Wednesday, March 28, 2012

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French presidential candidates in bidding war on homosexual ‘marriage’

by Matthew Cullinan Hoffman Wed Mar 28 18:48 EST Comments (1)

March 28, 2012 ( - French President Nicolas Sarkozy is beginning to compromise his opposition to homosexual “marriage” in an attempt to catch up with his socialist rival in this year’s elections, Francois Hollande.

Trailing Hollande in polls over a second-round vote by between 8 and 16 percentage points, Sarkozy is offering to create a “marriage” ceremony that would be conducted by the government as part of the beginning of a Pact of Civil Solidarity (PACS), a loose legal arrangement open to homosexuals in France.

“I am ready to propose—it would be a matter of a decree—that the marriage ceremony, for a homosexual PACS, be made a right,” said Sarkozy in an interview with the French magazine Tetu, adding that “the ceremony would permit a true social acceptance” of homosexual unions.

He has also ceded the notion that cohabiting homosexuals constitute a “family.”

“A family can be one father-one mother, two fathers or two mothers. I think that it’s necessary to leave the situation as it is, in a somewhat unclear area, that we are not obligated to legislate everything, to vote for laws for everything,” Sarkozy said in the same interview.

Hollande, in contrast, told Tetu that he intends to create homosexual “marriage” by early 2013, a position endorsed by a majority of French, according to numerous opinion polls.

“I know that the first months of the parliamentary session will be essentially committed to elements of financial planning, so I prefer to be honest: if we want a good debate, it’s better to start at the beginning of 2013 and to finish by spring,” Hollande told Tetu in an interview published in the same edition as Sarkozy’s.

Although Sarkozy’s proposal would give the appearance of “marriage” to homosexual unions, they would not enjoy the same rights as marriage. PACS are weak contractual arrangements, offering ease of termination, with minimal resdidual obligations. Moreover, they do not afford the right of adopting children, something Sarkozy continues to oppose.

Tags: homosexuality, marriage, sarkozy

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Top priest-commentator hopes D&P financial crisis will spark needed reforms

by Patrick B. Craine Wed Mar 28 17:16 EST Comments (11)

Fr. Raymond DeSouza

KINGSTON, Ontario, March 28, 2012 ( – Despite the Canadian bishops’ call for increased support to the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development & Peace in the wake of massive funding cuts by the Canadian government, Fr. Raymond de Souza has expressed hope that the organization’s financial crisis will instigate the needed reforms to its Catholic identity.

Reacting to the scandal swirling around D&P due to its funding of pro-abortion organizations, Canada’s most prominent priest-commentator wrote in the Catholic Register last year that the bishops’ official development arm has a “tenuous claim on Catholic dollars” because they “have a tenuous relationship with any distinctively Catholic mission.”

But, he notes in a new Catholic Register op-ed, “the pastors of the Church have a different collective judgment.”

“I wish I shared that view, but honesty — and the written record — requires me to say that I do not,” he wrote on Tuesday.

Click “like” if you want to end abortion!

D&P announced last week that the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) has cut its funding by 65%. While the organization had requested $49.2 million over the next five years, they will only receive $14.9 million. They had received $44.6 million from 2006-2011.

As a result, D&P is turning to the pews to make up the shortfall, and on March 22nd the CCCB issued an urgent appeal calling on Catholics “to do everything they can” to support the beleaguered organization. The bishops also pledged to take up D&P’s cause with government officials.

Nevertheless, D&P is preparing for a funding crisis, with plans for significant layoffs and reductions in their third world partnerships.

In his op-ed, Fr. de Souza explains that the Conservative government under Prime Minister Stephen Harper has shifted its development funding to focus on programs in fewer countries and less on social and political activism.

“Both those shifts hit CCODP hard. Its long-standing approach has been to seek out partners in dozens and dozens of countries, and those partners are very much directed to social and political activism,” he writes.

While Catholics’ concerns have centred on D&P’s support of pro-abortion groups, the priest explains, the CIDA cuts came “because CCODP offers in large part a program no longer in keeping with CIDA priorities.”

Fr. De Souza stresses that Catholics must make up their own minds about whether to support D&P, noting that his judgment as a commentator “is by no means of equivalent weight to the bishops’ recommendation.”

Nevertheless, he expresses the hope that the crisis instigated by the government cuts will somehow spark the needed reforms that have been called for by numerous Canadian bishops, including especially Cardinal Thomas Collins of Toronto.

“The massive cuts in CCODP’s government aid have brought about an unexpected moment of crisis,” he writes. “It remains to be seen whether that crisis may produce the thoroughgoing reform of CCODP that, for example, Cardinal Collins of Toronto called for two years ago.”

Fr. de Souza’s op-ed is available here: Is D&P worth donating to? You decide

* See the LifeSiteNews Development and Peace Scandal Feature Page.

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Judge: gov’t grants to Catholic anti-trafficking programs ‘unconstitutional’ due to pro-life beliefs

by Kathleen Gilbert Wed Mar 28 16:53 EST Comments (21)

U.S. District Court Judge Richard Stearns and USCCB spokesperson Sister Mary Ann Walsh

BOSTON, March 28, 2012 ( - A federal judge has ruled that allowing government grants to Catholic-run programs against human trafficking amounts to an unconstitutional endorsement of the Catholic religion because the Church does not facilitate abortions for trafficking victims.

U.S. District Court Judge Richard Stearns sided with the American Civil Liberties Union in its case accusing the U.S. Health and Human Services of violating the Establishment Clause by allowing the Catholic Church’s teaching against abortion and contraception to “place a religiously motivated restriction on reproductive services” for human trafficking victims assisted by federal grant money.

“Here ... the government defendants’ delegation of authority to the USCCB to exclude certain services from government funding ‘provides a significant symbolic benefit to religion,’” wrote Stearns in his opinion.

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The opinion was issued months after the Obama administration decided not to renew its $19 million anti-trafficking grant to the USCCB based on its opposition to abortion. In a decision that reportedly caused major conflict within the HHS itself, federal officials announced that pro-abortion and contraception groups would instead be given priority for such funds in the future.

The ACLU, which filed the lawsuit days before Barack Obama was sworn into office in January 2009, said it continued with the case despite the end of the grant “to ensure that taxpayer dollars are not misused to impose religious restrictions on vulnerable trafficking victims.”

The civil liberties group celebrated the victory as the end of restrictions against “vital” services such as abortion and condoms for trafficking victims.

Government-funded groups “cannot use their religion as an excuse to discriminate and withhold crucial services from victims of human trafficking,” said Brigitte Amiri, senior staff attorney with the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project, who said abortion and contraception would help trafficking victims “rebuild their lives.”

USCCB spokesperson Sister Mary Ann Walsh told that the bishops, who joined the lawsuit as a defendant, were “disappointed” with the outcome and would probably appeal the decision.

“A violation of the Free Exercise clause of the First Amendment is a matter of serious concern,” said Walsh.


Tags: abortion, usccb

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California mayor: I will fight new Planned Parenthood clinic ‘even if it costs me personally’

by Ben Johnson Wed Mar 28 16:14 EST Comments (25)

Mayor Ryan McEachron of Victorville

VICTORVILLE, CALIFORNIA, March 28, 2012, ( – In perhaps the most permissive state in America, one mayor is taking a stand against Planned Parenthood.

The nation’s leading abortion provider wants to open a clinic in Victorville, California, a town of 115,000 people located at the edge of the Mojave Desert. Officials with Planned Parenthood of Orange and San Bernardino Counties say the new facility, renovated from a former Chuck E. Cheese, will not perform abortions. 

“I don’t believe them for a second,” Victorville Mayor Ryan McEachron said.

McEachron has said he will make use of every means at his disposal to stop the clinic from opening.

(Click “like” if you want to end abortion! )

If the new affiliate opens in Victorville, the city would have little ability to stop it from providing abortions at a later date. Bill Webb, planning director for Victorville, told the media only a minor modification would be needed for the space to legally perform abortions. “Current city code allows for no discretion on our part,” he said. 

While he may be unable to prevent the facility from opening, McEacheron, who is currently running for U.S. Congress in the state’s 8th Congressional district as a Republican, said he will at least hold hearings to probe the business’ intentions.

“I am 100 percent against it, and I will fight it even if it costs me personally,” he said.

The town’s last abortion clinic, operated by the late Joseph Durante, closed in 2004.

Local media add that McEachron “said he recently turned down an offer from Planned Parenthood to endorse his run.”

Mayor McEachron’s office did not immediately respond to a message from

Tags: california, ryan mceachron

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Abortion groups annoyed by increased participation of Catholic bishops in 40 Days for Life

by Hilary White, Rome Correspondent Wed Mar 28 16:04 EST Comments (11)

Bishop Alan Hopes

LONDON, March 28, 2012 ( – Increased support by Catholic bishops for pro-life prayer vigils outside British abortion facilities has infuriated pro-abortion forces. Complaining that the vigils are successfully turning women away from abortion, one abortion group has organized a “counter-protest” set for the London vigil this Friday.

Recently, Bishop Alan Hopes, an auxiliary bishop of Westminster, announced he would participate personally in the annual 40 Days for Life project. A spokesman for the British Pregnancy Advisory Service, one of the UK’s busiest abortionists, complained in the Evening Standard that there is “no moral justification” for bishops to get involved in such a campaign.

Abigail Fitzgibbon, policy manager for BPAS said that “vocal” anti-abortion MPs were also stirring up protesters. She told the Standard, “If bishops are getting behind this then I can’t see how it’s morally justified especially when women have already made up their minds.”

Bishop Hopes announced earlier this month that he would be attending the prayer vigil on Friday, March 30. Today, emails were sent out to abortion supporters by the Bloomsbury Pro-Choice Alliance, saying that the bishop’s announcement had prompted them to organize a “noisy” counter-demonstration.

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The 40 Days for Life campaign, the group said, is part of a trend in Britain that “is increasingly mimicking the tactics of hardline US groups.”

Earlier this month, another bishop, Bishop Thomas McMahon of Brentwood, sent a message to pro-lifers, giving their “prophetic” stance his “unqualified support” at a prayer vigil outside the BPAS facility in Stratford.

“Abortion has reached a new height in this country in recent months by the fact that a number of clinics now allow abortion purely according to gender and also allowing private clinics to seek business through television and radio advertisements,” Bishop McMahon said. “With 200,000 abortions a year we already have one of the highest rates in Europe.”

Also attending a prayer vigil next month will be Bishop John Hine, an auxiliary bishop of Southwark; that vigil will occur at Marie Stopes abortion facility in Kent on Friday, April 27th. The event in Kent, organized by the US-based group, Helpers of God’s Precious Infants, will include a Mass celebrated by Bishop Hine at 12:30 pm at St. Francis’s Church, Week Street, Maidstone, followed by a procession with an image of Our Lady of Guadalupe to the Marie Stopes Clinic and concludes with a return procession at 2.30 p.m. 

John Smeaton, director of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children said, “Strong, compassionate, pro-life leadership, such as the leadership shown by these bishops, lays the foundation for a great campaign for life in the months and years ahead.

“I congratulate the pro-life groups who are winning, by their example, episcopal support. And I thank Bishop McMahon, Bishop Hopes, and Bishop Hine, for their courage in speaking out for the helpless unborn and their mothers.”

For more information on 40 Days for Life. 

To contact Bishop Hopes
Vaughan House,
46 Francis Street,
London SW1P 1QN
Phone: +44 (0) 20 7798 9023

To contact Bishop McMahon
Cathedral House,
28 Ingrave Road,
Brentwood, Essex
CM15 8AT, 
+44 (0) 1277 232266

To contact Bishop Hine
The Hermitage
More Park
West Malling
ME19 6HN
Phone: +44 (0) 1732 845486
Fax: +44 (0) 1732 847888

Tags: 40 days for life, abortion, catholic, uk

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B.C. Attorney General gives prosecutor mandate to go after polygamists

by Peter Baklinski Wed Mar 28 15:40 EST Comments (14)

Attorney General Shirley Bond

VICTORIA, British Columbia, March 28, 2012 ( – After B.C.’s supreme court upheld Canada’s 121-year-old ban on polygamy in November, calling the practice “harm[ful] to women, to children, to society and to the institution of monogamous marriage,” the province has decided that the ruling was “strong enough” to bring polygamists to justice.

“I’m very pleased to say today that our team believes that in and of itself the ruling was strong enough that we can move forward potentially with polygamy charges,” said Attorney General Shirley Bond on Monday.

Last November, B.C. Supreme Court Chief Justice Robert Bauman heard 42 days of testimony and legal arguments relating to Canada’s prohibition against polygamy. The case revolved around the Mormon community in Bountiful, B.C., where Winston Blackmore and James Oler were charged under Section 293 of Canada’s Criminal Code for entering into “conjugal union with more than one person at the same time.” At the time, Blackmore claimed to have had 26 wives who gave him 108 children.

“I asked our team to take a very thorough look at the ruling – because we wanted to make sure we felt we had enough strength in that ruling to proceed with potential polygamy charges,” said Bond. 

“Legal counsel have advised me they are satisfied his decision will enable police and prosecutors to act with authority in investigating and prosecuting criminally polygamous relationships.”

Bond made it clear that the B.C. provincial government has no plans to take Bauman’s decision upholding the prohibition against polygamy to the Supreme Court of Canada.

“While the opinion of a higher court may be more persuasive in case law, the government does not believe a referral decision is necessary. The true victims of polygamy are the women and children this trial court decision protects,” she said.

Bond also announced on Monday an updated mandate for Vancouver lawyer Peter Wilson that now gives him the authority to bring polygamists to justice. Wilson was appointed in January by the province’s criminal justice branch as a Special Prosecutor to examine potential criminal activity of Bountiful residents who were suspected of smuggling child brides to Mormon sects in the United States.

Wilson will now reportedly review information collected by the RCMP during their investigation of the Bountiful community to determine if the evidence is strong enough to lay chargers.

The Attorney General’s move has the Stop Polygamy in Canada Society hoping that “concubinage, sexual slavery, trafficking of children for forced marriage and slave labour” will soon become “a thing of [Canada’s] past.”

“Will this sordid history be placed behind us? It’s up to Special Prosecutor Peter Wilson, now. He has been given the mandate,” the society said.

Tags: british columbia, polygamy

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It’s not just about finances: Vatican cancels controversial stem cell conference

by John-Henry Westen Wed Mar 28 15:08 EST Comments (5)

Attendees listen to a presenter at a previous Pontifical Academy for Life conference.

VATICAN CITY, March 28, 2012 ( - The Vatican has announced the last-minute cancellation of a stem cell conference scheduled for April 25-28 after an internal outcry from Members of the Pontifical Academy for Life, who objected to the fact that several of the main speakers scheduled engaged in human embryo-destructive stem cell research. Several news reports suggested that the leadership of the Academy is saying the conference was cancelled simply because of financial reasons, but Academy Members are saying otherwise.

The cancellation falls on the heels of another Vatican conference on in vitro fertilization, after which Members of the Academy went public with their extreme disappointment with the selection of speakers, calling it a “huge disservice to Catholics everywhere.”

The keynote address at the April conference was to be delivered by George Daley, the Boston Children’s hospital researcher responsible for furnishing 11 of the 13 human embryonic stem cell lines approved by President Barack Obama’s Administration for research in 2009.

Click “like” if you want to end abortion!

LifeSiteNews communicated with several Members of the Pontifical Academy about the cancellation of April’s conference.

Guatemala’s Marcedes Arzu Wilson, President of the Family of the Americas Foundation, who had expressed her disapproval of the speakers prior to the conference’s cancellation, told LifeSiteNews, “Members of the Academy made strong objections to their conference and its keynote speaker George Daley of Harvard’s Sterm Cell Institute who is well known for his research and support of embryonic stem cell research.”

“Alan Trounson, John Wagner, also presenters at the Congress, were the main supporters of embryonic stem cell research from California and Minnesota,” added Wilson.

Judie Brown, president of American Life League and another member of the Academy, told LifeSiteNews, “I am absolutely and totally relieved that the conference was cancelled.”

Brown added: “The Church has a very distinct teaching on the use of human embryonic stem cells it doesn’t need to be debated. It doesn’t need to be discussed. That conference would have been a disaster for the Church.”

Another member of the Academy, who would only speak anonymously, told LifeSiteNews, “Bishop Ignacio Carrasco de Paulo, the president of the Academy, was insistent that the speakers at the conference avoid any advocacy of embryonic stem cell research and use their scientific competencies to address only morally legitimate research using adult stem cells.”

“Nonetheless,” the member added, “the risk always exists that such speakers would not honor the terms of their engagement and might use the opportunity to advocate for their own position.  Beyond that, several speakers were such high-profile proponents of embryonic stem cell research, even providing testimony before Congress in opposition to that of the bishops, that their speaking would surely have led to confusion in the minds of the faithful and the general public about the Church’s uncompromising opposition to the destruction of embryonic human beings for any purpose whatsoever, research included.”

Reacting to the cancellation, Daley told the Boston Globe that he “had not been prohibited from speaking about embryonic stem cell research, but had been asked not to focus on that research in his talk.”

Rev. Scott Borgman, a coordinator for the leadership of the Academy, told LifeSiteNews by email that “there was a combination of factors for the cancellation.”  He referenced a note on the Academy website which informed potential participants of the cancellation, attributing the reason to an unspecified “variety of organizational, logistical and economic factors inhibiting the complete success of the scientific event.”

Borgman stressed that previous conferences on the subject went well and that the sponsoring organizations are fully in line with the Church’s teaching against embryo destructive research.

Pro-life leaders are hoping the cancellation of the Vatican conference will set a good example for Catholic entities worldwide in terms of selection of speakers and presenters. 

The Vatican-approved 2004 document of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops called ‘Catholics in Political Life,’ stated that, “The Catholic community and Catholic institutions should not honor those who act in defiance of our fundamental moral principles.” “They should not be given awards, honors or platforms which would suggest support for their actions.”

Given the “scandal” of the previous IVF conference and the “inexcusable” speakers proposed for the April conference, Wilson is calling for the leadership of the Academy to step down. “I strongly propose that the President and the complete Board resign immediately,” she said.

Wilson noted that the conference speakers were scheduled “without the approval of the Academicians,” and “obviously” without Pope Benedict XVI’s awareness.  The schedule of the cancelled April conference notes a two-hour audience with the Pope at its conclusion.

* See exclusive LSN report on last month’s Pontifical Academy for Life Conference on infertility: Trouble in Vatican: Pontifical Academy members upset with ethics deficit at infertility conference


Tags: abortion, embryonic stem cell research, pontifical academy for life

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UK Parliament ‘welcomes’ guidelines effectively decriminalizing assisted suicide

by Hilary White, Rome Correspondent Wed Mar 28 14:40 EST Comments (4)

Director of Public Prosecutions Keir Starmer

WESTMINSTER, March 28, 2012 ( – Hopes of strengthening the law on assisted suicide in Britain became more remote last night after Parliament passed a motion “welcoming” prosecution guidelines that make it virtually impossible to convict on a charge of assisting a suicide. The uncontested passage of the motion is a clear signal that the issue of assisted suicide, at least in Parliament, is a dead letter, pro-life advocates said.

The guidelines were introduced in February 2010 by the Director of Public Prosecutions, Keir Starmer, and said that if a person who assists a loved one to commit suicide was acting out of “compassion,” then it is not in the public interest to prosecute. For a prosecution to go forward, police must show evidence of malicious motivation and personal gain. 

Paul Tully, the general secretary of SPUC Pro-Life, said that the motion “undermines society’s protection of the most vulnerable.”

The guidance effectively decriminalizes assisted suicide, Tully said, by removing any realistic chance of prosecutions for assisting suicide.

“The DPP’s prosecuting policy has emptied the Suicide Act, which sets out the crime of assisting suicide, of its meaning and much of its force. The DPP’s policy should be rescinded or revised to ensure the right to life for all,” Tully said.

Anthony Ozimic, SPUC communications director, told LifeSiteNews that the motion makes moot any efforts to strengthen the existing law, with most MPs, even those who are generally pro-life, accepting the guidelines as an acceptable “compromise.”

“They have approved the prosecuting guidance that basically gives a free reign to anyone who wants to commit an assisted suicide,” Ozimic said. He explained that with the passage of the motion, the issue of assisted suicide is effectively shelved in Parliament, with little chance of the law being changed in either direction.

With the passage of this motion, he said, there is now not a sufficient number of MPs or Lords for a bill to be passed “to put the guidance on a statutory level or amend the Suicide Act.”

“We have faced great difficulties getting MPs to be interested in this issue,” he added.

The problem, Ozimic said, is that the guidance represents a “radical shift” in approach to evidence. Under the former rules, police looked at the person’s act: was he acting to help a person commit suicide? Under Starmer’s new guidelines, the onus of proof is shifted onto demonstrating the person’s motivation, whether he was acting out of a subjective feeling of compassion or of malice, not upon the evidence of the act itself.

“How do you prove or disprove that someone was acting out of compassion? It’s impossible,” Ozimic said. “The person can just say ‘I was wholly motivated by compassion’ and that’s the end of it. How do you disprove that?”

A large part of the danger of the guidelines, he said, is its naïveté. “It assumes that we live in a world full of well-meaning relatives and people with no vested interests. No one wants to kill a relative for personal gain or any other factors than compassion.”

Ozimic said that the euthanasia movement in Parliament has hit a plateau, getting more support from the media and celebrity endorsers like Sir Terry Pratchett than from MPs, Lords or the medical community. Simply, he said, “the current situation will just continue,” with the law having been made effectively meaningless.

Tags: assisted suicide, euthanasia, uk

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‘Damn courageous’: 39 women march across Texas on a pro-life mission of mercy

by Peter Baklinski Wed Mar 28 14:17 EST Comments (11)


TEXAS, March 28, 2012 ( – Thirty-nine women have set out on an epic journey across Texas to bring awareness of the tragedy of abortion to Americans. Each women, representing one year of legalized abortion since Roe v Wade, set out on March 17 from the nation’s largest Planned Parenthood center, located in Houston, and will walk 250 miles back to where it all began, a courthouse in Dallas where the infamous 1973 abortion ruling was handed down that became the law of the land. 

“They will leave everything behind to embark on this symbolic journey depicting America’s tragic path of abortion, taking a radical stand for life as they share their personal stories of how abortion has impacted each of their lives,” states the Back to Life movement on their website.

Laura Allred, founder of the Back to Life movement, told LifeSiteNews (LSN) that the plan for a pro-life march across Texas “dropped into her heart from God” a couple of years ago.

“I saw a void in the pro-life discussion of young minority women — which is the largest demographic the abortion industry is going after — and young women in general. In my heart was the desire to amplify their voice.”

Click “like” if you want to end abortion!

Over the course of 19 days, the 39 young women will travel the highways and byways of Texas walking with an attitude of what Laura described as “repentance and humility.” The women are driven by the same passion: to bring their nation back to a respect for life.

“They are fierce women,” said Laura. “They cannot be stopped, even with a few blisters and injuries, they are just amazing, amazing women.”

Samantha Baum, a pro-life mother of six who grew up in Texas but who now resides in Ontario, called the marching women “damn courageous,” not only for marching through the sometimes harsh and unpredictable Texan weather conditions, but for making a bold witness to life in a cultural climate that is often hostile to the pro-life message.

Baum, who has made the trip from Houston to Dallas by car, knows exactly what kind of conditions the girls will be facing. “It will be brutally hot. They could be facing hail storms and even tornados at this time of year,” she said to LSN.

“I admire them for putting themselves out there as a visible sign in the public’s eye to raise awareness about the issue of abortion and about the number of years it has been a destroyer of human life.”

Each of the 39 women carries her own personal story about how abortion has affected her life.

Carisma, 27, is an abortion survivor who is grateful for having been given a chance at life. She sees herself as “standing in the gap for her Hispanic community and for the Voiceless who deserve the right to live out their God-given Destiny.” She walks so that every unborn child will be given the same opportunity to live as was given to her.

A young woman by the name of Anna says she walks because she wants to see a “purity revolution” sweep the youth in America. As she walks she prays for her state, Washington, which legalized abortion by a voter referendum three years before Roe v Wade became law.

A woman named Summer walks to bring closure to a “traumatic abortion experience” that she suffered when she was just 16. “I remember feeling the pain of my baby being sucked from my womb, leaving me feeling shameful, guilty, and numb.” Healed through the power of God, Summer is now passionate about “finding hidden treasure in the lives of young women, and pulling that treasure forth through the power of God’s love.”

Elizabeth, 29, walks on behalf of her Latino brothers and sisters and prays that they will come to recognize the freedom that comes from God when one lives a life of grace and truth. Elizabeth struggled for seven years with the guilt and shame of her own abortion, but she now shares how she is “forgiven, healed and victorious” by Jesus Christ.

Melissa walks on behalf of the unborn. “I was scheduled to die but in one moment everything changed.” Melissa prays that America becomes deeply rooted once more in God and Christianity. (Find out more about each of the women walking here.)

Laura told LifeSiteNews that she “just really felt that from the beginning God hand picked from obscurity these young women with amazing stories to highlight the effects of abortion in our nation.”

The walk was organized to correspond with the current Christian observance of Lent and Easter.

“Good Friday is the day the girls will walk into Dallas and appear before the courthouse where the infamous abortion decision took place,” Laura said.

On April 6th, the 39 women will pray on the footsteps of the courthouse that God will forgive America for the innocent blood that has been shed through abortion in the past 39 years. An estimated 54 million babies have been aborted in the country since the procedure became legal. The marching women will be met by thousands of women from all over the nation who will all join together for a pro-life prayer rally.

“With one voice we are going to beckon heaven, just as Esther [in the Old Testament] did. With prayer and fasting, Esther appealed to the supreme court of heaven and it reversed the supreme court of Haman,” wrote Laura on her website.

“We are at such an Esther moment now,” she says, adding that the time has come to “pray for an undeserved mercy in America, the rescuing of our children and healing of women.”

Tags: abortion

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Washington Post caught fronting Chinese propaganda as news articles, says watchdog group

by Ben Johnson Wed Mar 28 13:40 EST Comments (15)


WASHINGTON, D.C., March 28, 2012, ( – The Washington Post is one of the most respected names in all of journalism, but critics say it has put its credibility on the auction block by partnering with the Chinese and Russian governments to reprint foreign propaganda under its masthead.

The controversy swirls around the publication of China Watch, a news supplement inserted into the newspaper. The Washington Post logo appears alongside its own, and China Watch‘s website is hosted on WaPo‘s server. However, most of its stories are produced by China Daily, an English-language “newspaper” with offices in Beijing. It is heavily censored by the Communist Chinese regime, with stories carefully chosen to advance the party line and the nation’s geostrategic interests.

Both the real and virtual editions of the publication contain the words, “A Paid Supplement to The Washington Post” – in much smaller print. Online, the words are just above a story on a program to teach LGBT activists to make documentary films and an ad for China Daily, inviting readers to “Click to open a window to the world.”

The owners and editors of The Washington Post “are lending their logo to this foreign propaganda,” Cliff Kincaid, director of Accuracy In Media‘s Center for Investigative Journalism, told “If you didn’t know where this comes from, it looks like a regular newspaper.”

The Post runs a similar service for Russia called Russia Now.

The Chinese government, Kincaid said, is “using the logo of The Washington Post to create the impression this is like any other section of The Washington Post.”

“If you do your digging you can find out this is paid propaganda, and they’re use using the Post,” he added.

That is readily apparent from the way China Watch covers the brutal one-child policy, which often results in compulsory abortion. A 2009 story entitled “Nation stems population tide” by Li Xing contends, “The country’s one-child policy has ensured that the fruits of fast growth benefit all the people.”

The “news” supplement credited the anti-natalist policy with “reducing the tremendous pressure on natural resources and the environment, for stimulating economic development and social growth, and for enabling most people to move out of poverty.” Its source: Li Bin, minister of the National Population and Family Planning Commission.

Wen Zhanshan, now 66, reminisced with Xing about how he used to create population control posters in the city of Harbin adorned with phrases like, “It is better to breed more pigs than children.” Today, the posters say, “Our mother earth is too tired to support too many children.”

The story notes at the bottom that Sun Hongfen of the a regional Population and Family Planning Bureau – a branch of the Chinese government – “contributed” to the story.

Another China Watch article discusses a panel on women’s issues, which raised the possibility that surviving children, spoiled by their grandparents, had developed a “Little Emperor” complex. “These kids might be spoiled, but they are also the repository of all their parents’ dreams,” said Amy Chua, a contributor to The Daily Beast and author of Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother .“These ‘spoiled brats’ work extremely hard.”

A web search located zero articles about Chen Guangcheng, the Chinese dissident under house arrest for exposing the nation’s population policies.

Experts have questioned the ethics of the Post‘s relationship with Beijing. “They need to address the proverbial elephant in the living room – why are you carrying a Communist government-sponsored publication?” Lois Boynton, a journalism professor at the University of North Carolina’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication, told The Washington Free Beacon.

Fred Hiatt, the Post’s editorial page editor, told the Free Beacon “the material is clearly labeled” and the newspaper had run negative “editorials on China, human rights, [and] the importance of democratic development in China both for Chinese people and for the world.”

However, in February the Post‘s ombudsman took it to task for reprinting “propaganda” in its own pages. In February, Patrick Pexton accused his paper of ”Caving to China’s Demands” for posting an “interview” with Chinese vice president Xi Jinping. Instead of answering journalists’ questions, the Post revealed, “the Chinese government modified, deleted, and added questions to those The Post submitted.” Pexton called it “more press release or propaganda than news.”

Kincaid told there is a simple reason the paper is partnering with governments that curtail freedom of the press: “The Washington Post wants the money. It’s simply a matter of bucks.”

“We’ve been covering for quite some time that The Washington Post the newspaper is losing a lot of money,” he said,  leading to what he describes as a murky relationship with the for-profit school Kaplan University.

Kincaid said the fact that the Post is “taking this money directly from a foreign government” is “significant,” but the greater outrage is that an American newspaper would give cover to foreign governments, which he said are stepping up their operations in the United States.

He cited the operations of Al-Jazeera English (which is heavily funded by the government of Qatar), Iranian Press TV, and Russia Today as companies with high production values that are less than free news outlets.

“These foreign propaganda organs are increasing their influence and operations in the U.S., and that’s what we see in these advertising supplements. It’s just another aspect of their propaganda wars within the United States.”

Tags: china, china watch, media, the washington post

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Father Guarnizo and the nitty gritty of Canon Law and refusing Holy Communion

by Steve Jalsevac Wed Mar 28 13:13 EST Comments (33)

March 28, 2012 ( –  In light of the recent news about the Archdiocese of Washington apologizing to an open lesbian for Communion being denied her at a funeral, a U.S. priest canonist has submitted to LifeSiteNews this unsolicited analysis of Catholic Canon Law on the matter.  The priest is known to LifeSiteNews but must remain publicly unnamed.

We are including this detailed analysis since the fact that they have not been denied Catholic sacraments has been a large factor in helping very influential, obstinately pro-abortion or anti-family Catholic politicians and activists (Nancy Pelosi, Ted Kennedy, Kathleen Sibelius, Tony Blair, etc.) to legitimize their damaging actions, while still claiming to be in good standing with the Church. The Catholic public figures have in many cases been top leaders of actions against the protection of innocent human life and the family.

There is a growing clamor among pro-life and pro-family leaders, many laity and even from non-Catholics demanding that the Catholic Church end this damaging scandal by using its Canon 915 as an act of charity for the offenders, their victims and the wider community.

A Canonical Defense of Father Marcel Guarnizo

As a priest and canon lawyer, I’d like in canonical terms, to revisit the controversial events surrounding the denial of Holy Communion to Barbara Johnson by Father Marcel Guarnizo. First of all, while I agree with many of the points by the very well-respected canonist Dr. Ed Peters, I believe that even with the rather limited information currently available, Father Guarnizo very possibly and correctly satisfied the conditions of canon 915 in denying Holy Communion to Barbara Johnson. Secondly, I would like to comment on Father Guarnizo’s unjust “administrative leave” in light of the Code of Canon Law.

Canon 915 and Father Guarnizo

The first rule of interpretation in canon law is to read the canon.  Canon 915 reads:

“Those upon whom the penalty of excommunication or interdict has been imposed, and others who obstinately persist in manifest grave sin, are not to be admitted to Holy Communion.”

As Ed Peters clearly points out, canon 915 lays an obligation on the minister distributing Holy Communion to deny Holy Communion to certain parties. Who are these parties? The first two parties are those who have been excommunicated or interdicted by imposition or declaration. The third party to be denied Holy Communion are those who fulfill all of the following three conditions, i.e., those who

1. Obstinately persist
2. in manifest
3. grave sin.

How is this canon to be interpreted? Ed Peters rightly mentions a general norm:

Can. 18 - “Laws which establish a penalty, restrict the free exercise of rights, or contain an exception from the law are subject to strict interpretation.”

as well as canon 912:

Can. 912 - “Any baptized person not prohibited by law can and must be admitted to Holy Communion.”

On the other hand, Father William Byrne, Secretary for Pastoral Ministry and Social Concerns, in the Archdiocese of Washington’s press release, states,

“We should receive Jesus with the intention of becoming more like Him. No one is entitled to the Eucharist. It is a free gift and should be received with humility and reverence.”

Ed Peters is again correct to say that the burden lies upon Father Guarnizo to prove he satisfied the requirements of canon 915. On the other hand, canon 915 lays a grave obligation on the minister of Holy Communion to protect the Eucharist from sacrilege and to prevent scandal. It goes without saying that the minister who violates canon 915 should be justly punished.

Ed Peters summarily explains why Father Guarnizo does not fufill the conditions of canon 915:

“Guarnizo did not know, and could not have verified, whether Johnson’s sin (speaking objectively), which could be grave (a conclusion I think a Catholic could reach based on the words used here) was also manifest, as well as obstinate and perseverating (sic). “

This statement raises a question. Given the extremely limited information we currently have from a variety of sources, how exactly does Ed Peters judge that Father “Guarnizo did not know, and could not have verified” Barbara Johnson was not a manifest, grave sinner? It is safe to assume that Ed Peters was not present at the chapel for the funeral, nor was he in the sacristy, nor does he have knowledge of who or how many persons witnessed the conversation that took place between Father Guarnizo and Barbara Johnson.

Ed Peters goes on to quote a number of very reputable and traditional Catholic moralists and manualists who express in various terms the meaning of canon 915. Let’s look carefully at canon 915. Here’s the canon again:

Canon 915 - “Those upon whom the penalty of excommunication or interdict has been imposed, and others who obstinately persist in manifest grave sin, are not to be admitted to Holy Communion.”

What is the purpose of canon 915? Cardinal Raymond Burke, Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura (the highest tribunal in the Church) answers this question in a paper regarding the liciety of admitting pro-abortion politicians to Holy Communion in light of canon 915. (For those who haven’t read the paper, the quick answer is “no”.) Cardinal Burke states that Canon 915 exists primarily to prevent sacrilege while at the same time preventing our Greatest Good from being violated. His Eminence also remarked in the Jesuit periodical America Magazine that,

“Canon 915 deals with the state of someone who persists in an open, serious moral violation and so has gravely sinned. This means you can’t receive Communion, but it is not saying you are excommunicated. It’s just saying you have broken, in a very serious way, your communion with God and with the Church and therefore are not able to receive Holy Communion.”

The same point is implied in St. Paul’s scolding of the Corinthian Christians during Mass:

“For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh judgment to himself, not discerning the body of the Lord.”

The minister who applies canon 915 actually does the sinner a great service in charity by preventing him from committing another grave sin.

The secondary purpose of canon 915 is the prevention of scandal. What is scandal? Cardinal Burke says:

“The first and properly theological meaning of scandal is to do or omit something which leads others into error or sin. The second meaning is to do or omit something which causes wonderment (admiratio) in others. Denying Holy Communion publicly to the occult sinner involves scandal in the second sense. Giving Holy Communion to the obstinately serious and public sinner involves scandal in the first sense.”

In his Summa Theologiae, St. Thomas Aquinas says that although there is a need for the minister distributing Holy Communion to protect the good name of the hidden sinner, there is also an obligation to protect the Eucharist from sacrilege by a public sinner.

Since Barbara Johnson doesn’t fall into the first two categories of canon 915, let’s see she if she fulfills the following three conditions for the last category of persons, i.e., those who

1. Obstinately persist
2. in manifest
3. grave sin.

1. Obstinately persist

What does it mean to “obstinately persist”?

The Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts (PCLT), the department of the Vatican whose job it is to interpret authentically both universal and particular laws in the Church, states that this phrase “obstinate persistence” is

“the existence of an objective situation of sin that endures in time and which the will of the individual member of the faithful does not bring to an end, no other requirements (attitude of defiance, prior warning, etc.) being necessary to establish the fundamental gravity of “the situation in the Church.”

“Obstinate persistence” denotes an objective (not subjective) state. Although commonly misunderstood, it is not necessary that warnings be issued in order to judge “obstinate persistence”.

Before the funeral Mass, Barbara Johnson declared her homosexual status by introducing her lesbian lover to Father Guarnizo. What was the purpose of this action? We now know, from media reports, that Barbara has been with her partner for 20 years.

We also know that Barbara Johnson walked out of the sacristy while her lover blocked the doorway.

2. “Manifest”

What does “manifest” mean?

Among the leading canon lawyers currently living in North America is Professor John Huels at St. Paul’s University. In his 1985 commentary on canon 915, Professor Huels writes that, “a manifest sin is one which is publicly known, even if only by a few.”

Although tempting, it is not possible completely to equate the term “manifest” with the term “public”, since, in the 1917 Code these two adjectives are used to describe those who are not allowed a Catholic funeral. (1917 Code of Canon Law, c. 1240. Alii peccatores publici et manifesti [Other public and manifest sinners])If “manifest” were exactly the same as“public”, why would the legislator have used both terms?“  Manifest” can also refer to the fact that certain moral actions by their very essence are always immoral and are objectively wrong.For example, we say that it is“manifest” or clear, i.e., there is no doubt, that a certain moral action is definitely wrong.The term “manifest”would certainly in its definition, a politician who is actively attempting to pass legislation to facilitate direct abortions. Understandably there is overlapping in meaning but the the term “public” can mean “that which is provable in the external forum.”

The Jesuit theologian Father Davis, in his classic Moral and Pastoral Theology published in 1938, declared that,

“He is, relatively speaking, a public sinner, if he is known to be such by those who observe that he asks for the Sacraments. He is said to ask for them publicly, if he does so, in the presence of any others, many or few, who would recognize him as a public sinner.”

The ancient Rituale Romanum stated:

“All the faithful are to be admitted to Holy Communion, except those who are prohibited for a just reason. The publicly unworthy, which are the excommunicated, those under interdict, and the manifestly infamous, such as prostitutes, those cohabiting, usurers, sorcerers, fortune-tellers, blasphemers and other sinners of the public kind, are, however, to be prevented, unless their penitence and amendment has been established and they will have repaired the public scandal.”

Furthermore, as Cardinal Burke mentions in his commentary on canon 915,

“Regarding the denial of Holy Communion, the [1720 Ruthenian] Synod made its own the perennial discipline of the Church:

“Heretics, schismatics, the excommunicated, the interdicted, public criminals, the openly infamous, as also prostitutes, the publicly cohabiting, major usurers, fortune-tellers, and other evil-doing men of the same kind, however, are not to be admitted to the reception of this Sacrament, according to the precept of Christ: ‘Do not give the Holy to dogs’. “

A notorious act here means an act that cannot be concealed.

The well-respected Father William Woestman adds that,

“the public reception of Communion by a public sinner implies that the Church and her ministers somehow condone the public serious sin.”

An author that Ed Peters is familiar with and recommends is the Dominican Father Halligan. Father Halligan, in Administration of the Sacraments, states that a crime

“is public, if it is already divulged or is so situated that it may and must be concluded that it will easily become commonly known.”

Who else was present in the sacristy on the day of Barbara Johnson’s mother’s funeral? Who else could have heard the conversation that took place between Father Guarnizo and Barbara Johnson? Usually before a liturgical ceremony such as a funeral, a number persons can be present in the sacristy (e.g., altar servers, schola members, members of the recently deceased, the parish secretary, etc.).

In addition, reasonableness is assumed in law. Is it not reasonable that the community, largely made up of Barbara Johnson’s family, knew of her lesbian relationship before the funeral if not at least at the funeral?

At family gatherings like funerals or weddings, people “catch up” and learn how everyone and everything has been going since the last funeral or wedding. People find out family news. Even strangers discover a little bit about who’s related to whom and so on. Is it not very reasonable that more than a few people present in that church building knew about the lesbian relationship between Barbara Johnson and her lover?

Every human being lives in a community. What about the community of which Barbara Johnson is a member and amongst whom she lives? Are they supposed to assume that Barbara Johnson received Holy Communion just like everybody else? Doesn’t this create scandal in Cardinal Burke’s first sense where the faithful are led into error about who is worthy to receive Holy Communion?

An unnamed source present at the funeral mentioned that most of the congregation was mysteriously not made up of those around the age of the recently deceased mother but were more around the age of Barbara Johnson. An unusually small percentage of people came up to receive Holy Communion. If these were friends of Barbara Johnson, what about the possible scandal that could have taken place if Father Gaurnizo had given her Holy Communion? This witness is confident that the vast majority of the persons present for the funeral knew about the lesbian “lifestyle” of Barbara Johnson.

3. Grave sin.

Regarding “Grave Sin”, the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts declares that this is, “understood objectively, being that the minister of Communion would not be able to judge from subjective imputability.”

Now that we’ve walked through a working description of the phrase in canon 915 asserting that those who “obstinately persist in manifest grave sin, are not to be admitted to Holy Communion,” what is a concrete example of people who fall into this category? The answer is given to us by Blessed Pope John Paul II, Cardinal Ratzinger, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Catholic Catechism and again, the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts.

Blessed John Paul II in Familaris Consortio in 1982:

“The Church reaffirms her practice, which is based upon Sacred Scripture, of not admitting to Eucharistic Communion divorced persons who have remarried. They are unable to be admitted hereto from the fact that their state and condition of life objectively contradict the union of love between Christ and the Church which is signified by the Eucharist. Besides this, there is a another special pastoral reason: if these people were admitted to the Eucharist, the faithful would be led into error and confusion regarding the Church’s teaching about the indissolubility of marriage.”

Cardinal Ratzinger, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in 1991:

“As far as the internal forum solution is concerned as a means of resolving the question of the validity of a prior marriage, the magisterium has not sanctioned its use for a number of reasons, among which is the inherent contradiction of resolving something in the internal forum which by its nature also pertains to and has such important consequences for the external forum.”

Catechism of the Catholic Church, numbers 1650-1651:

“If the divorced are remarried civilly, they find themselves in a situation that objectively contravenes God’s law. Consequently, they cannot receive Eucharistic Communion as long as this situation persists. “

Pontifical Commission for Legislative Texts in 2000:

“In effect, the reception of the Body of Christ when one is publicly unworthy constitutes an objective harm to the ecclesial communion: it is a behavior that affects the rights of the Church and of all the faithful to live in accord with the exigencies of that communion. In the concrete case of the admission to Holy Communion of faithful who are divorced and remarried, the scandal, understood as an action that prompts others towards wrongdoing, affects at the same time both the sacrament of the Eucharist and the indissolubility of marriage. That scandal exists even if such behavior, unfortunately, no longer arouses surprise: in fact it is precisely with respect to the deformation of the conscience that it becomes more necessary for Pastors to act, with as much patience as firmness, as a protection to the sanctity of the Sacraments and a defense of Christian morality, and for the correct formation of the faithful.”

The noted 1917 Code commentar Fr. Lincoln Bouscaren, SJ, in Canon Law Digest (vol. 1, 408-409) also relates the case of

“a woman that was living in open concubinage with a relative, went to confession to a missionary, and was admitted by him to Holy Communion. The pastor of the church questioned the propriety of this course of action on the part of the missionary, and referred the matter to the Ordinary of the place. The latter forbade the admission of the woman to Holy Communion until she should have separated from the man with whom she was living. From this decree, the missionary had recourse tot he Sacred Congregation of the Council.

Question: Whether the decree of the Ordinary is to be obeyed.
Reply: In the affirmative.”

Father William Woestman logically concludes that

“the same principles apply to everyone whose habitual lifestyle is manifestly gravely sinful, e.g., the unmarried “living together,” homosexuals or lesbians in a public relationship, those actively participating in the performance of abortions, drug traffickers, gang members.”

We can see that Ed Peters clearly contradicts the point reinterated by Father Woestmann:

“I think that withholding Holy Communion from those divorced and remarried outside the Church is an application of Canon 915 (see, e.g., Kelly, in GB&I COMM [1995] 503), but I need not prove that point to show that withholding the Eucharist from divorced-and-remarrieds, that is, those who status is de iure public, is appropriate under, among other things, the 1994 CDF Letter on Communion for Divorced and Remarried Catholics, n. 6.  Of course, as Johnson is apparently not divorced and remarried outside the Church, and because Guarnizo did not suspect her of being so, his implicit appeal to the CDF letter and/or c. 915, fails in law and in fact.”

Objectively, homosexuality is graver than adultery. I don’t understand why Dr. Peters says that it is licit to use canon 915 to deny Holy Communion to those who are divorced and have remarried but it is not licit to use canon 915 for a lesbian in a homosexual relationship.

Up to this point, we’ve applied our attention to law relevant to the particular situation of Baabara Johnson. Now we ask, what should be done practically in a concrete situation?

The Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts again provides the answer:

“Naturally, pastoral prudence would strongly suggest the avoidance of instances of public denial of Holy Communion. Pastors must strive to explain to the concerned faithful the true ecclesial sense of the norm, in such a way that they would be able to understand it or at least respect it. In those situations, however, in which these precautionary measures have not had their effect or in which they were not possible, the minister of Communion must refuse to distribute it to those who are publicly unworthy. They are to do this with extreme charity, and are to look for the opportune moment to explain the reasons that required the refusal. They must, however, do this with firmness, conscious of the value that such signs of strength have for the good of the Church and of souls.”

“The discernment of cases in which the faithful who find themselves in the described condition are to be excluded from Eucharistic Communion is the responsibility of the Priest who is responsible for the community.”

We know that Father Guarnizo did not make the funeral arrangments for Barbara Johnson’s mother. We also know that after hearing confessions from 9:30-10:20am, Father Guarnizo wanted to speak with Barbara before the 10:30am funeral Mass but was blocked by Barbara Johnson’s lover. We also know that Father Guarnizo’s action to deny Holy Communion to Barbara Johnson was extremely discreet.

Tags: canon 915, father guarnizo

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Day of Unborn Child officially celebrated by Latin American governments on March 25

by Matthew Cullinan Hoffman Tue Mar 27 20:57 EST Comments (0)

March 27, 2012 ( - Pro-lifers throughout Latin America celebrated the Day of the Unborn Child on Sunday, March 25, a day that normally coincides with the Feast of the Annunciation in the Catholic Church, with some countries officially recognizing the event through legislation.

In Peru, where the day was officially established by the government in 2002, 36,000 marched the day before in several cities, including Callao, Carabayllo, and Lima, according to the Catholic news service AICA. More than 50 high schools, five universities, and various groups from local parishes also reportedly participated.

In Argentina, which instituted the day in 1998, the day was celebrated with public masses, blessings of pregnant women, marches, ecumenical prayers, and other events.

In the province of Jujuy, the celebrations began as early as the 18th of this month with the Second Festival of the Unborn Child, organized by a coalition of individuals and organizations known as “May the Family Live,” reported the local El Tributo newspaper.

“We are convinced that the superlative values of the family and life are transcendent of any political ideology or religious creed, and deserve all the human effort that is necessary to defend them,” the coalition’s representatives stated in a public communique.

“For that reason we are encouraged to confront this challenge, calling on everyone of good will to gather with their own and feel with us the same vocation to protect the building block of society, the only generator and custodian of life,” they added.

The Day of the Unborn Child is also recognized by the governments of Chile, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic.

In Argentina, the day took on a new significance as officials of the Catholic Church raised their voices against a recent decision by the nation’s highest court to facilitate abortions in rape cases by eliminating the need for a judge’s approval. Under the new regime, women will simply be able to claim they have been raped in order to qualify under the exemption for such cases in the nation’s penal code.

“Abortion is the suppression of an innocent life, and there is no motive, nor reason, that might justify the elimination of an innocent life, not even in the lamentable and sad case of a rape,” said José María Arnancedo, Bishop of Santa Fe and president of the Argentinean Episcopal Conference.

“It is absurd to try to resolve a conflict with another conflict, because as a result we have more conflict,” he said.

Tags: argentina, latin america, peru, unborn child

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