05 December 2008

Angelicum dean responds to Blair inquiry

In response to my inquiry about the invitation to Cherie Blair to speak at the Angelicum, I received the following reply from Sr. Helen Alford, OP, dean of the school of social sciences:

Thanks for your message and your patience in waiting for a reply. As you can imagine, there is a lot going on at the moment.

Here's the bit I sent to EWTN this afternoon:

"Thank you for your interest in our conference. By inviting Mrs Blair, we, as a faculty of social sciences, are following the example of the Pope’s own social sciences institute, the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences, based in the Vatican itself. Mrs Blair was invited to make an address to its 2006 plenary assembly, which focused on children and young people. After her speech, as a spontaneous act of kindness, the Pope received Mrs Blair in a private audience, despite the fact that, as it was an unexpected invitation, she was not dressed in the protocol black. She was invited to speak in an academic capacity and was received by the Pope on that basis. Obviously, in doing so, neither the Vatican as a whole, nor the Pope personally, was in any way endorsing a pro-abortion point of view, and neither are we."

Here's the link to the Zenit article about this.

As you know from the conference programme, we have another main speaker, Janne Haaland Matlary, who has been a member of the Holy See delegations to various UN conferences with Mary Ann Glendon and others. She has been featured in Zenit on several occasions, including when she published her book on her conversion to Catholicism. You might be interested to know the abstract she sent me of her talk:

"JHM will address the importance of human rights for women at a time when they are discriminated against in severe terms in many places, in not being granted equality. She discusses how the UNHR of 1948 was quite revolutionary in establishing such equality, but also points out that fundamental human rights have become an instrument for Western feminism, imposed on the Third World. For instance, there is no human right to abortion, as there is no human right to have children. When human rights are used as political tools, also repressive states will be able to define rights as they wish."

There is also time for discussion and debate from the floor.

This seems to me to be a perfectly reasonable explanation. I recommend it to you.

40 comments:

  1. Thank you for this information, Fr Philip, and it is good of Sr Helen Alford to let you post it on your blog. (I noticed you mentioned in a previous comment that you were awaiting her permission.)

    I wonder whether the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences invited Mrs Blair not knowing that she is entirely unorthodox on just about everything. Apparently, her favourite theologian, whom she knows personally, is Hans Kung! Just because a mistake was made in the past doesn't mean it should be repeated again (and again and again in the future?). Inviting someone like Mrs Blair to speak on such an occasion suggests that her views are entirely compatible with Catholic thinking - and they are far from being that.

    I think it the issue could be resolved by contacting Mrs Blair now and asking her to affirm whether, in her speech or response to questions, she will uphold the Church's teaching on such questions as abortion, contraception and marriage. If she is unwilling or unable to do this the invitation should be withdrawn.

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  2. "There is also time for discussion and debate from the floor."

    And I hope someone takes advantage of that by asking Mrs. Blair point-blank, "Since you believe in unlimited babykilling, why do you pretend to be Catholic?"

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  3. Anonymous5:33 AM

    Fr. Powell, I believe the response from Sr. Alford is not at all reasonable. The Church should unite against dissenters from the faith, not give them a platform to air their views.

    I quote from Lifesitenews: "In 2005, Mrs. Blair contributed an essay to the book “Why I am still a Catholic,” a collection of essays from notorious dissenters from Catholic teaching, including unrepentant active homosexuals. In this essay, she wrote, “Of course, like many Catholics in this country, I have doubts about some of the positions taken by the Church as an institution - for example, on contraception or the role of women. But I am not one of those who believes that the only response is to walk away because you have a different viewpoint. I HAVE BEEN TAUGHT THAT YOU SHOULD STAY AND TRY TO CHANGE THINGS [my emphasis]."

    Mrs. Blair is laughing all the way to the bank that the Church hierarchy is in such disarray that she is able to speak inside the Vatican.

    We must continue to put pressure on the conference organisers to cancel her speech.

    Best wishes

    Deborah

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  4. It looks reasonable to me too and even exciting. I think it's important for there to be more public debate between pro-life and pro-choice feminists.

    I am going to try to find out more about JHM.

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  5. Anonymous12:17 PM

    Fernblossom: as good as a public debate might be on the issue, I do not think the Vatican (which should clearly be standing up for anti-abortion thinking) is the place for it. I also doubt that our rampant 'pro-choice' media will report on any potential debate, particularly not if JHM manages to get the better of Blair. At the moment, all Blair's invitation does is disillusion a majority of the faithful.

    Deborah

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  6. Anonymous5:23 PM

    The Angelicum (Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas) is the ONLY Pontifical University in Rome to have Eucharistic Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament every day of classes from 8AM-6:00PM for the past 7 years. Let's pray that this powerful Presence of Jesus will change the heart of Cherie Blair and all those who promote the culture of death. May the Servant of God, Pope John Paul II (Alumnus of Angelicum, '48) pray for and protect the university!
    http://angelicumnewsletter.blogspot.com/2008/11/angelicums-most-famous-alumni.html

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  7. Sister Alford's response is an evasion. The Pope congratulated Barack Obama with a phone call. Does that make the President-elect an appropriate speaker for a Catholic university? Of course not! Likewise, the Pope regularly meets with world leaders and their spouses, but that does not mean those leaders or their spouses deserve a platform to speak at a Catholic university, let alone a pontifical one.

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  8. Dawn,

    I am not at all happy about the Blair invitation. But I think Sr. Helen is making a good point here that you may have missed. The Angelicum is doing in a smaller way what the Pontifical Academy did in a much larger way. Part of that was to invite Blair to speak. Obviously, the Holy Father did not feel that having Blair speak nor meeting her afterwards was in any way an indication of a weakening of the Church's pro-life stance. Insofar as the Angelicum has invited Blair to speak at an academic conference, the analogy to the papal visit holds.

    Don't get me wrong here! I am not defending Blair. All I am saying is that the invitation to Blair is following the example of the pontifical academy on social sciences.

    If the father can invite the enemy to his house without appearing to concede, why can't the daughter do the same?

    Fr. Philip, OP

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  9. When the Pope invited her she was the wife of the Prime Minister of an important country. She no longer is.

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  10. "Why can't the daughter do the same?"
    Because the daughter, then, appears to concede...and, in case you haven't noticed, in the 21st Century, appearances are reality.
    Let me put it this way: In my city, about 200 kids are killed each day via abortion. Now let's say instead that 200 kids were lined up each day & shot. You & Sr Helen & even Ms Blair would have to concede that the result of each action is the same, so that's a fair analogy.
    Now, further suppose, that Sr Helen had invited Ms Blair to her forum at a pontifical university to 'discuss' the pros & cons of shooting 200 children a day....all in the name of academic freedom, open dialog etc etc.
    Please! Long ago, the good Sister's response would've been called a Cop Out.

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  11. Ray,

    Blair had been the wife of an important head of state for many years before this invitation came. Blair was invited to speak at the Pontifical Academy and the Pope received her spontaneously after the conference.

    G.,

    How does it appear that the daughter is conceding when it does not appear that the father is? I'm not following you here. Blair is not talking about abortion at this conference. Besides, I would have no problem having her here to debate abortion with another prominent feminist. We do our students no good when we fail to show them how to combat the evil of abortion. What I would be very much opposed to is giving Blair an honorary degree or inviting her to speak at commencement or just having her here to give a speech about abortion w/o any venue for challenging her. All of those would give the appearance of approving her message.

    So, the basic question for me is this: is the Holy Father an example to follow or not?

    Fr. Philip, OP

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  12. "So, the basic question for me is this: is the Holy Father an example to follow or not?"

    Sometimes yes, sometimes no. In this case, probably not.

    I follow the Pope's official teachings, but not necessarily his unofficial musings or his day-to-day actions. Pope Benedict is a great and holy man, but like his predecessor John Paul the Great, and like all the rest of us, he often does stupid things. I recall one time when John Paul kissed the Qu'ran in veneration, and countless others when he tolerated and even encouraged some fairly odd liturgical festivities. Many people emulated these things out of respect, because after all, if the Pope does it, it must be good because he's our standard, right? Dead wrong.

    The Pope is there just to be a custodian of the truth, nothing more. And even in this faculty, he need only act rarely, since the Patriarchs and bishops, yes even those in the Eastern Orthodox Church, frequently proclaim and defend the truth in a more direct manner than he.

    The Pope's job is to serve as a figurehead for the West, and whenever a huge dispute comes about, to confirm a dogmatic definition to combat heresy, reaffirming infallibly what has always been infallible, and what has always been taught.

    That is his only task. He needs to remember his place and keep to it.

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  13. Eo,

    Your vision of the Holy Father's role as Christ's vicar on earth is horribly narrow.

    Fortunately for the Church, canon law, scripture, tradition, the councils, all disagree radically without your Pope-as-Infallible-Barbie-Doll theory of his magisterial role.

    Simple example...the Pope you describe could not issue "Summorum pontificum." He could not appoint bishops. He could not exercise his canon office as "supreme legislator" of the Church.

    And so on.

    Fr. Philip, OP

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  14. Anonymous3:34 AM

    some additional info on Mrs Blair:
    Moreover, it is a matter of public record that Mrs Blair has:

    1) endorsed the radically pro-abortion Family Planning Association UK
    (http://www.fpa.org.uk/news/policy/party_conferences/detail.cfm?contentid=559)(http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/shared/spl/hi/pop_ups/05/uk_politics_cherie_in_brighton/html/6.stm)

    2) endorsed CEDAW
    (http://www.cherieblair.org/women/2008/09/the-convention-on-the-eliminat.html)
    - which includes the Trojan horse term "reproductive rights", as you
    are no doubt aware. The committee behind this convention are
    responsible for, among other things, an attempt to overturn the ban on
    abortion in Northern Ireland
    (http://www.spuc.org.uk/news/releases/2008/july31)

    3) endorsed Human Rights Watch, which considers abortion to be a human
    right (e.g. http://www.hrw.org/en/news/2008/08/28/mexico-supreme-court-upholds-mexico-city-abortion-law)

    and that she:

    4) uses artificial contraception and believes it is a positive thing
    (http://afp.google.com/article/ALeqM5g0Dxfoz2g9NZ9TZB2vBVoLFEndEQ)

    5) believes that the Church should change her teaching on artificial
    contraception (http://www.hellomagazine.com/royalty/2001/10/04/cherie/)

    "Mrs Blair is a cause of scandal in the United Kingdom. Traditional and
    new media carry puzzled enquiries from Catholics and non-Catholics who
    cannot understand how a declared "good Catholic" can oppose the
    Church's most well-known teachings. They also carry articles which use
    Mrs Blair as an example of what a good Catholic should be because of
    her opposition to the Church's teachings on these subjects."

    after getting to know her real stand i think her invite is abominable

    bistra

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  15. Anonymous3:55 AM

    Fr. Powell

    I see what you're saying about following the example of the Pope, but I still think The Angelicum is wrong to invite Mrs. Blair to speak at this particular conference. You say she is not going to speak about abortion, but she is talking at a conference about 'Women and Human Rights' and Mrs. Blair clearly believes it is a woman's human right to have an abortion.

    I have a problem with her talking at this Pontifical University because she professes to be Catholic, yet she constantly (and publicly) goes against the teachings of the Church and is downright disrespectful to it.

    Sr. Alford is lucky that I am not in Italy, because otherwise I would pepper the auditorium with protestors and every 5 minutes someone would stand up and heckle Mrs. Blair.

    Please keep writing to show your dissatisfaction with this invite.

    Regards,

    Deborah

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  16. Deborah,

    Heckling Blair accomplishes nothing more than make you feel good. Or superior. Or self-righteous. Or whatever. Blair is flat WRONG on abortion. Everyone at the university agrees that she is wrong. There is no danger of anyone here being persuaded. There is no danger of the Pope switching sides. There is no danger of anyone in the press suddenly concluding that by inviting Blair the Catholic Church is now pro-abortion. What possible good can come from heckling this woman? Could it be possible that the Holy Spirit lead Sr Helen to invite Blair here so that He could show her something she needs to see...something to change her heart. You cannot say it is not so.

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  17. Anonymous9:14 AM

    Well, Father,
    then why dont we invite all these famous and infamous people supporting promoting fighting and performing or encouraging people to do abortion at our University. Unfortunately i dont think Sr. Helen was led by the Holy Spirit I think she was led by the idea of having famous people at her conference or whatever else idea. I guess if she had hoped for the conversion of mrs Blair she would have invited her to a silent retreat.
    I am absolutely convinced we MUST ask Mrs Blair at the conference, whether she mentions it or not, if she thinks abortion is a part of the Women’s Rights - she must state this clearly in front of everybody and if she does she Must explain on the top of what she calls herself a Catholic.
    bistra

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  18. The germ theory of orthodoxy, according to which any contact with a heterodox thinker must be avoided, isn't well suited to a university named in honor of St. Thomas Aquinas.

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  19. Dear Fr Powell et al.,

    Please see my latest comment

    False idea of academic freedom no defence for inviting Cherie Blair

    Yours sincerely in defence of life,

    John Smeaton
    National Director
    Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC)
    London, UK

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  20. Dr Fair, A. C.11:14 AM

    Wait let me guess - you mean to tell me he eats AND speaks with sinners and Publicans?! That's it I'm outta here!! ;)

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  21. Anonymous2:22 PM

    Fr. Powell,

    If The Angelicum does not listen to us when we are writing letters to them, then heckling Blair during her speech would at least make them think twice before inviting her to speak again, this is my wish: therefore my reason for protesting would not be to make myself look superior or feel good.

    You are correct in saying that I do not know the wishes of the Holy Spirit, who may have called Mrs. Blair there to show her the error of her beliefs. However, it may be that an organised protest against Mrs. Blair could show her the depth of feeling about this issue within the Church and she could be forced to choose between the secular and spiritual in a way she has not had to before. A change of heart can come about by many means.

    On the matter of academic freedom, which appears to be the current defence by The Angelicum, I cannot say anything that has not been better said by Mr. Smeaton in his blog (to be found above)

    Please keep up the pressure on the conference organisers.

    Best Wishes

    Deborah

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  22. My defense of the Blair invitation is not based on academic freedom. That defense is used too often to abuse actual freedom. My defense is much simpler: I want students to hear her so that they can hear how to refute her. It's Show & Tell.

    As I have said many times here...no one can come away from this controversy thinking that the Angelicum is pro-abortion! If I thought for a second that that was the impression others were getting, I would protest strenuously.

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  23. Anonymous3:47 PM

    I too do not believe The Angelicum is, or will become, as a result of Mrs. Blair's speech, pro-abortion. I am however sure that by inviting her to speak within the Church time and time again (on ANY issues) the Church weakens its stance on a wide ranging number of issues within its own congregations.

    How can we take the Church seriously and attempt to live by its (very high) moral standards if it invites Mrs. Blair, who openly flouts Catholic morality in the media, to one of its conferences? I am certainly not saying that I am not a sinner, or that I have always operated within the bounds of Catholic morality, but I am not a public figure who professes Catholicism as my faith, yet does nothing but show a high level of disrespect for it in the press.

    Mrs. Blair has been interviewed and says she is 'a good Catholic girl', yet she has also given tasteless interviews about using artificial contraception and she openly supports pro-abortion organisations. This is not the kind of hypocritical 'pick and mix' Catholicism that our congregations need right now.

    Finally, you do not know what is going to be in Mrs. Blair's speech, so your students will not necessarily learn how to refute her at all.

    Fr. Powell, please believe me, we never hear traditional Catholic morality repeated to us (either in our schools, or in our Churches) and this is where the problem lies. Inviting Blair to this conference weakens the Church at grass-roots level and from within: it is this that I am most worried about and I think you should be protesting strenously already.

    Best wishes

    Deborah

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  24. I am still wondering what she was asked to talk about. All that was mentioned before was "women's rights" and that is too nebulous to mean anything. Though how Cherie Blair is an academic on anything in this area is beyond me.

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  25. Deborah,

    I can easily see how inviting Blair here to honor her with a degree or to give her an unassailable perch from which to speak would undermine the Church's credibility. The Angelicum is not an American "university in the Jesuit tradition" where pro-abort celebrities are given awards and degrees for their great humanitarian services.

    I simply do not understand how allowing this woman to give a talk at an academic conference where she will be challenged by the other speaker and those in the audience, how this event is going to undermine Catholic morality. The connection is not there.

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  26. EricG1:21 AM

    Father Phillip:

    Sometimes the Pope is to be followed, and sometimes he is not.

    For example:

    1) John Paul II as a model of perseverance in the face of great physical suffering: FOLLOW EXAMPLE

    2) John Paul II as a pedophile-enabler: DO NOT FOLLOW

    And even here, the example is not quite clear. Pope Benedict simply received her in audience. I see no evidence that he personally organized her invitation to a conference hosted by some Pontifical academy.

    The Pope cannot dispense from divine and natural law, and if he's wrong he's wrong, and should be told so publicly and to his face.

    I know you priests can't do so; you'd lose your retirement benefits and be sentenced to a lifetime of ministering in a hospital or nursing home by your bishop. But we laity who face no such strictures need to charitably, but firmly, rebuke our pastors when this is called for. I would say that after 50 or so years of pedophile-enabling, liturgical abuse, heterodoxy, tolerance for dissenting bishops, priests, and theologians, etc., enough is enough.

    Finally, I agree that there is a place for academic debate in an appropriate forum even at a Catholic university. But Mrs. Blair is not coming to this forum to be challenged in a public debate. That's your spin.

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  27. Anonymous3:26 AM

    Jeff, her talk is entitled 'Religion as a Force in Proecting Women's Human Rights', which Mrs. Blair would have include abortion on demand. She is a Catholic Human Rights Lawyer, but also pro-abortion: I don't think they mix very well.

    Fr. Powell, I am telling you that Mrs. Blair's invitation is an attack from the Church from within. I am only young (23) and not particularly religious, other than weekly Mass, so I fail to see how you, a holy man, cannot see what I do so clearly.

    Nowdays, unless we are taught traditional Catholic morality by our parents, we will not hear it anywhere else, so there are millions of Catholics walking around with no idea of the Church's official views on contraception etc. This situation is worsened and undermined by Mrs. Blair at every turnabout when she speaks out against the Church in the press, with no comeback from the Church hierarchy. In fact, we're now paying her to speak!

    She thinks she can say anything she likes to openly disrespect the Church's moral rules in the press and there has been no backlash against her from our clergy: what is going on here? How can the people aspire to live by Catholic moral standards when we never hear about them? And when we do, all we see is someone railing against the current rules. Fr. Powell, that is madness!

    Until Mrs. Blair can be brought back into the fold, our Church should go into damage limitation mode and speak out against her in the press when she flouts the rules and we should certainly not invite her to speak.

    If our clergy will not back us up on this issue, we have a serious problem within the Church.

    A Catholic pro-abortion advocate speaking on 'Women and Human Rights' at a Pontifical University, Lord help us! Please continue to write to the conference organisers asking them to cancel her talk.

    Best Wishes

    Deborah

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  28. Deborah,

    Let her and all the minions of Hell attack!

    God is in charge...and this battle is already won...nothing Blair says here or anywhere else is going to change what God Himself has established.

    Fretting over inviting this pro-abort Catholic to a Catholic university could be seen as a sign of doubt about God's providence.

    Rather than fret and fume, why not begin a fast for Blair's visit, asking God to show her a magnificent sign of His Love for her and the children she has helped to abort with her support. Let's use this occasion of having an enemy ideology on our home ground to do a little attacking of our own!

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  29. Eric,

    I can assure you that as a Dominican friar I am perfectly free to say what I think w/o worry of losing retirement, etc.

    Dominicans have always been at the forefront of the "disputed questions" of the day. This is our deep tradition going all the way back to Dominic disputing with the Cathars and Thomas disputing with the secular clergy. Truth has nothing to fear from falsity. What are you afraid of?

    Blair may not be coming to the Angelicum to the challenged...that doesn't mean that she won't be. This is not about what she intends or doesn't intend.

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  30. Anonymous4:41 AM

    Fr. Powell, I agree with you that in a purely theological sense Truth has nothing to fear from falsity and that the battle is already won. However, we are dealing with the secular world here, a world that will stop at nothing to destroy and marginalise the faith. I am saying that Mrs. Blair's invitation exacerbates this problem from within the Church.

    I also agree that God is in charge, but we His people must stand up for His truths here on earth. God has no hands but ours to do his work.

    I am not dismissing the idea of a fast either, but I still feel some more direct action from our brothers and sisters in Rome is called for too. Please consider the idea of direct action there too, just as I am considering the idea of a fast.

    Best Wishes

    Deborah

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  31. While I wouldn't be able to tell what kind of action, if any, is appropriate here, I do agree with one of Deborah's points: we hear so very little teaching.

    If you have a liberal pastor and aren't very active beyond Sunday Mass, it's very much possible that you NEVER hear the Church' stand point on abortion and contraception explained properly. Chances are you've heard it watered-down, or even flat-out contradicted. Then, if you see in the media that a person you know presents herself as Catholic and pro-abortion is speaking at a pontifical university... it's easy to think she must have a point, or there wouldn't be any sense in hearing her.

    I completely understand your views, Father, but we have been better informed than many people.

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  32. "If I thought for a second that that was the impression others were getting, I would protest strenuously."

    Fr P,
    Thank you for reiterating my point for me. I.e., In the century we are currently living in, Appearances=Reality.
    I don't like it either but that's the way it is.

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  33. "As I have said many times here...no one can come away from this controversy thinking that the Angelicum is pro-abortion!"

    Few people whom this will affect will have even heard of the Angelicum. What they will hear is that Ms Booth is Invited to Speak by the Vatican. That is what will make it to the lapsed and non-Catholic's brains. "Even the Pope invited Cherie Blair to speak, and she's a supporter of abortion, so how can you be so against it?"

    Moreover, the conference is described as dealing with the dangers of relativism for human rights. Do you think they have invited Ms Booth as a specimen?

    More moreover, apropos human rights and abortion:
    "The UN will begin "Human Rights Day" with a signing ceremony opening the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW). The Protocol would legally bind countries to uphold all aspects of CEDAW. This includes upholding the "reproductive rights of women" (including abortion). It would also target any "culture and tradition" which stands in the way of this agenda."

    Ms Booth on CEDAW:
    "The Convention is the only human rights treaty which affirms the reproductive rights of women and targets culture and tradition as influential forces shaping gender roles and family relations."

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  34. Anonymous1:24 PM

    Fr. Philip

    I admire your endurance. Will your objectors at least admit that we should have a place in Rome precisely to debate dissenters and non Catholics alike. We can call it the Pontifical Institute for Moderated Debate...whatever. The dream world is nice but Catholics just helped greatly to elect Obama....millions of them and probably few with much thought at all despite Kmiec et al (with thought) who are probably a miniscule number of the many million of catholic votes.

    We need the Church to be debating leaders of error in public. This document thing...popular after the printing press.... is not working and such documents (encyclicals etc) are read by the choir only. We are not a library.
    Let's have a public way of our best people debating in public...the leaders of the opposition.

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  35. Sister Mary1:34 PM

    As an alumna of this University, I am very disappointed that Cherie Blair has been invited to speak. It might be appropriate if there was a real debate, but just to give her a "Catholic podium," something more to put on her resume, and a claim of acceptance by the Catholic Church. No. A Pontifical University carries much more weight than an ordinary university. I think it's a real shame and disgrace.

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  36. Anonymous9:39 PM

    Fr. Philip,

    To entertain Ms. Blair's heterodox views is the kind of activity that has caused the Church so much pain in the last few years. The eccesial office of the Church has done so much damage in the past few decades, that we cannot really afford to be complacent about anything any longer, even this; and priests should be the ones providing the leadership of strong and orthodox faith rather than letting the laity be the driving force for building up the faith in the world.

    Confidence in God also requires vigilance on our part, lest thieves enter and steal the sheep.

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  37. Anon,

    ...and I want the "sheep" I'm responsible for to able to look up when danger approaches and say, "Ah yes, I recognize that particular wolf...she was here last week saying much the same thing and here's how she is wrong..." That's not possible if we refuse to hear or see...gentle as doves, sharp as vipers. We do ourselves no favors in this hostile world when we listen only to ourselves, see only one another, eat and drink with only those who agree with us. How do we begin to turn hearts if all we do is build pretty churches, universities, monasteries, and then let no one in except those who already believe as we do. To use an analogy from Jesus: we build great Catholic hospitals and then refuse to treat the sick b/c they are sick.

    Blair is no threat to the Church or any member of the Church. If there's a Catholic out there who doesn't know by now that abortion is an intrinsically morally evil act, always and everywhere Evil, then I'm simply at a loss as to understand how Blair lecturing at the Angelicum in Rome is going to make one whit of difference one way or the other to that Catholic.

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  38. Anonymous5:10 AM

    Dear Fr. Powell

    I do not mean to sound like I am attacking you with this post and you may not want to put this on your blog, which is fine with me, but I quote from your vocation story "On the national scene, the E.C. was committing suicide with one disastrous lurch away from the historic faith after another. Finally, in 1995, I had had enough and left the E.C. to become a Catholic."

    Although I do not think the Church is lurching away from our central beliefs (Transubstantiation, Resurrection, Immaculate Conception etc) I think that there is a parallel in that our historic Catholic moral values are being eroded daily and not a Priest has said anything about it.

    When I handed out anti-abortion leaflets after the Masses one Sunday, approx 75% of the people took one and around 25% flat-out refused. The youth were the worst offenders (16-23). This has to change and the change must come from the top down. The clergy must be informed of the importance of instilling in their parish the rights and wrongs of Catholic morality, BECAUSE WE DO NOT HEAR IT AND THIS MEANS THAT PEOPLE ARE LOOKING TO THE WORLD FOR THEIR MORAL COMPASS. You must not underestimate the power of the media with teenagers.

    If this idea of being nothing but welcoming to all comers, whatever their beliefs on our central morals, continues within the Church, then within the next generation I am telling you that we will not recognise the Church anymore.

    You may be a Priest who is constantly preaching Catholic morality, but I have not met one personally yet.

    Mrs. Blair is a lifelong Catholic, she has had plenty of time to reassess her views AND SHE HASN'T. If I was heading up the Church, I know what I'd be doing and it wouldn't be letting her chat away inside a Pontifical University.

    We need to continue the protest against her speech and I pray that our clergy will lead us in it.

    Best Wishes

    Deborah

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  39. Deborah,

    I really can't add anything else to what I have already said.

    You (and those who oppose Blair's invitation) are burdened with showing precisely how a talk given by this woman at a pontifical university will cause harm to the Church as a whole or her individual members.

    I cannot see a causal connection.

    My experience in the Episcopal Church is not comparable to this situation. In the EC at the time, the truth of basic doctrine was up for majority votes of the general convention. Nothing like that is going on here.

    Fr. Philip, OP

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  40. We managed to prevent a pro-choice MP coming into our girls Catholic school. The MP like Cherie Blair called herself Catholic whilst voting for abortion & animal/hybrids. We got the Catholic & local press involved & were successful in getting the invitation withdrawn. She was no role model for our children. If any of my older children were students at this Angelicum Uni they would protest Ms Cherie Blair pro-abortionist supporter of contraception & an atrocious example of protecting the weakes unborn. It is beyond belief..& we have all written to complain. If we could afford it we would have come to Rome. fortunately we have excellent Priests who support us mere parents..

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