Sunday, 28 February 2010

Petition to the Bishops of England and Wales

Concerned about recent proposals which would force Catholic schools to teach children how and where to access contraception and abortion?
There is an online petition to the Bishops of England and Wales which reads:

"We, the undersigned, call upon the Bishops of England and Wales and the Catholic Education Service to fulfil their duty as guardians of our Catholic Faith and unequivocally reject recent Government measures forcing Catholic schools to teach what is explicitly condemned by the Church, viz: presenting active homosexuality as an acceptable alternative lifestyle, and providing information on the nature - and provision - of contraception and abortion services. Compliance on the part of the Bishops and the CES in such measures would effectively render our schools no longer Catholic in any meaningful sense, and would place the faith and moral life of our children in jeopardy. As Catholic parents, teachers and pastors, we earnestly beg of you, our Shepherds in Christ, that you do not allow this to happen."
You can sign the petition here

Thanks to  Fr. Boyle

Friday, 26 February 2010

Tribute to a Cardinal: "you are truly Jesus' heart, His will and His hands and feet on this earth."

 During a week in which the Catholic Education Service has shown us what it's made of, I was heartened to read the tributes paid to a real stalwart in the battle for pro-life and the family. This comes from Zenit:

"Cardinal Renato Martino spent 16 years as the Holy See's permanent observer to the United Nations in New York. During that time, the Vatican diplomat led numerous campaigns in which the Holy See successfully lobbied against, among other things, global advocacy of abortion and a redefinition of the family. It was for these enormous achievements that he was honored at a Rome dinner on Feb. 12., hosted by the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute whose president is Austin Ruse."

 Below is part of Ruse's tribute to the Cardinal:

"It is a hard and nearly impossible thing to stand up to what sometimes seems like the whole world, but you never did cave in," Ruse explained. "It is a testament to your steadfastness that over the years our opponents did not get what they wanted. They wanted an international right to abortion and they lost because you stopped them. They wanted a redefinition of the family and they lost because you stopped them. They wanted to say that gender was a social construction and not based in nature and they lost because you stopped them. It would have been easy and even plausible to give in and to go along, but you never did that, and for this we stand up for you tonight."

"Ruse, who couldn't make the event because of bad weather, said in his message that his organization had received over 2,000 tributes to the cardinal from all over the world. "Thank you Cardinal Martino on behalf of all the babies that you have saved by opposing abortion and the universal right to abortion at the United Nations," read one tribute. "God will reward you richly for the crosses you had to carry." Another read: "You are an inspiration to us all, you are a hero, you are truly Jesus' heart, his will and his hands and feet on this earth."

The second part of this article outlines the current situation, regarding our Government's Sex Education Bill .
As it observes:

"Catholics in England might like someone of Cardinal Martino's calibre at the moment."

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

CES Statement on the Sex Education Bill (3rd Reading)

"CESEW Statement regarding Amendment 70 to the Children, Schools
and Families Bill (23 February 2010)
Following the Third Reading of the Children, Schools and Families Bill, 
Amendment 70 has been accepted as part of the Bill. The amendment
is as follows:
Page 14, line 6 [Clause 11], at end insert—
‘(7A)    Subsections (4) to (7) are not to be read 
as preventing the governing body or head teacher 
of a school within subsection (7B) from causing 
or allowing PSHE to be taught in a way that 
reflects the school’s religious character.
(7B)    A school is within this subsection if it 
is designated as a school having a religious 
character by an order made by the Secretary 
of State under section 69(3) of the School 
Standards and Framework Act 1998.’.
The governing bodies and head teachers of Voluntary Aided 
schools are required to conduct their schools in accordance 
with their Instrument of Government and the Trust Deed under 
which they operate. The provisions of the amendment will 
enable schools with a religious character to fulfil these 
requirements in the teaching of Personal, Social, Health
and Economic (PSHE) Education, which includes Sex and 
Relationships Education (SRE).
The teaching of all aspects of the curriculum in Catholic schools 
reflects their religious ethos. In the same way, the SRE in 
Catholic schools will be rooted in the Catholic Church’s 
teaching of the profound respect for the dignity of all human persons."
The disingenuity of this statement is, in my view, quite staggering.
The Catholic Education Service has failed to tell the whole truth 
about what is proposed in this Bill with regard to the 
Sex and Relationships element. 
As Fr Finigan and others have said, the amendment is worthless:
 "since all schools, including Catholic schools, will still be
required to give information about contraception,
abortion, and homosexual partnerships: and they must
teach a "range of views." In other words, whatever they
do in terms of presenting teaching in a way that reflects
the religious character of the school, they are not allowed
to teach that Catholic doctrine is true."
The question, which the CES's statement has ignored, remains:
Does the teaching of the Catholic Church permit for
Catholic schools to teach children how and where they
can access contraception and abortion?
Thanks to Fr. Finigan and John Smeaton

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Cardinal O'Brien :we have witnessed this Government undertake a systematic and unrelenting attack on family values

  Cardinal O'Brien

The leader of Scotland’s Roman Catholics has reacted to the Scottish Secretary’s attempt to woo religious voters by accusing Labour of a “systematic and unrelenting attack on family values". 

In a stinging rebuke to Jim Murphy, Cardinal Keith O’Brien said he could not think of a “tangible example” of the Government embracing the views of the Catholic Church in the past decade. 

 The Cardinal said: “Any recognition of the role played by faith and religion in society is to be welcomed. However, a tangible example by the Government over the last decade that it acknowledged or endorsed religious values would also have been welcomed. Instead we have witnessed this Government undertake a systematic and unrelenting attack on family values. This is a charge I personally put to Gordon Brown when we met in 2008 and I have seen no evidence since then to suggest anything has changed.”
He added: “When introducing legislation to permit experimentation on and destruction of human embryos the objections of the Church and other faiths were ignored.
“When introducing legislation to permit civil partnerships and same-sex adoption, the objections of the Church and other faiths were ignored. In refusing to tackle the soaring toll of abortions, the views of the Church and other faiths were ignored.
“Most recently, in advancing legislation which would completely and permanently undermine religious freedom, this Government has taken no note whatsoever of the concerns of people of faith.”

 Thanks to the Daily Telegraph

Could we now have a statement from The Archbishop of Westminster, which repudiates the systematic and unrelenting attack on family values, through legislation which completely and permanently undermines religious freedom, particularly with reference to the proposed introduction of compulsory, state-dictated sex education including the requirement that Catholic schools must teach children how and where to get an abortion?

Christian Institute Statement: Choice threatened byWhitehall sex-ed. grab

Many thanks to Hippolytus for this comment :

CHRISTIAN INSTITUTE STATEMENT -Choice threatened by Whitehall sex ed grab "I have just come across the above. I have not read all the materials but at a quick glance it strikes me that this non-Catholic Christian group may have given greater clarity and Christian witness on these matters than the Catholic Hierarchy and CES. I think they may have also shown a greater political suggested by the headline they give to their article."       -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- As the link above shows, the Christian Institute  commissioned legal opinion on the provisions of the Sex Education Bill. Here's some of what that opinion has to say:    
  • "A Government plan to centralise control of sex education in Whitehall will threaten parental choice and may squeeze Christian teachers out of their jobs,"   
  • "the Bill “represents a radical appropriation of power by central government, enabling them to dictate teaching on a matter over which many parents have strongly held moral or religious convictions.”  
  •   “It seems that the Government intends that the Bill would not require that parents be consulted about the content of SRE.”  
  •   " the effect of the changes “would therefore be to limit parental freedom of choice in the area of their children’s education.”   
  • " Christian teachers could face dismissal if they refuse to teach children that unmarried sexual unions should be valued on a par with marriage."

Petition in support of Catholic Adoption Agencies

Ann Widdecombe, MP, is setting down an amendment to the Equalities Bill which would allow for Catholic Adoption agencies to resume their adoption work in a way that does not conflict with the teaching of the Church.
The amendment has 22 co-signatories from across parties.

Mr. James Mc Groarty has created an online petition in support of this amendment,
Below are some details:

"Following the loss of some Catholic Adoption Agencies, and the severing of links between some agencies and the Church, it is clear that the Government has not achieved its aim of "not dissipating or diluting the expertise that the Catholic Adoption Agencies have developed in dealing with hard-to-place children."(25 Jan. 2007) Quite apart from the rights of children, the rights of those wishing to adopt in a Catholic ethos have been trampled on. The Government must use the opportunity presented by the Equality Bill to amend the Law to make space for Catholic Adoption services. Sexual Orientation laws on the provision of goods and services should not be used to prevent people of faith from accessing a service in the context of their faith tradition."
At the moment there are 427 signatories to this petition, so I urge you click the link above and boost the numbers for this very important and just cause.

Thanks to Bad Things Happen When Good People Do Nothing

Compulsory sex education in the name of Archbishop Nicholls?

The name of Archbishop Vincent Nichols has now been dragged into the ongoing debate, about the Government's sex education bill, by Ed Balls, Education Secretary.
Here's the interview on the Today programme, where Balls suggests that the Archbishop is in favour of what this Bill proposes, including for instance, that Catholic schools would have to teach children where and how to access an abortion.

We have arrived at a make-or-break moment, I fear that if the Catholic church in this country does not win this battle for the hearts and minds of our children, it will not only be their education that suffers, and it would difficult to see how the Church would be able to have a future  voice in the public square, if the Church permits itself to be subjugated in this way.
Lots of prayer is needed. Now is the time.

Monday, 22 February 2010

Sex Education Bill: Urgent...

The Conservatives have tabled an amendment to the Govt.'s sex education bill which would exclude primary schools from having to teach sex and relationships education.

John Smeaton has the details, including this request:

"Please email or telephone your MP immmediately to urge him/her to:

  • sign and support amendments 2 and 60, tabled by the Conservative opposition for report-stage, and
  • vote against the bill as a whole at third reading. Please read SPUC's latest campaign alert for more information and please act straight away."

It's good  that Her Majesty's Opposition is recognising and speaking out  against (at least some of) the worst excesses of the Government's agenda of secular relativism.  Unless, of course the Catholic Education Service(CES) is going to claim this proposed amendment to be the result of its "extensive lobbying" too!

Thursday, 18 February 2010

Short break forecast

A short blogging break is coming up as we are off to the Youth2000 retreat in Harrogate.
It promises to be a great help to us all, to start Lent on a good, strong footing.

Lots of travelling,  and hopefully not too much snow.
Be back soon....

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

Ash Wednesday: Pope dedicates audience to Lent

Holy Father: ' Witness Awakens Vocations'

From the Holy Father's message for the 47th World Day of Prayer for Vocations that will be celebrated on 25 April:

"It can be said that priestly vocations are born of contact with priests, as a sort of precious legacy handed down by word, example and a whole way of life."

"Every priest, every consecrated person, faithful to his or her vocation, radiates the joy of serving Christ and draws all Christians to respond to the universal call to holiness. Consequently, in order to foster vocations to the ministerial priesthood and the consecrated life, and to be more effective in promoting the discernment of vocations, we cannot do without the example of those who have already said "yes" to God and to his plan for the life of each individual. Personal witness, in the form of concrete existential choices, will encourage young people for their part to make demanding decisions affecting their future." 

"The story of every vocation is almost always intertwined with the testimony of a priest who joyfully lives the gift of himself to his brothers and sisters for the sake of the Kingdom of God."  

 How important it is for us to remember  our faithful priests and religious, living out their vocations in complete fidelity, exemplifying  the priesthood and the religious life  in powerful ways, through which the Lord works, to draw the hearts of young people to Himself.

It is indeed a precious legacy.
And by our constant prayers for them, it's a legacy which we can help priests and religious to pass on.

Monday, 15 February 2010

Sacrilege in Costa Rica

The Catechism of the Catholic Church  has defined Sacrilege :

"Sacrilege consists in profaning or treating unworthily the sacraments and other liturgical actions, as well as persons, places or people consecrated to God. Sacrilege is a grave sin especially when comitted against the Eucharist, for in this sacrament the true Body of Christ is made substantially present for us." (CCC 2120)

     " When the Angel of Peace appeared to the three children at Fatima, he taught them to make acts of reparation for offences that were being committed against God in the world. He taught them to make acts of adoration of the Holy Trinity and of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, in order to make reparation for sins, and to give Glory to God. He taught them the following prayer: 

"Most Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, I adore You pro­foundly. I offer You the most precious Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ, present in all the tabernacles of the world, in reparation for all the outrages, sacrileges and in-difference by which He is offended. By the infinite merits of His Most Sacred Heart and through the intercession of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I beg of you the conversion of poor sinners."

 Thanks to St.John'sValdosta

Sunday, 14 February 2010

Quo Vadis: New website, also prayer request

I read in the 'Pastor Iuventus' column of this week's Catholic Herald that Fr. Dominic Allain has set up a new website for Quo Vadis, which is a group for young people 15+ still in full-time education who are seeking to find their vocation, their place in the Church and the World.
 One of our sons has been part of Quo Vadis for some time,  benefitting from the excellent catechesis offered and discerning a possible vocation to the priesthood.

Our son has now been told that he may make the formal application to the Diocese for priestly formation. God willing, our son hopes for a seminary placement for September this year.

A priest friend said to us that it takes a great deal of prayer to form a priest, so, please feel free to help us with this!  Prayers for our son, Phil, and for all young men who are discerning or in formation, would be a great way to support them in their vocations.
And while you are there, you might add a prayer that Quo Vadis will continue to bear fruit, and that the Lord will continue to send labourers to the harvest.

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

'Sex Education' tanks lining up outside the garden gate?

Is the Government planning to force conscientious parents, who wish to exercise  their right to withdraw their child from school sex education, to use the same sex education content at home?

 Parents who are considering exercising their right to withdraw their child from SRE will be interested in these chilling statements under para 2.6.1  and para 2.6.2 of the draft  guidance on sex and relationships education (SRE), published by the Department for Children Schools and Families (DCSF):  (with my emphasis)

"Parents have a legal right to withdraw their children from SRE taught outside of the science national curriculum – but if they choose to withdraw their children from school provision they have a responsibility to provide alternative SRE. The school’s SRE policy should set out clearly how parents are informed of their right of withdrawal from SRE and how the school will support them in fulfilling their responsibility to provide SRE at home."

 "Where parents choose to withdraw their children from SRE schools should discuss the alternative arrangements that parents are making to provide SRE themselves and offer support to parents in fulfilling their responsibility. Schools will need to balance the rights of the parents and the rights of their pupils"  

  The guidance, when it is finalised, will have the status of 'statutory guidance', meaning that headteachers and governing bodies will be required by law to have regard to the guidance.

On the question of the content of SRE, the draft guidance states:

"Schools should make a clear distinction between factual information and views and beliefs."

For some further  background on this, I recommend John Smeaton's excellent analysis of this draft guidance.
As John Smeaton says:

"Ultimately, it will be up to the courts to decide what is or isn't "statutory content" under the law. However, as the guidance makes clear:

"Head teachers and governing bodies are required by law to have regard to the guidance"
a requirement which is repeated in the government's Children, Schools and Families bill (clause 12). 

Schools will therefore have to prove that what they teach in SRE not only accords with the bill's principles (above) but that they had "regard" to the government's guidance. The guidance is so insistent in its promotion of anti-life/anti-family concepts that it places pro-life/pro-family schools in an almost impossible situation. How will a school which doesn't teach those concepts prove that it upholds the bill's principles, having regard to the guidance? We can expect any such school to be pursued vigorously. By helping draft the guidance and by welcoming it as "a positive step forward", the CES is once again selling Catholic schools down the river."

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

The Tablet-Promoting understanding of the Roman Catholic Faith?

Some information available on the website of Charity Commission, the Regulator for Charities in England and Wales :

"The Tablet Trust is a registered charity which has a wholly owned subsidiary, The Tablet Publishing Company Ltd.  The principle activity of the Tablet Publishing Company Ltd., is the  publication of 'The Tablet' and 'The Pastoral Review'.

The Objects, Aims,  Objectives and Principal Activities of The Tablet Trust, as set out in its report to the Charity Commission for the year ended 31/1/2009,  are:

a)  to advance the Christian religion

b)  to promote, present and disseminate the teachings of the Christian religion and to promote understanding of the Roman  Catholic faith, values and principles  (my emphasis)

c)  to advance the education of the public

d)  to pursue such other charitable objectives as shall not be inconsistent with the objects hereunto before set out

The objectives of the Trust are carried out by its support of the religious and educational aspects of  'The Tablet' and 'The Pastoral Review' and support of outside bodies whose activities fall within the Trust Deed objectives"

I wonder how far the Trustees of The Tablet Trust believe they are achieving Object, Aim or Principal Activity  'b'  listed above?

Here it is again:

b)  to promote, present and disseminate the teachings of the Christian religion and to promote understanding of the Roman  Catholic faith, values and principles  (my emphasis)

For example, did the editorial in last week's edition    'promote understanding of the Roman  Catholic faith, values and principles'?

In a week that saw the  mass media bandwagon, both fuelling and being fuelled by, misinformation  following the Holy Father's Address to the Bishops of England and Wales, 'The Tablet' might have made an attempt to explain the teaching of the Church regarding  homosexuality.
It might have wished to emphasise how much importance the Church places on the pastoral care of homosexual persons , thereby promoting understanding of the Roman Catholic Faith.

It might have referred to the  Catechism of the Catholic Church which says:

"2358 The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God's will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord's Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition."

"2359 Homosexual persons are called to chastity. By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection."

But  The Tablet editorial did none of these.

It got behind the bandwagon and started pushing.

Saturday, 6 February 2010

Canadian TV station refuses to run Pro-life Ad.

 “Executives at CHBC and Global TV are claiming that they’re pulling the ad because it’s too ‘graphic,’” said CLC President Jim Hughes. “However, not only was the ad approved by the Television Bureau, but what it depicts is no more graphic than what is shown nightly on the six o’clock news"

“Global should be honest and admit that they’re pulling the ad either because they’re afraid of controversy, or because they don’t believe that the viewpoint expressed in the ad should be allowed to be presented to the public, which amounts to censorship. Either way, we find their actions to be unacceptable, and we urge all pro-life Canadians to express their outrage to Global and CHBC."

 Images which demonstrate the humanity of the unborn child can have the power to change hearts. Maybe that's why such pressure is applied to suppress them.

 There is a petition in support of the Right to Life ad which can be found here.  The Facebook group in support of the ad can be found here.

Full story at lifesite news

Friday, 5 February 2010

The Holy Father 's address to Scotland's Bishops

"Pastors of the Church, therefore, must continually call the faithful to complete fidelity to the Church’s Magisterium,"

The Holy Father- saying what he means, and meaning what he says.

The full text can be found  here , together with the Address of Cardinal Keith Patrick O'Brien, President of the Bishops Conference of Scotland

Pill-Cancer Link Confirmed

 A U.S. study has confirmed the link between the use of oral contraceptives and breast cancer.

"The study, authored by Jessica Dolle and other researchers at the Seattle-based Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, appeared in the April 2009 issue of Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention.
It shows a strong connection between the use of oral contraceptives and the deadly “triple-negative breast cancer.” The study found that the connection was highest among women who began using oral contraceptives while they were teenagers."

“Although the study was published nine months ago, the National Cancer Institute, the American Cancer Society, Susan G. Komen for the Cure and other cancer fund-raising businesses have made no efforts to reduce breast cancer rates by issuing nationwide warnings to women,” said Karen Malec, president of the Coalition on Abortion/Breast Cancer."

 "Additionally, the study showed a 40% risk increase for women who have had induced abortions. One of the study’s tables listed abortion as a “known and suspected risk factor.” Previously, the National Cancer Institute had said that abortion was not a credible risk factor. "

“Obviously, more women will die of breast cancer if the NCI fails in its duty to warn about the risks of oral contraceptives and abortion and if government funds are used to pay for both as a part of any health-care bill,” Malec said."

So why would the National Cancer Institute let that happen....
Ideology trumping the facts, maybe?

Thanks to, and more information at National Catholic Register

Thursday, 4 February 2010

Recommended Reading ..

 Much of the media reporting of the Holy Father's recent Address to the Bishops of England and Wales left little impression that the Pope had anything substantial or meaningful to say about the nature of true equality.
I took Anna Arco's advice and read Laurence Lew OP at Godzdogs.
To echo a commenter over at Godzdogs, it's a brilliantly explained article which even a mere simpleton like me could  understand and grasp.

Caption Contest!

Photo courtesy of  Mazur/ 

"I'd like to share with you my hot tip for dealing with dissent"

"But my dear, Christianity is all part of a lovely fairytale, very little of it is factual."

                                                                                                   Mary O'Regan
   Via an article in the online version of the Catholic Herald, I discovered the blog of Catholic writer, Mary O'Regan,'Bad things happen if good people do nothing'
In this post Mary recounts a conversation she had with Baroness Warnock, which took place last year following a lecture at University College, Cork (Ireland), given by the Baroness. The lecture was about promoting a case for experimentation on human embryos.
                                                                                                  Baroness Warnock
Here's how the conversation went:      

Hello Baroness'. Customary shaking of hands. Dreadfully false toothey smiling from yours truly. The baroness smiled at me in return.
'May I ask Baroness Warnock, you are a member of a Christian denomination.'
'Oh yes, indeed I am a Christian'
‘So, you unreservedly call yourself a member of the Christian faith?’
The baroness looked gamely at me, gave me a knowing nod and said 'Well yes. But my dear, Christianity is all part of a lovely fairytale, very little of it is factual. There's some morals that you can pick and choose from.' Perhaps I strayed from the rules of polite conduct for conversing with baronesses. But I asked, 'thank you for being so kind as to tell me that you are a...Christian. Yet my understanding Baroness is that Christians believe Jesus will be at the end of their lives a judge.'

The baroness's smile disappeared. I sighed, and felt like a TV evangelist. I pressed on and said ‘that He will render an account of our lives when we die. And should Our Lord find fault with your...enthusiasm...for experimenting on embryos...what will your response be?'

Baroness Warnock’s eyes loomed large and she said to me ‘you’re terrible, how can you think such a thing...Jesus as’re absolutely terrible.’
I gave a shrug . My body language implied, ‘well there are a lot of loonies in this world, I’m just one of them, but since you say you are 'Christian' why do you not shy away from Our Lord’s role as king, who decides where a subject will go at the end of their days?’

I smiled at the baroness, and wished her a pleasant stay in Cork. I told her that I would pray for her. She looked at me blankly, as if to say ‘you obviously think that I’m damned, why bother praying for me?’ Because I don’t know what else to say Baroness, and often I don’t know what else to do other than pray.                            --------------------------------------------------------------------------
I applaud  Mary O'Regan for her courage in bringing to the Baroness's attention the reality of that final reckoning, when all of us will have to render an account. At that moment, belief in what can properly be called fairytales, is unlikely to be of much help.
That Christianity is no fairytale, is a message which needs to be passed on, in the public square and in private life.

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

The CES, Eric Hester and that elusive 'assurance' .

Is an assurance given about method.. how to..  the same as an assurance given about content ..?
It appears that Oona Stannard, Chief Executive of the Catholic Education Service of Engand and Wales thinks so.

A little background:
The CES published a 'myth busting' statement on17/12/2009, in which it claimed:

"The proposals announced by Ed Balls today (5th November) confirm that, from September 2011, Personal, Social, Health and Economic (PSHE) education, including Sex and Relationships Education (SRE), will be compulsory in all schools. We welcome the Government's reiteration of its support for the important principles underlining SRE [Sex and Relationship Education], which emphasise that schools continue to have the legal right to determine the content of what is taught in PSHE within their schools and that governing bodies retain the right to determine what is taught, and must determine this in line with the ethos of the school." 

In an article  published in last week's Catholic Herald, Eric Hester laid down the gauntlet:

"I publicly challenge the CES to obtain from any Government Minister a statement that it is true that school governors can "determine the content" of what is taught in sex education and can omit anything that they do not like. Everything the Government has said is to the contrary. Under the Freedom of Education Act I have obtained correspondence between the CES and the Government, where the CES asks for that very assurance and is not given it. "

In her response to  what she describes as 'misleading reports' in the Catholic Herald, Oona Stannard quotes from    the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families, Ed Balls, who gave this assurance in the House of Commons on 11 January 2010:
“The decision to make sex and relationship education statutory is, I think, supported by all political parties, but it is essential that it is taught in line with the ethos, including the faith, of the school. That is clear in the legislation: it is clear that parents as well as school governors will have a say in how the subject is taught, while there is also a parental opt-out, which will apply to pupils until they are 15. I can thus give the hon. Gentleman the complete assurance that the school will be in charge of how to teach SRE, but the fact of teaching it will be in law and guaranteed to all children."

Surely Oona Stannard, a former HMI, must understand the distinction between 'what is taught' and 'how it is taught'?

Petition in support of Pope Benedict

The Petition can be found at   Catholic Church Conservation, and  reads:

We, the undersigned, welcome, with all our hearts and souls, the visit of Pope Benedict XVI to the United Kingdom, for the liberty and well-being of the church in our country and most especially for the spiritual benefits and pastoral care to be offered to all, whatever their beliefs.

 To sign, click here

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

World Youth Day website

 World Youth Day 2011, is due to be held in Spain and preparations are well underway.The official  website now has an English version, which is linked here
On the website's home page, there is a lovely piece about a young man, Carlos, who  attended WYD 2002 in Toronto. It was there that he encountered the late Pope John Paul II, and experienced a life changing moment:

"At the beginning of the Prayer Vigil -one of the central ceremonies of WYD- held in Toronto, he decided to get close to the barriers that delimited the course the Pope would follow among the young people. When he arrived at one of the points where the Popemobile would pass, he climbed up the metal structure to await him.

Soon the vehicle appeared at very slow speed due to a maneuver the driver had to make because of the position of the barriers. Impulsively, he cried out: 'Holy Father!' Then the Pope turned to the young man and "gave me a profound look, while blessing me with his hand". "I have no doubt that he dedicated his attention for some seconds to look at me", says Carlos, with the memory that already at that time John Paul II was in ill health.

It was then that an idea came to mind that he had had for some time: the priesthood. "If the Pope has given himself to God up to this point, what am I able to do for God and for the Church?", he wondered. At that moment, "all my excuses were destroyed and in a short time, with the help of a good priest, I began my preparation for the priesthood".

Carlos is now in the Seminary in Barcelona, and  in the final year of Theology.
He also has a blog (in Spanish).

Monday, 1 February 2010

A letter of love from your Father…

My Child, you may not know me well…
But I know everything about you.
Psalm 139:1
I know when you sit down and when you rise up.
Psalm 139:2
I am familiar with all your ways.
Psalm 139:3
Even the very hairs on your head are numbered.
Matthew 10:29-31
For you were made in my image.
Genesis 1:27
In me you live and move and have your being.
Acts 17:28
For you are my offspring.
Acts 17:28
I knew you even before you were conceived.
Jeremiah 1:4-5
I chose you when I planned creation.
Ephesians 1:11-12
You were not a mistake,
for all your days are written in my book.
Psalm 139:15-16
I determined the exact time of your birth
and where you would live.
Acts 17:26
You are fearfully and wonderfully made.
Psalm 139:14
I knit you together in your mother’s womb.
Psalm 139:13
And brought you forth on the day you were born.
Psalm 71:6
I have been misrepresented
by those who don’t know me.
John 8:41-44
I am not distant and angry,
but am the complete expression of love.
1 John 4:16
And it is my desire to lavish my love on you.
1 John 3:1
Simply because you are my child
and I am your Father.
1 John 3:1
I offer you more than your earthly father ever could.
Matthew 7:11
For I am the perfect father.
Matthew 5:48
Every good gift that you receive comes from my hand.
James 1:17
For I am your provider and I meet all your needs.
Matthew 6:31-33
My plan for your future has always been filled with hope.
Jeremiah 29:11
Because I love you with an everlasting love.
Jeremiah 31:3
My thoughts toward you are countless
as the sand on the seashore.
Psalms 139:17-18
And I rejoice over you with singing.
Zephaniah 3:17
I will never stop doing good to you.
Jeremiah 32:40
For you are my treasured possession.
Exodus 19:5
I desire to establish you
with all my heart and all my soul.
Jeremiah 32:41
And I want to show you great and marvelous things.
Jeremiah 33:3
If you seek me with all your heart,
you will find me.
Deuteronomy 4:29
Delight in me and I will give you
the desires of your heart.
Psalm 37:4
For it is I who gave you those desires.
Philippians 2:13
I am able to do more for you
than you could possibly imagine.
Ephesians 3:20
For I am your greatest encourager.
2 Thessalonians 2:16-17
I am also the Father who comforts you
in all your troubles.
2 Corinthians 1:3-4
When you are brokenhearted,
I am close to you.
Psalm 34:18
As a shepherd carries a lamb,
I have carried you close to my heart.
Isaiah 40:11
One day I will wipe away
every tear from your eyes.
Revelation 21:3-4
And I’ll take away all the pain
you have suffered on this earth.
Revelation 21:3-4
I am your Father, and I love you
even as I love my son, Jesus.
John 17:23
For in Jesus, my love for you is revealed.
John 17:26
He is the exact representation of my being.
Hebrews 1:3
He came to demonstrate that I am for you,
not against you.
Romans 8:31
And to tell you that I am not counting your sins.
2 Corinthians 5:18-19
Jesus died so that you and I could be reconciled.
2 Corinthians 5:18-19
His suffering and death was the ultimate
expression of my love for you.
1 John 4:10
I gave up everything I loved
that I might gain your love.
Romans 8:31-32
If you receive the gift of my son Jesus,
you receive me.
1 John 2:23
And nothing will ever separate you
from my love.
Romans 8:38-39
Come home and I’ll throw the biggest party
heaven has ever seen.
Luke 15:7
I have always been Father,
and will always be Father.
Ephesians 3:14-15
My question is…Will you be my child?
John 1:12-13
I am waiting for you.
Luke 15:11-32

Thanks to Catholic Spiritual Direction

The Holy Father's address to the Bishops of England and Wales

While recognising the many signs of living faith and devotion  among the Catholics of England and Wales, the Holy Father offers some advice to our Bishops, together with his warmest good wishes and prayers.
These excerpts are taken from the Pope's Address, the full text of which can be viewed  here.

" sure to encourage the Catholics of England and Wales in their devotion, and assure them that the Pope constantly remembers them in his prayers and holds them in his heart."

"I urge you as Pastors to ensure that the Church’s moral teaching be always presented in its entirety and convincingly defended. Fidelity to the Gospel in no way restricts the freedom of others – on the contrary, it serves their freedom by offering them the truth. Continue to insist upon your right to participate in national debate through respectful dialogue with other elements in society. "

"In a social milieu that encourages the expression of a variety of opinions on every question that arises, it is important to recognize dissent for what it is, and not to mistake it for a mature contribution to a balanced and wide-ranging debate. It is the truth revealed through Scripture and Tradition and articulated by the Church’s Magisterium that sets us free."

 " I would ask you to be generous in implementing the provisions of the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum Coetibus, so as to assist those groups of Anglicans who wish to enter into full communion with the Catholic Church. I am convinced that, if given a warm and open-hearted welcome, such groups will be a blessing for the entire Church."

Thanks to Anna Arco's Diary