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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LifeSiteNews staff

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Quebec groups launch court challenge to euthanasia bill

LifeSiteNews staff
By LifeSiteNews staff

As announced when the Quebec legislature adopted Bill 52, An Act respecting end-of-life care, the citizen movement Living with Dignity and the Physicians’ Alliance against Euthanasia, representing together over 650 physicians and 17,000 citizens, filed a lawsuit before the Superior Court of Quebec in the District of Montreal on Thursday.

The lawsuit requests that the Court declare invalid all the provisions of the Act that deal with “medical aid in dying”, a term the groups say is a euphemism for euthanasia. This Act not only allows certain patients to demand that a physician provoke their death, but also grants physicians the right to cause the death of these patients by the administration of a lethal substance.

The two organizations are challenging the constitutionality of those provisions in the Act which are aimed at decriminalizing euthanasia under the euphemism “medical aid in dying”. Euthanasia constitutes a culpable homicide under Canada’s Criminal Code, and the organizations maintain that it is at the core of the exclusive federal legislative power in relation to criminal law and Quebec therefore does not have the power to adopt these provisions.

The organizations also say the impugned provisions unjustifiably infringe the rights to life and to security of patients guaranteed by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the Quebec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms. They further infringe the right to the safeguard of the dignity of the person, which is also protected by the Quebec Charter.

In view of the gravity of the situation and the urgent need to protect all vulnerable persons in Quebec, they are requesting an accelerated management of the case in order to obtain a judgment before the Act is expected to come into force on December 10, 2015.


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Colorado baker appeals gvmt ‘re-education’ order

LifeSiteNews staff
By LifeSiteNews staff

A Colorado cake artist who declined to use his creative talents to promote and endorse a same-sex ceremony appealed a May 30 order from the Colorado Civil Rights Commission to the Colorado Court of Appeals Wednesday.

The commission’s order requires cake artist Jack Phillips and his staff at Masterpiece Cakeshop to create cakes for same-sex celebrations, forces him to re-educate his staff that Colorado’s Anti-Discrimination Act means that artists must endorse all views, compels him to implement new policies to comply with the commission’s order, and requires him to file quarterly “compliance” reports for two years. The reports must include the number of patrons declined a wedding cake or any other product and state the reason for doing so to ensure he has fully eliminated his religious beliefs from his business.

“Americans should not be forced by the government – or by another citizen – to endorse or promote ideas with which they disagree,” said the cake artist’s lead counsel Nicolle Martin, an attorney allied with Alliance Defending Freedom. “This is not about the people who asked for a cake; it’s about the message the cake communicates. Just as Jack doesn’t create baked works of art for other events with which he disagrees, he doesn’t create cake art for same-sex ceremonies regardless of who walks in the door to place the order.”

“In America, we don’t force artists to create expression that is contrary to their convictions,” added Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Legal Counsel Jeremy Tedesco. “A paint artist who identifies as homosexual shouldn’t be intimidated into creating a painting that celebrates one-man, one-woman marriage. A pro-life photographer shouldn’t be forced to work a pro-abortion rally. And Christian cake artists shouldn’t be punished for declining to participate in a same-sex ceremony or promote its message.”

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

In July 2012, Charlie Craig and David Mullins asked Jack Phillips, owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop, to make a wedding cake to celebrate their same-sex ceremony. In an exchange lasting about 30 seconds, Phillips politely declined, explaining that he would gladly make them any other type of baked item they wanted but that he could not make a cake promoting a same-sex ceremony because of his faith. Craig and Mullins, now represented by the American Civil Liberties Union, immediately left the shop and later filed a complaint with the Colorado Civil Rights Division. The case now goes to the Colorado Court of Appeals as Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Craig.

“Jack, and other cake artists like him – such as those seen on TV shows like ‘Ace of Cakes’ and ‘Cake Boss’ – prepare unique creations that are inherently expressive,” Tedesco explained. “Jack invests many hours in the wedding cake creative process, which includes meeting the clients, designing and sketching the cake, and then baking, sculpting, and decorating it. The ACLU calls Jack a mere ‘retail service provider,’ but, in fact, he is an artist who uses his talents and abilities to create expression that the First Amendment fully protects."

Celebrity cake artists have written publicly about their art and the significant expressive work that goes into the artistic design process for wedding cakes.


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Prisoner of conscience Mary Wagner appeals her conviction

Tony Gosgnach
By Tony Gosgnach

TORONTO -- As promised, Mary Wagner has, through her counsel Dr. Charles Lugosi, filed a formal notice of appeal on numerous points regarding her recent, almost two-year-long court case that ended on June 12.

Justice Fergus O’Donnell of the Ontario Court of Justice rejected every application made by the defence – including for access to abortion center records, public funding, standing for a constitutional challenge and for expert witnesses to be heard – before he found Wagner guilty and sentenced her to five months in jail on a charge of mischief and four months on four counts of failing to comply with probation orders.

He further levied two years of probation, with terms that she stay at least 100 metres away from any abortion site. However, because Wagner had spent a greater time in jail than the sentence, she was freed immediately. She had been arrested at the “Women’s Care Clinic” abortion site on Lawrence Avenue West in Toronto on August 15, 2012 after attempting to speak to abortion-bound women there. She then spent the duration of the trial in prison for refusing to sign bail conditions requiring her to stay away from abortion sites.

Wagner is using the matter as a test case to challenge the current definition of a human being in Canadian law – that is, that a human being is legally recognized as such only after he or she has fully emerged from the birth canal in a breathing state.

Wagner’s notice states the appeal is regarding:

  • Her conviction and sentence on a single count of mischief (interference with property),
  • Her conviction and sentence on four counts of breach of probation,
  • The order denying public funding,
  • The order denying the disclosure of third-party records,
  • The order denying the admission of evidence from experts on the applicant’s constitutional challenge concerning the constitutional validity of Section 223 of the Criminal Code,
  • The order denying the admission of evidence from experts concerning the construction of Section 37 of the Criminal Code,
  • The probation order denying Wagner her constitutional rights to freedom of speech, freedom of expression, freedom of conscience and freedom of religion on all public sidewalks and public areas within 100 metres of places where abortions are committed,
  • And each conviction and sentence and all orders and rulings made by O’Donnell.

In the notice of appeal, Lugosi cites numerous points on which O’Donnell erred:

  • He denied Wagner her constitutional right to make full answer and defence.
  • He denied Wagner her right to rely on Section 37 of the Criminal Code, which permits “everyone” to come to the third-party defence and rescue of any human being (in this case, the preborn) facing imminent assault.
  • He decided the factual basis of Wagner’s constitutional arguments was a waste of the court’s time and that no purpose would have been served by having an evidentiary hearing on her Charter application because, in the current state of Canadian law, it had no possibility of success.
  • He misapplied case law and prejudged the case, “giving rise to a reasonable apprehension of bias and impeding the legal evolution of the law to adapt to new circumstances, knowledge and changed societal values and morals.”
  • He accepted the Crown’s submission that it is beyond the jurisdiction of the courts to question the jurisdiction of Parliament legally to define “human being” in any manner Parliament sees fit.
  • He ruled Section 223 of the Criminal Code is not beyond the powers of Section 52 of the Constitution Act, 1982.
  • He ruled Section 223 of the Criminal Code does not violate the Preamble to, as well as Sections 7, 11(d), 15 and 26, of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
  • He denied Wagner standing to raise a constitutional challenge to the validity of Section 223 of the Criminal Code.
  • He ruled that Section 223 of the Criminal Code applied generally throughout the entire Criminal Code and used it to deny unborn human beings the benefit of equal protection as born human beings under Section 37 of the Criminal Code.
  • He denied the production and disclosure of third-party records in the possession of the “Women’s Care Clinic” abortion site, although the records were required to prove Wagner was justified in using reasonable force in the form of oral and written words to try to persuade pregnant mothers from killing their unborn children by abortion.
  • He denied Wagner the defence of Section 37 of the Criminal Code by ruling unborn children did not come within the scope of human beings eligible to be protected by a third party.
  • He ruled Wagner did not come within the scope of Section 37 because she was found to be non-violent (in that she did not use physical force).
  • He ruled the unborn children Wagner was trying to rescue were not under her protection.
  • He denied Wagner the common-law defences of necessity and the rescue of third parties in need of protection.
  • He denied Wagner public funding to make full answer and defence for a constitutional test case of great public importance and national significance.
  • He imposed an unconstitutional sentence upon Wagner by, in effect, imposing an injunction as a condition of probation, contrary to her constitutional rights of free speech, freedom of expression, freedom of conscience and freedom of religion.

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Among the orders Lugosi is seeking are:

  • That an appeal be allowed against conviction on all counts and that a verdict of acquittal be entered on all counts,
  • That Section 223 of the Criminal Code be found unconstitutional  and contrary to Section 52 of the Constitution Act, 1982, as well as the unwritten constitution of Canada,
  • That the sentence be declared unconstitutional and contrary to Section 52 of the Constitution Act, 1982, and the unwritten constitution of Canada or that a new trial be conducted, with Wagner permitted to make full answer and defence, be given standing to make a constitutional attack on Section 223 of the Criminal Code, with the admission of expert witnesses,
  • That the Women’s Care Clinic abortion site be made to produce third-party records pertaining to patients seen on August 15, 2012 (when Wagner entered the site),
  • And that there be public funding for two defence counsels at any retrial and for any appeal related to the case.

No date has yet been established for a decision on the appeal or hearings.

A defence fund for Wagner’s case is still raising money. Details on how to contribute to it can be found here.


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