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JULY 29 2011 THE CATHOLIC HERALD
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Figures reveal IVF destruction of embryos
BY SIMON CALDWELL
MORE than 30 human embryos are destroyed for every successful live birth by IVF, Government figures have shown for the first time.
British scientists have created and destroyed more than three million human embryos by IVF in the last 20 years, the figures show.
But fewer than 100,000 embryos created in test tubes have been successfully implanted into women to result in live births in that period.
A total of 155 embryos categorised as animal-human “admixed” hybrids have also been created for destructive experimentation in the last three years, the figures show.
Altogether 3,144,386 embryos have been created in British laboratories since the passage of the 1991 Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act.
These have resulted in just 94,090 births, meaning that in the region of 32 embryos are created and destroyed for every live birth. It also means that 3,050,296 embryos have been destroyed, stored, lost or researched upon in destructive experiments.
Lord Alton of Liverpool, a veteran pro-life campaigner, said he found the Department of Health figures “staggering”. He said: “We are creating and destroying human embryos on an industrial scale.”
He said the figures revealed the folly of spending huge amounts of money on treatments which usually failed at a time when there are 600 abortions a day and just 70 babies put up for adoption each year.
“We would be less than human if we didn’t feel joy for the parents of a newborn baby and even if IVF has helped them to have that child it is right to celebrate with joy that they have a child in that family,” said the crossbench peer.
“But we shouldn’t remove from the debate how many other human embryos are discarded without any thought in order to achieve that object.”
“I think the real work that should be going on in fertility treatment is to fund the development of implantation techniques which don’t require the destruction of human embryos.”
The figures, disclosed by Health Minister Lord Howe in a written answer to a question posed by Lord Alton, reveal that a total of 1,455,832 embryos were discarded during cycles of IVF treatment.
A medical worker at an IVF unit at the University of Wales in Cardiff
They also showed that 764,311 have been stored for possible future use, that 101,605 were handed over to researchers and that the rest were lost while women attempted to become pregnant.
IVF has a success rate of only 15 per cent, though the numbers of babies created in this way has risen in the last three years to about 12,000 a year. The cost of a single cycle is usually more than
£4,000, which is sometimes met by the NHS.
The “cybrid” animalhuman embryos were created following the passage of the 2008 Human Fertilisation Embryology Act when they
Photo: Ben Birchall/PA Wire were legalised for research for the first time.
Licences to carry out research on cytoplasmic hybrids were granted to King’s College London and Newcastle University.
CATHOLIC and Anglican bishops have united in showing support for Travellers about to be evicted from their Dale Farm site near Basildon, Essex. The community featured in the BBC documentary The Big Gypsy Eviction earlier this month.
In a joint statement Bishop Thomas McMahon of Brentwood and the Rt Reverend Stephen Cottrell, Anglican Bishop of Chelmsford, said: “We write to express our very deep concern at the de
Bishops criticise plan to evict Essex Travellers BY DAVID V BARRETT
cision to evict travellers from the Dale Farm site in the near future.”
More than 1,000 Travellers live at the site, the largest in England and possibly in Europe. But about half of the 100 pitches do not have planning permission from Basildon Council, which has announced its intention to evict the Travellers if they do not leave by the end of August.
Irish Travellers and Romany Gypsies have lived on the site legally since the 1970s. But in 2001 Travellers also began setting up illegal pitches on protected greenbelt land. Although the travellers own the illegal half of the site the council has refused them planning permission, leading to protracted legal battles and increasing confrontation.
The eviction is expected to cost up to £9.5 million, to be paid for by the Home Office, Essex Police Authority and Basildon Council.
The bishops said: “While we recognise that Travellers, like others, are not above the law, nevertheless half the
Dale Farm site is already recognised as lawful and it would seem to the benefit of all to authorise the adjoining site rather than spend millions on eviction in these days of austerity and cutbacks.
“Above all, we feel that the solution lies in providing more permanent authorised sites around the country rather than spending such a prodigal sum on eviction.” Although councils used to be legally required to make provision for Travellers and Romanies, this obligation was removed in 1994 and since then many councils have closed sites, making the residents homeless. Some of the residents at the Dale Farm site moved there after other councils closed the sites they had previously lived on. The Government has cut £30 million from its funding for new sites.
The bishops drew attention to the fact that the Dale Farm site was well-established, and that the children attended a local school. They said: “We are particularly concerned that breaking up this long-standing and close-knit community and its way of life will be a serious trauma for all concerned and especially the children who have stability and support at the excellent Crays Hill primary school that most of them attend.
“The Pope echoed these sentiments recently in an address to Travellers when he called on governments to help provide housing, employment and education as the foundation to help travellers integrate more into our society.”
THE BIRMINGHAM ORATORY SHRINE OF BLESSED JOHN HENRY NEWMAN
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JOHN HENRY NEWMAN THE NEWMAN MEMORIAL CHURCH
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REFRESHMENTS WEEKLY PILGRIM MASS Saturdays at 11am, followed by prayers in the shrine and blessing with a relic of Blessed John Henry Newman
SOLEMN MASS Sundays at 10.30am VESPERS & BENEDICTION Sundays at 6.30pm
FORTHCOMING EVENTS SATURDAY 17 SEPTEMBER LAUNCH OF THE BLESSED JOHN HENRY NEWMAN INSTITUTE OF LITURGICAL MUSIC 9.30am Registration and inaugural address by Fr Guy Nicholls, Director of the Institute 11am Sung Pilgrim Mass. Celebrant & Preacher: Rt Rev. Bernard Longley, Archbishop of Birmingham For further information: please phone 0121 454 0808 or visit www.oratorymusic.org.uk FEAST OF BLESSED JOHN HENRY NEWMAN TRANSFERRED TO SATURDAY, 8TH OCTOBER
First Vespers – Friday, 7th October Solemn High Mass – Saturday, 8th October With the Solemn Procession and Installation of the New Reliquary. Celebrant & Preacher: Rt Rev. Mark Davies, Bishop of Shrewsbury
WEEKEND OPENING SATURDAY AND SUNDAY
10am to 5pm WEEKDAY VISITS BY APPOINTMENT SCHOOL AND PARISH GROUPS WELCOME Please Contact: The Director of Pilgrims, The Oratory
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Vandals target Mother Teresa Sisters’ convent Archbishops urge Holy Land tourists to ‘engage reality’
BY DANIEL COPPEN
SISTERS belonging to Mother Teresa’s order have been left terrified after vandals damaged their home in Glasgow.
The Sisters woke on the night of July 12 to the sound of a smashing window. They stayed on the upper floor of their house, afraid to investigate the noise.
Vandals have previously targeted the home of the Sisters of the Missionaries of Charity on several occasions. In other incidents windows were broken, a vegetable garden disturbed and a statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary stolen, but later returned.
The Sisters said they decided not to report the latest incident to police because they had not seen who had caused the damage. They have not reported any of the other incidents.
James Macmillan, the award-winning composer who made a landmark speech on sectarianism in Scotland in 1999, said he was concerned by the vandalism.
He said: “It is no surprise to Scottish Catholics that attacks like these are ongoing. And it is no surprise that the Scottish media chooses to ignore them. It is also no surprise that the nuns choose to keep their counsel and pray for the souls of their attackers. That is the way most Catholics here have learned to behave. The shameful sectarian nature of Scottish society is now gradually becoming known to the outside world. This particular form of sectarianism has a specific name in Scotland – anti-Catholicism.”
A spokesman for the Catholic Church in Glasgow said: “This kind of attack on the Sisters of Charity, whose vocation is to help the poorest of the poor, is utterly deplorable. Those who commit such crimes should be deeply ashamed of their actions.”
The home of the Sisters of the Missionaries of Charity in Glasgow was founded over 25 years ago, and currently is home to four of the Sisters of Mother Teresa.
The Missionaries of Charity Order, which was founded by Mother Teresa in 1950, now consists of over 4,500 Sisters and is active in 133 countries. Their duties involve caring for the ill, refugees, lepers, the aged, patients with Aids and abandoned children.
Providing services such as schools and soup kitchens, they are able to educate street children and feed the homeless. With 19 homes in Calcutta alone aid is provided for everyone in need, regardless of their social state and religion. Their Aids hospice, leper colony and schools help to achieve this goal.
BY SIMON CALDWELL AND JILL, DUCHESS OF HAMILTON
CATHOLIC and Anglican leaders have challenged Christians to find new ways to establish lasting peace in the Holy Land, including changing the nature of pilgrimages.
International Christian, Jewish and Muslim delegates at the two-day Conference on Christians in the Holy Land, at Lambeth Palace last week, considered concrete steps that might be taken by ordinary people to help to resolve enduring tensions that have forced millions of Palestinian Christians to flee their homeland in the past 50 years.
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, said the “approach to pilgrimages” needed to change beyond a “tourist venture” to allow visitors “to engage with the reality on the ground”.
“The idea that out of this conference we might generate a new template about how pilgrimages might look like, that has come into focus,” Dr Williams said.
Archbishop Vincent Nichols of Westminster said: “One of the greatest characteristics of this conference, I think, has been the sensitivity, almost the reverence, [with] which people have spoken and listened to each other.
“I think that on listening to the different voices – Jewish, Muslim and Christian – this conference has modelled some of the outcome it would like to promote.”
Instead of just concentrating on bleak political issues, such as increased settlement building, the Israeli Security Wall, checkpoints and Gaza, many of the 90 delegates put forward practical, manageable projects.
One that received much praise was a housing project on some land on the road between Bethlehem and Jerusalem. As many people are unable to obtain mortgages on their own, the Latin Patriarchate will be underwriting 20-year mortgages for them.
This “bottom-up” economics approach fitted in with the aims of a new charity, Friends of the Holy Land, of which both Archbishop Nichols and Dr Williams are patrons.
The charity has sought to help Christians in Bethlehem and other areas of the West Bank in many small ways. It has already changed the lives of over 60 elderly women by setting up St Martha’s House, a day care social centre which provides everything from hot lunches and outings to hairdressing and medical aids.
Dr Michael Whelan, chairman of Friends of the Holy Land, said: “We also help with the micro-financing of new businesses. A candle factory is being discussed at the moment. And we are boosting their trade by selling olive wood carvings from Bethlehem here in England.”
NEWSBULLETIN Anti-euthanasia protest to be held outside Parliament DISABILITY rights campaigners were to stage an anti-euthanasia protest outside Parliament on Wednesday in protest at the Government’s policy.
The event was to be led by Nikki Kenward of the campaign group Distant Voices, who was “locked in” after contracting Guillian Barre Syndrome, which left her paralysed except for the ability to wink an eye. Mrs Kenward, who has never regained the use of her legs, fears that pressure is mounting on Parliament and in the courts to allow the killing of seriously sick, disabled or minimally conscious, but incapacitated, patients. A review is being conducted of the care of the 6,000 mentally incapacitated patients in the British healthcare system.
Baby survives birth at 23 weeks A BABY has become Britain’s most premature infants, surviving after doctors had advised an abortion.
Jacob McMahon survived against the odds after he was born on February 22, just 23 weeks into pregnancy, at a weight of 1lb 4oz. Last week, aged just five months, he was deemed healthy enough to leave hospital with his mother Sara Fisher, 25, and father Scott McMahon, 26.
Doctors had advised that Miss Fisher to abort Jacob after his twin sister, Emie, died when she was born at 21 weeks and six days due to an infection. Jacob followed eight days later, 12 hours before doctors would have demanded a final decision from the family on whether to abort. Jacob joins a growing list of babies who have survived despite being below the upper abortion limit of 24 weeks.
Trust to set up university A NEW Catholic university college for the Liberal Arts is planned for London. The college, to be run by the Benedictus Trust, will offer a foundation year with one term in Italy and a threeyear undergraduate course.
The Trust’s website says the university will offer an education “that is faithful to the teachings of the Catholic Church” and will be “mindful of the central position of Christianity” in western civilisation.
Bishop to address priests THE FIRST Confraternity Colloquium, the annual event organised by the British Confraternity of Catholic Clergy, will be addressed by Bishop Mark Davies of Shrewsbury.
The event, which takes place at the Reading Oratory school on October 27 and 28, will also include talks by Mgr Andrew Wadsworth, director of ICEL, and Edmund Adamus, Westminster’s director of pastoral affairs.
Parishes urged to mark papal visit BISHOP Kieran Conry of Arundel and Brighton is urging parishes in England and Wales to mark the first anniversary of the papal visit by sharing memories of the event.
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Archbishop intervenes over welfare reform
Archbishop Nichols says in letter to Iain Duncan Smith that cuts may drive families into poverty
BY ED WEST
THE ARCHBISHOP of Westminster has expressed his concern that Government policy will drive thousands of poor families into poverty.
In a letter to Work and Pensions Minister Iain Duncan Smith, Archbishop Vincent Nichols said he was concerned about the potential impact of new and planned Government welfare policies on the most vulnerable members of society.
The Government is imposing new limits of £400 a week for a four-bedroom home, £340 for a threebedroom home, £290 for a two-bedroom home and £250 for a one-bedroom home. In the strongly worded letter Archbishop Nichols referred to the department’s own figures which showed that 50,000 families are losing £93 a week as a result of the welfare reforms.
The archbishop wrote that this would be “a significant sum for those struggling financially”, and said: “I recognise the difficulties which must arise in seeking to promote fairness between those in work and those of working age receiving benefits but our own agencies working with poor families are becoming increasingly concerned with how the detail of how the changes will affect those families.
“As you know, some estimates that have already appeared in the media suggest 40,000 families may be rendered homeless. If this were indeed the case it would surely be a perverse result of policies aimed at reducing dependency of the ‘benefits culture’ since emergency support would immediately need to be put in place.”
Archbishop Nichols also referred to reports from the Caritas Social Action Network (CSAN) regarding growing concerns at the repercussions of the changes and the effect they are having on existing social problems.
The archbishop quotes the Depaul Trust, a member of CSAN, reporting homelessness increasing for the first time in 10 years and youth homelessness rising by 15 per cent in the last 12 months.
“In some areas of my own Diocese of Westminster, it is being suggested that one in six children may have to move home (and probably move school), while in Maida Vale the effects may force up to 43 per cent of households to move. We fear that the cost of this may be felt most by vulnerable families, whose support networks may rapidly disappear in the process,” wrote Archbishop Nichols.
The archbishop added: “It would be very helpful to have your assurance that steps are available and being taken to ensure that the vulnerable and marginalised in our society will not be disproportionately harmed by the new welfare policies. It seems that a further look at the impact on
Iain Duncan Smith’s reforms are intended to ‘restore fairness to a system which has spiralled out of control’
individuals, in particular those already struggling, is needed to fully determine the effect of the changes on both people and communities.”
In response Lord Freud, Minister for Welfare Reform, wrote to the archbishop, saying: “The Coalition
Government is committed to reforming the welfare system to make it farer, more affordable and to tackle poverty and welfare dependency. In a situation where tough choices are inevitable, we need to be fair to both benefit recipients and the taxpayer. We believe that there have to be some limits on the overall levels of benefit it is reasonable for the state to provide. This is behind our decision to introduce a cap on the level of benefits a workless household can receive.”
He said that with a limit of
£35,000 per annum per family “households will still be able to receive significant amounts of financial assistance from state welfare payments. In terms of housing, the introduction of the benefit cap will mean that workless households will
PA photo have to make the same decisions with regard to location s families in work.”
He also pointed out that the Government is implementing “the biggest single welfare-to-work programme this country has ever seen”, that once someone begins working they are no longer subject to the benefit cap, and that the Government published an impact assessment of the benefit cap which said the increase in homelessness could not be estimated.
“We take the issue of homelessness very seriously,” he said. “The aim of the benefit cap is to achieve longterm positive behavioural effects through changed attitudes to welfare, responsible life choices and strong work incentives. We believe someone in work should always be better off than someone on benefits. This is at the heart of the welfare reform.”
Mick Clarke, chief executive of the homeless charity the Passage, said that although he welcomed “the Government's engagement on many issues affecting homelessness”, he had “huge concerns that there are still many thousands of 25- to 34year-olds facing a significant cut in housing benefit which could also then leave them facing homelessness because of the lack of shared accommodation.”
He added: “If the Government can recognise that shared accommodation is not appropriate for many formerly homeless people, it is a mystery as to why they cannot see that this should also apply for other vulnerable people such as those with disabilities, mental health issues, and those fleeing domestic violence. I therefore welcome the archbishop's intervention and very much hope the Minister takes up the offer of further dialogue to ensure those most vulnerable in our society are protected.”
Allegations of clerical abuse doubled in papal visit year
BY MADELEINE TEAHAN
THE NUMBER of people in the Catholic Church accused of sexual or physical abuse has more than doubled between 2009 and 2010, according to the latest annual report by the National Catholic Safeguarding Commission (NCSC).
The Commission has attributed the rise to the papal visit, during which Pope Benedict met victims of abuse and professionals employed to safeguard the young and vulnerable within the Catholic Church. The report which was due to be released on Thursday: “The NCSC is both challenged and heartened by the fact that last year and, in particular, following the Pope’s visit more people have felt confident enough to come forward to report incidents of abuse in the hope of finding some kind of reconciliation and closure.”
In 2010 92 individuals were accused of some form of abuse compared with 43 people in 2009.
The Commission, chaired by Baroness Patricia Scotland of Asthal, found that of the total allegations of abuse made in 2010, the majority were alleged to have taken place during the 1970s or earlier. In 2010 there were 83 allegations of abuse relating to 92 alleged abusers and 103 victims. Eighteen of the victims alleged that they were abused in 2010, the same number who had alleged abuse occurring that year in 2009.
Eighty-three allegations were brought forward in 2010. The vast majority of incidents, 63 out of 83, are alleged to have occurred during the 1970s or earlier.
The report identifies five forms of abuse, including sexual, physical, emotional, neglect and possession of child abuse images.
Of the total 92 individuals suspected of abuse 71 are accused of sexual abuse and 15 are alleged to have committed physical abuse.
From the accusations made in 2010 of sexual abuse, two alleged abusers were from female religious orders and 61 were priests.
The NCSC has, for the first time, collated statistics on a national scale detailing abuse of vulnerable adults within the Church, which currently stands at a total of 20 allegations of abuse in 2010, including financial and material exploitation.
The NCSC has also examined efforts to safeguard vulnerable people within the Catholic Church. It reports that the proportion of parishes across England and Wales with at least one safeguarding representative currently stands at 96.3
per cent, while Covenants of Care, which are drawn up to monitor a parish where an incidence of abuse is alleged to have occurred, have risen in total from 212 in December 2009 to 266 in December 2010.
The Commission also reported on the instances of laicisation in cases of clerical abuse. It states: “Where an allegation of abuse results in a member of the clergy or religious serving a prison sentence, or where the risk they are considered to pose to members of the Church community, permanent removal from the clerical or religious state (laicisation) is always considered. There have been 37
such laicisations since 2001.” The report from the NCSC places a heavy emphasis on the role of Pope Benedict XVI in attempting to heal rifts and wounds within the Church following highly publicised incidences of clerical abuse in the run up to the papal- visit.
The report features a personal account of the Pope’s meeting with victims of abuse during his state visit to Britain last year. The eyewitness states: “He [Benedict XVI] prayed briefly and blessed us all. Perhaps more important on this occasion he spoke to each and everyone. He heard personal stories.
“At one point there were tears in his eyes... he told us that he would take things forward.”
On the same day that Pope Benedict met victims of abuse he addressed safeguarding professionals. He said: “It is deplorable that in such marked contrast to the Church’s long tradition of care for them, children have suffered abuse and mistreatment at the hands of some priests and religious.”
He continued: “We have all become much more aware of the need to safeguard children, and you are an important part of the Church’s broad-ranging response to the problem.”
- R C National Shrine of Our Lady, Walsingham -
Dowry of Mary
Sunday 11 September 2011
Archbishop Peter Smith
Archbishop of Southwark
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2.15 pm 11.30 am
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Solemnity of Our Lady of Walsingham - Saturday 24 September 2011
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12 noon Solemn Mass * 2.00 pm Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament *
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3.00 pm Solemn Vespers and Benediction. To end our 950 Celebrations: 6.00 pm “The Sixteen on their Choral Pilgrimage”
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Followed by Barbecue, Jazz Band and ending with Fireworks (Tickets: Concert £15, Barbecue £10 - please contact the 950 Box Oﬃce, R C National Shrine .. address above)
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Church criticises downgrading of religious studies
BY MADELEINE TEAHAN
THE CATHOLIC Education Service of England Wales (CESEW) has criticised the Government’s continued refusal to include Religious Education in the English Baccalaureate (EBacc) despite a growing campaign from Catholic clergy and teachers.
In a statement on Friday the CESEW expressed “deep regret” at the Government’s decision not to include RE in the EBacc subjects.
It said: “We regret that, despite the Government’s recognition of the very high level of public concern regarding the exclusion of RE from the EBacc, it has failed to address the issue adequately.”
The English Baccalaureate was introduced in 2010 and is awarded to all students who achieve GCSEs at grades A*C in English, mathematics, science, a humanities subject and a modern foreign language. But, the list of recognised humanities subjects does not currently include RE.
AGovernment’s spokesperson defended the decision, emphasising that pupils could still choose RE as a GCSE subject if they want to,
The Government’s initial decision to exclude religious studies from the EBacc last year prompted alarm from the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales. In a statement in May the bishops urged the Government to review the content of the EBacc and stated their “very serious reservations about what is omitted from the EBacc, namely Religious Education.” They said: “At a time of increasing religious and cultural illiteracy, effectively to downgrade RE seems unwise to say the least. We therefore urge the Government to reconsider its decision and include RE in the EBacc.”
Although the teaching of RE in some form will continue to be compulsory until pupils have finished secondary school, concern remains that the subject’s exclusion from EBacc will lead to schools not offering RE as a GCSE exam subject.
The Religious Education Council for England and Wales described RE’s exclusion from the EBacc as a “travesty” and accused the Government of “knowingly undermining Religious Education in our schools”. It said: “Not including GCSE RE as a mainstream humanities subject in the 2010 English Baccalaureate has already resulted in many schools simply not offering it as a GCSE choice. Hard statistical evidence from the National Association of Teachers of RE showing this current and future decline was provided to the Secretary of State for consideration three weeks ago.
“Excluding it yet again from this year’s EBacc imposes further serious collateral damage on RE.”
EAST AFRICA CRISIS
Ten million people are facing a devastating drought in East Africa. Very poor rains have led to crop failure, serious food and water shortages and the deaths of tens of thousands of animals in Kenya, Ethiopia, Somalia and South Sudan. With no rain expected until September, the situation can only get worse. The UN says that in some regions the drought is the worst in years. We urgently need your support to get life-saving aid to people now.
Please make a donation today. Your gift will help to provide life-saving food for the most vulnerable, as well as water-points, medicine and emergency support for families whose animals are dying.
Please give to the East Africa Crisis Appeal. Your help WILL reach people who need it most.
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