Tag Archives: Ethics

A North Yorkshire Interlude – the Catholic Union Summer Gathering 2014

The Summer Gathering this year took place at Ampleforth Abbey in Yorkshire.  Here, Robert RIgby, Chairman of the CU and an Old Amplefordian, shares his reflections on the weekend:

This year’s Catholic Union summer gathering took place at Ampleforth from Friday 25 – Sunday 27 July 2014. It was attended by some 25 Catholic Union members with a good mix of members from both the north and south of the country. This was the first time in many years that this hasevent moved beyond the Home Counties and judging by the reaction, it will not be long before it once again is taken into the regions.

Ampleforth provided a perfect backdrop – allowing both the formal side of the occasion to proceed which included discussions on the strategy of the CU and issues of the day, as well as a spiritual element ensuring members could tap into the monastic offices of the day including Matins at 6am….

The main business was carried out on Saturday 26 July with the conference getting off to a spiritual and thought provoking start with Fr Terence Richardson OSB, the Prior, providing a talk , The Prophetic Voice  The Prior highlighted the prophet as one who sees the truth and tells the truth and referred to the criticism of the current church as a sign of health. The presence of the prophetic in the secular world is a sign of a healthy society.

Lord Brennan, attending his final conference as President, (he steps down in November after 12 years at the helm) provided his usual enlightening take on the issues of the day, as well as those affecting the CU. These are momentous times he said, life is changing fast and the challenges we face are complicated but not insurmountable. He talked about three key issues – Parliament & Public Life, Society Today and the Future and offered some wise council on how the CU should position itself going forward as well as ideas on increasing our membership base in an ever secular and demanding world.

In the afternoon members engaged in an open discussion on the role of the CU in today’s society. Robert Rigby, Chairman set the scene by providing members with feedback on a meeting he had held with Cardinal Nichols in April. Dr Tony Cole, Chairman of the Parliamentary Affairs Committee, summarised some of the key issues facing Catholics today and issues either currently debated or about to be on the agenda in Parliament. Both these talks set off a chain of lively discussions which also included Faith Schools and the ever increasing attack being waged against them.

The day ended with a jovial dinner attended by Fr Christopher Gorst, Sub Prior.

On Sunday members attended High Mass, before enjoying a final get together over coffee in the main hall with parishioners and members of the wider local community around Ampleforth.

Robert Rigby

28th July 2014

 

Robert Rigby, Fr Terence (Prior), Lord Brennan, John Barrie

Robert Rigby, Fr Terence (Prior), Lord Brennan, John Barrie

Members of the CU at Ampleforth

Members of the CU at Ampleforth

 

 

 

Bishop Mark Davies on the false mercy of Assisted Suicide

The Bishop of Shrewsbury, the Rt Rev’d Mark Davies, has issued a Pastoral Letter, in which he warns against the far reaching implications for the elderly and most vulnerable in our society if the revised bill on Assisted Suicide, due to come before the House of Lords on 18th July, goes through.  The full text of the Pastoral Letter can be found below:

The False Mercy of Assisted Suicide

Alert on Abortion from Lord Alton

Abortion news in the Daily Mail 2nd June 2014
Lord Alton Vice-President of the Catholic Union has requested that the article published in the Daily Mail by Dominic Lawson be drawn to the attention of members and others.

See link below:
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2645632/Why-daughters-birthday-shames-think-people-Downs-not-fit-live.html

In addition, the Daily Mail carries an article describing how the abortion laws are to be broken by allowing midwives and nurses to carry out abortions.

See link below:
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2645575/Midwives-carry-abortions-shake-prompts-fury-pro-life-groups.html

Summary proceedings of the Parliamentary & Public Affairs Committee 8th April 2014

Chairman’s Announcements

The chairman welcomed a new member of the committee, Patricia Stoat as per last month’s announcement.

Correspondence

The chairman referred to a letter to the Daily Telegraph from Jim Dobbin, Sir Edward Leigh and others on the benefits of marriage to society.  He noted the government was, belatedly, introducing a modest transferable tax allowance which seemed an acknowledgement of marriage as a public force for good.

Euthanasia of children in Belgium

The cardinal archbishop of Malines and a rabbi had issued a strong statement condemning this.

40 paediatricians had written that in their experience no child had ever requested death. However, it was now suggested the law should be extended to allow the euthanasia of children at the decision of the parents alone. The law had been signed by Philippe I, nominally a Catholic monarch.

Abortion

 This is still a live issue in parliament. Baroness Knight asked if the law on abortion was beingupheld but did not receive a straight answer. Baroness Hollins, (past president of the BMA), Lord Alton, Lord Patten and Lord Mackay of Clashfern asked about gender based abortion. The Government said it was illegal and would examine the ratio of male to female births. Fiona Bruce MP asked about abortion on “Ground E” – disability- and gave examples of trivial cases. The Chief Medical Officer had sent a letter to doctors reminding them of their duties without publishing the Contents. The Government seems very casual about enforcement of the Act and was still considering relaxation of the law to allow nurse-only abortions. It said new guidelines were in draft but again not published. Gary Streeter MP was asking for a full debate on these guidelines. There will also be debate on the RSOP (Required Standard Operating Procedures for licencing premises for abortions).

A legal case in the north of England claimed that injury to a foetus was an assault; it was considered likely to fail since legally a person did not exist until born. However, the right of the unborn have never been defined. The chairman had written to Baroness Hollins, thanking her for her intervention and had included two papers showing that mental health problems as grounds for abortion were spurious.

Mitochondrial Donation

Lord Alton had made a strong statement about MD in so far as it alters the genetic composition of future generations, would be against international law and  he claimed would make the UK a rogue state.

There had been a campaign entitled “One of Us” aimed at limiting the misuse of embryos. It had sought a million signatures to trigger a debate in the European parliament. It had obtained 1.7 million and the debate would be on 9th April.

Falconer Bill on Assisted Dying

 This is likely to be brought back to the Lords after the Queen’s speech. Opposing such measures would best done as part of a coalition, ie with the“Care not Killing” group. There are now 193 new peers and their views on this issue were unknown. “Care not Killing” would approach these and try to elucidate their views without making any effort to persuade.  In general, public opinion appeared to be moving towards assisted dying. An assisted dying bill was likely to be brought forward in Scotland at year end, after the referendum. Baroness Butler-Sloss, formerly president of the family division of the high court, has warned that assisted dying would put many vulnerable people at risk. The Catholic Bishops’ Conference’s brief document “Sense and nonsense on assisted dying” (circulated) was a valuable contribution.

Modern Slavery Bill and Global Freedom Network

 The Bill was intended to consolidate and simplify existing legislation and to support victims. There had recently been a meeting in the Vatican of the Global Freedom Network, supported by Catholics, and other faiths. The meeting made the following declaration:  “Modern slavery and human trafficking are crimes against humanity. The physical, economic and sexual exploitation of men, women and children condemn 30 million people to dehumanisation and degradation”. There will be a high level meeting in Rome between police chiefs, church leaders and others to establish more ties between the Church and the police. The emphasis would move from punishing the offenders to helping the victims.

Any Other Business

Same Sex Marriage guidelines: the Equality and Human Rights web site stated that holding to the traditional view of marriage is not in itself an offence if expressed in moderation; teachers will be  allowed to teach what they feel is right with regard to their faith.

It was decided that in future selected items should be highlighted from each month’s minutes and sent to the appropriate member of the Bishops’ Conference, under the guidance of the Chairman.

Lord Brennan – Living and Dying Well Report

Lord Brennan

Lord Brennan

In his speech at the Catholic Union AGM in November, CU President Lord Brennan (pictured above), drew attention to a report he co-authored, on end of life care, which can be read here: LDW – REPORT – ‘ASSISTED DYING’ AND THE LAW

This is an extremely pertinent topic at the present time, drawing as it does upon issues of human dignity, the right to life and end-of-life care.

The Craigmyle Lecture 2013

The annual Craigmyle Lecture took place on Monday 14th October at Notre Dame University, just off Trafalgar Square in London.  The speaker was Field Marshal the Lord Guthrie of Craigiebank, leading Catholic, former Chief of the Defence Staff and a crossbencher in the House of Lords.  The theme of his talk was the Just War, about which he has written in his book “The Just War Tradition: Ethics in Modern Warfare”, co-authored with Michael Quinlain.

The full text of the talk can be downloaded here: Just War – 2013

Catholic Union Chairman Robert Rigby, commented:

“The Craigmyle Lecture is one of the major events in the Catholic Union calendar.  It is an occasion for members and others to come together, to discuss items of relevance and an opportunity for the Catholic Union to showcase an important area of its work and witness.   We were extremely privileged to have a lecture and lecturer in Lord Guthrie, of such knowledge, integrity and topicality. Feedback from those who attended this year’s Lecture was very positive and is a useful guide for future events of this kind”.

A longer version of the talk appeared recently in the Catholic Herald as a feature item:
We can’t fight wars without Aquinas