Hilary White, Rome Correspondent

‘Infamous’ social policies accepting abortion caused global gender imbalance: Sydney archbishop

Hilary White, Rome Correspondent
Hilary White, Rome Correspondent
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SYDNEY, September 17, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The massive and growing gender imbalance in countries like India and China and elsewhere is the result of “infamous” social policies favoring legal abortion, the cardinal archbishop of Sydney said last week.

Cardinal George Pell was addressing the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists at their annual meeting.

In his address, titled, “Is Catholicism Compatible With Women’s Health?” the cardinal said, “The social consequences of these infamous policies over the next few decades are likely to bring new meaning to the term of reaping the whirlwind.”

Cardinal Pell is known throughout the world as a strong advocate of the Church’s teaching on the sanctity of human life. One of his initiatives is an annual archdiocesan memorial Mass for those who have died from abortion, the first of which was held September 14. The Mass is intended to provide a “solemn, beautiful and consoling remembrance of the unborn children lost to abortion.”

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“Unlike Europe and Japan, where societies aged after they had become rich, in China and India they will follow their more prosperous predecessors into serious demographic decline in a few decades, before wealth spreads across most of the community or at least of all the community.

“As well as coping with the unpredictable consequences of tens of millions of single men - they can’t all become Catholic priests - this must raise serious questions about whether we’re entering the Chinese century.”

The Catholic Church is directly responsible for 26 percent of the health care provision in the world and a majority of the care for the poor in the developing world, the cardinal observed. As a health care leader, therefore, the Church assumes a holistic approach to women’s health “founded in the dignity of the human person; support for marriage – which the Church understands as the union of a man and woman, permanent and exclusive, open to life – and the right of couples to the knowledge and understanding of their own fertility so they may determine the number and spacing of their children and non-violence to mother and child”.

Key principles in Catholic health care philosophy, the cardinal said, include “the call to solidarity with the mother; the call to solidarity with the unborn child; health care as a natural human good and fundamental human right and the preferential option for the poor and vulnerable”.

“Catholics understand the relationship between doctor and patient according to the Hippocratic ideal, rather than the more modern notion of a doctor simply being a service provider to the consumer,” he continued.

“We understand the role of the obstetrician as being a doctor to two patients: mother and child. We recognise that although the healthcare needs of these two patients normally run in parallel they can sometimes - although infrequently - come apart, and this can be very difficult and distressing for all concerned.”

He decried the secular approach to obstetrics which often places the woman into an antagonistic role against her child. He said that the Church understands that pregnancy can present threats to the mother’s life, but said, “We believe a woman should not and must not be compelled to choose between her life and the life of her unborn child.”

Abortion “always represents a tragic and collective failure to provide this care and support,” he said.

Gender imbalance is a growing problem in most countries where abortion is legal. Although the One Child policy of the Chinese government is not in place in Hong Kong, the city-state is experiencing a growing gender gap. In India, the government has admitted that the killing of girls, either before of after birth, is a major social problem. The term “gendercide” has been coined by researchers who say that 500,000 girls are aborted illegally in India every year.

In Pakistan and some countries of the Arabian Peninsula, the problem is not as freely acknowledged. In many countries of the Middle East and Southeast Asia, strong cultural antipathy towards women and girls is combining with a booming underground abortion trade that is contributing to a growing gender imbalance, despite the higher overall fertility rate than western countries.

Researchers have said that the practice of killing baby girls has also greatly contributed to the problem of human trafficking. In India and China girls and young women are often kidnapped from rural areas and sold. In his speech, Cardinal Pell cited statistics that show there are now 32 million more boys than girls under twenty in China and 7.1 million fewer girls than boys up to the age of six in India.

But in China the situation is especially acute. Mandatory abortion coupled with the Chinese government’s One Child Policy, an absence of social services, especially for sick and elderly people, and a slowing economy are combining to create a social crisis of unprecedented proportions. Although accurate statistics are nearly impossible to obtain, and the world may never know how many have been killed, officially the Chinese government admitted that at least 400 million children have been killed by abortion since the policy was instituted in 1978.

Young men cannot find wives. Couples cannot have children. Parents fear their old age and young people are under such pressure that China has one of the world’s highest youth suicide rates. Uniquely in the world, more women kill themselves in China than men with a suicide rate for women of 14.8 per 100,000 people compared to 13.0 for men, the highest female suicide rate in the world. According to the World Health Organisation, suicide is the leading cause of death for younger women in China, particularly for women in rural areas where they are two to five times more likely to kill themselves than in cities. And though the rate is dropping, overall China still ranks ninth in the world for suicide by both sexes with over 300,000 per year, accounting for more than 30 per cent of the world’s suicides. 

Recently the International Herald Tribune, the New York Times international paper, implied that the One Child Policy is at least partly responsible for the slowing of the Chinese economy. With an economy dependent upon cheaply manufactured export goods, it is crucial to have a steady supply of labour in factories. But young Chinese are aware that an aging population, one that is not growing, gives them a competitive advantage in their work choices, so few are opting for the drudgery of factory work, preferring to pursue university studies and higher-end careers. Moreover, young people are under pressure to make more money by their parents and grandparents who have only one child to care for them in their old age.

And the end is not in sight. A government official recently confirmed that there are no plans to end the policy until at least 2015, even though the gender imbalance is acknowledged as a threat.


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Thaddeus Baklinski Thaddeus Baklinski Follow Thaddeus

African researchers warn early sexual activity increases risk of cancers

Thaddeus Baklinski Thaddeus Baklinski Follow Thaddeus
By Thaddeus Baklinski

A report on rising cancer rates in Africa delivered at a conference in Namibia last week warned that oral contraceptives and engaging in sexual activity from a young age lead to an increased risk of breast and reproductive system cancers.

Researchers presented the "2014 Integrated Africa Cancer Fact Sheet & Summary Score Card" during the 8th Stop Cervical, Breast and Prostate Cancer in Africa (SCCA) conference, held in Windhoek, Namibia from July 20 to 22, noted that cancer is a growing health problem in many developing countries and that breast and cervical cancer are the most common forms affecting African women.

The report said that sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) play a major role in reproductive system cancers and that young girls who engage in sexual activity risk getting, among other STDs, the human papilloma virus (HPV), some strains of which are linked to cervical cancer.

The report said although HPV infections are common in healthy women, they are usually fought off by the body’s immune system, with no discernible symptoms or health consequences.

The Cancer Association of South Africa points out that of the scores of HPV types, 14 of the more than 40 sexually transmitted varieties are considered "high risk" for causing serious illness, while two, HPV-16 and HPV-18, are linked to cervical cancer.

“Long-term use of oral contraceptives is also associated with increased risk [of cancer], and women living with HIV-AIDS are at increased risk of cervical cancer,” the report said.

Dr. Thandeka Mazibuko, a South African oncologist, told the conference attendees that when an 18-year-old is diagnosed with cervical cancer, “this means sex is an important activity in her life and she indulged from a young age.”

Mazibuko said the standard treatment for cancer of the cervix is seven weeks of radiation therapy.

“After the treatment they cannot have sex with their husbands or partners. They cannot bear children because everything has been closed up. Some may still have the womb but radiation makes them infertile,” Mazibuko said, according to a report in The Namibian.

Statistics from the Cancer Association of Namibia show that cases of cervical cancer have risen from 129 in 2005 to 266 in 2012.

The SCCA Conference theme was, "Moving forward to end Cervical Cancer by 2030: Universal Access to Cervical Cancer Prevention."

In his keynote address, host and Namibian President Hifikepunye Lucas Pohamba urged African countries to help each other to expand and modernize health care delivery in the continent.

"Within the context of the post-2015 Development Agenda and sustainable development goals, the provision of adequate health care to African women and children must be re-emphasized," said the president, according to AllAfrica.

The Namibian leader urged mothers to breastfeed their children for at least six months as a measure to prevent breast cancer.


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Allow ‘lethal injection’ for poor to save on palliative care: Lithuanian health minister

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By Hilary White

Euthanasia is a solution for terminally ill poor people who cannot afford palliative care and who do not want to “see their families agonize” over their suffering, Lithuania’s health minister said last week.

In an interview on national television, Minister Rimantė Šalaševičiūtė added that the Belgian law on child euthanasia ought to be “taken into account” as well. 

Šalaševičiūtė told TV3 News that Lithuania, a country whose population is 77 percent Catholic, is not a welfare state and cannot guarantee quality palliative care for all those in need of it. The solution, therefore, would be “lethal injection.”

“It is time to think through euthanasia in these patients and allow them to make a decision: to live or die,” she said.

Direct euthanasia remains illegal in the Balkan state, but activists tried to bring it to the table in 2012. A motion to drop the planned bill was passed in the Parliament in March that year in a vote of 75 to 14. Since then the country has undergone a change in government in which the far-left Social Democrats have formed the largest voting bloc.

Šalaševičiūtė is a member of Parliament for the Social Democrats, the party originally established in the late 19th century – re-formed in the late 1980s – from Marxist principles and now affiliated with the international Party of European Socialists and Socialist International.

Fr. Andrius Narbekovas, a prominent priest, lecturer, physician, bioethicist, and member of the government’s bioethics committee, called the suggestion “satanic,” according to Delfi.lt. He issued a statement saying it is the purpose of the Ministry of Health to “protect the health and life, instead of looking for ways to take away life.”

“We understand that people who are sick are in need of funds. But a society that declares itself democratic, should very clearly understand that we have to take care of the sick, not kill them,” he said.


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Islamists in Mosul mark Christian homes with an Arabic "N" for Nazarene.
Gualberto Garcia Jones, J.D.

We must open wide our doors to Iraq’s Christians

Gualberto Garcia Jones, J.D.
By Gualberto Garcia Jones J.D.

On July 18, the largest Christian community in Iraq, the Chaldean Catholics of Mosul, were given a grotesque ultimatum: leave your ancestral home, convert to Islam, or die.

All but forgotten by the 1.2 billion Catholics of the world, these last Christians who still speak Jesus’ native tongue of Aramaic and live in the land of Abraham and Jonah are being wiped out before our very eyes.

As a way of issuing a thinly-veiled threat, reminiscent of the Nazi persecution of the Jews, the Arabic letter “N” (for Nazarean) has been painted on the outside of the homes of all known Christians in Mosul.

These threats, issued by the fanatical Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) known for its bloodthirsty rampage of executions, have been taken very seriously by the several hundred thousand Christians in Mosul who have left with little more than the clothes they were wearing. 

At least most of these Christians were able to flee and find temporary protection among the Kurds in their semi-autonomous region.  However the Kurds do not have the resources to defend or shelter the Chaldean Christians for much longer.

On Monday, during an interview on Fox News, Republican U.S. Rep. Frank Wolf, who recently joined with 54 other members of the House of Representatives in a letter to President Obama asking him to act to protect these communities, stated that while Iraqi President Maliki had sent military flights to Mosul to evacuate Shiite Muslims, the US has done nothing to protect the Chaldean Christians.  Rep. Wolf also stated emphatically that President Obama has done “almost nothing” about the genocide taking place.

The silence from the White House is deafening.  But the lack of leadership from the hierarchy of the Catholic Church in America has been shocking as well.

Nevertheless, the plight of these Iraqi Christians is beginning to be taken seriously.   This is due in large part to the heroic efforts of local Iraqi religious leaders like Chaldean Patriarch Sako, who has gone on a whirlwind tour of the world to alert us all of the plight of these Iraqi Christians.  In a statement demonstrating his character, he told the Christians of Iraq last week, “We are your shepherds, and with our full responsibility towards you we will stay with you to the end, will not leave you, whatever the sacrifices.”

Before the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq was launched there were approximately 1.5 to 2 million Christians living in Iraq.  Today, there are believed to be less than 200,000.  The numbers speak for themselves.

Now that the world is beginning to be aware of the genocide in Northern Iraq, many of us ask ourselves: what can we do?  As citizens and as Christians blessed to live in nations with relative peace and security, what can we do?

The answer is quite simple and unexpected.  Demand that our government and church pull its head out of the sand and follow France. Yes, France.  

Yesterday, in a heroic gesture of Christian solidarity that would make Joan of Arc proud, the government of France opened wide its doors to the persecuted Iraqi Christians.  

”France is outraged by these abuses that it condemns with the utmost firmness," Laurent Fabius, France's foreign minister, and Bernard Cazeneuve, France's interior minister, said in a joint statement on Monday.

"The ultimatum given to these communities in Mosul by ISIS is the latest tragic example of the terrible threat that jihadist groups in Iraq, but also in Syria and elsewhere, pose to these populations that are historically an integral part of this region," they added. "We are ready, if they wish, to facilitate their asylum on our soil.  We are in constant contact with local and national authorities to ensure everything is done to protect them.”

The French statement drives home three crucial elements that every government, especially the United States, should communicate immediately:

  1. Recognize the genocide and name the perpetrators and victims.

  2. Officially condemn what is happening in the strongest terms.

  3. Offer a solution that includes cooperation with local authorities but which leads by making solid commitments such as offering asylum or other forms of protection.

With regard to the Church, we should look to the Chaldean Patriarch and the Iraqi bishops who shared their expectations explicitly in an open letter to “all people of conscience in Iraq and around the world” to take “practical actions to assure our people, not merely expressions of condemnation.”  Noticeably, the last section of the letter from the Iraqi bishops, before a final prayer to God, is an expression of thanks to the Kurdish government, which has welcomed them not just with “expressions” of goodwill but, like France, with a sacrificial hospitality.

On Friday, July 25, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops did issue a statement, but unfortunately it lacked much in terms of leadership or solutions.  We should encourage our bishops to do better than that, be bolder and stronger for our persecuted brothers and sisters, name names and offer concrete sacrificial aid. In a word, be more like the French.

In 1553, Rome welcomed the Chaldean church into the fold of the Catholic Church.  Nearly 500 years later, Catholic Americans must find ways to welcome these persecuted people into our country, into our churches, and into our own homes if need be.

I say, I am with you St. Joan of Arc.   I am with you, France.  I am with you, Chaldeans!

Gualberto Garcia Jones is the Executive Director of the International Human Rights Group, a non-profit organization based in Washington, DC, that seeks to advance the fundamental rights to life, the natural family, and religious liberty through international law and international relations. 


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