Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Cardinal's Open letter to the Prime Minister


28 October 2008

Dear Gordon

I write this open letter to you on a matter of immediate urgency, namely tomorrow’s debate in the Lords on the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill. Although I was relieved that last week’s debate in the Commons on the Bill did not address the issue of abortion, I remain convinced that the Bill is misguided and certain sections are potentially most harmful.

Among these is Schedule 3 which has never been properly discussed in Parliament. It provides for taking tissue from incapacitated adults and children without their consent for the express purpose of creating embryos for research. It will be debated in the House of Lords tomorrow (Wednesday 29 October) with Government support.

The Bill could allow for the derivation and use of human eggs from the ovarian tissue of aborted baby girls, a proposal which was first aired by the HFEA in 1994. The HFEA public consultation at that time showed that 83.2% of the 9,000 respondents opposed the practice, and even the few in favour underlined the necessity of consent.

Should this Bill become law, removing tissue from incapacitated adults or children, without their specific consent in order to create animal-human hybrid or other embryos would be permissible, as would creating artificial sperm or artificial eggs from bone marrow or even cord blood.

The grotesque implications of these procedures are utterly horrifying. The proposals in this Bill represent a breach of 50 years of ethical medical research. They by-pass the Declaration of Helsinki, the Human Tissue Act, the Mental Capacity Act and the Human Rights Act. Removing parts of people’s bodies without their consent, utterly flies in the face of all BMA and GMC guidance on consent to research.

Such behaviour was last seen under the Nazis. Following the liberation of the concentration camps in 1945, the full horrors of the Nazi’s atrocities were revealed to a shocked world. The hideous savagery of their experiments convinced the civilized world that such practices must be outlawed forever. I am appalled that you are promoting a Bill which seeks, by stealth, to create a regime where extracting tissue and cells from human beings no longer requires their consent or involvement.

I am staggered that you would endorse legislation, which describes the creation of embryos from a person without their consent as ‘non-invasive’ and which enshrines the concept of ‘presumed consent’ in UK law. This legislation would set a nightmarish precedent, by allowing scientists to experiment on those lacking capacity – in the absence of explicit consent – largely as they see fit.

I urge you to amend Schedule 3 of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill as a matter of great urgency and human decency.

Yours sincerely in Christ

+ Keith Patrick Cardinal O’Brien
Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh

Sunday, 26 October 2008

All Saints / All Souls

Holy Mass according to the extraordinary form of the Roman rite:

The Feast of All Saints

Saturday, 1 November 2008
12:00 noon (Missa Cantata)
St Andrew's Church, Ravelston, Edinburgh [map]

Commemoration of the Faithful Departed

Sunday, 2 November 2008
11:30 am, (Requiem)
St Andrew's Church, Ravelston, Edinburgh [map]

Please comment with any further Mass times you are aware of.

(images: breviary.net)

Saturday, 25 October 2008

Gregorian Chant Weekend

St Mary's, Forest Hall (Tyneside), will be hosting a Gregorian Chant weekend from November 7th-9th. This is being run by the Scottish Gregorian group and is open to singers of all levels of experience. For further details contact missdallen@aol.com.

As well as singing at the Extraordinary Form Mass on Saturday morning, there will be First Vespers on the Saturday night, singing at the Ordinary Form parish Mass on the Sunday morning and the EF Mass at St Joseph's, Gateshead. The fee is £10 to cover materials and refreshments.

Saturday, 18 October 2008

Coming up this week...

Thursday 23 October
Annual LIFE Torchlight vigil for Pro-Life
6.30pm, George Square, Glasgow
procession to St Andrew's Cathedral, prayer service 7.30pm - 9.00pm

Saturday 25 October
SPUC Scotland Day Conference
10.15am - 4.00pm,
Adelaide’s Centre, 209 Bath Street, Glasgow.
[Download booking form (PDF)]

Saturday 25 October
Sung Mass
11.00am, ruins of Cambuskenneth Abbey(?), nr. Stirling [MAP]

Upcoming events - November/December [updated]

Saturday 8 November
Pro-Life Rosary Vigil
11am - 12.00 noon, outside Glasgow Royal Infirmary

Saturday 22 November
Una Voce Scotland Requiem Mass
12.00 noon, St Andrew's Church, Ravelston, Edinburgh

Sunday 30 November
Prayer for the conversion of Scotland
1:30pm, outside Scottish Parliament, Edinburgh

To celebrate the feast of Saint Andrew, Patron of Scotland, there will be a prayer meeting outside the Scottish Parliament, Edinburgh, at 1.30pm. Please come and bring your friends. All welcome. Christ the King, Let Him reign!

Sunday 30 November
Nativity Carol Concert
4.30pm, foot of the Mound, Edinburgh

Saturday 6 December
Pro-Life Rosary Vigil
11am - 12.00 noon, outside Glasgow Royal Infirmary

Saturday 13 December
Una Voce Advent Day of Recollection

Wednesday 24 December 2008
Advent Carols, followed by Midnight Mass
11.30pm (Carols), Midnight (Mass)
St Andrew's Church, Ravelston, Edinburgh

Thursday 25 December 2008
Second Mass of Christmas
10.00am, FSSP Oratory, 6 Belford Park, Edinburgh

Thursday 25 December 2008
Third Mass of Christmas
11.30am, St Andrew's Church, Ravelston, Edinburgh


Please comment with details of further events.