No. 6329



November 23, 2007 £1 (Republic of Ireland €1.50)

Catholic peer collapses in Lords after criticising embryology Bill

Lord Brennan revived by Health Minister Cardinal appeals for child’s right to a father



Freddy Gray

on the controversial Jesus Camp documentary p12

ACATHOLICpeer collapsed dramatically in the House of Lords on Monday after appealing to the Government to put scientific advances under greater moral scrutiny. Lord Brennan, president of the Catholic Union of Great Britain, was given a heart massage by the Health Minister Lord Darzi before being rushed to an ambulance on a stretcher. One peer said that Lord Darzi, who is one of Britain’s leading surgeons, had “saved his life” by responding so quickly. Lord Brennan’s collapse came during a landmark debate on the controversial Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill, which has been condemned by Britain’s most senior Church figures. He had delivered a speech only minutes before calling for the creation of a national bioethics commission to make society aware of the moral dilemmas posed by fastmoving scientific developments. As Lord Brennan revived, he was reportedly asked by Lord Darzi if there was anything he could get him. “Yes,” the peer is said to have replied immediately. “You can give me the bioethics commission I have been calling for.” As The Catholic Heraldwent to press the 65-year-old Labour peer was recovering at St Thomas’ Hospital, across the river from the Houses of Parliament. His speech echoed closely the proposals put forward by Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor in a letter to the Times on Monday. Lord Brennan told peers: “We are now at a stage where the speed of scientific advance is very fast

Lord Brennan, left, was assisted by Lord Darzi, centre. Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor, right, has denounced the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill

PA Photos

indeed. It is outstripping the capacity of our people to understand what is happening. “It thereby impairs our ability to set an ethical framework in which those advances should be made. That is not an acceptable state of affairs in a democracy.” He concluded that a bioethics commission would close this “democratic gap” and make scientists more accountable to the British people. Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor also proposed that the Government create a national bioethics commission. He said: “Only such an

authoritative and independent body can ensure that serious ethical scrutiny is no longer an afterthought but a precondition of such research.” In his letter to the Times the Cardinal strongly criticised the Government’s Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill. He said the legislation “radically undermines the place of the father in a child’s life”. The Bill creates a new category of “legal” parent so that two women can be recognised as a child’s parents rather than a mother and a father. It states that “no

man is to be treated as the father of the child” when two women of the same sex seek treatment. The Bill also abolishes the legal principle – upheld by the 1990 Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act – that fertility clinics must consider a child’s need for a father. The Cardinal argued that the legislation was “profoundly wrong” because it makes “the natural rights of the child subordinate to the desires of the couple”. Prime Minister Gordon Brown has made it clear that Labour MPs will not be allowed a free vote. Geraldine

Smith MP has already vowed to defy the Government whip. The Bill has also been attacked by Cardinal Keith O’Brien and Archbishop Mario Conti of Glasgow. The Scottish prelates said in a statement on Sunday that they had informed the Prime Minister of their opposition to the Bill. They said that the legislation would “diminish the natural status of fathers and disturb the natural bonds between parents and children”. They also expressed fears that the Bill would be used to liberalise the 1967 Abortion Act

when it arrives in the House of Commons in February. Pro-abortion MPs led by Liberal Democrat Evan Harris are planning to table amendments to the Bill. Their proposals include abolishing the requirement for two doctors’ signatures before an abortion can be performed and allowing nurses to carry out abortions. The debate on the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill, which was receiving its second reading in the House of Lords, was suspended until Wednesday.

Editorial Comment: Page 11


Jonathan Wright hails a masterful account of the rise of secularism p13


Brendan Walsh How to eat biscuits without putting on the pounds p16




Benedict XVI appoints Bishop of Middlesbrough

Essex firm gives Pope a tractor

Keep Christ in the Middle East


POPE BENEDICT XVI has appointed Mgr Terence Patrick Drainey as the seventh Bishop of Middlesbrough. Bishop-elect Drainey, 58, takes over from Bishop John Crowley, who stepped down in May 2007 for reasons of ill-health. He will finish the academic term at his present post as president of the seminary at Ushaw College, Durham, before being ordained as bishop on January 28. The incoming bishop faces a challenging task. His diocese is suffering from low numbers of priests and rapidly dwindling congregations. In 2005 Middlesbrough diocese announced radical plans to close two thirds of its parishes. However, the bishop-elect was upbeat about the future in a letter to the Middlesbrough diocese. He wrote: “All my life as a priest I have only wanted to be a pastor serving the Lord and his people wherever the Church has sent me. “So I sincerely rejoice to be given the ministry of pastor of this great diocese

Bishop-elect Drainey

rich in lives faithful to the Gospel throughout history and to this present day. “As your bishop-elect, I come among you as a brother who, from personal experience, knows the need we all have of God’s gracious mercy and forgiveness. The Gospel that we bring must proclaim God’s infinite love and pardon. “Even in darkness we trust that Christ will be our light we can face all disappointments, broken promises and even overcome despair. “It is in this joyful hope that I look forward to serving the people of the Diocese of Middlesbrough as soon as I can.” The bishop-elect said that as shepherd of the Middlesbrough flock he recognised the spiritual heritage of the region. “I realise that I tread on holy ground here where

many great and saintly ones have gone before me. How could I not remember that especially today, the feast of St Hilda of Whitby?” Bishop-elect Drainey paid tribute to his predecessor, Bishop Crowley, and asked the faithful to pray for him. “I am very proud and privileged to follow a good and kindly pastor,” he said. “As president of Ushaw College I worked closely with him and was a frequent recipient of his patient, generous wisdom.” Terence Patrick Drainey was born in Manchester in 1949. He is a graduate and former spiritual director of the Royal English College of St Albans in Valladolid, Spain. He was ordained in the Diocese of Salford in 1975 and worked for 10 years as an assistant priest. In 1986 he was sent to work in the Archdiocese of Kisumu in western Kenya as a fidei donumpriest. On his return in 1991 he worked as a parish priest until his appointment as spiritual director at Valladolid in 1997. He was made President of St Cuthbert’s College Ushaw in June 2003. On April 12 2006 he was made a papal chaplain by Pope Benedict XVI. Bishop-elect Drainey announced that he would like to meet his clergy and their staff at the “earliest opportunity”. He said: “They are my helpers and counsellors.”


POPEBENEDICTXVI received an early Christmas present last week –a brand-new bespoke tractor all the way from Basildon in Essex. The vehicle, lovingly crafted at the New Holland tractor plant in Essex, will be used to pull the Pope’s platform into position for his Wednesday public audiences in St Peter’s Square. Though the company usually makes their tractors in blue, the Holy Father’s T7050 model has been painted in the Vatican colours of white with a touch of gold. The Pontiff’s new wheels also sport his coat of arms. Silvia Ortiz, public relations officer for New Holland, went to Rome to meet Benedict XVI and hand over the vehicle to the Pontiff in person. She said afterwards: “He was a lovely man and was very courteous and grateful to receive the tractor. “He seemed interested in hearing how and where it was made.” Workers at the plant initially thought the papal connection was a joke, but they are reported to have put “special effort in” once they realised who their customer was. The Pontiff has lent the tractor back to the company so it can display it at an exhibition in Hanover. The tractor is a gift to the Pope from Fiat, the Italian car manufacturer which owns New Holland.

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