Thaddeus Baklinski

Polish pro-lifers arrested for displaying graphic abortion posters

Thaddeus Baklinski
Thaddeus Baklinski
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POLAND, August 13, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Pro-life advocates in Poland have been arrested on two different occasions recently for displaying signs depicting babies who have been killed by abortion.

Mariusz Dzierżawski, founder of the Warsaw-based PRO Foundation and one of Poland’s most prominent and active pro-life leaders, told LifeSiteNews he and a fellow PRO Foundation member were arrested at a music festival on August 2. They were gathering petition signatures for total protection of the unborn in Poland and displaying a pro-life poster showing Hitler, pictures of aborted babies, and a child with Down syndrome.

Abortion is illegal in Poland except to save a mother’s life and health, in the case of rape or incest, or when a fetal disease or deformation is diagnosed.

Dzierżawski said the incident occurred at the Polish Woodstock Festival (Przystanek Woodstock), held in the western Polish city of Kostrzyn. The PRO Foundation has for many years set up a display of graphic abortion pictures at the event in order to promote discussion among attendees.

He noted that one woman, after viewing the pictures of aborted babies, said to him, “This is a very good place to discuss abortion because people are having fun here and certainly some of the girls will get pregnant afterwards….  They should be reminded to think about what they are doing and to be responsible.”

The two pro-lifers were hustled into a police van and their poster was confiscated, Dzierżawski said, adding that the police arrested them even though their display at the music festival was legal.

Dzierżawski said that Polish law does not require them to obtain a permit to set up their display in a public space such as this music festival, and the city authorities had been properly informed.  He said police acted after an unnamed person reported that indecent material was being shown.

“The PRO Foundation has been to court six times for showing the truth about abortion,” Dzierżawski said, “and all of the previous lawsuits were resolved in favor of the Foundation.”

“The police apprehended us under an absurd charge of presenting indecent images in public - a charge dismissed in courts on multiple occasions so far,” Dzierżawski told LifeSiteNews.

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“The police are currently trying to make it seem like they never actually apprehended us, but only apprehended the banner we were holding, for further explanation. Their aim was to stop our rally.”

Dzierżawski said that he has filed a complain for “unlawful apprehension” and are “going to file a notification on suspicion of committing a criminal offense by the police officers who pre-empted a legal assembly.”

“Recently we have organized scores of pro-life exhibitions and rallies. The abortionists simply can’t stand it. They are trying to stop us using the police. We are facing an assault on free speech and the freedom of public debate. We are going to defend this freedom,” Dzierżawski said.

A retired judge told Razem TV, a Catholic internet TV service in Poland, that he believes the action of the police against the pro-lifers was illegal.

“In my opinion the police violated elementary rules of the legal order, when they shut down the pro-life exhibition,” said Wiesław Johan, retired judge of the Polish Constitutional Tribunal. “The police are to ensure order and safety for us, the citizens. The way the police acted there, was, in my opinion, against the law. Everybody has the right to protest, everybody has the right to partake in an assembly, everybody has the right to express their views. I am not making this up, these rules come from the Polish Constitution.”

He added that he hopes that protests condemning what the police did will cause the authorities to take appropriate action towards the police officers who “broke the law that day.”

In another incident that took place on August 7, a member of the PRO Foundation was arrested and charged with “showing indecent pictures in public” for organizing a graphic abortion picture exhibit in Warsaw.

An exhibit titled “Choose Life,” which uses the graphic abortion posters of the U.S. based Center for Bioethical Reform, which had been set up at a Catholic church in the Ursynów district of Warsaw, had been vandalized repeatedly, according to organizer Kinga Małecka-Prybyło.

However, when she complained to police, Mrs. Małecka-Prybyło said she herself was charged with “causing a public scandal by arranging for the placement of obscene advertisements containing pictures showing images of human fetuses and their fragments, in violation of art. 51 § 1 and in connection with art. 141 of code violations.”

Mrs. Małecka-Prybyło explained that she told the police that the “Choose Life” display was an educational exhibit that had already been shown in 300 different locations in Poland.

She said she also informed police of the six previous failed court attempts by pro-abortionists to silence the exhibit in their complaints against the Pro Foundation and the “Choose Life” display. She said that though the images are dreadful, “how else can this horrible deed be shown for what it is?”

In an interview with LifeSiteNews, Mrs. Małecka-Prybyło said it is troubling that the police are being used to silence the freedom of expression of pro-lifers by using laws enacted to fight pornography.

“It worries me a lot that charges have brought against those who are fighting to protect the weakest. And that the laws which the police are citing against us today have been instituted to protect the public space from pornography. These laws are now being used to gag people fighting for the basic human right - the right to life,” Mrs. Małecka-Prybyło said.

“Anti-abortion exhibitions provoke meaningful thoughts and debates. I hope that many people will wake up and see that we are facing a great threat to our civil liberties, including the freedom to express your views.”

Asked what she thinks about the argument that seeing graphic abortion pictures is harmful to children, Mrs. Małecka-Prybyło said, “As a mother, I think that the ‘Choose Life’ exhibition of graphic abortion pictures is a great opportunity to provoke deep and important discussions with children of all ages about the value of human life. Children who learn early on, from their parents, that human life is sacred, inviolable and must be protected from conception - will not, in the future, yield to false rhetoric about the ‘choice’ to decide about somebody else’s life.

“Even the youngest children need to see their parents’ clear and unambiguous position on these issues, and they need serious conversations with us. If you approach this subject like this, the children will surprise you with their maturity and simple reasoning on the value of life. My 3-year old son understood perfectly that some children’s lives are in danger and that it’s extremely important that we protect the babies living under their mother’s hearts, especially those, who are ill. I think we should talk to our children about life issues as early as possible, before somebody else reaches them with a completely different message.”

In an extraordinary interview with (http://razem.tv/) Razem TV, Mrs. Małecka-Prybyło’s son Maksymilian, who is now five years old, offered these insights about the pictures in the “Choose Life” exhibition. He has been helping his mom set up the graphic abortion pictures since he was three.

Question: What do you think about those pictures?

Maksymilian: I think that you really need to keep doing those exhibitions, or else it will start all over again. It is almost good now, but it will be much worse if they’re not here.

Q: But these are not pictures that children like, right? Do you like those pictures?

Maksymilian: No. But I already understand that this is evil. I didn’t understand it some time ago, but the time has come now that I do understand it.

Q: Are you interested in those issues?

Maksymilian: Yes, a little.

Q: Why?

Maksymilian: I don’t understand what this whole abortion is for. At all.


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Hilary White Hilary White Follow Hilary

Growing ‘Women Against Feminism’ movement draws fury

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By Hilary White
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Critics of feminism have long said that it is entering the final stages of its long career, with more of its assertions about the nature of human sexual and social relations being contradicted by the evidence and fewer young people following its dictates every decade. But in the last few weeks, it seems that feminism’s last gasp is being used to direct insults at young women who are lining up to publicly reject and ridicule it.

The Tumblr site Women Against Feminism has started a social networking trend in which thousands of young women photograph themselves holding signs bluntly denouncing feminism, giving a sharp indication that the feminist brand has become poison to young, hip, and internet-savvy women.

Mainstream and journalistic feminists have lashed out at the site and its followers, entering into an online spat over the increasingly popular photos. The signs say, “I am not a victim,” and “This is what an anti-feminist looks like.”

They continue: “I am an adult who is capable of taking responsibility for myself and my actions. I define myself and derive my value by my own standards. I don’t need to be ‘empowered’. I am not a target for violence and there is no war against me. I respect me and I refuse to demonize them and blame them for my problems.”

The messages held by the women pinpoint with pithy and acerbic precision exactly the reasons given by many critics that the movement has lost favour with young people. They call it a creed of double standards that promotes victimhood and endorses bullying of anyone who critiques it.

The site’s explanatory page, which was taken down for unknown reasons in the last two days, said, “Feminists are the only people who lose their minds with rage when you tell them that women already have the same exact rights as men. That’s not good enough. They want more. They desperately want to be victims. They want a privileged social position.”

The author goes on to accuse feminism in general of systematic censorship, discrimination, elitism and “policing other women” who do not toe the line – as well as baseline misandry. The anonymous creator denounced feminism’s adoption of “abortion as ‘empowerment’”:

This opinion is unpopular, but I don’t agree that I need to have my baby scraped out of my uterus in order to feel empowered. But the abortion industry (i.e. Planned Parenthood) makes a ton of money off this perversion of empowerment. ‘Abortion as empowerment’ teaches women to see their wombs as nothing but garbage bins full of disposable waste.

One of the contributors wrote, “I don’t need feminism because my self-worth is not directly tied to my victim complex. As a woman in the western world I am not oppressed, and neither are you,” says one. Another: “I don’t need feminism because I don’t need to bully someone to share my opinions with others.”

Some come right out and say that feminism promotes exactly the evils it purports to fight against: “I don’t need feminism because I believe in equality, not entitlements and supremacy.”

Although the site and its contentious photos have been running around the internet for many months, arguments among journalism’s feminists started breaking out this week after a mocking Buzzfeed feature helped the site gain momentum on social media outlets.

Some feminist journalists simply flung insults. Lillian Kalish sniffed on Ryot, “These Women Who Think They Don’t Need Feminism Don’t Know What Feminism Is.” “Did these posters ever think to look up the actual definition of feminism?”

Nuala McKeever, in the Belfast Telegraph, called the women posting the photos “silly, ignorant, vacuous wee girls with absolutely no thoughts beyond their own self-absorbed inanities.”

Time Magazine’s Sarah Miller said, “I Really, Truly, Fully Hate ‘Women Against Feminism’—But…” Miller wrote, “[T]he tendency to see sexism everywhere is proof that feminism is healthy and vigilant, and that is not necessarily a bad thing, because misogyny is insidious and rampant… We need feminism.”

But Miller added, “Still, the pain that we experience as women—even physical—does not give us the right to tell people there’s one way to think or feel, or to assume that we have some god-like understanding of everyone’s motivations.”

Cathy Young, however, responded in Time, saying, “Stop Fem-Splaining: What ‘Women Against Feminism’ Gets Right.” She writes, “The charge that feminism stereotypes men as predators while reducing women to helpless victims certainly doesn’t apply to all feminists—but it’s a reasonably fair description of a large, influential, highly visible segment of modern feminism.”

The site, Young says, “raises valid questions about the state of Western feminism in the 21st Century — questions that must be addressed if we are to continue making progress toward real gender equality.”

Sarah Boesveld wrote in the National Post on Friday that the site shows that feminism has become “complicated” and “sometimes alienating.” She quotes an email sent to the paper by 22 year-old Australian Lisa Sandford, who “believes in equality for the sexes” but firmly rejects feminism as “rude and nasty” and intends to be a stay-at-home mother. 

Sandford wrote, “If feminism really accepted equality, they would not tell me my views are wrong, they would accept it and let me be.”

Browse the 'Women Against Feminism' archives here (warning: occasional strong language).


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Steven W. Mosher and Anne Roback Morse

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Welcome Baby Filipino 100 Million!

Steven W. Mosher and Anne Roback Morse
By Steven W. Mosher and Anne Roback Morse

Population Research Institute welcomes the birth of little Chonalyn Sentino. Baby Chonalyn was born this past Sunday to parents Clemente and Dailin, and was feted in the Philippines as “Baby 100 Million.” PRI welcomes Baby Chonalyn as well, saying that she will be a blessing to her family, her community, and her nation.

The Philippines is one of the largest Catholic countries in the world, and its people value children. For this reason, it has been a target of the population controllers for decades. It was one of the countries singled out by Henry Kissinger’s National Security Council in 1974 for special “attention” and, more recently, has been bullied by the Obama administration into passing its first population control law. 

The bill, which was touted as being all about promoting “reproductive health,” was actually intended to drive down the birth rate. For example, section 15 requires that all couples receive a “Certificate of Compliance” from the local Family Planning Office before becoming eligible for a marriage license.

Some in the Philippines are decrying Chonalyn’s birth, repeating USAID’s talking points about the “dangers” of overpopulation. They welcome Chonalyn as an individual little girl, while simultaneously calling for future little girls and boys to be removed from existence.

The Philippine Star wrote that the birth symbolized a “large population that will put a strain on the country's limited resources.” Another paper cited the executive director of the official Commission on Population who bluntly said “We'd like to push the fertility rate down to two children per (woman's) lifetime.” And the Global Post cited “concerned advocates” who thought the current population was not a “complement with the country's economic growth.”

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But many other Filipinos aren’t buying into the anti-people hysteria. Francisco Antonio, a Filipino Chemical Engineering graduate student at Yale, adamantly rebutted the notion that there are too many Filipinos, saying: “I celebrate life because population control is defeatism disguised as pragmatism. And because human creativity holds more potential for protecting this planet and its inhabitants than any other resource I know of.”

A Filipina currently living in California told PRI that she welcomed the transition of her country to 100 million persons: “Filipinos are not a burden to the world population, because we not only care for our own but also for others in the world. One of the greatest and most sought after exports of the Philippines is our skilled, motivated, and exemplary workforce. And these workers tirelessly cultivate their family and community abroad and in the Philippines. We are a very social and civic minded people. We care and share because it is part of our culture and we do it with a smile.”

 Ed, a Filipino accountant, also celebrated the birth of Baby Chonalyn: “The typical Filipino does not associate a baby with ‘cost’ or ‘expense’ but rather as a ‘blessing’ and a ‘gift.’ This is because Filipinos recognize that true happiness does not come from the accumulation of material wealth or prestige, but rather, from true, genuine, and strong relationships with other people. [Filipinos] value life, not because the Church says or the Pope says so, but because they recognize it to be true. And the truth about the value of life, will continue to shine, long after the debates are over.”

It goes without saying that we at the Population Research Institute also welcome Chonalyn’s birth. We need more Filipinos, not fewer. 

Reprinted with permission from Pop.org.


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John-Henry Westen John-Henry Westen Follow John-Henry

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Two very different ways to respond to Pope Francis’ unrecorded interviews

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By John-Henry Westen

In the last few weeks another series of interviews with Pope Francis surfaced and have again left many Catholics scratching their heads.  Headlines all over the world had the Pope saying that two percent of priests are pedophiles, but is that what he said?  Even though the Vatican spokesman did issue a clarification, that question and others remain unanswered.

Critical reactions to these interviews have been interesting not even so much for their contents as from whom they arise.  These are the observations of some of the most faithful Catholic Church watchers today.  The folks pointing out these concerns are not, as many would assume, ‘“far right-wing-holier-than-the-Pope” types, but mainstream Catholics known for their loyalty to Pope Francis.

Phillip Lawler is the founder of Catholic World News, the first Catholic news service operating on the Internet. In part of his criticism of the most recent interview, he states: “Why was Pope Francis speaking with Scalfari without having first established clear ground rules for the conversation—rules that would certainly include recording and verification of any quotes?”

(To comprehend the situation accurately it is necessary to have an understanding of the man whom the Pope has allowed to interview him.  Eugenio Scalfari is relatively unknown in the West even after the fanfare of his papal interviews. LifeSiteNews has produced this piece to assist that understanding.)

Lawler recalls: “Back in October the Vatican had been embarrassed by an ‘interview’ in which [Scalfari’s] reconstructed quotes caused an uproar, and the Vatican press office was forced to issue an awkward ‘clarification’ which only added to the confusion.”

In addition to that clarification of the October Scalfari interview, the confusion and uproar got so bad that the Vatican removed the interview from their website, where they had it posted in the section containing the Pope’s speeches. Interestingly, that interview resurfaced two weeks ago on the Vatican website only to be removed again after a new round of criticism.

A blogger at the EWTN-owned National Catholic Register offered an observation similar to Lawler’s but with a little more bite. Pat Archbold writes, “The internet is once again abuzz with the second-hand hearsay of an unrecorded Papal interview.” Archbold advises his readers with characteristic sarcasm, “So pay no attention to those crazy and outlandish anti-Catholic headlines tearing up your RSS feed.  Just ignore them and hope they will soon go away, just like unrecorded Papal interviews.”

A second unrecorded conversation with the Pope makes news

Another write-up of an encounter with Pope Francis also caused a stir.  Brian Stiller, an Evangelical leader from Toronto was part of a delegation of Evangelical Christians who met with Pope Francis earlier this month. In his July 9 account, Stiller puts in quotes this statement he attributes to the Pope: “I’m not interested in converting Evangelicals to Catholicism. I want people to find Jesus in their own community.  There are so many doctrines we will never agree on. Let’s not spend our time on those. Rather, let’s be about showing the love of Jesus.”

That led noted priest-blogger Father Dwight Longenecker to first caution that the quotes are “Brian Stiller’s memory of the conversation.” 

Then with the caveat of not actually knowing the whole conversation, Fr. Longenecker says “it would not be unusual for a Catholic priest of Pope Francis’ generation to feel that way.”  He explains that he has “heard from numerous convert clergy over the years who said when they went to their local Catholic priest and expressed the wish to become Catholic the priest told them it wasn’t necessary and that they could do much more good to Christ’s kingdom and the Catholic church by staying where they were and evangelizing within their own denomination.”

“Now this strikes me as rather troublesome on several levels,” says Longenecker. He notes he had himself once used that line with a Protestant friend, to which his friend replied, “You don’t want to convert me? Why not? I don’t have much respect for your religion if you think so little of it that you don’t want me to share it!”

“He basically called me out on what was a little lie on my part. I wanted to be nice to him [so] I said I didn’t want to convert him. He said our discussion would be much better if I admitted that I did want him to become Catholic. He was right. I did. I still do.”

Inside the Vatican

Vatican journalist Edward Pentin has reported that unnamed “Vatican officials are uneasy and perplexed” about the interview. Pentin began reporting on the Vatican as a correspondent with Vatican Radio in 2002 and has since covered the pope for a number of publications, including Newsweek and The Sunday Times.

“The officials’ discomfort also extends to the Pope’s spontaneous telephone calls to strangers, a couple of which implied he deviated from Church teaching but, being private and unrecorded conversations, are difficult to verify,” he wrote for Newsmax.

From the outset of the Francis pontificate, there were these unrecorded and yet published interviews – the first was from a meeting with Latin American religious leaders in June 2013.  That was the one that had Pope Francis speaking of the existence of a “gay lobby” in the Vatican and also about being concerned about Catholics who would count rosaries to offer prayer bouquets.

At the time LifeSiteNews published nothing on that first unrecorded interview even though almost all other news services did.  Shortly thereafter I was at the Vatican inquiring about that unrecorded but reported-on encounter and was assured by various Vatican insiders that the communication was not accidental but intended – to me at the time a rather startling revelation.

But that same assessment came later from another Vatican quarter, a man who speaks German as does the pope and also shares the pope’s religious order.  “Francis knows exactly how power is spelled,” said Bernd Hagenkord, a Jesuit who is in charge of German programming for Vatican Radio in a May interview with The Atlantic. “He’s a communicator in the league with Mother Teresa and the Dalai Lama. They say he’s being unclear, but we know exactly what he means.”

Two different ways to respond

One of the most disturbing outcomes of these ‘interviews’ is that the words and interpretations of what is being said by the Pope, while they may be clear for the German Jesuit, are remarkably unclear for the vast majority of Catholics.  Catholics who know well their faith, its moral teachings, and the reason for them are few and far between. They are able to discern that the Pope cannot mean to undermine Church teaching; that those teachings are unchangeable.

But most people are taken in by the media’s false interpretation that ‘who am I to judge’ involves a new acceptance of homosexuality; the false possibility for legitimately-married Catholics to divorce and remarry outside the Church and still receive Communion; the idea that the Church should quiet down on her teachings on abortion, contraception, and same-sex “marriage.”  All of those false conclusions were drawn from previous Francis interviews.

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There are two ways forward for faithful Catholics in such a situation.  One way – a way that is most tempting - was recently recognized as a growing tendency by blogger Father Ray Blake. “Most Catholics but especially clergy want to be loyal to the Pope in order to maintain the unity of the Church,” he said.  “Today that loyalty is perhaps best expressed through silence.”

In leading up to that observation, Blake noted that in the previous pontificate “there was a solidity and certainty in Benedict's teaching which made discussion possible and stimulated intellectual honesty, one knew where the Church and the Pope stood.”  He added, “Today we are in less certain times, the intellectual life of the Church is thwart with uncertainty.”

However, Vatican Cardinal Raymond Burke suggested a different approach recently. According to Burke, who serves as head of the Vatican’s highest court, the Apostolic Signatura, the pope has made a strategic decision to focus on making the Church appealing, and thus bishops and priests “are even more compelled to underline these teachings (on life and family) and make them clear for the faithful.”

He told EWTN’s Raymond Arroyo, “The Holy Father has said on different occasions that he expects that bishops and priests are doing this teaching while he’s trying to draw people closer and not have them use [these doctrines] as their immediate excuse for not coming to the faith.”

Cardinal Burke’s strategy confronts the culture head-on even on the most difficult issues.  He sees that the often-used but failed tactic of avoiding difficult situations, of obfuscating or compromising on moral issues as worse than useless.

When truth is pushed aside for political correctness, to fulfill ideals of civility or to achieve false unity and false peace, the world is harmed by the lack of truth the Church is called to bring to it.

When truth is boldly proclaimed and held to, despite persecution, even the enemies of truth are forced to see that the opponents of their secular or liberal ideologies truly believe their teachings and are willing to suffer for them. This eventually generates a degree of respect from some of the critics and an openness to re-consider their own flawed positions.


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