Wednesday, 25 January 2012

So who are this lot then?

The first post on a new blog has to be the hardest to write.  In fact I didn’t really have a clue how to start... A cheery “hello” followed by a group bio?   Or should we introduce ourselves one by one?  Should I launch straight in there with an impassioned statement of our aims?  (Because we are impassioned about this topic.)  In the end I realised I didn’t have a clue so I’ve just started in, somehow or another.

We are, as the sidebar says, a group of parishioners from a church in the south of England who get together regularly to “do our bit” towards promoting respect for the dignity and sanctity of human life from conception until natural death.  This blog is a way of trying to reach out beyond the walls of our church hall, our houses and the town where we live and make contact with others out there who feel the same (or don’t feel the same but are open to discussing it).

“Pro life” is a big phrase.  It’s often interpreted narrowly as “against abortion” but actually covers so much more.  Being “for life” involves respecting the incredible, immeasurable value of each and every person, and that has ramifications far beyond the womb and far beyond what we normally define as being in the pro-life category.  So what does St John’s pro life group think it means...?

OK.  It means respecting that every human embryo, however created – in fact even every human blastocyst in its earliest stages – is exactly that, human.  Therefore the embryo has a right not to be thought of as raw material for scientific study, however well-intentioned the aims, and he/she has a right to live for as long as he/she is naturally able – for who is to draw the dividing line that says, “Now this is a person”?  The path of development from two cells to baby to pre-pubescent child to adult is a continuum.  Human being at each of the later three stages look, behave and feel very differently but we do not admit a right to terminate the lives of any of them.

It means respecting the value of each person whether or not they are able to walk, speak or be economically productive and however far from “perfect” their appearance is or however limited their range of obvious talents.  Importantly, it means helping people in all sorts of circumstances appreciate their own value.  It means giving the elderly and the ill a reason to live, not reasons to die.  It means realising that suffering and physical or mental limitations do not automatically preclude what we (sometimes rather nebulously) refer to as “quality of life”.  It means understanding that we are all in this thing (this amazing, wonderful, terrible, painful, challenging thing) called life together and that our care and our support can make life worth living for others.

It means caring about justice and peace and war and hunger and poverty too.  The respect for human life that motivates the pro-life campaigner is the very same respect that sends aid workers to war-torn regions and prompts us to give money to appeals for areas stricken by natural catastrophe.  We cannot advocate for the rights of our suffering brothers and sisters in Africa but ignore those of our brothers and sisters unable to speak for themselves because they are still in the womb or incapacitated by illness.

That’s probably a long enough post to be beginning with (I said we were impassioned!).  Each member of our group has their own story and some of us will share those with you, if you’d like.  We will update this blog with news and views on the latest pro-life issues and campaigns.  And we’ll try to keep it light from time to time, on the grounds that a simple smile can make the whole world look different...


  1. Dear All,
    Brilliant! I am so proud of you all. I pray that your love for life will encourage others who doubt its awesomeness will stop and think of how graced they are.
    God bless,
    Fr. Peter

  2. Hi - you're in for a tough ride - and your definitions aren't going to be so easy when it comes to the critical ethical junctures such as ANT & OAR for concepti, then hydatidiform & choriocarcinoma obfuscation conception itself and the dangers of pre-implantation diagnostics and resultant ideologies , issues such as Palliative Care & the Liverpool Care pathway, organ donation, surrogacy, prophylactic intention, contraceptive intention, capital punishment and what constitutes a just war etc...

    Some of you may be 'infected' by your political persuasions [it's very easy for one with leftist leanings to veer towards the collective while a political conservative always has the threat of rugged libertarian individualism whispering in their ear] - don't let it swerve you off the path...

    I urge you to never be afraid of the science [the real science - don't forget 95%+ of commentators/self-promoting experts on fertility/reproductive issues ARE NOT EMBRYOLOGISTS!] nor ever fear the statistics nor the fundamental principles of Catholic teaching [however ostensibly uncharitable-seeming, insensitive, cruel-appearing etc] - minds immeasurably superior to ours with hearts the size of planets have deliberated and discerned these issues again and again for the sake of God & Holy Mother Church - and they do have the right - and true - answers!

    The answers are all there - you just need to look.

    Then there will be those who are avid Theology of the Body-ists who extol the benignity of NFP and metaphysical notions such as ensoulment versus those of Old-school fundamental moral theology of a soul being embodied into a soul/body holism [NOT the reverse] and NFP being a moral disorder permissible solely through the double-effect and only ever being right recourse of action and never [even fractionally contr. e.g. Fr Dylan James] a good-in-itself.

    Casti Connubii, Pius XII's allocutios, humanae vite, evangelium vitae and the wonderful recent encyclicals etc have fundamental principles with consequences of cosmic proportions which will impinge on scenarios and paradigms you never thought feasible.

    I salute you, even now am praying hard for you; but please be aware that you embark on a journey where your yoke is going to be heavy and simple answers, fallacies and wishful thinking will tempt, beguile and seduce you every step of the way...I plead with you to never fall away from the mission - to strive for that moral simplicity beyond complexity where life and love are a holism and God is always the crux and foundation of every issue.

    ...and for God's sake please - do not rely on a McCormick, a Curran, a McBrien or a Dalrymple or a host of others purporting to be Catholic moral theologians - go for the magisterially endorsed and even then - don't rely on them to ever provide you with the authentic Catholic teaching - seek it out for yourselves and where a moral theologian can supplement, complement or vitalise an argument - then give them some recourse.

    A good rule of thumb in all issues is listen to what the Church says first on every issue - then spend the rest of your life trying to understand its wonders, intricacies, mystical nuances and inherent beauty and truth.

    Learn to love the truth about Love and Life - and you will be filled with the strongest, gentlest capacities to fight every battle and defend every principle - and do it in Love.

    ...but don't forget there's a war on. 1.6 Billion+ mechanically aborted in just over forty years - hundreds of thousands of our brothers and sisters being experimented upon as we speak - the sick , vulnerable and unwanted being eugenicised and euthanised - and it all being endorsed, promoted and politically sdvocated for - by those claiming to be ethics experts...

    Ladies & Gentlemen: This is War!
    Truth & Love will be your weapons and armour.
    Use them wisely.
    God Bless and all our hopes.
    Paul Priest.

    1. Fantastic advice Paul. Thank you.
      Your prayer support is much appreciated!

    2. Thanks indeed Paul for the support. The pro life struggle can be a daunting one, in terms of the often complex issues involved, the scale of the problems and the strength of the convictions and emotions felt and expressed by both sides. I think you've given us two very good handles to hold on to though, through thick and thin - "strive for that moral simplicity beyond complexity where... God is always the crux and foundation of every issue" and
      "a good rule of thumb in all issues is listen to what the Church says first on every issue".

    3. Powerful stuff ... And, yes, honey, not vinegar, will win out every time.

  3. Thank you Anneli for starting us off with such a good first post! We all look forward to lots more Xxx

  4. Welcome to Blogland with a worthy cause. Thank you and well done. You've started well and I hope and pray that you continue from strength to strength.

    One suggestion. Please tone down the "Catholic" labels in your posts or Blog. This would restrict any support you might get outwith our Church. It is good to be Christian and we should proudly say so, but let us not create divisions by wearing denominational badges.

    I also suggest at some stage you link/share with overseas Blogs with similar views/interests. This might help:

    You may also wish to see this post on my Blog:

    Please make use of this song if it helps. It is on You Tube. The song has now saved about 23 babies. Please read the comments on my Blog.

    I also contribute to two other Blogs. This:

    and this:

    Please let me know if you wish me to post anything there on your behalf.

    God bless.