Posted by: Michael Kirke | August 31, 2014

About time

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Leading UK imams have condemned British Muslims fighting alongside Isis extremists in Iraq and Syria. The imams have issued a fatwa against the fighters, describing them as “heretics”. The fatwa “religiously prohibits” British Muslims from joining “poisonous” Isis. Meanwhile, Paddy Ashdown has accused David Cameron of a “kneejerk” response to the domestic terror threat.

That was reported by The Week today. But it also reports this:
A UK travel agent is reporting a “massive increase” in bookings for holidays in Iraq. Lupine Travel, which is based in Wigan, has seen demand for its tours to Iraqi Kurdistan treble following the recent escalation of tensions in the region and has taken around 100 bookings in a few weeks. A spokesman said the bookings were from “thrill-seekers” and charity workers.

What can the imams do about that?

Posted by: Michael Kirke | August 30, 2014

Family breakdown is ‘an iceberg lurking to shipwreck society’

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Britain’s ‘broken society’ – David Cameron’s term of a few years ago which he has since chosen to forget about – came painfully and shockingly into focus in Rotherham last week.

How broken it is and what the consequences of ignoring it will be were spelled out by an Anglican Bishop and social critic when he addressed The Christian Institute last week.

British society is facing a “tsunami of social disintegration” after decades of rampant divorce, cohabitation, fatherlessness, and family breakdown, the bishop said. Pakistani-born Bishop Michael Nazir Ali said that Britain’s current and growing problems with what politicians call “social cohesion,” are “an iceberg which is lurking to shipwreck society.” LifeSiteNews reported the bishop’s words on August 28.

Bishop Nazir Ali placed the blame squarely on the work of the decades of social re-engineering that has seen marriage demoted and degraded as a societal foundation and divorce become readily available. He faulted the skyrocketing rates of cohabitation that has seen the practice become the accepted norm in most western societies. The practice has contributed to a fundamental destabilization of society, he said.

“For the first time since records began there are now more unmarried than married people of marriageable age and the reality is that fewer and fewer couples have stable relationships,” the bishop said.

Read full report here.

Posted by: Michael Kirke | August 30, 2014

Of gratitude and ingratitude

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“When things get better, people forget God. When things get bad, they turn back to Him again. It’s repeated throughout history. … It’s the way the human heart is made.”

This was the observation of Pat Fagan in an interview with The Daily Signal, online journal of the U.S. think-tank, The Heritage Council. Dublin-born Fagan, senior fellow and director of the Marriage and Religion Research Institute at the Family Research Council, said it’s a “pattern of human nature” to forget and remember God depending on the circumstance.

Today, movie stars, singers, and athletes tend to make headlines for expressing gratitude to God.

The Daily Signal was doing a piece on the scarce gratitude shown to God by the winning stars in the initial award ceremonies – the Emmys and MTV Awards. I was pleasantly surprised that there were any!

Of 17 awards presented Sunday night during the VMAs, nine speeches — including Beyonce’s acceptance of the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award — were available for review online.

Only three — Beyonce; rapper Drake, who won for Best Hip Hop Video; and the group Fifth Harmony, who won for Artist to Watch — thanked God in their acceptance speeches. (Drake accepted his award during a concert Monday.)

Read the full Daily Signal piece here

Posted by: Michael Kirke | August 29, 2014

“An incredible ability to listen to and be present to people”

 

“An incredible ability to listen to and be present to people” – these are the words of Diane Foley, the mother of murdered journalist, James Foley, describing one of the qualities of her son to John Snow on Channel 4 News earlier this week.

 Diane and her husband John gave an extended interview to Jon Snow and in it described how their Faith (they are Catholics) was helping them to cope with their grief. They also spoke of how that same Faith was an inspiration in the life and work of their son whose chosen mission was to try, through his work as a journalist, to be a witness to the world of the untold suffering of the innocent in the mayhem in the Middle East.

 

Posted by: Michael Kirke | August 24, 2014

Is the pro choice cat finally out of the bag?

At least it is truthful

More evidence is emerging in Ireland that the country’s Family Planning Association (IFPA), an affiliate of International Planned Parenthood, may be acting illegally and is certainly not acting as a body which cares for the health of women as it claims to be.

 The Sunday Times – a British-based paper –  reports this weekend that following on from a Garda (police) investigation a file has been sent to Ireland’s Director of Public Prosecutions on the counselling practices at the IFPA, including giving advice to women on how to illegally import abortion pills.

 The IFPA last week began to feel the backlash from the public following its involvement in a case where a woman’s baby was delivered prematurely following her demand for an abortion. There is widespread suspicion that IFPA manipulated this case so that it could strengthen its campaign for abortion on demand in Ireland. Two large street demonstrations at the weekend condemned the manipulation pointing out that the termination of the pregnancy with the delivery of a child at 24 weeks has now left a baby fighting for its life in a Dublin hospital.

 The latest revelations about the IFPA were described as ‘very disturbing’ by a spokesperson for the Irish Pro Life Campaign today.

 “The type of counselling advice given by the IFPA to women was life-endangering”, said Cora Sherlock, vice-chairperson of the PLC.  “This scandal has been brushed under the carpet for two years by the Department of Health.  It is an outrage that the former Minister for Health James Reilly never made a single statement of concern on the matter in the two-year period since the scandal came to light”

 “The IFPA showed total disregard for women’s health by giving them advice on how to illegally import abortion pills, to self-administer without medical supervision.  There is no excusing this conduct.”

 “Also, to tell women to conceal the fact that they had an abortion from their own doctors and to say they had a miscarriage if complications arose is appalling advice that puts the lives of women in danger.”

 The police investigation followed an undercover investigation of the IPFA by pro life activists.

 Ms. Sherlock added that the women who engaged in the undercover operation deserve great praise for highlighting the disgraceful practices at the Irish Family Planning Association.

 It is not only on the Irish side of the Atlantic that the abortion narrative is beginning to fray at the edges – to put it mildly.

 Susan E. Wills asks provocatively on the Aleteia website, What’s the toughest job in America?

 “Not motherhood”, she assures us. “That’s a breeze compared to the job of rebranding abortion, now that the country has awakened to the humanity of babies in utero and is discovering the terrible, silent grief carried by the many millions of women who once believed the lie that abortion was nothing more than a “choice.”

 This is precisely what has just happened in Ireland. Suddenly what the pro-abortionists were talking about as a fetus has become a patently living baby for all to see. It is a tough one for them to swallow, and in trying to swallow it they are choking on their own lies.

 Wills chronicles the change she has seen in the United States. The harder the pro-abortionists try to make the “choice” word work now, the more callous and ugly they become.

 The “pro-choice” slogan served the abortion industry well for decades, capped off with its adoption by NARAL in 2003, when it became NARAL Pro-Choice America, abandoning a commonality in its three earlier names, all of which included  the “A” word. From that point, many of the NARAL ads and promotional pieces prominently featured American flags and the head of the statue of liberty (which is still in their logo). Really, what could be more American than having a dizzying array of choices? Just check out the cereal aisle.

 The weakness of pro-choice as a brand was, of course, inherent. While “pro-choice” appears to be perfect for our time—tolerant of all views and nonjudgmental (“I’m not in favor of abortion and would never have one personally, but I think every woman should be able to make that choice for herself”)—the problem is that choice implies an object or action to select over other objects or actions. And, unlike the cereal aisle, there are only two possible choices regarding an unwanted pregnancy: the child’s life or death.

 The tide is turning, even in Ireland – where just a year ago it seemed the pro-abortionists had breached the defences of one of the last citadels of the unborn in the West. Prime Minister Enda Kenny’s notorious legislation was perceived the pro “choice” people as a gateway to abortion on demand. “Baby Hope” – as the child, a boy, struggling for survival in that Dublin hospital is now known – will be a symbol in the struggle of the Irish pro life movement to save thousand more babies. Their immediate objective is the repeal of Kenny’s Act and the replacement of his government.

 

Posted by: Michael Kirke | August 22, 2014

“Not in our name” – speak up, we can’t hear you.

The Islamic Cultural Centre Ireland (ICCI) has issued a statement condemning the atrocities of the Islamic State in the Middle East, and in particular the murder of hostage, James Foley. One Dublin newspaper reported that this statement “strongly condemned” the Islamic State for acting contrary to the teachings of Islam.

In the context of what is happening in the Middle East in the name of Islam, and in the context of the disturbing silence of the millions of Muslims who live in the West and enjoy freedom of speech, this is a muted and very inadequate response. Where are the mass demonstrations of Muslims on the streets of Europe’s cities crying out to their co-religionists in Syria and Iraq, “not in my name do you do this”?

Why are we not seeing these demonstrations and hearing these words? Is it because they are afraid to speak out? Or is it that the Muslim populations of the free West are at best ambivalent about what is going on there – and at worst, secretly condoning it. A strong statement from ICCI would have at least invited its people to assemble in a public protest to unambiguously demonstrate their outright condemnation of this aberration of their religion – if they really believe it is such.

The ICCI statement says that “in full conformity with Islamic teachings” it “vehemently abhors and deplores terrorism of all kinds regardless of the perpetrators’ race and faith.” It points out that “murder, the most horrendous act of terrorism, is strictly forbidden in Islam” and that “Allah states that the murder of one person is as evil as killing all people. In the Qur’an it is stated: “whoever kills a soul unless for a soul or for corruption (done) in the land – it is as if he had slain mankind entirely. And whoever saves one – it is as if he had saved mankind entirely.”

It says that “on this basis, the ICCI unequivocally condemns the atrocities perpetrated in Iraq in the name of Islam” and “stresses that these crimes can by no means be classified as a just struggle. Isis [Islamic State ] is causing damage to the image of Islam and Muslims all over the world. We share the shock and the horror of what was shown on the internet and television.”

It concluded that “as it condemns all types of terrorism; state, individual and extremist groups, the ICCI appeals to the entire world to live in peace, respect human rights and shun violence and create a just society where atrocities like these cannot flourish.”

All this statement really does is beg a bag-full of questions. “Whoever kills a soul unless for a soul” is the first problem. Every last jihadist in ISIS considers himself or herself fighting for souls. Otherwise what is all this forced conversion and kidnapping of women and children about? “Corruption”? Their war is a war against corruption, the corruption of the great Satan.

The ICCI statement is double-edged. It concludes that “it condemns all types of terrorism; state, individual and extremist groups” and neatly gets its shorthand condemnation of the Israeli State into the picture.

“Isis [Islamic State ] is causing damage to the image of Islam and Muslims all over the world,” the statement adds. It certainly is and clearly this is of concern to ICCI. Is it their main concern? They should, however, try to do something serious about correcting the image and get their followers to demonstrate en masse to their non-Islamic neighbours that they abhor these atrocities with every fibre of their bodies.

This is what the West needs to see. Statements like this from self-appointed Islamist bodies are as worthless as they are unrepresentative. They convince no one because adherence to Islam has no coherence whatsoever. If it is said of the Bible that even the Devil can quote it to his advantage – and that is true, – this caveat must be doubly underlined for the Qur’an for which there simply is no authoritative interpretation whatsoever. The Christian Church, on the mandate of its Founder, protects its faithful from the Devil’s use of Sacred Scripture by its authoritative interpretation of its words. Islam, sadly, has no such authority and as a result the Islamic State’s reading of the Qur’an carries as much weight as that of the ICCI, its Kensington equivalent or any other of the religion’s institutions across the world. ISIS knows this and to secure its Faithful’s allegiance resorts to the simple and brutal use of terror.

Posted by: Michael Kirke | August 21, 2014

Vigils for Life and Baby Hope

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A message from Ireland’s pro life workers:

What has happened in the past week brings the abortion debate to a whole new level. The undignified way in which pro-choice advocates have been baying for more abortion as a defenceless baby battles to stay alive in a hospital incubator has been very upsetting to watch.

Together, we have a responsibility to challenge what is going on. The pro-life message of support and equal respect for mother and baby needs to be heard loudly and clearly at this time.

It is a positive thing that there are a number of pro-life events scheduled in the coming days as it is important to maintain a strong ongoing public presence.

The Pro Life Campaign is holding a vigil tomorrow evening, Friday 22nd August, from 7.30-8.15pm, outside Dáil Éireann, Kildare Street, Dublin 2.

I ask you to make every effort to attend this important event and to encourage as many family and friends to also come along. For those wishing to attend, there will be a special prayer service prior to the vigil at 6pm in Clarendon Street Church, where prayers will be offered for the wellbeing of mother and baby at the centre of this tragic case.

Hope to see you Friday evening.

Best wishes

Caroline Simons

AND THEN THIS… ON SATURDAY…

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Posted by: Michael Kirke | August 21, 2014

James Foley, may he rest in peace – as he surely does

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The Islamic State jihadists have executed freelance journalist James Foley and posted a video of his beheading. In doing so they have brought us back 1800 years to remind us of what it sometimes costs to be a Christian and of what any Christian might at any time be called on to do – to sacrifice his life for his faith.

Is Foley a martyr in the truest sense? Surely he is, and is now with God in Heaven. It may take time to verify but you and I can be absolutely sure that the jihadists of the Islamic State gave James Foley the option of saving his life by accepting their utterly false and evil vision of both man and God – just as the Romans tempted the Christian martyrs of their day.

He died brutally at their hands, not because he was an American but because the was a Christian first, who would not abandon his faith

Foley, just 40, became their prisoner two years ago while covering the conflict in Syria. Prior to that he had covered the conflict in Libya and also found himself captive there. In that captivity he revealed to us the depths of his faith in an account which he wrote for a magazine published by his old university, Marquette, in Wisconsin.

James Foley, may he rest in peace, is an example to all Christians and an example to all who would be Christian. He shows us that bearing the Cross of Christ is part of the deal – and that this, even in the age which we consider modern and enlightened, 1800 years after the early Christians were marched into the arenas, may call for the ultimate sacrifice.

Foley wrote this account of a moment in his earlier captivity in Libya, revealing to us the virtues of a true Christian, as well as the meaning and the of faith and prayer.

I began to pray the rosary. It was what my mother and grandmother would have prayed. 
I said 10 Hail Marys between each Our Father. It took a long time, almost an hour to count 100 Hail Marys off on my knuckles. And it helped to keep my mind focused.

Clare and I prayed together out loud. It felt energizing to speak our weaknesses and hopes together, as if in a conversation with God, rather than silently and alone. …

One night, 18 days into our captivity, some guards brought me out of the cell. … Upstairs in the warden’s office, a distinguished man in a suit stood and said, “We felt you might want to call your families.”

I said a final prayer and dialed the number. My mom answered the phone. “Mom, Mom, it’s me, Jim.”

“Jimmy, where are you?”

“I’m still in Libya, Mom. I’m sorry about this. So sorry.” …

“They’re having a prayer vigil for you at Marquette. Don’t you feel our prayers?” she asked.

“I do, Mom, I feel them,” and I thought about this for a second. Maybe it was others’ prayers strengthening me, keeping me afloat.

The official made a motion. I started to say goodbye. Mom started to cry. “Mom, I’m strong. I’m OK. I should be home by Katie’s graduation,” which was a month away.

“We love you, Jim!” she said. Then I hung up.

I replayed that call hundreds of times in my head — my mother’s voice, the names of my friends, her knowledge of our situation, her absolute belief in the power of prayer. She told me my friends had gathered to do anything they could to help. I knew I wasn’t alone.

My last night in Tripoli, I had my first Internet connection in 44 days and was able to listen to a speech Tom Durkin gave for me at the Marquette vigil. To a church full of friends, alums, priests, students and faculty, I watched the best speech a brother could give for another. It felt like a best man speech and a eulogy in one. It showed tremendous heart and was just a glimpse of the efforts and prayers people were pouring forth. If nothing else, prayer was the glue that enabled my freedom, an inner freedom first and later the miracle of being released during a war in which the regime had no real incentive to free us. It didn’t make sense, but faith did.

Would we be unfairly or unreasonably suspicious – given what we know about the ethical universe inhabited by the Irish Family Planning Association, and its parent organisation, International Planned Parenthood – to surmise the following as part of the scenario for the latest human tragedy emanating from the battle over abortion in that country.

Would it be fair to suspect that we are not been given the full story – even given the restrictions on reporting for legal reasons – in Ireland’s ultra pro-abortion media?

The mainstream media tells us that concerns for the psychological welfare of the young woman at the centre of the tragedy were brought to the HSE at the end of May. By that time she was 16 weeks pregnant. She maintains that she was pregnant as a result of rape before she came to the country and first asked for an abortion when she was eight weeks and four days pregnant, at the beginning of April. She was referred to the Irish Family Planning Association (IFPA) for counselling.

When told that the cost of travelling for an abortion could be as high as €1,500 at an IFPA counselling session in late May, she said she would rather die than continue with the pregnancy. She was then referred to the HSE.

She says she was suicidal after she was refused a termination under Ireland’s new abortion legislation. She told a reporter that she attempted to take her own life but was interrupted when she was making the attempt.

This begs a lot of questions. What went on in the conversation between the woman and the IFPA in the several weeks prior to her presentation to the HSE? What was the advice given by the IFPA? The IFPA is an organisation whose main activity is to organise facilities for people to prevent birth – either by providing contraceptive services or to facilitate abortion. The latter task has until now been mainly concerned with giving advice on how to procure abortions in Britain. Ireland’s new legislation has now opened the door to them to advise on procuring abortion within the country’s borders. But what advice can they give – under the terms of this legislation? The legislation allows for an abortion up to term for a woman whose live is at risk from suicide. Therefore the “best” advice that the IFPA could give to a woman looking for an abortion is to feign suicidal thoughts – and even better, to feign an attempt at suicide.

If this was the advice of the IFPA, happily it did not work in this case. Because the legislation is muddled the medical people involved could not agree and the woman’s child was delivered by Caesarean section earlier this month, at 25 weeks gestation. If this was not the advice given by the IPFA they can allay our suspicions by publishing a transcript of the conversations in question.

These are horrible thoughts – but we live in horrible times. This is not evidence. It is a strong suspicion about what went on in those conversations over those weeks between people who have no scruples about taking the life of an unborn child. It is founded, reasonably, on a perception of the cultural and ethical norms which are clearly dominant in the universe of a segment of the dramatis personae of this tragedy.

Investigative videos from pro-life organization Live Action show Planned Parenthood facilities in Denver, Colorado offer evidence of disturbing and dangerous advice given to what staffers think are underage girls.

The counsellors lay out in graphic detail a spectrum of sadistic sexual behaviours to the investigators, including “whipping,” “tying up,” and “asphyxiation.”

An example of the kind of thing all this can lead to is the police discovery, in January last, of 16-year-old Jessica Burlew with the corpse of 43-year-old Jason Ash, whom Burlew had strangled to death and mutilated with razor blades in the midst of “a sex game.” More of this organisation’s nefarious activities can be seen here.

Planned Parenthood is an organisation which regularly get plaudits from the current leader of the Western World, Barak Obama. The IFPA occupies the same space. There is no deception, no hypocrisy – their self-proclaimed cause is “women’s health” when in fact the end result of their work is women’s enslavement – to which they will not stoop. Wake-up, world.

Posted by: Michael Kirke | August 19, 2014

Kenny’s Irish Abortion Act on the rocks?

Caroline Simons

In the context of the battle over abortion in Ireland, this radio exchange of views between the legal spokesperson for the Irish Pro Life Campaign, Caroline Simons, and Irish Labour Party Senator, Ivanna Bacik, reveals the cold and callous position which this pro abortion Party takes on the life of the unborn.

Among other things it exposes the deceptoion of the pro abortionists in their persistent use of the term fetus to describe a child in its mother’s womb.. Bacik is at it again in this interview. They clearly want to deny the humanity of the unborn – against all the evidence we now have that the beating heart of the child in the womb is a real human heart. They think that they will in this way dull the public’s perception of this reality.

Prime Minister Enda Kenny thought he had dealt with the abortion controversy with his Orwellian entitled Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act 2013 last summer. The deep flaws in the legislation became apparent with the revelations last weekend that because of the crudeness of the provisions of this Act a baby’s life was put at risk when it had to be delivered prematurely.

The PLC deputy chairperson, Cora Sherlock, in a statement yesterday, spoke of the outrage Irish people were feeling at the way the Labour Party – the socialist tail wagging the dog in the coalition government on all matters of social policy – is exploiting a mother and her new-born child in this latest skirmish between those who want to number Ireland among the abortion nations of the world and those who don’t.

Pro-life campaigners in Ireland knew from the start that this legislation was seen by the Labour Party as a stepping-stone to abortion-on-demand. Although theoretically it gives a right to abortion up to the moment of birth they knew that this would be too hit and miss in practice. They want a law which will give water-tight assurance that any person seeking an abortion can have it. Commenting on the calls by the Party for wider access to abortion in the wake of this case, Ms. Sherlock said:

“This is a tragic story for both mother and baby. There is a premature baby clinging to life in a Dublin Hospital as a direct result of last year’s abortion legislation and all some Labour TDs can do is exploit the situation to push for more abortion. It is obscene the way they are using this case to whip up support for their agenda.

“The Labour TDs in question should be ashamed of themselves for knowingly introducing a law that wasn’t evidence-based and that puts the lives of unborn babies at grave risk. The new law was always about introducing abortion and never about providing life-saving treatments. Those who voted for it in the Dáil also chose to ignore all the peer-reviewed evidence pointing to the negative mental health consequences of abortion for women.

“Of course it suits the agenda of pro-choice activists to portray the new law as restrictive. It’s just a ploy to build support for the deletion of Article 40.3.3 of the Constitution. Pro-choice advocates talk about the new law not providing for situations like rape and incest but they know this isn’t true. The tragic story that emerged over the weekend proves that the new law is not restrictive. The truth is the psychiatrists on the panel deciding the case wanted to sign off on an abortion even though they knew it was not a treatment for suicidal feelings.

“Pro-choice activists are in effect saying that the baby at the centre of this tragic case should never have been born. It is a chilling and disturbing reminder of the cruel and inhumane reality of legalized abortion.

“Instead of playing politics with this tragedy, we should all be focused on the best outcome for the mother and baby at the centre of this very difficult case.With this tragedy, we should all be focused on the best outcome for the mother and baby at the centre of this very difficult case.”

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