Video: Irish Lesbian ‘married’ couple applauded at Catholic Mass.

 

Two women in a same-sex “marriage” have been applauded during Mass at St Michael’s church, Athy, Diocese of Dublin, while the faithful Catholic who expressed concerns about their leadership roles in the parish has been advised by the clergy to stay away.

As of yesterday, Jacinta O’Donnell and Geraldine Flanagan resumed their roles leading the adult and children’s choir at St Michael’s church, and as Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion, having announced on Kildare radio that they had been ‘forced’ to resign by a fellow parishioner two days earlier.

Anthony Murphy, the editor of The Catholic Voice newspaper, had raised concerns about whether it was appropriate for two lesbians in a same-sex “marriage” to have such public and prominent roles within the parish.

In the presence of five priests and a church packed with many who rarely attend Mass, Jacinta O’Donnell and Geraldine Flanagan led the choir in singing “I will follow him” from the film ‘Sister Act’. The two women held hands and bowed as many in the congregation applauded and cheered. This occurred on the sanctuary as the 5 priests processed out at the end of Mass.

Mr. Murphy, editor of the newspaper Catholic Voice, says that he received a death threat during a hate campaign “whipped up” by local Sinn Fein councillors, and has been advised by the local curate and police not to attend Mass at St Michael’s due to concerns about his safety.

“Just an update regarding the situation with the two “married” women in my local parish. They have resigned from their positions in the Church BUT today a mob has been whipped up into a frenzy by among others some of the local councillors and I am now the subject of a pretty intensive hate campaign. One Sinn Fein councillor has been particularly active in this regard and as a result of this incitement I have now received a death threat!! Apparently I am no longer welcome and I have been threatened by members of the local Sinn Fein Party not to go into my local town unless I have a ‘death wish.”

13872687_1403000036383697_4223054240674099647_n

Jacinta O’Donnell and Geraldine Flanagan

Mr. Murphy contacted his parish priest about his concerns about the prominent role of the women in the parish who were so publicly contravening the Church’s clear teaching against same-sex “marriage”, recently reiterated at the Synod on the Family. He did not receive a helpful response from his parish priest. Instead, Jacinta O’Donnell and Geraldine Flanagan have claimed that “parish priest Canon Frank McEvoy has been supportive of them” and that they had “not been asked to resign by the clergy”.

“My parish priest sees nothing wrong with two lesbians –who have entered into a same-sex ‘marriage’ — running the parish choir and acting as  Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion.  In fact, he was quite content for them to hand out invitations to their ‘wedding’ in the church after choir practise! Is it any wonder that the Church is in such a crisis?”.

Mr Murphy told The Irish Times that, because of their relationship, the couple had already resigned positions with the Lay Dominicans Ireland of which Ms Flanagan had been president and Ms O’Donnell was president of its Athy chapter. It was “a similar issue” in Athy parish, he felt.

“The choir is on the altar, almost centre stage with the priest. It’s a very public contradiction [with church teaching banning same-sex marriage]. The church has to decide whether it believes what it teaches,” he said.

The saddest thing about this story is the the two women are being encouraged in their relationship by their priest, rather than receiving help regarding their same-sex attraction. The Catholic church welcomes all people with same-sex attraction and invites them to live a chaste life, along with all others (gay, straight or celibate) who are not married.

If you are experiencing same-sex attraction and would like someone to talk to in a non-judgmental and friendly way, please visit www.couragerc.org

Sources –

http://www.irishtimes.com/news/social-affairs/religion-and-beliefs/lesbian-couple-to-retake-church-roles-they-were-forced-to-leave-1.2785746#.V9LS6_CXbTk.twitter

https://www.ewtn.co.uk/news/ireland/women-in-same-sex-marriage-applauded-at-mass-in-diocese-of-dublin

When you are Fat and Old.

Well, it’s been almost 4 days since I got back from Rome now and I have to admit I am still not back to normal. I’m having a seriously hard time coming down from the whole experience mentally and emotionally, and physically I am still completely destroyed.

I averaged about 5 hours sleep a night when I was there due to late night restaurants with the most raucous bunch of contemplatives you could ever wish to dine with, and I was getting up at 6.30am. I was also walking at least 5 miles per day.

To be honest with you I’m seriously unfit. I’ve never really recovered from having kids. My tummy muscles are totally shot. I still have a 3 inch gap between where the muscles are supposed to meet on the front of my stomach. That’s never gonna heal – not even with 1000 sit up’s a day. But on the up side I do have a rather nice squishy platform to rest my laptop on while I write this blog post.

bouncy

“…it’s like being on a bouncy castle.”

Due to stress and tiredness and laziness and exhaustion I just can’t seem to loose any weight. Seeing myself on TV was a bit of a shock tbh. It not only exposed the fact that I am highly superficial in terms of appearance and attached to the thought of a body that is long gone, but also that I do actually look rather different in reality than I do in my own imagination. I didn’t realise I was that fat! Ha! The truth hurts hey?! Not that it bothers my husband. Nothing puts him off. As far as he’s concerned the more wobbly bits the better. Just this afternoon he enthusiastically described our nocturnal nuptial activities as “…like being on a bouncy castle!” LOL! I told him it was more like Sumo wrestling. Who says romance is dead hey?!

Sumo

Sumo wrestlers.

But seriously, I’m 36 next month. Most days I feel like I’m 86. Being a wife and mum is tiring. Being a good wife and mum is exhausting. And I’m not getting any younger. Infact as I am getting older I am finding that I relish time on my own more, and also those precious moments of silence I sometimes get during the day.

Beauty means different things to me now. Beauty is my children, my creative work on my vestments, the fact that me and Nick are still willing to give more, even after 16 years together. Even though my body is long past any point of aesthetic recovery, it is true to say that I have never felt so beautiful internally. It’s because I’m happy, and I know that I am loved. I have never been so secure in my identity in the eyes of God as I am now. Happy people shine, and at the moment even though I am tired and fat and old, I just feel like I am radiating love like a Supernova.

A big, fat, Supernova! Ha!

Gosh I’m tired – time to stop writing now before I say anything more stupider than I usually do.

Omgosh I did a bidding prayer at the Vatican!

image

I’m writing this at Fiumicino airport on my phone so I hope it is going to present itself ok?!  Let’s try…

Well… Yesterday I read a bidding prayer at the Vatican, during the canonisation Mass of Louis and Zelie Martin – the parents of St Therese of Lisieux.

This all came about because I am a secular Carmelite. My formation director is friends with one of the Carmelite friars in Rome who happens to be the assistant to the General Procurator (the guy who investigates the miracles attributed to possible saints) and he was looking for an English speaker to do one of the bidding prayers. So she gave him my email address!

We had a practise on the Saturday, but I actually missed our practice slot because I was too busy chatting. Typical me. But in my defence I was chatting to the relatives of Louis and Zellie Martin, and Therese of Lisieux! (but that’s another blog post I am yet to write).

image

I was just so happy to be there watching all the preparations to be honest. Let me tell you this: a Papal Mass is one big choreography. It was fascinating to see the organisation going on in several different languages. Lucky for me most people spoke at least basic English, because I can’t speak a word of any other language. I struggle enough with English frankly! But it didn’t matter. There is always someone who is available for a bit of impromptu translation. But I did at least get to go and stand at the Ambo and freak out at how many chairs there were!

image

Sunday morning I arrived at St Peters square at 7.45am and there was already hundreds of people queuing to get in. Lucky I had a ‘special’ ticket and was able to go straight through up into the VIP area.  There I met the rest of the bidding prayer crew.

image

We were able to have a run through but I have to say, I wasn’t really nervous, just really, really excited!

Then Mass started. We were sitting pretty much in the front row. There were just two suits in front of us who I assume were security, with black briefcases that I assume contained lots of guns and stuff. Seriously – I think we had the best seats in the house.

image

Pope Francis seemed to me to be a Father under enormous pressure, who desperately needs the prayers and support of Mother church. It’s not an easy marriage at the moment. I don’t envy his job one bit.

He declared Louis and Zélie Martin saints. The first married couple ever to be canonised together. May they watch over, and be a tangible source of help to all married couples and families.

So then, after the homily, came the moment of truth for me. Bidding prayer time. I’m very happy to report that I managed NOT to trip up, fluff my lines or do a Marilyn Munroe with my dress.

Click to view video.

After Mass their was opportunity to get a quick photo of Papa Franko in the Popemobile.

image

He usually takes about 20 minutes to drive around the whole of St Peters square and kiss babies ect. But his drive was cut rather short that day. Probably because he needed to get home pronto to watch Argentina destroy Ireland in the rugby (just kidding!).

The crowd was estimated at about 80k, and spilled out into the roads surrounding St Peters square.

image

And I even managed to get a pic of the gorgeous altar frontal – for research purposes only 😉

image

Then I had to leg it before security rolled me up in the red carpet and threw me out! Ha!ha!

It was an INCREDIBLE day. Probably one of the best days of my life. I’m in no doubt that my Carmelite sister St. Therese orchestrated all of this for me on her parents big day! I’m forever in her debt. <3

I prayed for you all, and all your intentions xxx

“So Un-Baptise me then…!”

5_realBaby

Poor kid hasn’t even entered the water yet!

I remember that blurry period in my life of hormonal angst and naivety, combined with the self-assurance of the fact that I knew all things. I like to refer to it as my time of self discovery. My parents simply describe it as “The Teenage Years”.

I remember one time announcing to my parents that I wanted to get un-baptised, but I didn’t know how to go about it. After a few seconds of expressionless silence in which they realised I had taken them to new levels of astonishment, they calmly suggested that I “Don’t worry about it too much” knowing that in about an hours time I would have forgotten about it and would be pouring my heart and soul into some new life altering activity.

They were right. And besides – you can’t get un-baptised! Sacraments cannot be undone. You can’t un-make your first holy communion or your first confession. You can’t get unconfirmed or un-make your vows as a priest. You can’t un-receive the sacrament of the sick.

In exactly the same way you can’t un-receive the sacrament of matrimony. The relationship may break down, and you may even decide to divorce (which still leaves you able to receive communion as long as you stay single), but you will still be sacramentally married to that person until one of you dies.

Language is important, and I think it is necessary now for Catholics to start to start referring to it as the Sacrament of Marriage/Matrimony rather than just Marriage – which in secular terms means something very different.

Perhaps if we start referring to it within it’s proper context as a sacrament, we might begin to view it differently, and realise that some things are beyond our authority to change.

There is no such thing as “Catholic divorce” – by Fr Dylan James.

Fr Dylan James

Fr Dylan James

By Fr Dylan James.

For the next three weeks, bishops from across the world are gathered in Rome for a special synod devoted to the family. Marriage and the family, as we all know, are rather broken realities in our modern society. Divorce is a much more common phenomenon today than it was when our Lord spoke against it.
I’ve not spoken about this in the 8 years I’ve been in my current parish, so its about time, and I want to reaffirm a few things today:
First, that the Lord Jesus meant what he said about remarriage after divorce being adultery;
Second, that such a second marriage bars someone from receiving Holy Communion;
Third, that this is necessary in order for children to have a stable environment;
Finally, that marriage is still a good worthy of being pursued, even with the challenge that such commitment involves.

I want to start with the words in our first reading from Genesis that, “it is not good that man should be alone”(Gen 2:18). These words indicate a desire for union that is written in our nature, a yearning to not be alone that is satisfied in many things: in prayer with the Lord, in human friendship, but it finds a particular physical completion in the exclusive loving union of marriage. Thus we heard the Lord Jesus quote that phrase from Genesis about a husband and wife becoming “one body”(Mk 10:8; Gen 2:24).

All love involves giving of ourselves. We give our time, our energy, and more. Marriage is that unique self-gift where someone gives their EVERYTHING to someone, in a mutual self-gift that brings many rewards.
But, once you have given yourself to another, in totality, for life, you cannot then take back that gift. If your wife become sick, you are still married, still given to her. If she becomes poor, she is still your wife. If she is unfaithful to you, she is still your wife. If she goes off, she is still your wife.
Now it is true that sometimes there are reasons a couple have to separate, either temporarily or permanently. Often there is an innocent party left behind, with much suffering.

But even if you separate and civilly divorce, nonetheless she is still your wife in the eyes of God. As Pope Francis said last week, there is no such thing as “Catholic divorce” (plane interview, 28/9/2015).
If we look at Scripture, as quoted on the insert sheet in the newsletter, it says very clearly what a separated or civilly divorced spouse is called on to do: “remain single or else be reconciled to” your spouse (1 Cor 7:10-11).
You are not then free to give yourself to another, because you have already given yourself to your spouse –even if she no longer appreciates that gift, even if you no longer live together.
You are not then free to commit yourself to another, because you are already committed.
If you have said “till death do us part” to one woman, you cannot say that to another while she still lives.
Thus Jesus says, “The man who divorces his wife and marries another is guilty of adultery” (Mk 10:11).
Thus the Church says that a person who remarries (while their spouse is alive) commits a public act that bars them from receiving Holy Communion (Catechism 1650; 2384). Bars them until they amend this aspect of their life.

How shall I conclude? By acknowledging that this is a very hard teaching. Every walk of life has its cross to carry, but this call to “remain single (1 Cor 7:11) rather than remarry can be a heavy cross.
This said, a romantic union in marriage is not the only way to fulfil the desire spoken of in our first reading, the desire to not “be alone”.
And, faithfulness to God, faithfulness to the vows made, will bring with it strength and grace, and ultimately all faithfulness to God is rewarded, not just in heaven but in this life too.

The joys of marriage are only possible because of this hard teaching about commitment. A union that didn’t claim to be for life would be a very much lesser thing than marriage, it wouldn’t really be the “one body” union the Lord Jesus speaks of. If this lifelong commitment is abandoned then what is being abandoned is the beauty of marriage itself. And with it, a stable environment in which to raise children. And thus the Church tells us that the Lord meant what He said.

“So… the Pope said Divorce is OK now, right?”

couple getting divorced

I have seen plenty of social media discussion recently on the new annulment reforms Pope Francis has brought in. Mitis Iudex Dominus Iesus (The Lord Jesus, the Gentle Judge) has brought with very mixed reactions from priests and laity alike.

Predictably, some are saying it is too slack while others say it is not changed the process at all. But there does seem to be the inevitable grey area’s of the document which let’s face it, is something we have come to expect from Pope Francis. For instance one part of the document talks about lack of faith at the time the marriage took place and how this could be a possible contributor to declaring the marriage void. But how is one to determine this?

It’s a very difficult question, and there is really no black and white answer here. I certainly do not envy the Priests and Bishops who are going to have to be making the decisions in these matters.

Of course some people will argue that Pope Francis is just asking for trouble by seemingly blurring the edges or allowing grey areas. What also doesn’t help is the fact that the media do not understand the document or even have the slightest idea of what sacramental marriage actually means. It doubly doesn’t help when they purposefully twist the Pope’s words to make it sound like he has said something he never said at all.

For instance I heard of a priest recently who received a phone call from a lady who wanted to marry the father of her child because she was under the impression that “the Pope said divorce is ok now, right?”.

(Stop. Just take a minute to notice your reaction to that last sentence. Did you laugh? Sigh and roll your eyes? Did you think how stupid that woman must be? Be honest with yourself.)

The woman was told that this was not the case and to consult her local parish priest. Of course this was the right thing to do, but I can’t help feeling this was a blinding opportunity for evangelisation and catechesis that might have brought this woman and her whole family back into the faith.

It was not this woman’s fault that she had not been given the correct information. In fact her statement only highlights the chronic lack of catechesis and pathetic marriage prep that the last two generations have had to suffer. If anything her lack of knowledge shames the church itself.

I have to say I am not totally up to date on the annulment reforms, but I feel it is something that practising Catholics should all gain some basic knowledge of. It cannot be stressed enough how sensitively one must handle a question of this nature. Because for many people, the harsh truth is that they will not be able to marry the Mother/Father of their children or the person they are in love with. Please do not underestimate how painful this sort of news is.

It can only be truly explained in the context of a relationship with Christ – because that is the only way it can be understood, and lived.

Let’s not moan and whine about the new reforms, but instead always try to be at the service of our brothers and sisters, and help them to rectify any marriage issues they may have. And if their situation cannot be rectified, let us respectfully help them to accept and carry the cross that they have been given.

Love, love, love and love.

The ancient Greeks had 4 different words for love. I think this is something we could all do with reminding ourselves of as it helps us understand the modern world view of “love” and how far away this has become from the Christian understanding of the same word. I actually think only having one word for love in the English language is a major source of confusion – especially when we begin to speak about Marriage.

The ancient Greek language has four distinct words for love: agápeérosphilía, and storgē. However, as with other languages, it has been historically difficult to separate the meanings of these words when used outside of their respective contexts. Nonetheless, the senses in which these words were generally used are as follows:

040219_crucifixion_hmed_2p.grid-6x2

Agápe (ἀγάπη agápē) means “love: esp. brotherly love, charity; the love of God for man and of man for God.” Agape is used in ancient texts to denote feelings for one’s children and the feelings for a spouse, and it was also used to refer to a love feast: (The term Agape or Love feast was used for certain religious meals among early Christians that seem to have been originally closely related to the Eucharist.) Agape is used by Christians to express the unconditional love of God for his children. This type of love was further explained by Thomas Aquinas as “to will the good of another.”

7f9f9e2c535a81ce3a1a5774dce86a31

Éros (ἔρως érōs) means “love, mostly of the sexual passion.” Plato refined his own definition: Although eros is initially felt for a person, with contemplation it becomes an appreciation of the beauty within that person, or even becomes appreciation of beauty itself. Plato does not talk of physical attraction as a necessary part of love, hence the use of the word platonic to mean, “without physical attraction.” In the Symposium, the most famous ancient work on the subject, Plato has Socrates argue that eros helps the soul recall knowledge of beauty, and contributes to an understanding of spiritual truth, the ideal “Form” of youthful beauty that leads us humans to feel erotic desire – thus suggesting that even that sensually based love aspires to the non-corporeal, spiritual plane of existence; that is, finding its truth, just like finding any truth, leads to transcendence. Lovers and philosophers are all inspired to seek truth through the means of eros.

stock-footage-friendship-sports-and-entertainment-concept-happy-male-friends-with-beer-watching-tv-at-home

Philia (φιλία philía) means “affectionate regard, friendship,” usually “between equals.” It is a dispassionate virtuous love, a concept developed by Aristotle. In his best-known work on ethics, Nicomachean Ethics, philia is expressed variously as loyalty to friends, family, and community, and requires virtue, equality, and familiarity. Furthermore, in the same text philos denotes a general type of love, used for love between family, between friends, a desire or enjoyment of an activity, as well as between lovers.

parent_child_dedication_image2

Storge (στοργή storgē) means “love, affection” and “especially of parents and children”] It’s the common or natural empathy, like that felt by parents for offspring. Rarely used in ancient works, and then almost exclusively as a descriptor of relationships within the family. It is also known to express mere acceptance or putting up with situations, as in “loving” the tyrant.

marriage-hands

It is helpful to know these separate definitions of love when discussing marriage in the modern world. Contemporary modern culture bases its definition of marriage and relationships almost entirely on Éros. In fact I would go as far as to say that our society elevates Éros artificially higher than any other form of love. Éros has become the ideal. And when these powerful exciting feelings of lust and romance fade – then what is the point of carrying on the relationship? Éros is a feeling.

The Catholic view of marriage however is based on Agápe. It is a reflection of the unconditional self sacrificing love that Christ expressed for humanity on the cross. Agápe loves when it doesn’t feel good to love. Agápe loves because of what it gives, not because of what it gets. Agápe is unconditional and unbreakable. Agápe is a choice.

This is of course not to say that love itself as we know it is an extremely messy and complicated set of emotions and most probably incorporates all the ancient Greek definitions of love. The important point is to recognise which is the strongest in our relationship and then to ask ourselves “What is our relationship based on?”.

1 John 4:8 simply tells us “ho Theos agape estin” (God is Love). St Paul gives us the perfect test of what kind of love we have in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8. If we substitute the word love for the name of our beloved – or even our own name, then we begin to get an idea of how true our love really is:

………. is patient and kind

………. is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude.

………. does not insist on his/her own way.

………. is not irritable or resentful.

………  does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth.

……… bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

……… love never ends.

love-hearts

“Dear Louis and Zelie, please help me with my marriage.”

Zelie & Louis Martin

When I heard the relics of Louis and Zelie Martin were coming to the UK I immediately knew I had to go visit them. Their youngest daughter – St Therese of Lisieux was the one who guided me into Carmel. She has become one of my best friends (yes – some of my best friends are actually dead 😉 ) and to be able to ‘meet’ her parents was a very special honour for me as a secular Carmelite. They had 9 children, 4 of whom tragically died in childhood. They were married for 19 years until Zelie died from breast cancer when little Therese was just 4 years old.

Their relics were on display at Portsmouth cathedral UK. Bishop Egan said Mass and gave a superb homily reminding us all that no man has the authority to change Christ’s teaching on marriage.

There was also time for quiet reflection. And I found myself praying the only prayer I could think of: “Please help me with my marriage…”

Next week Nick and I will have been married for 15 years. The last 18 months have been really, really hard. Nick was diagnosed with CFS when our 3rd child was just 4 months old, and has not been at work since then. We have no idea when or if he will recover. We do not have an income. I now take the kids on holiday on my own. I didn’t chose this and neither did he. I cannot stand to watch him suffer.

But it’s not all bad…

How many fathers do you know who get to spend everyday with their baby? How many fathers do you know who are their for their kids everyday when they get home from school, eat dinner together everyday, read bedtime stories everyday? (I must just add that as husband and wife, being together in close proximity 24/7 has its um… challenges – like refraining from killing each other 😉 )

20150521_105045

“Please help me with my marriage…” I would like to think that after 15 years of wife-ing, I was getting pretty good at it. But I’m afraid I still struggle with my vocation every single day. And so does he. It’s not always a bed of roses.

How it is possible for us to have got married age 20 with 1 days preparation, and then keep that marriage together through thick and thin in every possible scenario for 15 years I just don’t know. I can only put it down to the fact that Jesus is present in our sacrament of marriage. We have tried to split up a few times but we just couldn’t do it 🙂

On one occasion I remember desperately wanting to leave but wrestling with the fact that if I left, I would have to deny Christ – and I just couldn’t do it 🙂 In the end it wasn’t feelings towards my husband that kept me in my marriage, it wasn’t even the fact that I believe children need to grow up with their mother and father present, but it was the fact that Jesus had given His whole life for me on the cross, and now He was asking me to give my whole life for Him by staying obediently in my marriage vows. It was at that moment about 8 years ago that Christ became first place in my marriage.

Louis and Zelie were terrific examples of this. They had Christ in first place in their marriage from the very start. They obviously adored each other, but crucially they did not idolise each other. Christ came first.

20150521_105137

Gosh! What a lesson this is for us today! How many people idolise their spouse, putting them above God? Many, I would say. And it’s not fair, because when you put your spouse first (above God) you are burdening them with a role they can not possibly ever live up to. Your spouse will NEVER be able to fill that God shaped hole in your heart. And it is completely unrealistic and unfair to expect them to. And when you begin to realise that your spouse is not ‘fulfilling’ you like you would like then you actually begin to blame them for it! Crazy isn’t it?!

Personally I’m convinced that this is the reason that so many marriages are failing now. People are expecting their spouse to fulfil the parts of them that only God can fulfil.

By putting Christ first in their marriage, Louis and Zelie kept their marriage holy, and also set the example for their 5 surviving daughters who all went on to become Carmelite nuns. What an amazing couple. What an outstanding example.

Dear Louis and Zelie, please help me with my marriage.

Looking for a solid orthodox alternative to Flame 2? CARDINAL BURKE is speaking at the SPUC youth conference the very same weekend!!! (6-8 March 2015)

Youth Conference leaflet 2015 digital version

The embarrassing truth about the Flame 2 youth conference, CYMFed and Timothy Radcliffe continues to circulate around the world (see the major US sites: LifeSite News and Church Militant TV News at 1 min 10 secs.)

But in the mean time I would like to draw your attention to the SPUC  youth conference(6-8 March 2015) in Southport, for young people aged 16-35. This is happening the very same weekend as the Flame 2 conference. I know where I’d rather go…!

The annual SPUC Youth Conference has been very successful in recent years in educating and motivating the youth of today to engage in peaceful and effective pro-life work all over the UK. The Youth Conference is also open to attendees from other countries and young people from Spain and Malta have been welcomed in recent years.

Their AMAZING line-up of speakers will include:

His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke!!! (I’m not kidding – he is really going to be there!!!) Cardinal Burke is one of the leading orthodox pro-life and pro-family voices in the Catholic Church today. He fiercely defended church teaching on sexuality, marriage and family at the recent Family Synod and was the main voice questioning the controversial mid-term report saying “a great number of the Synod Fathers found it objectionable”. Recently almost 30,000 people signed a petition thanking Cardinal Burke for his service as the Vatican’s Apostolic Signatura before he was moved by Pope Francis, becoming the new patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta.

burke-mass-crosier

Cardinal Burke

Obianuju Ekeocha – founder of Culture of Life Africa who’s mission is to spread the Gospel of Life throughout Africa especially at a time when many western countries are choosing to redefine culture and civilization as we know it. Africa has to now stand firmly by what she knows to be Culture of Life and Civilisation of Love. Culture of Life Africa is endorsed by The Pontifical Council for the Laity.

image

Obianuju Ekeocha

Ira Winter – a member of the Life Fertility Care team, who provide help and information on  NaProTechnology – an ethical alternative to IVF, all aspects of NFP (Natural Family Planning) and how it relates to stronger marriages and families.

Ira Winter

Ira Winter

Fiorella Nash – a pro-life feminist and a specialist in the areas of international surrogacy, pro-life feminism and abortion in China. Fiorella is a researcher, writer and political assistant at SPUC. She is also an accomplished novelist, wife and a mother of three children.

2fafc0e

Fiorella Nash

Professor David Paton – a professor of Economics at Nottingham University and an expert in issues surrounding teenage pregnancy. His research on teenage pregnancy has been cited widely in the academic literature as well as being featured on numerous occasions in the national, on TV, radio and in Parliamentary debate.

Professor David Paton

Professor David Paton

Paul Tully, SPUC’s General Secretary, is an expert in legal and parliamentary policy surrounding pro-life issues. He has has worked for SPUC for 33 years and has been involved with many different cases, including leading the SPUC campaign defending the Glasgow Midwives, keeping abortion out of Northern Ireland, lobbies against euthanasia, assisted suicide and the human embryology act as well as branch development work. Paul was also vital in publishing the first ever Charities Bulletin which is still being updated and reproduced today.

Paul Tully

Paul Tully

Attendees will also have the opportunity to attend workshops held by Ira Winter on the subject of NFP as well as Margaret Cuthill of Abortion Recovery Care and Helpline (ARCH ), a post-abortion counsellor, and Janet Secluna Thomas of No Less Human, who worked alongside the late Alison Davis for many years and whose workshop will focus on how we talk about disability.

 

Margaret Cuthill

Margaret Cuthill

Rhoslyn Thomas – Youth & Education officer for the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC) and one of the conference organisers says: “It is vital that the youth of today attend this conference to equip themselves with the knowledge needed to go out and carry out Pro-Life work in our schools, universities, homes and communities. This is the starting point from which we branch out and achieve the goal of defending and promoting the sanctity of human life. It is an opportunity that is not be missed!”

The conference will begin the afternoon of Friday the 6th of March until just after lunch on Sunday the 8th of March 2015. The price is £100, including all meals and accommodation and it will be held in the Ramada Plaza Hotel in Southport (near Liverpool) and is open to those from the age of 16 to 35.

For more information and booking forms please contact Rhoslyn Thomas on rhoslynthomas@spuc.org.uk  or call 020 7820 3140.

Please share this post on Facebook and Twitter to highlight this fantastic conference, and give it as much support as possible.

Bert and Ernie Gay Ridiculous Cake Court Threat.

From the TELEGRAPH:

A Christian-run bakery is facing legal action from a Government agency for refusing to produce a cake carrying a picture of the Sesame Street characters Bert and Ernie and the slogan “support gay marriage”.

Ashers Baking Co, based in Newtownabbey, Northern Ireland, cancelled an order for a novelty cake with a picture of the puppets arm in arm printed onto the icing saying that it went against the directors’ religious beliefs.

They believe that producing the cake with the slogan and the logo of QueerSpace, a gay rights group the would-be customer supports, would amount to endorsing the campaign for the introduction of gay marriage in the province, and go against their religious convictions.

But the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland has now written to the firm claiming that it is breaking the law.

A letter signed by the legal office orders the firm to “remedy your illegal discrimination” within seven days or be taken to court by the commission.

It claimed that refusing to print the cake amounted to discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation against the man who placed the order.

The Christian institute, which is supporting the bakery, says it is not discriminatory for managers to refuse to endorse a political campaign.

Gay marriage is not legal in Northern Ireland, the only part of the UK in which it is not on the statute book.

Colin Hart, chief executive of the Christian Institute, said: “This is a sign of things to come exactly as we predicted.

“The Government repeatedly failed to listen to members of the public, lawyers, constitutional experts even its own MPs when they called for safeguards to protect those who back traditional marriage, especially those who work in the public sector.

“Now this nonsense, more usually associated with the public sector, is being applied to the private sector.

“This means millions of ordinary people who do not agree with gay marriage, face intimidation and the real threat of legal action from the forces of political correctness if they, out of conscience, decline to provide good or services to campaign groups they do not agree with or support.

“It establishes a dangerous precedent about the power of the state over an individual, or business to force them to go against their deeply held beliefs.”

The customer was unable to comment.

……………

This is the exact reason i closed my 9 year cake business in January this year. I could see this sort of thing coming: 

http://faithinourfamilies.com/2013/05/22/why-equal-marriage-law-will-destroy-my-wedding-cake-business-and-free-speech/

What the Government is saying is that this cake company has no right to refuse a customer. The article makes no mention of the sexuality of the customer and it certainly is not saying that the cake company is refusing to serve them because they are or might be gay. I’m sure if a gay person walked in and ordered a Thomas the Tank Engine cake they would have no problem in being served. 

Would it be a matter of discrimination then if i walked in to the bakery and told them to make me a cake with the slogan “God does not exist” and they refused on religious grounds? Would that be discriminating against atheists? 

What about if i wanted them to make a cake with the slogan “pro choice” and they refused on religious grounds? Would that be discriminating against women who choose to have an abortion?

It’s funny isn’t it – that this issue of social acceptance bullying does not seem to raise its ugly head in any other community other than the gay community. It’s almost as if they want to pick a fight…

I’m just sayin’.

Sources: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/10952494/Bert-and-Ernie-gay-marriage-cake-leaves-Christian-bakery-facing-court-threat.html