Monthly Archives: January 2015

Great Railway Journeys


Portillo

Michael Portillo takes the train from Pembroke Dock to Narberth, and then onto Carmarthen and Swansea.

Watch his historical trip while you can on BBC iPlayer!

http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b0517pyg/great-british-railway-journeys-series-6-16-pembroke-dock-to-swansea

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Synod 2015: The Vocation and Mission of the Family in the Church and in the Contemporary World.

M and F

Today Bishop Tom issued a pastoral letter to whole diocese. At the same time the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales launched a document called ‘The Call, The Journey and The Mission’. The latter was printed and made available, after Mass, for every household.

The theme of these documents is to respond to an invitation from Pope Francis to reflect upon our experiences of marriage and family life. All of us were born into a family; all of us have a mother and father. Therefore, whether we are married or single, have children or not, we all have some experience of family life. Some of these experiences are positive, some are not.

In reflecting upon our experiences of, we have been asked to answer six questions. There is no need to answer them all at once. In fact, we are being asked to take time to think about our reply to each question. As such, there will only be one question given every two weeks. Responses to each question may then be placed in a box provided at the back of the Church. The responses will then be collected by the diocese, before being sent to the Bishops’ Office in London where Vincent Cardinal Nicholls will take the replies to Rome. Alternatively, responses may be made on-line by filling in the form here.

The questions are:

Question 1: For Sunday 01 February 2015. What are your joys and hopes of marriage and family life today?

Question 2: For Sunday 15 February 2015. What are your struggles and fears of marriage and family life today?

Question 3: For Sunday 01 March 2015. How can we better understand marriage as a vocation?

Question 4: For Sunday 15 March 2015. How does marriage enrich you?

Question 5: For Sunday 29 March 2015. How does your family life enrich you?

Question 6: For Sunday 05 April 2015. In what way, through the abiding presence of God, is your family “Salt of the earth and light to the world,” and a place of and for handing on the faith?

Children, what are you doing? Adults, are you failing them?

Girl

In the UK the age of sexual consent is 16 (Sexual Offences (Amendment) Act 2000). Any person engaging in sexual activity where one of the people is under this age, is party to a criminal act.

Why then are primary school children among 1000s of girls who have been given the contraceptive implant by the NHS? Over the last 5 years almost 10,000 under 16s (including at least three ten-year olds) have been implanted with contraceptive devices.

Norman Wells director of The Family Education Trust said “Fitting young girls with contraceptive implants is quite simply indefensible. It is giving them the green light to engage in illegal sexual activity and robbing them of the protection that the age of consent law is intended to give.”

NHS England figures obtained through a freedom of information request show about 50 twelve year-olds and 300 13 year-olds, as well as 3,000 14 year-olds and 6,000 15 year-olds were given contraceptive implants over the last five years. Numbers may even be higher as dozens of trusts did not or were unable to provide full figures.

When will we wake up and ask the state to protect our young children from abuse, and not allow the state to simply minimise the effects (pregnancy) that such abuse may cause?

If you lived next door to a wanted car thief would you call the police, or take the wheels of your car to stop it being stolen? If your ten year old daughter is being sexually abused, do you want the perpetrator prosecuted, or would you prefer the state to give her a coil?

Many of us are simply unaware of what is happening with sexual health among our younger members of society, and its time we work up to do something about it.

The source of this story is here.

Benemerenti Medal Awarded

Congratulations to Rose and Pat Murphy as Pat receives the Benemerenti medal from Pope Francis!

Benemerenti 1

During his recent pastoral visit, Bishop Tom presented the award on behalf of Pope Francis for Pat’s contribution to Catholic Education and Catechesis.

Both Pat and Rose have spent many years and much effort in actively promoting the vision of the Church which the Bishops of the World put forward at the Second Ecumenical Vatican Council – a vision which saw a notably increased role of the laity through their active participation in the life of the Church.

In his homily, bishop Tom made reference to the Church being more than just a stone building which can be burnt down, but that it is the living body of the people of Christ – the laity and the clergy – who bring their God-given gifts together for the good of all. In his acceptance speech Pat made reference to all the good that had been done in this area, but noted that there is still some way to go. Here in Haverfordwest he invited everyone to be more active in shaping the Local Church and indicated one way to do that would be to get involved in the up-comming discussions concerning the Synod on Marriage and Family Life.

Pat and Rose, all in the parish wish you well, and we all offer our heartfelt congratuations and blessings. May you continue to work hard for the promotion and deeper understanding of our Catholic Faith.

More pictures may be found here.

Free Speech and the Media

Media

On his way to Manila for a visit to the Philippines, Pope Francis said that that killing in the name of religion is an “aberration.” He defended freedom of expression following last week’s attack on French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo – but also stressed its limits. He added that there were limits, especially when people mocked religion: “You cannot provoke. You cannot insult the faith of others. You cannot make fun of the faith of others. There is a limit.”

So what is the limit on what the media can publish? Should the press poke fun at religion?

The Church teaches that ‘information provided by the media is at the service of the common good’[1] and says that news communicated ‘should always be true and complete, within the bounds of justice and charity. In addition, the manner in which the news is communicated should be proper and decent.’[2]

So what is this “common good”? The common good often serves as a yard-stick against which can be measured the moral value of certain acts. The Church has long held that ‘that which is beneficial to the common good must be paramount, indeed it is the very end of civic society to exist for the common good.’[3]

The common good should not be seen as what benefits most of the people most of the time, as this would mean the common good would always be changing (and, as such, society would be in a perpetual state of moral flux).

No, the common good may be understood to be those good decisions, motives and aspirations which, in conformity with the way God created his world, allows all the people of the world to flourish and fully realise their human potential. The Catechism of the Catholic Church defines the common good thus:

‘The sum total of social conditions which allow people, either as groups or individuals, to reach their fulfilment more fully and more easily.’ [4]

So how is this applied to the media, and the difficulties journalists, broadcasters, and media moguls face? Well, here’s what the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church has to say:[5]

In the world of the media the intrinsic difficulties of communications are often exacerbated by ideology, the desire for profit and political control, rivalry and conflicts between groups, and other social evils. Moral values and principles apply also to the media. “The ethical dimension relates not just to the content of communication (the message) and the process of communication (how the communicating is done) but to fundamental structural and systemic issues, often involving large questions of policy bearing upon the distribution of sophisticated technology and product (who shall be information rich and who shall be information poor?)”.a

In all three areas — the message, the process and structural issues — one fundamental moral principle always applies: the human person and the human community are the end and measure of the use of the media. A second principle is complementary to the first: the good of human beings cannot be attained independently of the common good of the community to which they belong.b It is necessary that citizens participate in the decision-making process concerning media policies. This participation, which is to be public, has to be genuinely representative and not skewed in favour of special interest groups when the media are a money-making venture.c

The question me must all ask ourselves then is this: is what we publish and what we read in conformity with the way God created his world, and does it allow people, either as groups or individuals, to reach their fulfilment more fully and more easily? If not, then maybe we should question why we allow such publications and read them? It is right that we should have the principle of freedom of speech, the Pope himself has today defended this right – but that freedom comes with  responsibility to build up, not to destroy. What we publish needs to be within the bounds of justice and charity.

Notes: [1] Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, Libreria Editrice Vaticana (Vatican City, 2004) 415.

[2] Second Ecumenical Vatican Council, Decree on the Media of Social Communications Inter Mirifica, 5: AAS 56(1964), 147.

[3] Leo XIII, Encyclical Letter Rerum Novarum, 37§2: Acta Leonis XIII, 11 (1892) 97-144.

[4] Catchism of the Catholic Church 1906; cf. Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, Pastoral Constitution Gaudium et Spes, 26§1: AAS 58 (1966), 1046-1047.

[5] Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, Libreria Editrice Vaticana (Vatican City, 2004), 416.

a Pontifical Council for Social communications, Ethics in Communications, 20, Libreria Editrice Vaticana (Vatican City, 2000) p. 22.

b Cf. Ibid., 22, p. 23-25.

c Cf. Ibid., 24, p. 26-28.