Matthew Cullinan Hoffman

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Mexican bishop condemns pro-abortion group listed as ‘partner’ by Development and Peace

Matthew Cullinan Hoffman
Matthew Cullinan Hoffman

CHIAPAS, January 14, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The Catholic Bishop of San Cristobal de las Casas, in the state of Chiapas, Mexico, has condemned a group that the Canadian bishops’ Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace (D&P) currently lists as its featured Mexican “partner” on its website, LifeSiteNews has learned.

The organization, known as the Center for Economic and Political Research for Community Action (“Centro de Investigaciones Economicas y Politicas de Accion Comunitaria” or CIEPAC) openly supports Mexico City’s law permitting and even funding abortions during the first 14 weeks of pregnancy, and complains that the Catholic Church seeks to “deny to women the possibility of deciding regarding their plans, their bodies, and their lives” (see document here in Spanish).

Following the statement, which the organization sent to the Catholic Bishop of Chiapas, Felipe Arizmendi Esquivel, the bishop responded with a letter thanking CIEPAC “for sending me your documents.”

“This one causes me much concern,” the bishop continued, “and above all the fact that it is fundamentally supported also by CIEPAC.  It is for this reason, and because of other things, that I am not in agreement with you giving advice to groups in the diocese.  I send to you what I wrote months ago with respect [to this topic].”

In the attached statement, Bishop Esquivel calls abortion a “Hitlerian extermination” and adds that “the fifth commandment of the law of God is very clear: ‘Thou shalt not kill (Ex 20,13; Deut 5,17). Jesus emphasizes and reiterates this command (cf Mt 19,18). There is no doubt, then. To take away the life of a human being, is murder. The fetus is a human being, even if he has been in existence for only one second.”

CIEPAC reprints the bishop’s letter and his statement condemning abortion commenting that they were “publicizing the commentary of Monsignor Felipe Arizmendi, together with the writing that was made public several months ago,” because of “respect for the diversity of opinions”.  “However, we are clarifying that in no way do we share in his assertions,” the organization added.

According to information sent by D&P to LifeSiteNews in 2009, CIEPAC was at that time receiving $40,000 per year from the organization, which is largely funded by a collection carried out by the Canadian bishops through annual Lenten collections.  As LifeSiteNews reported at that time, CIEPAC is also a signatory of the pro-abortion “Report of Organizations of Civil Society on Economic, Social, Cultural, and Environmental Rights in Mexico”,  which openly advocates legalization of abortion on demand throughout the country, with 67 mostly positive references to the practice or its legalization.

In addition, CIEPAC displays several other pro-abortion declarations on its website.

Mixed Signals

Following reports by LifeSiteNews and other media outlets of numerous pro-abortion, pro-contraceptive, and anti-Catholic organizations funded by D&P, and following interventions to the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, D&P’s leadership has indicated that it intends to change its policies.  Msgr. Pat Powers, Secretary General of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, told the BC Catholic newspaper in November that D&P is reformulating the “manner in which people become partners” and creating an “an exit strategy” for ending what the newspaper calls “controversial projects.”

According to Msgr. Powers, Development and Peace staff informed him that CIEPAC is no longer funded by the organization, following a review of its partners conducted during 2010. However, LifeSiteNews has been unable to get a direct confirmation of this assertion from D&P, an organization that continues to stifle attempts to obtain a list of its grant recipients.

In response to an inquiry by LifeSiteNews, Msgr. Powers said that “I have spoken with CCODP (D&P) concerning CIEPAC in Mexico, and as I suspected, they terminated their partnership last year.  As you know, CCODP conducted a major review of all their partnerships last year.  It is safe to say that according to the norms they now have in place, this group would never ever be eligible to be a partner with them.”

Regarding the fact that Development and Peace continues to list the organization as a “partner” on its website, Msgr. Powers thanked LifeSiteNews for the information and said that he would pass it on to Development and Peace.

As is customary, D&P President Michael Casey did not respond to an interview request by LifeSiteNews by press time. Casey has previously told LifeSiteNews that he will not grant interviews to this news agency.  Moreover, LifeSiteNews has recently been informed that, almost 10 months after filing a Freedom of Information Request with the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) to determine which groups D&P is funding in partnership with the agency, and how much it is contributing to each one, the organization continues to “negotiate” with CIDA over the release of the information.

CIDA told LifeSiteNews in a December email that “we are still under negociations (sic) with the third party in order to be able to finalize the processing of your request.  In other words, we are hoping that the result of these negociations (sic) will avoid that the case be referred to the Federal Court in which case it will take much longer before we are able to proceed further with your request.”

Called again later today for comment about CIDA’s ongoing blockage of the LifeSiteNews Freedom of Information request, Msgr. Powers told LifeSiteNews through a representative that “Michael Casey would have all the answers you would need.”

See also, The Development and Peace Scandal - All coverage from 2009 to Oct 30, 2010


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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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