Monday, 28 February 2011

"Britain is now leading Europe in intolerance against religious belief.”

                                                   image courtesy of Being is Good

 The Christian Legal Centre reports on today's High Court ruling in the case of a Christian couple who wished to foster, but were refused by their local authority because the couple were not willing to promote homosexuality to a young child:

"In a landmark judgment, which will have a serious impact on the future of fostering and adoption in the UK, the High Court has suggested that Christians with traditional views on sexual ethics are unsuitable as foster carers, and that homosexual ‘rights’ trump freedom of conscience in the UK. The Judges stated that Christian beliefs on sexual ethics may be ‘inimical’ to children, and they implicitly upheld an Equalities and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) submission that children risk being ‘infected’ by Christian moral beliefs.

Today’s ruling relates to the dispute between married couple Eunice and Owen Johns and Derby City Council. The Johns applied to the Council in 2007 to foster a child but the Council blocked their application because they objected that the Johns were not willing to promote the practise of homosexuality to a young child. In November 2010 both parties jointly asked the Court to rule on whether the Johns were able to foster children, or whether they could be excluded from doing so under equality law because of their Christian beliefs.

Today (28th February) that judgment has been released. The judges declined to make the statement that the Johns, wanting to re-establish their fostering application, had sought. Instead, the judgment strongly affirms homosexual rights over freedom of conscience and leaves the Johns currently unable to foster a child as desired, despite their proven track record as foster parents. There now appears to be nothing to stop the increasing bar on Christians who wish to adopt or foster children but who are not willing to compromise their beliefs by promoting the practise of homosexuality to small children.

The nature of the judgment means that Christians who hold orthodox Christian views on the family, marriage and sexuality will continue to face difficulties in the fostering and adoption process and the Courts will not intervene to stop this from happening. In fact, the summary contained in the judgment sends out the clear message that orthodox Christian ethical beliefs are potentially harmful to children and that Christian parents with mainstream Christian views are not suitable to be considered as potential foster parents.

In their judgment, the judges stated:

• That if children are placed with parents who have traditional Christian views like the Johns “there may well be a conflict with the local authority’s duty to safeguard and promote the welfare of looked-after children”, [1]

• That there is a tension between the equality provisions concerning religious discrimination and those concerning sexual orientation. Yet, as regards fostering, “the equality provisions concerning sexual orientation should take precedence”, [2]

• That a local authority can require positive attitudes to be demonstrated towards homosexuality, [3]

• That there is no religious discrimination against the Johns because they were being excluded from fostering due to their moral views on sexual ethics and not their Christian beliefs (This is incredible and very disingenuous as the Johns moral views cannot be separated from their religious beliefs), [4] and

• That “Article 9 [of the European Human Rights Act] only provides a ‘qualified’ right to manifest religious belief and ... this will be particularly so where a person in whose care a child is placed wishes to manifest a belief that is inimical to the interests of children”. [5]

Equality and Human Rights Commission

The tax payer funded EHRC played an important role in this judgment. They intervened in the Johns case, and they suggested to the Court that a child should not, in their own words, be ‘infected’ with Christian moral beliefs. Suggesting that Christian moral beliefs on sexual ethics could ‘infect’ children is an extraordinary position for a statutory body to take. It is also deeply insulting both to the Johns, who have a proven track record of successfully raising children, and to Christians in general."


Johns Reaction

The judgment was greeted with disbelief and sadness today by Eunice and Owen Johns. In a statement, the couple said:
“We wanted to offer a loving home to a child in need. But because of this ruling we are unsure how we can continue the application process. We have been excluded because we have moral opinions based on our faith, and a vulnerable child has now probably missed the chance of finding a safe and caring home. We do not believe that our ordinary Christian moral views are infectious, contrary to what the Equality and Human Rights Commission believes. Being a Christian is not a crime and should not stop us from raising children. Today, it looks as though a child has missed out on a home.”

Christian Legal Centre Reaction

Andrea Minichiello Williams, CEO of Christian Concern and the Christian Legal Centre said:

“The Johns are a mild mannered, ordinary Christian couple, yet they may never be able to foster children again. They were willing to love a child regardless of sexual orientation, but not willing to tell a young child that practising homosexuality was a positive thing. Now, a child has likely missed out on finding a home, at a time when there is a desperate shortage of willing parents.

“Eunice and Owen Johns have been humiliated and sidelined and told by a Government body (the EHRC) that their mainstream Christian views might “infect” children. They have also effectively been told by British Judges that their views may harm children.

“The Judges have claimed that there was no discrimination against the Johns as Christians because they were being excluded from fostering due to their sexual ethics and not their Christian beliefs. This claim that their moral beliefs on sex have nothing to do with their Christian faith is a clear falsehood made in order to justify their ruling. How can the Judges get away with this?

“What has happened to the Johns is part of a wider trend seen in recent years. The law has been increasingly interpreted by Judges in a way which favours homosexual rights over freedom of conscience. Significant areas of public life are now becoming out of bounds to Christians who do not want to compromise their beliefs. If Christian morals are harmful to children and unacceptable to the State, then how many years do we have before natural children start being taken away from Christians?

“At the Christian Legal Centre our clients have included, amongst many others, a nurse suspended for offering prayer; a Council worker suspended for talking about God to a client, a teacher suspended for offering prayer; a nurse forced off frontline nursing because she wouldn’t take off her cross. We have dealt with Civil Registrars who have been demoted because they did not want to officiate at civil partnerships, and a Christian counsellor who lost his job for not wanting to give sex therapy to homosexuals. In the last few years, several Catholic adoption agencies have been forced to close because they refused to place children with homosexual couples.

“There is a great imbalance in the law at the moment, resulting in ordinary people suffering. The situation must be addressed by Parliament as the Judiciary have failed to stand for civil liberties but have capitulated to the agenda of the homosexual rights lobby. We cannot have a society where you are excluded just because you don’t agree with the sexual ethics of the homosexual lobby. Britain is now leading Europe in intolerance against religious belief.”

Thursday, 17 February 2011

Lifted at Harrogate

Lifted@Harrogate 2011
"Fri, 02/18/2011 - 18:00 - Sun, 02/20/2011 - 14:00
The count-down begins.... for Lifted@Harrogate! Don't miss out
Does your faith need a kick start? Are you looking for a weekend with a difference?
Would you like to meet new people?
Yes?... then come to Lifted@Harrogate -  Starts Friday 18th February at 6pm
 A Youth 2000 weekend for young adults – with a difference!
Time for discussion, deepening faith and meeting other young people! The inspiring talks will help us to understand different aspects of our faith, the adoration and the lively music will give us new ways to pray and the workshops on real life issues will challenge us and help us see how faith can be part of everyday life... Come along - be lifted! We can’t wait to see you there."

 More information at the Youth2000 website

We are off to Harrogate tomorrow, for this Youth2000 weekend retreat, the young folk can't to go and pack....
....and thanks to my lovely husband, who made a great job of cleaning the campervan ready for the journey.
Campervan? Well yes, it's spacious, very comfortable (particularly in the driving seat), on long journeys, and caters very well to our disabled daughter's needs.

Monday, 14 February 2011

Southwark Vocations blog back on blogger!

I knew there was a reason for the delay in facelifting/springcleaning my blog!

Now I don't have to find the link to the newly re-activated Southwark Vocations blog, which I never got round to deleting when Fr Stephen took the blog to Apple. It's still there, or indeed,  here!

Why has Southwark Vocations come back to blogger?

 Fr Stephen explains:

"Over the last few months many people have asked me what has happened to the Blog? The answer is surprisingly mundane: having updated the website on Apple's excellent iWeb, I found I couldn't update the newly integrated Blog unless I was at the office computer. This meant that a lot of potentially interesting posts got delayed and eventually the Blog fell into disuse.
However, since so many people have asked me, and since quite a few have said they found it helpful, I've decided to go back to the more flexible Blogger in order to start posting again."

Welcome back Fr. Stephen!

Did I miss something?

Is it April Fools' Day?

 'Food fight' parties - when things don't go according to plan, there's always plan B- recourse to the Crown Prosecution Service.
Has someone informed  'elf 'n'safety?

Thanks to the Daily Telegraph

How to write a love letter....(a man's guide)

If you haven't already penned a beautiful, heartfelt, St. Valentine's Day declaration of your love for your wife/fiancee, or the woman you hope to persuade to become your wife, help is at hand,(and there's still time).
Here's the how-to...

 Get busy now!

Thanks to First Things

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Una Voce report on the Implementation of Summorum Pontificum

 Una Voce has presented its report on the progress of the implementation of Summorum Pontificum, to the Pontifical Commission, Ecclesia Dei, In fact it was presented last September, and thanks to Laurence England, , I just found it.
I haven't read the entire report yet, just looked at  those parts which pertain to the UK.

As part of its report, Una Voce commissioned a UK survey, conducted by a professional and independent institution, the results of which show that 43% of weekly Mass goers would attend the Traditional Mass if it were offered in their parish.
For those who attend Mass every week together with those who attend Mass one a month, the percentage rises sharply to 66.4%.
60% of Catholics are still not aware of the Motu Proprio's existence,

I certainly would not have known about the existence of the Motu Proprio, had it not been for the Catholic blogs! It hasn't received publicity in my parish, and not as far as I am aware, in my diocese.

One sometimes hears of priests being told that they cannot 'advertise' the Traditional Mass in the Parish newsletter-why not, if not to discourage attendance?
Some enquirers are still being told that there would need to be 25+ attendees for a Traditional Mass to be offered.
Mostly, there is just silence on the matter.

The best source of information regarding the local availability of the Traditional Mass is still the Latin Mass Society.

Among Una Voce's conclusions:

"In Great Britain as elsewhere, the argument resting on the lack of interest among the Faithful for the application of the Motu Proprio is unfair. When their point of view is solicited in an opinion poll, the results are quite different to those obtained when one merely speaks in their name...all the while taking care not to consult them, unless it's through parish councils, which as a matter of principle(whether because of ideology, fear or simple post-conciliar conservatism) are not inclined to favour the reform of the reform undertaken by Benedict XV1."

"Above all, this new survey underscores the(in this case British) Bishops' astounding deficiency-to put the best face on it-when it comes to communication.Indeed a full three years after the publication of the Motu Proprio on 7th July 2007, only 40% have been informed of it. In fact one must call a spade a spade, particularly in so serious a matter as liturgical and sacramental life: in Britain as elsewhere, the issue is pastoral blindness to the expectations of the Faithful. This blindness on the part of the Bishops has once again been measured and put into figures."

(def. Oxford Dictionaries)



  • 1 [mass noun] the imparting or exchanging of information by speaking, writing, or using some other medium:television is an effective means of communicationat the moment I am in communication with London
  • [count noun] a letter or message containing information or news.
  • the successful conveying or sharing of ideas and feelings:there was a lack of communication between Pamela and her parents
  • social contact:she gave him some hope of her return , or at least of their future communication
  • 2 (communications) means of sending or receiving information, such as telephone lines or computers:satellite communications[as modifier] :a communications network
  • [treated as singular] the field of study concerned with the transmission of information.
  • 3 (communications) means of travelling or of transporting goods, such as roads or railways:a city providing excellent road and rail communications

Sunday, 6 February 2011

Who's next in the facelift yer blog mexican wave?

It might be me!

Well, mine is beginning to look quite tatty by comparison with so many including this one and this and this, and plenty others, too.
Sooo... I'm going to spend a little time looking at what can be done..

Light text/dark screen, dark text/light screen, I get that bit.
Background picture of my choice, yes, I can do that.
We'll see.

Whatever happens, and to almost quote Fr. Finigan,  'It'll still be the same blog'!

Prayer request

Of your charity, please say a prayer for the repose of the soul of Kathleen, my husband's aunt, who died yesterday.
 Kathleen lived to the grand age of 91, she was a lovely woman and a great mother, who was widowed when her  children were still young. Despite the grief of bereavement and the challenges of motherhood combined with widowhood,  Kathleen continued to dedicate her life to her family, her sons and daughter, eventually making her home with one of her sons, together with his wife and children.

Eternal rest grant unto her, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon her. May her soul and the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God rest in peace.

Friday, 4 February 2011

Cardinal Vaughan Prayer Vigil on Youtube

600 people, parents, Old Vaughnians and young people left the Governors in no doubt that:

" This school should be protected, cherished, left free to continue to do the fantastic job of educating young Catholics that it's done for nearly 100 years. This legacy, this inheritance, cannot be sacrificed on the altar of here today, gone tomorrow ideology and social engineering. This is too precious to squander. It must be guarded, protected, cherished and maintained, now, and in the years to come."

And, one might add, emulated as widely as possible in the Catholic Education world.

Are the Governors/Westminster Catholic Education Service listening?

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

'The boys stand up when anyone enters the classroom..'

BBC News has some coverage of the ongoing dispute about the Vaughan School opening with:

 "The Vaughan in Holland Park feels like a grammar school (grammar schools can select children by ability, The Vaughan is not a grammar school), boys stand up when anyone enters the classroom (shock horror!),  teachers wear gowns, lines are still a punishment,"(they punish misdemeanors).

 The Catholic Education Service Archbishop Vincent Nichols has issued a statement:

"I am fully committed to the flourishing of the Cardinal Vaughan Memorial School. This includes maintaining its fine traditions of academic rigour and musical excellence. I thank God for the work and achievements of the school which are always to be understood as an expression of Catholic faith and a part of the life and mission of the Diocese of Westminster. The Catholic character of the Cardinal Vaughan Memorial School, of which it is rightly proud, should be evident in all aspects of its life."

Will the Vaughan parents be reassured by the Archbishop's  words?
Given that he has made no mention of the parents' role as primary educators of their children, I think not.
It looks as though the Archbishop will be backing the Diocesan Education Service all the way, despite an apparent conflict of interests by virtue of its Director, Paul Barber, being recently appointed by the diocese to the Governing Body of the Vaughan.

Catholic parents may be left wondering if their primary role in the education of their children is reduced to that of  providing children for Catholic schools, and, as one headteacher once said to me: 
"leave it (education) to the professionals".