Matthew Cullinan Hoffman

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Jesuit leadership defends pro-abortion organization denounced by Mexican cardinal

Matthew Cullinan Hoffman
Matthew Cullinan Hoffman

June 6, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The leadership of the Jesuit order in Canada and Mexico is standing behind a pro-abortion organization sponsored by the order in Mexico, which was recently denounced by the Cardinal Archbishop of Mexico City and cut off as a grant recipient by the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace.

According to an open letter published on May 25 by the Jesuit provincial superiors (see English translation following article), the Miguel Agustín Pro Juarez Center for Human Rights (PRODH), is “a constant engagement in favor of the right to life of all” which “merits our support.”

The letter also claims that the PRODH’s center’s then-director, “is a religious with an excellent reputation with the Church” whose “expertise is recognized in the Church in Mexico.” The superiors add that Fr. Arriaga “acts in conformity with the directives which are given to him by his jesuit superiors.”

However, the Cardinal Archbishop of Mexico City, Norberto Rivera Carrera, had already expressed a very different view of the organization, in a letter to the Canadian bishops which was published following the Jesuit communique.

PRODH “does NOT represent the sentiments of the Church and has been characterized by its support and encouragement of groups and activities that are an affront to Christian values,” the Cardinal wrote, according to a translation of part of his letter published by the Toronto Catholic Register.

“With respect to the theme of defence of life, the organization has supported pro-abortion groups and promoted the purported woman’s right over her body, against unborn life,” the Cardinal added.

When LifeSiteNews asked the Jesuit superior of Francophone Canada, Jean-Marc Biron, to discuss the proof gathered by this news agency of PRODH’s pro-abortion activities, Brion’s press secretary responded by saying that “we are not going to grant you an interview either on or off the record.”

“We worked for several weeks in order to publish our declaration, which clearly presents our common position, and we are sincerely certain of the obligation that we have to support the PRODH Center,” wrote press secretary Pierre Bélanger.

This news agency made another request to Biron and Bélanger on Friday asking for clarification of their views in light of the statements by Cardinal Norberto Rivera.  No response has been received.

LifeSiteNews first revealed the pro-abortion activities of PRODH in 2009, in a series of exposés on dozens of pro-abortion, pro-contraceptive, homosexualist, and anti-Catholic groups funded by the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace (D&P), a foreign aid agency which receives a large percentage of its funding from donations collected by the Catholic bishops of Canada during Lent.

Despite the fact that the organization had openly signed numerous pro-abortion statements, including a protest against a pro-life amendment in the Mexican state of Jalisco, an investigation by Canadian bishops claimed to have cleared PRODH and four other groups of pro-abortion involvement. D&P continued to provide funding to the organization.

However, D&P severed ties to PRODH following the cancellation of a speaking engagement in April of this year by the-PRODH Director Luis Arriaga, by Ottawa Archbishop Terrance Prendergast. Prendergast confronted Arriaga about his organization’s pro-abortion activities after receiving Cardinal Rivera’s letter denouncing PRODH.

Arriaga’s departure from PRODH was announced only two days following the Jesuits’ letter defending him and his work. The organization claims that he was appointed to a five year term, which had now come to an end, and that his exit had nothing to do with the organization’s loss of D&P funding.

Contact information:

Province of Francophone Canada
Jean-Marc Biron, S.J. and Pierre Bélanger, S.J.
Tél. : 514-387-2541
Email: jmbiron@videotron.ca
Email: pierre.belanger@jesuites.org

Jesuit Superior General Fr. Adolfo Nicolás
Tel: +39-06-689-771
Fax: +39-06-686-8214
Web: http://www.sjweb.info/
Email: dir-del@sjcuria.org
Email: webmaster@sjcuria.org


Translation of Letter:

May 25, 2011
The Jesuits of Canada and Mexico express themselves over the Miguel Pro Center for Human RIghts (PRODH) and its director, Fr. Luis Arriaga

COMMUNIQUÉ

Sensitive to the requests that have been made to them in the name of individuals and groups, the pronvincial superiors of the Jesuits of French Canada, English Canada, and Mexico, are issuing this statement to support the integrity of the work of the Miguel Pro Center for Human Rights of Mexico and of its director, Fr. Luis Arriaga, an organization carrying out the social teaching of the Catholic Church.

Fr. Luis Arriaga, director of the Miguel Pro Center for Human Rights (PRODH) of Mexico, was invited by the leadership of Development and Peace to speak last April about the work of the center that he directs.  A set of circumstances rendered his contribution impossible .  More specifically, pressure groups have accused the PRODH Center of having contributed to the promotion of abortion in Mexico.

Two years ago, therefore, a special commission of the CCCB travelled to Mexico and concluded that, if prudence was lacking regarding participation in coalitions linked to the promotion of the rights of the person, in no way had the PRODH Center participated in the promotion of abortion, and no fault could be attributed to the international development organization Development and Peace, which had supported the Center.

In the spirit of the social teaching of the Church, and in support of the PRODH Center and its director, Fr. Luis Arriaga, for affirming in such a way the Christians engaged in the promotion of social justice and the rights of the person, the provincial superiors of Mexico and Canada would like to express the following.

· As the report of the special commission of the CECC affirmed in 2009, the Miguel Pro Center of Mexico has not participated in the promotion of abortion.

· Fr. Luis Arriaga, director of the PRODH Center, is a religious with an excelent reputation with the Church, who acts in conformity with the directives which are given to him by his jesuit superiors.  We note that his expertise is recognized in the Church in Mexico, in view of the fact that he acts as an advisor of an episcopal commission on social issues.

· In the context of the widespread violence in Mexican society, the work of Father Luis Arriaga, as well as all of the members of the PRODH Center, is a constant engagement in favor of the right to life of everyone. The lives of these defenders of human rights are themselves threatened and we affirm that it is international solidarity that allows them to continue their indispensible work.

· More generally, the Christian witness in favor of the promotion of justice, and the promotion of the rights of the person to which it is linked, is done on the cutting edge, in difficult contexts where the partisans of the status quo do everything to block the advancement of fundamental gospel values. In the circumstances, the people who work in this field, as does Fr. Luis Arriaga and his team, merit our support.

Montréal, Toronto, and Mexico, May 25, 2011

[Signed:]

Jean-Marc Biron, Provincial Superior of French Canada
S.J. Jim Webb, S.J., Pronvicnial Superior of English Canada
Carlos Morfín Otero, S.J, .Provincial Superior of Mexico

For information:
Pierre Bélanger, S.J.
Communications Service
pierre.belanger@jesuites.org
Tel.: 514-387-2541


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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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Balcony of the Grandmaster Palace in Valletta, which houses the Maltese Parliament. Shutterstock
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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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