Monday 28 February 2011

Against Early Abortion

As the abortion industry confronts that evident humanity of the unborn child in later pregnancy, the push is on to emphasise early abortion as the best solution. Doubtless the RCOG will tell us how much safer early abortions are...

However, in this, as in their assertions about the safety of abortion, they are disregarding the psychological aspect.

Ever since Elisabeth Kubler-Ross's pioneering work on bereavement in the 1960s there has been widespread agreement about the fact that people experiencing a sudden change or shock go through predictable stages in their response. Similar research-based models have been published by Adam, Hayes and Hopson, by Lewis and Parker, and by John Fisher

They all make it clear that the initial response to a sudden change is normally negative, (words they use include denial, anger etc) but that with time, people typically move through a fairly predictable sequence of emotional responses frequently culminating in acceptance and growth.

By putting pressure on women to decide to have an abortion very quickly after they learn that they are pregnant, the abortion industry (and their other medical collaborators and apologists) are actually forcing women to make that choice at a moment of predictable, and transient, emotional distress.

Whose interests are served by that? Women's? Or the abortion industry's?

It has long been observed that an unwanted pregnancy is not the same thing as - and does not necessarily lead to - an unwanted child. The research on typical reactions to change helps to explain that.

Likewise, it is a commonplace (though rarely acknowledged) that very few women ever regret having decided against an abortion, whereas many, many women regret deciding to have one.

Thursday 24 February 2011

The (old) New Priests

Laurence 'Bones' has a post featuring an article by a retired priest expressing his distress at the cruel trick played on him by the Vatican Despots.

It is worth reading on many levels, not least because such men are worthy of our pity and needing our prayers.

The saddest line of all, perhaps, is also the most revealing: 'We changed from being priests called and consecrated by God to being presbyters called and ordained by the Church – the People of God. '

In addition to Laurence's observations, a couple of things leapt out at me: the self-contradicitons contained in this sad outpouring.

One was: 'We realised that clericalism was an evil, not a good, and discarded it with its style;' followed by: 'The celebration of the importance of priests in the church is belied by the contempt with which they are treated. ' Is there just a hint of double think here - and of wounded vanity?

And likewise: ' We ran highly successful and active parishes;' and 'Today the ranks of the priesthood are depleted due to low recruitment over the last forty years.' So how successful where these parishes in fact?...

But go and read the whole piece and draw your own conclusions.


The death of Bernard Nathanson sees the passing of a heroic man. A stalwart of the abortion industry, both in theory and practice, he came to understand the reality of what he had been doing and campaigning for - and the damage it was doing to himself and to women, let alone the unborn victims. He converted to the pro-Life side, and to Catholicism, and spent the rest of his days campaigning for life. May he rest in peace.

Then Fr Z reported the case of the woman, Norma Jean Coon, who was a keen would-be woman priest, who has likewise converted and recanted her previous errors.

All of which reminded me of William Coulson, who was sidekick to Carl Rogers as he destroyed Catholic Schools and Orders of Nuns with his 'person-centred approach.' Coulson was likewise converted by, and to, truth.

If these three, once deeply engrained in their errors, are able to accept God's grace and change so profoundly, there is hope for all of us!

Wednesday 23 February 2011

CAFOD surpass themselves...

I would really love to believe that CAFOD has appointed Damian McBride to run their media operation because he is truly sorry for his outrageous smear campaigns against opposing politicians while working for Gordon Brown (which caused his untimely departure from No 10).

But even if that is the case, as I really hope it is, why is it so dispiriting to see yet another croney from New Labour taking a senior position in the Catholic bureaucracy?

Do the punters in the pew really want to be funding his salary, after years of funding Filochowski's (and his dissident lover) about which we were kept in ignorance by a complicit hierarchy?

After all, we've only just had a collection to support the CES, complete with ex-Labour MP Greg Pope who has such a strong anti-Life voting record...

But it will be CAFOD collection time again soon, and all we, like sheep, will be led astray.

Monday 21 February 2011

Abortion - a societal killer

I rarely blog about abortion, because it seems to me that there is so little new to say: however, it is rarely far from my thoughts and prayers as it is the greatest moral evil in our society. So perhaps I should blog about it more frequently.

The gravest evil of abortion is clearly the destruction of innocent human life precisely at the time it is most in need of protection.

However, it is important also to recognise the other evils inherent in the abortion culture.

The psychological and physical damage to women who have abortion is fairly well-known, though the abortion lobby is still in denial over this.

The damage to the relationship between the sexes has been less explored, but when one considers the following facets, there must clearly be some.

  • Women can take a unilateral decision to kill a man's child, without any consultation, let alone consent;
  • Men can put pressure on women to kill their child, at a time when a woman is most in need of emotional (and other) support;
  • The unitive and procreative act is deemed to be free of consequences.

There is also the damage to the medical profession: the availability of abortion requires medical staff to violate their professional oath and ethics: this too is clearly damaging.

  • We see medics increasingly mistrusted by society at large (because we know, really, that they should not be colluding with this);
  • We see medics increasingly making other life-and-death decisions based on an ethic of pragmatism (eg cost, utilitarian judgements etc) rather than an ethic of love and compassion;
  • We see medics distorting their consciences to justify what they have done and continue to do.

There is a wider damage to society as a whole.
  • The loss of huge numbers of the next generation, with particular damage in some social, and ethnic groups, and of course, girls;
  • We collectively turn a blind eye to a huge injustice in our midst;
  • We have a growing population of people who have a stake in justifying abortion: they have had one (or more); they have colluded with one (or more); they have justified one (or more. That makes it ever harder to have a rational and civilised debate in the light of emerging science about the humanity of the unborn child - the science is moving in one direction, but society at large is moving in the other.

As one would expect, the whole abortion industry is founded on lies; for its progenitor is the father of lies:

  • The lie that the unborn child is not really a human;
  • The lie that even if a human, he or she does not deserve the same care as the rest of us;
  • The lie that abortion will make it as though the woman was never pregnant;
  • The lie that it is simply a medical procedure like having an appendix out;
  • The lie that it is a decision that affects only the woman;
  • The lie that there are no adverse consequences for the woman or anyone else;
  • The lie that this is medical care.

And the solution? Some devils can only be cast out by prayer and fasting. That must be the start point for all of us, Then each according to his or her gifts must fight this evil: in the intellectual arena, in the political arena, by acts of witness, by acts of charity...

Sunday 20 February 2011

40 days for Life

I have been asked to post about 40 Days for Life (London) - and thought I should perhaps mention the Cheltenham version too, not to mention the international ones.

Here's what they say about the events:

40 Days for Life launches record-shattering campaign March 9

The largest ever 40 Days for Life international campaign is on the way! The campaign will run from March 9 to April 17 in 247 cites -- locations from coast to coast in the United States as well as sites in Canada, England, Ireland, Australia, Spain, Georgia, Armenia and Belize. Momentum is building - and it's on the pro-life side!

Saturday 19 February 2011

Education Sunday

Apparently it is Education Sunday this weekend. There may well be a collection for the Catholic Education Service. It is not one to which, in conscience, I can contribute.

However, to mark the day, the parents of the Vaughan School have produced a leaflet, the text of which I reproduce below. If you want to send the money you might give to a a truly Catholic Education Service to the Vaughan Parents' Action Group, I am sure they would welcome that. Here's what they have to say:

Vaughan Parents’ Action Group

This Sunday

Pray for Catholic Education

There is a lot to celebrate about Catholic Education but our schools are under threat as never before.

The Diocese of Westminster has forced schools such as The Cardinal Vaughan Memorial School (CVMS) to drop from their admission criteria the requirement for parents to present their children for the Sacraments of First Holy Communion and Confession.

Practising Catholic families question why this requirement of Canon Law has not been insisted upon by the Diocese.

Westminster Diocese has refused to involve parents fully in the education of their children, by eliminating them from the Foundation Governors of CVMS, even though well qualified parents offered themselves. This is why the Westminster Diocese is being taken to court by the Vaughan's elected Parent Governors.

Some Catholic schools in London struggle to fill places with Catholic pupils. Instead of singling out the Vaughan's Governing Body for special treatment the Diocese should concentrate on helping schools like these to attract a higher Catholic intake.

After Baptism and Mass attendance the Diocese prefers to use geographical distance as a tie-breaker for admission to Catholic schools over and above commitment to and practice of the Faith or involvement in the life of the Church.

When this applies to schools such as CVMS it will effectively deny practising families the choice of a Catholic education for their children if they live more than a couple of miles away from a School.

Is this what you want for your children and grandchildren?

Write to Archbishop Vincent Nichols at Archbishop’s House, Ambrosden Avenue, London, SW1P 1QJ or email: Tell him what you want and expect him to provide for Catholic education for your family

Do this before it is too late to make a difference

Pray for Catholic Education

Strange Bedfellows

We've just finished painting our big bookshelf (a mere four years or so after we had it built), so I have spent a delightful morning putting all the books back on in alphabetical order of author.

That always makes me laugh. Where else will one find Colin Dexter comparing notes with Chalres Dickens, Georgette Heyer cosying up to Russell Hoban, Virginia Woolf rubbing shoulders with John Wyndham, or amongst the plays Aristophanes and Ayckbourn seeking the last laugh, and PG Wodehouse exchanging pleasantries with Karol Wojtyla?

Monday 14 February 2011

The Joys of the Herald

I've recently discovered the joys of the Catholic Herald's articles and ensuing comments. Some insights, and some nutters, but quite entertaining when I should have been working... Francis Phillips on Medjugorje, in particular, has sparked fierce debate.

Personally I have never found the garrulous 'Gospa' remotely reminiscent of Our Blessed Lady; and that along with the shenanigans surrounding the seers and the Franciscans associated with them makes one understand why the competent authorities (the local bishops) have declared there to be nothing supernatural going on there.

Other hot topics include the new translation of the Mass, where William Oddie's recent articles have also attracted a lot of comment.

Sunday 13 February 2011

The 'Gays' March On...

The BBC reports that restrictions on homosexuals having civil partnership ceremonies in churches. synagogues, mosques etc is due to be lifted, and the distinctions between Civil Partnerships and Marriages further blurred.

Of course, we are reassured, there will be no pressure on Churches to allow such ceremonies.

Just as we were assured that Civil Partnerships would not in any way be equated to marriages.

The thin end of the wedge is being driven in just a little further - and it won't stop there, you can be sure of that.

Friday 11 February 2011

Institutional grooming

Today, Labour MP Chris Bryant's bill on compulsory sex education is up for debate in parliament - you should by now have written to your MP (if you're a UK citizen) as John Smeaton has pointed out. Chris Bryant is homosexual and has no kids himself.

This made me reflect on the degree to which the establishment is grooming our kids for sex. This is deemed a crime when done by a lone paedophile, or worse a paedophile ring, but when done by Schools, Channel 4, Brook Advisory, Planned Parenthood etc etc it is suddenly called 'Education' and is A Good Thing. But in fact much of their material is designed to prepare kids for early and casual sexual encounters - and if that's not grooming, what is?

(I'm not going to link to their www sites, but if you want to check what I'm saying, go and take a look - but brace yourself, there's some very unpleasant stuff out there!)

Thursday 10 February 2011

In Favour of Active Participation

The saga at the Vaughan School is a great example of Active Participation in action. The candle-lit vigil embodied that.

For those not able to get there, there are other ways to participate actively in this rearguard action for Catholic Education.

Spiritual: pray!

Corporal: donate!

Donations may be made via the PayPal link on the VPAG website, or cheques can be sent to the School, made payable to the Vaughan Parents' Association, and endorsed on the reverse 'Vaughan Parents' Action'.

Wednesday 9 February 2011

Methodist 'ordinations' at Catholic Cathedral?...

Is it just me, or is there something slightly, let's say, inappropriate about a Catholic Cathedral hosting a Methodist 'Ordination' Service?

Why do I have a problem with this?

Let's see...

It might give the impression that we believe that a Methodist 'Ordination' Service results in the people being ordained receiving a sacrament...

It might result in people who protest against Catholic Truth (they are protestants, remember, that's what it means...) conducting a service in the Presence of the Blessed Sacrament in Whose Presence they don't believe... (Unless the Cathedral authorities remove the Blessed Sacrament for the duration: what are the odds on that do you suppose).

It might lead people to imagine some equivalence between Methodism and the One True Church founded by Christ...

It might result in premature apoplexy for any believing Catholics still to be found on these sorry isles...

And on and on.

H/t Luke Coppen on Twitter (@lukecoppen)

UPDATE 28 May: these 'ordinations' will not now take place in a Catholic Cathedral! See here...

Tuesday 8 February 2011

What Good is Westminster...?

Sorry, that should have read 'What Good is Westminster Pursuing?'

You know how sometimes, when you examine your conscience, you wonder whether you have been lacking in charity.

My posts ridiculing the Westminster Education Supremos caused me to ask myself that question. I am not too angst-ridden about it, though, as I do believe that in the face of bad decisions and silliness, humour, publicity, and even satire have a place.

However, I did spend some time worrying that I hadn't considered fully enough what good they think they are pursuing.

I wanted to write a more even-handed, balanced post.

But I can't. I really can't see it.

If it is about 'fairness' why advocate a system so clearly open to abuse (and regularly abused) by the wealthy? If it isn't about 'fairness', what is it about?

The only options I can imagine do not reflect well on them by my standards: it might be about 'fairness' (or what I would see as face-saving) for the other schools that people don't want to send their kids to, because they'll lose their Faith and get rubbish grades. Or it may be about 'fairness' to parents who complain that their kids didn't get in even thought the school was on their doorstep - but why should they be advantaged because they can afford to live in a posh area?

The diocese has given few clues and the ones it has given don't help: the bishop has the authority to appoint Governors - pray tell me it's not about power. We know what an aphrodisiac that can be - ask Mrs Bercow.

Or it is simply ideology: excellence is elitism by definition, and must therefore be suppressed...

There, that was boring: I think I'll get back to mockery - if memory serves, C S Lewis justifies it somewhere quoting Milton (?) The Devil, that proud spirit, cannot endure to be mocked.

Monday 7 February 2011

Sunday 6 February 2011

A preferential option... for the rich

Imagine per impossible that a Catholic School and a diocese were in dispute about a school’s admissions policy. This hypothetical problem might arise if a school were very successful and popular and many Catholics (and others) wanted to send their children there.

Let us imagine that one side of the argument wanted to apply an admissions policy that was based on giving priority to Catholics who lived nearest to the school. And let us imagine that the school was in an expensive part of town; that policy would, of course, effectively ensure that only the wealthy need apply - and in fact, those who wanted to attend the school and were wealthy could, of course, move into the catchment area, an option not open to the poor. Then they only have to start going to Mass (until their kids are admitted) and they're in.

Let us further imagine that the other side of the dispute wished to maintain a policy that allowed people of many different social backgrounds, races and so forth to attend; and that was intended to maintain the Catholic ethos of the school (the best way they have devised of doing this is to assess as best they can the family's intention really to practice the Faith: hard to assess, but they give it a go).

Which side would you think the Diocese would be on?

Now look at the shenanigans surrounding the Cardinal Vaughan Memorial School...

(And you may like to add to my slogans - see previous post...)

Slogans for Westminster Education....

After my successful work on slogans for The Tablet some while ago, I am eagerly awaiting a commission from the Diocese of Westminster to help put their policy with regard to the Vaughan School across succinctly. Here are my initial thoughts...

  • A preferential option for the rich
  • Keep the poor in their place
  • No diversity here
  • Posh schools for posh kids
  • You don’t have to be rich to come here - but it helps
  • Helping Cafeteria Catholics to jump the queue
I welcome any other suggestions, of course.

Friday 4 February 2011

New Chartres Pilgrimage Blog

The new Chartres Pilgrimage Blog can be found here.

For any who have not yet undertaken it, the Chartres Pilgrimage is a fantastic source of grace.

Even more so for those who have, of course...

One sin leads to another...

Action Films sent a couple of actors, posing as a pimp and a prostitute, into a Planned Parenthood facility in New Jersey. They made it clear that they were illegally importing underage girls to work as prostitutes, and wanted Planned Parenthood's help in providing contraception and abortions on a 'no questions asked' basis.

How do you think the Planned Parenthood manager responded?

Yes, complete collaboration in this serious set of illegal abusive activities. But then when your day job is arranging abortions, why would you not...? Once we erode our moral conscience, where do we stop?

The video may be seen on Youtube.

It should be added that Planned Parenthood have since sacked the manager: but one can't help wondering if her sackable offence was being found out....

Thursday 3 February 2011

More on the Vaughan School

Yesterday saw the meeting of the Governors at the Vaughan, and the candle-lit protest. It also saw a statement released by the Archbishop, apparently in response to press interest (but not, unfortunately, addressing the concerns of the parents - or even mentioning 'parents', which seems a bit odd.)

James Preece carries the parents' reaction to the Archbishop's statement, and A Reluctant Sinner carries a thoughtful piece wondering if the Archbishop is right, raising some interesting points. Even more interesting, perhaps, are the comments in response to that piece.

Tuesday 1 February 2011

Ave, Regina Caelorum

Ave, Regina Caelorum,
Ave, Domina Angelorum:
Salve, radix, salve, porta
Ex qua mundo lux est orta:
Gaude, Virgo gloriosa,
Super omnes speciosa,
Vale, o valde decora,
Et pro nobis Christum exora.

Hail, O Queen of Heaven enthroned.
Hail, by angels mistress owned.
Root of Jesse, Gate of Morn
Whence the world's true light was born:
Glorious Virgin, Joy to thee,
Loveliest whom in heaven they see;
Fairest thou, where all are fair,
Plead with Christ our souls to spare.

Putting the boot in...

Excellent article by William Oddie at the Catholic Herald, putting the boot into the BBC's Sunday programme for putting the boot into the ordinariate.

Oddie points out how they invite an unrepresentative friend (the awful Dr Tina) of the unrepresentative dissenting Catholic presenter to give her unrepresentative views and, as he puts it,
following its usual tactic of maintaining a bogus appearance of impartiality while actually setting everything up to arrive at the wished-for conclusion.
Worth reading in full (as William Oddie often is!)

Tomorrow: the Feast of the Purification and...

Tomorrow is the feast of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and the Presentation of Our Lord at the Temple.

It marks the time when we take down the cribs and change the Marian Antiphon from Alma Redemptoris to Ave Regina Caelorum.

It is also the day on which the governors of the Vaughan School are meeting, and the Vaughan Parents Action Group are holding a candle light vigil. Remember them all in your prayers.

It also marks a meeting called Equal Love, which is part of a campaign to remove the ban on homosexual couples engaging in civil marriages and heterosexual couples engaging in civil partnerships. Peter Tatchell (of course) is behind this. Another cause for prayers.

Should they succeed in this campaign, it will not be long before they are taking the Catholic Church to the European Court of Human Rights (soi-disant...) to demand the right for Catholic Weddings for 'gay' couples.

The battle here is not about rights; it is about the meaning of the word marriage, which has been a bedrock of civilisation for millenia. The stakes are very high indeed, not just for Catholicism and any other Christians who still hold to Our Lord's teaching, but for civilisation as a whole.