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Jessie Childs Cardinal Burke Stuart Reid We need to shatter

Francis won’t alter

Elizabethan mythsChurch teachingpainless penance? FEATURE, PAGE 7 FEATURE, PAGE 8 CHARTERHOUSE, PAGE 20

What’s the point of



No. 6650

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THE ARCHBISHOP of Southwark has said the Church stands in “funda- mental opposition” to any change in the law on assisted suicide after the Government confirmed there will be a free vote on a Bill that could potentially legalise the practice in Britain by next Easter.

Archbishop Peter Smith said: “The Church is fundamentally opposed to any change in the law, which would have serious implica- tions for the protection of vulnera- ble people who need our care and support rather than assistance with Lord Falconer of Thoroton’s Assisted Dying Bill, which would legalise assisted suicide for termi- nally ill patients, received its first reading in the House of Lords last Last Saturday Norman Lamb, the Government’s care minister, announced that he would support the Bill.

A Ministry of Justice spokes- woman said: “The Government believes that any change to the law in this emotive and contentious area is an issue of individual conscience and a matter for Parliament to decide rather than government policy.” Lord Falconer first attempted to change the law on assisted suicide in 2009 when he unsuccessfully tried to amend the 1961 Suicide Act by proposing that people who accom- panied individuals overseas to commit suicide should be granted immunity from prosecution. He then established and chaired a commis- sion on assisted dying whose report

The commission, which described itself as independent, was funded by author Terry Pratchett, who supports assisted suicide, and the campaign group Dignity in Dying, formerly the Voluntary Euthanasia Society. The latest Assisted Dying Bill is based on the commission’s report.

May. It is expected to receive its second reading in June or July this year, when it will be debated in full before it can reach the House of Commons. He told Sky News: “What an invidious situation to leave people in. Can we really be comfortable with a situation where people, acting out of compassion for a loved one who is dying, are left uncertain as to whether they will face prosecution?” in January 2012 recommended that physician-assisted suicide should be legalised. brought in his Abortion Bill he explained that it was not intended to provide abortion on demand, but to end the sordid trade of the back- street abortionists who frequently botched the procedure, inflicting pain and injury on their clients. Many of those who supported him did so for that reason, despite warn- ings that it was a step too far on to a very slippery slope which would lead to abortion on demand. Those warnings have proved prescient. Not only has the Steel legislation been greatly widened in scope, but in practice abortion is now available on demand, well past the time when

Writing for the Daily Telegraph, former Conservative Cabinet minis- ter Norman Tebbit criticised the Bill. He said: “Years ago when that thoroughly decent man David Steel the child would be capable of survival and in practice up to full term. Nor is there any need of evidence of any congenital defects or disorders...

“I am sure that it is not the inten- tion of Lord Falconer to set us on that slippery slope to involuntary euthanasia or even to the full legal- isation of suicide, but I have no doubt that if passed the Falconer Bill would prove to be the stalking horse for those who do.”

You can read the bishops’ confer- ence briefing note, “Sense and nonsense on ‘assisted dying’” at

Publisher: Evangelii Gaudium is Rome’s biggest seller for decades


just for the Church but for the country at large.”


POPE FRANCIS’S first apostolic exhortation Evangelii Gaudium is the bestselling text since the documents of Vatican II, its British publisher has said.

exhortation, which was released last December and has sold more than 25,000 copies, the highest figure for any Vatican document since Unitatis Redintegratio, the Vatican II Decree on Ecumenism, sold 85,000 copies in Britain.

The Catholic Truth Society (CTS) said it had sold more copies of Pope Francis’s apos- tolic exhortation than any other text since the documents of the Second Vatican Council. The society has just printed its fifth edition of the apostolic Pierpaolo Finaldi, manag- ing editor of the CTS, said the document had already sold twice as well as any previous papal documents and that was despite having only been published three months ago.

He said: “The sales of Evan- gelii Gaudium are consider- ably more than we’ve seen for even the great encyclicals of John Paul II and Benedict XVI. As publishers to the Holy See we’re really happy to see the words of Pope Francis becoming an ecclesial event in Britain and being bought in great numbers by dioceses and parishes alike. If we as British Catholics can emulate the enthusiasm for evangelisation that shines through the text then it will be good news, not


Faithful free to eat Megachurch founder alligator on Fridays to become a CatholicOnhiswebsiteMr Ekman, who started the Livets Ord (Word of Life) church in Uppsala in 1983 and whose teachings have been translated into 60 languages, said that he and his wife challenged their “Protestant prejudices” and this led them to realise that they “in many cases did not have any basis for our criticism”.

Mr Finaldi explained that although many bishops were ordering the text in bulk, there was a mixture of people buying it.

“Some bishops are buying it for all their priests, and parishes are being encouraged [to buy copies],” he said. “We’re just really happy to see Vatican documents becoming an ecclesiastical event because sometimes they don’t get the response they deserve.”

THIS LENT American Catholics can rest easy knowing they are free to eat alligator on Fridays.


BY CAROLINE ZABOREK friends. In the letter he asked if alligator meat was acceptable to eat on Lenten Fridays, when many American Catholics abstain from eating meat. BY ED WEST

The US bishops’ conference confirmed last year that such a practice was permissible. Archbishop Aymond replied: “God has created a magnificent creature that is important to the state of Louisiana and it is considered seafood.” Ulf Ekman said that he and his wife, Birgitta, were leav- ing the charismatic church he founded 30 years ago to enter the Catholic Church. The news left his congregation “partially stunned”. Their intervention came after layman Jim Piculas sent Arch- bishop Gregory Aymond of New Orleans a letter in order to settle a debate between his Adams cartoon: Page 12

THE LEADER of a megachurch in Sweden has stunned his congregation by announcing he is to become a Catholic.



        Why I was scared when I interviewed Francis PAGE 4

Fr Antonio Spadaro SJ


Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali Persecuted Christians need a lifeline PAGE 15

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