Patrick Craine

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Responding to CRS on employee who rammed pro-lifers with car

Patrick Craine
Patrick Craine
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August 29, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – In the last year, the Holy Father has begun a painstaking effort to reform the Caritas network to ensure the world’s Catholic aid organizations are fully living out their Catholic identity. They’ve even gone so far as to remove the head of Caritas Internationalis. In this effort, the Vatican has strongly emphasized a need to recover the evangelical purpose of the Church’s charitable works.

But how can we expect these organizations to be agents of evangelization – bearers of the Gospel – when they send workers into the field who disagree with fundamental Gospel teachings?

Last week, LifeSiteNews released a report raising concerns about several employees of Catholic Relief Services who have had strong ties to pro-abortion and pro-contraception organizations.

CRS responded in a press release on Saturday. They emphasize that each of the four employees we named have “abided by Church teaching” while on the job for CRS.

But doesn’t that miss the point? Do any of these employees actually believe Church teaching?

In response to pro-lifers’ concerns about CRS’ relationships with pro-abortion organizations - such as their $5.3 million grant to CARE - CRS has argued that these relationships are important to ensure there’s a “Catholic voice” at the table.

But how can CRS be a “Catholic voice” at the table if their representatives are advocates of abortion or population control?

None of the employees we named were secretarial or administrative – each in some way is on the ground representing the U.S. Bishops’ development arm and implementing its programs.

One of them was Dr. Amy Ellis, who joined CRS after three years at the pro-abortion, population-control group Population Services International. In our report we stated that Ellis gave a presentation on “global contraceptive needs” at a conference in Senegal in 2011 while she was employed by CRS. We’re grateful that CRS has now clarified that Ellis did not attend that conference, though they still acknowledge that she contributed to the paper. We’re sorry for the error and have corrected it, though we would have appreciated the clarification before running the story had they responded to our request for comment.

CRS also confirmed that Ellis represented them at the Women Deliver conference in May 2012. Of course, it’s not intrinsically problematic that CRS would send a representative to a pro-abortion conference like Women Deliver. In fact, LifeSiteNews sent a reporter to that very conference in 2010.

But it becomes scandalous when the person you’re sending as your representative has herself advocated population control, was hired directly from a pro-abortion “relief” organization, and then is sitting at a table discussing “maternal and reproductive health” with Marie Stopes and Planned Parenthood.

CRS also responded to concerns about Charisse Glassman, who was convicted in the fall after ramming her car into a crowd of pro-lifers at the March for Life in January 2011. CRS defends itself by emphasizing that they gave Glassman “the presumption of innocence” and say she resigned in July 2011 before the case went to trial.

But that’s all beside the point. We’re not concerned by the fact that Glassman was kept on as she faced what were then unproven criminal charges. Our concern is that CRS employed someone who is so adverse to the pro-life cause that she not only rammed her car into a crowd of pro-lifers, but reportedly laughed while doing it. It’s not the criminal act that was the issue, but the animus to Catholic teaching that the act represented.

Sadly, it seems CRS has completely missed the point of our investigations. In an internal e-mail to CRS leaders sent by communications rep Jim Stipe, LifeSiteNews is accused of “spearhead[ing] a series of attacks against CRS.” “These attacks are intended to discredit CRS and mobilize their base against us,” he writes.

But it’s never been our intention to “attack” or “discredit” CRS, or the Catholic Campaign for Human Development, or Canada’s Development & Peace, or any other Catholic organization we’ve reported on.

In each of these cases we’ve taken pains to bring the concerns to the organization before going public, and even held the articles for weeks in some cases. We would much rather the issues be fixed, or the organization reformed, without the spotlight and controversy. But when it’s clear the issues will not be resolved, we have no choice but to take them public – to shine some light on the darkness.

We’re pleased to hear CRS’ assertion that all of its employees “adhere to Church principles and teaching” while on the job. But is that the best we can do - that development workers simply not oppose Church teaching when contentious issues arise? Would we not rather that they actively propose the Church’s perennial wisdom in these areas?

If it truly believes Pope Paul VI’s prophetic warnings about the destruction wrought by contraception in families and societies, for example, how could a Catholic development organization not make it a key aim to actively counter the massively-funded contraceptive effort? But instead they align themselves with its advocates – groups like CARE.

In promoting the dignity of the human person in the Third World, as CRS aims to do, a Catholic aid organization cannot reduce the person to her physical needs, divorced somehow from her moral and spiritual needs. The Church’s moral teachings and her evangelistic mission are integral to her development efforts.

This was one of the most crucial emphases of Caritas in Veritate. As Pope Benedict wrote, both Humanae Vitae and Evangelii Nuntiandi, though lacking a “direct link to social doctrine,” are “highly important for delineating the fully human meaning of the development that the Church proposes.”

The Church’s moral teachings are not fundamentally a restraint on the Church’s work in the social sphere, but an impetus. They are not something merely to be “adhered” to, but believed and put into action.

Patrick Craine is Canadian Bureau Chief for LifeSiteNews.com.

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A protester rallies against Hobby Lobby, protesting against the Supreme Court decision Dan Holm/Shutterstock
Dustin Siggins Dustin Siggins Follow Dustin

DNC chairwoman exhorts constituents to boycott local Hobby Lobby store

Dustin Siggins Dustin Siggins Follow Dustin
By Dustin Siggins

The Supreme Court's Hobby Lobby decision was nearly two months ago, but the issue as hot as ever, as was demonstrated yesterday when Democratic National Committee chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schulz, D-FL, urged constituents to boycott a Hobby Lobby store in her district.

In a press conference one lot away from the Hobby Lobby location in Davie, which opened in April, Wasserman-Schultz said that she wanted "people to know that this Hobby Lobby is here and they should vote with their purses and their pocketbooks, and women should not shop here."

"If you didn’t know this Hobby Lobby was here before, know it now and don’t shop here. They don’t deserve women’s business because they are the ones that all across the country have made it harder for women to get access to birth control,” she said.

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Wasserman-Schultz said that Hobby Lobby's corporate ownership "doesn’t support its employees" and "wants to be able to get in the personal business of their employees and make health care decisions and replace their own values, replace their employees’ health care decisions, with their values…."

She also criticized the Supreme Court's late June decision in favor of Hobby Lobby, which had sued the federal government over the Obama administration's HHS Mandate.

The Green family, which owns Hobby Lobby, say it violates their conscience to pay for coverage for the four abortifacients and potential abortifacients that the mandate required them to cover.

"The Supreme Court’s decision in the Hobby Lobby case was not only disappointing, it was dangerous," said the Democrat. "No boss should have the right to dictate and employee’s health decisions because [they] don’t belong in the bedrooms, doctor’s offices or pharmacies of their employees.

"A woman and her doctor know what’s best for their body. Not an insurance company. Not a politician. And certainly not a manager at a Hobby Lobby."

The Supreme Court's decision allowed closely held corporations to not fund coverage of contraception or abortion drugs and devices.

Wasserman-Schultz's office did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

Through a spokesperson, the Green family declined to comment about the Congresswoman's statements. 

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Kirsten Andersen Kirsten Andersen Follow Kirsten

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America is rejecting abortion because pro-lifers are having more children: study

Kirsten Andersen Kirsten Andersen Follow Kirsten
By Kirsten Anderson

According to a new Northwestern University study, American attitudes about abortion are trending more conservatively than other contentious social issues, a phenomenon the authors credit to the simple fact that pro-lifers have more kids.

“We find evidence that the abortion attitudes have lagged behind a liberalizing trend of other correlated attitudes,” the authors wrote. Using GSS data collected between 1977 and 2010, “We test[ed] the hypothesis that the comparatively high fertility of pro-life individuals has led to a more pro-life population.”

The authors wrote: “Support for abortion rights has turned flat after a period of increase following Roe v. Wade, and in recent years there are even indications of a reversal toward more restrictive attitudes. This U-turn is evinced particularly among younger cohorts, and is happening despite liberalizing trends in several ostensibly related issue domains.”

The authors speculated that the reason for the increase in pro-life attitudes among young people is that their parents had more children than their pro-abortion counterparts. When they examined the data, they found that pro-life individuals had, on average, 27 percent more children than those who considered themselves “pro-choice.”

Not only that, but pro-life parents appear to be much more likely to pass their views on to their children. The researchers found that the younger generation’s pro-life shift was too strong to be blamed solely on differences in fertility – meaning children of pro-abortion parents are rejecting their parents’ views.

“[E]ither pro-life beliefs are always more faithfully transmitted than pro-choice ones; or, there has been a cultural shift towards more pro-life beliefs that is being reflected in the parent-child correlations,” the authors wrote.

The study concluded that if it wasn’t for the higher fertility rate among pro-life people, the nation as a whole would favor abortion by about five percentage points more than it does currently – and researchers predict the pro-life trend will continue.

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“Taken together, these findings suggest that fertility has had at least some part in leading the population in a more pro-life direction over time,” the authors wrote. “Further investigation into this pattern indicates that not only are abortion attitudes associated with fertility, but in proportional terms—which is what matters for cultural change—the gap is widening.”

“Fertility has declined for both pro-choice and pro-life groups over the past 30 years, but fertility has declined far less markedly for pro-life individuals,” they added. “Whereas pro-[life] individuals born before 1940 were only having about 1.2 children per one child born to a pro-choice parent, this ratio has grown to over 1.5 for those born in the mid to late 1970s. This pattern suggests that future cohorts may place an even stronger demographic drag on the liberalization of abortion attitudes.”

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A declaration that PP is an 'enemy of the Church' would mean that Catholics who work with, advocate for, or support Planned Parenthood, incur automatic excommunication. American Life League
Lisa Bourne

New campaign asks Pope Francis to declare Planned Parenthood an ‘enemy of the Church’

Lisa Bourne
By Lisa Bourne

The Catholic pro-life organization American Life League (ALL) is launching a campaign calling for the Catholic Church to declare Planned Parenthood an “enemy of the Church.”

Using prayer and education, ALL’s Defend the Family campaign seeks to expose the nation’s largest abortion provider for contribution to the destruction of human lives, as well as the family. 

The campaign, said Jim Sedlack, vice-president of ALL, is quite simply “a way of calling attention to the fact that this is a very bad organization.”

“Planned Parenthood is attacking the family, either by killing preborn children or by robbing the souls of the older children,” he said. 

A declaration that PP is an “enemy of the Church” would mean that Catholics who work with, advocate for, or support Planned Parenthood, incur automatic excommunication.

Such a declaration would not be unprecedented. Popes in the past have identified and condemned organizations that posed a grave threat to the Church, most recently Pope Pius XII in 1949 with Communism and Pope Clement XII in 1738 with Freemasonry.

While specifics would depend on the wording of the Papal pronouncement, Sedlak told LifeSiteNews if the Holy Father makes the declaration there would be no mistaking its intent.

“When the pope makes the declaration it becomes crystal clear,” Sedlak said. “There’ll be no shades of gray, it’ll be black and white, it’ll be clear to the world.”

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'Now is the time'

There are still people who are not fully aware of the extent of the societal damage inflicted by Planned Parenthood, said Sedlak, including members of the Church hierarchy. He said it’s important to emphasize the truth of what the abortion giant does.

“That’s why we’re focusing on the enemy,” said Sedlak. “When people really stop and focus on Planned Parenthood, they realize it’s the enemy.”

ALL cites Planned Parenthood’s targeting of children to sexualize them as a major cause of the destruction of the family and a fundamental reason for the Defend the Family campaign.

“They really push for getting young people into lives of sexual sin,” Sedlak said. “Young people who aren’t pulled into sexual activity do not provide a cent of income to Planned Parenthood, but young people who are pulled in provide millions of dollars to the Planned Parenthood empire.”

ALL compiled a comprehensive report on Planned Parenthood titled, “The Vatican can help save souls from Planned Parenthood,” as part of the Defend the Family campaign.

“The document builds the case,” said Sedlak. “Why Planned Parenthood, why now is the time.”

Sedlak told LifeSiteNews that for its part Planned Parenthood has always recognized that its greatest enemy is the Catholic Church, even working to have the Church lose its status at the UN.

“They fight anybody who wants to take sex away from the kids in any way possible,” Sedlak said. “That’s one reason why Planned Parenthood is the sex mafia.”

And when Sedlak uses the term “mafia,” he means it literally, pointing out that the Holy Father condemned the mafia in his June 21, 2014, homily in Calabria, Italy, denouncing its, “Adoration of evil and contempt for the common good.”

“Planned Parenthood kills far more people than the mafia,” Sedlak said.

Also underscoring the need for the Vatican to act on declaring Planned Parenthood an enemy of the Church, is the convening of the Extraordinary Synod on the Family this October in Rome, which will lead into the general synod in 2015.

Sedlak told LifeSiteNews that these, along with the 2015 World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia, are events that ALL will rally around to raise awareness of the Defend the Family campaign.

Preliminary response to the campaign has been very positive, he said.

Sedlak told LifeSiteNews that the “Vatican can help save souls from Planned Parenthood” report was so well received upon initial presentation to Vatican officials, that ALL was asked to translate it into three more languages.

“The support we’ve gotten from talking to bishops has been overwhelming,” Sedlak said.

Prayer is priority #1

The Defend the Family campaign consists first and foremost of prayer, Sedlak told LifeSiteNews.

“Our approach is that we need prayer support,” he said. “The only way that we’re going to succeed is through prayer to the Blessed Mother; the only way it will succeed is if God wants it to succeed.”

Participants are asked to say regular prayers after Mass, to offer prayers for the pope and to initiate communication with local bishops about the dangers that Planned Parenthood poses to the faithful.

Sedlak also added that The Defend the Family campaign is for everyone, not just Catholics.

He said pro-life supporters of all faith traditions are invited to contact ALL for assistance in encouraging their religious denomination or church leader to declare Planned Parenthood an enemy.

In addition to prayers for the campaign, ALL is asking people to sign and submit ALL’s Declaration of Encouragement to the Holy Father, enroll in the Spiritual Bouquet for the Holy Father and to share ALL resources on Planned Parenthood.

Information, links and resources are available on the campaign website, defendthefamily.org.

Sedlak told LifeSiteNews that ALL is giving the success of the Defend the Family campaign up to God.

“This is all happening in God’s time, and so far he’s been blessing us mightily,” Sedlak said. “And we’re going to go wherever God takes us.”

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