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JULY 8 2011 THE CATHOLIC HERALD
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Moral theologian is named bishop
BY MADELEINE TEAHAN
POPE BENEDICT XVI has appointed a moral theologian from the Diocese of Nottingham as the new auxiliary bishop for the Archdiocese of Westminster.
The episcopal ordination of Bishop-elect, Fr John Sherrington, will take place in Westminster Cathedral on Wednesday September 14.
Fr Sherrington, 53, has described both his excitement and fear since accepting the new role.
He said: “I feel very humble at being appointed auxiliary bishop for the Diocese of Westminster. I feel an excitement about the opportunity and a fear of what is expected. I know that I will need to rely on God’s grace more deeply than ever before and cultivate my life of prayer. I will use my gifts to the full and to the best of my ability.”
Speaking at a press conference on Thursday last week at Archbishop’s House, the bishop-elect related a personal journey to the priesthood. He attended morning Mass every day at Westminster Cathedral to aid his discernment while working for Arthur Andersen Management Consultancy.
He then left his City job to join All Hallows seminary in Dublin in 1982. He concluded his personal story by remembering his parents.
He said: “I wish they could share this day with me. I am indebted to them for the faith they have given me.”
The bishop-elect was ordained a priest for the Nottingham diocese in 1987 and has served as parish priest to the Good Shepherd parish in Nottingham for the past two years.
Fr Sherrington has also assisted the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales on ethical issues and was described by Archbishop Vincent Nichols as “instrumental” in developing the 2005 bishops’ conference document Cherishing Life. When asked during the press conference if the appointment of Fr Sherrington was motivated by a perceived culture of death in England and Wales, Archbishop Nichols described the appointment of auxiliary bishop as “personal to the Pope”.
Fr Sherrington said: “we are not sufficiently cherishing human life in society” and expressed his commitment to “ensuring the human dignity of every man and
Fr John Sherrington, Auxiliary Bishop-Elect of Westminster Mazur/catholicchurch.org.uk woman”. He said: “I hope that I can help people to know more deeply that they are loved by God, who calls them in their hearts to serve others. I would like to communicate the hope of the Gospel to those in distress and need.”
Fr Sherrington us especially committed to mental health support since his time as assistant priest to Nottingham diocese in 1987 when he first came into contact with the local mental healthcare team. During his time as parish priest at Our Lady of Lourdes, Derby he served as part of the chaplaincy team for the local Mental Health
Trust between 2004 and 2009.
As well as being regarded as an extremely hard-working priest, Fr Sherrington has excellent academic credentials. After completing a degree in Mathematics at Queens College, Cambridge, he subsequently gained a Licentiate in Sacred Moral Theology (STL) from the Gregorian University in Rome and lectured in moral theology at All Hallows in Dublin and then at St John’s Seminary in Wonersh, Guildford.
Archbishop Vincent Nichols warmly welcomed the appointment of Fr Sherrington who will work closely with the archbishop in his new role.
He said: “I am very grateful to the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, for appointing Fr John Sherrington as auxiliary bishop to this Diocese of Westminster. Bishop-elect Sherrington is a priest of wide experience fine abilities and a generous, graceful nature. I welcome him most warmly, as will every member of this diocese.”
He continued: “He will also be a much-valued member of the Bishops’ Conference. I thank the Diocese of Nottingham and I am sure that its people and priests will continue to support him in their prayers.”
Bishop Malcolm McMahon of Nottingham issued a statement to all Nottingham diocese’s parishioners last weekend congratulating Fr Sherrington on his new appointment.
He said: “On behalf of all of us in the Diocese of Nottingham, I would like to congratulate Bishop-elect John on his appointment and wish him every blessing for his ministry.
“He can rest assured of our prayers, support and friendship for him as he undertakes his new ministry in the Archdiocese of Westminster.”
Association backs abortion counselling change
BY ED WEST
THE BRITISH Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) has given its support to a Parliamentary amendment that would ensure that all women considering abortion are offered counselling by independent organisations, rather than by an abortion provider.
The amendment to the Health and Social Care Bill, now going through Parliament, would prevent organisations that provide abortions from being paid by the NHS to provide counselling. The MPs behind the amendment, Conservative Nadine Dorries and Labour’s Frank Field, argue that organisations such as the British Pregnancy Advisory Service, which combine counselling with a medical assessment to find out which method of abortion is suitable, put pressure on women to abort.
The BACP, which represents over 36,000 individual and organisational members, said that “BACP believes that all women (and their partners if required) considering terminating a pregnancy should be offered free, independent, unbiased and ethical pre- and post-abortion counselling, offered by trained counsellors. Counselling can help women (and their partners if required), reflect on and understand the often complicated feelings surrounding termination, and can aid decisionmaking.”
Mrs Dorries said: “We are delighted that the BACP, an organisation with first-hand experience and extensive expertise in this field, is fully supportive of the rights that we are seeking to give women under this amendment.”
She said she had spoken to representatives from BACP who backed her proposal.
The Dorries/Field amendment may become law without a Parliamentary vote after it was disclosed last month that the Department of Health was exploring how to make the switch by changing existing regulations.
Mrs Dorries said she expected to meet Health Secretary Andrew Lansley this week and expected he would confirm plans to implement the amendment, which she said would come into force in 2013.
She said: “I think they’re going to do it. It’s a triumph. It’s a victory. It means that any woman who has a crisis pregnancy is offered counseling. She doesn’t have to take it, and it won’t delay the abortion process, but she does have the option.”
Mrs Dorries, an Anglican who previously tried to reduce the abortion limit to 20 weeks, also lamented that women offered post-abortion counselling were sent back to the clinics where they had their abortions.
“Nobody in the real world believes that anybody who is being paid to have influence over a decision should be given advice on the decision. Even Labour are not putting their head above the parapet to defend this. Only nutters are saying that.”
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‘Eco-friendly’ church opened by Bishop Hollis Catholic MP fails to gain tax breaks for the married
BY DAVID V BARRETT
A NEW eco-friendly church in Waterlooville, Hampshire, is more than just a building, said Bishop Crispian Hollis of Portsmouth as he dedicated it last Friday at a Mass attended by 630 parishioners.
“Medieval churches tell a story of faith and that’s what I want to happen to this building,” he said.
The bishop said the church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and St Peter the Apostle should be at the heart of its community.
“It is not to be narrowly Catholic. We don’t live in a ghetto. We have a part to play in the community and your doors must always be open to anybody. This is a house of welcome because it is a house of prayer where differences and divisions can be reconciled,” he said.
The church has been designed by Christchurch architect Columba Cook to be suitable for both the liturgy and personal devotion, with an open-plan assembly space with flexible seating arrangements. Its teardrop-shaped sanctuary window was designed by architectural students at Swansea University. The church, with its attached multi-purpose parish centre, has solar panels that will earn money from selling surplus power. It also has a system for harvesting rainwater.
Bishop Hollis laid the foundation stone in June last year. The new church, which will seat over 350 worshippers, replaces as the parish church the Byzantine-style chapel built in 1923 at the nearby St Michael’s Convent. A Grade-II listed building, this will remain with the Sisters of Our Lady of Charity.
Judith Hoar, who was part of the new church committee which managed the project, told the Portsmouth News: “It’s taken us a long time to get here, but it’s wonderful to finally see it open. We have a lot more space now and more facilities than our previous place of worship. I was excited about the service too as it’s the first time I’ve seen a dedication ceremony.”
Bishop Hollis was joined by more than 20 clergy led by Bishop Peter Doyle, former priest in Portsmouth and now Bishop of Northampton. Participants at the ceremony included Mark Radcliffe, the Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Hampshire, George Hollingbery, MP for the Meon Valley, and Cllr Ken Smith and Hazel Smith, the Mayor and Mayoress of Havant.
Parishioners have pledged more than £500,000 of the parish responsibility of £1 million towards the £3.2 million cost of the church. The remaining £2.2 million will be met by the diocese. A presbytery is also being built on the same site.
BY ED WEST
CATHOLIC Tory MP Edward Leigh has failed to force the Government to honour the Conservatives’ election manifesto to offer tax incentives for couples to marry.
Urging David Cameron to fulfil his “solemn pledge”, the Gainsborough MP told the House of Commons last week: “The Prime Minister and other senior Conservatives repeatedly expressed their commitment to recognise marriage in the tax system during the last Parliament. There were some very strong statements, particularly by the Prime Minister.”
Mr Leigh said tax breaks for married couples were “the key policy response to the challenge of social breakdown, the ‘broken Britain’ phenomenon” and a manifesto pledge on which every Conservative MP stood. “Therefore [it is] a sacred bond with the electorate to support marriage because it was considered to be an absolutely key part of dealing with broken Britain,” said Mr Leigh.
He urged the Government to “fulfil the pledge they made solemnly in the manifesto, that they put in the Coalition agreement and which we are still waiting for”.
Mr Leigh’s proposal was part of an amendment to the Finance Bill, and his proposal called for the transfer of personal tax allowances between spouses. Mr Leigh’s amendment was defeated by 473 votes to 23. Only 15 Conservative and three Labour MPs backed the amendment, the others being Ulster Unionists.
Mr Leigh said that Britain’s failure to recognise marriage in the tax system meant that “it was out of line with other developed countries, with the effect that, far from supporting the best child development environment and being familyfriendly, it was placing a significantly greater proportion of its total tax burden on this family type than was the case in comparable countries.
In that context, it is not surprising that family breakdown, the key driver of the broken Britain phenomenon, is particularly pronounced and the case for recognising marriage in the tax system is clear and compelling.”
He also pointed out that the tax burden on one-earner married couples with children was 40 per cent greater in Britain compared to the OECD average.
Fiona Bruce, MP for Congleton, who also voted for the amendment, said that family breakdown costs the country between £24 billion and £41.6 billion every year. While in opposition the Conservatives promised to reform Britain’s tax system, one of the most anti-marriage in the world, but the proposal was dropped once in coalition with the Liberal Democrats.
NEWSBULLETIN Catholic schoolboy is the eighth teen killed in London A CATHOLIC schoolboy has become the eighth teenager murdered in London this year when he was stabbed in Welling, south-east London, last Friday.
Yemurai Kanyangarara from Belvedere, was killed in what police described as an act of “sheer brutality against a defenceless schoolboy”, adding that the murder – carried out in broad daylight on a busy street – was “about as bad as it gets”.
The 16-year-old, who arrived in Britain from Zimbabwe when very young, was attacked by three boys almost immediately after stepping off a 96 bus with a friend.
Nigel Fisher, principal at St Columba’s Catholic boys’ school in Bexleyheath, said Yemurai was a “kind, gentle lad”.
Union boss cites Church teaching THE DEPUTY general secretary of the Trades Union Congress has quoted Catholic Social Teaching to support its campaign against Government cuts.
Frances O’Grady, who will address the National Justice and Peace Network conference later this month, argued for the dignity of work and the right of the worker to belong to a trade union. She wrote: “We share a belief that every human being has the right to live in peace, dignity and freedom; that we all have a right to food, shelter, healthcare and education; and that we also have a right to work that is fulfilling, that contributes to the wider collective good, that allows us to provide for our families and that is fairly rewarded. Catholic teaching recognises that the relationship between an employer and a worker is a fundamentally unequal one and that therefore unions have an important role at work and in society, building solidarity and providing a voice for working people.”
Council delays bus cuts plans PLANS to end subsidised bus travel to church schools in the Cheshire East Council area have been postponed for a year, after an outcry from Christian families, while other options are investigated.
The bus services were due to be withdrawn for children starting at Catholic or Anglican schools from September 2012 and also for those transferring to post-16 education that year.
Work to save cave carvings CONSERVATIONISTS in Hertfordshire are working to preserve historic underground religious carvings. Work has begun on the 14th-century wall carvings representing the crucifixion, the Holy Family and several saints – among them St Katherine, St Laurence and St Christopher – which were discovered in the 18th century but have suffered damage as a result of worms feeding on the chalk walls.
Irish state disappointed by offer THE IRISH government has said it is disappointed with the compensation offer made by Catholic congregations guilty of child abuse. Education Minister Ruari Quinn wants the orders involved to meet half of the payments.
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BMA accuses Falconer commission of euthanasia bias
BY SIMON CALDWELL
LORD FALCONER’S inquiry into assisted suicide has suffered a major setback after it was condemned as biased by Britain’s doctors.
The British Medical Association (BMA) passed a resolution questioning the “stated impartiality and independence” of the Commission on Assisted Dying.
“The significant majority of members of Lord Falconer’s Commission on Assisted Dying are publicly in favour of assisted suicide and euthanasia,” it said in a motion approved at an annual conference in Cardiff.
The motion registered doctors’ support for the refusal of the BMA to give evidence to the commission because of its overt bias in favour of euthanasia.
It requested that the BMA ethics committee “make the association’s opposition to assisted suicide and euthanasia clear” to the Falconer commission and sent a warning to its own magazine, the British Medical Journal, to avoid bias in its reporting of the commission’s deliberations.
The motion won the backing of the BMA after it was disclosed that of the 12 members of the commission nine publicly support a change in the law to allow assisted suicide.
Cafod asks for urgent help for EthiopiaBYEDWEST
CAFOD has launched an emergency appeal after Ethiopia and other neighbouring African nations were hit by their worst drought in a generation.
A spokesman for the aid agency said: “We cannot underestimate the gravity of the situation. The rains have gone, the crops have failed, livestock are dying, and thousands of people are migrating in search of food but with nowhere better to go.”
Following two straight seasons of poor rain eight million people are facing food and water shortage as a drought worsens in the Horn of Africa. Poor rains in the region have led to failed harvests, serious water and pasture shortages, and the deaths of thousands of animals. Ethiopia is facing its worst famine for three decades, and Somalia and Kenya face severe food shortages, with hundreds of thousands of people facing starvation over the next three months.
In some parts of northern Kenya 37 per cent of the populat ion require emergency food supplies, more than double the 15 per cent threshold for a situation to be considered an emergency.
International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell announced that an extra £38 million would be provided for the World Food Programme’s work in Ethiopia. He said: “Through no fault of i ts own, the Horn of Africa is experiencing a severe drought caused by the failed rains.
“Britain is acting quickly and decisively in Ethiopia to stop this crisis becoming a catastrophe. We will provide vital food to help 1.3 million people through the next three months.
“For the response to be effective, we need the most up-to-date, accurate information on the level of need in Ethiopia. The country has made great strides in many areas over the past 30 years and this emergency relief will help to ensure that these gains are not eroded.’’
Mr Mitchell urged the Ethiopian government to provide figures on the numbers of those affected in the country’s south so that aid agencies could target relief. He unveiled extra help for 329,000 malnourished children.
A Cafod spokesman said: “Andrew Mitchell’s announcement is welcome and essential, but we need to see the same sense of urgency from other governments.”
He said that other countries would also have act. Editorial Comment Page 13
The only MP on the commission, Penny Mordaunt, is the chairwoman of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Choices at the End of Life, a group of MPs and peers who are campaigning for an assisted suicide law. The commission, set up by the think-tank Demos in November, is also funded by Dignity in Dying, formerly the Voluntary Euthanasia Society, and one of its celebrity patrons, Sir Terry Pratchett, the fantasy author.
The commission is due to report in the autumn ahead of an expected assisted suicide or euthanasia Bill probably introduced into the House of Lords next year, which would be the fourth attempt to change the law since 2006. Critics predict the report will call for a new Bill with so-called “robust safeguards” to legalise “assisted dying” for “mentally competent terminally ill adults”.
The BMA’s criticism was welcomed by the palliative care expert Baroness Finlay of Llandaff, founder of Living and Dying Well, a group which researches and publishes scientific papers on endof-life issues.
“What has happened today is that the BMA has expressed concern that the way this has been set up means that there isn’t a balanced, objective assessment of evidence because the commission hasn’t got people there who have practical concerns and objections to the evidence that is being proposed,” she said. “The inquiry made an assumption that those people who object even on practical grounds have closed minds and cannot look at different options objectively.”
The motion was also praised by anti-euthanasia campaigners who said it showed that the former Lord Chancellor’s inquiry has no credibility. “We have every reason to be thankful to the BMA,” said Phyllis Bowman of Right to Life said. “We are sure that MPs will recognise that the commission’s report is not worth the paper it is written on.” Elspeth ChowdharayBest of the Alert pressure group said: “This commission is nothing but a vehicle to persuade Parliament to legalise assisted suicide. It does not have any credibility as an impartial or independent group and the BMA must be applauded for courageously recognising that fact.”
So far more than 50 organisations have refused to give evidence to the inquiry. Parliamentarians have repeatedly rejected attempts to change the law.
But Sarah Wootton of Dignity in Dying, defended the commission. She said: “The Commission on Assisted Dying is helping to create a debate which the public wants and healthcare professionals need. This motion proposed by a representative from the Christian Medical Fellowship and supported by Baroness Finlay is disappointingly hostile to such debate but unwittingly forces the BMA to engage with the Commission. The BMA will now be forced to set out its opposition to a change in the law, which will include detailing the evidence that backs up its argument. Our analysis is that a change in the law on assisted dying would provide choice to end unnecessary suffering at the end of life and better protect people than the current law.”
The four men prostrate themselves during the ordination ceremony Mazur/catholicchurch.org.uk
Archbishop Nichols ordains four new priests BY DAVID V BARRETT
FOUR priests were ordained by Archbishop Vincent Nichols at Westminster Cathedral last Saturday on the Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
They are Fr Paolo Bagini, originally from Brazil, Fr Andrew Connick, Fr Andrew Gallagher and Fr Graham Stokes.
In his homily Archbishop Nichols told the four: “For you, this is a day of radical selfgiving and of radical fulfilment. It is a day of dying to self and rising again in the dignity of the ordained priesthood of Jesus Christ.”
Before their ordination the four candidates prostrated themselves on the floor of the cathedral, “taking up a posture of utter vulnerability, of selfabandonment. They do so as a sign of dying to self, so that Christ may raise them up to a new life in him,” he said.
Archbishop Nichols said: “In this act of ordination God exercises a total claim over your lives, setting you apart for himself in a particular way. Such is the nature of priestly holiness.
“Yet it must not be misunderstood. Holiness is a setting apart. Everything we bless and consecrate is indeed set apart for God. Yet this being set apart is, at the same time, a being sent out on mission. This is true of Christ: consecrated by the Holy Spirit, abandoning himself to death on the Cross, yet at the same time fulfilling the mission given by the Father of bringing love and compassion especially to those most in need. Our consecration to God,
as a baptised people, as priests and bishops, is inseparably our mission of service to others. The holiness we receive, for which we strive, lies always in our being for the world.”
Brought up in a Neocatechumenal family in Brazil, Fr Bagini wanted to be a priest from an early age. “I can even remember baptising my cat,” he said. Following teenage rebellion he said God led him “on an incredible journey which brought me to England at the age of 18” to begin training as a priest.
Fr Connick was an altar server at his parish church in Golders Green, London. He studied Computer Science at university. There, he said: “I came to realise that my relationship with God was the most important thing in my life.”
At seven Fr Gallagher was an altar boy at Our Lady of Lourdes in Harpenden, near St Albans. Later work as an intern at Westminster Cathedral, contact with the Faith Movement and working with parish pilgrimages with Pax Travel helped him to realise that God was calling him to the priesthood. Fr Stokes’s vocation was nurtured through the chaplaincy at Nottingham University and the Youth 2000 movement. Then he became involved in parish work, including involvement in the ‘At Your Word Lord’ programme at St Peter and St Paul’s in west London. The four new priests bring the total in the Archdiocese of Westminster to 417, serving over 400,000 Catholics in 214 parishes.
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Ethicists support ban on patents for stem cell products
BY SIMON CALDWELL
A GROUP of 25 ethicists and lawyers from 11 countries across Europe have expressed their support for a proposed ban on the patenting of technologies derived from destructive experiments on human embryos.
In a letter to the Nature journal the group argued that commercial interests alone were not sufficient to decide European policy.
The group was led by Dr David Jones, director of the Anscombe Bioethics Centre in Oxford – formerly the Linacre Centre, a bioethics institute serving the Catholic Church.
Signatories sought to express their opinion in the face of pressure put on the European Court of Justice to allow such patenting in spite of the opinion of Judge Yves Blot, one of its eight advocate generals, that it should be forbidden.
The advocate general recommended in March that European law should not allow patents for use of human embryos “for industrial or commercial purposes”. He argued that patents were not allowed on the human body “at the various stages of its formation and development”. This included the embryonic stage of development.
He gave his opinion during a case brought by the environmental group Greenpeace, which is challenging a patent filed by scientists in Germany.
A legally binding final decision is expected to be issued by the court in the next few weeks.
Stem cell scientists have objected to Mr Blot’s opinion, however, and a group of 13 of them wrote to Nature to say that biotechnological companies “must have patent protection” or “European discoveries could be translated into applications elsewhere”.
They said that “innovative companies must have patent protection as an incentive to become active in Europe”.
“The advocate-general’s opinion therefore represents a blow to years of effort to derive biomedical applications from embryonic stem cells in areas such as drug development and cell-replacement therapy,” the scientists said in their letter.
The ethicists’ letter urges the court to uphold the law. : “There will often be some commercial risk whenever Europe defends a more rigorous standard than is defended elsewhere. This risk is not itself an argument against upholding the standard prescribed by law.
“Without judgment in this case the resolution of patent law is and ought to be more than a question of European commercial interest.”
The ethicists argued that, while patents help the company that owns them, they may not help European interests, as they “may also be held by nonEuropean companies” and can prevent research cooperation.
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.
cafod.org.uk/eastafrica or call
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