Hilary White, Rome Correspondent

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Liturgical liberalism and support for gay civil unions linked?

Hilary White, Rome Correspondent
Hilary White, Rome Correspondent
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Analysis

ROME, April 23, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The man in charge of the widely criticized public liturgies of the late Pope John Paul II has told an interviewer that there should be legal recognition of same-sex unions as a matter of justice.

As the pope’s chief liturgist for 18 years of John Paul’s reign, Archbishop Piero Marini, was one of the most influential men in the Church.

“There are many couples that suffer because their civil rights aren’t recognized,” Marini said in an interview with the newspaper La Nación in Costa Rica this weekend.

Asked what he thought of discussions in Costa Rica on the secular state, Marini said, “This is already a reality in Europe. The secular state is good, but evil if it becomes a secularist state, ie: a state that goes against the Catholic Church.”

“Church and state should not be seen as enemies to each other,” he said. “In this discussion it is necessary, for example, to recognize the union of people of the same sex, since there are many couples who suffer because they do not recognize their civil rights. What you cannot do is recognize in any way that this couple is united in marriage.”

However, his comments fly directly in the face of specific teaching of the Catholic Church’s Magisterium.

In 2003, then-Cardinal Ratzinger issued a document from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith precluding the possibility of condoning civil union legislation for same-sex partners.

The document, entitled 'Considerations Regarding Proposals
 to give Legal Recognition 
to Unions 
Between Homosexual Persons,' stated: “Laws in favor of homosexual unions are contrary to right reason, because they confer legal guarantees, analogous to those granted to marriage to unions between persons of the same sex.”

“Given the values at stake in this question, the State could not grant legal standing to such unions without failing in its duty to promote and defend marriage as an institution essential to the common good,” it added.

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Noteworthy is the liberal reputation of Marini’s papal celebrations, which frequently featured young women as “liturgical dancers” at events like World Youth Day, during his tenure as John Paul II’s master of ceremonies.

Marini’s endorsement of homosexual civil unions fits the profile of “liberal” priest-liturgists soft-pedaling the Church’s teachings regarding homosexuality.

His celebrations both in Rome and at large international events like World Youth Day, were widely criticized for regularly featuring scantily clad “liturgical dancers,” and non-Christian ceremonies like “blessings” by indigenous shaman and other additions proposed as “inculturation.”

As the pope’s chief liturgist Marini was one of the most influential Catholic churchmen in the world, with the fruits of his work being broadcast on television around the globe and seen by millions, if not billions of people.

Despite the teaching, the proposal to accept civil unions as a “compromise” with secularist trends and the homosexual lobbyists that influence them is nevertheless growing in popularity among some Catholic clergy.

Earlier this month, Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, the Archbishop of Vienna – who is also known for a particularly notorious creative “rock and roll” Mass for youth and for allowing similar experiments around his archdiocese – told an audience in London, “There can be same-sex partnerships and they need respect, and even civil law protection. Yes, but please keep it away from the notion of marriage. Because the definition of marriage is the stable union between a man and a woman open to life.”

Despite heavy criticism from lay Catholics and from the Vatican, Schönborn's own cathedral offered “blessing” ceremonies – called “God’s service for lovers,” – for all people “in love,” including same-sex couples.

“We should be clear about terms and respect the needs of people living in a partnership together,” Schönborn added. “The new Austrian law on same-sex partnership is very respectful but clearly distinguishes this situation from marriage.”

Two other cardinals, Colombian Ruben Salazar and Theodore McCarrick, the emeritus archbishop of Washington, D.C., have also recently suggested the Church should not oppose same-sex civil unions.

While there has been much coverage of Marini’s comments on civil unions in the media, few in the secular press have mentioned that liturgical “liberalism,” including a penchant for dancing girls and cobbling together elements from non-Christian religions, often coincides with theological liberalism, especially on the Church’s teaching on sexuality.

In the late 1990s it was revealed that one of the most prominent liturgists of the 1970s and a promoter of the “liturgical dance” trend was a serial homosexual abuser who was ultimately convicted of sexual abuse of minors.

Fr. Barry Glendinning, a priest of the Diocese of London, Ontario, was the darling of the liturgical expert world for his work in the 1970s and his ideas are still popular through his books.

Roger Cardinal Mahony, the former archbishop of Los Angeles who is currently enmeshed in a legal battle of his enabling of homosexual abusers, was known for his occasionally unsubtle opposition to Catholic teaching on homosexuality. He was also one of the most prominent liturgical “liberals” in the Catholic Church, especially known for the experimental Masses that featured at his annual Catholic Education Conference in Los Angeles.

Watch an interview with Archbishop Marini on his liturgical work since Vatican II:


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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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