Friday, 23 September 2011

CMA UK Midlands/ Worcs 2011

Catholic Medical Association Meeting Thurs 20 Oct ‘11

‘Induced Abortion: Its effect on Mental Health’

Speakers: Drs Pravin Thevasathan (CMA Worcs Branch Secretary, Cons Psychiatrist LD) & Greg Gardner (Birmingham GP and protestant ethicist for Midlands Ethics Group)

Chair: Dr Tony Cole
Venue: Newman House Catholic Chaplaincy, 29 Harrisons Rd, Edgbaston, Birmingham

19:30: Mass
20:10: Meeting Followed By Discussion & Light Buffet

To assist with catering, would those wishing to attend please notify (email) John Kelly ( by 12 Oct.

There is no charge for Buffet

Sunday, 14 August 2011

Sirach 38:9,13

My Child; when you are ill, delay not, but pray to God, who will heal you... There are times when good health depends on doctors, for they in their turn, will pray the Lord to grant them the grace to relieve and to heal, and so prolong your life.

Thursday, 28 April 2011

Catholic Embryo adoption?

Once immorally conceived in a Petri dish, instead of through the loving marital action, should 'surplus' embryos be discarded or would it be morally right to implant an embryo to save it.

Yes: Jo Shaw
Dr Gerard Nadal

No: John Smeaton
Fr John Fleming (Bioethicist advisor to SPUC) Book
The Vatican(?)

I think this article of Dignitas Personae clarifies in my mind that it is not right and we must not cooperate with evil:
With regard to the large number of frozen embryos already in existence the question becomes: what to do with them? All the answers that have been proposed (use the embryos for research or for the treatment of disease; thaw them without reactivating them and use them for research, as if they were normal cadavers; put them at the disposal of infertile couples as a “treatment for infertility”; allow a form of “prenatal adoption”) present real problems of various kinds. It needs to be recognized “that the thousands of abandoned embryos represent a situation of injustice which in fact cannot be resolved. Therefore, John Paul II made an “appeal to the conscience of the world’s scientific authorities and in particular to doctors, that the production of human embryos be halted, taking into account that there seems to be no morally licit solution regarding the human destiny of the thousands and thousands of ‘frozen’ embryos which are and remain the subjects of essential rights and should therefore be protected by law as human persons” (n. 19).

However, I am very impressed with the 'Yes' arguments and to avoid post conciliar stagnation, i'd welcome lively debate around this issue. From a doctor's point of view, I'd want to know the practicalities eg. Consenting biological mothers for donation rather than just storage. An interesting topic. As John Fleming says regarding Dignitas Personae
It’s as if the church is saying to the secular world: “You created this situation by wantonly and irresponsibly creating human embryos in vitro and you are asking the church to solve the problem. It’s up to you to solve this unjust situation yourself by stopping creating embryos outside the body and freezing them.”

Sunday, 24 April 2011

Sunday, 17 April 2011

A very medical Palm Sunday

Forget the 'Passion Sunday' you may hear (that was last week) today is Palm Sunday. A restrained and yet intensified aspect of Lent and Passiontide: the point of entry into Holy Week and the culmination of our Lord's Passion. For that reason in the traditional liturgy the procession would have been clothed Violet, with the Cross veiled, and the Ministers wearing folded chasubles. No Red Vestments for the Mass: The violet colour of Lent and our Lord's royalty is retained. Although modern liturgy gave way to a forward-facing table to distribute palms (a Bugnini innovation which led to the 'table-altar); the traditional form involved a miniature 'mass' with blessing having its own collect and preface, and distribution of blessed palms (corresponding to the consecration of the species at Mass with communion).

Peter Jennings © 2008
The congregation would then join a procession to a stational church, all holding blessed palms signifying the triumphant entry of Christ into Jerusalem.
Glória, laus et honor tibi sit, Rex Christe, Redémptor: Cui pueríle decus prompsit Hosánna pium.
R. Glória, laus et honor tibi sit, Rex Christe, Redémptor: Cui pueríle decus prompsit Hosánna pium.

This quickly turns into sorrow, as arrival in the second church gives way to the Red Vestments and Mass proper, whose chant includes Psalm 21. Then the solemn singing of St Matthew's Passion during the Gospel, sung by coped clerics. This has been set to music by many famous composers.

But today I am sitting in the Doctors mess at a local psychiatric hospital, responding to bleeps and starting some revision for this summer's exam. It is through my own loss of the Mass on this day, as I work the 12-hour shift, that I most sharply experience Lent. My work, a burden at weekends, can be offered up as I watch the Holy Sacrifice on my iPod!

Please remember to make your UK response to the

RCPsych's draft consultation to the DoH's investigation into the effects of Induced abortion on mental health.

Studies vary in their conclusions, and with regards validity; but some find Abortions are harmful, in it's resultant mental health. But other studies find that women have just as many psychological problems following birth of an unwanted pregnancy.

But NONE of them would have the legal effect of justifying the Abortion legislation; 97% cases being performed on the grounds of avoiding mental and physical health problems which continuing to birth would cause. The only kind of evidence the DoH should be satisfied with, is a demonstrable better mental and physical health in the abortion group. This draft publication and literature review clearly do not show this.

Therefore the very basis of the clause in the law should be closely examined and hopefully removed, which would eliminate 'abortion on demand' and at least result in the consent counseling including that any women susceptible to mental health problems are at increased risk of developing 'post-Abortion syndrome'.

This, paradoxically, (perhaps poetic irony) nullifies the rationale of 97% of the use of the 1967 Act.

Saturday, 19 March 2011

Sidcup Healthcare Conference

Our Lady of the Rosary is hosting a spiritual and learning conference built upon faith and clinical excellence for healthcare workers, arranged by the Catholic Medical Association (Kent Branch.)

The Conference will take place on Saturday 19 & Sunday 20 March 2011. for medical professions, this will gain 6 hours of CPD: Certificates of attendance will be available.

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Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Pro-life in the UK

On Monday night we hit the motorway (freeway) and arrived in a little church hall/church in Tamworth where we never normally would have frequented. Hosted by 'Vic' ( the Vicar):

The meeting: organized by SPUC locally and presented by Mr Doyle (no relation);

National Director Mr J Smeaton (His blog here) explained pro-life issues and the fight against abortion over the last few decades, always flatteringly over-optimistic about the audience's youth! But most worrying, John says, the worst anti-life project of recent months and years: the aggressively secularist teaching of sex to innocent school children, and the obligation not to inform the guardians when serious issues (eg pregnancy) arise.

It was a successful evening with over forty people in attendance from Tamworth and further afield. The talk was faith inspired but not religiously loaded, acknowledging our common belief in the sanctity of human life. It did not stray far into the Catholic teaching against contraception, but always asserted the life of the embryo and it's personhood and dignity from the moment of conception.

Of interest was seeing the beautiful little models which were sent to members of parliament before an important vote. These models were 1:1 scale medical replicas of a 20-week baby in utero, complete with half a uterus. It looked beautiful to us, but was at the time described horrifically by politicians, even accusing SPUC of cruelty against a lady recently having miscarried, who was upset at the contents of her package.

I think that is the point: rather than ignoring this female emotion; to acknowledge the grief at losing a tiny baby. This must be the same grief that a woman feels post abortion, but who have to suppress it because they knew it was their choice.

John compared this revelry from MPs as similar (certainly almost identical in verbiage) to mid 19th century British reaction to sketches of young children manually working in the pits. How is this not worse?!

There is new impetus in Tamworth encouraged by a youthful vision in the Smeaton Family: "Abortion will fall; be repealed." Like the slave-trade, it will be seen as a black day in history.