Monday, November 15, 2010

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Moderate/pro-life Democrat to challenge Pelosi as minority leader

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By Matthew Anderson

WASHINGTON, D.C., November 15, 2010 ( – In an interview on CNN’s “State of the Union with Candy Crowley” yesterday morning, Rep. Heath Shuler of North Carolina announced that he plans to run against Nancy Pelosi for minority leader if Pelosi refuses to step down. Shuler, who is going into his third term, has an 85% positive voting rating from the National Right to Life Committee.

On CNN yesterday, Shuler said that it was time for the Democrats to become more moderate. According to Shuler, the results of the recent midterm elections, in which Democrats lost control of the House and lost seats in the Senate, were an indictment of the radical policies of Nancy Pelosi.

“We've just come off the largest … loss for the Democratic Party in almost a century, and to be able to put Speaker Pelosi as minority leader is truly - it's unacceptable for our party,” said Shuler. “To be able to get some of those members of Congress who lost in this 2010 election - to get them back available for the 2012 election, we're going to have to go more of a moderate direction.”

On his website, Shuler says openly that he is pro-life: “I learned from my parents and my church to love God, respect life, and to help those less fortunate than myself … I am a pro-life Democrat, and I believe that all life is sacred.” Shuler was one of very few Democrats who both voted for the pro-life Stupak Amendment last year and voted against the final version of the health care bill that lacked the amendment.

However, Shuler admitted that his chances of beating the incumbent Pelosi are slim. He said that in the midterm elections, many of those Democrats who lost their seats were those who would have supported a more moderate party. According to Shuler, the loss of these moderate Democrats in place of Republicans means that only liberal Democrats such as Pelosi are left, ensuring her reelection as minority leader.

“You know, I can add and subtract pretty well. I don't have the numbers to be able to win, but I think it's a proven point for moderates and the Democratic Party that we have to be a big tent.”

Even after the historic defeats suffered by Democrats in the elections, many in the abortion industry still support Nancy Pelosi as minority leader. Cecile Richards, President of Planned Parenthood, said that it was important for Pelosi to remain the democrats’ leader because of her unwavering support for women’s “rights.” In an article for the Huffington Post, Richards pointed to Pelosi’s support of abortion funding in the new healthcare law as a reason she must remain.

“Nancy Pelosi understands women's health issues in a deeply personal way—and when she stands for women, it matters,” she said. “Women need her now more than ever to protect their gains from those who are anxious to roll back health care and undermine their rights under the law.”

Democrats are set to vote on for a minority leader on Wednesday. 

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Prof resigns from Catholic college after announcing gay ‘marriage,’ complains she was ‘fired’

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By Patrick B. Craine

SPRINGFIELD, Illinois, November 15, 2010 ( – A homosexual woman is complaining that she was fired from a Catholic university in Illinois this fall after publishing a wedding announcement of her lesbian “marriage.”  Benedictine University at Springfield, however, insists that Laine Tadlock actually resigned after they reassigned her to another position outside of education, with an offer of full pay and benefits. The university also said that it was aware of Tadlock’s sexual proclivities, but objected to her public show of disobedience to Catholic teaching.

“It was not Tadlock’s orientation, but rather the public disregard for fundamental Catholic beliefs, which was the basis for the University’s decisions,” they wrote in a statement last week.

Tadlock, 60, was the director of the education program at Benedictine University in Springfield.  She claims the university knew of her “marriage” this summer in Iowa, but stepped in when she announced it in the local paper on July 11.  Tadlock had listed the university as her place of employment in the announcement.

Tadlock has said she is considering taking legal action against Benedictine, and the university says they will mount a vigorous defence if needed.  She claims she has support from students, while her assistant director, Maureen Lavin, resigned in protest of the university’s actions.

In a statement, the university explained that, rather than firing Tadlock, she was offered the position of director of assessment, accreditation and institutional effectiveness, because it would have been inconsistent with their Catholic mission for her continue with the education program.

The university said that they told Tadlock that if she refused the new position they would consider it a resignation.  When she did not report for work on October 28, they informed her that they had accepted her resignation.

Tadlock told the Springfield Journal-Register, where she made the July announcement, that she finds it ironic that her “spouse,” Kae Helstrom, currently works at the university.  “She’s an adjunct professor,” said Tadlock. “They haven’t said a word to her.”

Bishop Thomas Paprocki of Springfield praised the university last week for its “integrity” in addressing the situation.  In a post to the diocesan blog, Bishop Paprocki insisted that “God intended marriage to be a life-giving and loving commitment between a man and a woman until parted by death.”

“Benedictine University is to be commended for its fidelity to the truth in upholding the faith and morals as taught by the Catholic Church,” he said.

LifeSiteNews contacted Benedictine University, but did not hear back by press time.

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Iowa and Maryland pro-life groups determined to keep out late-term abortionist

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By Thaddeus M. Baklinski

November 15, 2010 ( - Pro-life groups in two of the states where late-term abortionist Leroy Carhart has announced plans to open new abortion facilities are determined to block Carhart’s expansion efforts.

Carhart was forced to close his late-term abortion business in Bellvue, Nebraska after that state passed Legislative Bill 1103, a law that prohibits elective abortions after 20 weeks gestation on the basis that science definitively shows an unborn child feels pain at that age.

Last week, Carhart announced he plans to have three new abortion facilities up and running by January, with one in the Maryland-D.C. area, and another in Council Bluffs, Iowa, both offering late-term abortions. He is also acquiring an Indianapolis abortion clinic, which specializes only in early-term abortions.

Carhart, one of a few late-term abortionists in the U.S., told the Des Moines Register there is "certainly a need" for his specialty and noted that the locations of the new facilities "are where the laws are favorable for us to do the practice that I need to do."

Iowa law allows abortion after the second trimester if a doctor determines the grisly procedure is necessary to "preserve the life or health" of the woman.

"Obviously, Carhart sees that as a big loophole or he wouldn't be planning to come here," said Jenifer Bowen, executive director of Iowa Right to Life.

Vowing to fight Carhart's plan, Bowen said, “I can say with confidence that the majority of Iowans do not want ours to be seen as a safe haven state for a late-term abortionist. Our growing pro-life coalition of more than five dozen state and national organizations and individuals will continue to strengthen in unity. Such a clear message will be sent to LeRoy Carhart in the coming weeks, both from the groundswell of pro-lifers and our pro-life legislators set to head into session in January, that this will become the last place Carhart will want to move.”

Maggie DeWitte, executive director of Iowans for Life, added that with the surge of pro-life politicians recently elected in the state, "We have a real opportunity this session, as opposed to past years."

Maryland Right to Life executive director Angela Martin said her group is concerned that the lack of regulation may make Maryland a haven for late-term abortion and that Carhart's plan to open his abortuary will add to the state's already high abortion rate.

Martin stated in a press release that Maryland has one of the most permissive abortion laws in the U.S., and has the third highest abortion rate of the 50 states.

"It has never banned partial-birth abortion and is one of just 16 states to have no meaningful parental involvement statute for minors seeking abortions," Martin said.

"Maryland is one of only five states that voluntarily pays for elective abortions with state Medicaid funds, one of just four states that does not collect any data on abortions, and the only state in the country to give civil immunity to abortionists who fail to obtain proper informed consent."

“We commend Nebraska for taking a stand against late-term abortion, which endangers women’s health and causes unborn babies unimaginable pain,” said Martin. “By failing to hold abortion facilities and providers to even minimum standards of medical care, Maryland has become a haven for purveyors of this grisly and inhuman procedure.”

See previous LSN coverage:

Leroy Carhart Forced to Move Late-Term Abortion Business out of Nebraska

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Six pro-life heroes to split $600,000 award

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NATICK, MA, November 12, 2010 ( – The Gerard Health Foundation today made the much-anticipated announcement of the 2009-2010 winners of its Life Prizes award. The award is granted every year to six individuals or organizations that “have achieved significant progress in promoting the sanctity of human life and are working to protect and preserve it.”

The first Life Prizes awards were presented at a ceremony in 2009. This year’s winners of the $600,000 prize were chosen by a Selection Advisory Committee from 90 nominations submitted to the Foundation.   Members of this Committee include Richard Doerflinger of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops; Peggy Hartshorn of Heartbeat International; Kay Coles James of the Gloucester Institute; and Jack Willke of Life Issues Institute.

“We are pleased to present the second Life Prizes to such deserving recipients,” stated Raymond Ruddy, President of the Gerard Health Foundation.  “These six winners are doing some of the pro-life movement’s most important work, and it is right to celebrate their sacrifice and dedication.  Each of them is an example to follow and we look forward to their future accomplishments in the cause of life.”

The $600,000 in prize money will be divided among the following six winners. Each name is followed by a description from Life Prizes for why that individual was selected by the committee:

- Jeanne Head – A force to be reckoned with at the United Nations, Jeanne Head left her career as an obstetrics nurse to fight for the protection of the most vulnerable members of the human family on the international stage. As UN Representative for National Right to Life Educational Trust and a Representative of the International Right to Life Federation, she debates the most politically powerful – from the Oval Office to members of the UN Security Council.

- Terri Schiavo Life & Hope Network – In 2005, the world watched as a young woman with disabilities was deprived of food and water by order of a judge.  Her family has vowed to fight for the right to life of disabled and vulnerable men and women everywhere, and their Foundation has provided assistance to more than 1,000 families through a national network of resources, support, and medical facilities for the medically-dependent, persons with disabilities, and those incapacitated in life-threatening situations.

- Douglas Johnson – The indispensible man behind all of the greatest pro-life victories in Congress since Roe v. Wade is National Right to Life Committee Legislative Director Doug Johnson.  His keen strategy and consummate research have served the pro-life movement from behind the scenes for three decades.

- Kristan Hawkins – Young people today are overwhelmingly pro-life, and Students for Life of America and its Executive Director Kristan Hawkins have taken a leading role in engaging young people across the country in pro-life efforts through innovative use of the internet and increasing Students for Life chapters by the hundreds.

- Reverend Alveda King – It is altogether fitting that the niece of Martin Luther King, Jr. would become one of the most important leaders in the greatest civil rights battle of our day. As founder of King for America, Dr. Alveda King has been the public face of the pro-life movement in the African American community, speaking and advocating for years against abortion and especially the targeting of African Americans.

- Marie Smith – There is a global pro-abortion agenda and Marie Smith has made it her mission to identify, unite, and strategize with pro-life groups, lawmakers, and religious leaders to advance respect for life in law and policy.  Ms. Smith is the Director of the Parliamentary Network for Critical Issues, a non-partisan global outreach of Gospel of Life Ministries.

The awards will be presented at a ceremony held in Washington, DC on Saturday, January 22, 2011.

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Bishop Kicanas endorsed by Rainbow Sash Movement as next U.S. bishops’ head

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Matthew Anderson

November 15, 2010, ( – With the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops meeting this week to elect its new President, the homosexual “Catholic” Rainbow Sash Movement has announced its pick to lead the bishops. According to a press release from the homosexualist group, it has endorsed Bishop Gerald Kicanas of Tucson, AZ to succeed Cardinal Francis George as the leader of the USCCB.

The release from the pro-gay organization is likely to feed into the growing agitation in certain Catholic quarters over the possibility of Kicanas’ election. Kicanas has been accused of ignoring the sexual misconduct of a seminarian who went on to commit sexual abuse, and has a reputation for liberalness on key issues such as abortion and homosexuality.

In a rare moment of agreement with the orthodox Catholic community, the Rainbow Sash Movement said that they support Kicanas precisely because of the bishop’s soft stance on the issues of abortion and gay ‘marriage.’

“Bishop Kicanas understands that Bishops are privately changing their position because input is bubbling up from the pews of our parishes in support of such issues as Gay Marriage, and Pro Choice,” they wrote.

Though Kicanas has publicly supported the teaching of the Church on marriage, Rainbow Sash says they believe his views will “evolve.” In the meantime, though, the group believes that Kicanas is the perfect bishop to “be a reasonable public voice and face for the country’s Catholic bishops.”

The gay organization points to Kicanas’s reaction to the Obama/Notre Dame scandal as evidence that he will be a “reasonable public voice” calling for “moderation and listening” during this “difficult situation.”

At the time of the scandal, Kicanas took a soft public stance saying he wasn’t sure that Notre Dame meant to defy the USCCB’s statement “Catholics in Political Life” in honoring Obama. That document makes clear that public figures who oppose core Catholic teachings "should not be given awards, honors or platforms which would suggest support for their actions.”

In a June 2009 interview with Catholic World News he said that Notre Dame “may have interpreted the document differently.” He went on to say, “The first thing is to be sure of what we are indeed saying, what we’re agreeing to, and then bringing that to the institutions within one’s own diocese. It is a dialogic thing.”

Rainbow Sash said that they supports Bishop Kicanas because they believe him to be in the mold of Cardinal Joseph Bernardin, who was famously allied with a number of liberal and progressive ideologies.

“We believe that Bishop Kicanas follows in the footsteps of the late Cardinal Joseph Bernardin, and will lead the USCCB to a position of common ground on issues that are deeply dividing the US Catholic Church.”

Kicanas is believed to be the next in line for the presidency of the conference because of his role as Vice President for the past three years. Traditionally, the Bishops elect the previous Vice President to be the next president.  Other names on the ballot for president include New York’s Archbishop Timothy Dolan and Colorado’s Archbishop Charles Chaput.

However, Kicanas’s history on priestly sexual abuse is considered a sticking point for his election. Before becoming Bishop of Tucson, Kicanas served as the rector of the Mundelein Seminary in Chicago. During his time there he allowed future child molester Fr. Daniel McCormick to be ordained despite allegations of sexual misconduct. Bishop Kicanas recently defended himself against allegations of wrong-doing by saying, “I never received any allegation, report or concern about McCormack during his seminary years at Mundelein that involved sexual abuse of anyone.”

The National Catholic Register has pointed out that Kicanas was at least aware of McCormick engaging in consensual homosexual acts while intoxicated, if not actual illegal abuse. According to the NCR article, Kicanas commented on these early “experiences” by saying, “Evaluation indicated that the nature of the experiences he had related was experimental and developmental, although it indicated that drinking might be a concern.”

In its endorsement, Rainbow Sash defended Kicanas by saying that “fundamentalist” bishops were only trying to distract from the issues at hand. “It may play to the fundamentalist such as Archbishop Chaput and Archbishop Dolan, it does not play well among more moderate and reasonable Catholics, and most of their Bishops.”

See related coverage:

The Kicanas Conundrum: Catholics Concerned about Likely New U.S. Bishops Head

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Discrimination case against woman seeking ‘Christian roommate’ dropped

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By Thaddeus M. Baklinski

GRAND RAPIDS, Michigan, November 15, 2010 ( - A civil rights complaint accusing a Michigan woman of illegal housing discrimination has been dropped by the U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Michigan Department of Civil Rights.

Tricia Rowe, of Alger Heights, Michigan had posted a notice on her church bulletin board seeking "a female Christian roommate" to share living expenses in her home.

The Fair Housing Center of West Michigan, a private group who state their mission as "the eliminating of practices of illegal housing discrimination and promote open, diverse communities through education and advocacy," filed z complaint against Rowe, saying advertising for a Christian roommate "expresses an illegal preference for a Christian roommate, thus excluding people of other faiths.”

The Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) took up the case and sent a letter to the Michigan Department of Civil Rights asking that what they called the "groundless complaint" be immediately dismissed.

ADF Senior Legal Counsel Joel Oster commented that, “Christians shouldn’t live in fear of being punished by the government for being Christians. It is completely absurd to try to penalize a single Christian woman for privately seeking a Christian roommate at church - an obviously legal and constitutionally protected activity.”

After the Michigan Department of Civil Rights was reportedly swamped with calls from an outraged public when the case became known, the complaint was sent to the Department of Housing and Urban Development for investigation.

HUD promptly reviewed the case and dropped it.

"n light of the facts provided and after assessing the unique context of the advertisement and the roommate relationship involved in this particular situation potentially involving the sharing of religious beliefs, the Department defers to Constitutional considerations in reaching its conclusion," the HUD decision stated.

Mr. Oster praised the HUD decision, saying in this instance "common sense prevailed."

See previous LSN coverage:

Mich. Woman Advertises for "Christian Roommate": Gets Hit with Civil Rights Complaint

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Editorial: Bishops’ Development and Peace report encouraging, but only the beginning

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LSN Editorial

November 15, 2010 ( - The Development and Peace funding controversy has reached a new, and hopeful stage with the release last week of the long awaited report by the CCCB's Ad Hoc Committee on Development and Peace. The bishops involved in that committee should be thanked and congratulated for proposing much needed changes to the organization's procedures.

However, there are still many questions and concerns about how the Development and Peace (D&P) controversy has been handled, and whether the proposed reforms will be properly implemented, or implemented at all.

While in Rome last month, LifeSiteNews Editor-in-Chief John-Henry Westen and Managing Director Steve Jalsevac discussed this issue, among others, with Vatican officials. Some of these officials were well aware of, and disturbed by, the poor oversight exercised by the Canadian bishops over the distribution of many millions of dollars collected from Catholics to agencies that hold views opposed to important Catholic principles.

The Vatican officials were aware of the problem because bishops and archbishops from developing nations have come to them to complain about these situations, which are undermining their own pastoral efforts in their dioceses. We were also told that this problem is not limited to the Canadian Bishop's development agency. There have been many similar complaints about poor oversight by bishop's conferences from other nations.

It was reaffirming to know that LSN is not alone in being concerned about this obvious and serious problem.

However, it remains troubling that the Canadian Bishops' Conference still has not publicly acknowledged the nature and scope of the scandal.  Indeed, the most glaring omission of the long-awaited Ad Hoc Committee on Development and Peace report is any explicit acknowledgement of the truth of the reams of undeniable evidence of pro-abortion, pro-contraception, pro-homosexual or otherwise public anti-Catholic involvements of many D&P-funded groups.

Major reforms are being proposed, but the specific reasons for these dramatic reforms are still not being admitted, making it impossible to judge the sincerity with which the proposed reforms are intended to be implemented. The original CCCB and Development and Peace response strategy does not yet appear to have changed.

In March 2009, shortly after the latest scandals broke, then-CCCB President Archbishop Weisgerber was advised by an influential Canadian priest to deny, regardless of any evidence, all the claims that Development and Peace was funding inappropriate groups. "Who will they (the Catholic public) believe, the Catholic Bishops of Canada or some news agency on the Internet," the bishop was told. LifeSiteNews learned about this discussion from more than one reliable source. 

From that point on, all incriminating evidence, no matter how watertight or convincing, was denied categorically, and vigorous counter-attacks were launched against the credibility and legitimacy of the messengers.

Due to widely disseminated statements from Archbishop Weisgerber, Development and Peace, Salt and Light CEO Fr. Thomas Rosica, certain individual bishops who sent communications to their entire dioceses, and the whitewash report of the bishop's original investigating committee, which was distributed in Catholic dioceses and newspapers across Canada and internationally through Catholic news services, hundreds of thousands of Catholics have been led wrongly to believe that those who exposed the scandal, including, were spreading malicious lies.

Regrettably, the summary report from the ad hoc committee makes no mention of plans to restore (in the words of Catholic Canon Law) "the good name and reputation" (Canon 220) of those harmed by the unjust actions and public statements of Canadian Catholic organizations and religious leaders who attacked the messengers of Development and Peace problems.

However, regardless of the concerns expressed above, in the final analysis the ad hoc report is welcomed by as an encouraging sign. The proposed protocols to put D&P in routine contact with the local bishops in the dioceses where their partners are working are especially welcome, as is the development of an "exit strategy" for Development and Peace to extricate itself from problematic partnerships, of which LSN has reported on over two dozen.

While caution and continued determination are still called for, those bishops and others in the conference who have been pushing for reform must be strongly praised and supported. Theirs is a very difficult task against likely strong resistance to what has been a 40-years pattern of unquestioned support for Development and Peace from the nation's bishops.

We are hopeful that the corner has been turned and that Development and Peace will very soon be required to distribute money collected from Catholics only to partners that not only do not offend Catholic moral teachings, but that truly fight poverty and injustice by promoting an authentic culture of life within the full, rather than selective, framework of Catholic social teaching.

As Pope Benedict XVI wrote in Caritas in Veritate (the encyclical that the reform of Development and Peace is being conducted in light of): "The right to food, like the right to water, has an important place within the pursuit of other rights, beginning with the fundamental right to life." And elsewhere in the encyclical: "Openness to life is at the centre of true development."

We recommend that these quotations be framed and hung in the offices of Development and Peace, especially during this time of reform, as a daily reminder of the nature of the work of a truly Catholic anti-poverty agency.

See Related LSN Report: 

D&P Develops “Exit Strategy” from “Controversial” Partnerships

See the LifeSiteNews Development and Peace Feature Page, Funding of Pro-Abortion Groups 2009/10

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Dutch journalist threatened with torture, death following letter condemning abortion

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By Matthew Cullinan Hoffman

DEN BOSCH, Netherlands, November 15, 2010 ( - Pro-life journalist Mariska Orbán de Haas says that she has received hundreds of death threats and more than ten threats of torture following the publication of an open letter she wrote to a pro-abortion parliamentarian asking her to reconsider her position on the subject.

The letter, which was addressed to Representative Jeannine Hennis-Plasschaert and published in the Katholiek Nieuwsblad (Catholic News), was written in response to Hennis-Plassschaert's angry reaction after receiving a plastic fetal model from Catholic bishop Everard de Jong. The bishop had sent the models to Hennis-Plasschaert and all other members of the Dutch House of Representatives.  He also included a letter in which he asked the representatives to stop the killing of the unborn in the face of impending budget restrictions, pointing out that defunding "bloody abortion clinics" would save money and help preserve future generations who could care for the elderly.

After Hennis-Plasschaert called the letter from the bishop "disgusting," Orbán wrote to her publicly, pointing out that both she and Hennis-Plasschaert have experienced the suffering of miscarriages, and that the fetal model she received from Bishop De Jong would resemble their lost children at the time of their deaths.

"In that light," asked Orbán, "is it not 'disgusting' that our society permits us to abort more than thirty thousand babies in the Netherlands every year?" She noted that children who die by abortion are "exactly the same as the mysterious little lives that we expectantly carried within us."

The letter, published on October 27, sparked outrage in the largely liberal, pro-abortion Netherlands.  Orbán soon offered a public apology, but that has not prevented her from receiving an avalanche of angry responses. French journalist Jeanne Smits reports that the letter has generated 350,000 tweets on Twitter, and various sites have created distorted pictures of her face, portraying her as a devil.

Orbán notes that she had never received such a response from readers, until she began writing as a Catholic journalist.

"I've previously pushed the boundaries as a journalist, in various subjects, but I've never had this kind of reaction," said Orbán. "If you write something about the Catholic faith, then people react so very strongly."

"I hear many liberals say that free speech is so important, but if you have Catholic views it's obviously different," she added.

Related Links:

Katholiek Nieuwsblad (Catholic Newspaper of the Netherlands)

Open Lettter to Jeanine Hennis (Dutch)

Related LifeSiteNews Coverage:

Dutch Bishop Calls Parliamentarians to Defund Abortion

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“You, me…we’re all just grown up embryos”: Billboard campaign counters embryo research push

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By Hilary White

DUBLIN, November 15, 2010 ( – Embryo research has “failed miserably” to help patients, and is far exceeded in medical successes by adult and umbilical cord blood stem cell therapies, says an Irish pro-life campaign group. Why then, they ask, is the Irish government pushing so hard to allow experimentation on living human embryos in their officially pro-life country?

Youth Defence, the Republic of Ireland’s leading pro-life group, this week launched a billboard and public education campaign calling on the current government to halt all plans to legalize embryonic stem cell research.

In January this year, Mary Harney, Ireland’s Health Minister, announced she would bring forward legislation that would allow the use of the human embryo in medical research. This announcement followed three years of polls showing that between 60 and 70 percent of the Irish population is in favor of retaining legal protections for embryonic human life from the point of conception.

“You, Me, Everybody. We’re all just grown-up embryos,” say the Youth Defence billboards that are the centrepiece of the new campaign and that are already on display around the country. The second phase of the “You, Me, Everybody” campaign will be thousands of postcards and information leaflets to be distributed to all the churches throughout the country.

Ireland, which has protections for the unborn written into its constitution, has been the subject of an orchestrated campaign from within government and the research community to bring legalized embryonic stem cell research into the country. Youth Defence contends that legalizing embryo research would also undermine the country’s legal prohibition against abortion, since it would require amending the constitution.

Youth Defence has anticipated this fight for some years. In 2008, inhabitants of the city of Dublin were greeted with billboard ads, courtesy of Youth Defence, featuring a cherub-faced baby and the caption, “Don’t use me for spare parts.”

A booklet produced by the pro-life organization, “Join the Dots: Who’s Behind the Push for Embryo Research in Ireland,” that is being distributed to legislators and other public figures, outlines the long-planned process by which government “quangos” (quasi-non governmental organizations) have been appointed and funded by the government to push for legalizing embryo research.

The push started in 2000 when then-health minister Micheal Martin set up the Commission on Assisted Human Reproduction (CAHR), to “study” the issue. That Commission, Youth Defence contends, was “stacked” with experts who were already in favor of the use of living human embryos for research. The actual purpose of the €634,000 Commission, they said, was to “create the perception that a consensus in favour of embryo research exists among Irish experts.”

On October 31, 2008 in response to the decision of the governing body of University College, Cork to approve embryonic stem cell research, Youth Defence issued a statement calling it a “carefully choreographed bid to undermine legal protection for the human embryo.”

They said the decision was “deplorable” as well as “unethical, indefensible and scientifically wrong-headed,” and cited the thousands of cures and treatments being successfully developed with adult stem cells, compared to the near total absence of similar success with embryos.

In April 2009, Senators David Norris and Ivana Bacik issued a statement, saying, “The overwhelming consensus among the medical and scientific community … is that embryonic stem cell research offers immense potential for the treatment of neurodegenerative disorders in particular, such as Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.

“Ireland needs legislation to regulate the carrying out of this research, in line with the recommendations of the Commission on Assisted Human Reproduction in 2005 and the Irish Council for Bioethics in 2008. Both expert bodies recommended a robust legal framework within which embryonic stem cell research would be permitted.”

This Council for Bioethics (ICB), was appointed by then-Enterprise and Trade minster Mary Harney, who is now the minister for Health and is notoriously in support of legal abortion. Harney also voted in favor of funding for embryo research through the EU. The ICB was launched in 2003 at a cost of €437,000, and has a membership entirely composed of experts in favor of legalization of embryo research and abortion.

Typical of the attitudes of the ICB members towards the dignity of the human embryo was that expressed by Dr. Siobhan Sullivan, who said that the embryo targeted for destructive research would be “respected” by “using it for the good of society.”

In 2003, CAHR and ICB invited Baroness Mary Warnock, the UK utilitarian bioethicist notorious for her description of premature babies and elderly people as “bed blockers,” to be the keynote speaker at their 2003 conference in Dublin Castle.

Despite the insistence of the “experts,” public opinion is strongly against the use of embryos as human test subjects in Ireland. During its public consultations, the ICB received 2200 submissions, 69 percent of which said that the human embryo had the full moral status of a human being from the moment of fertilization, and 70 percent of which opposed their use for research. Another 65 percent said they would be unwilling to use medical treatments that were derived from killing embryos.

Information made available under the Freedom of Information Act revealed that University College, Cork received 1300 submissions opposing embryo research in 2008, including from a majority of UCC academics.

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Philippine legislators plan to push controversial Reproductive Health Bill

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By Thaddeus M. Baklinski

MANILA, November 15, 2010 ( - Members of the Philippine House of Representatives said on Thursday they plan to start hearings within two weeks on six versions of the Church-opposed Reproductive Health Bill.

Rep. Edcel Lagman, who introduced one version of the bill, said about 100 of the 278 House members support the various versions of the measure and he is confident the final version of the bill will receive approval from a majority of lawmakers during the 15th Congress’ first year by the end of June 2011.

“Thanks to Mr. Aquino’s steadfast support, the prospects of its approval in the 15th Congress are bright,” Lagman said in a press report.

“I’m positive that the President will remain steadfast in support of responsible parenthood. I think this is a feather in the cap of the President. This will in a way mitigate initial setbacks on the part of the administration if the President will remain to solidly support the RH bill,” he said.

President Aquino has ignited controversy in the predominantly Catholic country by expressing his support for government-sponsored promotion of artificial contraception and sex education. His predecessor, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, opposed similar legislation during her nine years in office.

Rep. Jose Maria Zubiri told a forum at the Sulo Riviera Hotel that the country's "over-rapid and unsustainable population growth ... has already become a national security issue."

"Many of our problems in the Philippines stem from the fact that too many Filipinos make too many children that they cannot afford to take care of," he said. "The population growth of the last 30 years was faster than the economic growth that could support it."

Zubiri went on to suggest that the Reproductive Health Bill could be decided by a plebiscite.

“There’s never been a better time that something like this could pass than now,” Zubiri said. “If for whatever reason it doesn’t pass here, let’s submit to a plebiscite. It affects the people, let the people decide.”

Catholic Church officials oppose artificial contraception and sex education, arguing that it is the responsibility of parents to educate their children, and that promoting contraception and sex education would destroy the morals of the people.

Manila Archbishop Gaudencio Rosales told the Philippine Daily Inquirer that he advises parents to mold their children’s conscience lest Filipinos end up being the kind of people now in Congress who, he said, have “poorly formed consciences.”

See previous LSN coverage:

Philippine Cardinal Sees ‘Head-on Collision’ between Govt. and Church over Reproductive Health Bill

Philippine Bishop Says Excommunication for President Benigno Aquino 'a Possibility'

Bishops Urge New Philippine President to Shun 'Contraceptive Mentality'

Philippine Legislators Attempting to Resurrect Controversial Reproductive Health Bill

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New Irish priest group: Church must re-evaluate sexual teaching

by Mon Nov 15 12:15 EST Comments (0)

By Hilary White

November 15, 2010 ( – About 200 priests were present at the first meeting of the Association of Catholic Priests (ACP) in Port Laoise on September 15. The group is calling for a “re-evaluation of Catholic sexual teaching and practice that recognizes the profound mystery of human sexuality and the experience and wisdom of God’s people.”

The association’s goals include pressuring the Church for a “re-designing” of the ministry “to incorporate the gifts, wisdom and expertise of the entire faith community, male and female”– likely a thinly veiled call for the ordination of women. The rest of the list includes the full roster of demands of the far left “progressive” wing of the Catholic Church, including demands for a democratising “re-structuring of the governing system of the Church,” and the abolition the Church’s hierarchical organisation, “particularly in the appointment of Church leaders.”

The group also wants “full implementation of the vision and teaching of the Second Vatican Council, with special emphasis on: the primacy of the individual conscience,” language that has been used for decades in other countries to absolve Catholics of the need to obey Church teaching on contraception and even abortion. 
Ecumenism and the “promotion of peace, justice and the protection of God's creation” are also included in the ACP manifesto.

A spokesman for the bishops said they welcomed any initiative to organise “priests’ voices,” especially in these challenging times for Catholics dominated by the clerical abuse crisis.

Although the Irish Catholic reports that interest in the new “reform” group is low among priests, an indicator of the general doctrinal orthodoxy and health of the Catholic clergy and episcopate in Ireland may be judged by a recent interview with the outgoing bishop of Killaloe, Willie Walsh.

Walsh, who retired in May in good standing with the Church upon reaching age 75, told the Irish Times last week that throughout his priestly life, he had barely maintained his faith in the existence of God, the divinity of Christ and the existence of the “afterlife,” never mind the Catholic teaching on homosexuality, priestly celibacy of priests and the ordination of women.

“I suppose at this stage I have decided that I choose to believe to some degree, but I can’t prove from reason these teachings,” he said. Walsh had been the bishop of Killaloe on the west coast of Ireland, population 121,374, since 1994.

In July this year, Walsh told the Irish Examiner that he was “saddened by the deep hurt” the Church has inflicted on homosexuals. Asked for his views on the passing of the Civil Partnership Bill, Walsh said, “I’ve always been hesitant about asking civil authorities to support a particular teaching of our Church.

“I respect people who are of homosexual orientation and I would be always conscious of the fact that very often we in the Church have hurt them and hurt them deeply and I am saddened by that and saddened by the lack of respect for any human being.”

“While I do worry about the apparent breakdown of family life, I equally respect the laws of this country.”

Walsh has been quite open about his opposition to Catholic teaching on a range of issues. In 2002, he told The Nenagh Guardian that he would have no difficulty ordaining women as priests, though he could not see the Church approving this in his lifetime.

In the years that Walsh has been making public statements in opposition to Catholic teaching, none of his brother bishops have publicly corrected him or distanced the Church from them.

The Irish Catholic Church is the subject of much discussion in Rome at the moment, in light of the two damning government reports of clerical abuse of young people that went on for decades unchecked, as well as plummeting vocation rates. Vocations throughout Ireland in the last twenty years have been in freefall with only 22 ordained from the main national seminary in Maynooth in 2001. This year, only 16 men entered the seminary in all of Ireland, down from 39 in 2009, and over 150 during the average year in the 1980s. A report in the Times of London noted that 160 priests died in 2007, while only nine were ordained.

The Vatican announced on Friday the start of the official “Apostolic Visitation” of the Irish Church. A team of four cardinals and archbishops – Cardinals Cormac Murphy-O'Connor and Sean O'Malley, and Archbishops Thomas Collins of Toronto and Terence Prendergast of Ottawa – have been appointed to investigate the state of the Church in Ireland, with Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York set to visit the seminaries.

Of a total of 5,467,000, Ireland’s Catholic population numbers 4,161,000 or about 87.4 percent, and has approximately 4,690 priests in 1,312 parishes.

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Voluntary extinction: America’s one child policy?

by Mon Nov 15 12:15 EST Comments (0)


Commentary by Chuck Colson

November 15, 2010 ( - According to Britain’s Guardian newspaper, the Chinese government “has been considering options for relaxing” its infamous “one-child” policy. 

While economic realities are forcing the Chinese to rethink that disastrous and cruel policy, many Americans seem to be voluntarily adopting a one-child policy of their own.

At least that’s the conclusion of a recent article in the Weekly Standard.

On the surface, there doesn’t seem to be a problem: America’s average fertility rate is 2.06 births per woman.

While that is slightly below what demographers call the “replacement level,” it is higher than China’s and much higher than Japan’s or that of most European countries.

But the difference is almost entirely the result of high levels of Hispanic immigration. In 1980, before the wave of Hispanic immigration, America’s fertility rate was the same as China’s today and trending downward.

This reprieve probably won’t continue: As Hispanic immigrants and their children become more assimilated into American culture, they, also, will have fewer children.

Absent a shift in cultural attitudes, the United States will eventually face the demographic realities that Japan, Western Europe, and sooner rather than later, China are facing. These societies will have fewer workers to support an increasing number of elderly.

In China’s case, the reality will be all the worse because it “may be the first major country to grow old before it grows rich.”

The reasons for this possible downward trend in America are cultural: As author Jonathan Last notes, the decline in fertility coincided with the arrival of contraception and the sexual revolution that made it possible. Add abortion-on-demand, and we would be shocked if birth rates weren’t in danger.

Then there’s increasing emphasis on work and career. Americans are waiting longer to get married, and the inevitable by-product of postponing marriage is decreased fertility.

Now, to a generation raised on population-control dogma, this sounds like good news. But, as many countries are realizing, the “birth dearth” is the stuff of economic stagnation and a loss of cultural vitality.

Of course, there are exceptions to this trend: There is a strong relationship between fertility and religious commitment. Whereas two-thirds of Americans who don’t attend church think two or fewer children is the ideal family size, 41 percent of those who do attend church weekly think that three or more is ideal.

As Last writes, “When you meet couples with more than three children today, chances are they’re making a cultural and theological statement.”

Well, I don’t think that they are so much making a statement as they are bearing witness to what they believe about God’s intentions for the family - what the Bible says. They’re simply living out a Christian worldview.

On the other hand, the population-control worldview is not only morally problematic, it is literally unfruitful and ultimately self-negating - no matter how it’s adopted, voluntarily or otherwise.

From BreakPoint, November 12, 2010, Copyright 2010, Prison Fellowship Ministries. Reprinted with the permission of Prison Fellowship Ministries. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or distributed without the express written permission of Prison Fellowship Ministries.

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