AUGUST 24 2012 THE CATHOLIC HERALD
F o l l o w T h e C a t h o l i c H e r a l d o n T w i t t e r
Ethicist: parents obliged to ʻselect better childrenʼ
THE EDITOR-IN CHIEF of the being a “harm to them- selves and others”. Journal of Medical Ethics has said that screening babies in order to give them better personalities could be an ethical obli- gation. In an article for Reader’s Digest, Prof Julian Savulescu wrote: “When it comes to screening out personality flaws, such as potential alcoholism, psychopathy and disposition to violence, you could argue that people have a moral obligation to select ethi- cally better children.” Professor Julian Savulescu said that parents should be given the right to screen out personality flaws in chil- dren as it would prevent the likelihood of them
BY MADELEINE TEAHAN very elderly: their lives will continue to be protected by the law.”
EUTHANASIA campaigner Tony Nicklinson has died, just days after High Court judges re- jected his request to allow doctors to end his life. The Pro Life Alliance said that Mr Nicklinson’s desire to die and the support he re- ceived from his family was not the desire and experience of all disabled people.
Block pornography, urges Caritas
CARITAS Social Action Network (CSAN) has called for tighter legislation to combat internet pornography.
However, the High Court ruled last week that it was not the place of the courts to “usurp the function of Parlia- ment” by effectively chang- ing the law on murder.
Mr Nicklinson, who suf- fered from “locked-in” syn- drome, applied to the High Court for a legal declaration that would grant his doctors immunity from prosecution if they killed him with lethal drugs. “The very small number of disabled who want the law changed have been given wide publicity. The dangers to those who could so easily be persuaded to want to end their lives are clearly shown by reports on abuse of the eld- erly in our country. Not everyone is as able as Tony to resist pressure. Not everyone has such a loving devoted family.
On Wednesday morning Mr Nicklinson’s lawyers an- nounced that he had died of natural causes as The Catholic Herald went to press. “Groups run by disabled people, not only in Britain but worldwide, are overwhelm- ingly against any weakening in the laws against all forms of euthanasia. You would not know this from emotive media coverage. Nor would you know that the handi- capped, even those in as se- vere a condition as Tony, can be as happy as anybody else.
“There are many upbeat
Judges at the Royal Courts of Justice ruled that doctors should not be permitted to kill a locked-in patient Photo:PA
McNeilly composing and conducting music, or Bram Harrison who is a DJ, or Mar- tin Pistorius who was wrongly thought to be uncon- scious for 10 years and now runs a computer company from his wheelchair.”
Another man who suffers from locked-in syndrome known as “Martin” had his legal appeal for volunteers to assist him in travelling to the suicide centre, Dignitas in Zurich, rejected on the same day by the High Court. “The court has reiterated once again that direct, active, voluntary euthanasia is un- lawful in English and Euro- pean law. To have allowed euthanasia would have seri- ously undermined both the lawsagainsthomicideandtherighttolifeenshrinedintheEuropeanConventionof
The ruling had been wel- comed by pro-life groups, with the ProLife Alliance say- ing: “Although of course everyone has enormous sym- pathy for Tony Nicklinson’s predicament, the court’s deci- sion not to allow doctors to kill patients is right. It will be a relief for thousands of hand- stories of people with locked- rulings, saying that icapped, chronically ill, or in syndrome, such as Marini Nicklinson and Martin had are sick, vulnerable or dis- moving. Their desire to have place.”
The Society for the Protec- tion of Unborn Children, (SPUC), which also cam- paigns against the legalisation of euthanasia, welcomed both lives of equal value to every- body else in society. abled need the law to be ro- bust in protecting the inviola- bility of every human life.”
Paul Tully, general secre- tary of SPUC said: “We wel- come the High Court’s ruling, and we question whether those who have encouraged Mr Nicklinson and Martin to pursue this legal action have the best interests of disabled people at heart.
He continued: “Compas- sion and solidarity are the hu- mane and caring responses to locked-in syndrome. To le- galise killing of those who are suffering would adversely af- fect many, many people. We believe that Mr Nicklinson and Martin have lives of equal value to any other member of society. We urge those around them to rise to the challenge of helping them realise their value and overcome their sense of hopelessness.
In his ruling High Court judge Lord Justice Toulson said: “Tony’s and Martin’s
Tony Human Rights. Those who circumstances are deeply guards should be put in
“To do as Tony wants, the court would be making a major change in the law. To do as Martin wants, the court would be compelling the DPP to go beyond his established legal role. These are not things which the court should do. It is not for the court to decide whether the law about assisted dying should be changed and, if so, what safe-
Keith O’ Brien requested that cussions on same sex marriage in future take place between Church and government officials.
Peter Kearney, spokesman for Cardinal O’Brien, said that follow- ing the Government’s announce- ment to legalise same-sex marriage the relationship between the cardi- nal and the Government had be- come “strained”.
Cardinal gives up same-sex marriage talks BY MADELEINE TEAHAN “Cardinal O’Brien is really keen that the perspective and the posi- tion of the Catholic Church is con- veyed to the Scottish government, but he isn’t convinced that he nec- essarily has to do that in person. tion, with same-sex ceremonies ex- pected to take place by the begin- ning of 2015. The SNP had not made changing the law a manifesto pledge in 2011, promising only to “consult” over the change. nonetheless, to emphasise that the stance of the Church is not in any way intended to be hostile to gay people.” more likely to be aborted outside real marriage”. Secularists attack dioceseʼs plans THE LEADER of the Catholic Church in Scotland has turned down an in- vitation to discuss plans to legalise same-sex marriage in Scotland. A spokesman for the Presbyte- rian Church in Ireland has also come out in support of Cardinal Keith O’ Brien. Meanwhile, a group of Catholics have made public their support for gay marriage. THE National Secular Society has accused the Diocese of Lancaster of “McCarthyite” plans, following its invi- tation to Catholic educators to make a public declara- tions of faith. In a letter to the Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, Cardinal “Also the situation we find our- selves in is one where we want to maintain a dialogue, and the cardi- nal wants to maintain a dialogue with the government, but that can be difficult when you feel all the things you have to say, to date at least, have been completely ig- nored.”
Christian leaders across Ireland have now come out in support of Cardinal O’Brien’s firm stance on the issue.
The Catholic Church in Ireland has also given its support to Cardi- nal O’Brien’s stance.
In a letter to the Times last week theologians Fr James Alison, Tina Beattie, Mary Grey, Fr Kevin Kelly and Gerard Loughlin said it was”perfectly proper for Catholics using their fully informed con- sciences” to support the legalisa- tion of same-sex marriage.
Canon Ian Ellis, editor of the Church of Ireland Gazette, said: “As far as the Church of Ireland is concerned, the General Synod of last May made it very clear that it understands marriage to be be- tween one man and one woman. For that reason the Church of Ire- land could not marry same-sex
Although the majority of people opposed re-defining marriage in re- sponse to a Government consulta- tion, the Scottish Governments plans to press ahead with legisla- couples. I think it is important, born babies are four or five times tion by 2015. He also told BBC Scotland:
The Society for the Protection of Unborn Children have released a leaflet stating that gay marriage could lead to an increase in abor- tion. Stating that “we must protect real marriage because it protects children in the womb”, the flyer says that “statistics show that un- They said: “Not all Catholics share their hierarchy’s stated views against proposals to extend civil marriage to same-sex couples.”
The Coalition Government is keen to introduce the same legisla-
CSAN, an agency of the bishops’ conference wants internet service providers to be required to automatically block potentially harmful content, with users having to provide age verification in order to opt-in to sites. An opt- in system, CSAN said, would “provide a thorough safe- guard against children being inadvertently exposed to [harmful] content, while maintaining personal choice for adults”. It also argued that “whilst parents have a clear responsibility to protect their children’s online safety, businesses also have a responsibility”. control over the ending of their lives demands the most careful and sympathetic con- sideration, but there are also other important issues to con- sider. A decision to allow their claims would have conse- quences far beyond the pres- ent cases.
Helen O’Brien of CSAN, said: “Evidence shows that sites containing pornographic images, promoting self- harm, encouraging eating disorders or depicting gratuitous violence can have a devastating impact on mental or even physical health.”
School wins Apology issued compensation by local council AMPLEFORTH College has GLOUCESTER Council has been awarded £180,000 apologised after banning against a contractor over delays to building accom- modation for female pupils. Christians from handing out leaflets containing passages from the Bible.
After the victory, against the Turner and Townsend Project Management, Fr Wulstan, Peterburs procurator, said “as a religious organisa- tion and registered char- ity, it is morally and legally bound to protect its legitimate interests”.
A group had assembled in a pedestrianised part of the city only to be told by a council employee that it contravened a 2003 bylaw. Church leaders complained and a council spokesman said: “Staff acted incorrectly and a formal apology is being sent.”
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Catholic mental health worker settles with NHS
T BY MADELEINE TEAHA
Agency criticises Catholic college over single course BY DAVID V BARRETT students teaching on the course and being listed as an that she wants to thank the ho sued the NHS for sack- ng her after she showed an nti-abortion booklet to a col- eague has settled the dispute her behalf.“Since her dismissal Mar- lege in London, the largest One student told the Times Catholic higher education Higher Education: “I saw one college has been strongly crit- student give a talk, but I did- icised by the Quality Assur- n’t realise he was marking my ance Agency for Higher papers, too. I feel betrayed Education (QAA) for failures and the whole hypnosis com- in the running of an unusual munity will feel betrayed. I’m course. looking at litigation because rivately out of court. Margaret Forrester,a garet Forrester has been sup- ported by the Thomas More Legal Centre which is a char- ity that exists to defend reli- gious freedom and freedom of expression. The Thomas More Legal Centre is privi- leged to have been able to represent Margaret Forrester in this important case and stands ready to support any other NHS employee who may find themselves being threatened for expressing re- ligious or pro-life views.”
Thomas More Legal Centre MENTAL HEALTH worker for its support and work on ST MARY’S UNIVERSITY Col- examiner.
atholic, was sacked for ross professional miscon- uct after a conversation with colleague in which she gave er a pro-life leaflet, high-
The QAA launched its in- I’ve wasted a year on a course vestigation in April into the that is now tainted.” course in clinical hypnosis, Another complaint was following complaints by two about lack of contact time. students about low academic There was only one teaching standards and contact hours day every two Saturdays, on the course. which meant only eight ful ighting the physical and psy- hological risks that are ssociated with abortion. However, Miss Forrester’s epresentatives at the Thomas More Legal Centre an- ounced last week that their lient had reached a private ettlement with North West- rn London NHS Foundation rust. They said: “Thomas More Legal Centre is pleased o announce that a negotiated ettlement has been reached n the two cases being rought by Margaret For- ester against Central and orth Western London NHS oundation Trust. The terms f the settlement are private o both parties and except for his press release Margaret orrester and Thomas More egal Centre will not be mak- ng any further comment on
Margaret Forrester de- clined to comment further. The part-time course is val- days in the academic year, idated by St Mary’s but is run plus four additional days cov- by a private firm, Brief ering exams and observed Strategic Therapy & Clinical practical demonstrations. Hypnosis Foundation (BST). “I cannot see how they can Students receive a diploma in teach an honours degree higher education after two within three years, particu- years and a BSc (Hons) after larly when it is part-time and a third year. there are so few teaching Miss Forrester was disci- plined by the NHS on a gross misconduct charge which al- leged that she had “distrib- uted material which individuals may find offen- sive”. The QAA said that St hours,” one former student Mary’s had “not exercised said. sufficient oversight” of the The QAA report said that partnership with BST, which reading lists were “not ade- “resulted in procedural irreg- quate to meet the demands of ularities, the use of inade- an honours degree course”, quately qualified and trained which was a “significant lim- staff in teaching and assess- itation” since “there is so little ment, confused practice and face-to-face teaching”. he matter.” It continued: “Margaret She also brought a separate High Court claim for breach- ing her human rights, includ- ing freedom of speech and freedom of religion. the provision of inaccurate It criticised St Mary’s for and incomplete information”. “a partner approval process It concluded: “This has put that has not been effective in the academic standards of the establishing appropriate aca- awards at risk and diminished demic standards and quality”. the quality of the learning op- The QAA was also critical portunities for students on about the lack of clarity in the orrester wishes to thank all hose many people who have upported her and prayed for er throughout this difficult ime and in particular has said At the time of her dismissal Margaret Forrester argued that the misconduct stain on her employment record would detrimentally affect her chances of employment. these programmes.” complaints procedure. The failures in academic St Mary’s has been given
Following her dismissal Miss Forrester launched pro- ceedings on the grounds of unfair dismissal, religious discrimination and religious harassment.
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