Sexuality Education in New Zealand Report finds resources ‘seriously flawed’ – recommends adults guide students with authority, firm rules and high expectations
“We must provide students with an ideal to strive for, one that offers them the healthiest option physically and emotionally. The healthiest ideal is to postpone sexual activity until adulthood, and ideally, until marriage.”
This is the recommendation of Miriam Grossman and Christopher White in a report entitled “Sexuality Education in New Zealand: A Critical Review”, which was commissioned by Family First NZ.
The report is an analysis of various sex education resources promoted to New Zealand adolescents and used in a number secondary schools. The resources reviewed were typically websites and included curious.org.nz, iwannaknow.org, getiton.org.nz, sexnrespect.co.nz and publications from Family Planning, an affiliate of International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF).
The analysis found that information presented to adolescents “is not accurate, comprehensive, or up-to-date.” Permeating the sexuality education resources was the message that sex is “risky only when it’s ‘unprotected’”. The materials overstated the efficacy of condoms, “in some cases vastly so”.
Grossman concluded that “the sexuality education programmes that have been reviewed are seriously flawed, with both sins of commission, and sins of omission,” and “students are left misinformed, and with a false sense of security” as “critical life and death information” is “distorted or ignored”.
While the Ministry of Education states that “a key message” is the “need to delay the start of sexual activity”, resources given to adolescents promote sexual activity and only have a cursory mention of abstinence being a sure fire way to avoid STIs and pregnancy.
Using iwannaknow.org as an example the report points out that abstinence is defined correctly “but the message is ambivalent, and the expectations are low. Delaying sex is ‘good’ – but at the same time, know how to use a condom.” This approach “is merely a wink and a nod, before a much longer and detailed instruction on how to go about having sex with your partner(s).”
Discussed in the report is the overriding belief held by many sexuality educators that adolescents should be treated as adults, with the right to engage in sexual activity when they consent. Grossman states “We cannot expect teens to delay sexual activity while instructing them, ‘only you know when you’re ready’. It is the nature of adolescence to feel ‘ready’ for just about anything.”
The report examines the biological differences between boys and girls, exposing the fact that “girls pay a higher price than boys for early sexual debut and multiple partners.” That price includes both emotional ramifications and the physical consequences of STIs and pregnancy.
Many of the resources analysed are explicit and discuss the “how to’s” of sex, including homosexual sex and other risky sexual behaviours, all the while failing to adequately warn adolescents of the dangers and facts surrounding contracting STIs such as Chlamydia.
Grossman points out that even though every young person may not postpone sex
we are still obligated to inform them of the grave risks they face, to teach them biological truths about their physical and emotional vulnerabilities, to warn them in a no-nonsense manner about avoiding high risk behaviours, and to encourage the highest standard.
The report has been labelled in part, homophobic by Shaun Robinson, executive director of the Aids Foundation who says “it [the Foundation] encourages behaviour change – celebrating condoms as a normalised part of sex.”
But the Sexuality Education in New Zealand Report concludes that
adolescents look to adults for authoritative guidance. It is our responsibility to do precisely that –guide them with authority, firm rules and high expectations. That is not accomplished by telling them ‘only you know when you’re ready’. When we provide that message, we fail young people. When we teach them to rely on latex, we fail again.
Evangelium Vitae Day for English speaking pilgrims began with an inspiring catechesis from Cardinal Raymond Burke, who explained the relationship between the New Evangelization and being actively involved in promoting the dignity of human life in the political sphere. He said that “while the transformation of hearts is the most fundamental means of new evangelization regarding human life, Catholics and all persons of good will must be attentive to all laws, which safeguard the dignity of human life.”
Quoting Blessed John Paul II in Evangelium Vitae, for which the weekend was named after, Cardinal Burke stated “I repeat once more that a law which violates an innocent person’s natural right to life is unjust and, as such, is not valid as a law.”
He urged Catholic families to be involved in ensuring laws protect life and explained how the Gospel of Life, evangelization and the Year of Faith are all interwoven.
Declaring that “the culture of death advances in good part because of a lack of attention and information among the public,” Cardinal Burke suggested that pilgrims be involved in “developing and supporting truly pro-life and pro-family media, and organizing public manifestations.” Pope Francis supported the recent March for Life in Rome, where he surprised attendees by turning up and publicly supporting the March.
Later on in the day pilgrims were able to attend Eucharistic Adoration and receive the Sacrament of Penance. Archbishop Joseph Augustine Di Noia, spoke passionately on the need for heartfelt confession, explaining that it is not possible to make a good confession on the run. The Holy Hour was for reparation, mercy and healing for sins against human life.
A fitting conclusion to Saturday’s events was a candlelight procession down the Via della Conciliazione, which finished with a prayer vigil in St Peter’s Square.
“Let us say “Yes” to life and not death. Let us say “Yes” to freedom and not enslavement to the many idols of our time. In a word, let us say “Yes” to the God who is love, life and freedom, and who never disappoints.”
These were the words that Pope Francis spoke in his homily to the pilgrims gathered at St Peter’s Square yesterday for the Mass for Evangelium Vitae Day.
Getting to the heart of the attacks on life today, Francis explained
…all too often, people do not choose life, they do not accept the “Gospel of Life” but let themselves be led by ideologies and ways of thinking that block life, that do not respect life, because they are dictated by selfishness, self-interest, profit, power and pleasure, and not by love, by concern for the good of others.
He pointed out that many today see the rejection of Christ “will somehow lead to freedom, to complete human fulfilment”, but ultimately what is found is “new forms of slavery and death”.
The Mass and preceding activities were part of the Church’s Year of Faith. As such, the President of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelisation, Archbishop Fisichella addressed Pope Francis explaining that
in the Year of Faith it was important that a moment of reflection and prayer be dedicated to those who are witnesses to Evangelium vitae. Their daily passion clearly shows a commitment to the full promotion of human life and for its defense. From the very beginning in the womb of a woman, until the very last moment when a person speaks of his or her presence in this world, this life is human – even if it develops into an immense array of conditions of weakness, suffering and demands help. Believers in Christ cannot remain indifferent to this.
Pro-life leaders, “united by a commitment that goes beyond the boundaries of nations” attended the celebrations for Evangelium Vitae Day. They came from Italy, the United States, France, Germany, Spain, Poland, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Belgium, Malta, Slovakia, Singapore, Hungary, Costa Rica, Japan, Ireland, Argentina, Mexico and Colombia to witness to the sacredness of all human life from conception through to natural death.
Archbishop Fisichella clearly established the duty of all people of good will to stand up for life saying:
Holy Father, in the Year of Faith, the day dedicated to Evangelium vitae is a renewed call for everyone to respect, protect, love and serve human life. It is not a prerogative of us Christians. It is a common path shared with so many men and women who do not have our faith, but who share our proclamation and commitment. Thank you for your support and the strength of your witness testimony. May the Lord indicate to us all, once again, the path of life.
Following the greeting of Priests, pro-life pilgrims and families, Pope Francis spent time speaking with, and blessing the many sick and disabled who attended the Mass. In this day the lives of the sick and disabled, both born and unborn, are threatened by policies and ideologies throughout the world, that see them as burdens on society. Pope Francis consistently shows us how to serve the sick and disabled with compassion, love and dignity.
The Mass for Evangelium Vitae was preceded by a variety of activities including catechisis in various languages, a pilgrimage to the tomb of St Peter, Eucharistic Adoration, the Sacrament of Penance, as well as a candlelight procession and prayer vigil.
“If, at the end of the last century, the Church could not be silent about the injustices of those times, still less can she be silent today, when the social injustices of the past, unfortunately not yet overcome, are being compounded in many regions of the world by still more grievous forms of injustice and oppression, even if these are being presented as elements of progress in view of a new world order.”
~ Blessed John Paul II, Evangelium Vitae #5
This weekend thousands will converge upon Rome to celebrate in this Year of Faith, the Gospel of Life. John Paul II wrote in his encyclical Evangelium Vitae, “The Gospel of Life is at the heart of Jesus’ message. Lovingly received day after day by the Church, it is to be preached with dauntless fidelity as ‘good news’ to the people of every age and culture.” Let us join those in Rome by following the events, and by renewing our own dedication to proclaiming the Gospel of Life to all whom we meet each day.
The following is taken from the Year of Faith website and explains a little more about the day.
This gathering in Rome on June 15 and 16 is so very important. It will offer the opportunity for the faithful from around the world to gather with the Holy Father in a communal witness to the sacred value of all life: The lives of the aged, the lives of the sick, the lives of the dying, the lives of the unborn, the lives of the physically and mentally challenged, and the lives of all those who suffer. In addition, this event will offer the occasion to celebrate, affirm, and encourage all those who so tenderly and with self-abandonment follow in the footsteps of the Good Shepherd by tending to the physical, emotional, psychological, and spiritual needs of those who are aged, disabled, ill, unborn, homebound, dying or who suffer in any way. It is our hope that the number of people gathered in St. Peter’s Square will be so great that all the world will be able to hear from Rome our Church’s choral expression of the very heart of Jesus’ redemptive mission: “I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly” (Jn 10:10, Cf. Evangelium Vitae, 1).
On Saturday afternoon, June 15, there will be a pilgrimage down Via della Conciliazione to Pio XII Square, which will conclude with the recitation of the Creed in various languages. On Sunday morning at 10:30, Holy Mass in St. Peter’s Square will be celebrated by the Holy Father.
This article by John-Henry Westen reports on Cardinal Raymond Burke’s recent interview where he discusses how contraception leads to abortion. You can view the video of the interview at the bottom of the article. Reposted from LifeSiteNews.com.
June 12, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – In an interview with the US Bishops’ news service, Catholic News Serivce, Cardinal Raymond Burke, the head or “prefect” of the Vatican’s highest court, spoke about the relationship between contraception and the culture of abortion.
“Contraception is the beginning of the anti-life movement,” Cardinal Burke told CNS’ Francis Rocca. “It certainly will favor an abortion culture. It takes the nature of the sexual union and violates it in a very significant way by removing the pro-creative aspect which is inherent to the union of man and a woman, the sexual union, the conjugal union.”
In the video interview, filmed by CNS’ Robert Duncan, Burke added, “By removing that it is fundamentally an anti-life act.”
The cardinal explained:
The contention is that this act still retains all of its goodness because it is a unitive act. It’s not because the act itself has been so disrupted and violated.
They’re sexually united but they’re not giving themselves completely and totally to one another which is the whole meaning of sexual union. Because either one or both are eliminating the natural procreativity of the act.
He added: “The truth of the matter is that many forms of contraception are in fact abortifacient they destroy human life at its very beginning so we may not be talking about a different reality.”
In 1968, at a time when most Christian denominations had already abandoned their historic opposition to contraception, Pope Paul VI shocked those who had expected the Catholic Church to follow suit by issuing the encyclical Humanae Vitae.
In that encyclical the pope reiterated the Church’s teachings against artificial contraception, and predicted that the acceptance of contraception would lead to an increase in infidelity, a general lowering of moral standards, a decrease in respect for women, and the imposition of coercive population control policies by governments.
The NZ Herald recently reported a beautiful good news story of a courageous young mother who chose to give life to her unborn baby after being told by her doctors that the child she was carrying, if it survived, would only live for a short time after she was born.
In a situation which must have been incredibly frightening, the mother, Toni, was told at a 16 week scan that one side of her baby’s brain was growing faster than the other. At another scan Toni discovered there was no amniotic fluid around the baby. Other scans revealed no facial bones, organs missing and underdeveloped lungs. Toni was diagnosed with Premature Rupture of the Membranes (PPROM), a condition which effects 2 out of every 100 pregnancies.
Toni was told there was no hope.
When medical experts believe there is no hope, the answer generally is to “terminate”.
This brave mother, when told by three medical experts to end the life of her baby, stood firm in her role to protect, love and nurture her little one. She chose life despite the fear of the unknown.
With the support of her family, they discovered online cases overseas which gave them hope. But Janine, Toni’s mother, recalls how adamant the medical professionals were
My daughter was bawling and the woman said: ‘This is not a Woman’s Weekly article, this is not going to be a miracle pregnancy, this baby is not going to survive’.
But at 32 weeks baby Ava was born. She had none of the anomalies diagnosed prior to birth, although she did have a horseshoe kidney, something the scans didn’t pick up. Because Ava was eight weeks premature, she spent time in NICU, but she was strong and was able to go home after two weeks.
At a time when prenatal screening is routine, this story (and the countless more that are similar), should serve as a warning for medical professionals, for parents and for families. All too often, a prenatal diagnosis of an impairment, disability or life-limiting condition ends in abortion. Often this is because of pressure from the medical experts, from a lack of information about the conditions and a fear of the unknown.
But Baby Ava’s story shows that sometimes doctors get it wrong.
And even if they don’t get it wrong, why is the answer abortion?
Motherhood begins at the moment new life is conceived. Mothers love, they protect, they nurture their children. Toni, has shown mothers everywhere, who face the unknown, how to do this courageously.
We were privileged to recently attend the 7th World Congress of Families held in Sydney’s unique Eveleigh Locomotive Workshops at Redfern. Around 800 people from all around the world attended over the three days (15 – 18th May).
Previous congresses have been in Prague (1997), Geneva (1999), Mexico City (2004), Warsaw (2007), Amsterdam (2009) and Madrid (2012).
Reflecting back on the congress, universal is the first word that springs to mind. The speakers were from diverse cultural and religious backgrounds covering a myriad of topics on both the micro and macro level affecting families. Throughout, though, both research and practice pointed to the essential part the natural family plays in a healthy society and the need for the economy to serve the family and not the other way around.
Words of hope came from African and Russian delegates. While generally-speaking in Western countries the natural family and religion is in crisis, Theresa Okafor from Nigeria, spoke of her desire to see Africa give back to the West its lost heritage. Missionaries had made a significant impact for her own life. “I’m a twin, and in some parts of Africa, they were seen as evil. I’m alive, in part, because of the Scottish missionaries,” she said. She then went on to itemize characteristics of African culture (outside South Africa) which need to be resurrected in the West. During the 20th century the majority of churches were destroyed in Russia but the swing around in faith is dramatic: in Moscow alone there is now a need for 200 more churches to be built! Russia is dismayed to see the West willingly give up what they had forcefully taken from them and are now reclaiming.
William May’s talk Getting the Marriage Conversation Right indicated a way forward in upholding marriage. To continue to defend marriage amidst a campaign of silence and intimidation we need to learn new ways of communicating about marriage. For instance, the definition, marriage unites a man and a woman with each other and any children born from their union, is now being constructively adopted in the current debate. Marriage is worth fighting for and we were rightly reminded history hasn’t been written yet!
Unfortunately, much of our health education is based on instilling fear with predictably poor results. Louise Kirk from England highlighted the need for virtues based education to start early so that children can learn what trust and love look like and also begin to appreciate the wonderful gift of their fertility long before their hormones start raging. Her curriculum Alive to the World is now available from Freedom Press in Australia.
Birth Control is not typically seen as a Protestant issue, but this has not always been so. Historically all Christian churches were aligned on the birth control question, that is, until the twentieth century. A new documentary by Protestants exploring the history of birth control Birth Control:How did we get here? was one of the lunchtime options available to conference attendees. Copies were purchased for both Auckland and Wellington Centres in time before they all sold out. Watch the trailer here:
Another highlight for everyone was hearing first hand from Jose Ureta about the French experience surrounding the marriage debate and especially how the young 20 and 30 year olds have risen up to defend marriage. Drawing 1.5 million people these marches have been the largest ever in France’s history. One European leader has described the French response to the attempt to eliminate marriage as “Europe’s most beautiful surprise.” Besides the Marches for All, the young people have also spontaneously initiated The Watchers (Les Veilleurs) groups of young adults sitting in their town centres at night singing by candlelight (usually until they are removed!). Present at the conference also was a young French man living in Sydney who explained that this movement has spread to other cities around the world including Sydney. Wherever there are French young people gatherings are organized to coincide with the Marches in France. The question was asked why? The young man explained this generation see themselves as victims of divorce, moral relativism and poor education and they want to see and be part of a new cultural revolution. There has been an awakening and they are ready to reject moral relativism and fight for family values. The theatre spontaneously erupted into the French national anthem as a way of acknowledging and celebrating their valour!
Organization of this Congress was a joint project between New Zealand and Australia. Starting with the traditional welcome by the local Indigenous people to the many local speakers, Australasia’s contribution was significant. Tasman speakers in the plenary sessions included:
• Peter Meurs the Director of Development of Fortescue Metals Group attributes the unexpected success of his company to the company’s family ethos. Particularly inspirational was their practical steps of supporting numbers of indigenous people and consequently their families to break free from inter-generational unemployment.
• In his unique and entertaining style, Ian Grant, offered parents encouragement in his presentation Parenting: a Journey of Love for Life.
• Australians Byron and Francine Pirola, from Smart Loving, opened up the inner world of the marriage relationship and shared some of their Smart Loving Tips.
• Former Deputy Prime Minister of Australia for six years, John Anderson, gave one of the best addresses of the conference. The breakdown of the family is really only symptomatic of a breakdown of truth and absolutes. He lamented the current lack of reasoned debate in the public sphere which is a natural ramification of a rejection of objective truth and absolute values. Our age is one of self-obsession, funding unsustainable entitlements, borrowing against our children’s future. He indicated three things as the way forward: Firstly, to recommit to truth, secondly, to engage in reasoned debate, and, thirdly to remember who we are fighting for: our children (and grandchildren).
There were plenty of lighter moments enjoyed. The characteristic Australian and New Zealand flavour was evident with the trans-Tasman banter whenever New Zealanders took to the stage. Not showing any bias but New Zealand’s Bob McCroskie outwitted the Australians more than once. Lunch time activities among other presentations included a fashion parade from The Dress Shoppe http://www.tds.com and a live theatre, The Tale of Two Brains. Friday night saw the premiere of the movie Return to the Hiding Place the story of Dutch Resistance fighter Hans Poley who found refuge in Corrie ten Boom’s house during the Nazi occupation. There were plenty of display tables and opportunities to talk with and meet people during the breaks.
Over the three days many modern day myths were exposed. On day one Bishop Peter Elliott stressed Blessed Pope John Paul II’s call for a ‘family politics” in Familiaris Consortio which counteracts the false claims that the family is ‘a private matter’ and that the individual and not the family is the basic cell of society. The World Congress of Families is one endeavour to strengthen the family, the basic living cell of society, by promoting public discussion on research and all matters affecting the family today. At the end of each WCF a declaration is proclaimed to summarize the discussion. The 2013 Declaration can be read in full here.
As part of the closing ceremony the Russian delegates made a delightful presentation of several Russian dolls, each one a family of seven, to key organizers of this congress. The 2014 World Congress of Families is to be held in Russia, with none other than the Kremlin being the venue.
LONDON, May 23, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Half of all British children born this year will be living with only one parent by the time they reach their teens, a study has revealed.
The study, titled “The myth of long-term stable relationships outside of marriage” undertaken by the Marriage Foundation, found that 45 percent of British teenagers between the ages of 13-15 are not living with both parents and that 9 out of 10 children born to unmarried, cohabiting “partners” will be living in single-parent households by their teens.
The study examined the differing rates of “family breakdown” experienced by married and cohabiting couples using data from the Understanding Society national longitudinal survey of 40,000 British households.
The numbers indicate that half of all cohabiting couples will break up within a year of moving in together. Nearly one-fifth (17 percent) of babies under a year old do not live with both natural parents, and that number jumps to 47 percent by the time the child is 15.
Significantly, the numbers are radically different for the children born within marriage: 93 percent of parents who stayed together were married before they had a child.
“The relative scarcity of ‘long-term stable relationships’ outside of marriage confirms that it is disingenuous and untenable for government to keep airbrushing marriage from family policy papers,” the study’s author, Harry Benson, said. “This should be an important issue for government since the direct costs of family breakdown are estimated at £46 billion,” more than the entire budget for national defense.
Benson, the founder and director of the relationship education charity Bristol Community Family Trust, takes the government to task for papering over the link between marital status and family breakdown, saying that in nearly all government reports “overlook, disregard, or dismiss [it] altogether whilst talking glowingly of so-called ‘long-term stable relationships.’”
“The key variable in calculating family stability over time becomes marital status at birth. Fewer married parents means fewer relatively stable couples,” he emphasized.
“A trend away from marriage, all other factors remaining constant, should therefore lead to an increase in family breakdown,” Benson said.
The study was released on the day that the House of Commons voted to approve the government’s “gay marriage” bill, which was promoted by Prime Minister David Cameron as a boon for marriage in general.
But research shows that creating a legal construct for same-sex partners does nothing to increase the longevity of their relationships.
In a submission on the bill, Dr. Patricia Morgan, a sociologist and researcher on government family policy, told the House Committee that the evidence has shown “a publicly professed, legal, partnership does not prevent homosexual couples from breaking up more frequently than married heterosexual couples.”
Dr. Morgan said that “across all countries analyzed” there has been no “causal link” found to “support the idea that same-sex marriage prevents marital decline.” On the contrary, legalized “gay marriage” reinforces the “idea that marriage is irrelevant to parenthood,” which is the “principle factor” behind the collapse of natural marriage, that between a man and a woman.
In these countries, the introduction of “gay marriage” has coincided with sharp increases in the rate of cohabitation and children born out of wedlock.
Dr. Morgan’s paper, presented to the Committee on behalf of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children, said that “gay marriage” leads to the “casualization of heterosexual unions and separation of marriage and parenthood.”
The evidence that “gay marriage” harms natural marriage is borne out by statistics from Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Spain, Belgium, Canada, and some U.S. states where it has been implemented.
Unsurprisingly, the Abortion Law Reform Association of New Zealand (ALRANZ) has echoed the thoughts of Ilsye Hogue, President of NARAL, using the Gosnell case to justify the need for decriminalization of abortion in New Zealand.
A recent blog post authored by the organisation told readers that the Gosnell case is an “important reminder that restrictive abortion laws open the door for people to prey on desperate women and lead to medical negligence.”
The comment reflects the opinion of Ilyse Hogue who is reported by the Huffington Post to have said
This is exactly what happens when you place undue restrictions and you try to shame women to keep them from exercising their constitutional right to safe and legal abortions… You make them victims to people like Gosnell, because in their desperation they’ll turn anywhere. You want to drive people like Gosnell out of business? Then you actually support medical facilities and the right of women to safe and legal abortion.
Recently, the call for decriminalisation of abortion in New Zealand has gained momentum, with ALRANZ, Family Planning and Young Labour all making noises. Young Labour (the youth arm of New Zealand’s liberal political party) has declared their plan to make decriminalisation of abortion a 2014 election issue.
Abortion in New Zealand is currently regulated in law by two Acts of Parliament, the Crimes Act, 1961 and the Abortion, Sterilisation and Abortion Act, 1977. Abortion is legal up to 20 weeks on the grounds of saving the life of the mother, danger to mental health, disability, and incest. Rape can be taken into account, although is not a ground for abortion in itself. Women must see two certifying consultants prior to the procedure. Abortions can also be done post 20 weeks to save the life of the mother.
In practice New Zealand has abortion on demand, with 97.6% of abortions in 2011 done under the grounds of “danger to mental health”. Late term abortions do occur, especially when a foetal anomaly has been diagnosed. The term “fetocide” is used to describe late-term abortion (usually after 24 weeks) in New Zealand. It appears that some women are sent to Australia for late-term abortions, while very late term babies who are aborted in New Zealand may have their deaths recorded as “still births”.
The fact that in practise abortion is available on demand is agreed upon by Alison McCulloch, the spokesperson for ALRANZ. In an April radio interview she stated “the anti-abortion side thinks we have abortion on demand. I think we have pretty good abortion access, also I tend to agree with them.” McCulloch also stated in that interview her desire for abortion to be available throughout all nine months of pregnancy.
In an attempt to justify their cause, the ALRANZ post pronounced “further restrictions on abortion will not lead to fewer Gosnell cases, but more.”
Dame Colleen Bayer, National Director of Family Life International NZ countered this claim by saying
It is madness for ALRANZ to suggest that less restrictions on abortion will ensure New Zealand does not see cases like Gosnell happening. Real care and concern for women would ensure that further restrictions and monitoring were in place, not less.
Even though women cannot be prosecuted for having an abortion, ALRANZ attempts to scare monger by finishing the post with the following:
Looking to our own abortion laws in New Zealand and the continued criminalization of women, it [the Gosnell case] is a stark reminder that safe and legal abortion cannot be assured until it is a choice made freely by the pregnant person with free and easy access to all reproductive health services.
Right to Life spokesperson Ken Orr articulated the real issue reminding people that
This tragic case is a reminder that abortion is about violence against women and their pre-born. In every abortion a child is killed whether it is in filthy house of horrors killed by a sadistic murderer or in a clean sanitary clinic with a state funded serial killer immaculately dressed in a spotless surgical gown. The result is always the same, death to the innocent and defenceless child and violence inflicted on a helpless woman. There is no such thing as a safe abortion; they are all fatal.
Help for those experiencing an unplanned pregnancy in New Zealand can be obtained by phoning the nation-wide Option Line 0800 367 5433 or visiting www.pregnantandworried.org.nz
This article has been slightly modified from the original in regard to late-term abortions in New Zealand.
Saturday, May 11th was a very special day for the New Zealand pro-life movement as Colleen Bayer, Founder and Director of Family Life International NZ, had her life’s work acknowledged by the Catholic Church. Earlier this year, Bishop Patrick Dunn, Bishop of Auckland, announced to Colleen that the then Pope Benedict XVI had named her as a Dame in the Order of St Gregory the Great. The award has been given in recognition of the work Colleen has done over the last 40 years to promote a culture of life in New Zealand and to help the mothers and babies who otherwise would become victims of abortion.
The Investiture Mass was held at the Church of St Therese, a Saint who is very close to Colleen’s heart. The date was chosen for the weekend of Mother’s Day as a fitting reminder that at the heart of being pro-life is the love, respect and care for women facing crisis pregnancies. In accepting this honour, Colleen wanted to acknowledge those women who had courageously given life, even in the midst of terrible struggles.
The Mass, which had over 250 people in attendance, including Bishop Dunn and six priests, had the theme “Here I am Lord, I have come to do your will.” A beautiful final touch was the individual blessing of all mothers and grandmothers in attendance by Bishop Dunn; a special gift Colleen had wanted for those who have supported her in this mission, and for the mother’s present who had been helped by Family Life International NZ in their greatest hour of need.
In his homily, Bishop Dunn spoke of Pope Paul VI’s encyclical Humanae Vitae, saying he
warned of the … progression from acceptance of artificial contraception. His fear, which was realised, was that that would lead to a wholesale acceptance of abortion as almost like a human right.
Bishop Dunn also spoke about euthanasia which is a looming threat in New Zealand, and the same-sex marriage legislation which was passed just a few months ago. “Looking back down the years” he said “we see how prophetic this warning has been.”
In an exceptional tribute to Colleen, Bishop Dunn said
Colleen, through all these developments you’ve been an Apostle for Life. A defender of the unborn. And you also realise that if we are to be defenders of the unborn, we must also be defenders and supporters of mothers and fathers who are facing the threat of a difficult pregnancy… We must offer couples, in these very difficult times, love and support, practical support and friendship. And Colleen you and your co-workers have done that.
Just before presenting Colleen with the award and medal, Bishop Dunn articulated the qualities he saw in this dynamic woman:
We all know Colleen. She’s a fundraiser, an educator, a very powerful speaker, a teacher, a CEO, an organiser of practically everything that moves, but also a loving wife, a mother, a woman of faith and a woman of prayer… Today we honour you and we salute you.
Colleen accepted the honour on behalf of all those who work tirelessly in the pro-life movement in New Zealand, acknowledging that
It’s all very well to have a dream and a vision and the get up and go, but you can’t do it alone. .. You need … people to get behind you and help support this work, and so many of you do that. So I would like to thank you.
Taking the honour very seriously Colleen also made a solemn pledge “to stand firm with Mother Church and to always promote the Gospel of Life and to defend and help mothers in need and all families.”
At the conclusion of Mass, a celebration was held in the Parish Hall where flowers were presented to Colleen by one of the mothers helped by Family Life International NZ over the years “We would like to thank you for the years of help that you have given us and we appreciate everything you’ve done for us and we love you” Cushla said.
Another mother helped by Family Life International NZ conveyed her appreciation to Colleen:
I really struggled being in New Zealand, being a migrant and coming to a new country… Meeting Colleen actually changed my life, changed my view on how I view people. She became a second mother to me… Thank you Colleen for saving these children. You say you’ve got 10 grandchildren, bur you’ve got heaps and heaps of them out there.
Entertainment was provided by the Mother of Divine Mercy Youth, a group of young people for whom 98% domestic violence has featured in their lives. These amazing young people are testament to the healing power of God’s Divine Mercy when we turn to Him.
The Mass was a beautiful tribute to a woman who, in answering God’s call for her life, has supported and inspired others to be the people that God has created them to be.