SPUC today held a Clergy Information Day. Unfortunately, because of an urgent meeting I had to be late for this so I missed the first half of the morning lecture by Fr John Fleming. I could catch up with most of it from his notes and look forward to the published version when it is available from SPUC.
Fr Fleming was speaking about the rights of the unborn under international law, the pro-life battle at the UN and the nature of the early human embryo. As a lecture, it was certainly not "dumbed down". He presented some of the latest research on the biochemistry of the human embryo in relationship with the mother and then tied this in to the philosophical question of the status of the embryo, dealing with such hoary chestnuts as twinning and the differentiation of cells in the embryo.
It was a most helpful and informative presentation: intellectually challenging but well put together. I think that the sheer quality of these presentations has been the important factor in the growing popularity of the SPUC Clergy Information Days. One or two of the early ones were rather sparsely attended. Not today - the lecture room was full. It was amusing to find that four of us were there who had been at the Opus Dei Day of Recollection yesterday.
SPUC provided lunch for the clergy and then followed up with a lecture by John Smeaton, the National Director. He spoke particularly of the importance of taking the pro-life cause beyond Parliamentary concerns and working to change the minds and hearts of ordinary people. I had a chance to chat with John afterwards about preparations for our forthcoming APGL conference for clergy on 22 November at the London Oratory.