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Canadian Bishops Conference Pres Says “No Foundation” for Allegations against Development and Peace

LifeSiteNews.com
LifeSiteNews.com

By John-Henry Westen

TORONTO, June 22, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Archbishop James Weisgerber, the President of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB), has claimed that there is "no evidence" of abortion involvement on the part of groups funded by the bishops' official development arm, the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace (D&P). The remarks were made in response to questions about the results of a recent investigation into five of D&P's Mexican partners, which LifeSiteNews.com (LSN) had reported in early March were involved in abortion advocacy.

Weisberger indicated in an interview with a local Catholic TV station that the report, which has been released to select bishops, and will not be made public for two or three more weeks, states that D&P is not involved in funding pro-abortion groups. "The delegation found that there was no foundation to these allegations," he said. "We can assure you that none of the money was spent to promote abortion, nor for support of abortion with the funds of Development and Peace."

The archbishop made his statements in support of D&P despite a recent letter from the family commission of the Peruvian Bishops Conference, in which the Peruvian bishops formally requested the Canadian Bishops to stop funding three pro-abortion groups in their country. LSN has also documented evidence - including interviews and photographs - that over 20 of D&P's partners around the world are involved in abortion and/or contraception advocacy (read all the evidence here).

Archbishop Weisgerber said that he interpreted the whole issue as one of "authority," juxtaposing that of the bishops with that of "websites," apparently a reference principally to LSN, which initiated the investigations that revealed D&P's endemic funding of pro-abortion groups.

The archbishop made his comments in two interviews with Salt and Light Television in both a French and an English-language interview on the same subject (read transcript here). "It seems that there is a tendency on the part of some people to trust allegations on websites more than they trust the bishops," he said. "That's the role of the bishops in the Church and when the bishops investigate something, when the bishops look at things and when the bishops teach, according to our theology, we should have confidence in that."

In the French-language interview Weisgerber was more explicit: "What is at issue is authority in the Catholic Church. Is it websites or is it the Catholic Church?'

The interviewer noted that the allegations came from the internet but called into question the "Catholic" label of Development and Peace. Weisgerber replied: "Who is going to pronounce or judge that? Groups on the internet that we don't know, or bishops who are designated by the Church, by the Good Lord, to do that?" Speaking of D&P and presumably for the Canadian bishops, he continued: "We assume our responsibilities. We support this organization. It's been forty years. We are very proud."

Despite Archbishop Weisgerber's assertions, the bishops of Canada do not appear to all be on the same page when it comes to the question of D&P. Insiders have informed LSN that most of the bishops of Quebec are onside with the organization, with a few notable exceptions. However, most Ontario bishops have taken the allegations seriously enough to withhold funding until the results of the investigation have been considered. 

That Archbishop Weisgerber has come out in support of D&P, however, may come as no surprise, given that the bishop made a statement on the subject even before the official investigation into the matter was underway. The archbishop issued a March 23rd letter to his archdiocese saying the allegations against D&P were "untrue." 

The recent report is based on an investigation conducted in Mexico from the 15 to 18 April, 2009, by officials from D&P and the CCCB, including two Canadian bishops. The committee was established in response to reports initiated by LifeSiteNews.com that D&P, the official development arm of the bishops' conference, has been funding groups in Mexico involved in pro-abortion advocacy.

While the original LSN report mentioned only five groups in Mexico who received $170,000 in total last year, later reports have found evidence for D&P funding of pro-abortion and pro-contraception groups throughout Latin America, Africa, and Asia, including more groups in Mexico, one of which admitted in an interview with LSN to trying to help a woman abort her child.

The LSN evidence demonstrating the pro-abortion activities of the D&P funded groups has been independently confirmed by Priests for Life Canada, who issued a statement condemning the pro-abortion funding by D&P, as well as the head of American Life League, Judie Brown - a Member of the Pontifical Academy for Life - not to mention the Peruvian bishops conference.

The issue received coverage today on Vatican Radio, which reported on the fact that the Peruvian bishops have demanded that the Canadian Bishops halt funding for pro-abortion groups in their country (read the letter here). Vatican Radio interviewed Alejandro Bermudes, the head of the Catholic News Agency and ACI Prensa who noted that in addition to the bishops of Peru, "the bishops in Bolivia and Mexico, have expressed their concern that the Committee for Development and Peace ... has been providing ... significant financial support to organization that actively are involved in the promotion of abortion."

See related reports:

Stephen Mosher Expresses Serious Concerns About Canadian Bishops' D&P Investigation

Vancouver Diocesan Editorial: "Writing Could be on the Wall" for Development and Peace

Editor of Canadian Catholic Magazine on D&P Scandal: "Let D&P rest in peace for eternity"

Canada's Largest Catholic Newspaper Calls for Open Investigation into Development and Peace

See all LSN reports on Development and Peace scandal


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UK quietly opens the door to genetic engineering, ‘3-parent’ embryos

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By Hilary White

Last month the UK’s Department of Health quietly redefined the term “genetic modification” to open the door to allow certain kinds of modification of human embryos – thus potentially making it the first country in the world to allow genetic engineering.

Scottish journalist Lori Anderson recently raised the alarm over the change in a column in the Scotsman, in which she alleged that the change is designed to “dupe” the British public into accepting “full-scale germline genetic engineering,” using human embryos as test subjects.

Anderson said that in July, the Department of Health “effectively re-wrote the definition of ‘genetic modification’ to specifically exclude the alteration of human mitochondrial genes or any other genetic material that exists outside the chromosomes in the nucleus of the cell.”

“The reason for doing this is that it believes it will be easier to sell such an advancement to the public if it can insist that the end result will not be a ‘GM baby’.”

This change follows a statement from the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA), the government body that regulates experimental research on human embryos, approving the procedure to create an embryo from one couple’s gametes but with genetic material added from a third party donor, a procedure called in the press “three-parent embryos”.

Anderson quoted a statement from the Department of Health comparing this procedure to donating blood. The statement read, “There is no universally agreed definition of ‘genetic modification’ in humans – people who have organ transplants, blood donations, or even gene therapy are not generally regarded as being ‘genetically modified’. The Government has decided to adopt a working definition for the purpose of taking forward these regulations.”

This assertion was challenged by one of the UK’s leading fertility researchers, Lord Robert Winston, who told the Independent, “Of course mitochondrial transfer is genetic modification and this modification is handed down the generations. It is totally wrong to compare it with a blood transfusion.”

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The HFEA, which throughout its history has been known as one of the world’s most permissive regulatory bodies, has been working steadily towards allowing genetically modified embryos to be implanted in women undergoing artificial procreation treatments. In a document issued to the government last year, they called the insertion of mitochondrial DNA (mDNA) into embryos “mitochondrial donation” or “mitochondrial replacement”. mDNA is the genetic material found in the cytoplasm outside a cell’s nucleus, problems with which can cause a host of currently incurable genetic illnesses.

In the statement issued in June, the HFEA said the technique of inserting “donated” mDNA into already existing in vitro embryos, “should be considered ‘not unsafe’ for the use on a ‘specific and defined group of patients.’”

“Mitochondria replacement (or mitochondrial donation) describes two medical techniques, currently being worked on by UK researchers, which could allow women to avoid passing on genetically inherited mitochondrial diseases to their children,” the statement said.

The HFEA admitted that the techniques are “at the cutting edge of both science and ethics” and said that the results of a “public consultation” in 2012/13 were being examined by the government, which is considering “draft regulations”.

In June, the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children echoed Lori Anderson’s concern, commenting that the HFEA is attempting to deceive the public. Paul Tully, SPUC’s general secretary, said, “Human gene manipulation is being sold to a gullible public on a promise of reducing suffering, the same old con-trick that the test-tube baby lobby has been using for decades.” 

Any manipulation of human genetics, always breaks “several important moral rules,” entailing the creation of “human guinea-pigs,” Tully said. “Human germ-line manipulation and cloning – changing the genetic inheritance of future generations - goes against internationally-agreed norms for ethical science.”

He quoted Professor Andy Greenfield, the chairman of the scientific review panel that approved the techniques, who said that there is no way of knowing what effect this would have on the children created until it is actually done.

“We have to subject children who have not consented and cannot consent to being test subjects,” Tully said.

Altering the mDNA of an embryo is what cloning scientists refer to as “germline” alteration, meaning that the changes will be carried on through the altered embryo’s own offspring, a longstanding goal of eugenicists.

In their 1999 book, “Human Molecular Genetics” Tom Strachan and Andrew Read warned that the use of mitochondrial alteration of embryos would cross serious ethical boundaries.

Having argued that germline therapy would be “pointless” from a therapeutic standpoint, the authors said, “There are serious concerns, therefore, that a hidden motive for germline gene therapy is to enable research to be done on germline manipulation with the ultimate aim of germline-based genetic enhancement.”

“The latter could result in positive eugenics programs, whereby planned genetic modification of the germline could involve artificial selection for genes that are thought to confer advantageous traits.”


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Cable series portrays nun as back-alley abortionist

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By Ben Johnson
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'To depict a nun who performs an abortion is a new low,' said Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights.

The Cinemax TV series The Knick portrayed a Roman Catholic nun as a back alley abortionist who tells a Catholic woman God will forgive her for going through with the procedure.

In its latest episode, which aired Friday night, the series showed Sister Harriet (an Irish nun played by Cara Seymour) telling a Catholic woman named Nora, “Your husband will know nothing of it. I promise.”

“Will God forgive me?” Nora asked, adding, “I don't want to go to Hell for killing a baby.”

“He knows that you suffered,” the sister replied, before performing the illegal abortion off-screen. “I believe the Lord's compassion will be yours.” 

The period medical drama is set at the Knickerbocker Hospital (“The Knick”) in New York City around the turn of the 20th century, when abortion was against both civil and ecclesiastical law.

“It is no secret that Hollywood is a big pro-abortion town, but to depict a nun who performs an abortion is a new low,” Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, said. “The only saving grace in this episode is the real-life recognition of the woman who is about to have the abortion: she admits that her baby is going to be killed.”

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The series is directed by Steven Soderbergh, known for such films as Erin Brockovich, the Oceans Eleven franchise, and Sex, Lies, and Videotape. More recently he directed The Girlfriend Experience, a film about prostitution starring pornographic actress Sasha Grey.

Critics have hailed his decision to include a black surgeon in circa 1900 America. But after last week's episode, the New York Times stated that The Knick has chosen to “demonstrate concern for other kinds of progress,” citing the depiction of the abortion. 


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Balcony of the Grandmaster Palace in Valletta, which houses the Maltese Parliament. Shutterstock
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Catholic Malta enacts ‘transgender’ employment discrimination law

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By Hilary White

An amendment to Malta’s Employment and Industrial Relations Act means that employment “discrimination” against “transsexuals” is now officially prohibited in the Catholic country. The provision, which was quietly passed in May, came into effect on August 12th.

The law allows those who believe they have a complaint to make a case with the National Commission for the Promotion of Equality, with an industrial tribunal or the courts. A government spokesman told local  media, “Employees do not need to prove that their employer has discriminated against them.”

“They only need to provide enough evidence pointing to a likely case of discrimination. The employer will then need to prove that discrimination has not taken place.”

The amendment defines illegal discrimination against “transgendered” people as, “in so far as the ground of sex is concerned, any less favourable treatment of a person who underwent or is undergoing gender reassignment, which, for the purpose of those regulations shall mean, where a person is considering or intends to undergo, or is undergoing, a process, or part of a process, for the purposes of reassigning the person’s sex by changing physiological or other attributes of sex.” 

Silvan Agius, Human Rights policy coordinator with the Ministry for Social Dialogue, Consumer Affairs and Civil Liberties, told Malta Today newspaper that the new amendment brings Maltese law into harmony with EU law.

“This amendment is continuing the government’s equality mainstreaming exercise. The inclusion of gender reassignment in the Act also brings it in line with the anti-discrimination articles found in both Malta’s Constitution and the Equality for Men and Woman Act,” Agius said.

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Agius is a key member of the homosexual activist apparatus in Malta’s government working to entrench the ideology of gender in law in Malta and elsewhere. In June, he was a featured speaker, with the notorious British anti-Catholic campaigner Peter Tatchell, at a Glasgow conference organised by the Edinburgh-based Equality Network, a group that helps organise and train homosexualist campaign groups.

The amendment to the law follows promises made recently by the country’s equalities minister, Helena Dalli, to a “transgender” congress in Hungary in May. Dalli, who brought forward Malta’s recently passed same-sex civil unions bill, told a meeting of gender activists in Budapest that while her government’s focus had been mainly on homosexuals, that she would shortly be turning her attention to “trans” people.

“The next step now is a Bill towards the enactment of a Gender Identity law. A draft bill has been prepared and it has now been passed to the LGBTI Consultative Council for its vetting and amendment as necessary,” Dalli said.

“Some of you may be thinking that we are moving forward quickly. I have a different perspective though. We are doing what is right, what should have been done a long time ago,” she added.

Since the legalisation of divorce in 2011, Malta has been remarkable for its rapid adoption of the gender ideology’s agenda. In 2013, Malta was named the “fastest climber” on the Rainbow Europe Index, a survey organised annually by ILGA Europe, the leading homosexualist lobby group funded directly by the European Union.

The ILGA Europe report notes (p. 114) that Helena Dalli Helena “was one of 11 EU Member States’ equality ministers to co-sign a call for the European Commission to work on a comprehensive EU policy for LGBT equality.” The report also noted that although the new Labour government has proved cooperative, the Christian Democrat Nationalist Party has “progressively proved more receptive to LGBTI issues, including same-sex unions.”


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