Friday, October 31, 2008

Life at the heart of US election

Saint Mary Magdalen has published a video produced by the diocese of Scranton, urging Catholics to vote pro-life in the forthcoming election. The video was made in response to various groups in the US putting out the message that it is acceptable for Catholics to vote pro-abortion candidates. The video carries the stark message that each and every citizen of a democratic country has a massive moral responsibility to vote for the protection of innocent life.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Assisted suicide challenge defeated

Debbie Purdy, an MS sufferer backed by the pro-euthanasia group Dignity in Dying, has lost her High Court legal challenge. Mrs Purdy challenged the Director of Public Prosecutions on whether her husband would be prosecuted if he accompanied her to a Swiss suicide clinic.

SPUC was an intervener in the case and has expressed relief at the ruling, along with other pro-life and disability-rights groups who have been watching the case with concern. Anthony Ozimic of SPUC was quoted in a press release as saying:

"Firstly, we extend our compassion to Mrs Purdy and her husband and hope that instead of assisted suicide, she will receive all the palliative care and other assistance she requires. Mrs Purdy's life is worth living to its natural end. She is not better off dead.

"Secondly, we are relieved that the court has rejected the claims made by Mrs Purdy's lawyers. The underlying objective of the case, brought by the pro-euthanasia lobby, was to undermine the law on assisted suicide. The ban on assisted suicide protects the value and dignity of human life."

"The death-for-disability lobby are a lethal threat to vulnerable individuals. Allowing assisted suicide would create pressure, either real or perceived, upon the vulnerable. Allowing suicide does nothing to address the medical, psychological or other needs of the terminally-ill."

Mrs Purdy has been granted the right to appeal the ruling and has said that she will take the case to the House of Lords.

Just Look

I was so impressed by this letter written by the Archbishop of New York, Cardinal Egan, that I am reproducing it in full.

Just Look

The picture on this page is an untouched photograph of a being that has been within its mother for 20 weeks. Please do me the favor of looking at it carefully.

Have you any doubt that it is a human being?

If you do not have any such doubt, have you any doubt that it is an innocent human being?

If you have no doubt about this either, have you any doubt that the authorities in a civilized society are duty-bound to protect this innocent human being if anyone were to wish to kill it?

If your answer to this last query is negative, that is, if you have no doubt that the authorities in a civilized society would be duty-bound to protect this innocent human being if someone were to wish to kill it, I would suggest—even insist—that there is not a lot more to be said about the issue of abortion in our society. It is wrong, and it cannot—must not—be tolerated.

But you might protest that all of this is too easy. Why, you might inquire, have I not delved into the opinion of philosophers and theologians about the matter? And even worse: Why have I not raised the usual questions about what a "human being" is, what a "person" is, what it means to be "living," and such? People who write books and articles about abortion always concern themselves with these kinds of things. Even the justices of the Supreme Court who gave us "Roe v. Wade" address them. Why do I neglect philosophers and theologians? Why do I not get into defining "human being," defining "person," defining "living," and the rest? Because, I respond, I am sound of mind and endowed with a fine set of eyes, into which I do not believe it is well to cast sand. I looked at the photograph, and I have no doubt about what I saw and what are the duties of a civilized society if what I saw is in danger of being killed by someone who wishes to kill it or, if you prefer, someone who "chooses" to kill it. In brief: I looked, and I know what I saw.

But what about the being that has been in its mother for only 15 weeks or only 10? Have you photographs of that too? Yes, I do. However, I hardly think it necessary to show them. For if we agree that the being in the photograph printed on this page is an innocent human being, you have no choice but to admit that it may not be legitimately killed even before 20 weeks unless you can indicate with scientific proof the point in the development of the being before which it was other than an innocent human being and, therefore, available to be legitimately killed. Nor have Aristotle, Aquinas or even the most brilliant embryologists of our era or any other era been able to do so. If there is a time when something less than a human being in a mother morphs into a human being, it is not a time that anyone has ever been able to identify, though many have made guesses. However, guesses are of no help. A man with a shotgun who decides to shoot a being that he believes may be a human being is properly hauled before a judge. And hopefully, the judge in question knows what a "human being" is and what the implications of someone's wishing to kill it are. The word "incarceration" comes to mind.

However, we must not stop here. The matter becomes even clearer and simpler if you obtain from the National Geographic Society two extraordinary DVDs. One is entitled "In the Womb" and illustrates in color and in motion the development of one innocent human being within its mother. The other is entitled "In the Womb—Multiples" and in color and motion shows the development of two innocent human beings—twin boys—within their mother. If you have ever allowed yourself to wonder, for example, what "living" means, these two DVDs will be a great help. The one innocent human being squirms about, waves its arms, sucks its thumb, smiles broadly and even yawns; and the two innocent human beings do all of that and more: They fight each other. One gives his brother a kick, and the other responds with a sock to the jaw. If you can convince yourself that these beings are something other than living and innocent human beings, something, for example, such as "mere clusters of tissues," you have a problem far more basic than merely not appreciating the wrongness of abortion. And that problem is—forgive me—self-deceit in a most extreme form.

Adolf Hitler convinced himself and his subjects that Jews and homosexuals were other than human beings.. Joseph Stalin did the same as regards Cossacks and Russian aristocrats. And this despite the fact that Hitler and his subjects had seen both Jews and homosexuals with their own eyes, and Stalin and his subjects had seen both Cossacks and Russian aristocrats with theirs. Happily, there are few today who would hesitate to condemn in the roundest terms the self-deceit of Hitler, Stalin or even their subjects to the extent that the subjects could have done something to end the madness and protect living, innocent human beings.

It is high time to stop pretending that we do not know what this nation of ours is allowing—and approving—with the killing each year of more than 1,600,000 innocent human beings within their mothers. We know full well that to kill what is clearly seen to be an innocent human being or what cannot be proved to be other than an innocent human being is as wrong as wrong gets. Nor can we honorably cover our shame (1) by appealing to the thoughts of Aristotle or Aquinas on the subject, inasmuch as we are all well aware that their understanding of matters embryological was hopelessly mistaken, (2) by suggesting that "killing" and "choosing to kill" are somehow distinct ethically, morally or criminally, (3) by feigning ignorance of the meaning of "human being," "person," "living," and such, (4) by maintaining that among the acts covered by the right to privacy is the act of killing an innocent human being, and (5) by claiming that the being within the mother is "part" of the mother, so as to sustain the oft-repeated slogan that a mother may kill or authorize the killing of the being within her "because she is free to do as she wishes with her own body."

One day, please God, when the stranglehold on public opinion in the United States has been released by the extremists for whom abortion is the center of their political and moral life, our nation will, in my judgment, look back on what we have been doing to innocent human beings within their mothers as a crime no less heinous than what was approved by the Supreme Court in the "Dred Scott Case" in the 19th century, and no less heinous than what was perpetrated by Hitler and Stalin in the 20th. There is nothing at all complicated about the utter wrongness of abortion, and making it all seem complicated mitigates that wrongness not at all. On the contrary, it intensifies it.

Do me a favor. Look at the photograph again. Look and decide with honesty and decency what the Lord expects of you and me as the horror of "legalized" abortion continues to erode the honor of our nation. Look, and do not absolve yourself if you refuse to act.

Edward Cardinal Egan
Archbishop of New York

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Scientists and physicians unite to defend embryonic children as UNESCO committee meets

London, 29 October 2008 - Scientists and physicians from around the world have signed a declaration on human rights for nascent human beings.

The signatories include human-biology research scientists, obstetricians, gynaecologists, professors of a range of disciplines, doctors in general practice and nurses. They have joined together to declare the truth about the human embryo.

The signatories' action is a collective response to this week's meeting in Paris of UNESCO's international bioethics committee, which is discussing whether so-called therapeutic cloning should be banned worldwide.

The declaration among other things, says: "We, in our capacity as members of society who undertake scientific discovery and deliberate on scientific knowledge, herein pledge to respect the inherent rights of human embryos and foetuses during our quest for beneficial knowledge, just as we respect the inviolable and inalienable rights of children and adults."

It also says: "We request the removal of all existing permissions and practices that enable negative discrimination against human embryos and foetuses. Chief among these are the legalisation of abortion and approval for research that harms or destroys human embryos."

The declaration adds: "We declare that every stage in the developmental continuum of human life has the same right to life and right to protection from harm as all others."

The full text and current list of signatories is available here. The declaration remains open there for signing, and scientists and physicians are invited to sign it.

UNESCO is the United Nations Education, Scientific, and Cultural Organization. UNESCO's International Bioethics Committee (IBC) was founded in 1993.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Palin's Promise

Sarah Palin has promised support for special needs children in a major policy speech. Disability rights are, of course, very close to Sarah Palin's heart because her baby son Trig has been diagnosed with Down's Syndrome, but as she puts it:

"Too often, they [children with disabilities] are made to feel that there is no place for them in the life of our country, that they don't count or have nothing to contribute. This attitude is a grave disservice to these beautiful children, to their families, and to our country -- and I will work to change it."

"And what's been confirmed in me is every child has something to contribute to the world, if we give them that chance."

Unfortunately, in America and Britain, 90% of children with Down's Syndrome are aborted before birth and are never given the opportunity to contribute to the world. Whenever the subject of Down's Syndrome comes up, I am always reminded of the remarkable scene some years ago, when a group of young people with Down's Syndrome gatecrashed a conference on pre-natal screening that they have been refused permission to address. Anya Souza was finally allowed to speak and had this to say to the assembled doctors and scientists:
“I can’t get rid of my Down’s Syndrome, but you can’t get rid of my happiness. You can’t get rid of the happiness I give others either. It’s doctors like you that want to test pregnant women and stop people like me being born. Together with my family and friends I have fought to prevent my separation from normal society. I have fought for my rights… I may have Down’s Syndrome but I am a person first.”

Monday, October 27, 2008

Call to burn churches

Saint Mary Magdalen carries an alarming post about the behaviour of Spanish feminists rallying in suppot of the death ship run by Women on Waves. When the WOW ship docked at Valencia, a group of feminists handed out boxes of matches to supporters with the message "the only church that gives light is the church that burns: join us!"

The last year has seen a marked increase in attacks on the Church, particularly attacks intended to hurt Christians very personally, from spitting at people praying to desecrating consecrated hosts, and in many ways this is just another example of the hate and violence at the heart of the abortion lobby. Except that actively encouraging the burning of churches and the loss of life this could involve is particularly barbaric even for them. It has horrible echoes of the early stages of genocidal campaigns against religious groups in the not so distant past.

Fortunately, the pro-aborts with their matches were outnumbered by pro-life activists 4:1 and were forced to disband. To be positive, extremist antics like this help the pro-life movement by exposing the true colours of the abortion lobby and rallying opposition. Give them enough rope and they have a tendency to hang themselves.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

House of Commons approves Human Fertilisation and Embryology bill but drops all pro-abortion amendments

October 22, 2008 (22.10) has been a sad, sad day in British history, with the British Parliament approving a bill that allows killing of human embryos and the production of animal/human hybrids, but at the same time it was also a day tinged with some relief because things could have been even worse. Britain’s 22.10 like America’s 9.11 will be remembered as a day of infamy, but in this case, not caused by terrorism but by the British Government. The House of Commons voted by 355 to 129 to approve the government's Human Fertilisation and Embryology bill at its third reading, the last main parliamentary vote.

All pro-abortion amendments however were dropped from the bill, which means that the determined attempt by pro-abortion MP’s to extend the 1967 abortion act to Northern Ireland has been defeated, together with the other measures aimed at further liberalising the availability of abortion in Britain.

This bill will result in the approval of so called therapeutic cloning and the subsequent wholesale slaughter of the cloned human embryos by scientists trying to discover ways of manipulating embryonic stem cells in order to find treatments for major ailments. The production of stem cells from either human embryos or animal/ human hybrids is unethical unsafe and unnecessary. The process has been aptly named “clone and kill” by pro-lifers. This may sound like a plot from a Frankenstein movie or a medical experiment of the Third Reich but unfortunately it is horribly real and has now been accepted by Parliament.

Edward Leigh, the veteran pro-life Catholic MP, said:
At the heart of the debates on this bill has been that we are treating the human embryo as a thing. The human embryo is not a blob of cells nor a potential human being, but a human being with potential. What we are doing today is very dangerous - we are making ourselves less than human by treating human embryos as things.

SPUC Chief Executive John Smeaton in his blog while describing October 22 as a tragic day in British history, also praised all those who added their voices in opposition to this immoral bill particularly, the powerful resistance of,
the politicians and people of Northern Ireland showed that a pro-life community cannot be bullied into submission by the ethically compromised Westminster establishment. Future generations will look back on this macabre bill and wonder how a supposedly civilised nation could have so devalued human life.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

A Voice in the Wilderness

East Anglia Seminarians has an interesting comment from Albert Einstein on the role of the Church in defending the truth. It should come as no surprise to anyone that Catholics are prepared to be unpopular by defending the truth when so many have been prepared to die for the truth in the past.

Einstein said:

'Being a lover of freedom, when the revolution came in Germany, I looked to the universities to defend it, knowing that they had always boasted of their devotion to the cause of truth; but, no, the universities immediately were silenced. Then I looked to the great editors of the newspapers whose flaming editorials in days gone by had proclaimed their love of freedom; but they, like the universities, were silenced in a few short weeks….

Only the Church stood squarely across the path of Hitler’s campaign for suppressing truth. I never had any special interest in the Church before, but now I feel a great affection and admiration because the Church alone has had the courage and persistence to stand for intellectual truth and moral freedom. I am forced thus to confess that what I once despised I now praise unreservedly.'

Friday, October 24, 2008

Death hotline opened

MSI has shown its usual sensitivity and respect for the laws of sovereign nations by launching an abortion phoneline in Ireland to make it easier for women in Ireland to travel abroad for abortions.

A letter in a Maltese newspaper recently made the point that when women travel abroad for abortions, it is clearly not in the best interests of the child and should be regarded as abduction. This is particularly the case where the rights of the unborn are recognised in the country's constitution. Interesting point. 'Kidnap and kill' phoneline doesn't sound quite as polite as 'abortion helpline', does it?

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Warnock backs student suicide

Baroness Warnock is back in the papers again this week, supporting the suicide of a young man paralysed in a rugby accident. Daniel James was only 23 when he was helped to commit suicide in a Swiss clinic. Surgery to repair damage to his vertebrae had been unsuccessful and he was facing the prospect of being paralysed for the rest of his life.

When a young man takes his life it is always and everywhere a tragedy. Daniel may well have felt that his life was not worth living, he had just been through a horrific trauma and tried to end his life on a number of occasions before travelling to Switzerland. Coming to terms with his situation would have taken time - possibly years - but there is no reason why he could not have gone on to lead a full and happy life. He was clearly a highly talented young man - who knows what opportunities lay ahead for him?

The irony is that when people lend their support to people with disabilities committing suicide, they are making a judgement about that person's value, possibly without even realising it. I remember once listening to a speaker from the disability rights group No Less Human on the subject of suicide. She pointed at two women in front of her, one of them had spina bifida and was in a wheelchair, the other was a non-disabled twenty-something about to get married. The speaker said something along the lines of:

If Alison here went to her doctor and said: "I'm tired of life, I'm fed up of being in a wheelchair, I'm sick of the pain. I think I want to end my life" the doctor might well be sympathetic to her request. If Fiorella on the other hand went to the doctor and said: "I'm fed up with life. I'm being worked to death [much laughter], my life has no purpose and I think I want to end it" we all know the doctor would react very differently.

He would say: "You're young, you've got your whole life ahead of you. You have everything to live for. What you need, my dear, is a holiday. You're depressed."

We all knew what she meant. In the doctor's mind, a healthy young person who expressed the desire to commit suicide would immediately be recognised as depressed and in need of help to deal with the depression. A disabled person expressing precisely the same thoughts might appear to be simply being realistic, if in the doctor's mind disabled people's lives are of less value than everyone else's.

There can be few greater causes of heartache than a suffering loved one pleading to be helped to die, but I could no more agree to help a disabled person end their life, than I could say to an able-bodied person who was threatening to throw themselves in front of a train: "Go ahead if you feel it is right for you. It is not for me to make a judgement on your behalf."

When a person expresses the desire to die, the response needs to be compassionate and down-to-earth, whatever that person's situation

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Life hangs in the balance

Please view this powerful video which sums up the choice American voters are facing in the forthcoming election. America's Choice Now was made with Christians in mind but it carries a compelling message for all people of good will.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Scouts to promote condoms

The Scouts are to start giving young people sex advice, including handing out condoms, organising trips to sex clinics and referring teenagers to pro-abortion agencies such as FPA. They are using the usual mantra of self-justification: "We must be realistic and accept that around a third of young people are sexually active before 16," explains Chief Scout Peter Duncan. They could try and be realistic about why so many young people are sexually active, the possibility that field trips to sex clinics, free condoms and other gimmicks are fuelling the very problem the Scouts claim to want to address.

Norman Wells, director of Family and Youth Concern, pointed out: "Learning about contraception in local Scout groups gives the impression that young people are expected to be sexually active and that there is nothing wrong with teenage sexual experimentation."

This is a very sad move for young people and well-meaning individuals like Peter Duncan don't seem to see it. There are fewer and fewer places of real safety and innocence left to young people where they can enjoy themselves and engage in positive, worthy activities. In the name teaching children to be 'safe' and 'responsible', the Scouts are destroying yet another place of safety for children.

A tragic way to celebrate 100 years of the Scouting movement.

Monday, October 20, 2008

The 1960s are Ancient History

The editorial of the current issue of FAITH magazine responds to the results of a survey published in The Tablet, which claimed to prove definitively that Catholics reject Humanae Vitae.

As the editorial points out, The Tablet's treatment of a deliberately misleading and agenda-driven survey is symptomatic of the paper's narrow-minded, outdated editorial stance. Fr David Barrett writes:

The assumptions made by The Tablet throughout its issue for the fortieth anniversary of Humanae Vitae (26th July 2008) throw a light upon its editorial stance. They are pre-judged, never fully articulated or worked out, and they significantly damage even the magazine’s interpretation of the survey of Catholic attitudes and actions which they published in that issue.

The Faith article draws attention to particular details, such as the patronising generalisation that 'thinking Catholics' expected the Church to embrace contraception (unlike non-sentient individuals such as Paul the VI and Karol Wojtila) and the apparent belief that the entirety of the Catholic Church's teaching on sexuality are contained within one encyclical.

The terrifying thing is that The Tablet is still taken seriously within the secular press as a Catholic mouthpiece when it has not been Catholic in any meaningful sense of the word for decades and appears - like a middle-aged parent in denial - to be entirely out of touch with the movements that have grown up within the Church over the past thirty years. A generation of young Catholics is emerging through movements such as FAITH and Youth 2000 who are orthodox, faithful, educated... and increasingly impatient with an intransigent establishment locked in the sixties. As one Catholic pro-life activist put it:
"The liberal establishment don't seem to realise that for people our age [twenties] the 1960s are ancient history. I for one am unimpressed by patronising lectures about how awful it used to be and how grateful I should be to the architects of the permissive society, when we are the generation who are being forced to deal with the consequences. It is rather like trying to clean up the mess after someone else's orgy and being commanded to be absolutely delighted about it. It just adds insult to injury."

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Dr Death descends on London

Philip Nitschke, the Australian euthanasia advocate affectionately known as Dr Death, has been marketing suicide in London this week. He promotes the use of lethal drugs or an 'exit bag' and is particularly keen to market the online version of his suicide handbook - banned in his native country, but he is probably right in thinking he will meet less resistance to his antics in the UK.

Refreshingly, there has been something of an uproar following the appearance of this death salesman, with Bournemouth council refusing him permission to use their premises for his planned meeting and even the erroneously-named Dignity in Dying (known to most of us as the Voluntary Euthanasia Society) has distanced itself from Nitschke's approach. Not sure why the VES should feel so squeamish, they are very much on the same side but Dr Death has the embarrassing tendency to show up euthanasia for the squalid, heartless activity it actually is. Frankly, dying of suffocation with a plastic bag over your head just doesn't sound terribly dignified.

The Guardian article (weirdly listed under 'human rights' and 'health') emphasised that Dr Death's audience was made up of over-50s, but what worries me most about the sort of online suicide advice Nitschke is providing, is that it can be read by absolutely anyone; the mentally ill, teenagers, even children. With Britain doing so much to try to curb its shocking suicide rate - particularly among young men - the authorities need to take the law seriously and close down websites that positively encourage vulnerable people to end their lives. Limiting the number of aspirins that can be sold and placing nets under suspension bridges are necessary and laudable safeguards, but they will have little effect on the suicide rate if those who cynically promote suicide are not called to account.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Violence in the name of 'choice'

I think it is fair to say that many members of the public who are not involved with pro-life activities view people who hold vigils outside abortion facilities as dangerous extremists. This is the image portrayed by the media and by abortion providers themselves, who like to present themselves as embattled crusaders for women's rights beseiged by scary pro-lifers with their banners.

Though I do not join vigils outside abortion facilities myself, I know many people who go, week after week, to pray outside these places and brave ridicule and aggression, often under the watchful eye of the police. One student I know was knocked down by the boyfriend of a pregnant woman who no doubt felt desperately threatened by a petite woman handing out leaflets.

I never thought, however, that even a pro-abort could stoop quite so low as to commit a violent assault against an elderly woman for talking a girl out of having an abortion. According to witnesses, Mary Adam (72) was standing outside the Nebraska facility when the mother of the girl she had talked to knocked her to the ground and injured her, before walking into the facility. Mary was assisted by friends and taken to hospital by ambulance.

The woman who committed the assault was charged but not arrested and is unlikely to be prosecuted. I cannot help wondering, as Mary Adam's colleagues wondered, whether the police would have let a pro-lifer off so lightly if they had committed such a cowardly crime? However, I gather from the news report that the police are being urged to do their job and afford pro-life activists the same protection from crime as the rest of the population.

Friday, October 17, 2008

A life-changing glimpse through the microscope

This revealing story of a scientist's change of heart regarding embryo research appeared in The Washington Post. Dr. Shinya Yamanaka of Kyoto University, Japan, is credited with coming up with the idea of 'reprogramming' adult stem cells to behave like embryonic cells and thereby avoiding destroying human embryos.

The article describes Dr Yamanaka's desire to find an alternative to embryo research after he visited a friend's ferility clinic and looked at a human embryo under the microscope. He said: “When I saw the embryo, I suddenly realized there was such a small difference between it and my daughters. I thought, we can’t keep destroying embryos for our research. There must be another way.”

However, the sting in the tale is that Dr Yamanaka still uses human embryos in his work though he does not handle them himself, saying that it is unavoidable at the moment but his aim is to avoid using them altogether. It is a little like saying: "I heard the sound of the baby's heartbeat and thought, 'we've got to stop killing babies like this. Unfortunately, I still have to kill a few but I aim one day to stop.'"

I wonder what Dr James Sherley would make of this particular vacation of reason?

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Krakow Diary

Last weekend I was invited to address the annual conference of the Polish Federation of pro-life movements, on “The proclamation of the pro-life message in International institutions”. The conference was held in the Pastoral centre attached to the shrine of the Divine Mercy at Lagiewniki, Krakow. The Divine Mercy complex encompasses the original convent and chapel where the visionary, Sister Faustina received the Divine Mercy devotions but it also includes a new Basilica, viewing tower, conference centre, an adoration chapel, and related buildings. The invitation was also kindly extended by the organisers, to my wife Philomena to accompany me on the trip.

Friday 10th October
We had an early flight (which meant rising at 4.30am) and arrived at the Lagiewniki Centre in the early afternoon. We were immediately able to join in the Divine Mercy three o’clock devotions which were followed by Mass and a walk around the buildings within the shrine. When we returned to the pastoral centre we were warmly welcomed by Dr. Pawel Wosicki President of the Polish Federation and Dr.Antoni Zieba Vice President and introduced to other members of the federation who had arrived in the meantime.

Saturday 11th October
The conference was attended by about 300 delegates from all over Poland. The morning session looked at the protection of life, first internationally at United Nations level, at EU level, and finally in Poland. In my presentation on the international position I quoted an extract from a speech by Pope John Paul II who warned against a
‘new ideology of evil, perhaps more insidious and hidden than its predecessors, which attempts to pit even human rights against the family and against man’.
Pope John Paul’s statement sets out what I have experienced over the years at the UN. I witnessed an agenda clearly contrary to natural law being promoted and used to create new so-called rights. It was clear to me that this was and is a battlefront and what is at stake, is our entire way of life. Christian morality based on natural law is being rejected in favour of positivism and moral relativism. A whole new interpretation of human rights is being carefully put in place in what appears to be the single largest project in social engineering ever to be perpetrated on mankind and this is being done on a global scale.

Konrad Szymanski MEP addressed the conference regarding the impact of the EU on the protection of human life and Marek Jurek discussed the current situation in Poland.
Professor Bogdan Chazan addressed the conference on the problems associated with IVF and a young couple Michal and Agnieszka Pietrusinscy gave an excellent presentation on naprotechnology as a real alternative to IVF.

Mass was celebrated by his Excellency Bishop Stanislawa Stefaneka who attended the conference.

On Saturday afternoon during the workshops we were given a delightful and interesting guided tour of Krakow city centre by a charming young woman Alicija Babkiewicz, which included visits to the castle, the cathedral and the Bishop's palace where Pope John Paul 11 spent the 18 years prior to his elevation to the Papacy.

Sunday 12th October
The conference drew to a close with addresses by Dr. Wanda Poltawska, Dr. Antoni Zieba and federation president Dr Pawel Wosicki. Dr Wosicki looked at the mission and programme of the federation in today’s world.

The conference was followed by a pilgrimage to Wadowic the home town of Pope John Paul 11 which was celebrating that day the 30th anniversary of his election to the chair of St Peter. This part of the pilgrimage included a tour of the house in which John Paul 11 grew up and a visit to the church in which he was baptised. We then visited Kalwaria (CALVARY) Zebrzydowska a Bernardine monastery which has a famous way of the cross and which was also a place of pilgrimage for the family of Pope John Paul 11. We were very ably assisted during the pilgrimage by Dariusz Hybel who proved to be a mine of information. The autumn weather throughout the weekend was glorious, and according to Dariusz such conditions are known in Poland as a "Polish golden autumn", we would call it an "Indian summer"

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

UN General Assembly ban on all human cloning to be reassessed by UNESCO ethics panel

The United Nations has announced that its ethics panel will focus on the permissibility of so called “therapeutic cloning” later this month, when it considers whether the 2005 General Assembly (GA) declaration, that called on Member States to ban all forms of human cloning, should be reassessed in light of scientific, ethical, social, political and legal advances. Therapeutic cloning involves the killing of cloned human embryos for the extraction of stem cells and has been renamed “clone and kill” by the pro-life movement

The GA in 2005 declared all human cloning to be incompatible with human dignity and protection of life, voting 84 in favour of the ban and 34 against with 37 abstentions. The review will be carried out by the International Bioethics Committee (IBC) of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

UNESCO in 1997 issued a “Universal declaration on the Human Genome and Human Rights” which says in article 11 that reproductive cloning should be banned but this has been interpreted by the World Health Organisation as meaning that therapeutic cloning should be accepted.
Article 11
Practices which are contrary to human dignity, such as reproductive cloning of human beings, shall not be permitted. States and competent international organizations are invited to co-operate in identifying such practices and in taking, at national or international level, the measures necessary to ensure that the principles set out in this Declaration are respected.

The WHO publication “Genomics and World Health” 2002 says of the UNESCO declaration
“that the line between therapeutic cloning and reproductive cloning is quite clear and that reproductive cloning can be prohibited without impeding cloning for therapeutic purposes.”

The IBC will now debate the issue anew at a two-day meeting at the UNESCO headquarters in Paris beginning 28 October. An IBC working group set up at the request of UNESCO Director-General Koïchiro Matsuura said in a report in September."Recent technological developments and new prospects for the use of stem cells in the therapy of human diseases have once again raised the issue of adequacy of international regulations governing this research." They also noted that some people, mainly scientists, are urging a different approach to “therapeutic cloning”

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Will there be anyone left to be ashamed?

The prayer intention of this year's Rosary Crusade, held in London, was the defeat of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology bill, which is due to receive its third reading in Parliament next week. Fr Marcus Holden, a London-based priest and writer, described the bill as "one of the darkest peices of social legislation ever to come out of this land."

He also said: "In the future times, I believe people in this land will hang their heads in shame at what we their ancestors have done in these times."

He is absolutely right. We will all have to account for this evil piece of legislation if it gets through, but given the extreme anti-life nature of such bills, it is difficult not to ask the question: "Will there be anyone left to be ashamed?"

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Turning a blind eye to rape?

Students for Life of America have secretly filmed a conversation between a student and a Planned Parenthood employee during which the student, posing as a 15-year-old, asks for the morning after pill because, she says, she has had sex with her mother's live-in boyfriend. The employee expresses some concern that an illegal act has occurred - statutory rape - but a subsequent investigation found that the facility did not report the case to the relevent authorities as it is obliged to do by law.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Render Unto Caesar

Archbishop of Denver, Charles Chaput has written a book entitled 'Render unto Caesar: Serving the Nation by Living Our Catholic Beliefs in Political Life.'

The book is, in the words of reviewer William May, of "crucial importance for all American Catholics, who should all be struggling to combat the “culture of death” and develop the “culture of life.”

However, as a critique of the role of Catholics in society and the obligation to transform secular society by speaking out against injustice, it is a wake-up call for all men and women of goodwill around the world. His comments on abortion are particularly timely:
“Some acts are so evil that tolerating them itself becomes a poison that weakens the whole of society…..In our day, sanctity-of-life issues are foundational—not because of anyone’s ‘religious’ views about abortion…but because the act of dehumanizing and killing the unborn child attacks human dignity in a uniquely grave way. Deliberately killing the innocent is always, inexcusably wrong”.

On the issue of pro-abortion Catholic politicians receiving Communion, he says:
“Catholics who actively and prominently work to advance permissive abortion or any serious violation of human dignity, persons who deliberately treat the church, her people, and her sacraments as political theater to attack Catholic convictions and faith, should never present themselves for Communion and should never be surprised at being denied if they do so”

Archbishop Chaput is bound to come under fierce attack for many of the points he raises, but the book is very much a sign of hope for Catholics active in the field of social justice. It is evidence of an understanding among the Catholic hierarchy of the seriousness of the crisis and the desire to give support and leadership to an increasingly embattled Catholic community.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Marriage stabler than Cohabitation

The Pope is Catholic, married couples stay together longer than cohabiting couples. Pro-family campaigners have long argued that marriage is the safest and most stable environment in which to raise children and the research produced by the University of Essex is one more study that confirms this.

From the viewpoint of a pro-life campaigner, the importance of marriage cannot be overemphasised. Not only are children more likely to thrive if they are brought up by a mother and father who are married to one another, as the study shows, but it is also a fact that they are more likely to survive in the first place. Married women do have abortions, but the majority of abortions in the UK are carried out on single women and an unborn child is therefore statistically much more likely to be aborted if conceived outside marriage.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Ireland’s day for life: Cork Conference celebrating 25th anniversary of the pro-life amendment

Held at Frankfield/Grange parish centre in Douglas Cork, the conference was organised as a series of four panels dealing with different aspects of the pro-life amendment of the Constitution and its implications for Ireland . The event included campaigners from the 1983 referendum as well as medical, economic, legal and ethics experts from all over Europe.

Speaking on this historic anniversary, Kathy Sinnott, who is Vice President of the Bioethics Intergroup and the Intergroup on Family and Protection of Childhood in the European Parliament, said,
The laws protecting life are fragile and need ongoing commitment from our lawmakers, especially in a Europe where many consider such protection obsolete.

The first panel looked at the historical perspective and was presented by a panel of pro-life activists from the Munster region, who looked at the issues involved in first establishing the pro-life protection and then maintaining it despite the myriad attacks which have wounded but not overturned it

The second panel looked at the medical social and economic benefits of the pro-life amendment over the 25 year period. Dr John Monaghan pointed out that that the level maternal care in Ireland is excellent and as a result Ireland’s maternal mortality rate is the lowest in the world. Patrick Fagan of the Family Research Council produced US Federal statistics which clearly show that the safest and most beneficial place for children is to grow up in an intact home having a married mother and father who are regular church attendants. From the social science perspective the more an individual practices religious beliefs the more he/she thrives in education, health and mental health, marriage and family and the less likely is he/she is to be involved in crime, addiction, abuse or a host of other ills.

The third panel looked at the legal and legislative challenges to its pro-life ethos, faced by Ireland from the EU, the UN, the Council of Europe, the European Court of Human Rights, the World Health Organisation and international NGO’s. Roger Kiska from the European Centre for Law and Justice outlined the current challenge to the Irish Constitution, the ABC case currently before the European Court of Human Rights The fourth panel, which looked at the constitutional protection, consisted Of Kathy Sinnott Bernadette Goulding of Rachael’s Vineyard and Fr Brian Mc kevitt, editor of the Alive newspaper

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Forum of Catholic Inspired NGO’s

Osservatorio Romano Saturday October 4, 2008 reported that Catholic and Catholic-inspired NGOs are stepping up cooperation to make a more profound impact on world affairs. In 2007, the Forum of International Catholic inspired Associations came into being as an effort to identify the strengths and expertise of partner organizations and explore ways to collaborate more effectively in defending human life, dignity and human rights in the public sphere.

Johan Ketelers chair of the Forum’s Working Group in an interview told Osservatorio Romano “It is part of the responsibility of the catholic-inspired NGOs to contribute to a better and more just world and all have been engaged for many years in the various fields of action combating poverty, defending human, dignity and the rights of the human person. […]

“The catholic inspired NGO’s according to Mr Ketelers have been active in a vast panorama of activities and work fields which inevitably results in what may at first sight appear to be a heterogeneous group. Dialogue, coordination and exchange of information will always be essential in our work as organizations but the wide scope of issues covered by all of these organizations define the vast and challenging character of this ambitious process. The fact that all of these organizations share the same goals of defending human dignity and human rights and that they all agree on exploring paths to integrate as much as possible the social teachings of the Church in order to contribute to a more just world is probably more relevant than the seeming heterogeneity of the group".
According to Mr Ketelers, “there is an urgent need to develop ways that better respond to an ever moving and globalizing world in which many more different partners are playing coordinating roles. Responsibility -for the standpoints taken, and accountability- to the catholic identity, are key words to be renewed”.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Marie Stopes funding stopped

USAID has made the decision to stop funding Marie Stopes International, one of the biggest international promoters and providers of abortion, because of its role in China's coercive population control policy. Steve Mosher of Population Research Institute stated that MSI's “aggressive promotion of abortion, and its longstanding collaboration with China's coercive program leave little doubt that it is not only aware of the massive human rights abuses that have resulted in that country, but is actively collaborating with it.”

It is almost unbearable to witness the self-righteous behaviour of these organisations when their collaboration with human rights abuses is exposed, the denials and counter-accusations, usually with the backing of the media. It is probably too much to hope that groups like Marie Stopes and UNFPA will do the decent thing, come clean and issue a formal apology to the women whose rights they have wilfully ignored whilst having the hypocrisy to campaign in their name. Much too much to hope.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Justice for two murder victims - a woman and her unborn child

An Italian Judge has made legal history by sentencing a man to three additional years imprisonment for killing his pregnant girlfriend and her unborn child. Roberto Di Giacomo battered Veronica Figueroa to death and hid her body because she repeatedly refused to abort their child. Judge Guiseppe Gennari made it clear that, on top of the 24-year sentence Di Giacomo received, he was giving him the extra years for the offence of killing his unborn child.

As always when a terrible injustice is inflicted upon a woman who refuses to end the life of her unborn child, the feminists and the abortion-peddlers are keeping very quiet. The very people who are usually so vocal about 'a woman's right to choose', have very little to say when a woman chooses life and pays with her own. Whether it is Post-Abortion Trauma and other medical complications, coercive and forced abortion or a case such as the above, the determination to portray abortion in a uniformally positive light is such that when the facts get in the way, they just have to be ignored.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Ending Discrimination in the Womb

Population Research Institute has produced a video promoting the Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act (PreNDA) announced by Congressman Trent Franks last week. If passed, the act will make abortion on grounds of sex or race illegal. This legislation is being supported by prominent members of the black community.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Teenage Sex and Depression

A controversial study reported in the Daily Mail has concluded that teenage girls who engage in sexual activity are considerably more prone to depression than those who remain virgins. The study, published in the US Journal of Health Economics, involved 14,000 teenagers and found that 19% of sexually active girls suffered from depression compared with 9.2% of virgins. Teenage boys suffered no noticeable difference in their mental health.

Dr Trevor Stammers, chairman of the Christian Medical Fellowship in the UK said that, in his experience, the majority of girls regret early sexual activity. He added: "It also shows as closely as we have been able to show so far that there is a genuine link between increased risk of depression and adolescent females engaging in sex."

Friday, October 3, 2008

Mother Courage

An inspiring story in Eastern Daily Press about a mother who stopped her cancer treatment to protect her unborn child. Janine Long, an ex-model, has battled three different forms of cancer and was undergoing chemotherapy for cervical cancer when she discovered she was pregnant. She said:
“The doctors basically said that it was 'your baby lives but you might die, or your baby dies but you might live, or in a worst-case scenario you both die'. I was already a mum and when you are given a choice of your child's life or your own life, your child comes first. Motherly instincts are the most powerful thing in the whole world. I couldn't have given his life up for no reason.”

Mother and baby survived, and Janine has now finished her chemotherapy. For a person who has suffered so much and risked so much, she comes across as remarkably down-to-earth. "I want to inspire people," she said. "If I can do it, anyone can do it... If you have got someone in your life, like children or family, they need you, and that is the most important thing. I want people to know they are not alone."

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Abortion in the name of Palin

LifeNews reports on the latest dirty tricks campaign by the U.S. abortion lobby. There is something particularly hypocritical about attacking a woman in the name of women's rights - and a woman the feminist movement would grudgingly admire if she hadn't committed the heresy of opposing abortion.

The latest tactic by abortion providers is to encourage their supporters to give them a donation in the name of Sarah Palin. The thank you letter will then be sent to McCain's office. The idea of giving a donation out of spite says a great deal about the malicious nature of the abortion lobby's work. By way of a kinder response, campaigners are urging people of good will to give donations to pro-life groups in the name of Trig Palin, the Down Syndrome baby the abortion lobby despises Sarah Palin for having.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

More on the HPV Vaccine

The controversy surrounding the HPV vaccine has hit the headlines again, with a Catholic school in Manchester informing parents that the school would not be providing the vaccine and that parents should make their own arrangements for their daughters. The decision has been greeted by a great deal of emotive hype from the media, but as Mulier Fortis has mentioned, one of the issues ignored by the media with regard to the HPV vaccine are the very real fears of side-effects and health complications.

The moral implications of the vaccine have provoked heated debates throughout Catholic blogosphere with committed pro-lifers coming down strongly on both sides of the argument. As I have stated in a previous post, even setting aside the moral concerns about this vaccine, the health risks cannot be ignored. Since its introduction, deaths resulting from this vaccine run at an average of one per month, alongside 140 cases of serious complications including coma, paralysis and anaphalactic shock.

I would not wish cancer on anyone, particularly my own daughter, but nor would I be prepared to put my daughter at risk of serious health complications for the sake of a vaccine that has been rushed into circulation and remains of questionable medical value.