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NOVEMBER 25 2011 THE CATHOLIC HERALD
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Government admits it has miscalculated abortion cost
BY SIMON CALDWELL
THE GOVERNMENT has admitted for the first time that it has massively miscalculated the amount of taxpayers’ money it is spending on abortion in private clinics.
A review by the Department of Health found that the Government was giving a huge £68 million more to such clinics as Maries Stopes International and the British Pregnancy Advisory Service than it had previously estimated.
Health Minister Lord Howe also disclosed that the Government was spending twice as much on abortions as Parliament was led to believe in the debate earlier this year about the potential conflict of interest clinics have in offering counselling to women with unwanted pregnancies.
In the 2010-2011 financial year the Department of Health spent £119 million on providing abortions, with the lion’s share of £75 million going to private clinics. The remaining £44 million was used by the National Health Service to provide abortions on its premises.
But until the review, which was carried out over the last three months, the Government thought it was spending just £8 million on abortions in private clinics, Lord Howe admitted in a five-page letter to Lord Alton of Liverpool, who had asked questions about abortion spending in August.
The total sum of £119 million was allocated for abortion provision in the same period – twice the amount MPs and peers thought was being spent.
A figure of £60 million had been quoted in Parliament during the unsuccessful attempt by Tory MP Nadine Dorries, a former nurse, to prohibit private clinics from providing counselling to women in crisis pregnancies on the grounds that they had a vested financial interest in abortions, which cost nearly £700 each.
At the time, the Government believed that the real figure spent on abortions was closer to £90 million and did nothing to correct the record, Lord Howe’s letter reveals.
The Health Minister explained that the Government had incorrectly calculated its expenditure on abortion and said that he intended to soon place the actual costs “on the public record” with a written statement to explain changes in data collection.
Lord Howe said the Department of Health had wrongly used “reference cost data” to work out how much was spent.
This data, however, did not match the abortion statistics data of the Chief Medical Officer, who by law must be notified of every abortion performed in Britain.
This resulted in the under-reporting of abortion costs, particularly by the private clinics, Lord Howe explained.
“The difference between the number of legally required notifications to the Chief Medical Officer and the data returned as part of the reference costs has led us to conclude that, for the independent sector, the reference cost data is the less reliable of the two data sets,” he said.
He included data which showed that the taxpayer funded the costs of 173,000 abortions at a cost of £680 each over the 2010-2011 financial year. The costs of the remaining number of abortions were met privately.
Until it undertook its review, however, the Government believed that public funds paid for 136,000 abortions, with £83 million going to the NHS and just £8 million going to private abortion clinics. Nevertheless the Government was criticised by Miss Dorries for concealing from Parliament the facts that it did know at a time they needed to be heard.
“It is a huge concern that the Government has chosen not to correct the figure of £60 million which I have repeatedly raised directly with ministers and in debates since 2008 and one has to ask the question, why?” she said.
“Why would the Government choose to let us believe that only £60 million of taxpayers’ money was being spent on abortion, when in fact the figure is double that?
“The abortion industry and lobby have ferociously fought my attempts to reform abortion law every step of the way to such a degree that I have always been highly suspicious of the £60 million figure,” she said.
“Now I know why they fight so hard they have a lot of tax-payers’ pounds pouring into their coffers to fight for.”
She added: “If anything proves that the link between the abortion provider and the woman facing a crisis pregnancy should be broken, this is it. Too much money changes hands for anyone to argue that the private abortion provider can remain objective during the decision-making process.”
Bishop Hine celebrates historic Mass in Dover
FOR THE first time since the Reformation a Catholic bishop has celebrated Mass in an Anglican church in Dover.
Auxiliary Bishop John Hine of Southwark celebrated the Mass at St Peter and St Paul’s in Charlton-in-Dover to mark 50 years since the establishment of St Edmund’s Catholic secondary school.
The Mass was held at an Anglican church because it was not possible to fit the 700 or so pupils, staff and guests into the nearby Catholic church.
St Edmund’s school, only a mile away from Dover’s white cliffs, was founded in 1962 and has specialist performing arts status.
Bishop John Jukes dies after 60 years of priestly service BY ED WEST
BISHOP John Jukes, who served the Diocese of Southwark for 20 years and the Church as a priest for nearly 60, has died aged 88.
Born in Eltham, south-east London, in 1923, John Jukes studied agriculture at London University and was ordained at the age of 28, entering the Franciscan Order, the Order of Friars Minor Conventual in the Diocese of Liverpool.
Bishop Jukes was auxiliary bishop of Southwark with pastoral responsibility for the Kent area of the diocese from 1980 to 1998.
During his many years as a priest he worked as the rector of the Franciscan Order’s seminary in Anglesey, and the Franciscan Study Centre at the University of Kent. A leading canon lawyer in the English Church for many years, he helped to found the Franciscan Study Centre in Canterbury, and maintained strong links with Kent throughout his life, and still has family in the country.
He also spent 18 years with the bishops’ World of Work committee, and 38 years in the Church marriage tribunal. He also worked in parishes in London and Manchester, and after his retirement from the episcopal office, asked to be given the chance to be a simple parish priest in the Diocese of Aberdeen. He served St Margaret’s in Huntly from 2001 before ill health forced him to retire in 2008.
He wrote regularly for many publications, including The Catholic Herald, including one article last year in which he wrote about his 87 years of celibacy, which he called a “gift... that has given me a great advantage in presenting Jesus and His teaching to mankind”.
He wrote: “It is suggested by some people that the life of a priest must be lonely. This has not been my experience. I have been blessed with an awareness of the presence in my life of Jesus Christ at my side.”
Auxiliary Bishop John Hine of Southwark, who worked with Bishop Jukes, paid tribute to a “great character we will all miss”.
He said: “He took a delight in being different. His battered copy of the Code of Canon Law went everywhere with him, and was quoted from with great frequency. He brought into his role as an area bishop in this diocese a very pastoral heart, which he had clearly gained from his own experience of being a parish priest. His strong sense of justice was the mainspring of his work for the Bishops’ Conference on the World of Work.
“The people of this part of the Diocese of Southwark have very fond memories of him as they recognised his complete dedication to the good of the Church.”
His body was received at St Margaret’s Church in Huntly, Aberdeenshire on Tuesday, and a Requiem Mass was celebrated at St Margaret’s on Wednesday. His body will later be received at St George’s Cathedral, Southwark, on Sunday December 4 at 5.45 pm followed by the parish Mass at 6 pm.
There will also Franciscan Vespers at St George’s Cathedral on Monday, December 5, at 7pm.
His Requiem Mass will be held at St George’s Cathedral on Tuesday, December 6, at 12 noon. Editorial Comment: Page 13
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Bishop: Occupy protests open up necessary debate
Vatican newspaper: Shakespeare was Catholic
Bishop of Portsmouth marks 75th birthday
BY MADELEINE TEAHAN
AUXILIARY BISHOP David McGough of Birmingham has said that the worldwide Occupy protests highlight a necessary debate about the distribution of wealth.
Addressing his congregation on the feast of Christ the King at Birmingham’s Metropolitan Cathedral, Bishop McGough said: “At the very least we must concede that the demonstrations outside St Paul’s Cathedral in London and in the financial centres of North America, highlight the debate that is to be had concerning the power of wealth and the competing claims of the individual’s right to a just and equitable distribution of wealth in the world.”
Bishop McGough said that the feast of Christ the King prompted a debate about power. He said: “To proclaim Christ as King must surely begin a debate about power. All kingdoms, be they ancient or modern, are in some ways about power. At the level of civil life the institution of this feast was intended to lead to a debate about the powers that hold sway in our society.
“Of equal importance, at the level of the individual, are questions about the attitudes and values that have the power to rule our hearts, to rule our consciences.
“While it is easier to ask the question than to provide the answers, those who are entrusted with the governance and justice of our society can never ignore these questions.
“In terms of today’s Feast Day, Christ the King, we must ask how these competing powers are to be balanced for the benefit of society.”
Other Church leaders have spoken publicly about the protests.
Speaking last Friday, Archbishop Vincent Nichols of Westminster said they highlighted important issues about the effects of living beyond our means, but emphasised that the demonstrators offered “no coherent analysis”. He said: “To make progress there needs to be constructive conversation and dialogue” with “intelligent and perceptive questions”.
The Columban Missionary Society in Britain, meanwhile, has declared its support for the protests.
Columban Peter Hughes, said: “Columbans agree with the protesters that our current economic system is unsustainable and unjust and we need alternatives.
“We agree with them that structural change is necessary towards authentic global equality. The world’s resources must go towards caring for people and the planet, not the military, corporate profits or the rich.” ............................................... Feature: Page 6
BY SARAH DELANEY
THERE IS “little doubt” that William Shakespeare was a Catholic who was forced to hide his faith in Protestant England while leaving hints about it throughout his work, according to the Vatican newspaper.
Taking a cue from renewed speculation about Shakespeare’s true identity sparked by the film Anonymous, L’Osservatore Romano wrote; “There may be questions regarding his identity, but not his religious faith.”
The article said that this view was partly shared by the leader of the worldwide Anglican Communion, Doctor Rowan Williams, who said in a debate at a literary festival last May that Shakespeare “probably had a Catholic background and had Catholic friends”.
It also pointed out that shortly after the Bard of Avon’s recorded death in 1616, Anglican Archdeacon Richard Davies wrote: “He died a papist.”
The article said while there was debate about who was truly behind the Shakespeare name, “there is little doubt about another question regarding the life of Shakespeare: his convinced adherence to the Catholic faith”. Shakespeare’s work, it said, “is full of open references to the Catholic religion”.
BY ED WEST
BISHOP Crispian Hollis has said that his years as Bishop of Portsmouth have been the happiest of his life at a Mass to celebrate his 75th birthday.
At a packed St John’s Cathedral last Saturday representatives of every parish and organisation in the diocese were present to give thanks for his 22 years as bishop.
After the Mass Bishop Hollis, who has was diagnosed with bowel cancer in June, thanked everyone for their prayers and support during his recent treatment.
Mgr Nicholas France, dean in Jersey, gave the homily, and gave thanks for the bishop’s positive response to treatment and offered prayers for his healing.
Mgr France added that when Portsmouth diocese’s new chief pastor takes possession of Bishop’s House, Bishop Hollis “will humbly get into his car and drive away by himself to his retirement cottage in that Somerset village, which was once his childhood home”.
“Although he says he is looking forward to that day, I am sure there will inevitably be for him, and for ourselves, some real sense of bereavement,” he added.
As part of the Offertory procession at the Mass symbols of the bishop’s ministry and life in the diocese were brought forward. They included a Portsmouth football shirt.
NEWSBULLETIN Parishes start using new Roman Missal on Sunday BISHOP Arthur Roche of Leeds has said he hopes the new translation of the Roman Missal will lead to “renewed appreciation” of the Mass.
He made the statement as parishes in England and Wales prepare for the first Advent of Sunday, when the new text will be used in full rather than just the new Order of Mass.
The bishop, who is chairman of the International Commission for English in the Liturgy, said “great opportunity” to deepen an understanding of the Mass. “As we approach the First Sunday of Advent I hope that the task of formation will continue, that the texts of the Missal will become both a source of prayer and devotion,” he said.
Couple testify in Lawrence case A CATHOLIC couple prayed for the teenager Stephen Lawrence as he lay dying in their arms, a court heard last week.
Testifying in the murder trial of the black teenager, Conor Taafe said that he and his wife, Louise, were leaving a prayer meeting at their local Catholic Church when they rushed to Stephen’s aid.
Mr Taafe cradled Stephen’s head and prayed for him, “internally as well as externally”. He said: “I heard Louise praying too. She put her right hand on his head.”
Mr Taafe’s statement read: “I was holding his head and back and prayed over him in a whisper and said things like ‘Bless him Lord Jesus’.”
Stephen Lawrence was murdered in 1993 while waiting for a bus in south London. The case has been mired in controversy after an earlier trial was abandoned.
Conman poses as a bishop A CONMAN has been phoning priests, headteachers and lay Catholics pretending to be a stranded bishop and asking for money.
The conman, who purports to be Bishop Joseph Surasarang, retired Bishop of Chiang Mai, has tricked several people into handing over money and was this week claiming he needed funds to attend Bishop John Jukes’s funeral. One person has lost £400 in the scam.
CIEL UK meets at the Oratory CIEL UK, a society dedicated to the traditional liturgy, held its annual Mass, a sung Mass in the Extraordinary Form, in honour of St Elizabeth of Hungary at the London Oratory last week.
It was followed by a conference in St Wilfrid’s Hall attended by 65 people. Talks were given by Fr Cassian Folsom OSB and Dr Alcuin Reid. Fr Christopher Basden presided at Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament.
El Salvador honours Romero trust THE ARCHBISHOP Romero Trust has been recognised as an “Amigo de El Salvador” at a reception hosted by the country’s ambassador in London.
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Most religious hate crimes in Scotland target Catholics
BY MADELEINE TEAHAN
THE BISHOP of Paisley has said that Scotland i s marred by “entrenched” anti-Catholicism following evidence that Catholics are the main victims of religious hate crimes in Scotland.
Although Catholics comprise only 16 per cent of Scotland’s population, new figures from the Scottish government reveal that 58 per cent of charges aggravated by religious bigotry over the last year were aimed at Catholics.
Responding to the publication of the Crown Office analysis Bishop Philip Tartaglia, as president of the communications commission of the Bishops Conference of Scotland, said: “Although it has taken five years and repeated requests and in spite of the fact that in the intervening period hundreds of Crown Office documents have been destroyed, preventing a more complete and balanced analysis, this report does nonetheless make a useful contribution to the sectarianism debate.
“Catholics will take l i t t le comfort from the fact that they were previously five times more likely to suffer a sectarian attack than anyone else and are now 4.5 t imes more l ikely. Since Catholics represent just 16 per cent of Scotland’s population, the fact that they account for almost 60 per cent of the victims of sectarian crime reflects poorly on modern Scotland and is an indicator of entrenched hostility on a worrying scale.”
The latest figures show that there were 693 charges as a result of religious prejudice in 2010/2011, which marks the highest amount for four years. Fifty-eight per cent of crimes targeted Catholics and 37 per cent were aimed at Protestants.
A third of the 693 crimes occurred in football grounds, with 47 arising at Celtic Park and 24 at Ibrox, the grounds of Celtic and Rangers football teams respectively.
Bishop Tartaglia said that because the majority of religious hate crimes took place outside football grounds it was evident that all public bodies needed to engage with the problem of religious intolerance entrenched in Glaswegian society.
He said: “It remains the case that the overwhelming majority of sectarian incidents are not football -related. Therefore, far more engagement is needed with the Church in future by all public authorities committed to the eradication of religious intolerance.
“I re-state the willingness and the readiness of our Church officials to assist Strathclyde Police in their efforts to understand and monitor religiously aggravated behaviour.”
Religious tensions in Glasgow are particularly strained due to the fierce rivalry between the traditionally Protestant football club Rangers and the traditionally Catholic Celtic.
Police officers comprised nearly half of the victims of religious hate crime. The offence often took place following an arrest where the suspect went on to abuse the police officer in religious terms.
In just over 60 per cent of cases the accused had consumed alcohol prior to the offence.
The Scottish government said that the latest research exposed “the shameful reality of religious hate crime in Scotland”.
Community safety minister Roseanna Cunningham said that the number of crimes occurring at football matches was “disproportionate” and corroborated the case for the Offensive Behaviour at Football Bill which is currently progressing through Holyrood.
The bill aims to deter threatening behaviour relating to football and will criminalise incitement to hatred, not only in football arenas but anywhere the match is broadcast, excluding viewers’ homes.
Roseanna Cunningham said: “We must deal with sectarianism in the same way as with racism and drink driving.”
“This bill will not be the conclusive answer or the only solution, but it is the beginning of the end.
“You can either do nothing and al low the s ta tus quo which allows the mindless bigot to thrive or we can take the strong action needed now and send out a message loud and clear that this behaviour is not going to be tolerated any longer.”
The problem of religious tension between Catholic and Protestants in Glasgow made headlines in April when parcel bombs were sent to Celtic manager Neil Lennon and other high-profile fans.
Cardinal Keith O Brien, Archbishop of Edinburgh and St Andrew’s also received a bullet through the post before the papal visit last year, with a warning: “If you bring your Pope here, this is what he will get.”
As the Catholic Herald went to press, the Scottish parliament was due to debate whether Catholics should be allowed to marry into the monarchy, a change which has been strongly supported by Cardinal Keith O’Brien.
The motion is being sponsored by SNP member Jim Eadie MSP, who regards the current ban on monarchs marrying Catholics as unjustly discriminatory.
Admissions code at top school is judged unfair
BY ED WEST
ONE OF London’s top Catholic schools has lost its case against the Archdiocese of Southwark after it was reported to the official adjudicator over its admissions procedures.
Coloma Convent Girls’ School in Croydon was reported to the admissions watchdog last year by the archdiocese in a case that echoes the Cardinal Vaughan school’s battle with the Westminster archdiocese.
The Archdiocese of Southwark complained that the over-subscribed school, which favours families that take part in parish activities, discriminated against single parents who did not have the time for parish work.
It also said it was unfair on immigrants who did not share the same “tradition of community service” and struggled to provide written evidence of volunteering because English was not their first language.
The case, brought by an eligible parent and the archdiocese, was originally introduced last year, but the adjudicator only recently upheld the complaint, which was in objection to the school giving children points to measure their allegiance to the Catholic faith. This included points for baptism, frequency of Mass attendance and “services during the last five years in any Catholic parish or the wider Church”. The school also gives preference to children baptised within six months of birth.
Coloma is rated outstanding by Ofsted and last year finished fifth out of 30 in the borough for GCSE results.
The school said it had based its criteria on date of baptism and church activities to avoid having one based on distance from the school, which would have given an advantage to more affluent parents.
But the adjudicator found the school’s intake was relatively less disadvantaged and had a lower proportion of ethnic minority pupils than its local area, with only 3.5 per cent of pupils on free school meals compared with 14.4 per cent at the nearest secondary school and a national average of 15.9 per cent, schools adjudicator Dr Bryan Slater said.
Dr Slater also heard evidence from the diocese that parents in some parishes were deliberately carrying out church activities in order to gain points.
“In my meeting with the parties, the diocese stated that in one parish there were 100
children on a waiting list to be altar servers,” he said. Dr Slater said the school “must now do more to justify” departing from the diocese’s official guidance, and although no changes will be forced on the school in 2012, he added: “Better justification will be needed if the school’s practice is to continue” after 2013.
Last month the Diocese of Westminster appointed a new headmaster at the Vaughan after a personal intervention by Education Secretary Michael Gove. It was viewed as a victory for parents who had been campaigning against the diocese’s decision to report the Vaughan to the Schools Adjudicator in December 2008 over unfair and discriminatory admissions policy.
Neither the Archdiocese of Southwark nor Coloma Convert were available for comment.
Eric Hester, retired headmaster and former schools inspector, commented: “You would think that the diocese would be more worried by the underperforming schools under its control, the schools so awful that no Catholic parents want to send their kids there. Bureaucrats don’t like schools that stand out of the crowd.”
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CAROL SERVICES 1.00pm (after lunchtime 12.30 pm Mass)
Friday, 25th November - St. Ambrose Preparatory School, Hale Barns Monday, 28th November - St. George’s RC High School, Salford Tuesday, 29th November - Christ the King RC Primary School,
Wednesday, 30th November - St. Joseph’s RC Primary School, Heywood Thursday, 1st December - All Saints’ RC Primary School,
Friday, 2nd December
- St. Monica’s RC High School, Prestwich
Monday, 5th December - All Hallows Business, Enterprise and Sports
Tuesday, 6th December - St. John Bosco RC Primary School, Blackley Wednesday, 7th December - Mount Carme1 RC Primary School, Bladdey Thursday, 8th December - Loreto RC High School, Chorlton Friday, 9th December - Loreto Preparatory School, Altrincham Monday, 12th December - St. John Fisher & St. Thomas More Primary
Tuesday, 13th December - St. Ambrose RC Primary School, Chorlton Wednesday, 14th December - Loreto Sixth Form College, Hulme Thursday, 15th December - Holy Cross Sixth Form College, Bury Friday, 16th December - St. Vincent’s RC Primary School, Norden,
Monday, 19th December - St. Ann’s RC Primary School, Stretford Tuesday, 20th December - St. Joseph’s RC Primary School, Sale Wednesday, 21st December - Thornleigh Salesian College, Bolton
Tuesday 6th December: POLICE (‘A’ DIVISION) CAROL SERVICE with Band accompaniment 7.30 pm (ends 8.15 pm approximately) Chief Superintendent Russ Jackson and Senior Officers attending
ALL ARE WELCOME
CHRISTMAS EVE, Saturday 24th December:
11.30 pm: Carols and Blessing of the Crib, followed by MIDNIGHT MASS (First Mass of Christmas Day).
CHRISTMAS DAY, Sunday 25th December:
Mass 10.15 am and 12 noon. There will be no evening Mass.
Archbishop watches fire ceremony at London Zoroastrian centre
ARCHBISHOP Vincent Nichols of Westminster visited the only Zoroastrian centre in Europe as part of Inter Faith Week on Friday. He witnessed a ceremony in which priests stoked a fire while chanting in an ancient Iranian language.
The centre in Harrow, northwest London, is a converted Art Deco cinema and the fire ceremony took place in what was once the projector room.
Archbishop Nichols was given a garland of flowers and an embroidered shawl and later treated to a meatless dinner. He is pictured sitting next to Malcolm Deboo, president of the Zoroastrian Trust Funds of Europe, which owns the centre.
Zoroastrianism was founded by the prophet Zoroaster about 3,500 years ago.
Once the official religion of Persia, it now has about 190,000 followers around the world. There are about 5,000 to 10,000 Zoroastrians in England, mainly in London.
Inter Faith Week began on Sunday and ends tomorrow.
Priests accuse broadcaster of anti-Church bias BY ED WEST
A GROUP representing priests in Ireland has criticised the “anti-Catholic and anti-priest bias” in the Irish media following the case of a clergymen wrongly accused of abuse.
The Association of Catholic Priests made the criticism after RTÉ was forced to apologise to Fr Kevin Reynolds, who was accused in the Prime Time programme of raping a teenage girl while he worked as a missionary in Africa and of fathering a child with her.
with paternity tests showing that he was not the child’s father.
The apology was also criticised by an Irish Independent columnist who called it “a blink and miss it affair... which scarcely scratched the surface of the dreadful wrong which RTÉ had done to this man”.
Fr Reynolds had denied the allegations and even offered to take a blood test, but the broadcaster had gone ahead with the programme despite an absence of evidence.
The national broadcaster accepted that the allegations were baseless, without any foundation and untrue, and paid substantial damages to Fr Reynolds.
But the Association of Catholic Priests said that the incident, along with results of a survey commissioned by the Iona Institute, pointed towards anti-clerical bias among sections of the media, “including some in the national broadcaster”.
The group also criticised RTÉ’s statement and apology on television and radio, citing “poor quality delivery” which “seemed to imply a lack of sincerity about the content”.
Fr Reynolds, 65, a parish priest of Ahascragh, Co Galway, was accused of fathering a child in Kenya by rape in 1982 on a programme watched by more than 500,000 people in May. He spent several months with the case hanging over him until he was cleared,
The association, of which Fr Reynolds is a member, said that “for many years now both priests and religious have been reluctant to engage in the public debate on issues related to the Church, because they did not want to add to the suffering of those who were genuinely abused, but also because they believed they would not get a fair hearing.
“They realised that very often the critics of the Church were allowed free rein by the presenters of programmes, whereas Church people were aggressively questioned and harassed about everything they said. So they remained silent. It is clear now that this silence has not helped, and has contributed to the unbalanced view of Church personnel shown up in the recent survey.”
The group also criticised Church protocols for dealing with handling of allegations as “seriously defective”. Mary Kenny: Page 12
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