Matthew Cullinan Hoffman


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

Matthew Cullinan Hoffman
Matthew Cullinan Hoffman

CHIAPAS, January 14, 2011 ( - 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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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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Hilary White Hilary White Follow Hilary

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

Hilary White Hilary White Follow Hilary
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 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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