John Pacheco

Opinion: Canadian gov’t cleaning up Catholic bishops’ Development and Peace mess

John Pacheco
By John Pacheco
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OTTAWA, March 27, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - As LifeSiteNews reported, the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) has slashed by 65% its usual funding to the Canadian Catholic Bishops’ international aid organization, Development & Peace, for its 2011-2016 programs. It appears that the Canadian government has realized something that the Catholic bishops of Canada have not: that Development & Peace has some major problems which need an immediate and dramatic response.

The great irony, of course, is that instead of the Canadian bishops cleaning up the mess in their own backyard, the Canadian government has gone a long way in doing it for them. Caesar has decided that Development & Peace doesn’t meet the government’s standards for good stewardship of taxpayer funds. As government spokesman Justin Broekema said: “CIDA is responsible, particularly in times of fiscal restraint, for ensuring Canadian tax payers’ dollars deliver value for money and the strongest results in the lives of people in need.”

In July 2011, Socon or Bust published a comprehensive entry on how Development & Peace was doing in relation to other charities in Canada. The source of information for the entry was an article from the Summer edition of Money Sense.

The findings of the report were very sobering indeed for Development & Peace. In the category of Overall Charity Efficiency, Development & Peace received a grade of “C+”, the lowest of all 15 Canadian international charities, while also receiving a “C-” in Governance and Transparency, tying 3 other charities (including Amnesty International) for the lowest ranking.

Seizing on this report, LifeSiteNews readers and the Catholic blogosphere illuminated government officials as to the problems with Development & Peace. The Money Sense article (an independent and credible analysis of the international charity industry in Canada) likely had at least some influence on the cut to Development & Peace’s funding program, since the government’s stated “value for money” criteria was far from being met by the Canadian Catholic Church’s official aid and development agency.

In Embassy magazine’s follow-up article to the funding cut, there was speculation that the reduced funding might also have been related to Development & Peace’s direct involvement with the overtly political, ecumenical group, KAIROS, whose membership includes both Development & Peace (as a founding member no less) and the CCCB.

KAIROS’s funding was cut in 2009 by the Federal government because of their political advocacy against the State of Israel, as well as not meeting the conventional objectives for international aid, including providing water, health and education in developing nations. Instead, they consumed themselves, like Development & Peace did, with the latest “social justice” avante-guard causes like climate change, “eco-justice”, and the rest of the social Marxist fromage.

As with Development & Peace’s financial stewardship scandal which Money Sense exposed, Pro-Life Media, Catholic magazines and the Catholic Blogosphere reported on the close relationship between Development & Peace and KAIROS. This cozy connection between the Canadian Catholic Aid Agency and KAIROS caused some in the social justice industry to speculate openly about whether Development & Peace’s funding cut was in part responsible by their relationship with KAIROS:

“Mr. Casey said he doesn’t know whether the funding decision had anything do with the group’s advocacy work, or its membership in KAIROS. But Tony Martin, a Catholic former NDP MP and Development and Peace supporter, said he sees a connection. “The pattern is that anybody who stands up and is critical or lobbies government opposed to some of the activity of Canadian multinational corporations are going to get cut off at the knees,” he said from his home in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. He cited the KAIROS funding decision, and another government decision in December cutting funding to the Mennonite Central Committee, which is also a member of KAIROS.” (Source)

Mr. Martin’s observation was not too far off the mark. Concerned citizens’ complaints were not only restricted to abortion, but also included objections to taxpayer money being used to fund neo-Marxist revolutionaries in the Global South by these church organizations. During its never-ending abortion drama, Development & Peace, with its sordid 40+ year history of adopting socialist sensibilities, was also caught funding neo-Marxist groups who also freely admit to being pro-abortion.

For over three years now, both Socon or Bust (my blog) and LifeSiteNews (a news service - not a blog) have discovered at least 53 groups whose aims and policies are in direct contradiction to the Catholic Church’s teaching on human life. Some groups’ aims are more heinous than others, but all of them should be disqualified from receiving any Catholic aid whatsoever.

Despite the voluminous and troubling  evidence discovered thus far, most, but thankfully not all, of the Catholic bishops of this country have not sufficiently understood the systematic and deep-rooted problems with the orientation of Development & Peace. This was evidenced, for instance, by the bishops’ recent “solidarity” trip to Haiti where they were led around the island by George Soros’ pro-abort feminist shills. Do they even know who George Soros is? Remarkably, this “solidarity mission” was made after newly-elected CCCB president, Archbishop Richard Smith, asked Catholics to “trust the bishops” in October of last year.

The Church in Canada is coming to a crossroads of sorts concerning Development & Peace. This ongoing and perpetual failure to clean up Development & Peace points to something more than just Church politics and image. It points rather to a fundamental philosophical and theological error which many Canadian Bishops have adopted since the Winnipeg Statement. It’s called proportionalism.

Instead of recognizing the possibility of the intrinsic wickedness in an act, proportionalism seeks to downplay the inherent nature of an act to focus on the consequences instead. According to Blessed John Paul II, it is a teleologism which…

...by weighing the various values and goods being sought, focuses rather on the proportion acknowledged between the good and bad effects of that choice, with a view to the “greater good” or “lesser evil” actually possible in a particular situation (Veritatis Splendor).

It was this fundamental guiding error the Canadian bishops used with the Winnipeg Statement in which they said “a Catholic could contracept in good conscience”. It’s the same principle today when they are effectively telling Catholics they can give to pro-abort groups “in good conscience”.

And yet, this is not what the Church teaches at all. In 1994, Blessed John Paul II founded the Pontifical Academy for Life to promote the dignity of human life in medical science. In its statutes, it clearly says that close collaboration with medical doctors and researchers is to be encouraged, but only insofar as these doctors believe what the Church believes on the sanctity of human life:

The scientific and interdisciplinary activity of the Pontifical Academy for Life shall maintain a close connection with the bodies and institutions through which the Church is present in the world of the biomedical sciences, of health, and of healthcare organisations, also offering its collaboration to medical doctors and researchers (including those who are non-Catholics and non-Christians) who recognise that the dignity of man and the inviolability of human life from conception to natural death, as enunciated by the Magisterium of the Church, is the essential moral foundation of the science and art of medicine. (Article, 6)

If this is true for one area of Church mission, it is true for all areas of Church mission. As we can only co-operate with non-Catholic and non-Christians who share the Church’s values on the sacredness of human life in bioethics, so too is that principle no less binding in the area of human development and aid in the case of Development & Peace.

This means, of course, that the cumbaya “solidarity” missions with pro-abort feminists, anti-Catholic bigots, Marxists with masks, and the rest of the Church’s enemies embedded should be over. And so should sentiments like those of Bishop Fred Henry who said:

“The group may not be perfect but they must be doing a lot of good work even if there are a few positions and actions that we will have to challenge them on,” (Source).

No one would believe that the Catholic bishops of this country would hitch their wagon to organizations devoted to human trafficking, child pornography, or (heaven forbid!) climate change denial, despite all of the other social “good work” that they might do in the community. For some inexplicable reason, however, when the sin is about abortion or contraception, all of this other “good work” that the pro-abort pushers do somehow overrides their efforts to legalize abortion. Then, it becomes all about “walking with Jesus” or some other nonsense.

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Jeanne Smits, Paris correspondent

Belgium approves euthanasia for rapist serving life sentence

Jeanne Smits, Paris correspondent
By Jeanne Smits

Belgium’s Minister of Justice approved a euthanasia request Monday from a convicted rapist serving a life sentence.

The Brussels court of appeal will review the case September 29, but Belgian media report it is expected simply to record the existence of the agreement between the man and the government.

This would not be the first euthanasia of a Belgian prisoner – a terminally ill man who had already spent 27 years in jail was legally killed two years ago – but in the case of Frank Van Den Bleeken, the euthanasia request is being linked to the conditions of his imprisonment.

Van Den Bleeken, 50, has spent close to 30 years in prison. He was sentenced to life-long imprisonment for several counts of rape, one of them followed by murder. He has been declared irresponsible for these acts because of psychiatric disorders and does not want to be released from prison, considering himself to be “a danger for society.” Despite having repeatedly asked for psychiatric treatment, none has been forthcoming in the absence of any Belgian institution prepared to take up this sort of patient.

The convicted rapist says his psychological suffering is “intolerable” and it is on these grounds that three doctors decided last May that Van Den Bleeken should be entitled to euthanasia – even though he has also asked for a transfer to a Dutch institution where psychiatrically ill criminals receive adequate treatment and care.

He presented both demands to the minister of Justice via an emergency procedure. The Brussels appeal court decided that the minister, Maggie De Block, was not competent to order a transfer to the Netherlands but that she could decide to grant his request for euthanasia. The decision is being called a purely “medical” one by the minister who told the press that she confined herself to following the doctors’ opinion.

A previous euthanasia request made by Van Den Bleeken three years ago was rejected on the grounds that all had not been done to ensure that he would suffer less and that other options than death were available.

Now, even though it is clear that the prisoner would find more humane conditions of detention in nearby Holland, that he is conscious of the gravity of the acts he commits under the pressure of his mental illness, and that he is in need of medical care, the decision to make him die reads as a further trivialization of euthanasia in a country where an ever-increasing amount of psychological motives are being accepted to justify “mercy-killing.”

As in all the states of the European Union, the death penalty does not exist; it was abolished in Belgium in 1996. Rapists and murderers can find themselves sentenced to life-long sentences with no hope at all of ever being freed, a perspective which some find worse than death.

Since Van Den Bleeken’s story received media coverage, including a televised interview at the end of 2013, fifteen other prisoners have contacted the “UL-Team,” an information center for end-of-life questions, euthanasia expert Wim Distelmans told the media this Tuesday. He said those numbers are expected to rise. Distelmans is known for his support and active participation in cases of euthanasia for psychological reasons.

No date has been fixed for Van Den Bleeken’s death but his family has indicated that a doctor willing to perform the act has been found. Once the appeals court has given its ruling the prisoner will be allowed to leave the Turnhout prison where he is interned at present, and will be transferred to an unnamed hospital where he will be able to say goodbye to his family before receiving a lethal injection.

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Sen. Rob Portman, R-OH http://portman.senate.gov
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First GOP senator to back marriage redefinition may run for president in 2016

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By Ben Johnson

The first Republican U.S. senator to support same-sex “marriage” is considering running for president in 2016 – if he is re-elected this year.

Sen. Rob Portman, the junior senator from Ohio, told reporters he would decide about campaigning for the GOP presidential nod during a recent visit to New Hampshire, home of the first in the nation primary.

“I’m focused, as you can tell, on 2014 and on doing my job as a senator,” he said, according to The Daily Caller. “After the election, I'll take a look at it.”

Portman became the first Republican senator to support same-sex “marriage” last March, citing a two-year “evolution” that took place after he learned his son, Will, is homosexual. He announced his change of heart shortly after he “held a dozen meetings with big New York donors” who did not believe the GOP sufficiently championed the cause of redefining marriage, in his capacity as vice chairman of finance for the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC), according to Politico.

That provoked a backlash from pro-family leaders in the state, who warned Portman's move – which is at odds with the Republican Party platform – would splinter the Republican Party.”

That splintering could be seen on the pages of Ohio newspapers this month.

Lori Viars, vice president of Warren County Right to Life, wrote a column entitled, “Why Conservatives Are Dumping Portman.” She recounted asking then-Congressman Rob Portman if he would vote for the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in the 1990s.

“I thought he'd give me a quick yes and that I'd be on my way in search of air conditioning. But Portman would not answer my question. I pressed him, and again he deflected,” she wrote. “On my third (more emphatic) try, he got angry with me. He clearly did not want to take a position on DOMA. At the time, his son would have been in preschool.”

“Whatever his reason, Portman's flip-flop puts his presidential ambition at a disadvantage,” Viars wrote.

That garnered a ripping riposte from Mike Gonidakis of Ohio Right to Life, which was published as a letter to the editor. He accused Viars of “recklessly question[ing] Sen. Rob Portman's commitment to the pro-life cause.” Portman has a zero percent vote rating from NARAL Pro-Choice America and, while representing his conservative southwestern Ohio district voted against taxpayer funding for abortion at home and overseas, in favor of the partial birth abortion ban and protecting babies who are born alive during botched abortions, and against human cloning.

Still, Viars is not alone in distancing herself from the senator. Ohio's social conservative group, Citizens for Community Values, now lists Portman as an "unacceptable candidate."

In August 2013, Cleveland Right to Life criticized Rob Portman's stance. National Right to Life Committee (NRLC) President Carol Tobias sent a letter to CRTL, saying it had chosen to “disaffiliate” itself with NRLC because it had “issued public criticisms of and implicit political threats against a U.S. Senator who has supported the right-to-life position on every vote that has come before the Senate, and who is a sponsor of major NRLC-backed bills – because the chapter disagrees with his position on a non-right-to-life issue.”

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Aside from his stint in the U.S. Senate, the 58-year-old served 12 years in the House of Representatives and acted as U.S. Trade Representative and Director of Management and Budget under the George W. Bush administration, holding each office for one year, respectively. He largely favored free trade and voted for the 2002 authorization for the use of force against Iraq.

He has prepared presidential and vice presidential candidates for debates and has twice been considered for the vice presidential nomination, in 2008 and 2012.

Polls show Portman a virtual lock for re-election to the Senate. But the largely unknown, not especially charismatic senator does not register in polls for the presidential nomination of a party that is still committed to the traditional concept of marriage and family. 

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A topless activist with Femen attacks Belgian Archbishop Andrè-Joseph Leonard, who is known for his strong pro-life and pro-family stance.
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Why are pro-abortion protesters always taking their clothes off?

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By Jonathon van Maren

I’ve seen a lot of bizarre responses to pro-life activism. There’s the crude picket signs, the illiterate chants, the flashes of violence, the incoherent threats that so often seem to involve used tampons, and even activists dressed up like giant genitalia.

But there is one phenomenon that never ceases to stagger me with its counterproductive stupidity and moral blindness: The increasing prevalence of “feminist” protestors, almost exclusively women, stripping down to “protest” something—usually protection for the pre-born or some other dissent from the totalitarian death cult of the Sexual Revolution.

When people ask me what the weirdest response to pro-life work is and I try to explain this phenomenon, they find it hard to believe. So do I. But yet it happens, time and time again.

The suicidal tendencies of modern-day feminism would be almost laughable if they were not so depressing.

One student stripped down and sat on a folding chair in front of our pro-life display at the University of British Columbia. A few protestors decided to protest the launch of our 2012 national tour by going topless. Then, at a presentation in London, Ontario, a bunch of pro-abortion protesters showed up at a counter-protest organized by the Canadian Auto Worker’s Union, sans clothing. And of course, at last year’s March for Life a topless Femen protestor flung herself at a remarkably composed Catholic bishop as he spoke to the crowd, shrieking “F*** your morals!”

You’d think such behaviour would attract ire rather than admiration. But this is 2014 and most of our municipal governments use our taxpayer’s cash basically to fund a day dedicated to that type of behaviour when the Pride Parade rolls around.

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Instead, these women are now generally referred to as “brave.” Even the popular, but tiresomely far-left website Upworthy recently pushed a video with a street activist protesting harassment by misogynist pigs by standing on the street in her lingerie. (Little tip: Protesting the fact that some misogynists define you by your body by voluntarily showing them what they wanted to see in the first place isn't defiance, it's acquiescence. Protesting the fact that these guys aren't treating you with dignity by acting like you have none is counter-productive. “That guy crudely suggested he wants to see me naked! Well, I’ll show him! By showing him exactly what he wants to see! Wait…”)

A bit of research into the infamous nude activist group Femen (“Our mission is protest, our weapon is bare breasts”) shows just how exploitative (inadvertent though it may sometimes be) this entire phenomenon is. In recent documentary the group’s leader, Viktor Svyatski, admitted that he had perhaps started the group to “get girls,” and that he carefully selected only the most attractive girls for his group. The documentary also revealed that Svyatski had described the Femen girls as “weak,” and was often verbally abusive with them.

Again, the suicidal tendencies of modern-day feminism would be almost laughable if they were not so depressing.

But the phenomenon of public nudity is also more than just incoherent protest—it is a way of forcing people to accept any and all manifestations of the Sexual Revolution. As I noted some time ago:  The public is now regularly subjected to crude and wildly exhibitionist “Gay Pride Parades” and “Slut Walks.” These are not considered to be optional festivals hosted by tiny minority groups. No, politicians who refuse to attend are labelled as heretics by the high priests of the New Moral Order, which is of course not an order at all, but a proud lack thereof.

Liberal activists don’t want the State to be outside the bedroom anymore, they want the State in the bedroom—loudly applauding the acts they see taking place, refraining from any judgment but one of approval, and paying for pills and bits of rubber to ensure that such acts do not go awry and result in reproduction or infection.

Your prayers are not welcome in public, but your privates are. The Emperor has no clothes, and is quite enjoying it—so long as the chilly breezes of moral truth don’t leak out of drafty cathedrals to cause discomfort.  

There may be hope on the horizon, as indicated by the wild popularity of such books as Wendy ShaIit’s A Return to Modesty, as well as increasing disinterest in topless beaches in places like France. Some “feminists” have responded to such trends with irritation, grumbling that all the hard-won ground they had fought for is being spurned by the ungrateful brats of today. But perhaps, instead, many women are realizing that allowing men to freely objectify them in public is not all it’s cracked up to be.

Perhaps people have begun to rediscover a human value that was once enormously prized, but now almost forgotten: Dignity.

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