"Christ lives, he has overcome death, he has overcome all these powers. We live in this certainty, in this freedom, and in this joy." (Pope Benedict XVI, General Audience, 12 XI 2008)
"Do not accept anything as the truth if it lacks love. And do not accept anything as love which lacks the truth! One without the other becomes a destructive lie." (Blessed John Paul II, Canonisation of Edith Stein, 11 X 1998)

Sunday, 31 October 2010

40 days for life in London ends today ... but the battle for life continues, not only in Europe and the USA but all around the world....

We went to pray in front of the Marie Stopes abortion clinic in London yesterday. As we were approaching the end of 40 days for life the crowd was getting bigger and bigger. Each person desperately wanting to show their support for life. For the Divine Mercy hour there were around 40 people praying together “Have mercy on us and on the whole world”. The sight was impressive: a legion of “life defendants” standing like soldiers and begging for the Divine Mercy. Young people, families with babies …

And the words of prayer were very meaningful in those circumstances. We were all UK residents (foreigners and British nationals) … not like “The Independent” quoted - a bunch of Texans where the “40 days for life” originates from. Well educated and well aware of what is happening … and ready to defend the lives.

It has already been a long battle but we Trust in God that He will listen to our prayers and put an end to the biggest genocide that has ever happened and is allowed to continue still.

Let’s start from the beginning. As the sign says, Stopes opened the UK's first family planning clinic, the Mothers' Clinic at 61, Marlborough Road, on 17 March 1921. It was called the Birth Control Clinic. Stopes and her fellow family planning pioneers around the globe, like Dora Russell, played a major role in so called reproductive health. In 1930 the National Birth Control Council was formed. It was a time of Margaret Sanger in the USA (IPPF today), Shidzue Ishimoto in Japan, and Elise Ottesen-Jensen (founder of RFSU which belongs to IPPF today and one of the founders of IPPF) in Norway and Sweden – who tried to appeal to individuals’ rights to health and happiness while organizing services to meet their needs. Ottesen-Jensen argued for sterilization or isolation of the unfit so the society. The first editorial of Marie Stope’s “Birth Control News” emphasized that her organization did “NOT desire to see the numbers of English People reduced. Instead it wanted to “recruit” from healthy, well-conditioned individuals only”. She declared “there has never been any birth control movement that did not lay stress on the eugenic side of it”. The terms ‘birth control’ was coined first by Margaret Sanger, and she did mean control. It was in 1914 and she was with her friends in her New York apartment. They considered ‘neo-Malthusiam’, ‘voluntary parenthood’, ‘voluntary parenthood’, ‘family control’, ‘race control’… and then it came ‘birth control’… but who exercised that control, by what means, and for what purposes, were questions that persisted since then…

Stopes was a prominent campaigner for the implementation of policies inspired by eugenics. In her Radiant Motherhood (1920) she called for the "sterilisation of those totally unfit for parenthood [to] be made an immediate possibility, indeed made compulsory." She contributed a chapter manifesto to The Control of Parenthood (1920), comprising a sort of manifesto for her circle of Eugenicists, arguing for a "utopia" to be achieved through "racial purification". In 1935 Stopes attended the International Congress for Population Science in Berlin, held under the Nazi regime. She was more than once accused of being anti-Semitic by other pioneers of the birth control movement such as Havelock Ellis. Following the death of Marie Stopes in 1958, a large part of her personal fortune went to the Eugenics Society that is now called The Galton Institute (It was founded in 1908 as the Eugenics Education Society, becoming the Eugenics Society in 1926 (often known as the British Eugenics Society to distinguish it from others), with the aim of promoting eugenics, it changed its name to the Galton Institute in 1989).

From the 1920s onward, Marie Stopes gradually built up a small network of clinics that were initially very successful, but by the early 1970s were in financial difficulties. In 1975 the clinics went into voluntary receivership. The modern organisation that bears Marie Stopes' name was established a year later as an international Non-Governmental Organisation working on Sexual and Reproductive Health. The Marie Stopes International (MSI) global partnership took over responsibility for the main clinic, and in 1978 it began its work overseas in New Delhi. Since then the organisation has grown steadily and today the MSI works in 38 countries, has 452 clinics worldwide. “In 2006 alone, the organisation provided services to 4.6 million clients and by 2010 aims to protect 15 million couples from unplanned pregnancies and unsafe abortion” – quote.

The main focus is, however, not on European countries but on developing ones, still so many years after the first eugenics memorandums. Below you will find the strategic priorities for Marie Stopes International. I hope that will make you think about how much we need to focus our efforts not only on Europe but on developing countries as well, where people luck education and financial support to make sound and preferable decisions. The latest MSI campaign "Make Women Matter" with all the strategies behind should make you think. Yes, their lives matter to us but the solutions proposed by MSI are outrageous.

How much 'every women matters' for them is scandalous and do not be fooled by Freudian double talk (see photo).

Marie Stopes International aims to do this by (quote):

"Strategic priority one:

• continuing to expand into new countries, with a focus on Africa, as well as expanding within all existing country programmes

• providing the widest range of contraceptive choice with the aim of providing protection to more than 15 million couples from unplanned pregnancy and unsafe abortion during the year

• rolling out medical abortion into at least 12 countries and increase dramatically the number of safe abortions and post abortion care we provide around the world

• expand our service delivery infrastructure via the number of outreach activities Marie Stopes International undertakes and via the BlueStar social franchising network.

Strategic priority three:

increase locally earned income, principally from MSI’s clinics
• continuing to build general reserves both in the UK and throughout the Group"

This is about something much bigger than choice. It is about what it means to be human. There is an agenda here to rid the world of the "poorest" and "weakest" in society (as decided by a handful of selfish people), and in the world. We need to stop this. Anyone passionate in joining me to fight for the lives of babies in developing countries, for those most vulnerable and poor that according to the terrible western/donor policies do not deserve to live because the population growth is out of control ... please let me know

Thursday, 28 October 2010

“Blood Money" in London

Yesterday, 28th of October 2010, at the Coronet Cinema in Notting Hill Gate the UK premiere of the  film "Blood Money" took place. This was organised by the “40 Days for Life” team in London.

The theatre was a very appropriate setting as it was very much like a womb (at least to me). We all felt safe and warm and the walls were a warm red colour. The place was full and almost 400 people poured into the beautiful 19th century theatre for almost half an hour before the screening.

Upon entering the theatre participants were given plenty of materials:  the book "A Pure Heart Create for Me (Theology of the Body Today)" edited by Robert Colquhoun, his booklet "Finding Love in a Superficial Age" (referencing Loveundefiled.blogspot.com), and a number of leaflets, including "50 ways to help Unborn babies and their mothers" by Randy Alcon; "icare" by Human Life Alliance (www.humanlife.org), some leaflets by SPUC (Society for the Protection of Unborn Children) and The Good Counsel Network (wonderful angels that work in abortion counselling every day). Most importantly, we were given a small life-size replica baby as he/she would be at 10-12 weeks from conception.

Robert Colquhoun did a short introduction to the film by talking about the first edition of 40 days for life in London (he is the UK Campaign Director) and to the movie. It is great for London to be united to 238 cities around the world. Best of all the fruits of the campaign were revealed, so far 6 cases are confirmed of babies being allowed by their mothers to live. A small drop against the 200,000 abortions which occur each year in the UK, but each life is unbelievably precious. The London campaign has also seen the distribution of 10,000 copies of the “icare” pro-life magazine. Before the movie began Robert relayed a story to us about a group of people being stuck on a raft in stormy weather. Of these people all had life belts holding them into the raft except for one pregnant woman. As the seas grew rougher she was thrown overboard. What did the rest of the group do? Did they decide to write to the local Member of Parliament to complain about the lack of life belts? Did they form a committee to discuss the tragedy and how it can be prevented? Did they blame the person steering the raft? No, the only thing to do was to extend a life line and save her immediately. That, Robert said, is the situation we are in now: We need to act to save these woman who feel they have no choice but to abort.

The movie itself was very informative, though it suffers from trying to attack the scourge of abortion from too many directions in such a short time. We are introduced to the misuse of the judiciary, the eugenics movements and planned parenthood (originally the Birth Control League) and the lie of “safe“ abortion. But as there is so little available about the subject in the mainstream media we have this movie  to pin our  hopes on, and it does deserve this. It is narrated by Dr Alveda King, a niece of Dr Martin Luther King, Jr.. "Blood Money" is very focused on the United States. For most of the initial 30 minutes there is intensive scrutiny of the judicial system and how abortion was made widely available to the people in the US through circumventing the constitution and disregard for medical facts. The movie then it gets more moving with the testimonies of women who experienced abortion, with Carol Everett who used to run the abortion clinic (her testimony http://www.priestsforlife.org/testimony/everett.htm) being the star of the movie and in my opinion a separate movie could be made based on her story. There are various high profile pro-life speakers in the movie: Father Frank Pavone from "Priests for Life"; Father Thomas Euteneuer (ex-director of Human Life International); Troy Newman; Joseph Scheilder from "Pro Life Action League", abortion and then anti-abortion pioneer Dr Bernard Nathanson (his testimony http://www.aboutabortions.com/Confess.html); and others from ALL (American Life League), the  Justice Foundation, and others. It is very moving to see the testimonies of so many shedding light on the pain that woman suffer and how many attempt suicide after having abortion (teenage girls being 6 times more likely to try after an abortion).

Artistically the movie is not going to win any awards. There is also not as  much suspense or emotional involvement as there is in the trailer (which is great) but instead it is packed full of  facts and opinions.

I would encourage Pro-Life newcomers and truth seekers to see this film. It provides a great introduction to the topic and can inspire those who are currently in the confusion of being pro-choice to re-evaluate  their beliefs based on logic and reason. Murder is murder.

I would like to end with the prayer Robert prayed before the film. “We pray for a day when no more babies die, and no mother’s cry.” Amen

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Word of God - 2010-10-26


Whomever labors as he prays
lifts his heart to God with his hands.
(St. Benedict, 6th century) 

Subscribe at WordofGodEveryday.com

Monday, 25 October 2010

DFID Malaria Consultation - 'Breaking the cycle of malaria'

There is a great opportunity to direct the fight against malaria. Please see below and complete the survey.

The Department for International Development's malaria consultation is closing on Tuesday 26 October 2010 and we are keen to get as many opinions as possible on how best to tackle malaria. Your comments and expertise will help us to understand different viewpoints, how these issues vary in different countries, and how DFID could work better with partners.
To have your say visit: 
email your feedback to malaria@dfid.gov.uk.

What was promised at the UN MDG Summit?
The Secretary of State for International Development, Andrew Mitchell,  announced that the UK will help halve the number of deaths caused by malaria in at least ten African countries by 2015. As part of this  boost, UKaid will save 5,500 children's lives in Zambia by increasing access to malaria prevention, diagnostics and treatment and in Ghana the UK will supply 2.4 million new insecticide-treated bednets, enough to save 13,000 lives a year.

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Whose your daddy?

Once again I would  like to share something from Papa Ratzi. This time from Jesus of Nazareth. Remember when Pontius Pilate offered to release one of Jesus Christ or Barabbas? Until the third century many copies of the gospels called Barabbas by the name of Jesus Barabbas. When we break down the name we see Bar-Abbas, Bar meaning son, Abba meaning father (daddy really). Hence we have Jesus the Christ put against Jesus the son of the Father, reflecting two messianic figures for the Jewish people, and they come together in the scene as alter egos. Barabbas was probably a mercenary who was leading revolts against the Roman governors. So we have Jesus Christ who is represents a fight for a kingdom of Love, not of this world, and Jesus Barabbas who is fighting for worldly power. And we know that the people who called for Barabbas to be released show that they choose worldly power over God's message. We still do that today. And so a story we pass over so quickly every year becomes a little bit deeper.
Jesus of Nazareth 

Sunday, 17 October 2010

Situation in South Sudan, Is Separation after the Referendum a Possibility?

With less than 100 days to go to the referendum on Southern separation from the Khartoum government, the Bishops of South Sudan are crying out to raise awareness of the situation in the South of Sudan. It seems like the world has forgotten the plight of Southerners in Sudan. But the suffering, humiliation and persecution at the hands of the Khartoum government continues.

Yesterday (Saturday 16 October 2010) I was fortunate to attend a Mass at Westminster Cathedral presided over by Bishop of Tambura-Yambio in Southern Sudan, Bishop Eduardo Hiiboro Kussala. The Bishop also gave a talk and answered questions as part of the Aid to the Church in Need’s presentation “Hope without Fear.” This is part of his European tour to raise awareness of the situation in the South of Sudan ahead of the South Sudanese independence referendum to take place in January 2011.

Bishop Eduardo became bishop at the age of 39, after failing to convince the Pope that he was too young to take such a job. The Pope allayed his fears by assuring him that “God will take care.” Bishop Eduardo’s lost his mother when he was only 2 months old. She was killed in a military raid. Bp Eduardo has now made a lifetime commitment to doing his best to make sure that no more babies will be left without their mother’s in this way. He was raised by his catholic grandmother who made him pray often, always saying “Let us pray now, we don’t know what tomorrow will bring.”

Britain left Sudan in 1956, and since then there has not been peace. This is due to the hurried way in which the independence of Sudan was granted, forcing the very different Muslim North into a union with the Christian South. Since that time 3.8 million have died and many more left displaced and lives destroyed.

Finally in 2005 the Comprehensive Peace agreement was signed, giving the South some self-determination, and promising a referendum to decide independence. That promised referendum is due to take place in January 2011. However, the Khartoum government are making public statements that they “will not accept separation” says Bp Eduardo. The southerners are also referred to as cockroaches. This is creating tremendous unease as the same government that killed almost four million are now continuing to treat their Southern brothers and sisters with contempt.

The bishops are calling for international observers for the referendum. But in addition to this, there is also a need for a peace force that would be able to intervene in the case of the (probable) conflict. The Bishop told us of how both sides are already massing armed forces on the border between North and South Sudan.

What is the Church in Sudan suggesting to the people from the pulpit? The good bishop assures us that the Church is calling for the people to “Choose Life- Vote for that option that will give life. Vote for what will end your humiliation and bring equality.”

To put the severity of the situation in perspective we need to remember that Sudan suffered a civil war from the time the British left in 1956 until 2005 when the Comprehensive Peace Agreement was signed. This new peace is now threatened as the South wish to claim their rights. When I was living in Khartoum with the Salesians in 2008 I was also fortunate enough to travel around South Sudan. In my visits to Tonj, Wau, Juba and their surrounding areas my eyes were opened to the poverty of the people. The lack of infrastructure is astounding. The only tarred road I came across in Southern Sudan was in Juba, and then it was only 80km worth in total! So why is the North hell bent on retaining this area? The simple answer is: Oil. The south is oil rich with the Khartoum government administering the sale of this oil. If the South were to separate then Khartoum would lose much of its wealth. Additionally, allowing autonomy to Southerners means that similar call from Darfur in the West and slowly the domination of the Islamist government of this large country (covering a surface area as vast as the entirety of Western Europe) begins to disintegrate. The likelihood of Khartoum (supported by the Arab League) allowing this to occur is close to zero. Omar-al-Bashir, president of Sudan (president since the military coup of 1989) is already making excuses as to why the government will renege on the agreement under the Comprehensive Peace agreement.

In such a seemingly hopeless situation what can we do? Bishop Eduardo has 3 recommendations:
1) Pray for Sudan and join the 101 Days of Prayer for Peace in Sudan.
2) Do your best to influence your government to get involved now. It will be cheaper for everyone to step in and prevent the impending return of civil war.
3) Support Aid to the Church in Need. “When a country goes to war, the Church is the only one remaining to provide humanitarian services.”

Children getting water from the "donkey" at Gumbo. There is no running water so people travel either to the River Nile or the scattered hand pumps to obtain water.

Many people still live in huts like these. One Sudanese religious once told me that "people are still in the bronze age in Southern Sudan"

Despite all the hardships, there is still reason to smile
Even in a small village outside of Juba people have Jesus on their minds. Where there is Christ, there is Hope

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Intellect, Will and Emotions (emphasis added)

From St Faustina III:1103
The quintessence of love is sacrifice and suffering. Truth wears a crown of thorns. Prayer involves the intellect, the will, and the emotions.
III: 1152
It is no easy thing to bear sufferings joyfully, especially those which are unmerited. Fallen nature rebels, and although the intellect and will are above suffering, because they are able to do good to those who inflict suffering on them, nevertheless the emotions raise a lot of noise and, like restless spirits, attack the intellect and will. But when they see they cannot do anything by themselves, they quiet down and submit to the intellect and will. Like some kind of hideousness, they rush in  and stir up a row, bent on making one obey them alone so long as they are not curbed by the intellect and will.
Diary of Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska: Divine Mercy in My Soul

Sunday, 10 October 2010

Light Gives Heat - Jars of Clay - Music with Meaning


This is a song from Jars of Clay, a really beautiful song with a profound message. The song begins with the angelic voices of the African Children's Choir singing in L'Ugandan. They sing the chorus refrain, which is: "You treat me like I'm blind, setting fires around houses on the hill but light gives heat."

What this song does is set the priorities in the correct way, beginning with those who are receiving the help. It then goes on to describe why so many international aid projects fail: "Heroes from the west; We don't know you, we know best." A type of arrogance that must be overcome.

But the beauty is that in the end those who have come ask the poor to show them how to really live: "Will you teach us how to love?; To see the things you see; Walk the road you walked; Feel the pain that you feel; At your feet I kneel; I want to see you shine; See your light not mine; 'Cause light gives heat; Your light gives heat." 

When we understand that the poor can teach us more than we can teach them, especially about Gospel values, then we begin to enter into the most fruitful relationships. That is when the interaction between the "developed" and "developing" worlds begin to discover anew what it means to be human.

This is the beauty of Christianity. The "developed" world is motivated by Love to reach out to help the material needs of their brothers, and in the interactions (rightly ordered) they receive the Truth of what Love really is. That is why you so often hear charity workers in materially poor countries say that they received much more than they could ever give.

Remember too that "Man is the source, the focus and the aim of all economic and social life." (Gaudium et Spes, 63). When companies are making profits and still are retrenching individuals, then we have proof that this has been forgotten.

"Segregate my mind, burning crosses from your fear... but light gives heat". A fair warning in the song. Let us not mistake our cultural practices and ways of "Western" living for Christianity. Christianity is much deeper and transcends these things. We should not expect others to become Christian due to fear of hell, but out of Love for Truth, and each other.

To close I would like to quote from Caritas in Veritate, Pope Benedict's Encyclical:
"Openness to God makes us open towards our brothers and sisters and towards an understanding of life as a joyful task to be accomplished in the spirit of solidarity. On the other hand, ideological rejection of God and an atheism of indifference, oblivious to human values, constitute some of the chief obstacles to development today."

Friday, 8 October 2010

Why do Catholics pray through Mary? Because they are Jewish of course...

This is something I learned today as I was reading the first pages of Taylor Marshall's book "The Crucified Rabbi" as he explains how a Rabbi began his journey from Episcopalean pastor to Catholic Priest. On his first assignment he was asked to do a hospital visitation. He got his prayer book ready, along with his stole and went to the hospital, only to find the patient he was to pray for was Jewish (her husband was Episcopalian and she attended the services with him). As Fr Taylor was leaving the hospital room he bumped into her Rabbi who had also come to pray with her. The Rabbi asked the husband for the name of his wife's mother (as the patient had fallen asleep and could not be asked). The husband was perplexed and asked Rabbi why he needed that info and the Rabbi replied: "We Jews believe that if someone is suffering and you invoke the name of his or her mother in prayer, God will be more merciful in granting your prayer for that person."
This series of events began Fr Taylor's discovering the Biblical roots of Catholicism and his conversion.
I researched a bit further on this topic and found that it is rooted in Psalm 116 which reads "I worship you, LORD, just as my mother did, and you have rescued me from the chains of death."  (Psa 116:16 CEV). We must also note that the Jewish faith is passed down from the mother and when praying for someone they would emphasize their eternal link to God which comes from the mother.
As Catholics we pray for Mary's intercession as our mother, the mother of all of us in Faith. We can say, even, that Mary is the new Abraham, but whereas Abraham was spared the sacrifice of his son Isaac, Mary was entrusted to see her son sacrificed for our salvation. She is, so to say, Abraham going even one step further. She, like Abraham, watched her only son carry the wood for his own sacrifice up the hill. However, she was not spared the sacrifice of her son. Truly, just as Abraham is our father in Faith, so Mary is our Mother, believing that God's plan brings salvation in any circumstances.
We also know that Mary is our mother from the word's spoken to John from the Cross: "Behold your mother" (Jn 19:27).
Let us thank Jesus for given His blessed Mother to us and pray continually for her intercession, remembering that it was at the prompting of Mary that Jesus performed His first public miracle at the wedding feast at Cana (John Chapter 2).
Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee, blessed are thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death.

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Humility (from St Faustina)

From The Diary of St Faustina (Notebook 1:270):
Without humility, we cannot be pleasing to God. Practice the third degree of humility; that is, not only must one refrain from explaining and defending oneself when reproached with something, but one should rejoice at the humiliation.
Diary of Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska: Divine Mercy in My Soul 

Sunday, 3 October 2010

Choose Faith, it is the only reasonable thing to do (from B16)

 This is a quote from one of Cardinal Ratzinger's books.
The decision to believe in God is ultimately a decision in favour of reason and a decision about whether good and evil, truth and untruth, are merely subjective categories or reality. In this sense, in the beginning there is faith, but a faith that first acknowledges the dignity and scope of reason. Thinking and living are no longer separable when man confronts the ultimate questions. The decision for God is simultaneously an intellectual and an existential decision – each determines the other reciprocally. For us the problem is whether the world comes from an irrational source, so that reason would be nothing but a "by-product " of the development of the world, or whether the world comes from reason, so that it's criterion and its goal is reason. A reason that has its origin in the irrational and is itself ultimately irrational does not offer a solution to our problems. Only that creative reason which has manifested itself as love in the crucified God can truly show us what life is. It is an obvious fact that the rational character of the universe cannot be explained rationally on the basis of something irrational! This is why the Logos (the word of God, that word which he issued to create the world in the creation stories found in Genesis , and the word that became flesh in the person of Jesus) that is at the origin of all things remains more than ever the best hypothesis, although this is of course a hypothesis that demands that we give up a position where it is we who are in charge and that we take the risk of assuming the position if the humble listeners. That is to say that everything is a stream of thought. The creative spirit is the origin and the sustaining ground of all things. All that is, is by its origin intelligible, because it comes from creative reason.

Saturday, 2 October 2010

Short reflection on the Joyful Mysteries

I would like to share with you my reflections for the joyful mysteries today. I actually wrote these down at the beginning of 2008 when I was living in Sudan. Here goes:

We learn to accept what is asked of us (the annunciation). We are also called to visit our friends frequently to share in their joy and to bring them our good news (as Mary shows in the Visitation), and when others visit us, even if it inconveniences us, we should welcome them graciously (as Mary and Joseph welcomed the shepherds and wise men to the stable in which Christ was born), and when we are visited by anyone, no matter how humble or insignificant they appear we should be able to recognise God in them (as Simeon recognised the Messiah in the baby Jesus, even though he would have scarcely believed that he could be saved by an infant). Lastly, when ever we visit or entertain friends, it is key to listen to them and question them in such a way as to open them to God's message of Love, never criticising nor condoning mistakes or prejudices, but guiding them (as Jesus did when in the Temple as a 12 year old young boy).
God Bless