President Patricio Aylwin R.I.P.

April 30, 2016

It was with great sadness that I received a letter from the Ambassador at the Embassy of Chile in London advising me that the former Chilean President, Patricio Aylwin, had died on the 19th April at the age of 97.  This sad loss for the people of Chile was followed by three days of national mourning and a State Funeral in Santiago on the 22nd April.

He was the first democratically elected president (1990-1994) following the Pinochet military dictatorship.  He won widespread praise for combining a booming economic growth with the establishment of democracy during his period of rule for what became one of Latin America’s most stable countries.  The coalition that he helped launch then ruled uninterrupted until 2010.

President Michelle Bachelet said; “Chile has lost a great statesman, a man who put unity before our differences, a man who made possible a democratic country once he assumed the presidency of the republic, and in that sense we owe Patricio a lot.”

Patricio was a Catholic who joined the Falange Nacional in 1945.  When that party became the Christian Democratic Party he served seven terms as its president between 1958 and 1989.  He was central to the movement that democratically and peacefully defeated General Pinochet in a plebiscite.  In December 1989 he won the presidency with 55.2% of the vote, easily defeating Pinochet’s candidate.  Shortly after taking office as national President he established a Commission for Truth and Reconciliation, which in nine months prepared a bulky and rigorous report detailing abuses and giving the names of more than 3,200 people killed between 1973 and 1990, mostly by agents of the Chilean security forces.  Reparations, amounting to $18m in 1992, and taking the form of pensions, health care and educational grants, were made to the relatives of the dead and disappeared.  This resulted in an impressive degree of national consensus of the reality of what had gone on under Pinochet.

He was constitutionally limited to one term as president and left office in 1994.  He continued to promote justice and was the catalyst for a UN summit on poverty in 1995.  In 1997 the Council of Europe awarded the North-South Prize to Patricio and to Mary Robinson (former Irish president) for their contribution to fostering human rights, democracy, and cooperation between Europe and Latin America.

Patricio died surrounded by his family.  Patricio was survived by his wife, Leonor Oyarzun, two daughters and three sons, and fourteen grandchildren.

We send our sincere and heartfelt condolences to his family and the whole Chilean nation.  Our prayers and thoughts are with you.  Eternal rest grant unto Patricio  O Lord, and let perpetual light shine on him.  May the divine assistance remain always with the Chilean people and may the souls of the faithful departed through the mercy of Almighty God rest in peace.

AMEN


Easter Monday – 1916 a futile rebellion

April 24, 2016

In 1916 Easter Monday fell on today, 24th April.  It was the day that the Irish Republican Brotherhood inspired insurrection commenced in Dublin, but lasted only five days before total and unconditional surrender.  This act of aggression is still controversial and the subject of much debate and revisionism, more so this year on the 100th anniversary of the iconic founding legend of the Republic.  The rights and wrongs can be weighed, but the clock cannot be turned back.  By any measure the rebellion did not meet the criteria for ‘just war’, not least that it was futile.

Yesterday in the post ‘Good Friday – 1014 and all that’ I noted the subdued celebration of the Battle of Clontarf two years ago, even though High King Brian Boru was responding to an act of treachery by the King of Leinster, his ally the Viking King of Dublin and their Viking allies from abroad.  No controversy there, but acute embarrassment for the modern Irish leaders.  It highlighted the stark contrast between a milestone fight to defend Irish independence and the cowardly surrender of sovereignty by all the main Irish political parties to an undemocratic European Union.

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Good Friday – 1014 and all that

April 23, 2016

Here beginneth the lesson.  Be patient and stay with me, and I will lead you to the promised land.  1002 years ago Good Friday fell on today, the 23rd April.  At one time every school child in Ireland knew this fact and could tell you about the Battle of Clontarf.  Nowadays that is doubtful and there will be no celebration today to commemorate a date in Irish history that is as significant as 1066, and the Battle of Hastings, is in English history.  The difference is that in 1014 the Irish were victorious in repulsing the Norsemen, while in 1066 the English were defeated by the Normans.

This year the Royal Mint has issued a special 50p coin to commemorate the 950th anniversary of the Battle of Hastings and in 2066 there will no doubt be extensive official events organised.  In contrast in 2014 the commemoration events for the Battle of Clontarf were muted.  It was left to Dublin City Council to organise events close by the site of the Battle.  The inhabitants of Clontarf were enthusiastic celebrators, as were the inhabitants of Killaloe [on the Shannon] in County Clare – the heartland of the Dal gCais and Brian mac Cennetig.  The National Museum of Ireland and Trinity College Dublin staged exhibitions.  There were no military parades and fly-pasts in Dublin or naval reviews in Dublin Bay.  The Irish State was conspicuous by its lack of enthusiasm and there can only be one reason for that, acute embarrassment.

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Catholic Conference : Restoring the Culture of Life

April 22, 2016

Family Life International is a global partnership of Catholics working to promote and defend the sanctity of Life and the Family.  FLI is working on every continent to build strong families and to protect the unborn child, the elderly and disabled. It is certain that where children are welcomed into the world in intact families, a Culture of Life is born.  FLI recognises the teaching authority of the Catholic Church in matters of Faith and Morals.

This year’s Conference is on Saturday 7th May in the Amigo Hall at St. Georges Cathedral, Lambeth Road, London – from 9.00am onwards.

The message from FLI:-

“Contemporary society has expelled God from His creation, and now the Governments alone decide the norms by which we live.  The consequence of this is evident in every aspect of life in modern Britain.

The purveyors of the sexual revolution have now legally redefined marriage and the family, leaving moral chaos in their path.  We are now seeing social engineering programmes through the media and school programmes to convince the young that good is evil and evil is good.  In the immediate future we can expect the implementation of euthanasia using euphemisms such as assisted suicide, so that at the two most vulnerable points in our existence (the unborn and the long born) life will become precarious.

FLI apostolate exists to equip the next generation to meet the challenges posed by the Culture of Death which has  overtaken us.  FLI’s focus is on strengthening the family by promoting chastity programmes in schools, preparing parents for the challenges and responsibilities of parenthood, teaching Natural Family Planning to couples, producing pro-life and pro-family audio, video and print materials and running conference events for educating and informing all people of goodwill.”

The agenda for the Conference includes;

Home education – your children’s primary educators : parents or the state,

Conflict of faith and science – the relationship of grace and theology, of grace and science, and of grace and human life,

Climate change – over population and other urban myths,

Nazareth and social chaos – what the faithful should do when the family is abolished,

Evolution – Adam and Eve through the eyes of the Mystical Saints and the Doctors of the Church.

For further information go to http://www.flionline.org


All-Ireland Rally for Life : Every life matters

April 21, 2016

ind_virgenThe annual All-Ireland Rally for Life alternates between Belfast and Dublin, taking place on the first Saturday in July.  The first march and rally was held in Dublin in 2007 with the numbers attending increasing every year.

This year will be the tenth event and will be taking place in Belfast, come rain or shine.  God willing, the weather will be fine, as has been the case most years.

Many a year it has been a ‘soft’ day, but miraculously as the start time comes nearer the clouds disappear and the sun shines on the righteous.  The first Rally in Belfast in 2008 was late in the year and held at the seat of government in front of the Parliament Buildings at Stormont.  It was what they call a ‘heavy’ day [as opposed to a ‘soft’ day when there is mizzle] and everyone was drenched, but that did not deter the pro-lifers who stood firm to the end.  Lesser mortals would have drifted away seeking shelter.  I can confirm that I was completely soaked and thoroughly satisfied and motivated.  I have attended every Rally since then.

The Christian Democratic Party is pleased to support the Rally for Life, which this year takes place on Saturday 2nd July, starting at 2.00pm from Custom House Square, Victoria Street.  There will be a Rally Mass at St. Patricks Church, Donegall Street, St. Malachy’s Church, Alfred Street, at 12.30pm.

The Belfast Rally is important because although it is an All-Ireland event, it is also a United Kingdom event.  It therefore connects the British and Irish Pro-Life movements.  We have reported extensively on the activities of Precious Life in Northern Ireland and the trials, tribulations and triumphs of its Director – Bernadette Smyth.  While the Rally may be the highlight of the year, they provide counselling every week outside the abortion referral agencies and conduct street information sessions.  They have also collaborated with Stanton Healthcare to set up a Women’s Healthcare Centre and provide alternative care and help services for pregnant mothers at no cost.  They conduct outreach in Derry City and their off-shoot Youth for Life are active across the Province.

They are partners with the Life Institute and Youth Defence in the Republic.  Mainly concentrated in Dublin, Youth Defence goes on annual tour across the country to spread the pro-life message.  In a new development this year, and two days after the Irish general election, the first Munster Rally for Life was held in Cork City.  On the 27th February over 5,000 people marched and rallied in defence of the 8th Amendment to the Irish Constitution, which provides equal protection to mother and unborn child.  The message to the politicians was ‘protect the 8th Amendment’ and to the pro-lifers was ‘stand strong in protection of the right to life’.

In celebrating ten years of the Rally for Life, the continuing aim is to celebrate life and the message of life; to raise awareness of the hurt and damage that abortion causes to women, families and society; to unite all the pro-life groups; and to bring an end to abortion.

The message from Katie Robinson at Youth Defence is, “Abortion campaigners are pushing just as hard to have abortion made legal in Northern Ireland – because they want to target vulnerable people in the South too, creating ‘easier access’ to abortion.  We need to look out for every mother and every baby on this island, and work to keep abortion out of the whole island of Ireland.  The law in the North impacts on the laws made in the Dail and visa versa.  We need to stand together to Celebrate Life and call for a better answer than abortion.  The Rally for Life is always a great day so SAVE the DATE now, and work together to make the 10th Rally for Life the best ever!”

We can all agree with that.  In the words of John Masefield

And she who gives a baby birth,  Brings Saviour Christ again to Earth.

For further information go to http://www.rallyforlife.net


March for Life : Life from Conception – No Exception

April 19, 2016

The Christian Democratic Party is honoured and pleased to support the United Kingdom’s national  March for Life – to be held in Birmingham on Saturday 14th May.

The March is now an established annual event with a growing number of pro-lifers attending each year.  The stated aim of the March is to unite all the pro-life groups working in the UK, so that they can become one voice and more able to raise awareness of the hurt and damage that abortion causes.  The ultimate aim is to bring to an end the greatest violation to human rights in history.

Activities are scheduled throughout the day, including Mass at St. Chads Cathedral at 10.00am, with food and pro-life stalls alongside the March for Life shop, face painting and live music, balloons and flags.  In fact, everything for the kids – young or old.  This is an event for all the family, from babies in buggies to their great-grand parents.  So come along and enjoy a great day out and show of witness.

The main event starts at 12.00 noon from St. Chads Victoria Square with speakers, followed by the March and Rally to end in Victoria Square.  The list of speakers is impressive, including Bishop Emmanuel Ade Badejo from the Diocese of Oyo in Nigeria.

For further information go to http://www.marchforlife.co.uk