Patrick Craine

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Ontario Catholic teachers union urges members to endorse campaign pushing ‘safe abortion’

Patrick Craine
Patrick Craine

OTTAWA, June 21, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The Ontario English Catholic Teachers Association sent out an e-mail this week urging the province’s Catholic teachers to support a campaign promoting “safe abortion” and accusing the Vatican of furthering the plight of women targeted by sexual violence.

Mary Ellen Douglas, national organizer for Campaign Life Coalition, called the news “shocking” and “disgraceful.”

OECTA’s head office sent the e-mail to unit heads on Monday to be passed along to staff. It was a forward of an e-mail sent out by the non-profit Canada Without Poverty charging that the Canadian government was “undermining [the United Nation’s] human rights standards on violence against women.”

Earlier this month, Canada served as chair of negotiations on a resolution condemning violence against women at the UN Human Rights Council’s meetings in Geneva. Pro-abortion groups have accused the country of allowing “glaring omissions“ from the text in the area of so-called “reproductive rights.”

The Canada Without Poverty e-mail was forwarded to OECTA’s members on June 17th by Cindy Robidoux, executive assistant to Marshall Jarvis, OECTA’s General Secretary. She indicates that she was sending the e-mail on behalf of Jeremy Cox, a councillor on OECTA’s provincial executive.

“What is Canada opposing [in the resolution]?” the forwarded e-mail asks. “As part of the effort to end violence against women Canada is refusing to support sexuality education for girls or access to sexual/reproductive health services for survivors of rape.”

The e-mail then directs readers to follow a link to a blog post on Amnesty International’s website for more information. There we learn what they mean by “reproductive health.”

The resolution, they say, “fails to list what [reproductive health] services must be available [to violence survivors], including emergency contraception, safe abortion, post-exposure prophylaxis for HIV, and screening and treatment for sexually transmitted infections.”

“The provision of these critical services for survivors of sexual violence is contentious and nonexistent in many countries. That is why referencing these examples explicitly would have added tremendously to the resolution,” the post adds.

Amnesty International, in the same post e-mailed out by OECTA, also claims that the Holy See has been working “behind the scenes” against protections for victims of sexual violence.

They say Canada was in the “unenviable position” as chair of the committee to be jockeying between countries that support a strong stand on violence against women and those that do not.

“A handful of countries don’t support strong action to combat violence against women,” they write. “Egypt, Russia, China, Cuba, the Holy See, and others, all worked behind the scenes to weaken protections to women and girls who are victimized by sexual violence.”

Matthew Wojciechowski, a pro-life activist at Campaign Life Coalition who attended the 57th Session of the UN’s Commission on the Status of Women in March, said one of the abortion lobby’s main tactics recently has been to push for a ‘right to abortion’ under the guise of protecting women from violence.

When he was there in March, “abortion advocates claimed that abortion access was the solution to ending violence against women,” he explained. “They aggressively pushed forward their pro-abortion tactics proclaiming that restricting access to abortion was in itself a form of violence and that ‘sexual and reproductive health service’s’ including ‘emergency contraception’ and legal abortion were a ‘human right’.”

“Focusing on the root causes and offering genuine health care and support to victims comes secondary to these pro-abortion organizations,” Wojciechowski added. “Their main goal is to establish a ‘right to abortion’ and they have resorted to doing so under the guise of ending violence against women.  They would have us believe that abortion will eradicate rape and sexual abuse, but in reality access to abortion does nothing to prevent and/or solve the underlying problems of this devastating form of violence.”

OECTA professes to take a pro-life position and was a silver-level sponsor of this year’s March for Life for having donated $1,000. But they have also frequently undermined the Church’s defense of life by hosting pro-abortion speakers at their conferences and even effectively endorsing pro-abortion Dalton McGuinty’s Liberal Party in a multi-million dollar campaign during the 2011 Ontario election.

The union has repeatedly undermined and opposed the Church’s teachings on sexuality. They have promoted bizarre sex conferences featuring talks on drag queens and sex toys, seriously mulled the official promotion of homosexual ‘marriage’, and sought to intervene in a court proceeding against a Catholic school that was being sued by a male student for refusing to permit him to bring his gay ‘boyfriend’ to the school prom.

In 2011 they opposed Ontario’s bishops in a high-profile political battle by endorsing gay-straight alliances, and even donated to a GSA project by the homosexual activist group Egale.

Douglas said they “find it disgraceful that [OECTA] would endorse such an ardent pro-abortion policy.” She said they share their concern about violence against women, but that “you don’t stop violence against women by creating violence against the unborn child.”

“There is no such thing as a safe abortion,” Douglas added. “This is turning violence towards the innocent unborn child. It’s shocking that a union which represents Catholic teachers would make such a request.”

LifeSiteNews contacted OECTA for an explanation but did not hear back by press time.


Contact info:

See Composing Effective Communications in Response to LifeSiteNews Reports.

Zenon Cardinal Grocholewski
Prefect, Congregation for Catholic Education and Seminaries
Piazza Pio XII, 3
00193 Vatican City, Italy, Europe
Phone: (011) 39-6-6988-4156

Cardinal Thomas Collins, President of the Assembly of Catholic Bishops of Ontario
Phone: (416) 934-0606, ext. 609
Fax: (416) 934-3452
archbishop@archtoronto.org

Bishop Gerard Bergie of St. Catharines
bishop@saintcd.com

Bishop Vincent Cadieux of Moosonee and Hearst
(705) 336-2908

Bishop Fred Colli of Thunder Bay
chancery@dotb.ca

Bishop Douglas Crosby of Hamilton
Use this form.

Bishop Marcel Damphousse of Alexandria-Cornwall
mdamphousse@alexandria-cornwall.ca

Bishop Nicola De Angelis of Peterborough
chancery@peterboroughdiocese.org

Bishop Ronald Fabbro of London
Use this form.

Bishop Michael Mulhall of Pembroke
Use this form.

Archbishop Brendan O'Brien of Kingston
archbishop@romancatholic.kingston.on.ca

Bishop Jean-Louis Plouffe of Sault Ste-Marie
jlplouffe@diocesecentre.com

Bishop Serge Poitras of Timmins
poitrass@ntl.sympatico.ca

Archbishop Terrence Prendergast of Ottawa
arch@archottawa.ca

Kevin O’Dwyer, President of OECTA
k.odwyer@oecta.on.ca


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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 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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