Peter Baklinski

,

Culture of life is winning, says Canadian Primate

Peter Baklinski
Peter Baklinski
Image

QUEBEC CITY, Quebec, January 5, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The Primate of Canada electrified the airwaves during the Priests For Life radio show on Monday, telling listeners that he believes that a strong vibrant “culture of life” is superceding the “culture of death.”

“I have a lot of hope in what is growing in our Church. There’s something dying, but there’s something new that’s coming up, that’s growing, that’s sprouting, that is filling me with hope,” said Archbishop Gérald Lacroix during the interview.

The Quebec Archbishop was interviewed by Fr. Tom Lynch and Fr. John Lemire from Priest for Life Canada, an association of Canadian Catholic priests and lay people who promote and defend the sanctity of human life. The interview, which was transmitted by Radio Teopoli AM530, focused on the state of the Catholic Church in Canada, and in particular, on what the Church has to offer to the pro-life cause.

Join a Facebook page to end abortion here

Lacroix is convinced that Canadians are living in “very exciting times, but very challenging ones.”

“The pope said the Church is going through a time of turmoil and difficulties — that was in the 12th century and it hasn’t changed since. It’s just normal. The Church is living and preaching the Gospel — the Word of God — and inviting people to a personal encounter with Jesus Christ. As we preach the Gospel, we also present God’s plan for life, God plan for humanity, and that is not accepted by everyone.”

The primate argued that not everyone accepts God’s plan for life and for humanity because of the many “influences out there in the world that have other interests than [human] life.” He pointed specifically to “economic values” that foster “materialism” and a “very secularized way of seeing life in our society.” He noted that in this context “production” of goods becomes more important than the “family, the cell base of society.” He says that these have “drawn us away from family values” and have “hindered very much and hurt our families.”

He also said that the country has not always had “governments, whether they be on a local level or national level that have favoured life, that have supported family policies.”

As the archbishop approaches the end of his first year as the Primate of Canada, he said that people have indicated to him that “we cannot go on living like this without having reference to God and his plan… We are not succeeding in life… We have tried to do it without him, and it’s not working.”

When people are searching for answers to such seemingly insurmountable difficulties, says Lacroix, the Church has something to offer them.

“Bringing people to a personal encounter with Jesus Christ in the Gospel changes their life because it brings them into a relationship with the Lord, with God our Father, with the Holy Spirit. And that changes everything. And that gives them a new vision of life, of values, of family, of the world. And it helps them to be different in the midst of this world.”

Lacroix sees signs that young people are looking intently to the Church for a new way of living, a way that is radically opposed to the anti-life and anti-family values of the world.

“And that is my hope. We have young people, young families who are very open to life right now and who want to live out the Gospel and who want to respect life and live by God’s rules which is a way of life which brings really that liberty, it helps you become yourself and it helps you to be happy.”

Lacroix says that people are mistaken when they think that Christianity will restrain them, will impede a good life, or that it will not let them love like they should. “To the contrary,” he says, “in encountering Christ and accepting the Gospel, and accepting the Word of God and the Church’s teaching, [these] will bring you to fullness of life.” 

Lacroix compared current scandals in the Church to dead trees falling in the forest making lots of “noise.” “When a tree falls in the forest it makes quite a BANG, and everyone says, ‘Wow!, what a scandal’.” In this analogy, he said that the hope that he sees in young people and in young families is like a “growing forest that makes no noise.” 

“There are things falling in our Church and maybe they need to fall, old ways of doing things, things that are not adapted. The Second Vatican Council 50 years ago has invited us to a whole renewal. Well, renewal is letting things go and opening your heart to what the Lord is putting before us today. Well, that makes a lot of noise. But what I am seeing [now] is a whole forest growing that makes no noise.”

Lacroix is convinced that the most effective way to build up a culture of life is with a “one-on-one” encounter with another person.

“[It’s] the time we will give and share with people whether it be with one person, with a couple, whether it be a family; the time we spend to build bridges, to welcome, to listen, to walk with, to be able to bring them to make a good decision. I think that is where we are most effective.”

Lacroix stressed that it is one’s very own “presence” at “ground zero” that makes the difference, whether it be supporting the life of someone in palliative care, accompanying someone who is suffering or depressed, or helping a woman with a crisis pregnancy.

“We need to train our people more and more to be effective on a very local level,” he said.

Witnessing one-on-one takes courage, says the archbishop. That is why the Church strengthens her people by nourishing them with the Eucharist and the Word of God, he said.

The “Word of God” and the “Bread of Life” make us “more like” Christ and to be “with him and him with us,” to be “true Christians who witness and who work for life year round, day in and day out.”

People have asked the Primate, “what is the Church going to do in front of these challenges of abortion and euthanasia?”

“We are in this together,” he responds. “The Church has leaders, has bishops, has priests, but you are the people of God who need to look at this seriously also.”

“In my diocese I have one million, seventy-five thousand Catholics. Potentially I have one million, seventy-five thousand missionaries for [the cause of] life; missionaries who feed on the Word of God, who live in communion with the Father, with the Son, and with the Holy Spirit, and who are out in this world making it a place where life is celebrated, welcomed, protected, sustained.” The archbishop pointed out that young people who choose to “live the Gospel are becoming apostles. They are being sent out to other young people.”

“We need to continue to be very well connected to God so that he will give us the Spirit, give us the Truth, and the courage, the audacity, to be able to be faithful to life.”

To young people, Archbishop Lacroix says: “Do not be afraid. Open the doors to Christ. He will bring you to life and fulfillment and happiness. Open wide the door. He will set you free. Come to a relationship with the Lord.”

Listen to entire interview here.


Advertisement
Featured Image
Shutterstock.com
Thaddeus Baklinski Thaddeus Baklinski Follow Thaddeus

African researchers warn early sexual activity increases risk of cancers

Thaddeus Baklinski Thaddeus Baklinski Follow Thaddeus
By Thaddeus Baklinski

A report on rising cancer rates in Africa delivered at a conference in Namibia last week warned that oral contraceptives and engaging in sexual activity from a young age lead to an increased risk of breast and reproductive system cancers.

Researchers presented the "2014 Integrated Africa Cancer Fact Sheet & Summary Score Card" during the 8th Stop Cervical, Breast and Prostate Cancer in Africa (SCCA) conference, held in Windhoek, Namibia from July 20 to 22, noted that cancer is a growing health problem in many developing countries and that breast and cervical cancer are the most common forms affecting African women.

The report said that sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) play a major role in reproductive system cancers and that young girls who engage in sexual activity risk getting, among other STDs, the human papilloma virus (HPV), some strains of which are linked to cervical cancer.

The report said although HPV infections are common in healthy women, they are usually fought off by the body’s immune system, with no discernible symptoms or health consequences.

The Cancer Association of South Africa points out that of the scores of HPV types, 14 of the more than 40 sexually transmitted varieties are considered "high risk" for causing serious illness, while two, HPV-16 and HPV-18, are linked to cervical cancer.

“Long-term use of oral contraceptives is also associated with increased risk [of cancer], and women living with HIV-AIDS are at increased risk of cervical cancer,” the report said.

Dr. Thandeka Mazibuko, a South African oncologist, told the conference attendees that when an 18-year-old is diagnosed with cervical cancer, “this means sex is an important activity in her life and she indulged from a young age.”

Mazibuko said the standard treatment for cancer of the cervix is seven weeks of radiation therapy.

“After the treatment they cannot have sex with their husbands or partners. They cannot bear children because everything has been closed up. Some may still have the womb but radiation makes them infertile,” Mazibuko said, according to a report in The Namibian.

Statistics from the Cancer Association of Namibia show that cases of cervical cancer have risen from 129 in 2005 to 266 in 2012.

The SCCA Conference theme was, "Moving forward to end Cervical Cancer by 2030: Universal Access to Cervical Cancer Prevention."

In his keynote address, host and Namibian President Hifikepunye Lucas Pohamba urged African countries to help each other to expand and modernize health care delivery in the continent.

"Within the context of the post-2015 Development Agenda and sustainable development goals, the provision of adequate health care to African women and children must be re-emphasized," said the president, according to AllAfrica.

The Namibian leader urged mothers to breastfeed their children for at least six months as a measure to prevent breast cancer.


Advertisement
Featured Image
Shutterstock.com
Hilary White Hilary White Follow Hilary

Allow ‘lethal injection’ for poor to save on palliative care: Lithuanian health minister

Hilary White Hilary White Follow Hilary
By Hilary White

Euthanasia is a solution for terminally ill poor people who cannot afford palliative care and who do not want to “see their families agonize” over their suffering, Lithuania’s health minister said last week.

In an interview on national television, Minister Rimantė Šalaševičiūtė added that the Belgian law on child euthanasia ought to be “taken into account” as well. 

Šalaševičiūtė told TV3 News that Lithuania, a country whose population is 77 percent Catholic, is not a welfare state and cannot guarantee quality palliative care for all those in need of it. The solution, therefore, would be “lethal injection.”

“It is time to think through euthanasia in these patients and allow them to make a decision: to live or die,” she said.

Direct euthanasia remains illegal in the Balkan state, but activists tried to bring it to the table in 2012. A motion to drop the planned bill was passed in the Parliament in March that year in a vote of 75 to 14. Since then the country has undergone a change in government in which the far-left Social Democrats have formed the largest voting bloc.

Šalaševičiūtė is a member of Parliament for the Social Democrats, the party originally established in the late 19th century – re-formed in the late 1980s – from Marxist principles and now affiliated with the international Party of European Socialists and Socialist International.

Fr. Andrius Narbekovas, a prominent priest, lecturer, physician, bioethicist, and member of the government’s bioethics committee, called the suggestion “satanic,” according to Delfi.lt. He issued a statement saying it is the purpose of the Ministry of Health to “protect the health and life, instead of looking for ways to take away life.”

“We understand that people who are sick are in need of funds. But a society that declares itself democratic, should very clearly understand that we have to take care of the sick, not kill them,” he said.


Advertisement
Featured Image
Islamists in Mosul mark Christian homes with an Arabic "N" for Nazarene.
Gualberto Garcia Jones, J.D.

We must open wide our doors to Iraq’s Christians

Gualberto Garcia Jones, J.D.
By Gualberto Garcia Jones J.D.

On July 18, the largest Christian community in Iraq, the Chaldean Catholics of Mosul, were given a grotesque ultimatum: leave your ancestral home, convert to Islam, or die.

All but forgotten by the 1.2 billion Catholics of the world, these last Christians who still speak Jesus’ native tongue of Aramaic and live in the land of Abraham and Jonah are being wiped out before our very eyes.

As a way of issuing a thinly-veiled threat, reminiscent of the Nazi persecution of the Jews, the Arabic letter “N” (for Nazarean) has been painted on the outside of the homes of all known Christians in Mosul.

These threats, issued by the fanatical Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) known for its bloodthirsty rampage of executions, have been taken very seriously by the several hundred thousand Christians in Mosul who have left with little more than the clothes they were wearing. 

At least most of these Christians were able to flee and find temporary protection among the Kurds in their semi-autonomous region.  However the Kurds do not have the resources to defend or shelter the Chaldean Christians for much longer.

On Monday, during an interview on Fox News, Republican U.S. Rep. Frank Wolf, who recently joined with 54 other members of the House of Representatives in a letter to President Obama asking him to act to protect these communities, stated that while Iraqi President Maliki had sent military flights to Mosul to evacuate Shiite Muslims, the US has done nothing to protect the Chaldean Christians.  Rep. Wolf also stated emphatically that President Obama has done “almost nothing” about the genocide taking place.

The silence from the White House is deafening.  But the lack of leadership from the hierarchy of the Catholic Church in America has been shocking as well.

Nevertheless, the plight of these Iraqi Christians is beginning to be taken seriously.   This is due in large part to the heroic efforts of local Iraqi religious leaders like Chaldean Patriarch Sako, who has gone on a whirlwind tour of the world to alert us all of the plight of these Iraqi Christians.  In a statement demonstrating his character, he told the Christians of Iraq last week, “We are your shepherds, and with our full responsibility towards you we will stay with you to the end, will not leave you, whatever the sacrifices.”

Before the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq was launched there were approximately 1.5 to 2 million Christians living in Iraq.  Today, there are believed to be less than 200,000.  The numbers speak for themselves.

Now that the world is beginning to be aware of the genocide in Northern Iraq, many of us ask ourselves: what can we do?  As citizens and as Christians blessed to live in nations with relative peace and security, what can we do?

The answer is quite simple and unexpected.  Demand that our government and church pull its head out of the sand and follow France. Yes, France.  

Yesterday, in a heroic gesture of Christian solidarity that would make Joan of Arc proud, the government of France opened wide its doors to the persecuted Iraqi Christians.  

”France is outraged by these abuses that it condemns with the utmost firmness," Laurent Fabius, France's foreign minister, and Bernard Cazeneuve, France's interior minister, said in a joint statement on Monday.

"The ultimatum given to these communities in Mosul by ISIS is the latest tragic example of the terrible threat that jihadist groups in Iraq, but also in Syria and elsewhere, pose to these populations that are historically an integral part of this region," they added. "We are ready, if they wish, to facilitate their asylum on our soil.  We are in constant contact with local and national authorities to ensure everything is done to protect them.”

The French statement drives home three crucial elements that every government, especially the United States, should communicate immediately:

  1. Recognize the genocide and name the perpetrators and victims.

  2. Officially condemn what is happening in the strongest terms.

  3. Offer a solution that includes cooperation with local authorities but which leads by making solid commitments such as offering asylum or other forms of protection.

With regard to the Church, we should look to the Chaldean Patriarch and the Iraqi bishops who shared their expectations explicitly in an open letter to “all people of conscience in Iraq and around the world” to take “practical actions to assure our people, not merely expressions of condemnation.”  Noticeably, the last section of the letter from the Iraqi bishops, before a final prayer to God, is an expression of thanks to the Kurdish government, which has welcomed them not just with “expressions” of goodwill but, like France, with a sacrificial hospitality.

On Friday, July 25, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops did issue a statement, but unfortunately it lacked much in terms of leadership or solutions.  We should encourage our bishops to do better than that, be bolder and stronger for our persecuted brothers and sisters, name names and offer concrete sacrificial aid. In a word, be more like the French.

In 1553, Rome welcomed the Chaldean church into the fold of the Catholic Church.  Nearly 500 years later, Catholic Americans must find ways to welcome these persecuted people into our country, into our churches, and into our own homes if need be.

I say, I am with you St. Joan of Arc.   I am with you, France.  I am with you, Chaldeans!

Gualberto Garcia Jones is the Executive Director of the International Human Rights Group, a non-profit organization based in Washington, DC, that seeks to advance the fundamental rights to life, the natural family, and religious liberty through international law and international relations. 


Advertisement

Customize your experience.

Login with Facebook