THE CATHOLIC HERALD OCTOBER 21 2011
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Bishop: we’re deaf to cries of weakest
BY MADELEINE TEAHAN AND STAFF REPORTER
THE BISHOP of Shrewsbury has said that the lack of compassion and care for the elderly are symptoms of a “culture of death” following decades of legalised abortion and embryo experimentation.
Bishop Mark Davies said the alarming findings of last week’s report by the Care Quality Commission on dignity and nutrition for older people contradicted the vision which first inspired the medical and caring professions.
The Bishops of England and Wales, meanwhile, said the report showed “something is deeply wrong at the heart of our health and care services”.
Speaking at the annual meeting of the Society of St Vincent de Paul in Ellesmere Port, Cheshire, Bishop Davies asked if medical ethics had been corrupted by practices which demean the value of human life.
Bishop Davies said: “Management and nursing practice have been questioned but surely we have need today to ask more searching questions of ourselves in a country where millions of lives have been destroyed in abortion, where human life is routinely experimented upon and discarded and when today pressure grows for what is called ‘mercy killing’ to end the lives of the terminally ill and the aged. So as a society we have need to ask: are we losing that respect and reverence for what Blessed John Paul II called ‘the sacred value of human life... the incomparable value of every human person’ on which the very ideal of the hospital and the caring professions are founded?
“Could it be that we have begun to dismiss the cries of the weakest in the place where they expected to receive the greatest care because their impaired lives no longer seem to have any great value?”
The Care Quality Commission (CQC) is the independent regulator of all health and adult social care in England. It published a report last week examining dignity and nutrition for older people as requested by the Government last year.
The review involved a targeted inspection programme between March and June, examining the question of whether elderly patients were treated with respect and if they were given food and drink that met their needs. It involved the largely random spotcheck
An elderly resident of a Catholic care home inspections of 100 NHS hospitals.
According to the national report, the review found that nearly a fifth of hospitals were failing to meet the basic legal standards and a further 35 needed to make improvements in their standard of care. Just 45 hospitals inspected were found to be fully compliant with their obligations towards elderly patients.
Among the problems identified was the failure to help patients to eat and the interrupting of patients while they were eating so that their meals went unfinished.
The privacy of elderly patients was not always respected, according to the report, because of the failure, for example, to close curtains and screens properly.
Call bells were in some cases put out of patients’ reach, or not answered soon enough, and this left some elderly patients rattling their bed rails or banging their water jugs to attract attention. Hospital staff also spoke to some patients in a dismissive or disrespectful way, the CQC found.
The report said that basic care of elderly patients was no mystery, however, yet concluded that many hospitals were struggling or failing to provide such a service.
It blamed the crisis on excessive bureaucracy and short staffing in some hospitals but also found that such problems existed even on wards that were well-staffed because of the poor attitudes of some doctors and nurses.
The Bishops of England and Wales said on Tuesday that the CQC’s report into the care of older people required values, compassion and an ethos of service to be put back at the heart of health and social care services for older people.
Archbishop Peter Smith said: “This is the moment many Catholic health and social care professionals have been warning of, a time when lack of care means the system begins to fail people time and time again. The report highlights not just failures in care, but something which is deeply wrong at the heart of our health and care services. How we value the people we care for, and how we treat them, holds up a mirror to who we truly are as a society and as individuals. The CQC report rightly identifies that we must put compassion, a commitment to dignity and a determination to keep people happy and healthy
CNS photo/Nancy Wiechec at the very centre of our care services; and that the systems are too often being allowed to fail.
“Regulation plays a part, but is not the whole story. It is essential to foster a culture of care which cherishes life from its beginning to its natural end, which recognises the Godgiven dignity of the older person, and sees it as the greatest honour to respect their dignity through the best care possible.”
He added: “We would gladly share our insights and experience with our own Catholic care homes with Government, as part of the Government’s agenda for working more closely with faith groups. This would be an authentic implementation of Benedict XVI’s message to us in Westminster Hall.”
Catholic ethicists welcome ban on embryo patents
BY MADELEINE TEAHAN
LEADING Catholic ethicists have welcomed the European Court of Justice (ECJ)’s decision that stem cells from human embryos cannot be patented.
Following a legal battle between Greenpeace and Oliver Bruestle, a German professor, the ECJ said in its ruling statement:
“The use of human embryos for therapeutic or diagnostic purposes which are applied to the human embryo and are useful to it is patentable. But their use for purposes of scientific research is not patentable.”
The Anscombe Bioethics Centre welcomed the decision of the ECJ, commending the court for its ethical consistency, but it said that the ruling granted minimal respect for the dignity of the human embryo.
In a statement, Dr David Albert Jones, director of the Anscombe Centre, said: “The court has acted with clear and commendable ethical consistency in judging that if it is wrong to profit from destroying human embryos then it is wrong to profit from cells that are derived from destroying human embryos.
“It should not matter if someone else has destroyed the embryos for you. Inventions that rely on using human embryos both profit from and encourage their destruction. This clear decision closes a loophole left by the European Patent Office.
“The decision of the
European Court is very minimal. It does not prevent human embryos from being destroyed. It does not stop scientists from using human embryos in research.
But it does make it more difficult for commercial companies to profit from this destruction. It is to be hoped that this decision will act as a ‘nudge,’ encouraging scientists to turn from embryonic stem cells and towards ethical and more effective forms of stem-cell research.
“From the perspective of those who recognise the dignity of the human embryo, this is a small step in the right direction.”
The Brussels-based NGO Dignity Watch said the judgment was a landmark decision. Its director Sophia Kuby said: “We expect the European Commission to evaluate the next research framework programme in light of the judgment and adjust where necessary.
“The EU cannot go on funding research that involved the destruction of human embryos as it does up to now.”
The controversy concerning patency arose from a technique devised by Oliver Bruestle, a German professor, for turning human embryonic stem cells into nerve cells.
An attempt to patent his work was opposed by Greenpeace, which raised an ethical objection to the protection of work based on a human embryo which will later be destroyed.
TWO SEX ABUSE survivors’ groups have withdrawn from exploratory talks with the Catholic Church in England and Wales on ways to improve the pastoral response to victims of clerical sex abuse.
Representatives of Ministry and Clergy Sexual Abuse Survivors and the Lantern Project said on October 11 that they would no longer participate in negotiations with the Catholic Safeguarding Advisory Service, which oversees the protection of children and vulnerable adults in the Catholic
BY SIMON CALDWELL Church talks with abuse survivors’ groups break down
Church in England and Wales, because they said the Church was continuing to deny justice to victims.
Graham Wilmer, founder of the Lantern Project, said in a letter to colleagues:
“I can see no merit in continuing to deliberate with the Catholic Church... while at the same time I am having to support victims who are being crushed by the Catholic Church in the courts,” “I personally can no longer stomach the idea of being an active part of the illusion of goodness and understanding the Church is trying to create, so I am withdrawing from this particular endeavour, he said.
Ministry and Clergy Sexual Abuse Survivors announced its decision at an October 11 meeting between survivors’ representatives and the advisory group in London.
In a press statement, MACSAS said it had withdrawn because of the manner in which the talks had been conducted, the lack of any coherent purpose, aims or objectives, what it said was the manipulation of these talks in the media by the Catholic Church and the failure of the Catholic Church to acknowledge the duty owed to the many thousands of victims of abuse perpetrated within the Catholic Church and its religious institutions in England and Wales.
MACSAS said its demands included the acknowledgment of clergy and religious abuse victims as the primary responsibility of the Church and a realistic budget for any proposed response to victims.
“None of these foundational principles have been accepted by the Catholic Church, therefore we can no longer be part of these talks or any future working group that comes from them,” the organisation’s statement said.
Several survivors’ groups remain in the talks with the Church, including the National Association of People Abused in Childhood, The Survivors Trust, Survivors UK, One in Four and the Irish Womens’ Survivors Network.
Adrian Child, director of the Catholic Safeguarding Advisory Service, said in a statement to the US Catholic News Service that his organisation had been in dialogue with abuse survivors groups for more than a year.
The aim is to develop a sensitive and just response to survivors of abuse within a Church setting in order to promote healing for victims of abuse, Mr Child said.
At yesterday’s meeting MACSAS announced its decision no longer to take part in these discussions, he said. Regret was expressed by the group that it had made that decision, but the decision was respected, and it was thanked for its contribution to the work so far.
In response to the withdrawal of Chris Saltrese, a Catholic lawyer who represents people who say they have been falsely accused of abuse, accused the survivors’ groups of trying to bully the
Church into handing over money. “The Catholic Church should not be held to ransom by groups whose main aim is unconditional surrender to compensation claims,” Mr Saltrese wrote in an email on October 11 to CNS.
“It creates a climate of fear that rebounds not only on conscientious clergy and the laity, but acts to the detriment of the community at large, leaving many pressing needs unmet,” he said. “The whole focus of the Catholic Church on sexual abuse is disproportionate and should be scaled down to regain perspective.”
HELP THE LITTLE WAY
PROCLAIM THE GOOD NEWS
Today, Mission Sunday, is a day to pray that God will send MORE WORKERS INTO HIS VINEYARD, and also for the success of all mission activities and for all who have abandoned their homelands and accepted a life of hardship and even danger to spread the Gospel. In order to fulfil their true vocation, missionaries need help with projects necessary for evangelisation - namely the training and maintenance of catechists, the support of priests, religious sisters and seminarians, the building of small chapels, the repair of churches, and the translation of religious literature into native tongues. Almost every post brings us appeals for these evangelistic projects, and many missionaries tell us that they turn instinctively to The Little Way for the necessary funds. We find that people understand more readily the material needs of disadvantaged peoples and are not aware how sad many missionaries can be because they lack the tools to proclaim the Gospel and instruct their people. On this Mission Sunday, in thanksgiving for your own Faith, could we ask you for a donation to help missionaries in vast mission parishes to bring the Faith to others, and to build small chapels where their Christians can assist at Holy Mass. £200 would enable a missionary to support a Catechist for one year;
“I would travel the world over to preach Thy Name, O my Beloved.”
£2,000, with the assistance of voluntary labour,
would construct a chapel.
YOUR MISSION SUNDAY SACRIFICE COULD BE INSTRUMENTAL
IN BRINGING THE GOSPEL MESSAGE TO A WHOLE VILLAGE.
EVERY PENNY WE RECEIVE WILL BE USED AS DIRECTED.
Crossed POs and cheques should be sent and made payable to: THE LITTLE WAY ASSOCIATION, CH/10/23 119 Cedars Rd, Clapham Common, London SW4 0PR (Registered Charity No. 235703) Tel. 020-7622 0466 I enclose £ ...............to be allocated for: £........ TRAINING AND MAINTENANCE OF CATECHISTS £........ MISSION CHAPELS £........ FOOD FOR THE HUNGRY £........ MASS STIPENDS (please state no. ) £........ LITTLE WAY ADMIN. EXPENSES
HOLY MASS is offered each day in the Missions for the intentions of
DONATIONS FOR THE MISSIONS ARE SENT WITHOUT DEDUCTION FOR ANY EXPENSES.
all Little Way benefactors and friends.
Name (Rev. Mr. Mrs. Miss) (Block letters please) Address
FOUR MILLION POUNDS SENT TO
THE MISSIONS Our benefactors enabled us to send four million pounds to the Missions in the last financial year. This was used to roof chapels, to build small houses, to support Sisters and catechists, to relieve hunger, to help deprived children, lepers and victims of natural disasters, to support self-help projects and to provide Mass Offerings for needy priests.
Archbishop: ‘I did not intervene in Vaughan decision’
Continued from page 1: But the Diocese of Westminster said in a statement: “As with every Catholic School, it is the duty of the Governing Body of the Cardinal Vaughan Memorial School to appoint a headteacher. The Archbishop of Westminster did not at any time intervene in the appointment process or make any suggestions to the governing body as to the suitability of any particular candidate.”
Archbishop Nichols wrote a letter to the Daily Telegraph, referring to an article written by the Catholic journalist Charles Moore and denying that he had intervened in the decision.
He wrote: “I salute the governors of the school, who made a unanimous appointment that was theirs and theirs alone, despite outside pressures and innuendo.
“The Catholic character of the school is secured by its foundation by the diocese. It is the legal duty of all its governors to protect and promote this Catholic character, which is a key to the school’s success. I thank them, and all governors of Catholic schools, for their service to the mission of our schools, which are indeed worthy of government support.”
But both candidates had applied for the post when it was originally advertised, along with 23 other applicants, after which the diocese had said that the field was not strong enough. When the post was re-advertised they received just eight applications.
A member of staff at the school said: “There is a feeling of immense relief. [Mr Stubbings] ensures the long-term future, and is an exceptional teacher.”
Mr Stubbings joined the school in 1990 and taught Classics and Latin before becoming a year head and eventually deputy headmaster.
In the House of Commons on Monday Conservative MP Edward Leigh congratulated Mr Gove on his intervention. The Secretary of State paid tribute to an outstanding school and said “that the diocese and the department are determined to do everything to ensure it remains outstanding in the future”.
He confirmed that a change to the provision of governors, which would ensure that parent governors had to be parents of children at the schools they administer, would take place. The diocese had appointed parent governors who did not have children at the Vaughan.
Mr Stubbings is believed to be in favour of applying for academy status.
A former governor said: “I wouldn’t be surprised if a proposal for academy status will come before the Vaughan very soon.”
Several dioceses have already encouraged their schools to become academies.