Patrick Craine

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D&P could fund foreign partners without permission of local bishop: Calgary bishop

Patrick Craine
Patrick Craine

CORNWALL, Ontario, October 20, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The Canadian Catholic Organization for Development & Peace, the official development arm of the Canadian bishops, could fund a project in the Third World even where the local bishop does not endorse it, according to one of the bishops appointed to oversee D&P.

“We are not asking for the local bishop to give a kind of a nihil obstat to the project,” Bishop Fred Henry of Calgary told Salt + Light TV at the bishops’ plenary assembly in Cornwall on Wednesday.  “But what we’re looking for is to inform, communicate with the local bishop and have him become an active partner in the project itself and the selection of partners.”

The bishop’s use of the phrase “nihil obstat,” a declaration in the Catholic Church indicating that “nothing hinders” Catholic faith in a specified book or activity, follows the publication of a major document under that title last month by a member of D&P’s theology committee.  The document, published on the leading blog opposing the reforms at D&P, denounced the prospect of “interference” by local bishops in D&P’s activities.

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Bishop Henry said that if problems arise in the effort to obtain a local bishop’s support, they should be handled by the Canadian bishops’ standing committee on Development & Peace, which has been appointed to oversee the organization.

“In some instances, it may be we back away from a project or a partner.  In other instances we may decide to opt to go ahead with it,” he explained.

Earlier this year, D&P defunded Mexico’s Centre PRODH after the Cardinal Archbishop of Mexico City wrote to the CCCB insisting that the group “has supported pro-abortion groups and promoted the purported woman’s right over her body, against unborn life.”

“We couldn’t take a position against the highest ranking authority of the Church in Mexico on this,” commented Michael Casey, D&P’s executive director, at the time.

The idea to require the approval of the local bishop was originally proposed by Archbishop Thomas Collins of Toronto, who insisted back in 2009 that funds from his diocese could go only go to D&P partners endorsed by the bishop.

“We must always act in concert with the local bishops who are responsible for the Church in distant lands,” he explained in a July 2009 statement.  “This is required by natural courtesy, and also by the way the Church is structured.”

“The bishops on the scene are also the ones who can verify that organizations in their country are appropriate partners, and are not in any way supporting anything contrary to our faith,” he added.

The CCCB seemed to indicate they were backing away from that stance in a September communiqué following a recent meeting of their D&P standing committee with D&P’s National Council.  The CCCB and D&P agreed it is “important to involve” local bishops in the discussion about funding partners, it said.

In response to LifeSiteNews’ question about the statement, CCCB media relations director Rene Laprise explained that D&P cannot always obtain the local bishop’s permission for a project.

“There will … need to be [flexibility], especially in situations when communication is difficult within a diocese, such as during civil war, or when government is antagonistic toward Church efforts on behalf of literacy or democratic movements, or during other forms of social unrest,” Laprise said.

In such situations, he continued, D&P may need to consult with a neighboring bishop or the local bishops’ conference instead.

“There are times when a local Bishop cannot authorize a CCODP project without endangering himself or his diocese,” Laprise said.

“One of the purposes for the CCCB Standing Committee for CCODP is so Development and Peace can talk these challenges and difficulties over with our own Bishops, and also so the CCCB can work with CCODP in helping it extend its contacts with Bishops in the Global South.”

Bishop Henry, who serves on that standing committee, has in the past maintained that it is acceptable for D&P to fund projects run by “pro-choice” groups.

“CCODP is not supporting abortion but a project to help the poor and their partners also happen to [be] pro-choice,” the bishop wrote in an e-mail to concerned pro-lifers in 2009.  “There is an important difference between the two.”

“Lifesite’s position seems to suggest that before we cooperate with anyone or any organization in supporting a good action, our opening question must be: ‘What is your stance on abortion?’ and that as the litmus test should override everything else. I don’t think that this would be the starting point of Jesus.”

Archbishop Collins, on the other hand, has insisted that “it is not enough to examine the suitability of individual projects.”

“Catholic organizations could not in conscience join together with any organization that goes against Gospel principles, specifically those related to the sanctity of life,” he wrote.

Those sitting on the CCCB standing committee are Bishop John Boissonneau, Auxiliary Bishop of Toronto, who serves as chair; Archbishop Pierre-André Fournier of Rimouski; Archbishop André Gaumond, who recently retired from Sherbrooke; Bishop Fred Henry of Calgary; and CCCB General Secretary Msgr. Pat Powers.

The two bishops on D&P’s National Council - Claude Champagne of Edmundston and Richard Grecco of Charlottetown – are consultors and will join the committee when their terms on the National Council end.

See Composing Effective Communications in Response to LifeSiteNews Reports.

Contact Information:

Archbishop Pedro López Quintana, Apostolic Nuncio to Canada
724 Manor Avenue
Ottawa, ON KIM OE3
Phone: (613) 746-4914
Fax: (613) 746-4786
E-mail: apostolic.nunciature@rogers.com

Msgr. Patrick Powers, General Secretary
Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops
2500 Don Reid Drive
Ottawa, ON K1H 2J2
Telephone: (613) 241-9461 ext. 209
Fax: (613) 241-8117
E-mail: Use this form.

Bishop Frederick B. Henry of Calgary
Catholic Pastoral Centre, Room 290
120 - 17 Avenue S.W.
Calgary (AB) T2S 2T2
Tel: (403) 209-3130
Fax: (403) 264-0272
E-mail: bishop.henry@calgarydiocese.ca

See Composing Effective Communications in Response to LifeSiteNews Reports.


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UK quietly opens the door to genetic engineering, ‘3-parent’ embryos

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By Hilary White

Last month the UK’s Department of Health quietly redefined the term “genetic modification” to open the door to allow certain kinds of modification of human embryos – thus potentially making it the first country in the world to allow genetic engineering.

Scottish journalist Lori Anderson recently raised the alarm over the change in a column in the Scotsman, in which she alleged that the change is designed to “dupe” the British public into accepting “full-scale germline genetic engineering,” using human embryos as test subjects.

Anderson said that in July, the Department of Health “effectively re-wrote the definition of ‘genetic modification’ to specifically exclude the alteration of human mitochondrial genes or any other genetic material that exists outside the chromosomes in the nucleus of the cell.”

“The reason for doing this is that it believes it will be easier to sell such an advancement to the public if it can insist that the end result will not be a ‘GM baby’.”

This change follows a statement from the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA), the government body that regulates experimental research on human embryos, approving the procedure to create an embryo from one couple’s gametes but with genetic material added from a third party donor, a procedure called in the press “three-parent embryos”.

Anderson quoted a statement from the Department of Health comparing this procedure to donating blood. The statement read, “There is no universally agreed definition of ‘genetic modification’ in humans – people who have organ transplants, blood donations, or even gene therapy are not generally regarded as being ‘genetically modified’. The Government has decided to adopt a working definition for the purpose of taking forward these regulations.”

This assertion was challenged by one of the UK’s leading fertility researchers, Lord Robert Winston, who told the Independent, “Of course mitochondrial transfer is genetic modification and this modification is handed down the generations. It is totally wrong to compare it with a blood transfusion.”

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The HFEA, which throughout its history has been known as one of the world’s most permissive regulatory bodies, has been working steadily towards allowing genetically modified embryos to be implanted in women undergoing artificial procreation treatments. In a document issued to the government last year, they called the insertion of mitochondrial DNA (mDNA) into embryos “mitochondrial donation” or “mitochondrial replacement”. mDNA is the genetic material found in the cytoplasm outside a cell’s nucleus, problems with which can cause a host of currently incurable genetic illnesses.

In the statement issued in June, the HFEA said the technique of inserting “donated” mDNA into already existing in vitro embryos, “should be considered ‘not unsafe’ for the use on a ‘specific and defined group of patients.’”

“Mitochondria replacement (or mitochondrial donation) describes two medical techniques, currently being worked on by UK researchers, which could allow women to avoid passing on genetically inherited mitochondrial diseases to their children,” the statement said.

The HFEA admitted that the techniques are “at the cutting edge of both science and ethics” and said that the results of a “public consultation” in 2012/13 were being examined by the government, which is considering “draft regulations”.

In June, the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children echoed Lori Anderson’s concern, commenting that the HFEA is attempting to deceive the public. Paul Tully, SPUC’s general secretary, said, “Human gene manipulation is being sold to a gullible public on a promise of reducing suffering, the same old con-trick that the test-tube baby lobby has been using for decades.” 

Any manipulation of human genetics, always breaks “several important moral rules,” entailing the creation of “human guinea-pigs,” Tully said. “Human germ-line manipulation and cloning – changing the genetic inheritance of future generations - goes against internationally-agreed norms for ethical science.”

He quoted Professor Andy Greenfield, the chairman of the scientific review panel that approved the techniques, who said that there is no way of knowing what effect this would have on the children created until it is actually done.

“We have to subject children who have not consented and cannot consent to being test subjects,” Tully said.

Altering the mDNA of an embryo is what cloning scientists refer to as “germline” alteration, meaning that the changes will be carried on through the altered embryo’s own offspring, a longstanding goal of eugenicists.

In their 1999 book, “Human Molecular Genetics” Tom Strachan and Andrew Read warned that the use of mitochondrial alteration of embryos would cross serious ethical boundaries.

Having argued that germline therapy would be “pointless” from a therapeutic standpoint, the authors said, “There are serious concerns, therefore, that a hidden motive for germline gene therapy is to enable research to be done on germline manipulation with the ultimate aim of germline-based genetic enhancement.”

“The latter could result in positive eugenics programs, whereby planned genetic modification of the germline could involve artificial selection for genes that are thought to confer advantageous traits.”


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Cable series portrays nun as back-alley abortionist

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By Ben Johnson
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'To depict a nun who performs an abortion is a new low,' said Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights.

The Cinemax TV series The Knick portrayed a Roman Catholic nun as a back alley abortionist who tells a Catholic woman God will forgive her for going through with the procedure.

In its latest episode, which aired Friday night, the series showed Sister Harriet (an Irish nun played by Cara Seymour) telling a Catholic woman named Nora, “Your husband will know nothing of it. I promise.”

“Will God forgive me?” Nora asked, adding, “I don't want to go to Hell for killing a baby.”

“He knows that you suffered,” the sister replied, before performing the illegal abortion off-screen. “I believe the Lord's compassion will be yours.” 

The period medical drama is set at the Knickerbocker Hospital (“The Knick”) in New York City around the turn of the 20th century, when abortion was against both civil and ecclesiastical law.

“It is no secret that Hollywood is a big pro-abortion town, but to depict a nun who performs an abortion is a new low,” Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, said. “The only saving grace in this episode is the real-life recognition of the woman who is about to have the abortion: she admits that her baby is going to be killed.”

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The series is directed by Steven Soderbergh, known for such films as Erin Brockovich, the Oceans Eleven franchise, and Sex, Lies, and Videotape. More recently he directed The Girlfriend Experience, a film about prostitution starring pornographic actress Sasha Grey.

Critics have hailed his decision to include a black surgeon in circa 1900 America. But after last week's episode, the New York Times stated that The Knick has chosen to “demonstrate concern for other kinds of progress,” citing the depiction of the abortion. 


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Catholic Malta enacts ‘transgender’ employment discrimination law

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By Hilary White

An amendment to Malta’s Employment and Industrial Relations Act means that employment “discrimination” against “transsexuals” is now officially prohibited in the Catholic country. The provision, which was quietly passed in May, came into effect on August 12th.

The law allows those who believe they have a complaint to make a case with the National Commission for the Promotion of Equality, with an industrial tribunal or the courts. A government spokesman told local  media, “Employees do not need to prove that their employer has discriminated against them.”

“They only need to provide enough evidence pointing to a likely case of discrimination. The employer will then need to prove that discrimination has not taken place.”

The amendment defines illegal discrimination against “transgendered” people as, “in so far as the ground of sex is concerned, any less favourable treatment of a person who underwent or is undergoing gender reassignment, which, for the purpose of those regulations shall mean, where a person is considering or intends to undergo, or is undergoing, a process, or part of a process, for the purposes of reassigning the person’s sex by changing physiological or other attributes of sex.” 

Silvan Agius, Human Rights policy coordinator with the Ministry for Social Dialogue, Consumer Affairs and Civil Liberties, told Malta Today newspaper that the new amendment brings Maltese law into harmony with EU law.

“This amendment is continuing the government’s equality mainstreaming exercise. The inclusion of gender reassignment in the Act also brings it in line with the anti-discrimination articles found in both Malta’s Constitution and the Equality for Men and Woman Act,” Agius said.

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Agius is a key member of the homosexual activist apparatus in Malta’s government working to entrench the ideology of gender in law in Malta and elsewhere. In June, he was a featured speaker, with the notorious British anti-Catholic campaigner Peter Tatchell, at a Glasgow conference organised by the Edinburgh-based Equality Network, a group that helps organise and train homosexualist campaign groups.

The amendment to the law follows promises made recently by the country’s equalities minister, Helena Dalli, to a “transgender” congress in Hungary in May. Dalli, who brought forward Malta’s recently passed same-sex civil unions bill, told a meeting of gender activists in Budapest that while her government’s focus had been mainly on homosexuals, that she would shortly be turning her attention to “trans” people.

“The next step now is a Bill towards the enactment of a Gender Identity law. A draft bill has been prepared and it has now been passed to the LGBTI Consultative Council for its vetting and amendment as necessary,” Dalli said.

“Some of you may be thinking that we are moving forward quickly. I have a different perspective though. We are doing what is right, what should have been done a long time ago,” she added.

Since the legalisation of divorce in 2011, Malta has been remarkable for its rapid adoption of the gender ideology’s agenda. In 2013, Malta was named the “fastest climber” on the Rainbow Europe Index, a survey organised annually by ILGA Europe, the leading homosexualist lobby group funded directly by the European Union.

The ILGA Europe report notes (p. 114) that Helena Dalli Helena “was one of 11 EU Member States’ equality ministers to co-sign a call for the European Commission to work on a comprehensive EU policy for LGBT equality.” The report also noted that although the new Labour government has proved cooperative, the Christian Democrat Nationalist Party has “progressively proved more receptive to LGBTI issues, including same-sex unions.”


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