Letters to the Editor
FAITH Magazine July-August 2010
BRITISH CATHOLIC REALPOLITIK
Dear Father Editor,
Thank you for your excellent editorial regarding sex and relationships education in the May/June edition of the magazine. It is very helpful to be reminded of Church teaching in this area, especially in the current political climate.
As Religious Education co-ordinator in a Catholic school, I have encountered a range of views from staff regarding the content of SRE to be taught in our primary school. Clear guidance is desperately needed both at a diocesan and at a national level as there is obviously widespread confusion in this area.
Name and address supplied
Dear Father Editor,
Your May editorial well argues that the "tear-jerking ... unkindest cut of all" concerning the support of Catholic leaders for the Labour government's sex education policy is with regard to pupils at non-faith schools. This is because the partial concessions "won" by Catholic negotiators concerning the requirements to "aid and abet" teenage abortion and contraception do not, on anyone's reckoning, apply to non-faith schools.
In this context the pathos of a November 2009 Catholic Education Service (CESEW) comment is unmistakeable: "CESEW does not have authority over pupils at non-Catholic schools, so queries relating to any such schools ought to be directed to" the government (cf John Smeaton's blog, 22 March).
Hinton Rd, Littledown, Bournemouth
Your editorial comment on my May letter points out that Peter Tatchell has been prominently campaigning for the easing of restrictions upon "consensual" sex with the young. Such homosexual activism in favour of loosening the legal distinction between adult and adolescent might seem an isolated phenomenon. Indeed the General Secretary of our Bishops' conference is quoted as saying last April that there is no "empirical data" to support Cardinal Bertone's comments linking paedophilia and homosexuality. A chorus of secular protesters made similar points.
The General Secretary spoke of a "consensus amongst researchers" but gave no indication of the provenance of the research. In my view this response of the English and Welsh Bishops is precipitate and ill judged. Their advisers have once again allowed themselves to be influenced by a current "consensus" based on secular-liberal ideology rather than evidence and experience.
They were, for instance, similarly influenced by the 1970s "consensus" in England that one should not bring abused children or young persons before the courts as witnesses, and that paedophiles and pederasts could be "cured" by therapy. Judges were persuaded by this "expert opinion" to release offenders for therapy, allowing them to continue to work with children (cf Maureen Mullally, The Universe, 4 March 2010).
There is significant evidence in this country and elsewhere to support the idea that there is a link between homosexual culture and paedophile and pederast cultures and that those with homosexual orientations are more prone to seeking sexual partners among children and young persons than heterosexual persons.
The 1992 analysis by Stephen Green (The Sexual Dead End, Broad View) indicates that in this country a homosexual male is 23 times more likely to offend against a boy under 16 than a heterosexual male. It does not follow that all or even most homosexual persons are drawn to children.
The aggressive paedophile movement of the 1970s, which sought to sanitise and decriminalise paedophilia, began within and was fostered by the movements for homosexual equality. The Paedophile Information Exchange (PIE) was set up in Scotland in 1974 by two activists of the Scottish Minorities group, which became the Scottish Homosexual Rights group. They identified boys in whom "paedophiles" were interested as being between 8 and 16 years.
In July 1975 PIE moved to London and was accommodated by Release, which in 1980 became one of a group of organisations involved with the Campaign for Homosexual Equality, Gay Switchboard and the Joint Council for Gay Teenagers. Paedophile Action for Liberation grew out of PIE. It was based with the prominent Gay Liberation Front (an early Seventies seedbed of "Outrage", "Stonewall", etc.) in the Gay Community Centre at 98 Railton Road, London.
The Albany Trust, described as the charitable arm of the Homosexual Law Reform Society, and later known as the Sexual Law Reform Society, was subsidised by the English Department of Education. The Trust considered paedophilia to be "one shade of the spectrum of human sexuality". It supplied PIE with a copy of the Dutch Speijer Report, which advocated the abolition of all laws against homosexual activity with minors; this was translated for them by the Sexual Law Reform Society. The Albany Trust later ceased operating but re-emerged as a counselling agency for homosexual persons.
At the conference of the powerful Campaign for Homosexual Equality in 1975, a time when it claimed 5,000 members and 100 local groups, Keith Hose of PIE challenged members of the audience who had no "interest in children" to stand. One third remained seated (Sheffield Morning Telegraph, 26 August 1975). The conference refused to agree a lower age limit for membership. At the 1977 conference a Liberal peer said, from the Chair, that the conference expressed its support for objective and rational discussion on paedophilia and child sexuality in general. At the 1978 conference, two representatives of the National Council for Civil Liberties supported a motion proposed by a teacher calling on Gay News to give paedophilia more coverage. They did, and subsequently published"contact" advertisements. Two representatives of the Haringey Lesbian and Gay Unit defended PIE as "a sexual minority whose rights were under attack" (Homosexuality: Power and Politics, Alison & Busby, p116). Rights to what, one may ask.
The first major survey of homosexuality in America, The Gay Report of 1979, remains one of the largest of such surveys and is widely regarded as a benchmark. It commented: "Since the decadent Roman wrote two millennia ago about the attraction of boy-man love, observers have noted the linkages between homosexuality and paedophilia".
In the 1980s, Operation Circus and Operation Babe, carried out by the Metropolitan Police, showed significant homosexual involvement in the abuse of 500 boys.
To deny that there is an overlap between the homosexual and the paedophile and pederast cultures is false. The paedophile and pederast movements in Britain were launched from within the homosexual movements and fostered by them. It is considered politically incorrect and illiberal in Britain to question "gay opinion" and there is growing evidence from the Christian Institute and the St Thomas More Legal Centre of the Establishment's intent to censor debate and deny freedom of speech on the issue. No one, least of all bishops, should allow themselves to be swept along by such an ideologically driven consensus rather than being guided by careful research.
Kenneth H Kavanagh,
Byron Crescent, Bedford
At a November 1999 Stonewall concert attended by Cherie Blair, Frank Dobson and Simon Hughes, 18- year-old male strippers dressed as boy scouts, who were accompanying Sir Elton John singing "It's a sin", stripped off their uniforms to the loud approval of the audience.
Dear Father Editor,
I was interested to read the article in your "Cutting Edge" section (May/June 2009) on last year's Vatican conference on evolution, but would like to clarify two aspects of the report.
While it might be true to say that Intelligent Design (ID) was not given much credence by the delegates, it would be quite wrong to draw any conclusions from this regarding the value of ID research. The reason it was not given much credence is that no one supportive of ID was invited to attend. This is surprising, given that Dr Michael Behe, a leading proponent of ID, is a devout Catholic. Is the Pontifical Council for Culture, which organised the conference, unaware of Pope Pius Xll's clear instruction, in his 1950 encyclical Human! Generis, that all sides of the creation/evolution debate should be considered?
I should also like to address the assertion that ID is simply a "god of the gaps" argument. This misrepresentation is used by its secular, materialist opponents to discredit ID. However, as Dr Stephen Meyer has pointed out in his recent book, Signature in the Cell, ID is simply the inference to the best explanation based on the available evidence. Given that intelligence is the only known source of specified, complex and functional information, it is both reasonable and logical to conclude that it is the source of this type of information in DNA and RNA.
Oldridge Road, Balham
We think Mr Copus well highlights the lack of balance at the Rome conference. Why indeed invite monist philosophers, even some tending towards process theology, when not inviting those seen as tending towards creationism? However, we do think the ID school belongs in this latter group, notwithstanding its excellent inference from information to intelligence. The creationist tendency flows from its profoundly unscientific claim that the "best explanation based on the available evidence" involves a division of the objects of scientific observation into those things which have the "irreducible complexity" that clearly points to mind (such as DNA, the flagellum, the eye, etc) and those things that do not. This mind is very close to a "god of the gaps". Science involves the gradualcharting of the irreducible links and patterns across the whole of the physical universe. This implies that "specified, complex and functional information" is intrinsic to the whole unity of the cosmos, not just parts.
Dear Father Editor,
Thank you for the interesting piece on Canon Lemaitre's scientific insights concerning the universe and its evolution (May/June 2010).
Further to this and James Allen's letter, I have never really grasped why some intelligent Catholics think that the idea of evolution is incompatible with the Catholic faith. Surely it just shows how wonderfully made the universe and our bodies are. It doesn't undermine the best strands of traditional arguments for the Creator and the human soul, let alone some of the excellent developments of these arguments offered today in the light of Lemaitre's and others' scientific advances. As articles in L'Osservatore Romano last year have shown, the Catholic Church has never condemned the generic doctrine of evolution.
Fr Aldhelm Cameron-Brown OSB
Prinknash Abbey, Gloucestershire