Monday, May 19, 2008

Archbishop off message

I thought I misheard, but the Archbishop of Birmingham actually did say,

“…What we’ve been trying to say all along is ‘What is the value that we give to human life in its first beginnings?’ Now clearly it’s not the same as we would give to another adult sitting next to me…”

I thought senility had crept in on me or it was those wicked BBC people, but no, see John Smeaton, he heard it too.
Not quite that helpful at the moment, Your Grace.


Volpius Leonius said...


Please just be quiet from now on your grace thank you.

On the side of the angels said...

His Grace was bloody useless on the 'world at one' and then he comes out with that !! Together with his 'understanding and refusal to condemn' anyone who desires this experimentation for the sake of a loved one !

Nero's Lions would die of starvation before they found a christian amongst our archbishops.

Anonymous said...

Oh dear!
Charity demands me to believe this was a slip of the tongue, but Oh what a very erroneous thing to say.

Pray for our poor Bishops.

Ma Tucker

Joe said...

I too heard the interview on "The World at One". It might be helpful for people to appreciate that Archbishop Nichols' appearance was immediately preceded by a long and moving interview with an anonymous doctor about his own family's wish to pursue a "saviour sibling" for their child. I have posted on this at Catholic Commentary, observing that it would have taken a very high level of media skills on the part of the Archbishop to cope successfully with the situation in which he found himself.

That having been said, some clarification/correction from Archbishop Nichols would be useful.

Jackie Parkes MJ said...

!!*****!!!!****!!!!Sad I'm a Brummie!

Anonymous said...


Please make sure people in Rome know this! if he became Archbishop, well, the last one to leave please turn the lights off!!


Red Maria said...

I don't think I would have found the long interview with a couple wanting to create a spare-part baby remotely "moving".
I'm tired of this kind of cloying emotional manipulation by the embryo research lobby.
I'm eyerollingly unimpressed by the sentient adults who allow their personal tragedies to be cynically exploited for political ends.
I'm bored by the ostentatious and self-serving display of conspicuous compassion by embryo research side.
I have severe criticisms of the way our side have handled the HFE Bill, which I may or may not reveal in due course.
But I think there's now something to be said for us refusing to take part in an argument conducted on this kind of farcical level.
Rational discourse cannot take place in an atmosphere of such emotional hysteria. And let's be clear here, it isn't the RC Church which is guilty of emotive debating tactics but rather her hypocritical accusers.
Maybe one day the Church will learn to defend herself by which time it will probably be too late, though.

Anonymous said...

Words fail me. I did not hear the interview but like joe hope that the archbishop clarifies/corrects his statement.

I have noticed in various reports referring to saviour siblings that only the 'positive' side is mentioned ie producing a perfect match. No mention is ever made of the destruction of the embryos which do not match. All so sad. I do also wonder how those children chosen in this way will be affected psychologically once they know that they were conceived for a specific purpose.

Volpius Leonius said...

"I don't think I would have found the long interview with a couple wanting to create a spare-part baby remotely "moving".
I'm tired of this kind of cloying emotional manipulation by the embryo research lobby."

I share your disgust at this sentimentalism, Catholics are meant to be realists basing their decisions on known truths through the use of their God given reason.

Not on the ever shifting and deceitful emotions which are so easily manipulated by the tyrants of today.

Anonymous said...

A couple of points:

1. The Archbishop was doing a live, unscripted, radio interview. Anyone who has ever been in the same position, or in fact who has ever struggled for words, will know how difficult to avoid saying things which you don't quite mean.

2. The Archibishop must issue such clarification as he sees fit, but can I suggest that what he might have been trying to articulate is that our emotional or instinctive response to a picture, or concept, of a newly formed human embryo is not quite the same as our response to a newly born baby or adult. I think that this is a perfectly fair point to make and that it does not, of itself, imply any positive judgement about the value of the embryo as such. It is an important point to make, however, because our secularist opponents proceed from this to make the (entirely false) assumption that because our emotional response is different, our intellectual judgement should be likewise. We, as Catholics, can never accept that. It (or, as I should say he or she) is a human being because he or she has certain physical characteristics and has been created in the image and likeness of God and is destined for the eternal happiness of the beatific vision in heaven. And consequently, he or she, deserves the full protection of the law, even though, at first sight, he or she, does not "look" like a human being in the way that we normally think of as such. I am sure that some will think of this as a specious, or at least, an unncessary distinction, but it is in fact quite vital. If we do not base our defense of human life on a clearly defined notion of what a human being is, then we will inevitably driven back on the emotional or utilitarian arguments of our secularist opponents. This is not to say that emotion isn't important, but it does indicate why the Catholic position is a great deal more coherent than that of those we are fighting against, and why Archbishop Nicholls deserves a more charitable and more considered response than that which some of your commentators have seen fit to give him.

Anonymous said...

An examination of the facts show that even the majority of scientists do not believe this kind of hybrid research will lead to cures for illnesses anytime soon. So, putting up weeping families in front of TV cameras and microphones to say they are being denied a chance of restored health is disingenous. No-one should fall for it. We have to ask what exactly is the true motivation for pushing through legislation of this nature.

gemoftheocean said...

Yeah,I read about that too over at Fr. John Boyle's blog. It's clear someone should work over the archbishop in a dark alley somewhere. I wish the good Lord would smite a few people every now and again. Barring that a horsewhipping or two would be in order. What can you do when salt loses its flavor?

nickbris said...

I'm afraid I've lost track of all of this.Could somebody explain in plain English what is going on.We all know that Abortion is Murder but what is going on?

GOR said...

Not quite what the Holy Father has repeated frequently about "valuing life equally at all its stages..."

Unfortunately, many people have become accustomed to viewing pre-born life as something less than 'real' life - resulting in the scandal of abortion.

Here in the US there has been a pro-life commercial on TV showing a baby in the womb at various stages of development - from the early weeks onwards. A woman's voice draws attention to the timeframes in which hands, feet, etc. are formed with images showing the development. It ends with the woman saying: "I used to think it was just a blob of cells. What was I thinking...?"

So what was the Archbishop thinking...?

Volpius Leonius said...

"What can you do when salt loses its flavor?"

Throw it out and get some fresh.

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