Tuesday, 28 January 2014

BBC Newsnight - Fit for Purpose?

Fit for purpose?
BBC Newsnight's documentary on the 1967 abortion act.
Alerted by an enews communication from “Life”, I took a look at the BBC’s “Newsnight” programme of January 16th. The topic was “Is the Abortion Act fit for purpose?” and “Life”s enews commented (with what I could not help picturing as a weary sigh and a shrug of the shoulders): “The BBC covered the issue in their usual unbalanced way”.
In fact, the question of balance between the pro-life and pro-abortion viewpoints was very largely evaded, probably in the hopes of leaving viewers with the impression that this issue has now been settled in favour of abortion, and that society has moved on and now needs to consider some fine-tuning of abortion legislation.   
If debating whether or not something is “fit for purpose”, you might think it would be important to know what its purpose is, or at least was when it was originally devised. This, however, was not touched on; and, not being touched on, it left viewers to assume that everyone knows the purpose of the ’67 Act, just as everyone knows what the purpose of a tin-opener is. But do we know? David Steel (now Lord Steel) the “architect” of the ’67 Act, has said in the past that the Act was not being used as he had originally envisaged it. As he appeared on the programme (albeit briefly), he might have been asked about this; but he was not - or, if he had managed to express an opinion on the subject during the making of the programme, that opinion was not included in the final airing. The only points he was able to make were that in 1967 abortions were surgical, whereas now there is also the option of medical (chemically-induced) abortions; and that in most European countries it is now relatively easy to obtain an abortion during the first twelve weeks of pregnancy with few if any questions asked; which was not the case in 1967. Hence the ’67 Act may need “revisiting”. 
Other people interviewed only briefly included Dr. Sethi, a consultant paediatrician who suggested that perhaps women are travelling to India for sex-selective abortions rather than having them carried out in the UK; Mark Pritchard, a pro-life M.P. who made a very brief appearance during which he pleaded, at the very least, for a reduction from 24 to 22 weeks as the maximum gestational age for abortion; and someone whose name I missed, from Abortion Rights, who said that the requirement to have two doctors give consent for a woman to have an abortion “smacks of paternalism” (if they are female doctors, does it smack of maternalism, I wonder?)
The bulk of the interviewing was carried out with Ann Furedi, CEO of the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS), and Dr. Claire Gerada, GP and former Chair of the Royal College of General Practitioners. In terms of “Life” issues, then, the programme could hardly be considered balanced. Dr. Gerada seemed concerned mainly to emphasise that women seeking abortions should have access to “good and safe” procedures; she did, however, betray some uneasiness about the number of abortions being carried out when she made a plea for women to be educated about contraception so that they don’t need abortions. Ann Furedi’s views hardly need commenting on, since her livelihood is derived from the BPAS’s very considerable income from NHS funded abortions.  Expecting her to be in favour of reducing the number of abortions carried out would be like expecting a butcher to be in favour of vegetarianism.   
The underlying agenda of the programme seemed to be not “Is existing abortion legislation fit for purpose?” but “How would we like to see it changed, - and why?” Two points in particular were raised, each having been in the news recently, and each of which might seem to prompt changes in the direction of placing restrictions on abortion providers, in one way or another.
The first of these related to abortions being sought (and carried out) for reasons of gender. An investigation by The Independent, based on detailed statistical analysis of data from the 2011 National Census, has reported discrepancies in the gender ratio of children born to first-generation immigrant families from Pakistan and Afghanistan “which can only be easily explained by women choosing to abort female foetuses in the hope of becoming quickly pregnant again with a boy”. Are such abortions legal under existing legislation; and should they be?
Nobody was quite so crass as to say that abortions carried out for reasons of gender are just fine, though Ann Furedi has said – or written – something very like this in the past: "Sex selection, like rape, may not be a ground for abortion, but there is no legal requirement to deny a woman an abortion if she has a sex preference, providing that the legal grounds are still met." Dr. Gerada said that the Independent’s statistics are “not clear-cut” (implying that perhaps, after all, there is no good evidence that gender-selective abortions are taking place). But the Independent had its figures checked by professional statisticians, one of whom, a lecturer in statistics from Imperial College London, was quoted as saying “The only readily available explanation... is gender-selective abortion. In the absence of a better theory, these findings can be interpreted as evidence that gender-selective abortion is taking place.” Perhaps Dr. Gerada, not a professional statistician as far as I know, would like to cast about for a “better theory” to explain the figures.     
The second point related to the fairly recent discovery that some abortion clinics have not been complying with existing legislation in that they were having doctors pre-sign consent forms without having seen the patient, - indeed, in some cases, without the patient even being named on the form (the ’67 Act requires the consent of two doctors before an abortion can go ahead).  No-one was prosecuted for this breach of the law. Ann Furedi and the Abortion Rights representative jointly argued for abortion to be removed from the criminal law altogether, for abortion to be treated like any other operation which requires the consent of only one doctor, for early abortions to be carried out by suitably competent nurses as an alternative to doctors, and for the second dose of mifepristone (RU486), the drug used to precipitate medical abortions, to be given to women to carry away from the clinic, rather than being administered in the clinic following which they “might miscarry on the bus going home”. They also want abortion law in mainland UK to be extended to Northern Ireland, despite the fact that a considerable majority of the people who actually live in Northern Ireland want no such thing. The Abortion Rights representative considered that women should be entirely free to have their pregnancies terminated without having to comply with “grounds laid down by politicians”.  In other words, abortion on demand, for any reason.        

  The BBC’s 2007 report, “Safeguarding impartiality in the twenty-first century”, draws several conclusions about the need for balance and impartiality in its programmes. They include the following:
“Impartiality is and should remain the hallmark of the BBC”
“Impartiality is an essential part of the BBC’s contract with its audience”
“Impartiality involves breadth of view, and can be breached by omission”
 “Impartiality is most obviously at risk in areas of sharp public controversy. But there is a less visible risk, demanding particular vigilance, when programmes purport to reflect a consensus for ‘the common good’ or become involved in controversies”. 

You’d think the “Newsnight” producers belonged to some quite different organisation, wouldn’t you?

By the Prayer Crusader under the Patronage of St Theresa of Avila

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Coronation Street and euthanasia

Coronation Street plug LGBT storylines alongside euthanasia
Tried to watch Coronation Street this week to do a report but after 3 minutes I felt that I was dying so I started to flick along the bottom bar and found some animated Meercats advertising something; it was clever and funny. What a contrast to the gloom and forced humour of the street. Coronation Street has lost almost half its viewers in the last 3 years, for ever since it became inanely politically correct with its Homosexual and Transgender storylines its credibility has plummeted.  The original kitchen sink dramas which gave a voice to the working class in the sixties have now given way to Gay indoctrination and pro-culture-of-death brainwashing. Not everyone is taken in, and as the Street has now become a Gay ghetto, its viewers have deserted it in droves. Perhaps there is still some hope for TV viewers yet? No, there is no hope for the millions who are still tuning in.
The reason why I decided to watch it was that the main story line is an emotive promotion of euthanasia where a couple go through the trauma of one of them being diagnosed with cancer. Nothing new in this, you may say, it happens all the time and many lives are blighted by cancer, and they need our prayers and support. The story line here is how a transgender character, Hayley, wants to take ‘her’ life, and her partner tries to save her but support her at the same time. Several major goals were scored for the Culture of death here last night: firstly, the empathy created for a transgender man/woman, so Gays and transgender lobby won; other winners were those who support assisted suicide and euthanasia. You may also be surprised to hear that the Samaritans acted as consultants! A spokesperson for the Samaritans said on the BBC that they wanted to help people find the right solution for them. I feel another you can’t make this stuff up moment coming on.
Here we have a media text.  Media texts should be understood for what they are: the media and those in it driving the moral agenda. We will do a post on media texts and how to spot them soon. Pro-life organisations do great work and we support them unreservedly but they need to understand that whereas they may have thousands of supporters, millions are influenced by the TV and drama especially where this drama is deliberately targeted to change people’s views and beliefs. And because the Culture of Death keeps progressing, they need to adopt CUT’s tactics: deprive the media of funds and influence by getting people to throw the TV out. And to say why they have done so.

I usually listen to the Breakfast show on Radio 5; I listen to this show as it keeps me up to date with the latest attempt to promote the politically correct agenda by fanatically pro-Gay and in my opinion anti-Catholic Nicky Campbell to sport-oriented young people and adults.
On the same show he also interviewed a Nigerian Archbishop, a Catholic I think, on why he is supporting the ban on Gay Marriage in that country. The Archbishop gave logical and thoroughly Christian answers during Nicky Campbell’s harassment and rude exclamations. Campbell then decided to quote scripture to the Archbishop, saying if he believes in the Bible then does he think that a woman taken in adultery should be stoned, as they did in the Old Testament? This is an old trick of Campbell’s; he quotes scripture like an Evangelical, out of context and only the bits that suit him. However, perhaps before Campbell quotes scripture again on air he should try and understand it better for his ignorance shows through his self-righteousness. For Jesus did not turn his back on the Old Testament but came to fulfil it. Let us look at one famous episode - the woman taken in adultery, who falls at Jesus’ feet as a mob is about to stone her in accordance with the law. Does Jesus say no don’t stone her? No; he gives permission for the stoning, but on one condition: that the stoners must not be guilty of sin themselves. No one could meet this requirement, so they dropped their stones and walked away. Jesus said to the woman, ‘Has anyone condemned you?’  ‘No one’ replied the woman. Jesus then said ‘Neither do I condemn you; go, and do not sin again.’
The trick here of course was that the Jewish elders were trying to trap Jesus. There were two laws operating in Israel at the time, the Roman and the Jewish. The elders wanted Jesus to fall foul of one of them. If he said ‘OK, stone her’ he would break Roman law which said that only they, the Romans, could execute anyone; but he would comply with Jewish law. And if he said ‘No you must not stone her’ he would break Jewish law. But Jesus being the second person of the Holy Trinity knew their hearts and their sins and that no one is able to execute her without also condemning themselves. He wrote something in the sand in front of them, - probably naming their sins.
There is of course a further point here: only Jesus was able by the law to execute her, for he is the only one who has never sinned. However, he pardoned her and let her go. But perhaps this is the most telling part of all: he says ‘Sin no more’. Therefore, it is the compassionate and just thing to do to point out when someone is going against the law of God, for one day we will need to answer to them. What will you say when Jesus asks you, did you help people keep my law - for was that not the charitable thing to do?
On Radio 5 Live Coronation street was widely discussed and where a Samaritans spokesperson made her outrageous statement. Suicide has been one of main media text over the last few days especially on the stations and programmes that target young people like BBC Radio 1 and BBC Radio 5 live. Should the BBC and ITV be held to account especially as youth suicide in the UK is running at an all time high?

Friday, 17 January 2014

Visions of Modernity

One of the criticisms of CUT has been that we are letting the modernist dissenters in the Church off the hook by focusing on attacking the media, and the TV in particular. This is not the case; we believe that by exposing the porn, pro-abortion and homosexual tendencies in the media we are also holding out against the modernists in the Church. We are attacking the modernist’s main crutch – the mainstream media (MSM).
However, none but CUT exposes the modernist’s main supporters in the MSM, whereas there are many good bloggers who are working very hard to expose the modernists in the Church. It is the MSM that makes the dissenters brave, brave enough to turn their backs on and go against the teaching of the Church and Sacred Scripture if it suits them.
For make no mistake: many of our hierarchy, by talking with dissenting groups and thereby scandalising the faithful, are crushing orthodoxy. In doing this they are supported in turn by the mainstream media in all its hideousness.
Below is an article from our winter 2007-08 Newsletter. The Holy Father referred to was Pope Benedict XVI.

Visions of Modernity
How modernist broadcasters created a Culture of Hate
Modernity is all around us; it is the modern world. Some elements of modernity have beneficial effects on our lives, for example electricity, motorcars, aeroplanes, modern medicine, and mass-communication. But used to excess and without care, modernity (some believe) could destroy the natural order and indeed undermine western culture itself. “The modernist” in this article refers to someone, particularly someone in the media, who has been psychologically and indeed totally affected by modernity with all its excesses, and who champions it. He hates any group or individual who contradicts him, and tries to direct this hatred against them particularly through the push media the television and radio. However, the basic concept of modernity and the modernist is being challenged or undermined from within by nuclear weapons, terrorism, euthanasia, the holocaust and today’s extermination camps - the abortion mills. The materialistic crudity that is becoming ever more prevalent in society objectifies humanity; if it can’t use you, you are discarded. This objectifying of the human person adds up to a world that’s being changed and controlled, a culture that has turned its back on its foundations, and even despises them. Western man is replacing the culture based on love, Christianity, with the culture of hate.
               The once stable paradigms of Western culture, the family, morality and religion, are all up in the air and being juggled by the media and by the secular liberal intelligentsia who control the media. The Holy Father is aware of this and of the countless messages that arrive through the mass media and of their dangers. When addressing a gathering of 500,000 young people at Loreto, Italy, on September 2nd 2007, he said, “Go against the current: Don’t listen to the persuasive and self-seeking voices that today promote lifestyles marked by arrogance and violence, by appearances and possessions to the detriment of being.” The Pope instead held out an alternative path marked by purity, sharing, study and work for the common good. He said, “Be vigilant! Be critical! Don’t be dragged along by the wave produced by this powerful movement of persuasion.”1
               The above advice from the Holy Father is similar to that used by CUT from the beginning of our campaign. We always question the broadcasters’ motives and ask why they have produced programmes that push the boundaries of ethics and of truth; - have they personal issues at stake? For it has often come to light that those in the media who push ‘alternative’ life-styles or champion a ‘pro-choice’ stance, have a vested interest in the acceptance of these corrosive modernist doctrines. These are often the same people who will produce TV programmes that attack the Church and try to undermine her teachings, either by producing anti-Church dramas or documentaries that attempt to attribute the world’s problems to Catholic moral teaching, problems that are really brought about by a misuse of modernity. In doing this they create a culture of hate, especially against those who have a traditional moral standpoint based on discipline and the teachings of Christ. They would rather objectify all things human, especially human sexuality, and use these “objects” as commodities.
               One of the Holy Father’s early mentors, Romano Guardini, who was professor of philosophy and theology at the University of Munich, wrote a remarkable work of social analysis, The End of the Modern World, in 1956. This work examines the era of “Mass Man”: of mass communication, mass marketing and mass materialism that threaten to crush the individual human spirit, objectify him and drive him into anonymity. Of these forces that steadily erode man’s sense of his own uniqueness and replace it with man as object, he writes, ‘Man confronts this attitude in the range of authority exercised over him; he may merely meet it in countless statistics and tables or he may experience its culmination in an unspeakable rape of the individual, of the group, even of the whole nation.’2

‘Only the strong love, it is the weak who Hate’3
One of the icons of modern western culture, James Bond, encapsulates all the glamour of the materialistic world laced with sex, violence, and a shallow callous sense of humour. These traits, typical of the James Bond character, have become all too common in the media today. Academic and poet David Holbrook in his book The Masks of Hate used Ian Fleming’s Goldfinger to explain the hatred manifested and projected into society by such works. Holbrook’s analysis of the book and its simplistic messages leads him to state that ‘...its symbolism is manifestly that of primitive schizoid hate’3 He goes on to voice his concern that human nature itself is driven to the point of being put at stake by such works of projected hatred, describing ‘...an uncomfortable sense that something even more primitive lurks beneath its coarseness, stupidity, and cruelty.’4 Bond’s contempt for women and for human life is all part of the glamour and excitement of the books and subsequent films. Their premières are often attended by the highest dignitaries in the land. These films are regularly shown on primetime television today; they are considered family entertainment. Yet the Bond films have been surpassed in their simplistic crudity by the still more explicit sex and violence of today’s films and television dramas. Our national public service broadcaster has shown itself to be one of the leaders in its descent into this simplistic crudity and hate, with programmes such as Rome and Fanny Hill. The television is not a force for love and kindness; it betrays its weakness for hatred and evil. It makes one wonder what will be the next ‘classic’ that the BBC will adapt for television; - the memoirs of the Marquis de Sade, perhaps? I wouldn’t put it past them, given their track record. However, the fact that Ian Brady, the ‘Moors’ child murderer, had read de Sade is a warning to all.

Evil be thou my Good
There appears to be a schizoid tendency prevalent in modern secular society and it is easy to see the footprint of the television leading culture down the path to hatred. There has been a complete reversal in what is acceptable, particularly relating to abortion and family values. Activities once illegal are now even encouraged with the gagging of the individual’s conscience, by browbeating him as bigoted or even phobic. There has been a complete reversal of values, ‘It becomes a case, not only of “evil, be thou my good” but also “Good, be thou my evil.”6
               The broadcaster’s vision of modernity, both materialistic and ethical, results not only in street violence and record numbers of people in prison, but also the AIDS crisis and other manifestations of hatred. The television presents us with a sea of fantasies that threatens to draw us in. Some believe the television exudes mediocrity, but by its effects on society it betrays its brilliance: - the fiendish brilliance of materialism and the doctrines of the politically correct that threaten to engulf us all.

1. Sartini, Serena, Inside the Vatican. October 2007 p.21
2. Guardini, Romano, The End of the Modern world, 1956. ISI books, Wilmington. 1998, p.61.
3. Holbrook, David, The Masks of Hate, Pergamon Press 1972, p.30, quoting Guntrip.
4-5. Ibid p.75
6. Ibid p.53

Friday, 10 January 2014


Have the secular media robbed young people of their faith and a reason for life?

·       Britain’s youth and young adults, media fodder without hope.
·       Is this why are our town centres are full of fighting and drunk young people who end up lying in the gutter?

Image - Daily Mail - Cavendish Press
For Daily Mail article
Over the Christmas period I visited a small Cornish seaside town for a few days; it’s a town I know well. Walking up one of the main high streets I noticed a young woman who was staggering all over the place, she could barely walk. Luckily this was a traffic free zone. I was concerned she might be ill. But this was not the case; I discovered, as she greeted an acquaintance slumped in a doorway, that she was very drunk. Just a few moments later three more young adults walked by me in the pouring rain with open cans of lager in their hands. Preloading, it’s called; and heading for the pubs, getting drunk before you get there is cheaper than doing all your drinking in the pub where alcohol is much more expensive. I checked the time and it was still not seven in the evening.

But this type of behaviour is not restricted to the festive period. If you were to visit one of Britain’s town centres on a Friday or Saturday night you may encounter a strange ritual taking place, namely the taking of large quantities of alcohol and then falling in the gutter or fighting with each other or with the police, - and that’s just the women.

I must admit I hadn’t visited a town centre on a week-end evening for quite a while until the middle of last year. It was then I first noticed a serious behavioural change among weekend revellers. Getting off the train at a medium sized midland town at about 9pm I needed to walk through part of the town to get to my car. Upon leaving the station I was confronted by a man who had decided to relieve himself on the side walk, and as a little river ran across the pavement, another man called out “Mind your feet!” and two young women ‘dressed to kill’ giggled as they leaped over the growing yellow snake of liquid. I was a bit shocked by this. I hurried past without commenting, - perhaps I should have said something, but what?

This is the desperate seeking of pleasure and fun by the young adults who have been robbed of their faith by the secular media and betrayed by many in the Church; drink and sex is now all they have left.  Our week-end town centres are full of hundreds of people staggering drunk, vomiting, fighting, passed out, relieving themselves and even having sex in doorways. Young women dressed to the nines and passed out in the gutter is not an unusual sight in our town centre streets. The police call it the ‘graveyard shift’, and people the worse for drink, drugs and fighting are putting a serious strain on hospitals. Many are raised on a diet of junk food eaten in front of the telly which makes their scantily clad bodies bulge in their tight dresses. Their attitudes and lessons on life come from East Enders and Coronation Street, from the X-factor and Big Brother and a plethora of inane TV mind junk. These are not happy people. The broadcasters have robbed them of their common sense. Instead of faith they have football. Instead of a charitable demeanour they have attitude. Instead of prayer they have porn. Instead of hymns and Gregorian chant they have the latest mind numbing songs and attitudes driven home with a loud electronic beat from Lady GaGa or one of her clones. Young women dressed like prostitutes, too drunk to care, flash their undergarments for a laugh; they fall and pass out on the pavement or fight with each other just like the boys.

Why is this happening? Is it simply drink or modern attitudes? Or both? Could it be that these young people are victims of the secular zeitgeist? Perhaps giving these people attitude problems is a deliberate attempt to destroy traditional values by the broadcasters and politicians? Is it at its heart socialist in its instigation?  Remember it was the last Labour government that legalised the round-the-clock selling of alcohol by pubs and clubs, but a ‘Conservative’ government that has legalised same-sex marriage, and children get lessons on sex, even ‘gay’ sex, in their schools. Is this all part of the left-liberal elite in the main stream media and the political think-tanks attempt to destroy traditional values?
By Prayer Crusader under the patronage of St Philomena and Bl Dominic

Saturday, 4 January 2014

Catholic Philosophy of Television

Catholic Philosophy of Television – The Views of Father Chad Ripperger FSSP., PhD

1.      The Downside
Father R. is an informal teacher of mine and I am carefully studying his book, Introduction to the Science of Mental Health, Sensus Traditionis Press, Denton Nebraska 2007.

St Elizabeth Seton - image Wikipedia

               First, his Thomistic analysis tells us that all tools (technology) are useful goods. There are other kinds of “good”, the honest good, the pleasurable good, and the ultimate good (Summum bonum). Father R. says when “technology stands between the knower and Reality ... the knower is distanced from reality and loses the opportunity to gain the necessary experience in order to live life according to reason”. An “honest good” becomes an end in itself because the tool then becomes an ultimate good – an idol, or false god, a graven image. Not only that, the idol status becomes addictive because the tool makes life easy, and because technology insulates us from physical toil (suffering); we do not utilise common sense that comes from learning how reality functions. We have become dependent “on technology and science always to solve the problems”. This presumption of excessive use has direct causal effect on mental health, or the virtue of right thinking and good judgment. The idolization “tends to strip one of common sense... the person loses the capacity to grasp the nature of things and how they are to be treated,” [all preceding quotes from page 36].
               Of course, mothers of the first generation of TV users saw this immediately – that is why they called the television an “idiot box”.
1.       The Upside
On the other hand, says Father R., it must not be forgotten that the television (as all tools) is a useful good, especially in terms of psychological treatment of disordered thinking and behaviours. In other words, it is a powerful training tool because it utilizes powerful sight and sound images that affect the human imagination. For example, “if someone has mental illness with respect to some specific object watching television can often correct the phantasm or image in the memory...” Here is an exception to this therapeutic hypothesis that proves the point that television can “greatly affect the appetites and emotions of man.” [Quotes in this section from pg,. 259].
               My grandmother, Elvira, had her first cataract operation without any side effects. My father reports that on the second operation, she got stuck in the waiting room where the doctor had an explanatory video playing that showed the graphic gruesomeness of the eyeball getting exposed and pulling back the eyelid, etc. Grandmother’s already wild imagination went haywire and she physically tensed up from too much knowledge and she came out of the operation bruised up around the eye.
2.      Conclusion
The most sinister effect of television is the intellectual and volitional passiveness that it induces. Watching television entails the “certain surrendering of the imagination to the images provided by the programmer ... this can be extremely dangerous in that one can just allow the television to do the thinking for him.” One must rather exercise dispassionate judgement on the images to keep them in proper perspective. Father R. Justifies the social good of CUT’s pamphleteering!
By the Prayer Crusader under the patronage of St Elizabeth Seton, Carson City, USA

Today the 4th January is the feast of St Elizabeth Ann Seton. In the early 1800s she reputedly had a vision in which she saw a little black box in every American’s home from which Satan would entre people’s homes in the 20th century.