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NOVEMBER 4 2011 THE CATHOLIC HERALD
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Minister: one baby adopted per 2,000 who are aborted
BY SIMON CALDWELL
NEARLY 2,000 abortions are carried out in England each year for every baby adopted at birth, Government figures have revealed.
Health Minister Lord Howe revealed the “shocking contrast” in the House of Lords in response to a written question from Lord Alton of Liverpool.
“I am advised by the Department for Education that in 2010 in England, 95 children under one year old were placed for adoption,” Lord Howe said.
“In 2010, 180,942 abortions were carried out in England,” he added.
The figures mean that for every adoption of a baby last year a total of 1,904 abortions were performed.
They immediately prompted calls for the reform of the adoption laws and for adoption to be made an option to women in crisis pregnancies, especially given the numbers of sub-fertile couples struggling to conceive children of their own.
Lord Alton said: “These figures point to a shocking contrast between the numbers of babies aborted and those adopted.
“Three quarters of fertility treatments ultimately fail and thousands of parents would be willing to adopt babies if they were available.
“The failure to promote adoption rather than abortion is a human tragedy for everyone involved. The ‘A’ word, abortion, should be countered with the ‘A’ word, adoption.”
Prof Jack Scarisbrick, the national chairman of Life, the pregnancy counselling charity, said it was a mistake to change the law to end the practice of “closed adoption” whereby the identity of the biological parents is kept a secret for life.
He said he believed that permitting adopted children, on reaching adulthood, to seek out their birth mothers had the effect of dissuading many women from placing babies for adoption.
The changes, introduced by the 1975 Children Act, reduced adoption into simply “long-term fostering”, said Professor Scarisbrick.
He said women often told Life counsellors that they preferred abortion because adoption was no longer “final” and they would always be fearful of their child turning up on their doorstep.
“If the birth mother has since married or had a family of her own a threat of the child turning up like that would be hanging over her for the next 18 years.
“It takes a lot of courage on the part of a woman to hand over the child knowing it isn’t a permanent parting.
“We would say there has to come a time when the door is closed on the past and we move forward.”
Jim Richards, the former head of the Catholic Children’s Society (Westminster), a Catholic adoption agency, said he was unaware of the existence of any evidence linking high rates of abortion with low rates of adoption.
He said that about 30 adults a month contacted the CCS (Westminster) in an attempt to track down their biological parents, a process which, he said, involves counselling sessions for both parties.
Although there are 65,000 children in British care homes, there is still a huge demand for the adoption of newborn babies, with sub-fertility and infertility now afflicting an estimated one in eight couples.
IVF has a notoriously low success rate of only 15 per cent though the numbers of babies conceived 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.
But some couples spend up to £20,000 on cycles of IVF in their repeated attempts to start a family.
In July the Government disclosed for the first time that more than 30 human embryos are destroyed for every successful live birth by IVF.
At present the vast majority of children who are adopted are found new homes after they are first placed in care institutions. But only 3,050 children were adopted from state care last year and just a small percentage of the 3,600 babies under the age of one were adopted in the same period.
On average it takes 2.7 years for a child to be adopted through the care system, prompting Prime Minister, David Cameron to this week “name and shame” the worst-performing local authorities.
Until 2007 the 11 Catholic adoption agencies of England and Wales proved extremely successful in finding new homes for “difficult to place” children. But nearly all of these were either closed or broke ties with the Church after Parliament tried to compel them to place children with same-sex couples.
Sir Jimmy Savile, star of Jim’ll Fix It, was a man of deep faith, according to his parish priest PA
Sir Jimmy Savile, Catholic philanthropist, dies aged 84
BY MADELEINE TEAHAN
THE DEATH of Catholic entertainer and philanthropist Sir Jimmy Savile has prompted an outpouring of tributes from the Church, the royal family, Government and the media.
The devout Catholic, renowned for his television show Jim’ll Fix It, died aged 84 at his home in Leeds shortly after a period in hospital with pneumonia.
Mgr Kieran Heskin, his former parish priest, spoke warmly of him as a “man of simple but deep faith”.
Jimmy Savile was a regular worshipper at the Immaculate Heart of Mary in Leeds where Mgr Kieran Heskin was parish priest. Mgr Heskin said that he regularly saw Jimmy’s car parked outside the church when the entertainer attended daily Mass.
He said: “He was a man who certainly did not hide his faith or Catholicity. He was seen in his church not only on a Sunday but frequently during the week as well.
“He was a man who clearly observed the first great commandment: to love God. Everyone also knows about his love for his neighbour, through his work at Stoke Mandeville Hospital and Leeds General Infirmary and his tremendous fundraising work was not only for hospitals but for many other causes as well.”
Mgr Heskin told an anecdote about Jimmy to illustrate his generosity. He said: “I once asked him if he would open our annual parish Strawberry Fair. Jimmy took it upon himself to go out on to Harrogate Road, a busy main road, and stop cars so he could invite passengers to come to the fair. He gave you everything.”
Prince Charles also paid tribute to Sir Jimmy in a statement released by Clarence House. It said: “The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall are saddened to hear of Jimmy Savile’s death and their thoughts are with his family at this time.”
Catholic and former Liberal Democrat leader Charles Kennedy MP described Sir Jimmy as “a true and long-standing friend to the West Highlands over decades of diligence and decency”.
He said: “When not resident at his home in Glencoe, he made it available for mountain rescue use. It was typical of the man that he never drew attention to such characteristic generosity. A sad loss indeed.”
Mark Thompson, Director general of the BBC said that he “was very sad” on hearing the news. He said: “From Top of the Pops to Jim’ll Fix It, Jimmy’s unique style entertained generations of BBC audiences. Like millions of viewers and listeners we shall miss him greatly.”
Jimmy Savile was born in 1926 in Leeds. He was thought close to death after birth but his mother prayed for him at the Catholic Cathedral in Leeds and he went on to live two days short of his 85th birthday.
The Queen knighted Jimmy Savile in 1990 and in the same year he received a papal knighthood.
Sir Jimmy’s Requiem Mass will take place at St Anne’s Cathedral, Leeds, on Wednesday.
The veteran DJ will be buried the following day in the north Yorkshire seaside resort of Scarborough, which he loved to visit. .......................................................... Editorial comment: Page 13
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Bishop orders child protection review of diocese Church reaches out to Catholics who have lapsed
BY ED WEST
THE DIOCESE OF PLYMOUTH is to hold a review into its safeguarding children procedures following the arrest of a man employed by the diocese to investigate sex abuse allegations.
Christopher Jarvis, 49, was jailed for a year after admitting 12 counts involving indecent images.
Former social worker Jarvis had worked for the diocese since 2002 and was responsible for checking on volunteers who wanted to work with children.
The father of four was also authorised to counter-sign applications for Criminal Records Bureau checks and had access to confidential Church files on child abuse cases.
As a member of the Devon and Cornwall Multi-Agency Safeguarding Team he also worked with police officers and social workers, and had access to private information about vulnerable victims of child abuse. The judge at Plymouth Crown Court said children who had confided in Jarvis would feel “sullied and let down”.
Police found more than 4,000 child porn images, mainly of boys aged 10 to 12, on his Church-supplied computer and a memory stick when they raided his home. Twelve of the images were categorised as “Level Five”,
the most extreme form of pornography, which includes sadism and torture.
Jarvis, who was himself abused as a child, admitted 12 counts of making, possessing and distributing indecent images.
The Diocese of Plymouth sacked Jarvis, who had been conducting an investigation into allegations of child abuse at a now-closed preparatory boarding school run by monks at Buckfast Abbey before he was arrested.
Former priest William Manahan, 80, was jailed for 15 months in 2007 for sexually abusing boys at Buckfast Abbey Preparatory School between 1971 and 1978. Amonk at the abbey, Paul Couch, was convicted the same year of two serious sexual offences and 11 indecent sexual assaults against boys at the school and was jailed for 10 years and nine months.
Bishop Christopher Budd has now ordered a review by the NSPCC, which has already produced a report into case files which Jarvis was involved in over the last three years, and will also look into child protection procedures, policies and training for the protection of children by the Church in the south west.
A spokeswoman for the diocese said that Jarvis had been checked for criminal records and had worked in social services before working for the diocese.
BY MADELEINE TEAHAN
THE BISHOPS of England and Wales are to launch a tour across their dioceses in order to help lay people lead lapsed Catholics back to the faith.
The tour, which is called “Crossing the Threshold”, is a response to concerns that are repeatedly expressed by priests that a large number of baptised Catholics rarely attend Mass on a Sunday.
It is estimated that at least two-thirds of the baptised Catholic community in England and Wales is nonchurchgoing, which equates to approximately four or five million people.
The initiative has been organised by the evangelisation and catechesis department within the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, which is chaired by Bishop Kieran Conry.
Bishop Conry said: “I would like to encourage every parish within easy travelling distance to send at least one representative to the tour day closest to them, with the initial focus on the day in York.”
The tour is designed for practising Catholics who need advice on how to reach out to lapsed friends or family.
A spokesperson for the bishops’ conference said: “The aim of the tour is to equip Mass-going Catholics to minister to and reach out to non-churchgoing Catholics in their locality. “This means that the initial focus is ad intra rather than ad extra because it is essential that our first step, before trying to reach out to non-church goers, is to have ourselves some appreciation and understanding of the issues and burdens they carry.
“What is being offered to the parishioners on the tour days is an overview of this area of ministry and information about resources that have proved effective in welcoming people back.”
The tour will be a threeyear project beginning in York at the English Martyrs church between 9.30am and 3.30pm.
There will be four other days offered in order for the faithful to learn how to communicate with Catholics who no longer practice their faith.
After York, the tour will move on to Birmingham, Crawley, Westminster and Cardiff. Bishop Roche of Leeds, Bishop Drainey of Middlesborough and Bishop Rawsthorne of Hallam will be present at the talks.
The series of talks will end with the publication of a stepby-step guide of how to encourage people to return to Mass.
The details for the tour are as follows: November 12 in York, February 4 in Birmingham, March 3 in Crawley, Sussex, April 28 in Westminster and June 23 in Cardiff.
NEWSBULLETIN London bishop to lead vigil outside an abortion clinic AUXILIARY Bishop Alan Hopes of Westminster is to lead the 40 Days for Life vigil outside a BPAS abortion clinic today.
The bishop will join prolifers outside the clinic in Bedford Square, central London, at 7pm. It is the first time a bishop has attended a 40 Days for Life vigil in Britain.
The prayer campaign, which started in Texas in
2004 and spread to London last year, involves 40 days of prayer, fasting and offering help to people. The current 40 Days come to an end on Sunday. Robert Colquhoun, who brought the initiative to London, said: “There are several million post-abortive women in Britain who have no avenue for grief. We want to be the catalyst for a huge turnaround.”
Charity supports the ordinariate CATHOLIC charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) is employing three priest members in the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham, it emerged this week.
The charity has appointed them as “area chaplains” who will run appeals and give talks about the charity’s work in helping persecuted Christians abroad.
Neville Kyrke-Smith, director of ACN in Britain, told the Tablet magazine: “We take every opportunity to help the Church pastorally... it is a gesture of welcome and a gesture of help.”
The ordinariate is understood to be stretched financially. Mgr Keith Newton, the ordinary, said it needs about £1 million a year to stay afloat. In September The Catholic Herald sponsored a fundraising event at Archbishop’s House, Westminster, attended by Cardinal William Levada of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. He said the ordinariate was an “important new structure”.
First marriage conference held THE FIRST-ever national conference for people involved in marriage preparation is to be held today in Leicestershire.
The conference, at Barceló Hinckley Island Hotel, will end with a Mass of Thanksgiving. Auxiliary Bishop John Hine of Westminster said marriage preparation was “all important” but that until now dioceses had “never drawn together an overall picture of [its] provision”.
Archbishop sets off to Holy Land ARCHBISHOP Vincent Nichols of Westminster is to lead the archdiocese’s first annual pilgrimage to the Holy Land this week.
He will be accompanied by 100 Catholics from north London and Hertfordshire as he journeys to Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Nazareth and the Sea of Galilee. He said: “We will follow in the footsteps of Christ himself, remembering... what he did and said.”
Ordinary to speak at the Keys
MGR KEITH NEWTON, head of the ordinariate, is to speak at the next meeting of the Keys, the Catholic Writers Guild, at St Mary Moorfields, London, on Wednesday at 7pm. Please email the Master of the Keys, Mary Kenny, if you would like to attend at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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