Hilary White

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English Catholic bishop endorses ‘prophetic’ Humanae Vitae

Hilary White
Hilary White
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PORTSMOUTH, January 4, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Philip Egan, the recently appointed Catholic bishop of Portsmouth in England has made history in English Catholicism by becoming perhaps the first member of the episcopate in decades to publicly endorse the Church’s teaching on contraception, calling it a “prophetic” papal doctrine.

In a pastoral letter dated December 30, the Church’s feast of the Holy Family, Egan brought up a “very challenging and controversial” subject: that “that sexual intercourse is an integral act for love and for life, and that these two aspects of sexuality – love and life - cannot be divorced.”

Humanae Vitae, Pope Paul VI’s 1968 encyclical letter reiterating the Catholic Church’s longstanding prohibition against artificial contraception was widely vilified in the secular world, and virtually denied even by the Catholic bishops of the time. For years in the lead-up to its release, priests had assumed that the teaching would be changed in the advent of the hormonal birth control pill and the sexual revolution. The encyclical came as a shock to many Catholics who had been expecting a reversal.

Humanae Vitae was a prophetic document,” Egan wrote. In it, Paul VI warned of “catastrophic consequences” if the dual purposes of sex in marriage were to be separated: the procreation of children and the unity of the spouses.

Now, “45 years on,” Egan wrote, “we can see what he meant in such things as the reduction of sex to a leisure activity, the trafficking of people for prostitution and pornography, broken family relationships, and the explosion of addictive behaviors leading to despair, shame, and guilt.”

Egan wrote that the way to “lasting happiness and fulfillment” lies in developing a “mature and fully integrated sexuality,” as a single person or a married couple - involves a life-long struggle and “apprenticeship in self-mastery.”

For Catholics, reserving sex for marriage is part of a “natural way of life” that is meant to “express the love between a man and a woman, a love which, within the permanent commitment of marriage, is open to being fruitful to life.”

Egan’s letter breaks many years of silence from the Catholic hierarchy of England and Wales on the subject of Humanae Vitae, a topic widely avoided by bishops and clergy across the Western world. Egan noted, “the teaching of Humanae Vitae about sexual morality and family values has become something of an ‘elephant in the room’ that no-one seems to mention.”

The bishop went to his appointment in Portsmouth, replacing the ultra-liberal Crispian Hollis, already enjoying a reputation of upholding orthodox Catholic teaching on sexuality, including on the nearly anathematized Humanae Vitae. His appointment is being taken by many as a sign of an attempt by the new papal nuncio, Archbishop Antonio Mennini, to start the long task of re-directing the Catholic Church of England and Wales away from its deeply entrenched left-liberal position.

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In December, Egan wrote a strongly worded letter to Prime Minister David Cameron in response to the government’s plan to create “gay marriage” legislation. He told Cameron that there has been a basic misunderstanding, not only of the nature of marriage, but of the nature of “equality.”

Equality, he wrote, is not an “absolute value” but a “derivative and relative” one. Thus, Egan said, “a man cannot be a mother nor a woman a father, and so men and women can never be absolutely equal, only relatively equal, since they are biologically different.”

Similarly, same-sex partners are not being “excluded” from marriage, the “union for life and love between a man and a woman” but “simply cannot enter marriage” since their relationships are of their nature entirely different in kind.

“By enabling gays to ‘marry’ and by equating the union of gay people with marriage, however well-intentioned, you are not only redefining what we mean by marriage but actually undermining the very nature, meaning and purpose of marriage.”

“Marriage and the home,” the bishop continued, is the “foundation and basic building block” of our society. “If you proceed with your plans, you will gravely damage the value of the family, with catastrophic consequences for the well-being and behavior of future generations.”

Egan said Cameron, is “luring the people of England away from their common Christian values and Christian patrimony” in his insistence on creating a new understanding of marriage.

“What you are proposing will smother the traditional Christian ethos of our society and in time strangle the religious freedom of the Catholic Church in Britain to conduct its mission.”

Read the full text of Bishop Egan’s letters here.


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UK Assisted Suicide Bill nears House of Lords approval: urgent action requested

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By Hilary White

Pro-life advocates are calling for “urgent” action from the public on a bill that proposes to license doctors to supply lethal drugs for patients designated “terminally ill”. Lord Charles Falconer’s bill, introduced into the House of Lords on May 15th, is now headed for second reading and a possible vote in the House of Lords on July 18th.

If it is approved in the House of Lords, the bill, that seeks to “enable competent adults who are terminally ill to be provided at their request with specified assistance to end their own life; and for connected purposes,” will pass on to the House of Commons. 

It proposes that doctors be allowed to provide deadly drugs to patients who are “terminally ill” and have “a clear and settled intention to end his or her own life,” who have “made a declaration to that effect” and are over 18. A patient can be given lethal drugs who “as a consequence of that terminal illness, is reasonably expected to die within six months.”

“The attending doctor of a person who has made a valid declaration may prescribe medicines for that person to enable that person to end their own life,” the bill says.

The Society for the Protection of Unborn Children is asking concerned citizens to “ask as many people as possible to write to Peers,” adding that instead of emails, “short, preferably hand-written letters, relating personal experiences and concerns, are likely to be most effective.”

They warn that the Falconer bill has a better chance of passing than previous assisted suicide bills since changes in the composition of the House of Lords under Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron’s appointments.

The Falconer bill, they said, “poses a major threat,” with many more ‘Cameron’ appointees reflecting anti-life attitudes. “Although previous bills, such as Lord Joffe's bill, have been defeated in the Lords, this vote could be much closer,” SPUC said.

A long-serving Labour Party politician and former Chancellor under Tony Blair, Lord Charles Falconer has refashioned his political career to become the parliamentary front-man for Britain’s euthanasia movement. This is the fourth bill proposing to legalize assisted suicide to come before the House of Lords since Lord Joffe’s bill was repeatedly rejected by the Upper Chamber. The anti-euthanasia advocacy group Care Not Killing said, “Lord Falconer’s current bill is not considered to be much different from Lord Joffe's, which was defeated 148-100 in 2006.”

Baron Joffe had been working to legalize assisted suicide through the House of Lords since 2003 when he brought forward his Private Member’s Bill “Assisted Dying for the Terminally Ill”. Lord Joffe brought the same bill forward again in 2005. That version was defeated in May 2006 by a “motion to delay,” which was supported 148 – 100.

Concerned parliamentarians have put forward an Early Day Motion calling for the summary dismissal of the Falconer bill. The motion quotes a 2014 report from the US state of Oregon on their Death With Dignity Act that showed the “number of deaths through physician-assisted suicide has tripled” since the bill came into effect “and increased by 43 per cent between 2012 and 2013.”

The motion is particularly concerned that “61 per cent of those who received lethal drugs in Washington in 2013 gave as a reason for seeking assisted suicide being a burden on family, friends or caregivers,” and noted that when the bill was being promoted in that state, the public was repeatedly assured that it would only be applied to terminally ill patients.

It warns that “a corresponding change in UK law would endanger the lives of the most vulnerable in society.”

The anti-euthanasia advocacy group Care Not Killing has asked supporters to ask parliamentarians to support the Early Day Motion. They warn that in places where assisted suicide or euthanasia has been legalized, such as Belgium, the Netherlands and Switzerland, there has been an “incremental extension” of euthanasia, to the point where many activists have warned that the practice is “out of control.”

“A major factor fuelling this increase is suicide contagion,” Care Not Killing said.

“Any change in the law to allow assisted suicide (a form of euthanasia) would inevitably place pressure on vulnerable people to end their lives so as not to be a burden on others,” they continued.

“These pressures would be particularly acutely felt at a time of economic recession when many families are struggling to make ends meet and health budgets are being slashed, especially when fears about the NHS are actually fuelling support for assisted suicide. The so-called right to die can so easily become the duty to die.”

The bill has generated some vocal opposition. On June 29th, Mark Davies the bishop of the Catholic diocese of Shrewsbury tied the assisted suicide proposal to the “widespread concern about the ill-treatment of the aged and those at the end of life in some of our care homes and hospitals.”

“It seems all the more incomprehensible, then, that we would be considering a change in the law to diminish the protection given to those most vulnerable.”

In a pastoral letter, Bishop Davies condemned efforts to present assisted suicide as a matter of “compassion”. “It is far from compassionate to remove the legal protections provided for some of the most vulnerable members of society.”

“If Parliament allows exceptions to the laws which protect the very sanctity of human life, it would be impossible to predict where this will end.” He likened it to the legalization of abortion in most of the UK in 1967 “in limited and exceptional circumstances” that has grown to an abortion industry, killing nearly 200,000 a year.

“It might sound reasonable to speak of “choices at the end of life” – as the campaigners for euthanasia do – but what choice will be left for many?” Bishop Davies said.

Click here for help in contacting a member of the House of Lords.


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Why is this UK Catholic diocese funding an agency that does gay adoptions?

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By Pete Baklinski

Some UK Catholics say they are concerned that their diocese has been collecting funds through annual parish and diocesan-run school initiatives for an adoption agency that severed ties with the Church in 2008 after it began openly facilitating adoptions to homosexual couples.

“Most ordinary Catholics in Clifton parishes have no idea they are donating to an organization that is not a bona-fide Catholic adoption agency,” one Catholic parishioner from the Diocese of Clifton told LifeSiteNews, under condition of anonymity.

The Clifton diocese, under the leadership of Bishop Declan Lang, lists CCS Adoption in its online directory as a “caring” organization to “promote the welfare of children and young people” that is “guided by the values of the Catholic Church.”

In April, the diocese organized its annual appeal for the adoption agency. Announcements for a special collection appeared in local parish bulletins.

“Clifton Children’s Society’s Annual Appeal takes place today,” stated an April 27 bulletin from Our Lady Help of Christians Catholic Parish in Bath. “Please give generously to the collection. … They need to find many more adoptive families.”

‘Gay is not a factor’ in adoptions

In 2007, Britain’s Labour government passed sexual orientation regulations prohibiting religious groups or individuals from refusing to provide goods and services to homosexuals. Catholic adoption agencies were forced to choose between compromising their faith convictions, contravening the law or closing their doors.

CCS Adoption opted for the first option, changing its name from Catholic Children’s Society (CCS) to Clifton’s Children Society (CCS) in 2008. However, since the acronym is the same, only those who are aware of the formal name change would be aware that the agency is no longer Catholic.

On its website, CCS Adoption states that “whether you are heterosexual, lesbian, or gay is not a factor” in beginning the adoption assessment process.

On its Facebook page, CCS explicitly encourages homosexuals to adopt through its promotion of the “LGBT Adoption and Fostering week” that includes “information evenings” for gays and lesbians. It also promotes on its Facebook page an LGBT network called “New Family Social.”

“Sexuality isn’t a barrier when it comes to making a difference to vulnerable children and young people,” CCS Adoption states in a February 6 Facebook post promoting an LGBT information night.

A 2010 government report of CCS Adoption gave the organization its highest “outstanding” rating for promoting “equality and diversity.”

“The managers, trustees and staff were united in wishing to provide a service to gay and lesbian couples,” the report stated. “Two same-sex couples are in the process of making applications, which is very positive,” stated the Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills (OFSTED) report. 

Bishop: I ‘admire their work’

Bishop Lang, who has headed the diocese since 2001, told LifeSiteNews that to his knowledge CCS Adoption does “not facilitate adoptions of children to homosexual couples.”

“This [is] a separate Trust with its own board of Trustees. I am not a Trustee of the Society nor is it part of the Diocesan Trust,” he said. In order for the adoption agency to “continue its good work in supporting families,” he explained, “their Trustees decided to operate an open policy and abide according to the law of the land.”

The bishop said he has “come to admire their work over the years in which I have been acquainted with the Society.”

“They are inspired by their Christian and Catholic faith and their primary concern is for the good of the children who are to be adopted,” he said.

“If you have any further concerns regarding Clifton Children’s Society, I suggest you write to their Chair of Trustees,” he added.

LifeSiteNews submitted evidence to Bishop Lang that CCS Adoption does in fact facilitate adoption of children to homosexual couples and asked for further comment, but received no response.

Agency guided ‘by the values of the Catholic Church’

In its Statement of Purpose, CCS Agency says that it is “conscious” of its role within the diocese and its “debt to the Catholic community who support its work financially.”

“Therefore, good relationships with parishes, priests, schools, volunteers and supporters throughout the Diocesan area are essential in order to promote interest in and awareness of our work,” it states.

The agency also states that in working for the “welfare of children” it will be “guided by respect and love for all people and by the values of the Catholic Church.”

LifeSiteNews asked the agency how it can claim to be "guided by the values of the Catholic Church" while promoting homosexual adoption and placing children with homosexual couples, but they declined to comment.

Vatican: Same-sex adoption means ‘doing violence’ to children

The Catechism of the Catholic Church urges the faithful to accept those with same-sex attraction “with respect, compassion, and sensitivity,” adding that “every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided.”

However, the Catholic Church also affirms the need for ‘just’ discrimination when it comes to same-sex unions or same-sex adoption.

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, under Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger in 2003, wrote that experience shows “the absence of sexual complementarity in these unions creates obstacles in the normal development of children who would be placed in the care of such persons.”

“They would be deprived of the experience of either fatherhood or motherhood,” the congregation continued. “Allowing children to be adopted by persons living in such unions would actually mean doing violence to these children, in the sense that their condition of dependency would be used to place them in an environment that is not conducive to their full human development.

“This is gravely immoral and in open contradiction to the principle, recognized also in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, that the best interests of the child, as the weaker and more vulnerable party, are to be the paramount consideration in every case.”

‘We must obey God rather than men’

Anthony Ozimic of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children called Bishop Lang’s response to LifeSiteNews a “contradictory mess of convenient platitudes.”

“If CCS’ ‘primary concern is for the good of the children who are to be adopted,’ then why is CCS encouraging homosexual adoption, which the Catholic Church teaches clearly is contrary to the good of children?” he asked.

The diocese’s “free pass” to CCS “endangers the children who will be adopted by homosexuals via CCS,” he said. The diocese is not only “letting these children down, but even bankrolling the violation of their right to a mother and a father.”

“Bishop Lang says that CCS decided to ‘abide according to the law of the land.’ Both His Lordship and the CCS seem to have forgotten that the Apostles taught that ‘We must obey God rather than men,’” he said.

While it remains unclear how many dioceses across the UK continue to financially support secularized agencies formerly under their jurisdiction that facilitate adoptions of children to homosexual couples, it is clear that the practice is not uncommon. 

For instance, the Diocese of Arundel & Brighton in southern England fundraises for Cabrini Children's Society which, in response to the government’s Sexual Orientation Regulations, switched the word “Cabrini” with “Catholic” in its name in 2008. The agency states on its website that it is “interested in families from all backgrounds” including “heterosexual or homosexual” ones. 

The diocese continues to list the agency on its website under its “Catholic Societies and Organisations” tab and has listed fundraising events for the agency in a 2010 newsletter and a 2011 Catholic Schools Service bulletin

The Catholic parishioner from the Diocese of Clifton told LifeSiteNews that there should be more oversight regarding the kind of organizations funded through parish collections.

"It seems to me that the Bishop of Clifton has a responsibility to be vigilant in ensuring that official collections taken in parishes in his diocese are not used to fund organizations that are acting in a way that is seriously contrary to the Church's teaching,” the source said.  


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Singapore archbishop: ‘I am not at liberty to change the truth’ about sexual relationships

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By Thaddeus Baklinski
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"I am not at liberty to change the truth as revealed in sacred scripture and that which is taught by the Magisterium of the Church," said Archbishop William Goh.

SINGAPORE – In a pastoral letter addressed to Catholics with same-sex orientation issued on July 3rd, the Archbishop of Singapore William Goh apologized if he had hurt anyone with the way he expressed himself in a previous pastoral letter on the family, which had also addressed homosexuality. However, he again strongly reaffirmed the Church's teachings on sexuality, and announced the formation of a new ministry dedicated to helping individuals with same-sex attraction to live a sexually chaste lifestyle.

"I apologize if my initial statement conveyed insensitivity as, from your feedback, I have come to realize that there is much variation in thought and lifestyle within this community," Archbishop Goh said. However, he stressed that "as the Bishop of the local Church which is a part of the Universal Catholic Church, my primary responsibility is to instruct the Faithful in accordance with the teachings of the Universal Church."

"I am not at liberty to change the truth as revealed in sacred scripture and that which is taught by the Magisterium of the Church, with regards to sexual relationships between those of the opposite sex, same gender, or any other issues e.g. divorce, contraception, abortion etc.” he said. “What I wrote was not new but simply a restatement addressed to the Catholic Faithful."

The archbishop was referring to a June 21 pastoral letter where he explained the Church’s position is with regard to the family.

"The Catholic Church has always maintained, and continues to maintain, that the family, comprising a father, mother and children, remains the basic building block of society," Archbishop Goh wrote in that letter.

He had also written that the Church believes that when God created man and woman, He had intended for them to "Be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth and subdue it."

While the Church treats each individual, regardless of his sexual orientation, with sensitivity and respect, he said, "she upholds the view that LGBT sexual relationships are not in accordance with the plan of God."

"This kind of lifestyle should not be promoted by Catholics as it is detrimental to society, is not helpful to integral human development and contrary to Christian values," the archbishop had written.

He explained that the Church urges compassion and respect for homosexuals, but added that "she believes that there are ways to ensure justice and the protection of their dignity without the risk of endangering the future of the marriage institution, family and society."

In his follow-up July 3rd letter, Archbishop Goh highlighted issues arising from same-sex unions, especially the impact on children adopted and raised by same-sex couples.

"Same-sex union which evolves into the adoption and formation of children in an environment where a partner of the other gender is not represented, is contrary to the natural laws of God, and would ultimately be destructive to society and detrimental to the world and future generations," he wrote.

"This is what I was referring to in my initial statement when I used the terms ‘detriment’ and ‘destructive’. They do not refer to the individual but the consequences of such a union on society and future."

The archbishop noted that the "Church does not disapprove of a loving relationship between same-sex individuals that is chaste and faithful," and emphasized that he is "not indifferent to your pain and frustration."

"Same-sex inclination in itself is not a sin but as love often seeks to express itself physically, the challenge to be chaste and faithful to the divine plan of God is ever present," he said.

In order to help individuals in the "difficult journey to remain chaste today," Archbishop Goh revealed the formation of a pastoral initiative for Catholics with same-sex attraction.

"I have tasked the Catholic Medical Guild and the Family Life Commission to set up a pastoral group (currently being formed) for those with same-sex orientation to journey together in faith, in support of one another, so as to live out God’s call to chastity," the archbishop said. He concluded that God's grace is available for all people to "be able to live the Gospel faithfully and authentically, regardless of our sexual orientation."

The full text of Archbishop Goh's "Pastoral Letter To Catholics With Same-sex Orientation" is available here.

In an earlier "Pastoral Letter on the Catholic Church's Position on Sexuality" that addressed concerns over a government-sponsored "Frequently Asked Questions on Sexuality" website, Archbishop Goh stated that the Church will continue "to engage and work with the relevant authorities to ensure that the marriage institution and family values are upheld so that our children can be formed in an environment that is holistic, nurturing, caring and loving."

"Because the future of Singapore society and humanity at large passes by way of the family," Archbishop Goh stressed, "every Catholic should endeavor to save and foster the values and requirements of the family. This call is urgent and important because if the family is destroyed, then our society would become fragmented."

Contact info:

Most Rev. William Goh, DD, Archbishop of Singapore
Archbishop's House,
31 Victoria Street
Singapore 187997
Email: archbishop@catholic.org.sg


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