What’s behind the BMA’s abortion vote
SIR – I was disappointed but hardly surprised when the British Medical Association voted in favour of decriminalising abortion: 98 per cent of UK abortions are done on the basis that if the mother does not have the abortion, her mental health is liable to suffer. In marked contrast, the Royal College of Psychiatrists has stated that there is no evidence to suggest that abortion improves mental health. Doctors were likely to face a legal challenge some time regarding this inconsistency. There is also a powerful pro-abortion presence within the BMA: Dr Wendy Savage, for example, supports abortion on any grounds, including sex selection.
In Parliament, we have the likes of Stella Creasy MP, who has recently compared abortion to having an appendix out. This shows scant respect for the unborn child. Also, a doctor who refuses to refer a patient for an appendix operation on grounds of conscience is rightly going to be fired. What will happen to doctors and nurses when they refuse to refer women for abortion once abortion is decriminalised? It is only logical for the conscience clause covering abortion to be thrown out.
It is heartening to note that all our major pro-life organisations are united in their defence of human life from conception till natural death as never before. They need our complete support as never before.
Dr Pravin Thevathasan
Editor, Catholic Medical Quarterly,Shrewsbury, Shropshire
Bishops should take the lead on life issues
SIR – Can I add my concerns to those of Damien Paul Hickman (Letter, June 16) at the lack of leadership from the Catholic Hierarchy of England and Wales prior to the recent general election on the key topics of abortion and assisted suicide? These are destined to be debated yet again in the next Parliament with efforts to decriminalise abortion entirely, and in doing so provide momentum to the accompanying campaign for assisted suicide.
The advice given to the laity by the Catholic Hierarchy was deafeningly silent on the issues, preferring to focus rather on the need for social justice in economic and housing policy and the environment. This is all well and good and to be applauded, but clearly the Hierarchy regard “pro-life” issues as unattractive to secular society and too toxic to be publicly associated with.
It is tempting to see this as an extension of the current Pope’s comments on how the Church cannot be seen to be overly associated with “life issues” at the expense of other more pressing social justice issues likely to find favour across the wider secular society.
The recent appointment (Report, June 23) of Professor Nigel Biggar of Oxford University to the Pontifical Academy for Life is consistent with this more liberal approach.
We need to be worried when someone who is on record as stating that “human consciousness and brain activity are only evident at 18 weeks gestation”, and therefore “it is not true that all abortion is murder”, is regarded as having something valuable to contribute to the Church’s teaching on these matters.
One wonders whether St John Paul II or the Pope Emeritus, given their view that life begins at conception, would have done similarly.
Ebchester, Co Durham
SIR – Of all the questionable excuses for the irreverent practice of receiving Holy Communion in the hand, Deacon Jeremy Oliver’s idea that to do so is to somehow enable Our Lord to “lead us by the hand” (Letter, June 23) is by far the most bizarre and the least convincing I have ever heard.
Lydeard St Lawrence, Somerset
Growing in grace
SIR – Mrs Elizabeth Price (Letter, June 30) continues with her arguments in favour of more intercourse for married people by overlooking the value of periodic sexual abstinence.
Sexual abstinence is undertaken periodically in order to increase grace (love) between spouses in the first instance which flourishes through good motivation into a wider, less exclusive love.
It’s only by this that the reality of God’s love can flourish within marriage to help strengthen the union. It is very strange to exclude these Christian thoughts from sexuality.
Fr Bryan Storey
St Paul the Apostle, Tintagel, Cornwall
The stoicism of Sarah
SIR – I was impressed with your insightful and well-judged article concerning the invented controversies which have recented dogged Cardinal Robert Sarah, of the Congregation of Divine Worship (Cover story, June 23).
In my judgment, Cardinal Sarah has proved himself a faithful upholder of “the reform of the reform” and an implacable opponent of further “dumbing down” of the Sacred Liturgy of the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church.
It is particularly galling – but, regrettably, to be expected – that the ecclesiastical liberals who are so offended at defending the faith “once delivered to the saints” have rounded on him and are attempting to attack his credibility.
It says a lot about him that Cardinal Sarah’s response has been a stoical and Christ-like forbearance and silence in the face of these outrageous libels and personal attacks.
In contrast, it is a sad reflection of the behaviour of some alleged leading Catholics that their approach to ridiculing Cardinal Sarah bears all the hallmarks of the secular tide which is now assaulting Christ’s Church.
If, as I sincerely believe, the Catholic Church rises up against this biblically predicted challenge, it will be precisely because faithful clergy and laymen continue to worship Almighty God in a dignified, authentic and numinous manner – and do not subscribe to the nonsense of a “parish beanfeast” supplanting the Mass.
Cardinal Sarah is to be congratulated and supported for raising his repeated concerns about the liberalising of the Mass and all faithful Catholics will wish him well.
SIR – Regarding RR Reno’s article (Feature, June 30) on the spirituality of rock climbing, it is curious how many of the world’s most talented professionals are fervent non-believers. Alex Honnold, who climbed El Capitan without a rope, describes as a “militant atheist”. What could