April 18, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Homosexual groups are seeking the prosecution of a Spanish bishop after he gave a sermon repeating the Catholic Church’s teaching associating the gay lifestyle with the suffering of hell, and then an interview in which he endorsed psychological treatment for homosexual behavior.
Bishop Juan Antonio Reig Plà of the diocese of Alcalá de Henares began the brouhaha on Good Friday earlier this month, when he gave a sermon on the death of the soul as a result of sin.
Referring to various kinds of sinful behavior, including adultery, theft, and failure to pay wages to workers, Reig Plà added homosexual behavior to the list as well. With regard to each example of sin, the bishop spoke of the act itself, and the resulting destruction of the soul.
With regard to homosexual behavior, Reig Plà said: “One must not corrupt people, not even with false messages. I would like to say a word to those people carried away by so many ideologies that end up failing to properly guide human sexuality. They think that since their childhood they have had an attraction to people of their same sex and, sometimes, to prove it they become corrupt and prostitute themselves or go to homosexual nightclubs. I assure you that (there) they find hell.”
After expressions of outrage regarding the bishop’s statement, which reflects the perennial teaching of the Catholic Church on sexual deviance, Reig Plà gave an interview to the Internet news service Religion en Libertad (Religion in Liberty), in which he explained his statement in more detail, and added that homosexual tendencies can be cured through therapy.
In contemporary society, we are confronted with “a program of calculated ‘deconstruction’ that is tolerated in every setting (in education from the earliest stages of childhood, in part of the media, in work and leisure, etc.) which additionally includes the promotion and protection of a great number of evil laws and some powerful lobbying groups that determine what is politically correct, and therefore, socially acceptable,” said the bishop.
“Based on these factors, many children, adolescents, and adults are increasingly invited to question their sexual identity, and eventually they are urged to ‘verify and prove’ their ‘sexual preferences’, and some fall into the trap,” he added.
“Those of us priests who know about the private lives of people, listening to and helping those faithful who request it, know that the consequences for many people are suffering and destruction, coloquially speaking a ‘hell’ in their lives.”
Forgiveness and therapy for those who suffer homosexual tendencies
The bishop pointed out that those who are entangled in the homosexual lifestyle and other forms of sin are not without hope, and can find spiritual healing in the sacraments and teachings of the Catholic Church. Moreover, psychological therapy is available to those who suffer from homosexual tendencies.
“Always with the assistance of the Holy Spirit, who proceeds us in everything, it is possible to initiate the journey of return to the House of the Father,” said Reig Plà. “The Church makes available to all the treasures that Christ has deposited in her: the word of God, the sacraments (in particular those of Penance and the Eucharist), prayer, etc.”
“With the help of the grace of God and accompanied by priests, counselors, and catechists, and in some cases, by professionals, people with SSA (Same Sex Attraction) can live in chastity (dominion over one’s self); not without combat, but the life of every Christian who wants to live according to the will of God includes fighting against temptation until the very day of death,” he said.
Reig Plà noted that both the assessment of homosexual attraction as “intrinsically disordered” and homosexual behavior as “intrinsically evil,” as well as the possibility of therapy for homosexuals, are upheld by the documents of the Catholic Church.
“I have to humbly say that everything that I explained in my homily responds to the Magisterium of the Catholic Church,” said the bishop, who noted that the Catechism of the Catholic Church requires that people with homosexual attractions should “be received with respect, compassion, and delicacy” and that “All trace of unjust discrimination regarding them is to be avoided”.
However, he noted, the Vatican’s Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, under the the then-Cardinal Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI, stated in 1986 that such attractions represent “a tendency, more or less strong, towards a behavior that is intrinsically evil from the moral point of view” and are therefore “objectively disordered.” The Catechism, he added, states that homosexual acts “do not proceed from a true affective and sexual complementarity” and “they cannot receive approval in any case.”
Quoting another Vatican document, entitled Human Sexuality: Truth and Meaning, Reig Plà agreed that “parents, for their part, when they notice in their children, at the stage of childhood or adolescence, some manifestation of said tendency or such behavior, should seek out the help of people with expertise and qualifications to give him all possible help” and that “many cases, especially if the practice of homosexual acts has not become deep-rooted, can be positively resolved with appropriate therapy.”
Homosexual and socialist groups seek prosecution
For his statements upholdingCatholic teaching on the immorality of homosexual acts, a number of homosexual and socialist organizations are denouncing Reig Plà and calling for his prosecution, for “homophobia” and “inciting hate.”
The Spanish Confederation of Associations of Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals, and Transsexuals (COLEGAS) has already presented a formal accusation with Spain’s General Prosecutor, and the State Federation of Lesbians, Gays, Transsexuals and Bisexuals (FELGTB), with the Gay Collectives of Madrid, have said they also plan to file charges with the Provincial Prosecutor of Madrid for “inciting discrimination and hate,” according to the leftist Spanish newspaper El Pais.
COLEGAS additionally claims that therapy for homosexuals “applied generally in the United States as well as in certain European countries, constitute a clear violation of the charter of the Rights of the Child, as well as the most elemental culture of respect for diversity” and asserts that “the Catholic Church cannot continue using the protection of the Constitution as a permanent defense that permits it to promote segregation and discrimination based on positions abandoned long ago by society.”
The bishop has received support, however, from Catholic organizations, including the International Federation of Catholic Medical Associations (FIAMC), pro-life and pro-family groups such as Spain’s influential Hazte Oir (Make Yourself Heard), and the Catholic blogosphere.
For his part, Bishop Reig Plà says he is not backing down.
“I don’t want to offend anyone, but I won’t renounce speaking the truth in charity,” he told Religion in Liberty.
Pro-life measures move forward in Mississippi, Ohio, and Missouri
WASHINGTON, D.C., April 18, 2012, (LifeSiteNews.com) – Although the media portray the nation as fervently devoted to abortion, the pro-life cause is marching forward in a number of states around the country.
On Monday, Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant signed a bill requiring abortionists to be certified OB-GYNs with admitting privileges to local hospitals. Critics contend this could close the state’s one abortion clinic in Jackson. “Today you see the first step in a movement, I believe, to do what we campaigned on – to say we’re going to try to end abortion in Mississippi,” the governor said. He gave one of the pens he used to sign the bill to Terri Herring, national director of Pro Life America Network. Mississippi is the ninth state to require abortionists have admitting privileges.
On Tuesday, Ohio lawmakers introduced a new measure to restrict state funding to Planned Parenthood. An amendment to the pending annual budget would state the abortion provider ranks near the bottom of organizations to receive state family planning grants. Planned Parenthood currently receives $1.7 million a year in state funds. Mike Gonidakis, president of Ohio Right to Life, strongly supports the amendment. Republican Governor John Kasich has not yet indicated his position. Critics are already warning the move could lead to lawsuits and cost the Buckeye State $9.8 million in federal funds. Hearings continue Thursday.
The Missouri House passed a bill on Monday to require physical exams performed before prescribing the abortion pill be performed by a medical doctor, rather than other staff. The bill both chips away at the practice of “telemed” abortions and advances women’s safety. Planned Parenthood spokeswoman Michelle Trupiano called the bill “extremely onerous.” In addition to several American women, RU-486 killed an Australian woman in 2010 and a Portuguese teen in 2011.
Santorum, Catholic and evangelical groups waiting to endorse Romney
A prominent Catholic political organization is following his lead.
“Governor Romney’s choice of a running mate will be a decisive moment in his candidacy – it will signal the kind of appointments a President Romney would make to his cabinet and the Supreme Court,” said Catholic Advocate Chairman Deal Hudson in a statement e-mailed to LifeSiteNews.com. “Catholics and all people of faith need to be assured that they have a real choice between candidates on the crucial issues of life, marriage, religious liberty, and economic policies that will help to alleviate poverty.”
“In spite of the eagerness to see the primary process come to an end, we believe there is still a critical decision yet to be made by the presumptive nominee,” added Advocate President Matt Smith.
Baptist leader Dr. Richard Land has suggested choosing a running-mate such as Marco Rubio, Mike Huckabee, Bob McDonnell, or Bobby Jindal would “not only solidify the [Republican Party] base but would also reach out to a lot of independents.”
Social conservatives, including former presidential candidate Gary Bauer, have said the Romney campaign could take a number of steps to reassure his party’s more conservative members.
“To unify the Republican Party, Romney must do more than be the Anti-Obama,” Gary Bauer wrote in Human Events on Tuesday. “He must rally all those Non-Romney voters and the millions more they represent.”
“Romney must pick an across-the-board conservative as his running mate and make a strong defense of conservative values during his acceptance speech at the convention.” Bauer also suggested Romney give Santorum a prime time speaking slot at the Republican convention in Tampa, run an aggressive campaign against President Obama, and allow the media to see his “rock solid family life.”
Earlier today, Governor Romney told Laura Ingraham he would “clean house” following the Secret Service prostitution scandal. On Tuesday, he told Breitbart TV the Obama administration and the media had formed “a vast left-wing conspiracy” against him.
“Many in the media are inclined to do the president’s bidding,” he said.
Planned Parenthood illegally distributing abortion pill, legal group says
CONCORD, NEW HAMPSHIRE, April 18, 2012, (LifeSiteNews.com) – Planned Parenthood has been breaking New Hampshire state law by dispensing thousands of dollars of prescription drugs, including Plan B and RU-486, every single day, according to a legal complaint filed by the Alliance Defense Fund.
The nation’s largest abortion provider “must obey state laws that say only licensed pharmacists may distribute prescription drugs when a clinic is not under contract with the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services,” said Michael Tierney, an attorney affiliated with the Alliance Defense Fund.
Planned Parenthood of Northern New England (PPNNE) lost its contract with the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services in July. But the ADF says this did not end the group’s distribution of abortion-inducing drugs.
Instead, “Planned Parenthood is dispensing a substantial amount of pharmaceuticals,” according to Tierney’s legal complaint, which he filed Tuesday with the state Board of Pharmacy. “It dispenses over $4,000 of pharmaceuticals a day.”
Exhibit A reproduces an e-mail demonstrating PPNNE officials knew they had lost their contract. Another e-mail records a meeting involving high-level state officials, including Democratic Governor John Lynch, aiming to restore state funding.
Tierney states the group has continued handing out prescriptions since last September and intends to apply for a Limited Retail Drug Distributor’s license in June. He is asking the state to “take all appropriate action” to end this practice.
In January, the state legislature put Planned Parenthood at the bottom of organizations receiving family planning funds, effectively defunding it.
PPNNE has six locations throughout the state including Manchester, Exeter, Lebanon, Derry, Claremont, and Keene.
Pro-life leaders join Brazil’s bishops in denouncing Supreme Court’s legalization of abortion
April 18, 2012 (HLIWorldWatch.org) - In an April 12 vote of eight in favor and only two in dissent, the Supreme Federal Tribunal of Brazil made legal the abortion of unborn babies diagnosed during pregnancy with anencephaly, drawing statements of condemnation from Brazil’s Catholic bishops and pro-life leaders.
“This decision is an action outside of the competence of the Tribunal, as it ought to be voted on in the national Congress by the people’s representatives and not by unrepresentative, un-elected judges that were nominated by the pro-abortion government,” said Raymond de Souza, regional coordinator for Portuguese-speaking nations at Human Life International (HLI).
Anencephaly is a condition that leads to a malformation or absence of large parts of the brain.
Brazil is the world’s most populous Roman Catholic country. Religious and pro-life groups organized vigils and protests outside of the Supreme Court and in other cities in opposition to the ruling.
Speaking for the majority in the decision, Justice Marco Aurelio Mello said babies with anencephaly “would never become a person … This is not about a potential life, but about certain death.”
Chief Justice Cesar Peluzo, one of the two dissenting Justices, made clear in his dissent that Brazil’s constitution protects the right to life of babies with anencephaly. “The anencephalic fetus is alive, even if for a short time, and that life is constitutionally protected.” As a person, he added, “its rights are protected, which include the protection of its life.”
Prior to the Supreme Court’s ruling, abortion was banned in Brazil except in cases of rape and those which pose a threat to the life of the mother. The decision ended an eight year-long battle over the issue of abortion in cases of anencephaly that pro-abortion supporters were unable to gain traction on in the legislature.
“The current government party has been trying to approve abortion for so long, and they were not able to do it via Congress, so the obvious way is to go to the Supreme Court, which is the tendency in many countries of Latin America,” said Mario Rojas, HLI’s regional coordinator for Latin America.
The Conference of Catholic Bishops of Brazil issued a statement last week against the Supreme Court’s decision which they say strips human beings of their fundamental rights.
“The principles of ‘inviolable right to life,’ the ‘human dignity’ and promoting the welfare of all without any discrimination [in the Federal Constitution] refer to both the woman and anencephalic fetuses. When life is not respected, all other rights are disregarded,” said the bishops.
“Anencephalic fetuses, like all innocent and fragile human beings, cannot be thrown away or stripped of their fundamental rights,” the bishops emphasized. “The State and society must defend and protect the unborn.”
ATLANTA, GEORGIA, April 18, 2012, (LifeSiteNews.com) – A nationally syndicated liberal talk show host has called Pope Benedict XVI a “Nazi” and denounced “child-raping sons of b**ches in the Catholic Church.”
Last Thursday, Mike Malloy commented on the Twitter war between Democratic consultant Hilary Rosen, Ann Romney and, eventually, Catholic League president Bill Donohue. After Rosen said Mrs. Romney had “never worked a day in her life,” Donohue tweeted, “Lesbian Dem Hilary Rosen tells Ann Romney she never worked a day in her life. Unlike Rosen, who had to adopt kids, Ann raised 5 of her own.”
Rosen, a former lobbyist for the music industry, adopted a pair of minority twins in 1999 with then-girlfriend Elizabeth Birch, a onetime executive director of the homosexual lobbying group Human Rights Campaign. Malloy told his audience:
And the Catholic League - that piece of human waste Bill Donohue - then twitted or tweeted or tweaked - ‘glad to know Hilary’s fans are in a state of apoplexy - you’d think she was outed by their hysterical reaction. Get over it and grow up! You child-raping sons of b-tches in the Catholic Church, I am so sick of all of you - especially your priests and your bishops and your scum, the Nazi Pope, I am so sick of all of you. And this Donohue freak—wow.
Later, he said, “Isn’t it nice that the first thing that the fascist Bill Donohue Catholic Nazi goes for is Hilary Rosen’s sexual orientation, ya filthy pig!”
Jeff Fields, communications director at the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, told LifeSiteNews.com the group had not issued a press release about Malloy’s comments.Fields added, “Malloy’s ignorance, not to mention his vitriol, is appalling.” Fields stated the talker “would do well to see the bishops recent report on priestly sexual abuse noting that of the more than 40,000 priests in the U.S.,
99.98 percent of them are innocent.”
“He would also do well to bone up on his history,” Fields told LifeSiteNews. “The pope was conscripted into the Hitler Youth, as was every boy in Germany at that time. But unlike most of the other teenagers, he refused to attend meetings, which in turn brought economic hardship on his family. Moreover, he deserted the Hitler Youth at the first opportunity.”
Malloy’s program is nationally syndicated on satellite radio’s SiriusXM Left and broadcast on 14 stations across the country.
Be a Catholic, how do you do that? How do you align yourself with a filthy, degenerate organization like this? How? How do you do it? An organization that sat there and encouraged – encouraged – the extermination of six million Jews? How do you do it? How do you call yourself a Catholic? How do you participate in this? I just cannot get my mind around that, okay?
He added Rick Santorum should “call Francis Cardinal George out in Chicago, and maybe you and he can get together for a cup of – hemlock.”
“It’s National Prayer Day, Truthseekers!” he wrote in a May 2010 blog entry. “Do the child-molesting Catholic priests pray their victims are sufficiently terrified to come forward with the truth? Or do they just pray that Pope Rat will cover up their crimes? We’ll discuss prayer in all it’s forms on the program tonight! 877-996-2556!”
On November 16, 2011, he asked, “What is the fascination of the Catholic clergy with female reproductive anatomy? Little girls’ crotches or grown women’s reproductive rights, they gotta peek in there somewhere . . . . but I digress.”
Upon learning of Republican website owner Andrew Breitbart’s death, Malloy shouted he was “so glad” that “piece of human garbage” was dead, calling the deceased “a hate-filled bag of gristle.” Breitbart and conservative talk radio hosts had “pumped poison” into the American political culture, Malloy said.
SiriusXM Online contact form.
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NBA player JaVale McGee was nearly aborted…but then God intervened
April 18, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – One of America’s brightest young basketball stars almost wasn’t born, after his mother was scheduled to have him aborted. But a last minute prayer – and a timely answer from God – spared the life of Javale McGee, who has gone on to play for the Washington Wizards, and currently, the Denver Nuggets.
The story of Javale’s near-brush with abortion made its unlikely appearance this week in Sports Illustrated magazine.
According to the magazine, it was the spring of 1987 when professional basketball player Pamela McGee “sat on the shore at Dockweiler State Beach in Los Angeles, 72 hours from a scheduled abortion.”
The story continues: “’Do you want to be pregnant?’ the counselor at the clinic had asked her. ‘No,’ McGee replied.”
At the time McGee was 24-years-old, and was unable to take maternity leave: not to mention that the logistics of weaving a baby into her busy sports schedule was daunting in the extreme.
But as McGee looked out over the Pacific, she began to reconsider. “I prayed and prayed and prayed and felt like I heard a voice from God,” McGee says. “He was telling me, ‘This is your gift.’ ” The next day she went to Faithful Central Bible Church in Inglewood, and the pastor delivered a sermon about not aborting one’s blessings. O.K., God, McGee thought. You don’t have to beat it into my head. She called the clinic to cancel, and on Jan. 19, 1988, gave birth to a boy with physical abilities that would border on the supernatural.
The story explains that Javale’s mother continued with her sports career, traveling around the world with him, and homeschooling him while on the road.
It also describes one day when Javale and his mother returned to the very same church where she heard the sermon that gave her the strength to give birth to her son.
The day after last year’s dunk contest in L.A., JaVale called his mother at 8 a.m. and told her he wanted to go to church. Pamela was exhausted, with only five hours sleep, and surprised. But she knew just the place. During the sermon at Faithful Central Bible, JaVale looked over at his mom, tears streaking her cheeks. “Why are you crying?” he asked. There, for the first time, Pamela told him about the clinic and the beach and the reason she cannot get all that upset about alley-oops gone awry. “For me,” she told her son, “you’ve been such a blessing.”
LISBON, Portugal, April 13, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Personhood USA is partnering with Human Life International and LifeSiteNews.com to co-host the Global Pro-life Unity Summit. The event will take place on May 4th and 5th in Lisbon, Portugal and will feature representatives from countries around the world including Portugal, the United States, the Dominican Republic, Hungary, Mexico, Romania, and Ireland.
Pro-life advocates in Portugal are in the midst of a national personhood petition. The Pro Referendo Vida campaign has collected half of the 75,000 signatures needed to convene a national referendum and add a pro-life amendment to the Constitution recognizing the “inviolability of human life from the moment of conception until natural death.” The Global Pro-life Unity Summit will call attention to the Portuguese movement and present an opportunity to demonstrate the wide, international support for the national referendum.
Personhood USA is currently working in all 50 states and on the federal level to advance personhood legislation and constitutional amendments that affirm the rights of all human beings regardless of their size or age. In 2009, Personhood USA traveled to the Dominican Republic to support the people in the ratification of a constitution that established personhood for every human being. “The right to life is inviolable from conception until death,” it reads.
Hungary adopted a new national constitution which took effect on January 1st of this year. Dubbed “a constitution for the 21st century” by its authors, and approved by a vote of 262-44, Article 2 states: “Human dignity is inviolable. Everyone has the right to life and human dignity; the life of a foetus will be protected from conception.”
Eighteen states in Mexico have passed measures enshrining into law full personhood protections for preborn children. The Supreme Court of Mexico ruled in September of last year to uphold the constitutional amendments of Baja California and San Luis Potosi (cases: 11/2009 and 62/2009).
Ireland has continued to remain abortion-free since their independence in 1922. In 1983, the people of Ireland added an article to their constitution that “acknowledges the right to life of the unborn and, with due regard to the equal right to life of the mother, guarantees in its laws to respect, and, as far as practicable, by its laws to defend and vindicate that right.”
“Around the globe, the pro-life movement is uniting to recognize the basic human rights of all people and protect life from conception to natural death. These monumental efforts will change the course of history in the 21st Century,” said Keith Mason, President of Personhood USA. “The Global Pro-life Unity Summit is an opportunity to grow and explore partnerships in support of the value of human life.”
LifeSiteNews.com will carry exclusive coverage of the summit. Details and updates from the conference will be available on LifeSiteNews.
“The international pro-life movement is vastly outspent and does not hold the seats of power. But we do speak with the voice of the people, especially in the developing world, those who are in the crosshairs of the massive population control juggernaut,” added Stephen Phelan, spokesperson for Human Life International. “It is crucial that we work together to defend life at every stage, for every person regardless of his or her place in society. Human Life International is proud to be working with our friends at Personhood USA and all of the other great pro-life organizations represented.”
In hard-hitting document Vatican launches clean-up of feminist nuns in United States
WASHINGTON, April 18, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) has launched a 5-year reform of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR), the association of the leaders of congregations of Catholic women religious in the United States representing more than 80 percent of the 57,000 women religious (nuns) in the country.
Based on a 2008 investigation into the nuns, the Vatican evaluation was candid, noting, “The current doctrinal and pastoral situation of the LCWR is grave and a matter of serious concern.”
The CDF doctrinal assessment, released today, criticized positions espoused at LCWR annual assemblies and in its literature as well as the absence of support from LCWR for Church teaching on pro-life issues, women’s ordination and homosexuality.
The CDF said that the documentation “reveals that, while there has been a great deal of work on the part of LCWR promoting issues of social justice in harmony with the Church’s social doctrine, it is silent on the right to life from conception to natural death, a question that is part of the lively public debate about abortion and euthanasia in the United States.”
“Further,” the CDF report said, “issues of crucial importance in the life of the Church and society, such as the Church’s Biblical view of family life and human sexuality, are not part of the LCWR agenda in a way that promotes Church teaching. Moreover, occasional public statements by the LCWR that disagree with or challenge positions taken by the Bishops, who are the Church’s authentic teachers of faith and morals, are not compatible with its purpose.”
The CDF said, “The Assessment reveals serious doctrinal problems which affect many in Consecrated life,” calling it a crisis “characterized by a diminution of the fundamental Christological center and focus of religious consecration.”
The document listed the principal findings of the LCWR doctrinal assessment.
On LCWR annual assemblies, it said, “The talks, while not scholarly theological discourses per se, do have significant doctrinal and moral content with implications which often contradict or ignore magisterial teaching.”
On formation of religious superiors and formators, the CDF said, “Many of the materials prepared by the LCWR for these purposes (Occasional Papers, Systems Thinking Handbook) do not have a sufficient doctrinal foundation. These materials recommend strategies for dialogue, for example when sisters disagree about basic matters of Catholic faith or moral practice, but it is not clear whether this dialogue is directed towards reception of Church teaching.”
The Vatican said that it has appointed Archbishop Peter Sartain of Seattle as its Archbishop Delegate for the initiative. Bishop Leonard Blair and Bishop Thomas John Paprocki also were named to assist in this effort.
The Vatican is attempting to present the measure as a friendly renewal. However, even the initial announcement of the assessment in 2008 was greeted with severe hostility by leftist nuns in the U.S. The sternly-worded assessment document is not likely to be received with any greater enthusiasm.
The Prefect of the CDF Cardinal William Levada noted that the assessment is “aimed at fostering a patient and collaborative renewal.”
Archbishop Sartain commented on his new role saying, “I am honored that the CDF has entrusted this important and sensitive work to me, because the ministry of religious sisters, especially here in the United States, is deeply respected and paramount to the mission of the Church. Just as the LCWR can be a vital resource in many ways for its members, I hope to be of service to them and to the Holy See as we face areas of concern to all.”
The intransigence and betrayal of many of the women religious in the United states toward Catholic values have been keenly felt in recent months by Catholic bishops – particularly in the fight over religious freedom and abortion funding in President Obama’s health care law, in which religious sisters have played a key role, in Obama’s favor.
That betrayal has also been registered in the Vatican. Cardinal Raymond Burke head of the Vatican’s highest court - the Apostolic Signitura - in a speech earlier this year, denounced “the public and obstinate betrayal of religious life by certain religious.”
Burke asked: “Who ever could have imagined that religious congregations of pontifical right would openly organize to resist and attempt to frustrate an apostolic visitation, that is, a visit to their congregations carried out under the authority of the Vicar of Christ on earth, to whom all religious are bound by the strongest bonds of loyalty and obedience?”
“Who could imagine that consecrated religious would openly, and in defiance of the bishops as successors of the Apostles, publicly endorse legislation containing provisions which violate the natural moral law in its most fundamental tenets, the safeguarding and promoting of innocent and defenseless life, and fail to safeguard the demands of free exercise of conscience for healthcare workers?” he added.
European Court upholds Germany’s anti-incest law on pro-family grounds
April 18, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The European Court of Human Rights has upheld Germany’s anti-incest laws and has affirmed the sentence of a man sent to prison for fathering children with his sister.
The Court concluded that the human rights of Patrick Stuebing were not violated when he was sent to jail for three years in 2005 for his sexual affair with his allegedly psychologically troubled sister Susan Karolewski, whom he had met as an adult after being adopted in early childhood.
The Court cited several justifications for the law’s existence, including “protection of the family” and “self-determination and public health,” which are “set against the background of a common conviction that incest should be subject to criminal liability.”
In response to Patrick Stuebing’s contention that his “right” to sexual self-determination was being infringed by German law, the European Court opined that Germany had sound reasons for such restrictions. It also rejected his argument that anti-incest laws are akin to Nazism because of their alleged eugenic basis, and noted that such laws exist to protect the integrity of the family.
“The Federal Constitutional Court considered that sexual relationships between siblings could seriously damage family structures and, as a consequence, society as a whole,” the European Court stated in its ruling. “According to the court, criminal liability was further justified by reference to the protection of sexual self-determination. By addressing specific situations arising from the interdependence and closeness of family relationships, section 173 of the Criminal Code could avoid difficulties in the classification of, and defence against, transgressions of sexual self-determination in that context.”
The Court added that it “considers that the above-mentioned aims…appear not to be unreasonable” and that “Under these circumstances, the Court accepts that the applicant’s criminal conviction corresponded to a pressing social need.”
Steubing and Karolewski had four children together, two of whom are disabled. Only one child, a daughter, remains in the custody of Karolewski. The pair began their relationship when Karolweski was only 16, and Steubing was 23. Karolweski was not prosecuted because the German authorities judged that she had a diminished responsibility due to her psychological condition, which they said created a powerful emotional dependency on Steubing.
Judgment was rendered in the case by a seven-judge panel, representing the Czech Republic, Slovenia, Liechtenstein, Ireland, Ukraine, Germany, and France. The plaintiff has three months to appeal the decision to the same court before it becomes final.
The ruling continues the mixed record of the Court on social issues. It has previously ruled that abortion, and homosexual “marriage” and adoption are not human rights, and has accepted Italy’s practice of displaying crucifixes in public buildings. However, it has also ruled that suicide is a “human right,” and has attempted to force homosexual inheritance rights on Poland and homosexual parades on Moscow. It has also ruled that Ireland’s constitution permits abortion, an idea rejected by the Irish government.
Uzbekistan forcibly sterilizing women for population control: BBC report
April 18, 2012 (HLIWorldWatch.org) - Uzbek government officials said in a written statement to BBC News released last that Uzbekistan’s record in protecting mothers and babies is “excellent and could be considered a model for countries around the world” when questioned about a secret campaign to forcibly sterilize women.
“[T]he Uzbek government said the allegations of a forced sterilisation programme were slanderous and bore no relation to reality,” according to BBC News. “The government also said that surgical contraception was not widespread and was carried out only on a voluntary basis, after consultation with a specialist and with the written consent of both parents.”
BBC News reporter Natalia Antelava interviewed several women in Uzbekistan who were sterilized without their knowledge or consent.
“I was shocked. I cried and asked: ‘But why? How could they do this?’ The doctor said, ‘That’s the law in Uzbekistan,’” one of the victims told Antelava.
Although sterilizing women without their consent is not officially a law of Uzbekistan, Antelava reported that several medical professionals whom she interviewed in the country said government officials are pressuring doctors to perform the procedures.
“Every year we are presented with a plan. Every doctor is told how many women we are expected to give contraception to; how many women are to be sterilised,” said a gynecologist from the Uzbek capital, Tashkent. “There is a quota. My quota is four women a month.”
Other medical professionals who spoke on a condition of anonymity reported that government officials put strong pressure on doctors in rural areas of Uzbekistan to sterilize women, with some doctors expected to sterilize up to eight women per week.
A BBC News source at the Ministry of Health said the sterilization program is intended to keep Uzbekistan’s population from growing beyond 28 million people. U.S. government reports estimate Uzbekistan’s population to be about 28.3 million.
While human rights organizations, and even the United Nations, have called attention to the Uzbek government’s forced sterilization program in the past, it seems virtually no international pressure is being put on Uzbek President Islam Karimov to end the abusive procedure.
The forced sterilizations may even be on the rise. Antelava’s medical sources reported a dramatic increase in Caesarean section births in the last two years, which provide surgeons with an easy opportunity to sterilize women.
“Rules on Caesareans used to be very strict, but now I believe 80% of women give birth through C-sections. This makes it very easy to perform a sterilisation and tie the fallopian tubes,” a chief surgeon at a hospital near Tashkent said.
“The mark of a totalitarian government is the use of secretive programs, violence and force to manipulate the population. This effort to forcibly sterilize women without their knowledge is an egregious affront to human rights and a crime against humanity,” said Father Peter West, vice president for missions at Human Life International, in response to the story. “Civil and political leaders in Uzbekistan and other nations, including President Obama, need to strongly and very publicly condemn these attacks on the women of Uzbekistan and pressure government officials to bring an end to this human rights crisis.”
WASHINGTON, April 18, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) filed a notice of appeal April 17, asking a federal appeals court to vacate a decision by a Massachusetts federal judge declaring that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) violated the First Amendment in its contract with USCCB to provide case management services to victims of human trafficking, because the contract did not require USCCB to facilitate abortion and contraception.USCCB has also requested a stay of the lower court’s decision until the appeals court can rule.
The decision came in a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) against HHS in 2009. USCCB joined the lawsuit in mid-2010 on the side of HHS as a defendant-intervenor.
For five years ending last fall, MRS had successfully implemented a national government contract that helped men, women and children recover from the effects of human trafficking as victims of forced labor and the sex trade. Neither the statute authorizing the government funds, nor the request for contract proposals from potential providers like USCCB, required the provider to facilitate abortion or contraception funding; and no trafficking victim complained for lack of government funding of these things under the contract.
Archbishop-elect William E. Lori of Baltimore, chair of the bishops’ Ad Hoc Committee on Religious Liberty, and Archbishop Josė Gomez of Los Angeles, chair of the Bishops’ Committee on Migration, noted the rationale for the appeal in an April 17 statement.
Their statement follows.
“The Conference has decided, with a great sense of urgency, to appeal the district court decision in ACLU v. Sebelius for two reasons:it is poorly reasoned, and it is dangerous.
“First, the decision takes restrictive Supreme Court precedents and stretches them, almost beyond recognition, to encompass the facts of our case; and at the same time, the decision all but ignores generous Supreme Court precedents that are squarely on point.Justice William O. Douglas famously noted long ago that when the government acts to accommodate religion, ‘it follows the best of our traditions.’This decision says and does the opposite.
“Second, if this precedent is allowed to stand—or worse, to find broader application—it would have a devastating practical impact.Immediately, it endangers the ability of our Migration and Refugee Services (MRS) to continue to provide, in cooperation with HHS or other agencies of the federal government, exemplary service to victims of human trafficking and others in great need.But if the rationale of this decision spreads, dozens of Catholic organizations across the country that cooperate on similar terms with government agencies at all levels—federal, state, and local—will have their work similarly threatened.
“Indeed, all faith-based service providers are threatened, because the court’s novel rule severely restricts the ability of government to accommodate any contractor’s religious commitments, Catholic or otherwise.The people most in need of human services—the poor, the sick, the marginalized—would suffer the most from such a broad exclusion of faith-based providers from cooperation with government.
“We ask for the prayers of the faithful in support of this ongoing effort to defend our first freedom, religious liberty.”
Most Rev. William Lori
Archbishop-elect of Baltimore
Chairman, Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty
Most Rev. José Gomez
Archbishop of Los Angeles
Chairman, Committee on Migration
LANSDOWNE, Va., April 18, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Jim Liske, CEO of Prison Fellowship Ministries, gave the following update this morning to the staff and supporters of Prison Fellowship, Justice Fellowship, and the Colson Center for Christian Worldview:
It is with a heavy, but hopeful heart that I share with you that it appears our friend, brother, and founder will soon be home with the Lord. Chuck’s condition took a decided turn yesterday, and the doctors advised Patty and the family to gather by his bedside.
As you know, Chuck underwent surgery more than two weeks ago to remove a pool of clotted blood on the surface of his brain. And while we had seen some hopeful signs for Chuck’s recovery—including his ability to talk happily with Patty and the kids—it seems that God may be calling him home.
I cannot tell you how much your prayers, cards, and well-wishes have meant to Patty and the family—and to Chuck. He loves you all deeply, and I know that his greatest desire beyond seeing Jesus is that the work he and all of us have been called to will continue. As Chuck would say, ‘Remain at your posts and do your duty—for the glory of God and His kingdom’
As soon as we have more information, I will be sure to let you know. And as always, keep praying for Chuck and Patty.”