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UK Bishops Support for Homosexualist Agenda Based on Vatican-Rejected 2005 Policy

LifeSiteNews.com
LifeSiteNews.com

By Hilary White

ROME, September 27, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Last Monday, when the head of the Catholic Bishops of England and Wales (CBEW) told a BBC interviewer that the U.K. bishops had not opposed the creation of legal civil partnerships for homosexuals, he was speaking from a longstanding policy that was published in 2005. But a source close to the CBEW has told LifeSiteNews.com that that policy was rejected by the Vatican for not being in line with Catholic teaching. The UK bishops, however, have implemented it without change, ignoring Vatican-mandated corrections.

During last week’s panel discussion on BBC 2, Archbishop Vincent Nichols, head of the Westminster archdiocese and reportedly in line for a cardinal’s hat this year, denied that the English Catholic hierarchy is opposed to homosexualist political goals, saying, “We did not oppose gay civil partnerships. We recognized that in English law there might be a case for those.”

His remarks follow two other occasions when Nichols was asked by interviewers whether Catholic teaching could change on homosexuality; he replied, “I don’t know.”

The archbishop’s expressions of uncertainty clash strongly with statements by Pope Benedict, who said in the lead-up to his recent visit to the UK, “The Church cannot approve of legislative initiatives that involve a re-evaluation of alternative models of married life and family. They contribute to the weakening of the principles of natural law and so the relativization of all legislation and also the confusion about values in society.”

Nichols, however, is not the first or the only U.K. bishop who has set himself in opposition to Vatican and Catholic teaching on homosexuality. Earlier this year Bishop Malcolm McMahon told the liberal Catholic magazine The Tablet that the “backgrounds” of Catholic school employees are not the concern of the Church, and that it is up to the applicants themselves to decide whether they are able to live according to Church teaching.

The Tablet quoted McMahon defending the government’s civil partnership legislation and saying the Church is not opposed to homosexual civil partnerships. “Civil partnerships are precisely what they say they are. They’re not gay marriages or lesbian marriages. They’re simply a legal arrangement between two people so that they can pass on property and other rights in which they were discriminated against before,” he said.

McMahon boasted, “We have many gay people in education and a large number of gay people in the Church, at least the same as the national average … A civil partnership is not a marriage, it’s not a conjugal relationship.”

Both McMahon’s and Nichols’ statements reflect the contents of a 2005 CBEW document, published in response to the then-Labour government’s proposed Equalities Bill - which ultimately led to the notorious Sexual Orientation Regulations and forced the total dissolution of the Catholic Church’s work in adoptions – telling Catholics that they must comply with legislation on equal employment rights of male and female homosexuals, bisexuals and “transsexuals” in Catholic institutions and structures.

During last week’s BBC 2 television program, Nichols and the CBEW’s position on homosexuality was praised by a fellow panelist, Diarmaid MacCulloch, a homosexual Anglican and Oxford professor of church history, who agreed, saying that the English Catholic Church “has rather taken its own line on this, not the Vatican’s line.”

A source close to the CBEW has informed LifeSiteNews.com that MacCulloch was literally correct, and that the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith had not accepted CBEW’s Diversity and Equalities guidelines. The CDF, he said, had issued a list of changes to bring the document into conformity with Catholic teaching that “was ignored” by the document’s author, Archbishop Peter Smith.

In their document, the bishops said the first duty of Catholic organizations and institutions is to “to be inclusive, respectful of the human dignity of all and in tune with the spirit as well as the letter of the law.”

Using the language of the homosexualist political movement, the bishops suggested that Catholic institutions should create hiring quotas for homosexuals. It called on authorities “at all levels of the church” to “be more aware” of whether “different groups” are adequately represented in Catholic institutions such as schools, and said that “organisations, institutions and dioceses should consider appointing or entrusting someone with responsibility for diversity and equality.”

Despite allowing Catholic institutions to require applicants to “be broadly in sympathy with the vision, mission and values of the organisation,” the bishops’ policy does not require any private adherence to Catholic moral teaching. This would include requiring doctors or nurses to agree with the Church’s teaching on abortion and euthanasia, or teachers to live according to Catholic sexual teaching.

“In a society in which relationships are increasingly fractured and complicated, it is only to be expected that this may at times be reflected in the lifestyles of those who serve the Church,” the document says.

“Every applicant and employee has a right to his or her private and family life and all Catholic employers must respect that right.”

“As employers, subject to limited and narrow exceptions, Catholic organisations must ensure that no job applicant or employee receives less favourable treatment than another on the grounds of race, gender, disability, religion or belief, sexual orientation or age. This is ‘direct discrimination’.”

So pleased was the Labour government with the document, that its publication and distribution was funded by the Department of Trade and Industry, the source told LSN.

Significantly, the document was later cited favorably by an EU document on the right to conscientious objection by health care workers that linked the “right” to abortion with similar putative “rights” to euthanasia and assisted suicide. The EU document agrees with the bishops that “subject to limited and narrow exceptions, Catholic organizations must ensure that no job applicant or employee receives less favourable treatment than another on the grounds of … sexual orientation”.

The favorable response from the EU prompted action from the Vatican, LSN’s source said. Last year, Pope Benedict’s two addresses to the UK bishops who were making their Ad Limina visit took a stern tone, with the pope warning them not to compromise on the life and family issues, or to take a soft approach to aggressive European secularism. Referring to the UK’s Equalities legislation, Pope Benedict urged the bishops to present Catholic moral teaching “in its entirety” and to defend it “convincingly.”

This was a direct rebuke, the source said, and was made after information on the Bishops’ Diversity and Equality guidelines had been delivered to the Cardinal Secretary of State, Tarcisio Bertone.

Currently, the CBEW, with the Scottish Catholic hierarchy, is formulating a response to the EU’s forthcoming Equal Treatment Directive that adheres to the same principles of “equality” as the UK legislation.

When it comes to the EU Directive, however, the bishops have issued a caution, warning that the Directive could be turned into “an instrument of oppression” against religious groups. Under the Directive’s conditions for equal treatment, they said, the EU “would effectively be dictating to religious bodies what their faith does or does not require: a wholly unacceptable position.”

Nevertheless, Archbishop Peter Smith, chair of the Department of Christian Responsibility and Citizenship, said, “The Catholic Church supports the underlying moral principle of the draft Directive.”

European Dignity Watch (EDW), a non-Catholic EU watchdog organization, has been more forthright, saying that the “moral principle” behind the draft Directive is in reality erasing traditional morality in favor of a “newly developed”“horizontal” concept of equality, that will “seriously imperil fundamental aspects of freedom of European citizens”.

The Directive, EDW says will “undermine freedom and self determination for all Europeans and subject the private life of citizens to legal uncertainty and the control of bureaucrats.”


Read related LSN coverage:

Archbishop Nichols's Comments on Gay Unions Endanger the Souls of My Children  
http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2010/sep/10091302.html

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PBS defends decision to air pro-abortion documentary ‘After Tiller’

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By Dustin Siggins

Under pressure for showing the pro-abortion documentary "After Tiller" on Labor Day, PBS' "POV" affiliate has defended the decision in response to an inquiry from LifeSiteNews.

The producers of the film say their goal with the documentary, which tells the stories of four late-term abortion doctors after the killing of infamous late-term abortionist George Tiller, is to "change public perception of third-trimester abortion providers by building a movement dedicated to supporting their right to work with a special focus on maintaining their safety.” 

POV told LifeSiteNews, "We do believe that 'After Tiller' adds another dimension to an issue that is being debated widely." Asked if POV will show a pro-life documentary, the organization said that it "does not have any other films currently scheduled on this issue. POV received almost 1000 film submissions each year through our annual call for entries and we welcome the opportunity to consider films with a range of points of view."

When asked whether POV was concerned about alienating its viewership -- since PBS received millions in federal tax dollars in 2012 and half of Americans identify as pro-life -- POV said, "The filmmakers would like the film to add to the discussion around these issues. Abortion is already a legal procedure."

Click "like" if you are PRO-LIFE!

"This is an issue that people feel passionately about and will have a passionate response to. We are hopeful that the majority of people can see it for what it is, another lens on a very difficult issue." 

In addition to the documentary, POV has written materials for community leaders and teachers to share. A cursory examination of the 29-page document, which is available publicly, appears to include links to outside sources that defend Roe v. Wade, an examination of the constitutional right to privacy, and "a good explanation of the link between abortion law and the right to privacy," among other information.

Likewise, seven clips recommended for student viewing -- grades 11 and beyond -- include scenes where couples choose abortion because the children are disabled. Another shows pro-life advocates outside a doctor's child's school, and a third is described as showing "why [one of the film's doctors] chose to offer abortion services and includes descriptions of what can happen when abortion is illegal or unavailable, including stories of women who injured themselves when they tried to terminate their own pregnancies and children who were abused because they were unwanted."

Another clip "includes footage of protesters, as well as news coverage of a hearing in the Nebraska State Legislature in which abortion opponents make reference to the idea that a fetus feels pain." The clip's description fails to note that it is a scientifically proven fact that unborn children can feel pain.

The documentary is set to air on PBS at 10 p.m. Eastern on Labor Day.

Kirsten Andersen contributed to this article.

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Pete Baklinski Pete Baklinski Follow Pete

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He defended ‘real’ marriage, and then was beheaded for it

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By Pete Baklinski

A Christian man was executed during the night by a high-profile ruler after making an uncompromising defense of real marriage.

The Christian, who was renowned for his holiness, had told the ruler in public that his relationship with his partner was “against the law” of God. The Christian’s words enraged the ruler’s partner who successfully plotted to have him permanently silenced.

John the Baptist was first imprisoned before he was beheaded. The Catholic Church honors him today, August 29, as a martyr and saint.

While John’s death happened a little less than 2,000 years ago, his heroic stance for real marriage is more pertinent today than ever before.

According to the Gospel of Mark, the ruler Herod had ‘married’ his brother’s wife Herodias. When John told Herod with complete frankness, “It is against the law for you to have your brother’s wife,” Herodias became “furious” with him to the point of wanting him killed for his intolerance, bullying, and hate-speech.

Herodias found her opportunity to silence John by having her daughter please Herod during a dance at a party. Herod offered the girl anything she wanted. The daughter turned to her mother for advice, and Herodias said to ask for John’s head on a platter.

Those who fight for real marriage today can learn three important lessons from John’s example.

  1. Those proudly living in ungodly and unnatural relationships — often referred to in today’s sociopolitical sphere as ‘marriage’ — will despise those who tell them what they are doing is wrong. Real marriage defenders must expect opposition to their message from the highest levels.
  2. Despite facing opposition, John was not afraid to defend God’s plan for marriage in the public square, even holding a secular ruler accountable to this plan. John, following the third book of the Hebrew Bible (Leviticus 20:21), held that a man marrying the wife of his brother was an act of “impurity” and therefore abhorrent to God. Real marriage defenders must boldly proclaim today that God is the author of marriage, an institution he created to be a life-long union between one man and one woman from which children arise and in which they are best nurtured. Marriage can be nothing more, nothing less.
  3. John did not compromise on the truth of marriage as revealed by God, even to the point of suffering imprisonment and death for his unpopular position. Real marriage defenders must never compromise on the truth of marriage, even if the government, corporate North America, and the entire secular education system says otherwise. They must learn to recognize the new “Herodias” of today who despises those raising a voice against her lifestyle. They must stand their ground no matter what may come, no matter what the cost.

John the Baptist was not intolerant or a bigot, he simply lived the word of God without compromise, speaking the word of truth when it was needed, knowing that God’s way is always the best way. Were John alive today, he would be at the forefront of the grassroots movement opposing the social and political agenda to remake marriage in the image of man.

Click "like" if you want to defend true marriage.

If he were alive today he might speak simple but eloquent words such as, “It is against God’s law for two men or two women to be together as a husband and wife in marriage. Marriage can only be between a man and a woman.” 

He would most likely be hated. He would be ridiculed. He would surely have the human rights tribunals throwing the book at him. But he would be speaking the truth and have God as his ally. 

The time may not be far off when those who defend real marriage, like John, will be presented with the choice of following Caesar or making the ultimate sacrifice. May God grant his faithful the grace to persevere in whatever might come. St. John the Baptist, pray for us!

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The Wunderlich family Mike Donnelly / Home School Legal Defence Association
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German homeschoolers regain custody of children, vow to stay and fight for freedom

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By Thaddeus Baklinski

One year to the day since a team of 20 social workers, police officers, and special agents stormed a homeschooling family’s residence near Darmstadt, Germany, and forcibly removed all four of the family’s children, aged 7 to 14, a state appeals court has returned custody of the children to their parents.

The reason given for the removal was that parents Dirk and Petra Wunderlich continued to homeschool their children in defiance of a German ban on home education.

The children were returned three weeks after being taken, following an international outcry spearheaded by the Home School Legal Defense Association.

However, a lower court imposed the condition on the parents that their children were required to attend state schools in order for them to be released, and took legal custody of the children in order to prevent the family from leaving the country.

In a decision that was still highly critical of the parents and of homeschooling, the appeals court decided that the action of the lower court in putting the children in the custody of the state was “disproportional” and ordered complete custody returned to the parents, according to a statement by the HSLDA.

The Wunderlichs, who began homeschooling again when the court signaled it would rule this way, said they were very pleased with the result, but noted that the court’s harsh words about homeschooling indicated that their battle was far from over.

“We have won custody and we are glad about that,” Dirk said.

“The court said that taking our children away was not proportionate—only because the authorities should apply very high fines and criminal prosecution instead. But this decision upholds the absurd idea that homeschooling is child endangerment and an abuse of parental authority.”

The Wunderlichs are now free to emigrate to another country where homeschooling is legal, if they choose, but they said they intend to remain in Germany and work for educational freedom.

“While we no longer fear that our children will be taken away as long as we are living in Hessen, it can still happen to other people in Germany,” Dirk said. “Now we fear crushing fines up to $75,000 and jail. This should not be tolerated in a civilized country.”

Petra Wunderlich said, "We could not do this without the help of HSLDA,” but cautioned that, “No family can fight the powerful German state—it is too much, too expensive."

"If it were not for HSLDA and their support, I am afraid our children would still be in state custody. We are so grateful and thank all homeschoolers who have helped us by helping HSLDA.”

HSLDA’s Director for Global Outreach, Michael Donnelly, said he welcomed the ruling but was concerned about the court’s troubling language.

“We welcome this ruling that overturns what was an outrageous abuse of judicial power,” he said.

“The lower court decision to take away legal custody of the children essentially imprisoned the Wunderlich family in Germany. But this decision does not go far enough. The court has only grudgingly given back custody and has further signaled to local authorities that they should still go after the Wunderlichs with criminal charges or fines.”

Donnelly pointed out that such behavior in a democratic country is problematic.

“Imprisonment and fines for homeschooling are outside the bounds of what free societies that respect fundamental human rights should tolerate,” he explained.

“Freedom and fundamental human rights norms demand respect for parental decision making in education. Germany’s state and national policies that permit banning home education must be changed.

"Such policies from a leading European democracy not only threaten the rights of tens of thousands of German families but establish a dangerous example that other countries may be tempted to follow,” Donnelly warned.

HSLDA Chairman Michael Farris said that acting on behalf of the Wunderlichs was an important stand for freedom.

“The Wunderlichs are a good and decent family whose basic human rights were violated and are still threatened,” Farris said.

“Their fight is our fight," Farris stressed, "and we will continue to support those who stand against German policy banning homeschooling that violates international legal norms. Free people cannot tolerate such oppression and we will do whatever we can to fight for families like the Wunderlichs both here in the United States and abroad. We must stand up to this kind of persecution where it occurs or we risk seeing own freedom weakened.”

Visit the HSLDA website dedicated to helping the Wunderlich family and other German homeschoolers here.

Contact the German embassy in the U.S. here.

Contact the German embassy in Canada here.

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