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CISTERCIAN POP STARS

MEET THE MONKS WHOSE MUSIC IS ADMIRED BY THE POPE PAGE 7

ALIENS AND CATHOLICS BY THE AUTHOR JOHN C WRIGHT PAGE 8

No. 6356

www.catholicherald.co.uk

June 6, 2008 £1 (Republic of Ireland €1.50)

New laws force Salford diocese to end adoptions

BYSIMONCALDWELL

ACATHOLICadoption agency in Manchester this week became the first in the country to announce that it will stop assessing potential adopters because of the Government’s new gay rights laws. The Catholic Children’s Rescue Society of the Diocese of Salford will halt a service it has provided since its foundation in 1886 by the time the legislation comes into force on New Year’s Day. Kathy Batt, the director of the CCRS, said the agency would no longer recruit, assess or approve adoptive applicants, though it will continue to provide its post-adoption support services. “The decision has been taken with regret by the trustees who have been fully informed all the way along,” she said. “We did not want to separate from the diocese as other agencies have, though that is no criticism of them,” she said. “In Salford it was quite clear that we did not want to break with the diocese because we have a faith-based agency and the patronage of the Church is very important to us.” In the late 1990s the agency placed about 50 children with adopters and foster parents each year but by 2007 this had dropped to 10 cases, mostly involving the placements of children who have serious behavioural problems. But Bishop Terence Brain of Salford, the chairman of

the CCRS, said the move to pull out of adoption was partly because of “legal pressures”. A new social services charity called Caritas Salford Diocese will now be formed from a merger of CCRS and the diocese’s Catholic Welfare Societies. “Our commitment to children has not wavered,” said Bishop Brain. “The trustees of CCRS fully appreciate the significance of no longer recruiting, assessing and approving couples for adoption. The society’s priority now is to ensure that all their current adoptive applicants are cared for and supported through to the completion of the process. We also recognise our responsibilities to those working at CCRS in adoption.” The new charity will allow the Salford diocese to continue to run care homes for children, shelters for homeless young mothers and their children, counselling services, family support teams and drop-in centres for adults. But Jim Dobbin, a Manchester Labour MP and a Catholic, said he was sure many people would be “upset” by the demise of the adoption service. “It is a tragedy,” said Mr Dobbin, the MP for Heywood and Middleton. “There is a shortage of people willing to adopt generally in the country and there is something very wrong when some of the bet

ter and more efficient agencies feel they have to close because they can’t conform to what the Government is demanding. I don’t think there was any need for this legislation at all. It was forced through and was all done to avoid discrimination but all it has done is to introduce discrimination against agencies that operate according to the principles of a religious faith. “The Government will rue the day when it pursued this line of action. It smacks of a secular attack on the Catholic Church.” The agency has previously enjoyed the support of wellknown Mancunians, including the parents of comedian Steve Coogan, who have adopted and fostered throughout their adult lives. Last month Manchester actor John Thomson, a star of Cold Feet and the Fast Show, who was adopted by a Catholic family and gave money to the agency, said it would be a “disaster” if the Diocese of Salford pulled out of adoption. The decision comes a week after one of the largest Catholic adoption agencies confirmed it would cut ties with the Church in order to comply with the Sexual Orientation Regulations that were introduced under the Equality Act 2006 to ban discrimination against homosexuals in the provision of goods and services and to stay open for business.

The Catholic Children’s Society of Arundel and Brighton, Southwark and Portsmouth, founded in 1887, deals with about 50 of the 250 annual adoptions handled by the 13 Catholic adoption agencies of England and Wales. The agency has an annual turnover of about £4.5 million, most of which comes from government grants and contracts, but more than £500,000 a year is raised by Catholics in southern England through schools, parish gifts, wills and personal donations. Its annual “Good Shepherd” appeal in schools and churches alone raises more than £100,000 a year. The dioceses of Northampton and Nottingham also announced in April that they will withdraw from adoption and that their agencies –which place a combined 30 children a year with new families – will become independent. They will then be able to place children with gay couples but will no longer be able to appeal to Catholics for financial support. Other agencies must decide their futures over the summer in order to meet the deadline set by Tony Blair last year. The trustees of the Catholic Caring Services adoption agency of the Diocese of Lancaster in April voted by eight to two to cut ties... Continued on page two

Editorial comment: Page 11

The Pope will allow the shroud to go on show for the first time in a decade PA

Shroud of Turin to go on display

BYCAROLGLATZ

THE SHROUD of Turin, revered by many as the burial cloth of Christ, will be displayed to the public for the first time in a decade in 2010. Pope Benedict XVI announced during an audience with pilgrims from Turin that he had approved the shroud’s removal from its protective casket for display to the public in the spring of 2010. He told the 7,000 pilgrims gathered in the Vatican’s Paul VI hall: “If the Lord grants me life and health, I, too, hope to come.” According to tradition, the 14ft by 4ft linen cloth is the burial shroud of Jesus. The shroud has a full-length photo negative image of a man, front and back, bearing signs of wounds that correspond to the Gospel accounts of the torture Jesus endured in his Passion and death. The Church has never officially ruled on the shroud’s authenticity, saying judgments about its age and origin belonged to scientific investigation. Scientists have debated its authenticity for decades, and studies have led to conflicting results. The shroud lies protected behind bulletproof glass in a special chapel of Turin’s Cathedral of St John the Baptist. The cloth lies flat, unseen, inside a casket made of a special space-age alloy that is waterproof and fireproof and is hermetically sealed to keep out oxygen. The shroud is removed only for special occasions, and its removal for study or display to the public must be approved by the Pope.

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Controversial exorcism booklet on course to sell in record time

BYSIMONCALDWELL

ABOOKWARNINGpeople that yoga, horoscopes and promiscuity can lead to possession by the devil is selling out in near record time. The controversial booklet, written by Catholic priest Fr Jeremy Davies, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor’s chief exorcist, is expected to be out of print by mid-summer. The first run of 5,000 copies of Exorcism: Understanding Exorcism in Scripture and Practicehas sold four times faster than most publications by the Catholic Truth Society. It usually takes a year for a CTS booklet to sell its first print run but the exorcism

book is expected to achieve this target in under three months. Only the CTS response to Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Codesold as fast as the booklet, with 10,000 sales in a year. Piero Finaldi, the commissioning editor, said: “It is certainly doing quite well. It has only been out a month and we are already half way through our stock. There has been quite a lot of interest from America and our stocks probably won’t last until August. We will have to reprint fairly quickly on this one.” He said that the decision to ask Fr Davies to write the booklet followed the publication of An Exorcist Tells His Storyby Fr Gabriel Amorth,

the Rome diocesan exorcist. He said that Fr Davies wrote the book exclusively by hand. “It is a brilliant text and quite scriptural,” said Mr Finaldi, adding that it appealed to a broad audience. He said that the publication had generated interest from media around the world. In the book Fr Davies, 73, warns that occult practices such as magic, fortune-telling and holding sééances to contact the spirits of the dead were “direct invitations to the devil which he readily accepts”. He said the occult was closely linked to the scourges of “drugs, demonic music and pornography” which were “destroying millions of young people in our time”.

“They all involve an abandonment of the self-control with which human beings are entrusted,” he wrote. “The thin end of the wedge (soft drugs, yoga for relaxation, horoscopes just for fun and so on) is more dangerous than the thick end, because more deceptive –an evil spirit tries to make his entry as unobtrusively as possible.” Controversially, he said people who slept around were not only at risk of contracting diseases but also of being tormented by demons. “Some very unpleasant things must be mentioned because young people, especially, are vulnerable and we must do what we can to protect and warn them,” the priest said.

War protesters boo Tony Blair on US trip to launch faith foundation

BYEDWEST

FORMERPrime Minister Tony Blair was booed by anti-war protesters at Yale University on the eve of the launch of his

foundation aimed at fighting religious extremism. Flanked by former US President Bill Clinton, religious leaders, donors and United Nations representatives, Mr Blair launched the Tony Blair Faith Foundation in New York, promising to harness “the power of faith to fight against poverty and disease”. However, the day before Mr Blair was jeered by peace protestors outside Yale

University, where he was speaking in his role as a peace foundation trustee. Mr Blair’s arrival was met by a group of protestors waving placards that read “No to Blair” and “Yale! Don’t Support a War Criminal”. Police held them back from the ceremony, which was held in a gated garden. Mr Blair did not mention Iraq by name and avoided eye contact with the protestors. Speaking at the launch in

New York Mr Blair said that there was “nothing more important” than ensuring mutual understanding in the world and fostering cooperation between different religions. “Globalisation is pushing people together. Interdependence is reality. Peaceful co-existence is essential. If faith becomes a countervailing force, pulling people apart, it becomes destructive and dangerous,” he said.

RIGHT TO LIFE

Human Fertilisation & Embryology Bill

Second Reading & Committee Stage

MPs must be made to realise that they are answerable

to constituents for their votes – especially those on

ethical issues – such as abortion and embryo research.

Over 80 treatments and cures for diseases and

disabilities have been developed through the use of

adult stem cells (which is perfectly ethical).

In comparison embryonic stem cell research is

immensely costly and has proved futile, producing not

ONE treatment.

Yet, MPs have voted to pour money into

human/animal hybrids without a shred of evidence to

support such work.

MAKE MPS RECOGNISE THAT THEY WILL BE

CALLED TO ACCOUNT.

Ensure that your MP is bombarded with pro-life

cards on the Bill, or with letters or telephone calls

leading up to the Report Stage.

If you want pro-life cards and the voting record of

your MP contact Right to Life

Name...............................................................................................

Address...........................................................................................

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I enclose a donation for £500 £250 £100 £50 £25

£15 £10 other...................(Please circle as appropriate).

Please make cheques payable to The Right to Life.

RIGHT TO LIFE, PO Box 26264, London W3 9WF

Telephone: 0208 992 7657 Email:

Phyllis@righttolife.org.uk

Catholic Herald 06/06/08