Peter Baklinski

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Culture of life is winning, says Canadian Primate

Peter Baklinski
Peter Baklinski
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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.

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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.

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Dustin Siggins Dustin Siggins Follow Dustin

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."

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"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.

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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

Thaddeus Baklinski Thaddeus Baklinski Follow Thaddeus
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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