Patrick Craine

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Catholic Relief Services gave over $13 million to pro-abortion group in 2012

Patrick Craine
Patrick Craine

BALTIMORE, July 10, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – As the U.S. Bishops’ development agency was taking heat last summer for handing out over $5 million to the abortion-supporting group CARE, they were in the midst of giving a total of $13.8 million in grants to the same pro-abortion group during 2012, according to its recently-published IRS filings.

While CARE claims it “does not fund, support or perform abortions,” in 2009 its president and CEO, Helene Gayle, appeared before a Senate committee to urge the funding of abortions abroad by overturning the Mexico City Policy. CARE also heavily distributes contraceptives, including the abortifacient “emergency contraception,” as part of its development efforts.  Moreover, it partners with the illegal-abortion practitioner Marie Stopes International (page 4).

Susan Yoshihara of the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute (C-FAM) told LifeSiteNews last year that Gayle “is an avid advocate for an international human right to abortion-on-demand.”

Since LifeSiteNews’ coverage of CARE last summer, CARE issued a commitment at the Gates Foundation’s London Summit on Family Planning in which they pledged to put “reproductive rights” at the center of their work in the area of maternal health and to make “family planning” a priority in emergency services. Of the $13.8 million CRS gave to CARE in 2012, nearly $9 million was dedicated to “emergency services.”

According to the 990s, CRS gave CARE three separate grants in 2012: $4,752,008 for “agriculture”; $8,894,703 for “emergency”; and $233,432 for “welfare”.

Pro-life leaders react

Catholic pro-life leaders decried the news, saying it’s a scandal that a Church agency would support a group working against the Church’s efforts to promote a culture of life.

“Our pro-life educational and advocacy work is severely hampered, to the detriment of untold numbers of our brothers and sisters in the developing world, when groups like CARE can say that they enjoy a good working relationship with the Catholic Church,” said Fr. Shenan Boquet, president of Human Life International. He said this is the case “even if behind the scenes one finds that no Catholic money goes directly to their anti-life projects.”

“The scandal is that it appears to some that the Church supports CARE's entire program,” he added.

Judie Brown, president of American Life League, said 2012 appears to be CRS’ worst year yet for funding of immoral groups.

“CRS is bringing a scandal on the Church. They need to stop calling themselves Catholic because what they’re doing is in direct contradiction to the moral teachings of the Church,” she said. “And I finally want to encourage anybody who has ever given a thin dime to Catholic Relief Services to ask for a refund and never give them another penny.”

Catholic Relief Services responds

Asked for a response, CRS director of communications John Rivera told LifeSiteNews that their grants “save, protect and transform lives” and are given in accordance with policies “reviewed and approved” by their board of directors, which is led by members of the U.S. episcopate.

“We have careful guidelines and processes to ensure that our work to care for the poor around the world is consistent with Catholic teaching and provides a strong and faithful witness of Christ’s love for those in greatest need. This includes our work with partners,” said Rivera.

“We mitigate the risk of scandal by ensuring that our Catholic identity is very clear in the way we present ourselves, including on the home page of our web site, which has a section that responds to questions about our partnerships like those raised by Lifesite News,” he added.

‘Scandal would be unavoidable’

After our initial story on CARE last summer, CRS immediately decried the coverage and strongly implied that the $5.3 million grant to CARE had been endorsed by Dr. John Haas, president of the National Catholic Bioethics Center, who is a highly-respected, orthodox moral theologian and advisor to the bishops.

In an interview with Dr. Haas, however, LifeSiteNews learned that he had expressed concern that the grant would cause “unavoidable” scandal because of CARE’s strident and public pro-abortion and pro-contraception positions.

After CRS insisted that they wanted to continue their long-term funding relationship with CARE, Haas said, he advised them that the only way to do so was to publicly chastise the organization.

In a follow-up statement to clarify the issues, Haas indicated that he had judged the grant to be morally acceptable because, in his view, the funds were not fungible – federal law prohibits them from being used in a general pool.

He then added a caveat, however. “Even if cooperation with an evildoer to achieve some great good were morally legitimate,” he wrote, “it still could not be done if the action of the Catholic would lead others to believe that the Catholic Church were indifferent to the evil, such as, for example, contraception.”

“In this case, the NCBC was gravely concerned about the risk of scandal that could arise from a Catholic agency cooperating with an organization that consistently took such strong public positions at odds with the Catholic Church, such as advocating contraception and abortion,” he added.

Working with the devil

Judie Brown of American Life League said CRS has adopted a “lesser of two evils” argument.

“They would say that giving money to CARE for specific purposes having nothing whatsoever to do with the population control that CARE is involved in is a sensible position,” she said, “even though everybody knows that there is no way that Catholic Relief Services can ever prove that that money that they give to CARE is not used specifically for population control.”

Rather than work with groups like CARE, she said, “please put Catholics on the ground so that you don’t have to work with the devil.”

“Their reasoning is so weak. In all of these countries where CARE is, there are Catholics there. There are bishops in those countries,” she said. “If you ask a bishop about what CARE is doing in the country where they represent Catholics, they tell you, especially in the Third World, we don’t want condom marketing. They don’t want birth control marketing among Catholics. So why isn’t CRS going to those bishops? Why aren’t they giving money to those dioceses in Third World instead of giving them to CARE? There’s no excuse for what they’re doing.”

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PBS defends decision to air pro-abortion documentary ‘After Tiller’

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By Dustin Siggins

Under pressure for showing the pro-abortion documentary "After Tiller" on Labor Day, PBS' "POV" affiliate has defended the decision in response to an inquiry from LifeSiteNews.

The producers of the film say their goal with the documentary, which tells the stories of four late-term abortion doctors after the killing of infamous late-term abortionist George Tiller, is to "change public perception of third-trimester abortion providers by building a movement dedicated to supporting their right to work with a special focus on maintaining their safety.” 

POV told LifeSiteNews, "We do believe that 'After Tiller' adds another dimension to an issue that is being debated widely." Asked if POV will show a pro-life documentary, the organization said that it "does not have any other films currently scheduled on this issue. POV received almost 1000 film submissions each year through our annual call for entries and we welcome the opportunity to consider films with a range of points of view."

When asked whether POV was concerned about alienating its viewership -- since PBS received millions in federal tax dollars in 2012 and half of Americans identify as pro-life -- POV said, "The filmmakers would like the film to add to the discussion around these issues. Abortion is already a legal procedure."

Click "like" if you are PRO-LIFE!

"This is an issue that people feel passionately about and will have a passionate response to. We are hopeful that the majority of people can see it for what it is, another lens on a very difficult issue." 

In addition to the documentary, POV has written materials for community leaders and teachers to share. A cursory examination of the 29-page document, which is available publicly, appears to include links to outside sources that defend Roe v. Wade, an examination of the constitutional right to privacy, and "a good explanation of the link between abortion law and the right to privacy," among other information.

Likewise, seven clips recommended for student viewing -- grades 11 and beyond -- include scenes where couples choose abortion because the children are disabled. Another shows pro-life advocates outside a doctor's child's school, and a third is described as showing "why [one of the film's doctors] chose to offer abortion services and includes descriptions of what can happen when abortion is illegal or unavailable, including stories of women who injured themselves when they tried to terminate their own pregnancies and children who were abused because they were unwanted."

Another clip "includes footage of protesters, as well as news coverage of a hearing in the Nebraska State Legislature in which abortion opponents make reference to the idea that a fetus feels pain." The clip's description fails to note that it is a scientifically proven fact that unborn children can feel pain.

The documentary is set to air on PBS at 10 p.m. Eastern on Labor Day.

Kirsten Andersen contributed to this article.

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Pete Baklinski Pete Baklinski Follow Pete

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He defended ‘real’ marriage, and then was beheaded for it

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By Pete Baklinski

A Christian man was executed during the night by a high-profile ruler after making an uncompromising defense of real marriage.

The Christian, who was renowned for his holiness, had told the ruler in public that his relationship with his partner was “against the law” of God. The Christian’s words enraged the ruler’s partner who successfully plotted to have him permanently silenced.

John the Baptist was first imprisoned before he was beheaded. The Catholic Church honors him today, August 29, as a martyr and saint.

While John’s death happened a little less than 2,000 years ago, his heroic stance for real marriage is more pertinent today than ever before.

According to the Gospel of Mark, the ruler Herod had ‘married’ his brother’s wife Herodias. When John told Herod with complete frankness, “It is against the law for you to have your brother’s wife,” Herodias became “furious” with him to the point of wanting him killed for his intolerance, bullying, and hate-speech.

Herodias found her opportunity to silence John by having her daughter please Herod during a dance at a party. Herod offered the girl anything she wanted. The daughter turned to her mother for advice, and Herodias said to ask for John’s head on a platter.

Those who fight for real marriage today can learn three important lessons from John’s example.

  1. Those proudly living in ungodly and unnatural relationships — often referred to in today’s sociopolitical sphere as ‘marriage’ — will despise those who tell them what they are doing is wrong. Real marriage defenders must expect opposition to their message from the highest levels.
  2. Despite facing opposition, John was not afraid to defend God’s plan for marriage in the public square, even holding a secular ruler accountable to this plan. John, following the third book of the Hebrew Bible (Leviticus 20:21), held that a man marrying the wife of his brother was an act of “impurity” and therefore abhorrent to God. Real marriage defenders must boldly proclaim today that God is the author of marriage, an institution he created to be a life-long union between one man and one woman from which children arise and in which they are best nurtured. Marriage can be nothing more, nothing less.
  3. John did not compromise on the truth of marriage as revealed by God, even to the point of suffering imprisonment and death for his unpopular position. Real marriage defenders must never compromise on the truth of marriage, even if the government, corporate North America, and the entire secular education system says otherwise. They must learn to recognize the new “Herodias” of today who despises those raising a voice against her lifestyle. They must stand their ground no matter what may come, no matter what the cost.

John the Baptist was not intolerant or a bigot, he simply lived the word of God without compromise, speaking the word of truth when it was needed, knowing that God’s way is always the best way. Were John alive today, he would be at the forefront of the grassroots movement opposing the social and political agenda to remake marriage in the image of man.

Click "like" if you want to defend true marriage.

If he were alive today he might speak simple but eloquent words such as, “It is against God’s law for two men or two women to be together as a husband and wife in marriage. Marriage can only be between a man and a woman.” 

He would most likely be hated. He would be ridiculed. He would surely have the human rights tribunals throwing the book at him. But he would be speaking the truth and have God as his ally. 

The time may not be far off when those who defend real marriage, like John, will be presented with the choice of following Caesar or making the ultimate sacrifice. May God grant his faithful the grace to persevere in whatever might come. St. John the Baptist, pray for us!

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The Wunderlich family Mike Donnelly / Home School Legal Defence Association
Thaddeus Baklinski Thaddeus Baklinski Follow Thaddeus

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German homeschoolers regain custody of children, vow to stay and fight for freedom

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By Thaddeus Baklinski

One year to the day since a team of 20 social workers, police officers, and special agents stormed a homeschooling family’s residence near Darmstadt, Germany, and forcibly removed all four of the family’s children, aged 7 to 14, a state appeals court has returned custody of the children to their parents.

The reason given for the removal was that parents Dirk and Petra Wunderlich continued to homeschool their children in defiance of a German ban on home education.

The children were returned three weeks after being taken, following an international outcry spearheaded by the Home School Legal Defense Association.

However, a lower court imposed the condition on the parents that their children were required to attend state schools in order for them to be released, and took legal custody of the children in order to prevent the family from leaving the country.

In a decision that was still highly critical of the parents and of homeschooling, the appeals court decided that the action of the lower court in putting the children in the custody of the state was “disproportional” and ordered complete custody returned to the parents, according to a statement by the HSLDA.

The Wunderlichs, who began homeschooling again when the court signaled it would rule this way, said they were very pleased with the result, but noted that the court’s harsh words about homeschooling indicated that their battle was far from over.

“We have won custody and we are glad about that,” Dirk said.

“The court said that taking our children away was not proportionate—only because the authorities should apply very high fines and criminal prosecution instead. But this decision upholds the absurd idea that homeschooling is child endangerment and an abuse of parental authority.”

The Wunderlichs are now free to emigrate to another country where homeschooling is legal, if they choose, but they said they intend to remain in Germany and work for educational freedom.

“While we no longer fear that our children will be taken away as long as we are living in Hessen, it can still happen to other people in Germany,” Dirk said. “Now we fear crushing fines up to $75,000 and jail. This should not be tolerated in a civilized country.”

Petra Wunderlich said, "We could not do this without the help of HSLDA,” but cautioned that, “No family can fight the powerful German state—it is too much, too expensive."

"If it were not for HSLDA and their support, I am afraid our children would still be in state custody. We are so grateful and thank all homeschoolers who have helped us by helping HSLDA.”

HSLDA’s Director for Global Outreach, Michael Donnelly, said he welcomed the ruling but was concerned about the court’s troubling language.

“We welcome this ruling that overturns what was an outrageous abuse of judicial power,” he said.

“The lower court decision to take away legal custody of the children essentially imprisoned the Wunderlich family in Germany. But this decision does not go far enough. The court has only grudgingly given back custody and has further signaled to local authorities that they should still go after the Wunderlichs with criminal charges or fines.”

Donnelly pointed out that such behavior in a democratic country is problematic.

“Imprisonment and fines for homeschooling are outside the bounds of what free societies that respect fundamental human rights should tolerate,” he explained.

“Freedom and fundamental human rights norms demand respect for parental decision making in education. Germany’s state and national policies that permit banning home education must be changed.

"Such policies from a leading European democracy not only threaten the rights of tens of thousands of German families but establish a dangerous example that other countries may be tempted to follow,” Donnelly warned.

HSLDA Chairman Michael Farris said that acting on behalf of the Wunderlichs was an important stand for freedom.

“The Wunderlichs are a good and decent family whose basic human rights were violated and are still threatened,” Farris said.

“Their fight is our fight," Farris stressed, "and we will continue to support those who stand against German policy banning homeschooling that violates international legal norms. Free people cannot tolerate such oppression and we will do whatever we can to fight for families like the Wunderlichs both here in the United States and abroad. We must stand up to this kind of persecution where it occurs or we risk seeing own freedom weakened.”

Visit the HSLDA website dedicated to helping the Wunderlich family and other German homeschoolers here.

Contact the German embassy in the U.S. here.

Contact the German embassy in Canada here.

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