Dr. Ligaya Acosta

How Western agencies are using billions to foist their population agenda on Filipinos

Dr. Ligaya Acosta
By Dr. Ligaya Acosta
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Co-authored with Stephen Phelan

June 6, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Many Catholics around the world have become aware of the goings-on in the Philippines, perhaps the most Catholic and pro-life country in the world. Thanks primarily to the strong and united leadership of our faithful bishops, Filipinos have been successful in fighting off a sustained assault from the West in the form of a “Reproductive Health (RH)” bill that threatens the families and future of the Philippines. But the bill’s proponents seem undaunted and incredibly well-funded, so we wanted to help Catholics around the world understand the situation on the ground, and ask for your prayers and support.

The Philippines does not need and does not want the RH bill.  It is a foreign imposition, the contents of which are alien to Filipino values and culture.

The vast majority of Filipinos oppose the bill, as proven by the many huge rallies over the country – the biggest of which saw almost 500,000 gather in Manila last March.  The same bill has been filed and re-filed since 1998’s 11th Congress (it is now the 15th), but as we have seen, its Western promoters have no intention of taking ‘no’ for an answer this time around.

Why, one might ask, does it keep reappearing, sometimes with different names or slightly revised content, if the people of the Philippines have so clearly rejected it? It reappears because it is fueled by mind-boggling amounts of money from international population control organizations, including the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), who have long expressed their concern that there are too many poor Filipinos for their comfort. Most recently, the European Union added to the pot, promising 35 million euros as a further enticement for the Philippines to embrace the desired “health reforms.” These groups have essentially bottomless bank accounts, and will not stop until they have reduced Filipino fertility to levels that they are comfortable with.

Sadly, almost everything in the bill has already been implemented surreptitiously by both government and non-governmental organizations. The Philippines now has “population officers” to keep tabs on poor women and try to get them to stop having children. Ubiquitous promotion of “safe,” promiscuous sexual activity has given the Filipinos increasing rates of teenage pregnancy, and many people now think that those who created the problems are the ones to provide the solutions. Slowly, the language of the population controllers is taking hold among young people, the government and the media, while voices of opposition, such as those of the bishops, are increasingly portrayed as being in opposition to Filipino progress.

But the bill will have further and even more devastating consequences if it becomes law. It has provisions to force medical professionals and businesses to promote and perform a full range of “reproductive health services,” regardless of conscientious objection. It promises to fine and jail opponents who spread as-yet-undefined “malicious” falsehoods about the bill. It requires couples to undergo government-mandated RH training and certification before they can obtain a marriage license.

Its primary goal, however, is to define the governmental roles, relationships and structures needed to fully implement the draconian population control program that is being pushed so aggressively by Western elites. And although the bill does not specifically legalize abortion, this omission is widely understood to be a temporary, pragmatic concession to the strongly anti-abortion Filipinos. No abortion – for now. Abortion, as it always does, will soon follow once the rest of the program is adopted, and once the true changes in behavior sought by Western elites are effectively mainstreamed.

Around the world, without exception, “reproductive health” always means contraception and abortion, and is always implemented surreptitiously until the society buys into the false solutions to problems they didn’t have before the population controllers showed up.

The disingenuousness of the bill’s promoters is truly stunning. While they claim it is pro-woman, it actually harms women by promoting hormonal contraceptives that are increasingly tied to various cancers and lethal, stroke-causing blood clots. While they say that the bill is an attempt to alleviate poverty, their proposed solution is actually to eliminate the poor rather than to confront the rampant corruption in Filipino government and business.  While they preach about responsible parenthood, they promote radically irresponsible sexual behavior and seek to eliminate its natural consequence – pregnancy – with contraceptives, and soon, abortion.  And while they say that population growth must be managed by the government because of limited financial resources, they spend hundreds of millions of dollars promoting their false solutions, leaving the real cause of the Philippines’ poverty unaddressed.

It is truly sad that while “Catholic” Philippine President Benigno Aquino ran successfully on an anti-corruption platform, he is pushing a bill which would institutionalize the worst corruption of all – the corruption of human lives and moral values. And while he talks about poverty alleviation, he is promoting the greatest poverty of all – spiritual poverty.

Following his recent public promises to push for the bill even at risk of being excommunicated from the Catholic Church, President Benigno Aquino has placed himself firmly with the Western elites who think there are too many Filipinos, and against the bishops. This is indeed a sad turn of events. His mother, the late, beloved former President Corazon Aquino, who always stood with Filipino families and the Church, must be turning in her grave.

As mentioned earlier, however, Filipinos have been successfully fighting the bill in the legislature for over a decade, and have no intention of giving in now, even as a new congressional session has begun and the population controllers increasingly express confidence that it is only a matter of time before the bill is passed. We have hope and trust in the Lord of Life, and united with you in prayer, we will continue to fight this bill with all we have.

Based in Manila, Dr. Ligaya Acosta is Human Life International’s Regional Coordinator for Asia and Oceania, and is a former health officer of the Philippines. Stephen Phelan is HLI’s Director of Communications and writes from Front Royal, Virginia.

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Lisa Bourne

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Cardinal Dolan: Debate on denying Communion to pro-abortion pols ‘in the past’

Lisa Bourne
By Lisa Bourne

As America heads into its 2014 midterm elections, a leading U.S. prelate says the nation’s bishops believe debate over whether to deny Communion to pro-abortion Catholic politicians is “in the past.”

The Church’s Code of Canon Law states in Canon 915 that those “obstinately persevering in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to Holy Communion.” Leading Vatican officials, including Pope Benedict XVI himself, have said this canon ought to be applied in the case of pro-abortion Catholic politicians. However, prelates in the West have widely ignored it, and some have openly disagreed.

John Allen, Jr. of the new website Crux, launched as a Catholic initiative under the auspices of the Boston Globe, asked New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan about the issue earlier this month.

“In a way, I like to think it’s an issue that served us well in forcing us to do a serious examination of conscience about how we can best teach our people about their political responsibilities,” the cardinal responded, “but by now that inflammatory issue is in the past.”

“I don’t hear too many bishops saying it’s something that we need to debate nationally, or that we have to decide collegially,” he continued. “I think most bishops have said, ‘We trust individual bishops in individual cases.’ Most don’t think it’s something for which we have to go to the mat.”

Cardinal Dolan expressed personal disinterest in upholding Canon 915 publicly in 2010 when he told an Albany TV station he was not in favor of denying Communion to pro-abortion politicians. He said at the time that he preferred “to follow the lead of Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI, who said it was better to try to persuade them than to impose sanctions.”

However, in 2004 Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who became Pope Benedict XVI the following year, wrote the U.S. Bishops a letter stating that a Catholic politician who would vote for "permissive abortion and euthanasia laws" after being duly instructed and warned, "must" be denied Communion. 

Cardinal Ratzinger sent the document to the U.S. Bishops in 2004 to help inform their debate on the issue. However, Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, then-chair of the USCCB Task Force on Catholic Bishops and Catholic Politicians, who received the letter, withheld the full text from the bishops, and used it instead to suggest ambiguity on the issue from the Vatican.

A couple of weeks after Cardinal McCarrick’s June 2004 address to the USCCB, the letter from Cardinal Ratzinger was leaked to well-known Vatican reporter Sandro Magister, who published the full document. Cardinal Ratzinger’s office later confirmed the leaked document as authentic.

Since the debate in 2004, numerous U.S. prelates have openly opposed denying Communion to pro-abortion Catholic politicians.

In 2008, Boston Cardinal Sean O’Malley suggested the Church had yet to formally pronounce on the issue, and that until it does, “I don’t think we’re going to be denying Communion to the people.”

In 2009, Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington D.C. in 2009 said that upholding of Canon 915 would turn the Eucharist into a political “weapon,” refusing to employ the law in the case of abortion supporter Rep. Nancy Pelosi.

Cardinal Roger Mahoney, archbishop emeritus of Los Angeles, said in a 2009 newspaper interview that pro-abortion politicians should be granted communion because Jesus Christ gave Holy Communion to Judas Iscariot.

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However, one of the Church’s leading proponents of the practice, U.S. Cardinal Raymond Burke, who is prefect of the Vatican’s Apostolic Signatura, insists that denying Communion is not a punishment.

“The Church’s discipline from the time of Saint Paul has admonished those who obstinately persevere in manifest grave sin not to present themselves for Holy Communion,” he said at LifeSiteNews’ first annual Rome Life Forum in Vatican City in early May. "The discipline is not a punishment but the recognition of the objective condition of the soul of the person involved in such sin."  

Only days earlier, Cardinal Francis Arinze, former prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, told LifeSiteNews that he has no patience for politicians who say that they are “personally” opposed to abortion, but are unwilling to “impose” their views on others.

On the question of Communion, he said, “Do you really need a cardinal from the Vatican to answer that?”

Cardinal Christian Tumi, archbishop emeritus of Douala, told LifeSiteNews around the same time that ministers of Holy Communion are “bound not to” give the Eucharist to Catholic politicians who support abortion.

Pro-life organizations across the world have said they share the pastoral concern for pro-abortion politicians. Fifty-two pro-life leaders from 16 nations at the recent Rome Life Forum called on the bishops of the Catholic Church to honor Canon 915 and withhold Communion from pro-abortion politicians as an act of love and mercy.

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‘His bones are basically like paper’: Parents refuse to abort baby with rare condition

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By Kirsten Anderson

At just 11 weeks old, little Layton Diven is not like other babies. Every time his parents pick him up or cuddle him, there is a chance they will break his bones. In fact, Layton has already suffered more than 20 fractures in his short life – beginning at the moment of his birth.

Layton has Osteogenesis Imperfecta (OI), a rare disease that makes his bones brittle and prone to breakage. There are several types of OI, and Layton’s type, OI Type III, is the most severe type found among infants. Most babies born with the disease, like Layton, are born with multiple fractures, especially along the rib cage. Many struggle to breathe or swallow. The incurable disease is progressive, so it will get worse as he gets older.

Layton was diagnosed with OI in the womb, but abortion wasn’t an option for his parents, Chad and Angela Diven, who considered their baby a gift from God, no matter his condition.

“We weren't going to have an abortion, so he was born with the disease,” Angela Diven told KSLA. “God chose me for him, to be his mom, so I have to take that huge responsibility and do what's best for him.”

That responsibility comes with a heavy price. Layton requires 24-hour care, but both Angela and Chad have full-time jobs. He can’t go to regular daycare, because it’s not safe for him.

“You can't just pick him up like a normal baby,” Diven said. “You can't dress him like a normal child; his bones are basically like paper. He can't go to daycare because of his condition. He's medically fragile, and a daycare can't handle him."

Childcare costs are just the beginning, though – the treatments Layton will need throughout his life are expensive and may not be covered by insurance.

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Layton is currently receiving pamidronate IV therapy, which will help to strengthen his bones. But in order to be able to stand or walk, he will need metal rods implanted in his legs – an operation that will cost the Divens $80,000. The OI specialist coordinating Layton’s care is in Omaha, Nebraska, while the Divens live in Louisiana. As he grows, Layton will also require special equipment, such as a wheelchair, along with extensive physical therapy.

Despite the hardships they knew would come, the Divens stepped out in faith to bring Layton into the world. Now, they are reaching out to the internet for help to shoulder the financial burdens that came with their baby blessing. The family has set up both a GoFundMe and a Facebook page called “Lifting Up Layton Diven,” where people can receive updates on Layton’s condition and contribute to the cost of his care.

To donate to baby Layton’s medical trust fund, click here.

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Sources confirm Cardinal Burke will be removed. But will he attend the Synod?

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By John-Henry Westen

Sources in Rome have confirmed to LifeSiteNews that Cardinal Raymond Burke, the head of the Vatican’s highest court, known as the Apostolic Signatura, is to be removed from his post as head of the Vatican dicastery and given a non-curial assignment as patron of the Order of Malta.

The timing of the move is key since Cardinal Burke is currently on the list to attend October’s Extraordinary Synod on the Family. He is attending in his capacity as head of one of the dicasteries of the Roman Curia, so if he is removed prior to the Synod it could mean he would not be able to attend.

Burke has been one of the key defenders in the lead-up to the Synod of the Church's traditional practice of withholding Communion from Catholics who are divorced and civilly remarried.

Most of the Catholic world first learned of the shocking development through Vatican reporter Sandro Magister, whose post ‘Exile to Malta for Cardinal Burke’ went out late last night.

If Burke’s removal from the Signatura is confirmed, said Magister, the cardinal “would not be promoted - as some are fantasizing in the blogosphere - to the difficult but prestigious see of Chicago, but rather demoted to the pompous - but ecclesiastically very modest - title of ‘cardinal patron’ of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, replacing the current head, Paolo Sardi, who recently turned 80.”

At 66, Cardinal Burke is still in his Episcopal prime.

The prominent traditional Catholic blog Rorate Caeli goes as far as to say, “It would be the greatest humiliation of a Curial Cardinal in living memory, truly unprecedented in modern times: considering the reasonably young age of the Cardinal, such a move would be, in terms of the modern Church, nothing short than a complete degradation and a clear punishment.”

On Tuesday, American traditionalist priest-blogger Fr. John Zuhlsdorf also hinted he had heard the move was underway. “I’ve been biting the inside of my mouth for a while now,” he wrote. “The optimist in me was saying that the official announcement would not be made until after the Synod of Bishops, or at least the beginning of the Synod. Or at all.”

“It’s not good news,” he added.

Both Magister and Zuhlsdorf predicted that the controversial move would unleash a wave of simultaneous jubilation from dissident Catholics and criticism from faithful Catholics. The decision to remove Cardinal Burke from his position on the Congregation for Bishops last December caused a public outpouring of concern and dismay from Catholic and pro-life leaders across the globe.

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Both men speculated on the reasons for the ouster. 

Magister pointed out that Burke is the latest in a line of ‘Ratzingerian’ prelates to undergo the axe.

“In his first months as bishop of Rome, pope Bergoglio immediately provided for the transfer to lower-ranking positions of three prominent curial figures: Cardinal Mauro Piacenza, Archbishop Guido Pozzo, and Bishop Giuseppe Sciacca, considered for their theological and liturgical sensibilities among the most ‘Ratzingerian’ of the Roman curia,” said Magister.

He added: “Another whose fate appears to be sealed is the Spanish archbishop of Opus Dei Celso Morga Iruzubieta.”

Fr. Zuhlsdorf observed that Pope Francis may also be shrinking the Curial offices and thus reducing the number of Cardinals needed to fill those posts. He adds however, “It would be naïve in the extreme to think that there are lacking near Francis’s elbows those who have been sharpening their knives for Card. Burke and for anyone else associated closely with Pope Benedict.” 

“This is millennial, clerical blood sport.”

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