, by tying it to the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights and by decreasing the autonomy of EU member-states. The amendments are listed below for your information.

Please contact the Members of the European Parliament (MEP) for your region and urge them to oppose the amendments. If you are resident in the UK, you can find the contact-details for your region's MEPs at If you are resident elsewhere in the European Union, you can find the contact-details for MEPs at Please don't forget to copy any replies you receive from MEPs to SPUC either by email to or by post to SPUC HQ. SPUC will keep you updated with further information on this debate.  In Ireland the replies should be forwarded to

Please ask MEPs to oppose the following pro-abortion FEMM amendments to the report “Situation of fundamental rights in the European Union”:
"Whereas the judicial authorities of Member States are independent and may determine their own interpretation of the Charter of Fundamental Rights (DELETED)"
"Whereas the entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon created a new situation in the EU in the field of human rights by making the Charter of Fundamental Rights legally binding (Article 6 TEU), (INSERTED)"
"Calls on the Commission to control thoroughly the implementation of European legislation related to gender equality in the Member States (INSERTED)"
"Invites the European Commission in the following years to consider a proposal for a legal framework on the issue of multiple and intersectional discrimination (INSERTED)"
"Is concerned about women's sexual and reproductive rights and health in some Member State; calls especially on the Member States to respect the basic right of all couples and individuals to decide freely and responsibly the number, spacing and timing of their children, and to have information and the means to do so, including access to health care, legal and safe abortion and reliable, safe and affordable contraception (INSERTED)"
"considers that the Commission should more effectively use all available means, including, where appropriate, infringement procedures, in order to ensure that Charter provisions are applied when implementing the EU law.(INSERTED)"
"Calls on the Commission to find effective ways to follow up breaches of the Charter of Fundamental Rights, outstanding issues and specific cases of violations of fundamental rights and to carry out occasional audits in all Member States to identify unfulfilled Commitments. (INSERTED)"

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Papal Address to Engaged Couples

 Extracts from Pope Benedict XVI speech to engaged couples as reported by

The wine of celebration is also lacking from a culture that tends to put aside clear moral criteria: In this disorientation, everyone is seen striving to move in an individual and autonomous way, often only within the perimeter of the present. The fragmentation of the communal fabric is reflected in a relativism that hides essential values; a consonance in sensations, states of mind and emotions seems more important than sharing a plan of life. Also fundamental decisions become vulnerable, exposed to a perennial revocability, which often is considered an expression of liberty, though actually, it points rather to a lack of liberty. The apparent exaltation of the body belongs also to a culture deprived of the wine of celebration, [an apparent exaltation] which in reality trivializes sexuality and tends to make it exist outside a context of communion of life and love. [...]
As engaged couples you are living a unique stage, which opens to the wonder of encounter and which makes one discover the beauty of existing and of being precious to someone, of being able to say to one another: You are important to me. Live this path with intensity, gradualness and truth. Do not give up on pursuing the lofty ideal of love, which is a reflection and testimony of the love of God!
  But, how should this phase of your life be lived? How can you give a witness of love in the community? I would like to suggest to you first of all that you avoid enclosing yourselves in intimate relations, which are falsely tranquilizing; instead, make your relationship become leaven in an active and responsible presence in the community. Moreover, do not forget that to be genuine, love also requires a journey of maturing: beginning from the initial attraction and "feeling well" with the other, educate yourselves to "love well," to "want the good" of the other. Love lives from gratuitousness, self-sacrifice, forgiveness and respect for the other. [...]
[...] The fidelity and enduring nature of your love will also make you capable of being open to life, of being parents: The stability of your union in the sacrament of matrimony will enable the children that God wishes to give you to grow confident in the goodness of life. Fidelity, indissolubility and transmission of life are the pillars of every family, a true common good, a precious patrimony for the whole society. Henceforth, found on them your path to matrimony and give witness of this to your contemporaries: This is a precious service! Be grateful to those who with commitment, competence and willingness accompany you in formation: They are the sign of the attention and care that the Christian community reserves for you. You are not alone: Seek and receive in the first place the company of the Church.  

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

'End of Life' Issues, Conference: 'Death in Ireland"

On a number of previous occasions I have blogged (most recently on 19 May 2011) about the Forum on End of Life in Ireland.   (The Irish version for this title is given as Bás in Éireann [sic] i.e. ‘Death in Ireland’.    Should we be worried?)

To re-cap - the Forum on End of Life in Ireland has organised ‘Forum 2011’ – with the key theme being ‘Resilience’ – and the event will take place on Wednesday, 12 October next, at Croke Park, Dublin, from 10 am to 4 pm.

The Chair for the day will be Mrs. Justice Catherine McGuiness and the guest speaker will be the Taoiseach, (Irish Prime Minister) Enda Kenny.  
Four workshops will be held during the course of the day, as follows: Carers; Preparing the Public; Spiritual and Psychological Support; The Medicalisation of Dying.

The deadline for registration at the event, which is organised in association with the Irish Times newspaper and the Irish Hospice Foundation, is Monday, 3 October, and details and bookings may be sought at

In the light of recent and ongoing debate about the sacredness of all human life we suggest that attendance at this meeting is something that as many as possible should contemplate.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Powerful pro-life video

LifeNews.Com reports today on a powerful video for sharing the pro-life message released to coincide with the 10th anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks to promote respect for all human life.
The new video “Humane Humanity” released by Virtue Media according to the release is to help Americans take a moment to rededicate themselves to upholding the sanctity of all human life. It is however a powerful message for all of us and a timely reminder of the intrinsic value and dignity of all human life
The text of the video expresses the following;

“Over the years humanity has made terrible mistakes. People were treated as less than human, even killed … because they were a different skin color, because they were a different faith…because they were unplanned, unknown and helpless,’ the video says. “But over time we are slowly learning that we are all God’s children, created in His image. And to disregard the value of human life whether through hate or indifference, is wrong.”
“That all human creation, regardless of race, religion, abilities or stage of human life has an inalienable right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness … a right to love and be loved,” it continues. “As Americans, let’s cherish the sanctity of life. Because we know how it feels when others treat us as less than human.”

The message is read as video footage and pictures are interspersed showing tombs, Jews treated as prisoners in Nazi death camps, black Americans struggling for civil rights, and images of unborn children in 3D and 4D ultrasound settings. It later adds positive images of children, a Jewish rabbi, and ultimately a fireman responding to the terrorist attacks. It concludes with an image of one of the towers of the World Trade Center falling and a call to respect life.

“The 10th anniversary of 9/11 reminds each of us of the dignity of every human life.  Not only on 9/11, but each and every day God calls us to the heroic and loving support and protection of all human life…life created in His own image,”says Tom Peterson of Virtue Media.