Wednesday, 30 March 2011
Tuesday, 29 March 2011
This involved interviewing several hundred women at length, and recording the data they were looking for. However, she also noticed, after 20 or 30 interviews, a piece of information they weren't interested in for the research. Practically every one of these women who had attempted suicide, when asked about their suicide attempt and subsequent life, referred to an earlier abortion (ie before the suicide attempt). Having noticed this, she listened out for it subsequently, and with practically no exceptions, without being asked specifically about it, all the remaining women in the study mentioned the same thing.
Of course, there could be sociological explanations for some aspects of this: women who attempt suicide and women who have abortions may come from similar socio-economic backgrounds and so on. However the link was so hight that she suspected - and now strongly maintains - a causal link: not least because of the womens' evident need to talk about this, even, in some cases, decades later.
Strangely, I know of no formal academic research into this correlation....
Which reminded me of a story I remember from years back: the students were taught that the best openings of stories should contain as many as possible of the key elements of dramatic fiction: religion, sex, mystery, a person of rank...
So one student crafted the perfect first line:
'My God!,' cried the Duchess, 'I'm pregnant! I wonder whodunnit?'
Unfortunately as it's apocryphal, I can't post it in Fr Z's comments - so I put it here instead. Fewer readers, but I strive for quality not quantity...
Monday, 28 March 2011
Young people could be asked if they can define themselves as lesbian, gay, bisexual, questioning, queer, pansexual, genderqueer, a sexual, pan-romantic or trisexual.
But this is not something Pink News has invented: this is guidance offered by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC).
And just to be really clear, this is about schools being required to ask these questions of children from the age of 11 up.
In particular, schools are forbidden from suggesting that any pubescent or adolescent emotional phase may be just that - a phase. Never mind the evidence on the development of children, never mind the common experience of most of us - the ideology is clear: we want kids to commit to being queer early and for that commitment to be supported in every possible way.
We live in terrible times.
Prayers are essential.
H/t John Smeaton
Tuesday, 22 March 2011
We have outgrown our old website and are pleased to be able to launch a brand new website where we will be posting all the campaign news from now on. Our new website can be found at:
Our list of distinguished patrons is growing at a great pace. We are delighted to announce that the eminent QC, Anthony Speaight, Judith Mossman, Professor of Classics at Nottingham University, and the distinguished composer, Colin Mawby (former Master of the Music at Westminster Cathedral) have all done us the honour of accepting our invitation to become patrons in the past few days.
For short biographies of all our patrons, please go to the patrons' page of our website http://savethevaughan.com/
· We are still awaiting the outcome of the 9th March Appeal Court hearing about the composition of Cardinal Vaughan's Governing Body, at which judgment was reserved. Win or lose, our campaign to save the Vaughan will continue until the Diocesan director of education, Paul Barber, is removed from the Governing Body and two parents, with children at the school, are appointed as foundation governors.
· Our next event is on Wednesday 6th April, when the Governing Body meets at the school to discuss, among other things, the appointment of a new Headmaster. We will hold our second vigil of prayer and music, from 6.30pm - 8.00pm outside the school gates on this day. We intend the occasion to be a great celebration of the Catholic faith and of our commitment to the school. Do please join us if you possibly can. 89 Addison Road, London W14 8BZ. We are asking the chairman of the governors, John O'Donnell, to meet parents beforehand, to answer their questions about the future direction of the school.
· Toby Young, who founded the West London Free School which opens in September, has written about the Cardinal Vaughan dispute in the March 19th edition of the Spectator magazine. His article can be found here: http://www.spectator.co.uk/columnists/all/6788063/status-anxiety-a-lesso...
· We are gathering signatures for a petition of support for our aims which will be presented to Archbishop Nichols in due course.
The Vaughan Parents' Action Group is determined to preserve the Vaughan's distinctive Catholic ethos, its London-wide intake, and its academic, musical and sporting excellence and will pursue its campaign to ensure this relentlessly and by every possible means.
Monday, 21 March 2011
Sunday, 20 March 2011
Saturday, 19 March 2011
Friday, 18 March 2011
Sunday, 13 March 2011
CAFOD (the Catholic Fund for Overseas Development - supported by the Bishops of England and Wales) has a policy statement available from its www site which states clearly:
"It is important that people understand that abstinence and being faithful to one life-long partner in marriage, when both know they do not have HIV, are the surest ways to avoid infection through sexual activity," and further: "that CAFOD neither funds nor advocates the supply, distribution or promotion of condoms."
This is all, as CAFOD proudly proclaims, because "CAFOD seeks to exercise a role consistent with its Catholic character."
All well and good, the Catholic in the pew (who funds CAFOD on the basis of its being Catholic) might think.
But on the same site, we find another document (HIV Prevention From the Perspective of A Faith-Based Development Agency by Ann M. Smith, Jo Maher, Jim Simmons, Monica Dolan) which states, inter alia:
"abstinence can be used to mean:
Delaying the age of first sexual encounter. Evidence suggests that the abstinence aspect of ABC campaigns has been most successful among young people, for whom delaying the age of sexual debut was an important risk reduction strategy
Not having sex until the person is in a more stable relationship
Choosing to have sex only within a long-term committed relationship
Not having sex until marriage
As a mutually agreed and free choice (one of a number of possible options) by and between HIV discordant couples
As a preferred option for a specified period in a person’s life ."
Be Faithful "might mean fidelity to:
A single, mutually faithful partner, whether in marriage or in a long-term committed relationship
Serially monogamous relationships (provided a degree of stability exists within these relationships. What this means for individuals will vary, depending on current practices and alternative possibilities)
A strategy of reducing the number of partners
A strategy of reducing the instances of casual sex
A strategy of consistency in condom use if this is a person’s risk reduction option, given that condom failure is more often attributable to their inconsistent or incorrect use."
"The available evidence suggests that condom promotion has been particularly effective for identifiable groups at highest risk of HIV infection (e.g. sex workers) and who may have few if any other options for reducing risk.[snip] Thus an important component of this third strand of a nuanced ABC must be that C also stands for Choice. An imperative that becomes “Choose what you can change today; choose what you want to change for tomorrow” is informed by sound epidemiology and also compatible with the gradualist theological understanding referred to earlier. "
Is it me, or is there in fact a degree of promotion of condoms in the foregoing?
And is not 'abstinence' so proudly touted in the first policy document given a wholly new - and wholly unCatholic - meaning in the second?
I'll be choosing other Catholic charities for my alms this Lent...
- For years, the faithful were funding (to the tune of some £60,000 a year) the life of Julian Filochowski as Director of CAFOD, who was in a 'committed' homosexual relationship with an 'ex'-priest , and homosexual activist, campaigning against Church teaching;
- Filochowski's successor was found, despite earning a significant salary (doubtless justified as living in London is so expensive) to be living rent-free in the house of a Labour MP - the expenses of which were being paid by the tax-payer;
- CAFOD's prayers are regularly very flakey, eg last year's Lent prayer: 'Spirit of God... Work through us so our vision becomes reality.' Contrast with 'Thy will be done...' which is what Christ taught us to say;
- CAFOD has recently appointed Damian McBride to run their media operation: best known for his outrageous smear campaigns against opposing politicians while working for Gordon Brown (which caused his untimely departure from No 10);
- CAFOD has a habit of cosying up to the Labour Party generally, not known as the greatest bastion of support for Catholic Social or Moral teaching.
Saturday, 12 March 2011
Wednesday, 9 March 2011
· Yesterday evening, March 8th, Sir Adrian FitzGerald, former chairman of governors at Cardinal Vaughan, delivered a talk to invited parents on the background to the current dispute between the school and the Diocese, at 57 Tufton Street, SW1P 3QL from 7-8.30. Michael Gormally (the former Headmaster) and Patti Fordyce (former chairman of governors) was on hand, along with Sir Adrian, to answer questions. wine flowed. After the talk and the questions, those who wished to, walked to Westminster Cathedral and said some prayers outside for the future of the school, on the eve of the legal appeal. A version of of Sir Adrian's talk was first delivered on 25th January to the Order of Malta.
· Today, Ash Wednesday, March 9th at 10am. Appeal scheduled to be heard at the Law Courts. The case, brought by the five elected parent governors, is about the refusal of the Diocese of Westminster to appoint parents among the foundation governors at CVMS and the imposition of its own director of education on to the governing body. The judgment could be reserved. I will keep you informed of developments.
· We are collecting patrons at a phenominal rate, including some very distinguished Catholic journalists, authors and academics. This is the current list (subject to almost daily updates): Professor Felipe Fernandez-Armesto, Patti Fordyce, Professor Luke Gormally, Michael Gormally, Lord Grantley, Paul Johnson, Edward Leigh MP, Lord Lexden, Charles Moore, Cristina Odone, Professor Thomas Pink, Piers Paul Read, Dr John Martin Robinson, Professor Mark Watson-Gandy. For short biographies of our patrons, please go here: https://sites.google.com/site/vaughanparentsactiongroup/patrons
· Through our correspondence with our patrons and our leafletting activities at parishes and primary schools, we are becoming aware of just how much support our campaign has among Catholics generally, not just those with connections with the school. We are also aware that there are a great many Catholic priests among our supporters (though we are being careful to protect their identities). We are hugely encouraged by this and we are all absolutely determined that, whichever way the appeal goes, the campaign to preserve the Vaughan's distinctive Catholic ethos, its London-wide intake, and its academic, musical and sporting excellence, will be pursued relentlessly and by every possible means.
Please remember the Vaughan School in your prayers today and throughout Lent.
Thursday, 3 March 2011
Dear Mr X
I was distressed to see, on reading one of Dominique's Year 7 RE handouts, (Unit 3 - Jesus) that it included the following:
‘He (Jesus) lived with Mary and Joseph and his brothers and sisters in Nazareth until he was baptised by John the Baptist.’
This is a highly contested, Protestant, point of view, and from a Roman Catholic position has been formally condemned as heresy as early as the First Lateran Council in 649.
The English translation of ἀδελφός ‘adelphos’ as ‘[blood] brother’ in the Gospels sits uncomfortably with its application to Lot and Abraham, and to Laban and Jacob in Genesis. Likewise, Jesus’s assigning Mary to John from the Cross clearly implies there were no blood relatives to take his place as her son.
In fact the semitic languages had no variant words for cousins and nephews, and the same word was used for all (cf Genesis examples cited), then translated into Greek as ‘adelphos’ leading to this ambiguity.
The Protestant insistence on a literal meaning of ‘[blood] brother’ for this word in the Gospels (though not in Genesis...) is a deliberate rejection of the Catholic (and Orthodox) teaching on the perpetual virginity of Mary - and is therefore also a minority view within Christianity.
I think it unfortunate (to say the least) that this should be presented as a simple fact, in passing, in a text that is not avowedly Protestant. It would be far more helpful, and more honest, to explore the divergence of interpretations - or simply to omit the contentious statement all together. I really dislike having to tell my children that what they have been taught in school is wrong...
I hope that the RE Department will look into this and decide an appropriate solution - and I would be interested to hear your response.
On the Today programme this morning, I heard the tail end of a discussion about relationships between Catholics and Jews. I do not know who the Catholic representative was, but he made the point that both Pope John Paul 2nd and our current Holy Father had apologised for Catholic mistreatment of Jews through history, based on a wrong interpretation of the words in St Matthew’s Gospel: ‘His blood be upon us and our children’s children.’
The female rabbi concluded the discussion by saying ‘Every time this is mentioned there should be an apology.’
That struck me a slightly strange.
I make no excuses for the persecution of Jews through the centuries, but it did strike me that what the Rabbi was saying was that present day Catholics are accountable for the sins of their fore fathers. It’s a tenable position. But the context within which she was saying it, that present-day Jews could not be held accountable for the sins of their fore-fathers struck me as slightly self-contradictory.