Peter Baklinski

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Canadian Life and Family leaders enthusiastically welcome Pope Francis

Peter Baklinski
Peter Baklinski

OTTAWA, March 14, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Canada’s advocates for life and family have warmly welcomed Pope Francis as a stalwart ally in safeguarding traditional values of respect for life — both young and old — and the importance of true marriage and family to a flourishing society.

The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) welcomed the news of the papal election “with joy and gratitude” and pledged their “loyalty and support” to the new successor of the apostle Peter.

“I joyfully offer our sincerest congratulations, highest esteem, and loving obedience to you as Bishop of Rome, Successor of the Apostle Peter, Supreme Pontiff, and head of the College of Bishops,” wrote Archbishop Richard Smith of Edmonton, president of the CCCB, in a press release.

“May the Holy Spirit pour out upon you in abundance all the gifts you need to be our ‘rock’, our sure foundation, and to strengthen all your brothers and sisters in the faith”, he said.

Before becoming Pope Francis, Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, as Archbishop of Buenos Aires, unequivocally defended the life of the unborn even in cases of rape. He also denounced a "culture of discarding" the elderly, saying at the time that elderly people are the “seat of wisdom of the society”.

It was also during this time that he valiantly fought to have the law in Argentina continue to protect the traditional family, calling a 2009 bill that attacked true marriage a “machination of the Father of Lies that seeks to confuse and deceive the children of God.”

Most Reverend Terrence Prendergast, Archbishop of Ottawa, called the pope’s election a “truly a historic moment for the Church when Her universal character is manifested to the world!”

“Pope Francis has sent a powerful message in the choice of his name for the Church’s preferential option for the poor,” he said.

“We are delighted with him,” said Gwen Landolt, national vice-president of REAL Women of Canada to LifeSiteNews.com. “He seems to be a man of noble character, exemplified by a very good life, humility, and sincerity. I think it’s a grace that’s been given us to have such a pope who understands not only the Church, but who understands humanity.”

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Landolt said that she hopes and prays that the new pope continues to outspokenly defend the values of life and marriage. “The most important thing is [for him] to be a solid voice leading us on the values — which are pro-life and pro-family — that have kept society.”

Peter Murphy, assistant director of the Catholic Organization For Life and Family (COLF), said that COLF “rejoices” in the election of Pope Francis.

“This is a man who is in love with God – a man who, as Archbishop and Cardinal, elected to live simply and in solidarity with the poor; a man who knows that the value of human life is derived not from what we possess, or what we don’t, but rather from the fact that we have been created in God’s image, that we have been redeemed at the cost of Christ’s blood and that we are destined to live with God for all eternity,” he wrote in an e-mail to LifeSiteNews.com.

“This is a man intimately acquainted with the struggles, the sorrows and the joys of family life. Anyone familiar with the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, will immediately recognize in the former Archbishop of Buenos Aires, the embodiment of the Church’s teachings in this area – teachings which see the life and family issues which preoccupy our thoughts and prayers as matters of social justice.”

“In short, the Holy Spirit has spoken: this is the man the Church needs now!” he said.

Joanne McGarry, executive director of the Catholic Civil Rights League (CCRL), said that the CCRL is “very pleased” with the election of the new pope and that Canadian Catholics “will be impressed with the leadership that he has shown on life issues and with his commitment to the poor and to simplicity.”

“We certainly congratulate Pope Francis and pledge him every prayerful support from the CCRL,” she said to LifeSiteNews.com. “We are very impressed by his strong commitment to the poor and his simple living. That makes a very strong statement.”

One priest from Madonna House Apostolate in Combermere, Ontario, was moved to tears by how Pope Francis began his papacy.

“I was moved very deeply by his beginning his papacy by leading us in prayer”, wrote Fr. Denis Lemieux on his blog covering papal thought. “‘Let us pray for Pope Emeritus Benedict...Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be’. Simple, childlike prayer, gathering the people of God around the throne of God and under the protection of the Madonna. What more can we ask a shepherd to do?”

“I was also deeply moved — to the point of tears, truth be told — at his bowing down humbly to ask for our prayers as he begins this daunting task. Again, so simple, so childlike, so poor — ‘I want you to do something for me.' And how many millions of Catholics around the world at that point were united in praying for this man bowing before us to ask for the alms of our prayers? What a beautiful, gentle way to begin his papacy.”

People of faith around the world are reflecting on the Pope’s choice of the name Francis, calling it “symbolic” and “meaningful,” since St. Francis of Assisi (d. 1226) was responsible for the spiritual restoration of the Church in the 13th century.

In a dream by then-Pope Innocent III, Francis was seen by him to be saving the collapsing Basilica of St. John Lateran (the primary cathedral of Rome representing all Christendom). In the dream, Francis took upon himself the weight of the falling church, bracing it with his shoulder before restoring things to their place. It was this dream that convinced the Pope to allow Francis to start the Franciscan order.

Fr. Lemieux pointed out that St. Francis rebuilt the Church “not by political games or five-year pastoral plans, but by an example of holiness and voluntary poverty, of prayer and simplicity of life.”

Fr. Lemieux said that while the Church today is in “terrible disarray, terrible disrepair” and needs “rebuilding, desperately” he also suggested that the “path of reformation must come from holiness of life, purity of prayer, and deep poverty and simplicity of spirit.”

“Let us pray for Pope Francis that he may faithfully follow the Lamb of God in love of the Father and service to God's people, as the Spirit of God leads him to do,” he said. 


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Although it is widely believed that people with Down syndrome are doomed to a life of suffering, in one large survey 99% of respondents with Down syndrome described themselves as "happy." Shutterstock
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‘Sick and twisted’: Down’s advocates, pro-life leaders slam Richard Dawkins’ abortion remarks

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By Dustin Siggins

Advocates on behalf of individuals with Down syndrome, as well as pro-life leaders, are slamming famed atheist Richard Dawkin’s statements made on Twitter earlier today that parents have a moral responsibility to abort babies diagnosed in utero with Down’s.

During a shocking Twitter rant, Dawkins responded to questioners saying that it was "civilised" to abort Down Syndrome babies, and that it would be "immoral" to choose not to abort babies diagnosed with the condition.

He said that his goal is to "reduce suffering wherever you can," indicating that unborn children cannot suffer, and that unborn children don't "have human feelings."

In addition to being scientifically challenged - unborn children can feel both pain and emotions - Dawkins' comments drew criticism for his callousness towards children with disabilities.  

"A true civilization – a civilization of love – does not engage in such cold and ultimately suicidal calculus"

“It's sick and twisted for anyone to advocate for the killing of children with disabilities,” Live Action President Lila Rose told LifeSiteNews. “Dawkins's ignorant comments serve only to further stigmatize people with Down syndrome.

“While many people with Down syndrome, their families, and advocacy groups are fighting discrimination on a daily basis, Dawkins calls for their murder before they are even born,” she said. “Those with Down syndrome are human beings, with innate human dignity, and they, along with the whole human family, deserve our respect and protection.”

Carol Boys, chief executive of the Down's Syndrome Association, told MailOnline that, contrary to Dawkins’ assertion, “People with Down’s syndrome can and do live full and rewarding lives, they also make a valuable contribution to our society.”

A spokesperson for the UK disabilities charity Scope lamented that during the “difficult and confusing time” when parents find out they are expecting a child with disabilities, they often experience “negative attitudes.”

“What parents really need at this time is sensitive and thorough advice and information,” the spokesperson said.

Charlotte Lozier Institute president Chuck Donovan agreed with Rose’s assessment. "Advocates of abortion for those 'weaker' than others, or of less physical or intellectual dexterity, should remember that each of us is 'lesser' in some or most respects," he said.

According to Donovan, "we deliver a death sentence on all of humanity by such cruel logic."

"A true civilization – a civilization of love – does not engage in such cold and ultimately suicidal calculus" he said.

One family who has a child with Down syndrome said Dawkins was far from the mark when he suggested that aborting babies with Down syndrome is a good way to eliminate suffering.

Jan Lucas, whose son Kevin has Down syndrome, said that far from suffering, Kevin has brought enormous joy to the family, and "is so loving. He just has a million hugs."

She described how Kevin was asked to be an honorary deacon at the hurch they attend in New Jersey, “because he is so encouraging to everyone. At church, he asks people how their families are, says he'll pray for them, and follows up to let them know that he has been praying for them."

It's not just strangers for whom Kevin prays. "My husband and I were separated for a time, and Kevin kept asking people to pray for his dad," said Jan. "They didn't believe that Kevin's prayers would be answered. Kevin didn't lose hope, and asking people, and our marriage now is better than ever before. We attribute it to Kevin's prayers, and how he drew on the prayers of everyone."

"I don't know what we'd do without him," said Jan.

Speaking with LifeSiteNews, Kevin said that his favorite things to do are "spending time with my family, and keeping God in prayer." He said that he "always knows God," which helps him to "always keep praying for my friends."

"I love my church," said Kevin.

Although it is widely believed that people with Down syndrome are doomed to a life of suffering, in one large survey 99% of respondents with Down syndrome described themselves as "happy." At the same time, 99% percent of parents said they loved their child with Down syndrome, and 97 percent said they were proud of them.

Only 4 percent of parents who responded said they regretted having their child.

Despite this, it is estimated that in many Western countries the abortion rate of children diagnosed in utero with Down syndrome is 90%, or even higher. The development of new and more accurate tests for the condition has raised concerns among Down syndrome advocates that that number could rise even higher. 


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Asked about Iraq on his return flight from South Korea, Francis replied that 'it is legitimate to halt the unjust aggressor.' Shutterstock
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Pope Francis: steps must be taken to halt ‘unjust aggressor’ in Iraq

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Pope Francis and his emissary to Iraq’s persecuted non-Muslim minorities, Cardinal Fernando Filoni, have both called on the United Nations to act in concert to protect Iraqis Christian and Yazidi minorities from the radical Islamic forces of ISIS.

Asked about Iraq on his return flight from South Korea, Francis replied that “it is legitimate to halt the unjust aggressor.”

He added, however, that “halt” does not mean to “bomb” and lamented “how many times with the excuse of halting the unjust aggressor…have powerful nations taken possession of peoples and waged a war of conquest!”

He also cautioned that no single nation could determine the right measures. Any intervention must be multilateral and preferably by the United Nations, he said.

Meanwhile, Cardinal Foloni, who is visiting Iraq on behalf of Pope Francis, issued a joint statement this week with Chaldean Catholic Patriarch Louis Raphael I Sako and the Iraqi bishops that urged the international community to “liberate the villages and other places that have been occupied as soon as possible and with a permanent result.”

The statement also urged efforts to “assure that there is international protection for these villages and so to encourage these families to go back to their homes and to continue to live a normal life in security and peace.”

Archbishop Giorgio Lingua, the Vatican nuncio to Iraq, was also asked by Vatican Radio earlier this month about the U.S. airstrikes in Iraq.

“This is something that had to be done, otherwise [the Islamic State] could not be stopped,” the archbishop said. 

Although Pope Francis’ own remarks about an intervention in the war-torn country were carefully guarded, Catholic commentator Robert Spencer, author of such bestselling exposes of Islam as “The Truth About Muhammad: Founder of the World's Most Intolerant Religion,” told LifeSiteNews he believes the pope was clearly calling for an “armed intervention, though a very limited one.”  

“Only a fool would think there is another way to stop an ‘unjust aggressor,’” he said.

Spencer expressed concerns that both Francis and Pope John Paul II before him have both referred to Islam a “religion of peace,” which Spencer says is “completely false.” However, he suggested that Francis’ remarks calling for action in Iraq are a sign of a more realistic attitude towards Islam.   

On this, Spencer would likely have the support of Amel Nona, the Chaldean Catholic archbishop of Mosul, who issued a letter last week warning the West in stark terms about the encroaching threat of Islam.

“Our sufferings today are the prelude of those you, Europeans and Western Christians, will also suffer,” Nona warned. “Your liberal and democratic principles are worth nothing here.

“You must consider again our reality in the Middle East, because you are welcoming in your countries an ever growing number of Muslims. Also you are in danger. You must take strong and courageous decisions, even at the cost of contradicting your principles,” he said

“You think all men are equal, but that is not true: Islam does not say that all men are equal. Your values are not their values. If you do not understand this soon enough, you will become the victims of the enemy you have welcomed in your home.”


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'Apparently I'm a horrid monster for recommending WHAT ACTUALLY HAPPENS to the great majority of Down Syndrome fetuses,' said Dawkins. 'They are aborted.' Shutterstock
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Richard Dawkins: it’s ‘immoral’ NOT to abort babies with Down syndrome

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By Dustin Siggins

In a bizarre rant on Twitter earlier today, atheist Richard Dawkins wrote that choosing not to abort a child with Down Syndrome would be "immoral."

The conversation started when Dawkins tweeted that "Ireland is a civilised country except in this 1 area." The area was abortion, which until last year was illegal in all cases.

A Twitter user then asked Dawkins if "994 human beings with Down's Syndrome [having been] deliberately killed before birth in England and Wales in 2012" was "civilised."

Dawkins replied "yes, it is very civilised. These are fetuses, diagnosed before they have human feelings."

Later, Dawkins said that "the question is not ‘is it 'human'?’ but ‘can it SUFFER?’"

In perhaps the most shocking moment, one Twitter user wrote that he or she "honestly [doesn't] know what I would do if I were pregnant with a kid with Down Syndrome. Real ethical dilemma."

Dawkins advised the writer to "abort it and try again. It would be immoral to bring it into the world if you have the choice."

According to Dawkins, the issue of who should be born comes down to a calculation based upon possible suffering. "Yes. Suffering should be avoided. [The abortion] cause[s] no suffering. Reduce suffering wherever you can."

Later, however, he said that people on the autism spectrum "have a great deal to contribute, Maybe even an enhanced ability in some respects. [Down Syndrome] not enhanced."

When Dawkins received some blowback from Twitter followers, he replied: "Apparently I'm a horrid monster for recommending WHAT ACTUALLY HAPPENS to the great majority of Down Syndrome fetuses. They are aborted."

It is estimated that in many Western countries the abortion rate of children diagnosed in utero with Down syndrome is 90%, or even higher. The development of new and more accurate tests for the condition has raised concerns among Down syndrome advocates that that number could rise even higher. 

Although it is widely believed that people with Down syndrome are doomed to a life of suffering, in one large survey 99% of respondents with Down syndrome said they were "happy." At the same time, 99% percent of parents said they loved their child with Down syndrome, and 97 percent said they were proud of them.

Only 4 percent of parents who responded said they regretted having their child. 

A number of Dawkins' statements in the Twitter thread about fetal development are at odds with scientific realities. For example, it is well-established that 20 weeks into a pregnancy, unborn children can feel pain. Likewise, unborn children have emotional reactions to external stimuli -- such as a mother's stress levels -- months before being born. 

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