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Scots Catholic Blog
|Posted on May 24, 2017 at 5:29 AM||comments ()|
A new poll out today (Sunday 21 May) shows that most people (60%) would like to see time limits for abortions reduced, among women the figure is 70%. ComRes interviewed 2,008 British adults online between 12th and 14th May 2017. Data was weighted to be representative of all GB adults.
61% of Scottish respondents opposed any moves towards making it mandatory for doctors to have to participate in abortion procedures against their will, while 51% oppose moves to compel pharmacists to prescribe a pill against their will, if they believe that pill will end the life of an unborn child.
The poll also showed overwhelming support (76%) for the proposal that doctors, should “verify in person that a patient seeking an abortion is not under pressure from a third party to undergo the abortion”. 65% oppose tax-payer money being spent on abortions overseas, while 82% of Scots believe, the law should require a waiting period of five days between an initial consultation with a doctor and an abortion taking place, in order to ensure that the mother has had enough time to consider all of the options available to her.
Responding to the findings, Archbishop Philip Tartaglia, President of the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland said;
“This weekend (20/21 May) in parishes across Scotland a letter from the Catholic Bishops will be read at all Masses, urging voters to engage with our democracy and to remember that human life at every stage of development is precious and must be protected. As we remind our politicians that abortion is always morally unacceptable, it is heartening to see that a majority of our fellow citizens do not support the current abortion laws.”
Archbishop Tartaglia added:
“I welcome the fact that not only is there no demand for time limits to be raised but 70% of women would like to see them reduced, that 82% of Scots would like to see a statutory waiting period introduced after a consultation and before an abortion takes place and that over half of Scottish respondents do not believe that doctors (61%) or pharmacists (51%) should be compelled to participate in abortion procedures.”
“These findings are both sobering and heartening, they undermine the shrill calls of the so-called pro-choice movement that abortion laws should be loosened. They send a powerful message to Scotland’s politicians at a time when the Scottish Parliament has been given control over this legislation and they remind us that the pro-life cause is alive and well in our country.”
The poll results have been released to coincide with the launch of the “Where Do They Stand” website. The site will allow voters, to find out where your local candidates stand on life issues - abortion, assisted suicide and embryo research - by visiting www.wheredotheystand.org.uk
• Only 1% want the abortion time limit raised to birth
• 70% of women would like the current time limit for abortion to be lowered.
• 59% of women would like the abortion time limit lowered to 16 weeks or lower.
• 65% oppose UK taxpayer money being spent on abortions overseas.
• 93% of women want independent abortion counselling introduced.
• 91% of women want a sex-selective abortion ban.
• 79% of general population want a five-day consideration period before abortion.
• 84% of women want improved pregnancy support for women in crisis.
• 76% of population want introduction of doctors verifying women not coerced.
• 70% of parents want introduction of parental consent for girls 15 and under to get abortions.
Results by question
Parental or guardian consent should be required for girls aged 15 or under to undergo an abortion
• 65% general population agree (21% disagree) (“just under ⅔”)
• 70% of parents with children 18 or under in household agree (16% disagree)
• 73% Conservative voters agree (16% disagree)
Doctors should be required by new legislation to verify in person that a patient seeking an abortion is not under pressure from a third party to undergo the abortion
• 76% general population agree (11% disagree)
• 77% females agree (11% disagree)
• 77% 18-24 age agree (12% disagree)
• 81% Conservative voters agree (10% disagree)
In Great Britain the upper time limit for abortion is 24 weeks or approximately six months' gestation. By comparison, in most other EU countries the limit for most abortions is 12 weeks or lower. In light of this difference what do you think the time limit should be in Britain?
• General population
o 1% - It should be extended to birth
o 1% - It should be extended above 24 weeks
o 20% - It should remain at 24 weeks
o 10% - It should be reduced to 20 weeks
o 17% - It should be reduced to 16 weeks
o 21% - It should be reduced to 12 weeks (biggest group)
o 12% - It should be reduced to below 12 weeks
o 1% - It should be extended to birth
o 1% - It should be extended above 24 weeks
o 17% - It should remain at 24 weeks
o 11% - It should be reduced to 20 weeks
o 18% - It should be reduced to 16 weeks
o 24% - It should be reduced to 12 weeks (biggest group)
o 17% - It should be reduced to below 12 weeks
o It should be extended to birth
§ Below 1% - Labour
o It should be reduced to 20 weeks or lower
§ 60% - Conservatives
§ 60% - Labour
§ 65% - Liberal Democrats
• Parents with children 18 or under in household agree
o 69% - It should be reduced to 20 weeks or lower
Where a doctor believes abortion to be the intentional killing of a human being, would you support or oppose the Government making it mandatory for doctors to have to participate in abortion procedures against their will, if they want to remain in their profession?
• 56% general population oppose (22% don’t know, 22% support) “only 1/5 of the population support”
• 61% Scottish oppose (23% don’t know, 15% support)
• 66% of Liberal Democrat voters oppose (19% don’t know, 16% disagree)
In your opinion, would you support or oppose requiring a pharmacist to prescribe a pill against their will, if they believe that pill will end the life of an unborn child?
• 45% oppose (23% don’t know, 32% support)
• 51% Scottish oppose (22% don’t know, 27% support)
Over the past five years, abortion provider Marie Stopes International have been given more than £160 million of taxpayer money to spend overseas, some of which has been used directly to fund abortions. Do you support or oppose tax-payer money going to fund abortions overseas?
• General population
o 65% oppose tax-payer money being spent on abortions overseas (20% support)
§ 46% oppose and feel this money would be better spent back in the UK on other Government priorities
§ 19% oppose and feel this money should be instead spent on other areas of need in developing countries such as basic health care and education
o 79% Conservatives oppose tax-payer money being spent on abortions overseas
In the Netherlands, the law requires a waiting period of five days between an initial consultation with a doctor and an abortion taking place, in order to ensure that the mother has had enough time to consider all of the options available to her. To what extent, if at all, do you agree or disagree that in this respect British law should be brought into line with the Netherlands?
• 79% general population agree (12% disagree)
• 82% Scottish agree (8% disagree)
A woman considering abortion should have a legal right to independent counselling from a source that has no financial interest in her decision.
• 89% general population agree (4% disagree)
• 93% women agree (2% disagree)
Women who want to continue with their pregnancies, but are under financial pressure to have an abortion, should be given more support to help them through their crisis
• 79% general population agree (10% disagree)
• 84% women agree (7% disagree)
• Younger cohorts have highest support
o 18-24 - 84%
o 35-44 - 83%
o 45-54 - 81%
o 55-64 - 74%
o 65+ - 76%
• 86% of parents with children 18 or under in household agree (7% disagree)
• 90% of Labour supporters agree (4% disagree)
Aborting babies because of their gender should be explicitly banned by the law
• 89% general population agree (5% disagree)
• 91% females agree (4% disagree)
• 93% Scottish agree (4% disagree)
ComRes is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules.
This text was taken from the Catholic Parliamentary Office Facebook page.
Catholic Bishops call for faithful to reflect on beauth and goodness of Church teaching ahead of General Election
|Posted on May 15, 2017 at 10:20 AM||comments ()|
In a pastoral letter which will be read at all 500 Catholic churches in Scotland this weekend (20/21 May) Scotland's Catholic Bishops, will urge parishioners to participate in the 2017 General Election and to be informed by the teachings of the Church.
The detailed statement will invite Catholic voters to consider a number of key issues ahead of casting their vote at the election on June 8th.
Commenting on the letter, the Director of the Catholic Parliamentary Office, Anthony Horan said; “This General election provides an opportunity for Catholics to take their beliefs into the polling station and elect members of parliament who share their concerns.”
The full text of the letter is as follows:
This General Election presents us with an opportunity to reflect on Catholic social teaching. As Christians, we have a civic and moral duty to engage with our democracy. As Catholics, we believe that the primary goal of society should be the common good; that is the good of all people and of the whole person. Indeed, the common good is the very reason political authority exists.
This election provides an opportunity to reflect on the beauty and goodness of Church teaching and to keep that teaching at the forefront of our minds as we engage with candidates across all parties. During elections, a range of issues compete for your attention; we highlight some of them here in the hope that you will reflect on them and raise them with your candidates.
Human life at every stage of development is precious and must be protected. Any laws which permit the wilful ending of life must always be rejected as reprehensible and unjust. We must create a culture of life where the most vulnerable are valued and their dignity respected. The undeniable value of human life, created in the image and likeness of God, is fundamental to the Catholic faith. We should remind our politicians that abortion, assisted suicide and euthanasia are always morally unacceptable.
Marriage and the Family
Society relies on the building block of the family to exist. The love of man and woman in marriage and their openness to new life is the very basic cell upon which society is built. The wellbeing of society depends on the flourishing and health of family life and those in authority should respond to this with policies that create economic and other advantages for families with children.
Sadly, poverty continues to be a scourge for many at home and abroad. Too many people still struggle to make ends meet. This sad reality cannot and should not endure in our country in the twenty-first century. Our concerns should also extend to providing international assistance, while ensuring that aid is not used to support immoral practices such as those which compromise the basic right to life.
Refugees, Asylum Seekers and Immigration The United Kingdom should be a place where the most vulnerable are welcomed and given the resources necessary to rebuild their lives. At the same time, we should provide for those people living in and around conflict zones, and commit to working towards the peaceful resolution of conflict.
Living in Europe
There are millions of EU citizens living in the UK and millions of UK citizens living across the EU. Mindful of the uncertainty affecting them, candidates should commit to working towards delivering stability and security for them in future. Our politicians should forge and renew international partnerships and establish rights for those who wish to work in the UK, in a spirit of cooperation and friendship.
Freedom of Religion and Conscience
Millions of people worldwide are persecuted for their beliefs. People of faith, including Christians, should be able to freely practise their faith and bear witness to it in their lives, without fear of prejudice, intolerance, abuse or violence. Candidates should be committed to the right of people not to be forced to act against their conscience.
Nuclear Weapons and the Arms Trade
The use of any weapon that causes more than individual and proportionate harm to civilians is immoral and, thus, rejected by the Church. The use of weapons of mass destruction is a serious crime against God and against humanity. While states are entitled to possess the means required for legitimate defence, this must not become an excuse for an excessive accumulation of weaponry which becomes a considerable threat to stability and freedom.
Often, politicians are tempted to score points or resort to insults. We need politicians who are willing to change this and to take politics in a new direction, where dialogue is respectful, and where different points of view, including those of a religious nature, are tolerated.
As we cast our votes this election, let us bear in mind the words of Pope Francis when he said, “The greatness of any nation is revealed in its effective care of society’s most vulnerable members.” Our nation, our Parliament, and our Government will be judged on how it treats its poorest and most vulnerable citizens.
Yours devotedly in Christ,
Philip Tartaglia, President, Archbishop of Glasgow
Leo Cushley, Archbishop of St. Andrews and Edinburgh
Joseph Toal, Vice-President, Bishop of Motherwell
Hugh Gilbert, Episcopal Secretary,
Bishop of Aberdeen
Stephen Robson, Bishop of Dunkeld
John Keenan, Bishop of Paisley
William Nolan, Bishop of Galloway
Brian McGee, Bishop of Argyll and the Isles
|Posted on April 4, 2017 at 10:07 AM||comments ()|
So chocolate maker Cadbury and the National Trust have decided to drop the word 'Easter' from their annual egg hunt events across the UK. Is this a disgrace? Is it absurd? Or is it quite simply "absolutely ridiculous" as Theresa May put it.
I guess companies like Cadbury can do what they want when it comes to their own events and the marketing of their own products which, Cadbury claim, will continue to bear the word 'Easter' on packaging.
I personally think the whole thing is just a little disappointing but not in the least bit surprising. It's disappointing that tradition has been kicked into touch in favour of what I suspect Cadbury see as a more 'inclusive' approach. I mean, who on earth is going to refuse to attend an event simply because the title bears the word 'Easter'? And, if they did, would their hyper sensitive presence be missed?
It's also disappointing, but not altogether surprising, that the real meaning of events like Easter has been lost in our increasingly secular culture of relativism. Is it any wonder terms like 'Easter' are being gradually removed in a world that has no interest in objective reality and truth? We are infinitely obsessed with ourselves and what effect certain things may have on us without any consideration whatsoever for others, or for the common good. A simple, harmless word is suddenly and no less conveniently turned into a term of intolerant discriminatory speak. For the poor sensitive souls who do not align with its meaning, they simply cannot bear the horror it brings. The only logical solution, it seems, is to kill it (oh how this resonates with the real Easter message).
It is, of course, complete nonsense that people can somehow be hurt or offended by the word 'Easter'. But this is the culture that has been created by those who desire no religion in their lives nor indeed the lives of anyone else for that matter. Their goal is an authoritarian regime where religion is no more, and they are carefully taking very small steps towards that goal.
Perhaps Cadbury and the National Trust will see sense and not let the bullies win in this rather sorry pointless debacle. But, in the meantime, lest us rest easy in the comfort of the reality of Easter and the salvation it brings.
|Posted on July 12, 2016 at 8:57 AM||comments ()|
Statement of the Catholic Bishops of Scotland on nuclear weapons:
The Bishops of Scotland have for a long time pointed out the immorality of the use of strategic nuclear weapons due to the indiscriminate destruction of innocent human life that their use would cause.
The renewal of Trident is questioned not just by those concerned with the morality of nuclear weapons themselves but also by those concerned about the use of scarce financial resources.
Lives are being lost now because money that could be spent on the needy and the poor is tied up in nuclear arsenals. We endorse the words of Pope Francis: “Spending on nuclear weapons squanders the wealth of nations”.
The United Kingdom, permanent member of the UN Security Council and declared nuclear power, signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty in 1968. That treaty binds signatories who do not have nuclear weapons not to acquire them, but it also binds those who do have nuclear weapons to work towards the disposing and elimination of all nuclear weapons. Britain should take more decisive and courageous steps to revive that aspect of the treaty and not seek to prolong the status quo.
+ Philip Tartaglia, President of the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland, Archbishop of Glasgow+ Joseph Toal, Vice-President, Bishop of Motherwell+ Hugh Gilbert, Episcopal Secretary, Bishop of Aberdeen+ Leo Cushley, Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh+ Stephen Robson, Bishop of Dunkeld+ John Keenan, Bishop of Paisley+ William Nolan, Bishop of Galloway+ Brian McGee, Bishop of Argyll and The Isles
|Posted on June 30, 2016 at 9:42 AM||comments ()|
If only there were more Dr Halliday Sutherlands today. Perhaps he would have the courage to stand up for the rights of those who are under threat from the increasing prevalence of assisted suicide in our world. Perhaps he would have the courage to stand up for the rights of the preborn child under threat of death by abortion.
Dr Halliday Sutherland, born in Glasgow in 1882, was a man who stood up for the people society felt unworthy of life. He lived in a time when the middle and upper classes of Britain fought for the legal right to sterilise the poor and the seemingly unworthy. The rich felt more and more threatened by the higher birth rate among the poorer classes compared to their deteriorating birth rate. They also felt threatened by the seeming prevalence of tuberculosis among the poor. There was even talk of using a lethal chamber at one stage.
According to this article, Sutherland was “appalled by the popularity of eugenics among Britain’s middle and upper classes” and set about fighting for the rights of the vulnerable. He argued with the Professor of Eugenics at London University who claimed that tuberculosis was primarily caused by heredity and argued that the disease be cured by breeding out those considered to be at risk (the poor). In a speech made in 1917, Sutherland called Britain’s eugenists “race breeders with the souls of cattle breeders” and argued that “in preventing disease you are not preserving the weak but conserving the strong.”
Sutherland also decried the actions of a eugenist who, in 1921, began dispensing ‘pro-race’ contraceptives to women in poorer parts of London. Sutherland described this as a social “experiment” that would lead to a “servile state”. He also argued that ‘if ordinary Britons were legally prevented from having children, they would have no societal role other than to work.’
Marie Stopes was also criticised by Sutherland after she revealed her eugenic vision for society in 1921. She revealed details of her “ardent dream” of “human stock represented only by well-formed, desired and well-endowed beautiful men and women.” The dangers of this frightening and callous point of view are obvious.
Halliday Sutherland would be appalled at the direction of travel of western society today. Not only have we cow-towed to the contraceptive mentality, completely ignoring any notion of the true meaning of our sexuality, but we now routinely kill our own preborn children through abortion and threaten the vulnerable with a premature death by way of assisted suicide.
We need more Halliday Sutherlands in our world today. We need more people to stand up for the poor, the marginalised, and the vulnerable. Dr Sutherland was a Catholic and it is important that we as a Church follow his example and be absolutely clear on the wrongs of abortion and assisted suicide. Not only that, but we must also resist the assumption that contraception is a simple and harmless solution that allows people to have sexual relations without the ‘threat’ of new life. As a Catholic people we value life from the very moment it starts right up until its natural conclusion on death. Contraception interrupts the natural process by killing off new life. It also encourages people to use others as objects of desire, their sole purpose being to satisfy their own selfish cravings devoid of the threat of responsibility for a new life.
We have lost the true meaning of the sexual encounter and we have lost the meaning of the value of life. Our world needs to hear that there is an alternative to the throwaway culture of death; an alternative that values all life and that gives the sexual act the respect it truly deserves. Dr Halliday Sutherland would be willing to speak up for these values.
|Posted on June 20, 2016 at 11:43 AM||comments ()|
The death of Labour MP Jo Cox has shocked not only the world of politics in which she worked, but also the British nation as a whole. The horror of what happened in the town of Birstall last Thursday will be a permanent scar for the MP’s family and is something they will have to live with for the rest of their lives.
But what does it mean for the relationship between MPs and the general public? Scottish Secretary David Mundell, who has himself received death threats, lamented the influence of social media in relations between the public and MPs, criticising the “vitriol” that is often expressed towards politicians. I for one agree with him. Whilst our elected representatives’ role in public life is such that they are very much open to criticism, that criticism should be constructive and measured, and it should be expressed with politeness. It should not be unjust or whimsical, and it should not be expressed with any degree of hatred or be threatening in any way. Politicians have the right to do their job in safety and without abuse. Isn’t that the legal right of every worker? Why should politicians be any different?
Very few politicians are actually in the job to make people worse off or to act selfishly. They are in politics because they genuinely want to make a difference. Yes, there will be bad apples in there; just like there is in any walk of life. But as with any bad apple, we need to pray for them and we need to trust that our peaceful system of democracy will ultimately win the day.
The hate directed at poor Jo Cox as she walked through her constituency last week was of the worst kind. It took her life and has thus caused immeasurable pain to her family, friends and colleagues. But underneath all of that is an unhealthy undercurrent of hate and cynicism which exists throughout our country and is often directed at many in officialdom, including politicians. This is especially the case on social media, where the abuse and hatred spewed forth has the potential to fuel the anger in certain individuals predisposed to dangerous actions.
Jesus Christ called us to love all people; even those that we perceive to be our enemies. Our politicians need our support and prayers. They work in an incredibly testing environment in which they are under increasing fear for their own safety and wellbeing.
May the sad and unnecessary passing of Jo Cox herald a change in attitude across our nation so that we come together as one, and in a spirit of brotherly love may we work with and support our politicians in striving for peace, equality, tolerance and prosperity for all people.
|Posted on May 16, 2016 at 9:01 AM||comments ()|
The Chief Executive of the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) is facing calls to resign after announcing that the organisation supported the removal of the 24 week time limit for abortions in the UK. Cathy Marwick has caused consternation among RCM members, many of whom have signed an online petition seeking to distance themselves from the RCM’s stance. They have also accused her of failing to consult on the issue.
Marwick, who is the chair of the UK’s biggest abortion provider BPAS (British Pregnancy Advisory Service), has not surprisingly been accused of a conflict of interest given her two roles. One midwife from Northern Ireland said: ‘Anyone advocating allowing abortion up to birth, I think is so sad and tragic, but to have my own representative body coming out in support of this extreme view is very disappointing. I know she’s our chief, but there is clearly a conflict of interest. On something as big as this, she should have consulted us.’
Dr Peter Saunders, head of the Christian Medical Fellowship, said: ‘It is bitterly ironic that the RCM, the supposed champion of safe childbirth and antenatal care, should be backing a campaign seeking to legalise the killing of unborn children up until birth. It is even more extraordinary that their chief executive, who also chairs BPAS, should be spearheading this initiative without apparently even consulting her membership. It is an extraordinary abuse of power.’
Democratic Unionist MP, Jim Shannon, has vowed to raise the matter in Parliament this week. He said: ‘I will ask the Secretary of State for Health what discussions he has had, or will have, with the RCM and BPAS. My concern is that scrapping the 24-week cut-off would be absolutely disgraceful. I would have thought the RCM should be protecting unborn life. Its chief executive has this dual position and many people would say you can’t have that.’
It is deeply disturbing that the very people who have for hundreds of years facilitated the safe passage of new life into our world are now being encouraged to compromise that ethos and be prepared to kill off that life. Indeed, medical advances are strongly indicating that the abortion time limit should be reduced as a result of the increased survival rate of babies before the 24 week mark. There is absolutely no indication that the abortion time limit should be increased, never mind scrapped altogether. Any attempt to increase or abolish the 24 week limit flies in the face of scientific and medical fact, and it once again raises the question as to whether the wilful destruction of innocent human life by abortion should be allowed at all.
Our smallest, youngest, most vulnerable children should be safe in the hands of our midwives.
Click here to read the Daily Mail story: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3591935/Midwives-revolt-abortion-feminist-union-chief-backs-bid-axe-time-limit-terminations.html#ixzz48omMcPfP
|Posted on April 21, 2016 at 4:01 AM||comments ()|
I am astonished and no less disappointed to see that few of the major UK news outlets have covered yesterday’s House of Commons vote, when MPs voted 278 – 0 in favour of declaring ISIS/Daesh atrocities against Christians and Yazidis as genocide.
If the Holocaust were to occur today, would the media recognise the atrocity and label it as genocide? If the massacre of Srebrenica were to occur today, would the media recognise the suffering people of the city and label it as genocide? And what about Rwanda in 1994? Would today’s media be prepared to state that this is genocide?
As I write I see that the Guardian, the Telegraph and Reuters are all at least now covering the story. But still no BBC, no ITV, and no Sky News coverage among many others. These outlets are no better than the Conservative government which has to date epically failed to declare the murder and violence wrought by ISIS as genocide.
Is it fear? Is it an anti-Christian mentality? Who knows? But one thing is certain, if genocide isn’t news we might as well all pack up and head for the hills.
|Posted on April 15, 2016 at 8:56 AM||comments ()|
A motion is to be put before the UK Parliament next week calling on the House to recognise that Christians and other minority groups in the Middle East are facing genocide.
The terror being wrought by ISIS is well known to all, though the fact that it is mainly targeted towards Christians is not so well documented in the West.
This is an opportunity for the UK government to take a stand against ISIS by declaring their actions to be a genocide against Christians, Yazidis and other religious minorities. As Pope Francis said: "It is wrong to look the other way, and remain silent." We all know the situation in the Middle East, and now is our chance to act and to speak up.
Please, please contact your MP today and encourage them to take part in this debate which will take place in Parliament next Wednesday 20th April. Aid to the Church in Need UK has helpfully drafted up a letter and included a link to obtain the contact details of your MP. You can find it all by clicking here.
We can no longer allow innocent blood to flow under our feet while we do nothing. We need to act to stop this murder. Please, help the helpless and write to your MP today.
|Posted on April 1, 2016 at 8:26 AM||comments ()|
A parliamentary question in the House of Lords has revealed a frightening statistic about late-term abortions in the UK. Labour peer Lord Moonie asked the government how many babies had been aborted at 23 weeks or later in the UK in 2014. The government’s response was to confirm that 682 such abortions had been carried out. That’s 13 babies every week.
While abortion at any stage is to be regarded as wrong as it takes away the life of an unborn child, abortions at this late stage - when the baby is fully formed in the womb - is nothing short of deplorable.
Indeed, thanks to medical advances, many babies born at 23 weeks are now able to survive. How then can we allow for a baby at one end of the maternity unit to be given life-saving treatment while a baby at the other end is legally killed? It simply makes no sense.