Hilary White, Rome Correspondent

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International life and family roundup

Hilary White, Rome Correspondent
Hilary White, Rome Correspondent

Another homosexual accepted for parish council seat in Austria

VIENNA – Immediately following the resignation of the parish priest in the town of Stützenhofen after he opposed the election of an active homosexual to his parish council, another homosexual has been confirmed to sit on a Catholic parish council in Austria according to the Standard newspaper. Forty-four year-old Mark Casna, who has lived openly with another man since he was 19, has been accepted for a third term with the approval of the parish priest, Fr. Michael Blassnigg, who told media that he has “no problem with it.”

Casna told the Standard that the Dean of the parish had encouraged him to join. “He knew then that I was in a homosexual relationship,” Casna said.

Casna also commented on his beliefs, saying, “Confession was invented in the Middle Ages, and celibacy is an invention also of the Roman Catholic Church.” He added that he approved of the Austrian Priests’ Initiative that has called for open disobedience on clerical celibacy and female ordination, saying that it is “on track” and that he is confident that the “breakthrough” will succeed.

Kaprun is a village of 3000 a hundred kilometers southwest of Salzburg.


Catholic former Tory MP blasts Cameron plan on ‘gay marriage’

LONDON – Anne Widdecombe, the outspoken novelist, Privy Councilor and former Tory Cabinet Minister, said the Cameron government is “determined to press ahead with the removal of the terms ‘husband’ and ‘wife’ in its wholly superfluous introduction of gay marriage.”

She encouraged the public to speak out against the plans and told them to sign the petition, that now has over 420,000 signatures, launched by the Coalition for Marriage. Writing in the Daily Express, http://www.express.co.uk/ourcomments/view/313814 , Widdecombe said, “I did not campaign for David Cameron all day, every day in the last general election in the expectation that my reward would be a massive increase in state intrusion and the destruction of traditional marriage.”

She accused the government of ignoring the will of the people, saying, “The government will listen only when it approves of the response and if it doesn’t then its citizens can shut up and stop pestering.

“Well don’t shut up, go to www.c4m.org.uk and sign up.”

This week, the normally supportive Times of London accused Cameron of changing the definition of marriage in order to pander to the homosexualist movement. Saying the move was “pure politics,” the Sunday Times agreed with homosexual Tory MP Ben Bradshaw who said that it would not do anything to improve rights for gays.

The editorial in last Sunday’s edition said, “The government would like you to believe it is a modern, with-it coalition facing opposition from a church stuck somewhere in the Dark Ages.

“Mr. Cameron is pushing gay marriage and picking a fight with the church for political reasons. It is indeed unnecessary.”


Australian Labour Party forms pro-life caucus

CANBERRA – The Australian Labour Party has been the governing party of the country since 2007 and its leader, Julia Gillard, is regarded by international pro-life observers to be one of the most enthusiastically pro-abortion world leaders. Nevertheless, there remains a socially conservative “rump” in the party that earlier this year took the step of forming an active pro-life party caucus to oppose further liberalization of abortion laws.

The group is headed by Simone McDonnell, a former federal Labor candidate in South Australia, who said, “It’s really important that we support a diverse range of views, particularly on moral issues.”

The group lists 29 sympathetic MPs, including Tony Burke, the Minister for Sustainability and Environment, and among the group’s supporters are Tasmanian Senator Helen Polley, who opposed the push to support “gay marriage” at the party’s national conference. The group will work to nurture pro-life candidates to oppose abortion and euthanasia.


Catholic bishops of Sri Lanka oppose plans for legalizing eugenic abortion

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka – The Catholic bishops conference of Sri Lanka has asked the government to reconsider the notion of relaxing the country’s abortion laws. The Cardinal Archbishop of Colombo, Malcolm Ranjith, told a press conference that every life is considered a gift of the God, adding that depriving the right to live is a violation of the teachings of all religions and is inconsistent with Sri Lanka’s culture.

Human life, he said, begins at the moment of conception, and it is the duty of all to protect it. He decried the practice of abortion for disabled children, saying that all people have gifts to offer, and particularly opposed the notion that abortion can be justifiable in cases of rape or incest, saying that the child should not be punished for the crimes of the father. 

The cardinal criticized the international organizations that are pushing for the legalization of abortion around the world.

The government of Sri Lanka is considering relaxing the law against abortion in cases of disability, calling such children “defective.”  Currently, abortion is allowed only in cases where the mother’s life is threatened.

The cardinal warned that the usual progression of the work of the international abortion lobby is to start with the relaxation and liberalization of abortion restrictions, and then move on to total legalization.


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Although it is widely believed that people with Down syndrome are doomed to a life of suffering, in one large survey 99% of respondents with Down syndrome described themselves as "happy." Shutterstock
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‘Sick and twisted’: Down’s advocates, pro-life leaders slam Richard Dawkins’ abortion remarks

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By Dustin Siggins

Advocates on behalf of individuals with Down syndrome, as well as pro-life leaders, are slamming famed atheist Richard Dawkin’s statements made on Twitter earlier today that parents have a moral responsibility to abort babies diagnosed in utero with Down’s.

During a shocking Twitter rant, Dawkins responded to questioners saying that it was "civilised" to abort Down Syndrome babies, and that it would be "immoral" to choose not to abort babies diagnosed with the condition.

He said that his goal is to "reduce suffering wherever you can," indicating that unborn children cannot suffer, and that unborn children don't "have human feelings."

In addition to being scientifically challenged - unborn children can feel both pain and emotions - Dawkins' comments drew criticism for his callousness towards children with disabilities.  

"A true civilization – a civilization of love – does not engage in such cold and ultimately suicidal calculus"

“It's sick and twisted for anyone to advocate for the killing of children with disabilities,” Live Action President Lila Rose told LifeSiteNews. “Dawkins's ignorant comments serve only to further stigmatize people with Down syndrome.

“While many people with Down syndrome, their families, and advocacy groups are fighting discrimination on a daily basis, Dawkins calls for their murder before they are even born,” she said. “Those with Down syndrome are human beings, with innate human dignity, and they, along with the whole human family, deserve our respect and protection.”

Carol Boys, chief executive of the Down's Syndrome Association, told MailOnline that, contrary to Dawkins’ assertion, “People with Down’s syndrome can and do live full and rewarding lives, they also make a valuable contribution to our society.”

A spokesperson for the UK disabilities charity Scope lamented that during the “difficult and confusing time” when parents find out they are expecting a child with disabilities, they often experience “negative attitudes.”

“What parents really need at this time is sensitive and thorough advice and information,” the spokesperson said.

Charlotte Lozier Institute president Chuck Donovan agreed with Rose’s assessment. "Advocates of abortion for those 'weaker' than others, or of less physical or intellectual dexterity, should remember that each of us is 'lesser' in some or most respects," he said.

According to Donovan, "we deliver a death sentence on all of humanity by such cruel logic."

"A true civilization – a civilization of love – does not engage in such cold and ultimately suicidal calculus" he said.

One family who has a child with Down syndrome said Dawkins was far from the mark when he suggested that aborting babies with Down syndrome is a good way to eliminate suffering.

Jan Lucas, whose son Kevin has Down syndrome, said that far from suffering, Kevin has brought enormous joy to the family, and "is so loving. He just has a million hugs."

She described how Kevin was asked to be an honorary deacon at the hurch they attend in New Jersey, “because he is so encouraging to everyone. At church, he asks people how their families are, says he'll pray for them, and follows up to let them know that he has been praying for them."

It's not just strangers for whom Kevin prays. "My husband and I were separated for a time, and Kevin kept asking people to pray for his dad," said Jan. "They didn't believe that Kevin's prayers would be answered. Kevin didn't lose hope, and asking people, and our marriage now is better than ever before. We attribute it to Kevin's prayers, and how he drew on the prayers of everyone."

"I don't know what we'd do without him," said Jan.

Speaking with LifeSiteNews, Kevin said that his favorite things to do are "spending time with my family, and keeping God in prayer." He said that he "always knows God," which helps him to "always keep praying for my friends."

"I love my church," said Kevin.

Although it is widely believed that people with Down syndrome are doomed to a life of suffering, in one large survey 99% of respondents with Down syndrome described themselves as "happy." At the same time, 99% percent of parents said they loved their child with Down syndrome, and 97 percent said they were proud of them.

Only 4 percent of parents who responded said they regretted having their child.

Despite this, it is estimated that in many Western countries the abortion rate of children diagnosed in utero with Down syndrome is 90%, or even higher. The development of new and more accurate tests for the condition has raised concerns among Down syndrome advocates that that number could rise even higher. 


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Asked about Iraq on his return flight from South Korea, Francis replied that 'it is legitimate to halt the unjust aggressor.' Shutterstock
Steve Weatherbe

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Pope Francis: steps must be taken to halt ‘unjust aggressor’ in Iraq

Steve Weatherbe
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Pope Francis and his emissary to Iraq’s persecuted non-Muslim minorities, Cardinal Fernando Filoni, have both called on the United Nations to act in concert to protect Iraqis Christian and Yazidi minorities from the radical Islamic forces of ISIS.

Asked about Iraq on his return flight from South Korea, Francis replied that “it is legitimate to halt the unjust aggressor.”

He added, however, that “halt” does not mean to “bomb” and lamented “how many times with the excuse of halting the unjust aggressor…have powerful nations taken possession of peoples and waged a war of conquest!”

He also cautioned that no single nation could determine the right measures. Any intervention must be multilateral and preferably by the United Nations, he said.

Meanwhile, Cardinal Foloni, who is visiting Iraq on behalf of Pope Francis, issued a joint statement this week with Chaldean Catholic Patriarch Louis Raphael I Sako and the Iraqi bishops that urged the international community to “liberate the villages and other places that have been occupied as soon as possible and with a permanent result.”

The statement also urged efforts to “assure that there is international protection for these villages and so to encourage these families to go back to their homes and to continue to live a normal life in security and peace.”

Archbishop Giorgio Lingua, the Vatican nuncio to Iraq, was also asked by Vatican Radio earlier this month about the U.S. airstrikes in Iraq.

“This is something that had to be done, otherwise [the Islamic State] could not be stopped,” the archbishop said. 

Although Pope Francis’ own remarks about an intervention in the war-torn country were carefully guarded, Catholic commentator Robert Spencer, author of such bestselling exposes of Islam as “The Truth About Muhammad: Founder of the World's Most Intolerant Religion,” told LifeSiteNews he believes the pope was clearly calling for an “armed intervention, though a very limited one.”  

“Only a fool would think there is another way to stop an ‘unjust aggressor,’” he said.

Spencer expressed concerns that both Francis and Pope John Paul II before him have both referred to Islam a “religion of peace,” which Spencer says is “completely false.” However, he suggested that Francis’ remarks calling for action in Iraq are a sign of a more realistic attitude towards Islam.   

On this, Spencer would likely have the support of Amel Nona, the Chaldean Catholic archbishop of Mosul, who issued a letter last week warning the West in stark terms about the encroaching threat of Islam.

“Our sufferings today are the prelude of those you, Europeans and Western Christians, will also suffer,” Nona warned. “Your liberal and democratic principles are worth nothing here.

“You must consider again our reality in the Middle East, because you are welcoming in your countries an ever growing number of Muslims. Also you are in danger. You must take strong and courageous decisions, even at the cost of contradicting your principles,” he said

“You think all men are equal, but that is not true: Islam does not say that all men are equal. Your values are not their values. If you do not understand this soon enough, you will become the victims of the enemy you have welcomed in your home.”


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'Apparently I'm a horrid monster for recommending WHAT ACTUALLY HAPPENS to the great majority of Down Syndrome fetuses,' said Dawkins. 'They are aborted.' Shutterstock
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Richard Dawkins: it’s ‘immoral’ NOT to abort babies with Down syndrome

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By Dustin Siggins

In a bizarre rant on Twitter earlier today, atheist Richard Dawkins wrote that choosing not to abort a child with Down Syndrome would be "immoral."

The conversation started when Dawkins tweeted that "Ireland is a civilised country except in this 1 area." The area was abortion, which until last year was illegal in all cases.

A Twitter user then asked Dawkins if "994 human beings with Down's Syndrome [having been] deliberately killed before birth in England and Wales in 2012" was "civilised."

Dawkins replied "yes, it is very civilised. These are fetuses, diagnosed before they have human feelings."

Later, Dawkins said that "the question is not ‘is it 'human'?’ but ‘can it SUFFER?’"

In perhaps the most shocking moment, one Twitter user wrote that he or she "honestly [doesn't] know what I would do if I were pregnant with a kid with Down Syndrome. Real ethical dilemma."

Dawkins advised the writer to "abort it and try again. It would be immoral to bring it into the world if you have the choice."

According to Dawkins, the issue of who should be born comes down to a calculation based upon possible suffering. "Yes. Suffering should be avoided. [The abortion] cause[s] no suffering. Reduce suffering wherever you can."

Later, however, he said that people on the autism spectrum "have a great deal to contribute, Maybe even an enhanced ability in some respects. [Down Syndrome] not enhanced."

When Dawkins received some blowback from Twitter followers, he replied: "Apparently I'm a horrid monster for recommending WHAT ACTUALLY HAPPENS to the great majority of Down Syndrome fetuses. They are aborted."

It is estimated that in many Western countries the abortion rate of children diagnosed in utero with Down syndrome is 90%, or even higher. The development of new and more accurate tests for the condition has raised concerns among Down syndrome advocates that that number could rise even higher. 

Although it is widely believed that people with Down syndrome are doomed to a life of suffering, in one large survey 99% of respondents with Down syndrome said they were "happy." At the same time, 99% percent of parents said they loved their child with Down syndrome, and 97 percent said they were proud of them.

Only 4 percent of parents who responded said they regretted having their child. 

A number of Dawkins' statements in the Twitter thread about fetal development are at odds with scientific realities. For example, it is well-established that 20 weeks into a pregnancy, unborn children can feel pain. Likewise, unborn children have emotional reactions to external stimuli -- such as a mother's stress levels -- months before being born. 

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