Wednesday, 30 June 2010

'Woman Kills Wrongly-Implanted Embryos with Morning-After Pill'

The following is reproduced in full from LifeSiteNews
HARTFORD, Connecticut, June 29, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) – In a disastrous chain of events, a set of “wanted” embryos quickly became “unwanted” after an artificially impregnated women was informed by her fertility clinic that they had accidentally implanted the embryos of another woman by the same name.
The woman’s solution was to take the morning-after pill (which, ironically, pro-abortion forces insist is simply a form of contraception and cannot cause an abortion) and abort the nascent life within her.
The Associated Press reports that the Center for Advanced Reproductive Services at the University of Connecticut Health Center has agreed to pay a $ 3,000 fine over the incident, which took place last April, according to state health records.
Apparently, a lab technician had removed a batch of human embryos from the storage freezer without following proper procedure. She only matched the last name, but forgot to crosscheck with the last four digits of the woman’s social security number and the medical record number.
The lab technician discovered the error a day later – but by then it was too late. The woman had already been implanted with another client’s embryos, which had been on ice for approximately four years.
After being told about the error one hour after having the embryos implanted within her, the woman then decided she did not want to carry someone else’s baby, and took the morning-after pill.
Bioethicist Wesley J. Smith commented on his blog about the event, saying it illustrates not only how children have come to be treated as a commodity through in vitro fertilization, but also how this process can sometimes snare “would-be birth and biological parents … in terrible, heart wrenching circumstances.”
The center has insisted that the mix-up is the first ever in their 24-year history, calling it “important and emotionally difficult for patients and center alike.”
Smith, however, pointed out that mix-ups have happened before at IVF clinics – although in at least one extraordinary case the birth mother made a painful, but life-affirming choice. Sean and Carolyn Savage of Ohio found out last year that their IVF clinic had transferred the wrong embryos. The Savages, however, refused to abort on account of their pro-life religious beliefs, and arranged to hand over the baby to his biological parents shortly after the birth.
“When the mistake was discovered in that case, the birth mother and her husband chose life for someone else’s baby,” remarked Smith. “Which choice reflects unconditional love?”
Carolyn Savage told Meredith Vieira of the TODAY Show back in September that the hardest experience would be the delivery of the child, where she would only have a chance to say “hello” and “goodbye.”
“Of course, we will wonder about this child every day for the rest of our lives,” she added. “We just want to know he’s healthy and happy.”
A follow-up with the TODAY Show in May, revealed that the baby Carolyn Savage carried to term was born Logan Morell, now approximately 8 months old. The Savages and the Morells have become friends through the painful experience. However the Savages declined to appear on the TODAY Show, saying that the months following Logan’s birth have been much more difficult for them to deal with than they expected, but they hope to write about their experiences in a book for 2011.
By Peter J. Smith ----------------------
A similar 'mix-up' happened in Japan, where the 'wrong' egg got used. For the full Daily Telegraph report click here.

Sunday, 27 June 2010

'The First Ache'


'You're a pro-lifer yeah?’ he croaked, a white page shaking in his hands. He pushed past me and my friend as we stood on the pavement outside an abortion clinic.
‘Here’s something for you!’ he said as he pasted his white piece of paper to the railings of the clinic. ‘You need to see the other side of the story! Here's the BBC report on why foetuses don’t feel pain!' he said. There was something about his manner that suggested he had been crying. And he couldn’t look at the building. His eyes trailed the ground while his chin was on his chest. He was young enough, but his posture was that of a much older person.
‘Would you have the grace to talk to us, and see how we help women?’ said my friend. I showed him ‘the blue leaflet’ with the sketches of the foetuses, and his breathing became very erratic and he visibly shook when he beheld the sketches. Is it entirely a normal reaction to shake that much when you see a mere sketch of an unborn child?
The sheet from the Beeb that he pasted up stated, ‘there is no new evidence to show foetuses feel pain in the womb before 24 weeks, and so no reason to challenge the abortion limit, UK doctors say.’ But is that all there is to it? Just because there is ‘no new evidence’ does not mean that there’s no evidence. The biased Beeb quoted a lot of hard, campaigning pro-abortionists, but not once did the BBC quote medical experts who from their vast experience hold that babies before 24 feel pain.  
And are there medical experts who propound that foetuses feel pain when they are 18 weeks in the womb?
A few years ago, The New York Times previously published a controversial article detailing the work of Dr. Nicholas Fisk concerning the issue of foetal pain before 24 weeks, while the article is couched in very pro-abortion jargon; Dr. Fisk’s work is well detailed.
 ‘For years, he [Dr. Nicholas Fisk] says, “I would be doing a procedure to a fetus, and the mother would ask me, ‘Does my baby feel pain?’ The traditional, knee-jerk reaction was, ‘No, of course not.’ ” But research in Fisk’s laboratory (then at Imperial College in London) was making him uneasy about that answer. It showed that fetuses as young as 18 weeks react to an invasive procedure with a spike in stress hormones and a shunting of blood flow toward the brain — a strategy, also seen in infants and adults, to protect a vital organ from threat. Then Fisk carried out a study that closely resembled Anand’s pioneering research, using fetuses rather than newborns as his subjects. He selected 45 fetuses that required a potentially painful blood transfusion, giving one-third of them an injection of the potent painkiller fentanyl. As with Anand’s experiments, the results were striking: in fetuses that received the analgesic, the production of stress hormones was halved, and the pattern of blood flow remained normal.
Fisk says he believes that his findings provide suggestive evidence of fetal pain — perhaps the best evidence we’ll get. Pain, he notes, is a subjective phenomenon; in adults and older children, doctors measure it by asking patients to describe what they feel. (“On a scale of 0 to 10, how would you rate your current level of pain?”) To be certain that his fetal patients feel pain, Fisk says, “I would need one of them to come up to me at the age of 6 or 7 and say, ‘Excuse me, Doctor, that bloody hurt, what you did to me!’ ” In the absence of such first-person testimony, he concludes, it’s “better to err on the safe side” and assume that the fetus can feel pain starting around 20 to 24 weeks.’
On the young man's sweat stained white sheet, the BBC also reported ‘it [the report from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists] found that nerve connections in the cortex, the area which processes responses to pain in the brain, does not form properly before 24 weeks.’  Other experts believe that this may not preclude a foetus younger than 24 weeks from feeling pain…
But Dr. Anand who was been interviewed extensively by Channel 4, and The New York Times has something else to say on the matter,  ‘Anand acknowledges that the cerebral cortex is not fully developed in the fetus until late in gestation. What is up and running, he points out, is a structure called the subplate zone, which some scientists believe may be capable of processing pain signals. A kind of holding station for developing nerve cells, which eventually melds into the mature brain, the subplate zone becomes operational at about 17 weeks. The fetus’s undeveloped state, in other words, may not preclude it from feeling pain. In fact, its immature physiology may well make it more sensitive to pain, not less: the body’s mechanisms for inhibiting pain and making it more bearable do not become active until after birth.’
PS – Returning to the young man with-the-sheet-from-the-BBC; he was not the first to rudely opine that foetuses don’t feel pain. Other people walking by our vigil outside the clinic, very angrily said that that morning The Guardian reported that foetuses don’t feel pain. And all of them want desperately to believe this. They linger over the BBC and Guardian reports that only quote reports suggesting that foetuses don’t feel pain because it helps them feel better about abortion.


Saturday, 26 June 2010

Confession Coincidence



Last Saturday, popping into the Brompton Oratory for Mass, I noted that there was an impromptu confession queue starting. I took a deep breath, ‘it’ll be ok’ I told myself, ‘don’t give the priest your life story complete with anecdotes about your first day at school…tell your sins…and if the priest has some hard things to say…listen!’ I have a tendency to shock myself with the way I repeat the same aul sins, and queue for confession with the same aul litany of sins. Were I to go to the same confessor all the time, he would be paralysed with boredom. It’s actually an act of charity that I go to several different priests.
So, while I waited last Saturday, someone else joined the confession queue, gave me a bright smile, and gave me a picture of Our Lady. I thanked them; they continued to smile brightly, they looked like they were really looking forward to going to confession, and their enthusiasm was catching.
I went to confession and it was fine. There was no loud argument, no gnashing of teeth and no wailing as there never is in reality, except in my imagination.
This Saturday, I attended the Latin Mass Society AGM Mass in Westminster Cathedral, I stayed in the cathedral for about an hour afterwards, contemplated going to confession, but lingered at the various altars mostly praying for my family and friends. Whilst in the confession queue, I turned just as someone who looked familiar turned into the confession queue. It was the exact same person that I had seen in the confession queue last week. We both caught our breath in surprise.
‘It’s you!’ they said ‘I know you by your…’ they whispered as they nodded to  that scruffy mantilla that I wear. Here we were again, one week on, in different places in London, but next to each other in the confession queue.  

Thursday, 24 June 2010

Happy 'Summer Christmas'

I’ve a small tendency to talk about what an Extraordinary Privilege it is attend a daily Tridentine Mass, so much so that someone commented recently, ‘you’d think you were talking about cocaine, not a Mass. Steady on old girl!’
But here I go again…Today, a congregation of 15 came from far and wide to attend a private Tridentine Latin Mass in  Brompton Oratory.Today is the magnificent feast of The Nativity of St. John the Baptist, our ‘Summer Christmas’. After all, the Archangel Gabriel said ‘many would rejoice in the birth of St. John the Baptist’. This was owing to St. John the Baptist’s being ‘the prophet of the Highest; thou shalt go before the Lord to prepare His ways. Alleluia.’ (Gradual Jerem. i. 5,9) During Mass, part of the gradual stirred me; ‘before I formed thee in the bowels of thy mother, I knew thee: and before thou camest forth out of the womb, I sanctified thee’. Before his conception, St. John the Baptist was destined to prepare souls for the coming of Our Lord and to proclaim Jesus.


PS - When I was growing up in Ireland, religious education sometimes involved teaching more about the paganism that was the precursor to St. Patrick, rather than the religion he brought. And here was the video when as a teenager, I first learned a cogent account of St. John the Baptist. It probably remains the most Catholic education some souls of generation ‘Modern Ireland’ have had. Visuals, including the proliferation of stubble on St. John the Baptist’s cheeks will offend traddie Catholic sensibilities…avert thine eyes…!

Sunday, 20 June 2010

European Court's love-in with pro-abortionists


In Ireland, a looming judgment from the European Court of Human Rights is anticipated on the ACB Case, which may or may not ‘recommend’ that Ireland legalise abortion. One of the dubious cases, ‘B’ thinks she may have had an ectopic pregnancy and went to England for an abortion. In anticipation of the judgment, there has been a pro-life awareness campaign, ‘Set the Record Straight’, that has used advertisements to publicise the huge difference between appropriate medical care for treating an ectopic pregnancy, and social abortion. With the ‘judgment’ of the ECHR looming, it has never been more important to stress that treatment for an ectopic pregnancy or cancer that may result in the unintentional death of the baby, is not the same as abortion that is the deliberate killing of an unborn baby.
     'My baby's death was not an abortion'         Facebook link.


The advert above has been seen by hundreds of thousands of people, which angered pro-abortionists because of what they called it's 'anti-choice message’. But in reality who is ‘anti-choice’? Who is trying to confuse the public into thinking that an abortion and having an ectopic pregnancy are one and the same?

Anti-choice? Who is trying to override the wishes of an Irish electorate that has consistently voted against abortion, and bring in abortion on the recommendation of a far-flung court? The answer: both the phony European Court, and the Irish pro-abortion establishment. 


In a move that undermined Irish sovereignty, The European Court of Human Rights did not request that the case be first brought before Irish Courts, instead the ECHR last year held a Grand Chamber hearing with 17 judges in Strasbourg to hear the A, B and C case. Apparently, the fact that the Grand Chamber heard the case signifies the importance with which the A, B and C cases were held. Also, especially in Ireland, the pro-abortionists have been very chummy with the inflated European courts.  In disowning the laws of their own country, the cases of A, B and C did not exhaust Irish domestic law, but ran to the European Court. The solicitor representing A, B and C, is Julie Kay of the Irish Family Planning Association and her beef is that Irish pro-life laws contradict the Convention of Human Rights.  Julie Kay rejects Irish laws that give the sentence of life imprisonment to a doctor guilty of killing unborn children as a ‘disproportionate penalty’. But she prefers to attempt the ravaging of Irish laws, not in an Irish court but in a European Court.


A sickening sight for all pro-lifers is to observe the cosy scratching-of-backs happening between the ECHR and the pro-aborts.

Saturday, 19 June 2010

Re Bishop Moran's letters to me



This morning (19/6) I received a second letter from Bishop Moran, stating that he has offered Mass for Fr. Michael Mary’s intentions and telling me that he does not want me to publish his first letter to me. His first letter outlined why he does not appear to grant permission for a Tridentine Latin Mass in St. Magnus’ Cathedral, Scotland. I don’t mean to seem like a sycophant, but after receiving his first letter, I then wrote for permission to publish it.

Friday, 18 June 2010

I wouldnt' use them for my wedding invites...but...

Increasing body of evidence supporting marriage

One thing about traditional universities, which an online college program still cannot match, is how much interaction you have with the faculty. This can be an advantage, sometimes. But personality can do some strange things to an education. 

Once upon a time when I was in university, I was preparing for a French oral exam and the word going around was that the French faculty were passing and failing students on the basis of their views on marriage. Mademoiselle X would ask a student how important they considered marriage. If the student answered that they thought marriage was very important then he/she got even stickier French questions about how marriage was ‘an outdated institution’. The student who spoke in favour of marriage got perplexing, psychoanalytical questions and had a higher chance of failing. I took the disingenuous approach, I made the French faculty laugh. With my pigeon French I said ‘och, what would I know about marriage, who would marry me anyway? Or if I do marry, you’ll see me on Jerry Springer in a few years…’

I didn’t really ‘get’ what the French department in university (all unmarried) had against marriage at the time. It was a sort of bitterness; a sort of ‘none of us have succeeded in getting wed, so it must be bad.’ I don’t have the courage, but maybe I ought to send the following research to the French Department of my old university.

‘People who are happily married enjoy the added benefit of faster healing from cuts, an Irish medical conference heard recently. This is thanks to oxytocin, the so-called “love hormone”, which is most commonly known to stimulate and sustain labour in late pregnancy. Dr Jean Philipe Gouin from Ohio State University told a conference at Trinity College, Dublin, that in his study, individuals with the highest levels of oxytocin showed the fastest wound healing.

“We created small blister wounds on the forearms of 37 married couples and then assessed the rate of healing for two weeks,” he told the PsychoNeuroImmunology Research Society conference. He said married couples that display “more positive social interactions” heal quicker than those who have a less-positive relationship.

“Social relationships can have many beneficial effects on health. This research, funded by the US National Institutes of Health, shows that the hormone oxytocin may be an important link between the quality of our relationships and state of our health. Each couple was also asked to take part in a structured interaction task in which each participant solicited and offered social support to their partner.

During these tasks, we systematically evaluated the quality of the interaction between the couples, and measured the hormone oxytocin in blood samples,” he said. “Participants who displayed more positive behaviours in our laboratory setting showed faster wound healing than their less-positive counterparts.”

The conference also heard that a strong sense of purpose in life might reduce the inflammation that can cause pain in old people who have long-term disease. “Our new study shows that, in people with similar levels of chronic disease burden, having a strong sense of purpose in life is linked with lower levels of inflammation,” said Dr Elliot Friedman of the University of Wisconsin.’
The above report is available from Family and Life. See here.

Thursday, 17 June 2010

Ladies, you shoulda gone to the barber’s…Chop, chop! Clink, clink of money saved


It was time to embrace the scissors; my Stone Age, hideous hair look was so last season. But faced with the option of spending between sixty and one hundred pounds on getting my hair cut, I was at a loss. One ‘upmarket’ salon charges up to fifty-eight pounds to cut and ‘style’ a fringe. Added to the fact that if you have long ‘feminine’ hair they often tack on expenses. Phew.
I forgot about it for a while, and slunk around in a hat that hid the horrors underneath. One day during 8AM Mass at the Oratory, I asked at the Offertory for angelic assistance in finding someone to cut my hair. I reminded myself that we can go to Our Lord for help in matters great and small. Our Lord is so used to my prayer of ‘please God, help my friend, she feels forced into abortion, please give her hope!’ Compared to this mega prayer, I feel petty asking for help with small daily necessities.
A few days later, walking along Gloucester Road, I came upon a small, swish looking salon with very minimalist black and white décor. It was empty except for a cheerful hairdresser that was busy arranging rows of sparkly hair products.
‘You want a hair cut?’ she asked brightly.
‘Yes please, do you have an appointment available?’
‘Now if you like.’
‘OK, the priority is that I have my fringe cut…’
‘That’ll be six pounds for the fringe. That OK?’ What?
‘You said six…not sixty?’ I asked.
Seconds later my hair was being shampooed, and two British lads trooped in asking for a haircut. They gave me a suspicious look, fascinated as the hairdresser drew up strands of hair and conditioned it.
‘Oh you usually don’t have female customers…’ I said, the reality had not yet dawned that this was not a unisex salon per se. But there weren’t huge piles of dog-eared fashion magazines.
‘Every so often a woman comes in…but it’s so nice to work with such long hair. I haven’t seen hair this long in so long.’
 ‘Is this a barber’s?’ I asked
‘Yes’ quipped the hairdresser. I know – I should have felt odd being in this very male area but I was saving too much money and time. There had been no ghastly ‘consultation’, and I hadn’t had to argue for half an hour that I didn’t want layers or highlights.
A schoolboy shuffled in and plonked himself against a wall. He held up a clump of his hair, made eyes with the hairdresser and then mimed the action of a scissors. One Chinese man came in, said, ‘I didn’t know you had women in here now’ he said. The hairdresser shrugged. He solemnly said, ‘then I won’t be coming back.’
Oh the embarrassment, the tightening of my stomach! The hairdresser grinned and said nonchalantly,  ‘I cut men’s hair all day, it’s so nice to work with long hair.’ From behind us two men gathered and asked for haircuts, it was at the point where the hairdresser asked me to stand up so she could cut my hair. Those waiting for their haircuts became spectators, as strands of brown hair feathered the ground.
Despite the obvious discomfort of being spectated by a motley crew of men, I’d have to say that it was the most pleasant experience of having my hair cut. It was quick – thirty minutes instead of an hour and a half. I got no lectures on what conditioner I should be using, no sales pitch on some product that would work ‘a miracle’ on my hair, no nagging, and I saved enough money to go out to dinner. But my experience begs some questions; women put up with a lot of flack when they get their hair cut for exorbitant prices. Yet I doubt that a barber would get away with saying to a man, ‘now why don’t you start conditioning your ends more? And how about a flicky fringe?’

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

'Neath St. Michael's shield


Maybe I’m being melodramatic, but I believe that recourse to St. Michael was never so necessary. A friend of mine from Ireland recently chided me saying, ‘you’ve not given much attention to your friend St. Michael on your blog, why don’t you put together St. Michael resources? There’s so much fake con artist angel stuff about.’
So, here is a short YouTube video which the official St. Michael prayer, the prayer that we are exhorted to say every day.
The above video has some great clips of St. Michael, and I’ve read a lot of accounts in the Tan book ‘Neath St. Michael’s Shield of how efficacious and miraculous images of St. Michael are when used in spiritual warfare.
The prayer in latin; Sancte Michael Archangele, defende nos in praelio. Contra nequitiam et insidias diaboli esto praesidium. Imperet illi Deus, supplices deprecamur. Tuque princeps militiae caelestis, Satanam aliosque spiritus malignos, qui ad perditionem animarum pervagantur in mundo divina virtute in infernum detrude. Amen.

 If anyone  wanted (literally) to be ‘neath St. Michael, then you could do worse than these t-shirts.  http://www.printfection.com/tctees/St-Michael/_s_9190



















For more in-depth prayer to St. Michael, the chaplet of St. Michael involves praying to each of the nine choirs of heavenly angels, and takes about twelve minutes to recite.  I’ve said it for the past six years. I find it useful to entrust the day’s tasks to the different choirs.

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Damning research shows media bias against Pope Benedict


Surprise, surprise…according to a new Pew Research Centre study into media coverage, newspapers written for the English speaking populations of Europe have had a fixation with the sex abuse scandals in the Catholic Church.  And published three times as many articles on clergy sex abuse scandals as US papers did. Essentially, there was only a third of such reporting on the sex abuse scandals in the American press.

But as we know only too well, the research shows that Pope Benedict was much maligned by the US press. Quotes from the study:  ‘In addition, the media scrutiny this year zeroed in on the pope himself. During the six-week period from March 12 through April 27, Pope Benedict XVI was a major focus of more than half the stories on the scandal in the mainstream U.S. media, including print, radio, network television, cable TV and online news sources.’

And in the mindset of both Catholics and non-Catholics black shadows have been cast on Pope Benedict’s reputation. Censuring Pope Benedict became more of a priority than reporting on nuclear arms… 
‘In a nationwide poll released by the Pew Research Center in April, for example, just 12% of the public said the pope has done a good or excellent job addressing the scandal, down from 39% two years earlier. About seven-in-ten Americans (71%) said Benedict has done a poor or only fair job, up from about half (48%) who felt that way in 2008……From mid-March (when the pope’s role in a decades-old abuse case in Germany came under scrutiny) through late April, clergy sexual abuse was the eighth biggest story in the mainstream media, beating out coverage of nuclear weapons policy and the Tea Party movement. The biggest week of coverage was March 22-28, when news organizations reported on the failure of Vatican officials years ago, including the future pope, to defrock an American priest who had abused nearly 200 deaf boys. The church scandal was the fourth biggest topic in the mainstream news that week….Benedict was by far the biggest newsmaker, featuring in 51.6% of the stories about the scandal in the mainstream media during the six-week period studied. All other individual figures combined, including cardinals, bishops and priests, appeared as lead newsmakers in just 12% of the stories.’

Reading the above finding of the Pew Study that Benedict was the ‘biggest newsmaker’, ahead of actual abusers and those who were tacitly culpable, one has to question the integrity of the reporting on the scandals. If the self-righteous, secular press is so keen on media-mauling the abusers as a means of doing justice to the victims, why oh why do they blame innocent leaders?

Part of the research from the Pew Centre focused on the 'new media'. Bloggers, those who comment on blogs and the millions who tweet (who collectively make up the ‘new media’) did not share the monomania with the clerical abuse scandals. The research showed that blogs had far more of a diverse range of serious issues. The bullying tactics of the ‘mainstream media’, and damning the pope was not never as popular on the blogs as it was in the press. Clearly, that term ‘mainstream media’ has less and less relevance, the ‘mainstream’ is only concerned with sewage.

Blog Names from The Twelve Days of Christmas

The one thing that stopped me setting up a blog years ago was that I couldn’t think up a title. And a lot of erudite Catholics say, ‘you know I would love to set up a blog, but can’t think up a title!’How about blog names inspired by the lyrics of the The Twelve Days of Christmas? One obvious criticism is that the song is intrinsically associated with a set period of the year, the twelve days of Christmas, and generally forgotten by society at large for the rest of the year. If however, we as Catholics recite The Joyful Mysteries a number of times every week, then meditating on the greatness of Christmas is a weekly if not daily occurrence for us, and the joy of Christmastide stays with us all the year through. Also, there is something (I think) endearingly memorable about the song lyrics.
‘Two turtle doves’ refers to the Old and New Testaments, and so a theology blogger may use this. ‘Three French hens’ is the code for Faith, Hope and Charity. ‘Four calling birds’ represents the Four Gospels and/or the Four Evangelists, and an apologetics blog which defends the faith using Catholic scripture may make use of ‘Four Calling Birds’ as the blog title. ‘Five Gold Rings’ refers to the first Five Books of the Old Testament.
  Possibly a blog name for a Jewish convert, or a cradle Catholic blogging about the OT? ‘Six geese-a-laying refers to the six days of creation, and may be used as name for someone who blogs on creation and intelligent design. ‘Seven swans-a-swimming’ is the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit or the seven sacraments; perhaps a good blog name for a catechetical blog, and one written for teachers that discusses how best to teach the sacraments. The ‘ten lords-a-leaping’ means the Ten Commandments, and could be a blog title for someone discussing how they personally keep the Ten Commandments. ‘Twelve drummers drumming’ means the twelve points of doctrine in the Apostle’s Creed, and may be a blog based on the bequeathing our Catholic doctrine to this generation.

PS – Another song with lyrics that lend themselves to blog titles is Green Grow The Rushes, Ho (or O)

Monday, 14 June 2010

BBC 2's When Romeo Met Juliet

I got a pleasant surprise when watching BBC 2’s worthy offering When Romeo Met Juliet. The first programme is about finding a teenage cast of Romeo and Juliet from two very different schools in Coventry. One school, Cardinal Newman Catholic School is a school devoted to the arts where from the student population the actress Juliet and the Capulets are to be found. When the head teacher, Carol Buchanan was introducing her school on film, she confidently said, 'as a Christian community, as a Catholic community we have a belief that we're trying to follow the teachings of Jesus Christ and that will underpin absolutely everything that we do.' There is then a video clip of a statue of Jesus and of Carol Buchanan leading the school assembly with the sign of the cross. You may see the full programmer here
http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00snbtc
There was a decided bravery in the head teacher’s forthrightness about the school’s Christian ethos, and I have e-mailed Carol Buchanan to say well done, the gist of the e-mail was; 'Well done for your role in the BBC 2 programme When Romeo Met Juliet.

May I extend my congratulations for the clarity, sense of purpose and above all bravery with which you clarified the essential nature of Cardinal Newman Catholic school when you said 'as a Christian community, as a Catholic community we have a belief that we're trying to follow the teachings of Jesus Christ and that will underpin absolutely everything that we do.'

Formerly, I was a teacher for a number of years, and have often been described as 'a devout Catholic' and write a blog where I describe what my Catholic faith means to me, but I wonder would I have been courageous enough to say what you said. You have been a good example to many, and may God reward you.'


I am however a tad surprised that BBC 2 included this piece of footage in the documentary, because with hundreds of hours of filming to chose from, why do they suddenly chose a moment that illuminates the Christian faith? Or could it be that the open practice of Christianity has become controversial to the point where it will hold the viewer’s wandering attention?

Blurb for When Romeo Met Juliet
'One city, eight weeks and two contrasting schools come together to put on a professional production of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. In a unique experiment, each school is cast as one of the two feuding families at the heart of the world's favourite love story. Romeo and his Montague clan come from a Coventry city centre comprehensive while Juliet and the Capulets are from a Catholic school in the city's northern suburbs. Trying to get the show on the road is artistic director of the National Youth Theatre, Paul Roseby. Also on hand as mentors - one for each school - are Hustle actor and RADA-trained Shakespeare fan Adrian Lester and his wife, actress Lolita Chakrabarti. Can they help the teenage cast overcome their preconceptions about Shakespeare, and work with each other, to create a Romeo and Juliet for a new generation, iambic pentameter and all?'
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