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Tuesday 30 November 2010

Pope Benedict, Condoms and Controversy

The Spiritual Director of Family Life international has written a thoughtful and helpful article on the Pope's recent words about condoms, which we have reprinted in full below. We have been highlighting this issue on our blog over the last few days to try and provide those who are confused with an accurate explanation of what he actually said. You may find it helpful to look back over our recent posts on the issue since Saturday 20th November.
Clare McCullough

Pope Benedict and the Condom Controversy
By Fr. Linus F. Clovis PhD Spiritual Director of FLI

The international news headline "Pope approves use of condoms - sometimes" was described as an earthquake in the Church. When I heard of it, I was both amused and incredulous and responded "Impossible!" Reviewing the media reports, I was even more amused by the desperate spin that oozed out of the articles written on the subject. Of course, there is a poor understanding of things Catholic in media circles and, sadly, even among Catholics, which only adds to the confusion.
In this current condom controversy, it is absolutely necessary to go back to what the Holy Father actually said, the manner and context in which he said it and to whom he said it. In the interests of brevity, I shall summarily deal with the last three points, but explore the first in depth.
Last Saturday the Vatican newspaper, L'Osservatore Romano, published an excerpt from an upcoming book, Light of the World: The Pope, The Church and The Signs Of The Times. The book is basically a long interview the German journalist Peter Seewald had with Pope Benedict. (The English translation would be released by Ignatius Press five days later on Thursday 25 November.) In it, Seewald engages the Pope in a discussion of the Church's role in the modern world, which, of course, includes issues of morality and, not surprisingly, the use of condoms as a solution to the AIDS epidemic. Thus, while many have commented on an excerpt from the book, few have actually read the book. Given this context, the Pope's comments are therefore the thoughts of a private theologian and by no means an official, still less, a dogmatic utterance or teaching to the whole Church. But even as a private theologian the Pope's thought is not without impact and so it is necessary to examine exactly what he said.
It would seem that the controversy was provoked by the Pope saying

"There may be a basis in the case of some individuals, as perhaps when a male prostitute uses a condom, where this can be a first step in the direction of a moralization, a first assumption of responsibility, on the way toward recovering an awareness that not everything is allowed and that one cannot do whatever one wants. But it is not really the way to deal with the evil of HIV infection. That can really lie only in a humanization of sexuality."

In the quote, the Pope in no way advocates the use of condoms but rather points out, by way of example, that when a male prostitute, presumably HIV+ and homosexual, uses a condom to reduce the risk of spreading a lethal disease, he is showing some advance along the scale of morality. That is, he is acknowledging that he may not do as he pleases, that his actions affect others and that he has some responsibility to others in the society; consequently, he is groping his way along the road to moral recovery. In other words, although his sexual behaviour is morally disordered and therefore sinful, his intention of not transmitting death to someone introduces an element of goodness in his behaviour without, however, changing the sinful nature of the act in any way. By way of example, lying under oath is always sinful, even if one tells the lie with the intention of protecting an innocent person. Equally, the deliberate killing an unborn child is always sinful, even if the child would be born deformed, or, in another case, to avoid foetal pain, anaesthetised by the abortionist.
The Pope, far from saying that condoms are good and should be used, if fact, explicitly ruled out condoms as a solution to HIV/AIDS, pointing out that the epidemic will only end when human sexuality is understood in its proper context of faithful and responsible human love. Again, to quote him
"People can get condoms when they want them anyway. But this just goes to show that condoms alone do not resolve the question itself. More needs to happen. Meanwhile, the secular realm itself has developed the so-called ABC Theory: Abstinence-Be Faithful-Condom, where the condom is understood only as a last resort, when the other two points fail to work. This means that the sheer fixation on the condom implies a banalization of sexuality, which, after all, is precisely the dangerous source of the attitude of no longer seeing sexuality as the expression of love, but only a sort of drug that people administer to themselves. This is why the fight against the banalization of sexuality is also a part of the struggle to ensure that sexuality is treated as a positive value and to enable it to have a positive effect on the whole of man's being."
Here, the Pope is pointing out that condoms cannot be the solution to the AIDS epidemic since, despite being widely available, the rampant spread of HIV continues. This reality, he notes, is recognised even by secular sources who, agreeing that a condom-only solution is no solution at all, have proposed the ABC approach to the problem. In fact, the Pope identifies the "banalization of sexuality" as the primary culprit for the spread of AIDS. The banalization of sexuality refers to the reduction of sexuality to a casual encounter, shorn of any reference to the spiritual and moral dimensions of the human person. In the modern world, sexuality is too frequently used as an instant necessary gratification for lust rather than love, somewhat comparable to the gratification received through drug use.
This will no doubt generate more discussion and possibly lead to further confusion but, what needs to be kept in mind is that the Church received her teaching from Christ Himself. She does not and cannot change that teaching but rather interprets it anew for each successive generation. There will also be further efforts to interpret the Pope's comments contrary to the Church's perennial and well-known teaching and position on contraception. The Pope, however, has no power or authority to change Christ's teachings. His task is to pass on what has been handed down.
Pope Benedict XVI is a remarkably skilled and courageous theologian who, I believe, wishes to engage the modern world in a positive and fruitful dialogue about human sexuality so that the world's sterile and rigid ideological misconceptions of Man as nothing more than an intelligent ape might be replaced by the view of Man as a creature, only "a little lower than the angels." Ps.8:6. The controversy generated by the Regensberg lecture (12 Sept. 2006) has resulted in a small but healthy dialogue with segments of the Moslem world. I pray that this controversy will do the same for the West.

Family Life International is a Catholic Pro-Life / Pro-Family Organisation defending Faith Life and Family

Pope Did Not Legitimize Condom Use, Affirms Spanish Bishop

The Catholic News Agency reports the following: The secretary general of the Spanish Bishops’ Conference recently remarked that the Pope's comments in the newly-released book, “Light of the World,” do not legitimize the use of condoms.
Bishop Juan Antonio Martinez Camino noted on Nov. 26, at the conclusion of the Spanish bishops' 96th plenary assembly, that the use of condoms “always” takes place “within a context of immorality.” Thus, he continued, it “can never be recommended.”
He said the Pope’s comments did not represent anything new in Church teaching and therefore the Spanish bishops did not address the issue during their meeting.
“There is no cause for alarm” for Catholics, he said, as they know that the Church’s teachings “are not learned from news headlines” but rather from “catechesis, religion classes and confession.”
Bishop Martinez underscored that the media has been filled with “inaccurate headlines” about the Pope’s comments on condoms. He added that the book, “Light of the World,” by German journalist Peter Seewald, is “an excellent introduction to what it means to be Christian.” It conveys “the perfect compatibility of the Christian faith with the positive aspect of modernity” and it reveals “the heart and mind of the Pope in order to interpret his actions and decisions properly.”

Monday 29 November 2010

If I Were Not Catholic, I Would Still Oppose Condoms.

It’s been a heady and confusing week. Many rumours have surrounded a remark made by Fr Lombardi, purportedly saying that Pope Benedict may be in favour of female prostitutes using condoms. (Editor's note: Let's not be led astray by hearsay remarks with no real authority behind them, and for our comment on the Holy Father's words, see here) This remains to be clarified. But it does seem rather unusual for a Pope who has, over many years, been so outspoken against condoms. Many Catholics are in a quandary about what to think and do; many are asking themselves if they should be in favour of condoms. After all, all the media outlets have bombarded us with reports that the Pope has ‘permitted’ use of condoms, complete with lots of opportunistic ‘arguments’ about why the Pope would be in favour of condoms. The media doth protest too much.
There will always be groups and individuals who will try and twist a priest’s or a Pope’s words to fit an agenda. But we need to hold true to the facts. Nothing has changed in Church teaching. We cannot promote condoms, OK, well maybe as a wet suit for a mouse, poor mouse!
Much as I loathe The Guardian, their motto is ‘comment is free, facts are sacrosanct.’ Telling people that they will be ‘safe’ if they use condoms is a comment, but factually it is leading them into a fool’s paradise.
From an objective viewpoint, were I not Catholic, I would still be against condoms for social as well as scientific reasons. Anyone, from any religion, and any culture, should be aware of the ineffectiveness of condoms. One study found that the AIDS virus was several times small than the holes in the latex, allowing it easily to pass through. In fact the comparison was that the AIRS virus could slip through a hole in the latex as easily as a dime through a basketball hoop.
Just this week, in our centre, we were helping a young teenager, let’s call her ‘Reena’. Reena has been a child prostitute and is now pregnant. She told me that she used condoms ‘every time’. Now, I’m not very bright, but if she got pregnant, did her ‘clients’ give her any diseases? Have her ‘clients’ got any diseases from her, of which they are unaware?
The emotional cost of Reena’s time on the street is untold. When I first met her, I thought she was over thirty, her face has such a lined, weary look of shame and indignity. Was a condom meant to save her from this? She was never told there’s no condom for the heart.

Mary O'Regan

The Pope Does Not Accept Condom Use Says Cardinal Burke

Cardinal Raymond Burke has been doing his bit to clarify that the Pope was NOT saying that using condoms would be OK, even in the case of AIDS. The Cardinal says (my emphasis added in red):

What he’s commenting on - in fact, he makes the statement very clearly that the Church does not regard the use of condoms as a real or a moral solution - but what he’s talking about in the point he makes about the male prostitute is about a certain conversion process taking place in an individual’s life. He’s simply making the comment that if a person who is given to prostitution at least considers using a condom to prevent giving the disease to another person - even though the effectiveness of this is very questionable - this could be a sign of someone who is having a certain moral awakening. But in no way does it mean that prostitution is morally acceptable, nor does it mean that the use of condoms is morally acceptable. The point the Pope is making is about a certain growth in freedom, an overcoming of an enslavement to a sexual activity that is morally repugnant [unacceptable] so that this concern to use a condom in order not to infect a sexual partner could at least be a sign of some moral awakening in the individual, which one hopes would lead the individual to understand that his activity is a trivialization of human sexuality and needs to be changed.
See LifeSite's Article here

Saturday 27 November 2010

Join The Regular Vigil at Marie Stopes, Whitfield St From Monday 29th November Onwards

Here at The Good Counsel Network, we are intending to increase the weekday pro-life presence outside Marie Stopes Abortuary, 108 Whitfield Street, W1T 5EA.The nearest tubes are Great Portland Street and Warren Street. The week commencing Monday 29th November 2010, I will be there pavement counselling from 9am-1.30pm on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday. We hope to have prayer supporters, counsellors and Priests to cover all of these times.
The Holy Father has asked all the faithful to have a Vigil of Prayer for Nascent Human Life, during the first week of Advent. As we prepare for the coming of Our Saviour’s birth, and as we meditate on Our Lord developing in the womb of Mary, and recall His vulnerability and how He was born in the humble dwelling of a stable, the flight from Herod’s tyranny to Egypt, and the putting to death of the new born Innocents, I invite you to come to the abortuary and pray. What a wonderful opportunity to prepare for the coming of the Christ Child during Advent. Any turn around that happens outside an abortuary is due to God's grace granted through the peaceful prayerful witness of Priests and lay faithful.
If you can’t come for the whole four and half hours, I encourage you to do two hours.
Whatever time you can spare is much appreciated, and will help save many children, through God’s Grace from the tyrannical clutches of the new “Herod”, and save many Mums and Dads from anguish and despair.
If you are unable to come, due to infirmity or ill health, please find time even for a short while to pray, and fast if you are able, while we are there, so that hearts may be changed and despairing souls transformed and illuminated through the Merciful Heart of Christ.
If you can't stand for long periods of time, feel free to bring a fold up chair.
If you are able to come for the whole of, or part of the vigil, please email me at info@goodcounselnetwork.freeserve.co.uk or call me on 0207 723 1740. I look forward to seeing you there. Without your prayerful presence, mothers may not choose life for their children.

James Coulborn

Editor's Note: We still urgently need praying people to be there to support this Vigil on Monday 29th November

Friday 26 November 2010

Saturday's Vigil for Nascent (or Embryonic) Life Must Not be Ignored

Here follows John Smeaton's List of Events for the Vigil for All Nascent(or Embryonic) Human Life, called by Pope Benedict XVI, for SATURDAY 27th November 2010. Please attend one and if you absolutely can't please go to the link at the end of this blog and download one of the simple prayers from the US Catholic Bishops website for the Vigil and pray them with family or privately at home:

Catholic archdiocese of Westminster
27 November: Archbishop Nichols will preside at a Vigil at Westminster Cathedral that evening. Texts for the vigil, together with a reflection from the Archbishop.
Sat 27 Nov: vigil, 4pm, St Theresa's church, 27 Boniface Walk, Harrow HA3 6PU.

Catholic diocese of Hexham and Newcastle
27 November, 4-5pm: Vigil of prayer for unborn life before the Blessed Sacrament, St Mary's Cathedral. Scripture Rosary for life and adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.

Catholic Diocese of Hallam
Bishop John Rawsthorne will lead a Vigil Service for all Nascent Human Life on Saturday 27 November following the 6.30 pm evening Mass at the Cathedral Church of St. Marie, Norfolk Row, Sheffield, S1 2JB.

Catholic Diocese of Leeds
Vigil for all nascent human life will be held in the presence of the missionary image of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Leeds Cathedral, Great George Street, Leeds, LS2 8BE, on Saturday, 27th November, from 12.30 p.m. to 6.00 p.m. followed by Saturday vigil Mass at 6 p.m. celebrated by Bishop Arthur Roche

Catholic archdiocese of Liverpool
Sat 27 Nov: Holy Hour after the 6.15pm Mass, St William of York church, Edge Lane, Thornton, Liverpool.

Catholic diocese of Middlesbrough
Invoking the Lord’s protection over every human being called into existence. 3pm on Saturday 27th November at St Mary’s Cathedral with Eucharistic Adoration and Sacrament of Reconciliation
6.30pm Mass Bishop Terry Drainey will preside

Catholic diocese of Motherwell
Sat 27 Nov: all-night vigil from 7pm Sat until 9am Sun, in the Adoration Chapel of St John the Baptist church, Uddingston. In the same church on Sun 28 Nov: Rosary and Benediction, 4pm. Sister Roseanne Reddy of the Sisters of the Gospel of Life will speak at all weekend Masses.

Catholic diocese of Nottingham
Sat 27 Nov: Bishop Malcolm McMahon will celebrate Mass at 12noon in Nottingham cathedral.

Catholic diocese of Plymouth
Sat 27 Nov: Rosary and Vespers, 4pm, Cathedral of Ss Mary and Boniface, Plymouth.

Catholic diocese of Salford
Parishes of St. Kentigern, Fallowfield & St Edwards Rusholme, Manchester: Vigil for Life, Saturday, 8.30 pm - 9.30 p.m. using the US bishops' material, vespers, supplications and Benediction
Also in Salford
27 November: Terence Brain, bishop of Salford, is asking all churches in Salford diocese to have a period of exposition of the Blessed Sacrament; and for those churches which have a Sunday vigil Mass to have a special prayer of intercession for all nascent human life.

United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB)website has several packaged options for churches wishing to hold a vigil, in either English or Spanish. The Catholic Bishops of England and Wales recommend these resources here.

Wednesday 24 November 2010

Fr Fessio, Pope Benedict XVI and Condoms

I filched this article from here . I generally find Fr Fessio's commentary to be sound.

Did the Pope “justify” condom use in some circumstances?
A close look at the text reveals no change to Church teaching.
By Father Joseph Fessio, S.J.

Did the Pope “justify” condom use in some circumstances?

No. And there was absolutely no change in Church teaching either. Not only because an interview by the Pope does not constitute Church teaching, but because nothing that he said differs from previous Church teaching.

Then why all the headlines saying that he “approves” or “permits” or “justifies” condom use in certain cases?

That’s a good question. So good that the interviewer himself asked virtually the same question during the interview.

he Pope made a statement in the interview, which statement has now been widely quoted in the worldwide media. Immediately, the interviewer, Peter Seewald, posed this question: “Are you saying, then, that the Catholic Church is actually not opposed in principle to the use of condoms?”

The Pope clarified and expanded on his previous statement.

So let’s look at the two statements.

After saying that “we cannot solve the problem [of AIDS] by distributing condoms…” and that “the sheer fixation on the condom implies a banalization of sexuality…” the Pope says: There may be a basis in the case of some individuals, as perhaps when a male prostitute uses a condom, where this can be a first step in the direction of a moralization, a first assumption of responsibility, on the way toward recovering an awareness that not everything is allowed and that one cannot do whatever one wants. But it is not really the way to deal with the evil of HIV infection. That can really lie only in a humanization of sexuality” (all emphasis mine).

That is a heavily qualified, very tentative statement. Nevertheless, it prompted Seewald’s question, quoted above. But let’s first take a closer look at this statement. The original German for “There may be a basis in the case of some individuals…” is “Es mag begründete Einzelfälle geben….” The English here is a faithful, accurate translation.“Begründete” comes from “Grund” = “ground,” and it means both the soil we stand on and a logical foundation. There is some ambiguity because it could have the weak sense of “some basis for” or a strong sense of “a logical or ethical foundation for.” This is perhaps why Seewald asked the follow-up question, so we’ll turn to that in a moment.

It is important to note that there are two very serious mistranslations in the Italian version of the Pope’s remarks, upon which many early reports were based, since the embargo was broken by the Vatican newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano. (That’s another story.) First, the German speak of “ein Prostituierter,” which can only be a male prostitute. The normal German word for prostitute is “[eine] Prostituierte,” which is feminine and refers only to a woman. The Italian translation “una prostituta” simply reverses what the Pope says.

Equally problematically, “giustificati” = justified, was used in the Italian translation of “begründete,” and arbitrarily resolves the ambiguity one-sidedly.

The Pope responded: “She [the Church] does not regard it as a real or moral solution, but, in this or that case, there can be nonetheless in the intention of reducing the risk of infection, a first step in a movement toward a different way, a more human way, of living sexuality” (emphasis mine).

In the first place a solution which is not “moral” cannot be “justified.” That is a contradiction and would mean that something in itself morally evil could be “justified” to achieve a good end. Note: the concept of the “lesser evil” is inapplicable here. One may tolerate a lesser evil; one cannot do something which is a lesser evil.

But the crucial distinction here is between the “intention” of the male prostitute, viz. avoiding infecting his client, and the act itself, viz. using a condom. Since this distinction has been missed in almost every report I’ve read, it calls for some elaboration.

This distinction, in moral philosophy, is between the object of an act and the intent of an act. If a man steals in order to fornicate, the intent is to fornicate but the object is the act of theft. There is no necessary connection between stealing and fornicating.

In the case of the Pope’s remark, the intent is preventing infection and the object is use of a condom.

...In sum, the Pope did not “justify” condom use in any circumstances. And Church teaching remains the same as it has always been—both before and after the Pope’s statements.

Father Joseph Fessio, S.J. is founder and editor of Ignatius Press, the North American publisher of Light of the World, and publisher of Catholic World Report.

Tuesday 23 November 2010

The Month of the Holy Souls

November is the month in the Church's calender dedicated to the Holy Souls. It is a time especially when we remember our deceased family members and loved ones. We can offer Masses and offer our works, joys, and sufferings of our day for them.

The Holy Souls in Purgatory intercede and pray for us, but are unable to pray for themselves, they rely on our prayers. Let's remember to pray for the Holy Souls, not just in November, but always throughout the year. They will be great intercessors for us during our earthly lives, at the moment of our death, and indeed when we are in Purgatory ourselves.

Our Lady, Mother of the Church, and Mother of the Holy Souls in Purgatory, pray for us!

James Coulborn

Sunday 21 November 2010

Pope Supports Condoms? - And So Do Little Green Men on Mars, Probably.

I was half asleep this evening when the BBC News Headlines came on telling us how the Pope accepts condom use in certain circumstances. Well after a second or two of sleepily thinking "Wow! I'm going to have to apostasy." I woke up and remembered that this was the BBC news after all and off I went to investigate further. Following the words of the wise sage at Mulier Fortis, and visiting the Curt Jester and reading the text of the Holy Father's words over a few times I'd like to offer a few thoughts.
1. The Holy Father never says condoms are morally acceptable, good, OK in certain circumstances or effective in preventing the transmission of HIV.
2. The Holy Father actually says condoms are never morally OK and are not a real solution to Aids in any circumstances.
3. His comments refer to homosexual activity of male prostitutes which is never open to life anyway - "intrinsically contraceptive" if you like. (But remember, EVEN in that case he does NOT say they are morally acceptable or effective).
4. The only point he really makes is that in the soul of a male prostitute - i.e. someone whose soul is immersed in darkness in relation to the meaning of human sexuality - that their INTENTION in using condoms with the belief that it may help to reduce the transmission of AIDS is a good sign, a pointer to some humanity, to a desire not to harm the other(s). The Pope only suggests that that INTENTION may be a beginning of a more human, more moral understanding of sexuality.

If a joyrider steals a car every Saturday night and cruises the highways and byways high on drugs, but one Saturday night his conscience suddenly stirs him and so after stealing his car he breaks into a private racing track and drives around there all night, thinking "I must not put other people at risk", what can we say of his action?
Stealing the car is wrong (like sex outside of marriage), driving it while high on drugs is wrong (like prostitution).
Breaking into a private racing track is morally wrong (like using a condom).
But perhaps in this broken example of humanity a spark of respect for life has broken in (As with the male prostitute who uses a condom to reduce the risk of death to his partners). This one good intention can be the seed of a change of outlook and a change of heart.
This is exactly what the Pope is saying as far as I can see.

Some have questioned the wisdom of the Pope intellectualising the finer points of the possibilities of what is going on inside the human heart in such a case. They point to the lurid and horrific headlines now sweeping the globe. But we must be ready to understand what the Pope has really said. And to defend him and the Church's teachings on sex. Personally I believe that what he has said is true and maintains the truth of the Church's teaching that the use of condoms is always morally wrong - even in the case of a male prostitute. And I know that however difficult it is to hear the Church being misrepresented everywhere, it is a sign of the depth to which the Church's teachings regarding condoms irritate - and influence - the secular world.
To read what the Pope actually said see the previous blog.
Clare McCullough

What the Pope Actually Said on Condoms

I have taken this whole article from the Catholic World Report, as lazy persons like myself do not follow up links sometimes and we all have a duty to read this. My comments follow in a seperate blog. But I have put my emphasis on some parts of the Pope's text, shown in red.
Clare McCullough

An excerpt from Light of the World, Peter Seewald’s book-length interview with Pope Benedict XVI, From Chapter 11, "The Journeys of a Shepherd," pages 117-119:

On the occasion of your trip to Africa in March 2009, the Vatican’s policy on AIDs once again became the target of media criticism.Twenty-five percent of all AIDs victims around the world today are treated in Catholic facilities. In some countries, such as Lesotho, for example, the statistic is 40 percent. In Africa you
stated that the Church’s traditional teaching has proven to be the only sure way to stop the spread of HIV. Critics, including critics from the Church’s own ranks, object that it is madness to forbid a high-risk population to use condoms.

The media coverage completely ignored the rest of the trip to Africa on account of a single statement. Someone had asked me why the Catholic Church adopts an unrealistic and ineffective position on AIDs. At that point, I really felt that I was being provoked, because the Church does more than anyone else. And I stand by that claim. Because she is the only institution that assists people up close and concretely, with prevention, education, help, counsel, and accompaniment. And because she is second to none in treating so many AIDs victims, especially children with AIDs.

I had the chance to visit one of these wards and to speak with the patients. That was the real answer: The Church does more than anyone else, because she does not speak from the tribunal of the newspapers, but helps her brothers and sisters where they are actually suffering. In my remarks I was not making a general statement about the condom issue, but merely said, and this is what caused such great offense, that we cannot solve the problem by distributing condoms. Much more needs to be done. We must stand close to the people, we must guide and help them; and we must do this both before and after they contract the disease.

As a matter of fact, you know, people can get condoms when they want them anyway. But this just goes to show that condoms alone do not resolve the question itself. More needs to happen. Meanwhile, the secular realm itself has developed the so-called ABC Theory: Abstinence-Be Faithful-Condom, where the condom is understood only as a last resort, when the other two points fail to work. This means that the sheer fixation on the condom implies a banalization of sexuality, which, after all, is precisely the dangerous source of the attitude of no longer seeing sexuality as the expression of love, but only a sort of drug that people administer to themselves. This is why the fight against the banalization of sexuality is also a part of the struggle to ensure that sexuality is treated as a positive value and to enable it to have a positive effect on the whole of man’s being.

There may be a basis in the case of some individuals, as perhaps when a male prostitute uses a condom, where this can be a first step in the direction of a moralization, a first assumption of responsibility, on the way toward recovering an awareness that not everything is allowed and that one cannot do whatever one wants. But it is not really the way to deal with the evil of HIV infection. That can really lie only in a humanization of sexuality.

Are you saying, then, that the Catholic Church is actually not opposed in principle to the use of condoms?

She of course does not regard it as a real or moral solution, but, in this or that case, there can be nonetheless, in the intention of reducing the risk of infection, a first step in a movement toward a different way, a more human way, of living sexuality.

Saturday 20 November 2010

Birth Mothers Don't Want Homosexual Couples As Adopters

Very occasionally, women who are in crisis pregnancy, will discuss and consider adoption. In my experience it is sometimes more common for younger women, especially ‘under age’ teenage girls to think about adoption. In a previous job, when I was helping pregnant girls aged 13 – 17, they would often enquire about adoption, but just as quickly say that they didn’t want their baby to go to homosexual couples. Here in London, when a pregnant lady broaches the possibility of adoption, she is more hesitant, but nonetheless will have the gut reaction that she does not want her baby to go to a homosexual couple. But outside of our centre, who is listening to these women?
In the debate on who should be entitled to adopt children – gay/lesbian couples or a heterosexual family – why aren’t the voices of women who do not want their children to go to homosexual ‘unions’ ever heard? This includes a woman in crisis pregnancy or a woman who for whatever reasons has her child taken from her by government bodies. Might this be a plausible reason why the biological mothers are kept gagged – because if it were more widely known that they did not want their children going to homosexual ‘unions’ that the pro-homosexual adoption lobby would lose their trump card? After all, the lobby groups that support gay adoption talk about it being a ‘right’ to adopt a child, but what right is left to the biological mother? Does she not have the right firstly to freedom of speech where she can say that she does not want her child to go to a homosexual couple? And secondly, does she not have the right to decide that her child who is her flesh and blood ought not to go to a homosexual couple? This talk and bluster about so-called ‘rights’ is very selective –so much so that the rights of ‘the mother of origin’ aka the biological mother are often forgotten altogether.

Mary O'Regan

Friday 19 November 2010

The Importance of Praying for Palin

Of all pro-life politicians the world over, Sarah Palin has got guts. Throughout the 2008 presidential election, she was candid about her pro-life views and this wasn’t just to get ‘the pro-life vote’. Prior to running as vice president, when she was a little-known governor of Alaska, she said no to an abortion for her unborn son. In her autobiography, "Going Rogue" she told her story about learning that her unborn son had Down’s Syndrome, and how abortion was presented to her as ‘the quick and easy solution.’ She went against the tragic trend of aborting a child with a disability, and now that she is so high-profile and has two and a half million fans on Facebook, she is a great example to other women.
In the past weeks, Sarah Palin spoke at a pro-life even organised by Heroic Media. She said that she is ‘unapologetically pro-life’ and that ‘choosing life may not be the easiest path, but it’s the right choice.’
Palin is now considering running for president in 2012. We have reason to hope that she might secure the Republican nomination, according to the American Associated Press Gfk poll 79% of self-proclaimed Republicans favour Palin as presidential candidate.
While we will not have a vote in the US presidential election, we have time to pray and win graces from Heaven for Sarah Palin. For one thing, I will be requesting of my parish priest that he offer a Mass for Sarah Palin, that she is able to run as president, and that she is successful in her bid.
(Click Heroic Media for their website.http://www.heroicmedia.org/site/PageServer?pagename=HM_HOMEPAGE )

Mary O' Regan

Wednesday 17 November 2010

National Day Of Prayer And Fasting

Join us in Prayer and Fasting For Life On Thursday 18th November.
Fast from all food except bread and water for the day.
Fast from a particular food or luxury, e.g. chocolate, alcohol, cigarettes, TV.
Fast from whatever you can given your state of health etc, but make sure it is something that involves a sacrifice to yourself.
We are asking people to say a Rosary (or an extra Rosary if you say it daily already). You could also offer an extra effort such as going to Mass (or an extra Mass) on the day, or going to Adoration. You can even pray before a closed tabernacle if Adoration is not available near you.

And the people of Ninevah believed in God; they proclaimed a fast and put on sackcloth, from the greatest to the least…God saw their efforts to renounce their evil ways. And God relented about the disaster which He had threatened to bring on them, and He did not bring it.
(Jonah 3:5,10)
Stuart McCullough

Tuesday 16 November 2010

Pope Benedict XVI's Vigil for All Nascent Human Life: Extraordinarily Important says Dr John Wilkes

Pope Benedict’s call to every diocesan bishop worldwide to simultaneously lead a Vigil for All Nascent Human Life has been recognised by leading pro-lifers to be extraordinarily important.
“Strong support for Pope Benedict’s appeal to the world’s bishops could not be more important," Dr John Wilkes said recently at the International Right to Life Federation meeting in Ottawa. Dr. Wilkes has authored several pro-life books, among them ‘Handbook on Abortion’, which is considered a classic pro-life text. ‘Handbook on Abortion’ is one of the bestselling books against ‘legal’ abortion ever published.
“Given the scale of the worldwide crisis, no-one could possibly argue that the vigil cannot be supported because of other priorities or because of other events being held in support of life at other times of the year” said Dr Wilkes. Dr Wilkes put side by side the carnage of World War II and the massacre of innocents by abortion. “According to one calculation, 55 million people were killed during the second world war...Tragically; these killings in the most deadly war in human history were a mere prelude to the tragic drama played out for the rest of the 20th century and into the 21st.” The Guttmacher Institute currently estimates about 42 million abortions take place annually.
Dr. Wilkes has encouraged all Catholics and pro-lifers across the globe to support the vigil: “Let all who believe in prayer, pray for a great outpouring of grace on our bishops which impels them to respond generously to this call.”
A new website called “Yes! For Benedict” gives us the opportunity to send a message to the Pope in our own language. You can participate by clicking here. http://www.yes-for-benedict.net/

Mary O' Regan

Monday 15 November 2010

"Only Saints Will End Abortion"

What a great sermon Father. He had just travelled about 70 miles to offer the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass in the Good Counsel Network's Chapel. He told us that maybe we could be tempted to sit back and congratulate ourselves, after all we work/volunteer for the Pro-Life movement, we go and pray at the abortuaries, we provide on going help to Mothers and their children, etc. But that is not enough, we need to do more, we need to give ourselves totally to God. Hold nothing back, because then we will be Saints and "Only Saints will end abortion".

Stuart McCullough

Saturday 13 November 2010

Men Can be Victims of Contraceptive Mentality Too

Men are also victims of the contraceptive mentality
‘It’s his entire fault that I’m pregnant!’
‘We thought the vasectomy was a hundred percent, that there was no chance that I would ever get pregnant’ sighed ‘Connie’. ‘Tut! Tut! Some guarantee against pregnancy the snip turned out to be!’ This past week, ‘Connie’s’ boyfriend ‘Gabriel’ went to the GP who told him that a vasectomy is not always one hundred percent... Connie put on the doctor’s nasally voice and sneered, ‘Vasectomy is approaching one hundred per cent, but even if your partner has been sterilised by vasectomy there is still the smallest chance of pregnancy.’
Connie is furious because she is much further along in her pregnancy than she thought. ‘Do you really think that I’d be thinking about having an abortion if his ****** sperm hadn’t got my egg?’
When we discussed the abortion complications and how women can feel very angry with their men folk afterwards, Connie almost yelled, ‘I want to kill him now! I know after the abortion, I’ll want to brain him completely! It’s his entire fault that I’m pregnant!’
I suggested to Connie that she sounded as if she wanted to punish Gabriel.
‘Yeah, but what’s so wrong with that? I’ve already been so cross with him...and...’ Connie put her fist inside her hand.
When I mentioned that often women want to break up with their boyfriends after an abortion, she clicked her tongue and said,
‘I’m not going to forget that he got me pregnant. I doubt we’ll be a couple in a few days. He doesn’t have to go through an abortion, and I can’t forgive him for putting me in this situation. I know the doctor said that the snip isn’t always foolproof, but it’s my boyfriend’s entire fault.’

Mary O'Regan

Friday 12 November 2010

Carol Singing for The Good Counsel Network in Advent

I want to thank everyone who attended our St Raphael's Credit Crunch Ball recently. I was very glad that it was so well attended, so well attended that the hall could not have had any more people inside!!! Thank you for supporting The Good Counsel Network in this event which we hope to run again next year.

Our next big fundraising event is our annual Advent Carol Singing in tube stations. This year we have four dates booked. find the details at the bottom of this blog.

This is one of our most popular events, which everyone enjoys. Do not worry if you feel you cannot sing, people of all ages and abilities help. If you do not want to sing at all you can still help by holding a collecting bucket.

Please be aware that Carol Sheets will be provided, so please do not bring your own as we will not be able to use them.

The dates are as follows:

Wednesday 15th December: Baker Street Tube Station
Monday 20th December: Oxford Circus Tube Station
Wednesday 22nd December: Green Park Tube Station
Thursday 23rd December: Waterloo Tube Station (Not the mainline Station)

Teas, coffees and soft drinks provided. We normally go for a drink together afterwards as well.

Please contact Conor to let him know when you can come on 0207 723 1740 or info@goodcounselnetwork.freeserve.co.uk
Conor Carroll

Thursday 11 November 2010

£80 to be Prodded and Ignored at Marie Stopes

‘The Marie Stopes staff made me feel like such a guinea pig’ said ‘Irene’ who came to us after a young man gave her a blue leaflet with Good Counsel's phone number on it during 40 Days for Life.

‘I paid at least 80 pounds for a consultation, and all they did was scribble some notes on a sheet, and tell me to lie down for a scan. Two people stood over me – a man and a woman – I don’t know who they were or what their jobs really were. The woman was new and didn’t know what to do. She kept prodding me with the ultrasound stick thing. Going back and forth with the stick and not picking up anything. The man would try to instruct her, and she would move the stick or the rod thing over me again. She never asked me if I minded that she pressed me with the scanning rod....The man and the woman talked to each other as if I wasn’t there...The man said to the woman that I was gone past a certain number of weeks. I felt so nervous at this stage that I felt that I couldn’t speak. The woman gave me a stare and said, ‘So it will be...surgical...for you.' The second that I heard the word ‘surgical’ my head swam with anxiety. I tried to point at the rod and ask if, please, they would show me the scan. I was completely ignored. I got down from the table, and they said a few things to me that didn’t really register. I just said that I was going home...Later I read the blue leaflet over and over again. Then I plucked up the courage to come here for an appointment.’

Irene stayed for many hours talking about why she has been considering abortion. She is living with her boyfriend and as he’s from a strict Muslim family, he keeps it a secret that he lives with her. When she told him that she is pregnant he turned to her and said, ‘you shouldn’t even be living with me. You led me into sin by sleeping with me. Now you’re in sin because you’re pregnant. I can’t help you now.’ Her boyfriend has told her flatly that he won’t promise any money. And now she has even less money after giving Marie Stopes a whopping 80 quid for them to prod her.

Irene has been assured of the help that we offer, and has said that now she wants to keep the baby. We ask for your continued prayers for her.

Mary O' Regan

Wednesday 10 November 2010

Old Rite Good Counsel Mass for Deceased and Juventutem - Friday 12th November

There will be a Sung Requiem Mass (Old Rite) for the deceased supporters of the Good Cousnel Network on Friday 12th November at 6.30pm.
The Mass is the one organised by the Latin Mass Society on the 2nd Friday of each month at Corpus Christi Church, Maiden Lane, Central London - the nearest tube station is Charing Cross Station. After this Mass, a group of young Catholics, called Juventutem will be going out for dinner. See their facebook page if you want to attend the dinner. (No need to book if you are just attending the Mass!). Priests wishing to sit in choir should bring cassock and cotta.

Stuart McCullough

Tuesday 9 November 2010

I've Noticed That Those Who Support Abortion...

"I've noticed that those who support abortion are always the ones that have been born already!" This was one of the nice comments made to me outside marie stopes abortuary on Monday 8th November. Yes I know that 40 Days for Life ended on the 2nd, but the killing goes on. When Father J said he would come to Good Counsel for Mass at 11am and then go to the abortuary if a counsellor went with him, what could I say? I live 9 miles from the abortuary and work 15 to 20 minutes away by tube, Father lives about 70 Miles away! So off we went after lunch, Father, 2 supporters of "40 Days" and myself.
We spent 2 hours there praying and counselling. We had a few nice comments and one lady ripped up a leaflet and threw it on the floor.
About half the Mothers going in took a leaflet offering them help to keep their babies. As some of them were there for consultations they will have time to consider the help available.
If you are ever able to come with us on weekdays let's us know, 02077231740.

Stuart McCullough

Thursday 4 November 2010

Blessings Outside the Comfort Zone at 40 Days for Life

I have found praying and counselling outside marie stopes abortuary during the 40 Days for Life, a very blessed and positive experience. Initially fear often sets in before I pray outside an abortion clinic. The fear is fuelled by uncertainty, and how passers by will respond. Praying aloud outside of a clinic certainly isn't what comes naturally, but when I find myself leaving my comfort zone, I'm often amazed by the peace and blessings that I experience.

I had some very positive encounters with passers by outside the abortuary, whilst I was side-walk counselling. On one occasion, a businessman was walking past me outside the abortuary, and I offered him an icare magazine. He stopped and told me he had already received a magazine which he had read and kept. He told me he walks past the vigil every day after work and told me to keep up this good work we are doing.

On another occasion, an elderly lady stopped by the railings, and was looking intently at the women praying and the 40 Days for Life signs. She came over to me and I offered her an icare magazine. She told me that she didn't need it, and asked me if I was with the people praying or with marie stopes "clinic". I told her I was with the people praying. She told me that it is good work that we are doing, and I asked her to keep us in her prayers.

On another occasion, I was counselling alone outside marie stopes, when some teenage girls came past, took the icare magazines and leaflets from me and without saying anything but laughing, they tore and ripped them to shreds, and threw them on the pavement, before entering the abortuary. I gathered up the ripped leaflets, and decided that confrontation would not convert them, but love and prayers. Not long afterwards, the girls came out of the clinic, walked over to where the 40 days for Life signs were, and stole three of them, running off in fits of laughter. It was pointless chasing after them, or getting angry, so I quietly prayed for their conversion.

St Thomas Aquinas said the first reaction to the Truth is Anger. The fact that they were reacting in this way, shows that deep down they know they are doing wrong. Often it is those who react with anger, who are the first to convert. We must pray for their change of hearts.

James Coulborn

Tuesday 2 November 2010

Successful Ball and Lost Property

The Credit Crunch Ball was a roaring success. ~Thanks to St Raphael who really did intercede for many happy meetings. I would say it was probably the friendliest ball in London and a good time apparantly was had by all. Thanks especially to those who filled tables, especially Gaelle Hendrickx who sold the most tickets, SPUC and many of the 40 Days for Life team who attended and to everyone for the nice atmosphere and generous support. Great Singer, well-done ConorCarroll for finding him!
A nice bracelet was found at the Ball, which someone had lost when a link in it broke. It is an enamelled bracelet and if you know the owner please get in touch.
We also found a bag with some jeans and some disposable razors! If you want them please claim them.
Clare McCullough

The World Doesn't Really Believe We Are Violent

Now that 40 Days for Life has finished, I have had time to reflect a bit on what people really think about pro-lifers. We think we know what the world thinks, but I wonder if what the world says it thinks and what the world really thinks is the same thing.

People in the street and the secular media say pro-lifers are fanatics, bigots, anti-choice lunatics, aggressive, repressive and violent. On the edge of shooting an abortionist at any moment. That's what they say. Just look at yesterday's Daily Mail article (The new abortion war: Doctors murdered... clinics firebombed. Could Britain follow in the steps of the militant U.S. 'pro-lifers'?)or last week's Independent article for evidence of these views.

Yet when I am standing outside Whitfield St abortuary next to a banner marked "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you - God", I cannot believe that they really believe what they say. Firstly, numerous passers by look in interest at the sign to see what we are about. As they read the scripture verse they distort their faces in horror and grimace at us. I am not exaggerating, yet it seems a pretty extreme response to a little verse from scripture. What is so terrible about that verse? Or do they in their often unbelieving state feel turmoil and feel aware that "scripture is alive and active"? It seems to trouble them anyway. It reminds me of a talk I heard a few years ago which said that atheism is one of the worst forms of satanism...

But what really makes me feel they don't believe what they say about us is the level of abuse, ridicule, anger and aggression levelled at us when we stand there. Often 1 passer by will hurl abuse at 10 of us. Sometimes the abortuary staff join in likewise. Using a torrent of bad language or even a physical threat, the one aggressor seems to feel remarkably safe facing 10 fanatical bigots supposedly with murderous intent! Would, you for example, approach a group of 10 drunken louts on a Saturday night, alone and swear at them, endeavour to correct their wrong-headed approach to life or threaten them? Not if you are sane probably.

So I have to conclude that somewhere in the back of their pro-abortion minds they know that we will not retaliate, that we will not attack, that we will not even ridicule, insult or try to hurt them. I have to conclude, in fact, that by our witness to the sanctity of life of the tiniest and the weakest, subconsciously, they recognise our love and respect for life extends to their lives too. Yes, they know we are Christians by our love.

Clare McCullough

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