Matthew Cullinan Hoffman

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Development and Peace invites leader of pro-abortion partner group to speak in Canada

Matthew Cullinan Hoffman
Matthew Cullinan Hoffman
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March 29, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace (D&P), which is currently on a Lenten fundraising drive in Catholic churches across Canada, has invited the leader of a pro-abortion Mexican “human rights” organization, which is also a D&P funding recipient, to speak at various parishes from March 30 to April 7.

According to D&P’s Share Lent website, Fr. Luis Arriaga, leader of the “Miguel Agustín Pro Juárez Center for Human Rights” (Centro de Derechos Humanos Miguel Agustín Pro Juárez), is scheduled to make appearances at various locations in eastern Ontario. On Saturday, April 2, Fr. Arriaga will speak at the Ottawa diocesan centre. Local Catholic pro-life activists will be holding a “protest and prayer” vigil outside the diocesan centre.

As LifeSiteNews has documented in previous reports, Fr. Arriaga and the Miguel Agustin Pro Juarez Center (PRODH) have been involved in abortion advocacy since at least 2005, signing numerous pro-abortion declarations and opposing a pro-life amendment to the constitution of the state of Jalisco.  However, this news agency has recently learned that both PRODH and Fr. Arriaga also personally support the pro-abortion organization “Catholics for the Right to Decide,” a group condemned by the Catholic Church for promoting the legalization of abortion and falsely claiming that killing the unborn is compatible with Catholic doctrine.

In November of 2010, after calling LifeSiteNews.com “nasty” for exposing his organization’s pro-abortion activities, Fr. Arriaga shared the stage at an award ceremony with Consuelo Mejía, director of Catholics for the Right to Decide, and the pro-abortion Marisa Belausteguigoitia of the University Program for Gender Studies (PUEG), applauding them both on their work. The award, named after the anti-Catholic feminist Hermila Galindo, was given by the Mexico City government’s Human Rights Commission, which simultaneously gave Arriaga a “special mention” certificate for his own work.

The event is advertised on the PRODH website itself, where the organization says “The PRODH center congratulates [the Mexico City government] for this decision that supports the outstanding career of Consuelo Mejia and the PUEG in the defense of the rights of women and the promotion of gender equality.”  A photo of of a smiling Arriaga receiving the award with Mejía is shown on the site.  (NOTE: Following publication of this article, PRODH removed the page from their website. However, LSN captured the page in a PDF, which can be seen here)

In an article about the event published by the pro-abortion news service CIMAC, Arriaga is also quoted as saying that in the struggle for women’s rights, “we recognize the support of the activity carried out by Consuelo Mejía and the PUEG, who have taught us lessons about new types of human relations, for the consolidation of an egalitarian society.”

In the same article, Mejía comments that the award is important because it highlights the plight of women “who dare to exercise their right to decide over their bodies,” while PEUG representative Marisa Belausteguigoitia complains that “in 17 states of the republic, women are obligated to give birth in all circumstances.”

The event was not the first time Arriaga and PRODH have participated in the promotion of “Catholics for the Right to Decide.”  As LifeSiteNews reported in 2010, Arriaga was a panel speaker for the organization’s 15th anniversary celebration, according to the Mexican radio station Radio Bemba (see article in Spanish here.) The panels were organized “to reflect on the contribution of this organization [Catholics for the Right to Decide] to the defense of the human rights of women and girls and the challenges that churches have regarding the topic of sexual and reproductive rights,” according to the radio station.


A history of pro-abortion activism

As LifeSiteNews (LSN) has previously reported, Fr. Arriaga’s organization has signed its name to many pro-abortion declarations. In 2008 PRODH signed a public declaration, published in the Guadalajara newspaper Publico, which specifically denounced a proposed pro-life constitutional amendment because it “intends to recognize rights for the unborn, against what is established by our constitutional system,” and “would eliminate the right of the women of Jalisco to interrupt a pregnancy.”

The declaration in Spanish can be found here, and an English translation can be found here.

The organization also signed on to a number of other “human rights” declarations in between 2005 and 2009 that included statements advocating the decriminalization of abortion and the availability of abortion in public hospitals (see LSN coverage here  and here). It is also a member of the pro-abortion “All Rights for Everyone Network” (Red Todos los Derechos para Todos y Todas), which is an open supporter of Mexico City’s law legalizing and subsidizing abortion on demand during the first 14 weeks of pregnancy. The “All Rights for Everyone Network” includes the Miguel Agustín Pro Juárez Center’s name in its pro-abortion pronouncements.


Non-denial denials

After LSN first exposed the PRODH Center’s signature on two “human rights” declarations that included pro-abortion statements in March of 2009, the organization responded with a brief statement claiming it had signed the documents “with the intention of supporting the general cause of human rights in Mexico; not in order to specifically support the legalization of abortion.”  However, it did not confirm or deny that it is a supporter of legalized abortion.

Fr. Arriaga later gave an interview to the Catholic Register, the Toronto diocese’s official newspaper, in which he denounced LSN’s coverage as “nasty,” and said simply that his group is “not focused on sexual or reproductive rights. This is not our specialty. Our focus is on the defence and promotion of civil and political rights.”

As LSN revealed in a series of articles during 2009 and 2010, D&P has allocated millions of dollars to pro-abortion groups in various nations as part of its 2006-2011 plan.  Fr. Arriaga’s PRODH itself received $24,000 Canadian Dollars in 2007-2008 year according to D&P, and is still a funding recipient, despite the revelation of its pro-abortion activities.

Although in recent months the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops has claimed that pro-abortion groups have been cut from funding, Arriaga’s speaking invitation and D&P’s continuing support for the Miguel Agustín Pro Juárez Center indicate that Development and Peace is continuing its policy of supporting pro-abortion organizations.

Locations of Fr. Arriaga’s speaking events scheduled at this time:

April 2, 10:00 am - 11:30 am

Conference Room, Diocesan Center
(protest scheduled)
1247 Kilborn Avenue, Ottawa
Click here for Google map

April 3, 9:00-11:30 am

St. Augustine Parish

1060 Baseline Road,
Ottawa, Ontario, K2C 0A6
Phone: (613) 225-7388
Fax: 613-225-6721
Web
Click here for Google Map of parish

April 3, 6:30 -7:30 PM (“Life Teen” mass)

Divine Infant Parish,
6658 Bilberry Drive
Orleans, ON, K1C 2S9
Phone: 613-824-6822
Fax: 613-834-7459
Website

Contact Information:

Contact information for every Canadian bishop

Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops
2500 Don Reid Drive
Ottawa, Ontario
Canada
K1H 2J2
E-mail: cecc@cccb.ca
Phone: (613) 241-9461
Fax: (613) 241-9048

Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace
Phone: 514-257-8711
Email: info@devp.org
Website

Note: see Composing Effective Communications in Response to LifeSiteNews Reports

Related LifeSiteNews coverage:

Development and Peace Funding of Pro-Abortion Groups 2009 / 2010

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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

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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