Fr. Peter West

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Recognizing population control in Ethiopia

Fr. Peter West
By Fr. Peter West
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February 22, 2013, (HLI World Watch) - The African nation of Ethiopia has a Christian history which dates back to the New Testament, even before Saul’s conversion. In the Acts of the Apostles, we learn that Philip baptized an Ethiopian eunuch who was a member of the court of Queen Candace. Happily, Ethiopia has not abandoned its ancient roots in the faith: about 63% of Ethiopians are Christians, the majority of whom belong to the Ethiopian Orthodox Church.

Ethiopia has a population of over 84 million, which makes the Eastern African nation the 14th largest country in the world. By way of contrast, the State of California has a population of just over 38 million people. But Ethiopia has plenty of room: they have a population density of 79 people per square kilometer, compared to 260 people per square kilometer in the much richer United Kingdom. This fact is often overlooked by those who look at Africa and see only too many people, and view babies as obstacles to “progress.”

With the 13th highest fertility rate in the world, Ethiopians have an average of 5.39 children per woman, making the nation a prime target of Western population controllers.

On the Need to Defend Pro-Life Culture

When I traveled to Ethiopia this past December I spoke with bishops, students and pro-life leaders who, while dedicated to defending life, were surprised just how far reaching and organized the population control agenda had become in Africa. For many it was a wakeup call that a renewed and refocused pro-life movement is needed in Ethiopia.

As in dozens of other countries in Africa and around the world, Human Life International (HLI) uses its limited resources to support the local pro-life mission in Ethiopia. In many African countries, HLI is the only organization providing valuable pro-life training and resources. Father Aloysius Mugisha, AJ (a priest of the order of Apostles of Jesus), is HLI’s country director in Ethiopia, and was my generous host. He is a native Ugandan, but has come to know and love Ethiopia and her people. He speaks the native Amharic language fluently, and helped to make sure people understood the very serious situation I described in my presentations and conversations.

During my first full day in Ethiopia, I offered Mass for 30 leaders of Ethiopia for Life, a dynamic group of students from various universities in the capital of Addis Ababa. In my homily, I reflected on the life of St. Leo the Great, who saved Rome from a barbarian invasion in 452 A.D.

As in St. Leo’s day, there is a vicious type of barbarism that we find today – attacks on the most vulnerable human life. The new barbarians, however, are very sophisticated, and claim not to be bound by the moral restrictions of the past. Since population control fell out of favor decades ago, they now wage the same war against the people of developing nations with the falsely inspiring language of “reproductive justice,” “maternal health,” and “safe motherhood.” Yet their methods are exactly the same: abortion, contraception, euthanasia, basically any means of eliminating the “unwanted.”

 Germanso thought of themselves as very sophisticated. Before World War II, their society was the most literate in the world. But even before the Nazis came to power, these “sophisticated” barbarians were euthanizing mental patients and others with various imperfections. Their aim was to create a master race, and some of the most eminent scientists were involved.

This was also the aim of Margaret Sanger, the founder of the organization now known as Planned Parenthood, to create “a race of thoroughbreds.” Marie Stopes, a friend and colleague of Sanger, also was a racist and eugenicist. She founded the Society for Constructive Birth and Racial Progress, which eventually became the eponymous organization that is most active in Africa today.

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I asked the students to pray to Pope St. Leo the Great and ask him to help us overcome this new barbarism, that we might create a culture in which life is respected at every stage, and to preserve the faith. Right action follows from right belief. The false philosophies of the 19th century led to the atrocities of the 20th, as well as to the lack of respect for human life that we see today.

Spreading the Word

After Mass, I gave a presentation to the students on the population control agenda. Bishop Lisane-Christos Matheos Semahun, Auxiliary Bishop of Addis Ababa, also attended. They were alarmed to hear that Ethiopia was one of the 13 countries targeted by the United States for population control since the 1970s. On December 10, 1974, the United States National Security Council promulgated a top secret document entitled National Security Study Memorandum 200 (NSSM-200), also called The Kissinger Report. It was subtitled “Implications of Worldwide Population Growth for U.S. Security and Overseas Interests.” Declassified in 1989, the document laid out a detailed strategy by which the United States would aggressively promote population control in developing nations in order to regulate (or have better access to) the natural resources of these countries.

The document stated “The U.S. economy will require large and increasing amounts of minerals from abroad, especially from less developed countries. That fact gives the U.S. enhanced interest in the political, economic, and social stability of the supplying countries.” Ethiopia was one of 13 nations named that would be primary targets of U.S.-funded population control efforts. Other countries named were India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nigeria, Mexico, Indonesia, Brazil, the Philippines, Thailand, Egypt, Turkey, Ethiopia and Colombia.

According to NSSM-200, elements of the implementation of population control programs could include: a) the legalization of abortion; b) financial incentives for countries to increase their abortion, sterilization and contraception-use rates; c) indoctrination of children; and d) mandatory population control, and coercion of other forms, such as withholding disaster and food aid unless an LDC implements population control programs.

You might ask why a policy adopted during the Nixon administration is relevant today, especially since it is unlikely that most of today’s bureaucrats and population control advocates even know of its existence. It is relevant because the assumptions and recommendations of this troubling document are now those of the international development industry, which is funded by governments of wealthy nations and Western multi-billion dollar foundations. A policy that was classified due to the very reasonable assumption by its authors that there would be an uproar if it was know that the most powerful government in the world saw the people of developing nations as obstacles to its own flourishing, is now the basic framework of the international development industry, and its strategies and tactics are now considered “best practices,” just as the language used in their implementation is now “pro-woman” rather than “population control.”

Our brothers and sisters in Ethiopia and other developing nations deserve to know that those bearing gifts from wealthy nations have an agenda. There are often strings attached to the huge financial grants dangled in front of the leaders of these nations, and these strings will ultimately tie down, and not empower, Africans.

A Strong Clergy can Make a Difference

Bishop Semahun was so alarmed at the array of forces seeking to limit the population of Ethiopia he pledged to focus the rest of his Episcopal ministry on the defense of human life and the family. Thankfully, the Archbishop of Addis Ababa, Berhaneyesus Demerew Souraphiel, C.M., has also been very supportive of the pro-life ministry in Ethiopia. The support of the Catholic Church in Africa is essential in responding to the threats of population control and the anti-life agenda.

While pro-life leaders, including many Catholic clergy, are well aware of the great evils posed by the Culture of Death, it’s hardly possible for any one person or one group to confront and defeat them all. The pro-life movement in Africa is growing, but supporters of their efforts don’t have the billions of dollars spent every year to suppress the Gospel of Life and undermine Africa’s traditionally life-loving culture.

As we go through our daily activities, we should be mindful and keep in prayer the students of Ethiopia for Life, as well as Father Aloysius, Ethiopia’s bishops, and all those working diligently to strengthen a Culture of Life in nations that still value children. May they have the courage of St. Leo to stand against the forces of evil in our day.

Father Peter West is the vice president for missions at Human Life International.

Reprinted with permission from HLI World Watch.

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Cardinal Walter Kasper Catholic Church of England and Wales / Flickr
Hilary White Hilary White Follow Hilary

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Kasper: Cardinals defending Catholic teaching on marriage are attacking Pope Francis

Hilary White Hilary White Follow Hilary
By Hilary White

ROME -- Cardinal Walter Kasper, who unveiled a plan at last February’s consistory of cardinals to admit divorced and civilly remarried Catholics to Communion without receiving sacramental absolution, is claiming again in the Italian press that he has Pope Francis’ backing. Kasper said the cardinals who are opposing his plan are, in fact, targeting the pope himself.

In interviews published over the last two days in Italy and Germany, Kasper has depicted himself as a victim of an “ideological” campaign.

“They claim to know on their own what truth is, but Catholic doctrine is not a closed system, but a living tradition that develops,” Kasper said yesterday in the Italian paper Il Matino.  “Some of the next Synod want an ideological war. The doctrine of the Church is open, but they want a crystallized truth.”

Responding to the publication of a book of essays defending traditional teaching by five cardinals and other theologians, Kasper said, “The target of the controversy is not me, but the Pope.”

Asked whether he expects a “doctrinal war in the Synod” Kasper said, “I certainly don’t want it. They perhaps want it. I think of a pastoral Synod.” He added that the pope “also wants a pastoral synod.”

“I’m not naïve,” Kasper said. “I knew that there are other positions, but I didn't think that the debate would become, and now is shown to be also, without manners.”

“Not one of my fellow Cardinals ever spoke to me. I, instead, [spoke] twice with the Holy Father. I agreed upon everything with him. He was in agreement. What can a cardinal do, except be with Pope? I am not the target, the target is another one.”

Kasper again claimed that Pope Francis knew what he was going to propose and fully approved of his speech.

“They know that I have not done these things by myself,” he said. “I agreed with the Pope, I spoke twice with him. He showed himself content [with the proposal]. Now, they create this controversy. A Cardinal must be close to the Pope, by his side. The Cardinals are the Pope's cooperators.”

In another interview with the Tablet, a liberal Catholic magazine in the UK, Kasper said that he has the “impression” that Pope Francis is open to his idea. “I hope the bishops will listen to the voice of people who live as divorced and remarried – the sensus fidei. They should listen and then next year they should decide what is possible and what is not possible.”  

Since his consistory keynote speech, there has been a steady stream of interviews and articles by some of the Church’s highest-ranking cardinals and bishops explaining repeatedly why any change to Catholic teaching is impossible. The Church teaches, in keeping with the words of Christ in the Gospels that marriage cannot be broken unless one spouse dies, and that therefore those who divorce and remarry are living in a state of mortal sin as adulterers. Only if they pledge to change their lives and receive absolution in the sacrament of confession can they be allowed to receive Holy Communion.

But Kasper’s plan does not include any attempt to directly change Catholic doctrine on the indissolubility of marriage or the nature of the sin of adultery. Kasper himself has also said that Catholic teaching is impossible to change, coming as it does directly from the words of Christ in the Gospel. He says he merely suggests that the Church could “tolerate” a “second marriage” of which it does not approve.

On the second day of the consistory, following Kasper’s speech, Pope Francis opened the proceedings by praising Kasper’s “deep” and “serene” thoughts in theology, and asking for unity among those cardinals present. “This is called doing theology while kneeling,” Francis said.

In an interview given in New York in May, Kasper, who is one of the hierarchy’s most prominent old-school “liberal” theologians, said that couples in what the Church calls “irregular unions” who live chastely “as brother and sister” are indeed exercising “heroic” virtue, but that such heroism is “not for the average Christian.”

At the same time, Bishop Johan Bonny of Antwerp, known as one of Europe’s more “progressive” Catholic prelates, has published a 22-page open letter to the Synod bishops, translated into several languages. Bishop Bonny has asked for the Synod to move beyond the restrictions placed on Catholics by the 1968 encyclical Humanae Vitae that confirmed the Church’s ban on birth control and restore the supreme place of individual “conscience” over Catholic doctrine.

Bishop Bonny called for the Synod bishops to close the “gap” between “the moral teachings of the Church and the moral insights of the faithful.” He asked the to Synod to “restore conscience to its rightful place in the teaching of the Church.”

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He dismissed Pope John Paul II’s document Familiaris Consortio, which upheld the traditional teaching on marriage and sexuality, saying that in it “the judgment of personal conscience on methods of family planning features rarely if at all.”

“Many believers, particularly those belonging to ecclesial organisations and ‘centre field’ Christians, were no longer able to agree with the dogmatic texts and moral statements coming from Rome,” Bishop Bonny wrote of the years following Humanae Vitae’s publication. Afterwards, a “succession of documents on sexual, family-related and bio-ethical issues, and with the highest doctrinal authority, was faced with increasing incomprehension and far reaching indifference.”

He complained that the doctrine of Humanae Vitae has since been “enforced with a firm hand,” which has created “exclusion and missed opportunities.”

“This discord cannot continue,” the bishop wrote. “The bond between the collegiality of the bishops and the primacy of the bishop of Rome that was manifest during the Second Vatican Council must be restored and without delay.”

“Whenever I speak with people,” he wrote, “I’m unable to repeat certain formulations from church doctrine without appearing unjustifiably judgmental, without hurting them deeply and without giving a mistaken idea of the church.”

“What do I expect from the forthcoming Synod? That it will restore conscience to its rightful place in the teaching of the Church in line with [Vatican II document] Gaudium et Spes.”

Vatican journalist Sandro Magister wrote today that the rhetoric continues to escalate in the final days before the opening of the Synod, which will make no final decisions and be followed by another meeting of bishops in October 2015.

Magister wrote that the Synod has come to “resemble Pope Francis in one thing,” explaining that “it admits no predictions on how it will develop, far less on how it will end.”

“This is the way the pope wanted it: open to free discussion even on the most divisive points, like for example whether or not to give communion to divorced Catholics who have remarried in a civil ceremony.”

Magister said that Francis started the speculation by allowing the Synod’s preparatory questionnaire to be distributed to the laity in parishes – “on all the questions concerning the family, from contraception to communion for the divorced, from de facto couples to marriage between homosexuals.” This, he said, was taken up by the German episcopate, “igniting expectations of liberalization in the discipline of the Church.”

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Don Feder

The only way to beat our demographic crisis is to confront the Sexual Revolution

Don Feder
By Don Feder

Editor’s Note: The following address was delivered by Don Feder, communications director for the World Congress of Families, at the International Forum: Large Family and the Future of Humanity in Moscow September 10-12, 2014.

If current trends continue, we won’t run out of energy or other natural resources in the foreseeable future. We will run out of people. This global catastrophe will be the result of rapidly declining fertility, known as Demographic Winter.

In 1960, worldwide, the average woman had 5 children. Now, that number is 2.6 and falling – in other words, a decline of almost 50 percent in a little more than 50 years. Today, 59 countries with 44 percent of the world’s population have below-replacement fertility. Many developed nations have fertility rates of 1.5 or lower, with 2.1 needed just to replace current population.

This didn’t happen spontaneously. Demographic Winter is the direct result of the Sexual Revolution – which first became noticeable in the late 1960s, not coincidentally, about the time birth rates began to fall.

The dogma of the Sexual Revolution – which has become ingrained social wisdom in the West -- might be summarized as follows:

  1. Sex is the most important aspect of existence;
  2. When sex is consensual, it’s always good;
  3. The primary purpose of sex is pleasure, not procreation or the physical expression of love;
  4. The primary purpose of life is pleasure;
  5. Inhibitions lead to neuroses and must be overcome;
  6. Sex has nothing to do with morality; and
  7. Sex should not only be guilt-free, but free of consequences -- hence contraception, hence abortion, hence abandonment of marriage.

The prophets of the Sexual Revolution include Sigmund Freud,  “researchers” like Alfred Kinsey and Masters and Johnson, pornographers like Playboy founder Hugh Hefner, and feminists like Margaret Sanger, Betty Friedan, and Simone de Beauvoir.  In the United States, the Sexual Revolution is spearheaded by groups like Planned Parenthood, the National Organization for Women, the (homosexual) Human Rights Campaign, and the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the U.S. (SIECUS).

The impact of the Sexual Revolution on fertility cannot be overstated.

For the first time in history, just under half the world’s population of child-bearing age uses some form of birth control. By 2015, the global contraceptives market will generate an estimated $17.2 billion annually.

Overwhelmingly, this is financed by governments, businesses or international aid agencies. Other species have become extinct. Ours may be the first to finance its own extinction.

Worldwide, there are approximately 42 million abortions a year.  That’s more than twice the number of military deaths in World War II.

From a demographic perspective, we’re not just losing 42 million people annually, but also their children, grandchildren and other descendants down through the ages. We are, quite literally, aborting our future.

The flight from marriage has affected fertility even more profoundly than contraceptives. In France, in 2010, more people began living together than married.

In the United States, in 1960, 59 percent of 18-to-29-year olds (those in their prime childbearing years) were married , compared to only 20 percent today.

Once a central reality of existence, marriage is increasingly optional. In its place have come cohabitation, casual liaisons and out-of-wedlock births. Not surprisingly, fewer marriages – especially early marriages -- result in fewer children.

Just as Demographic Winter is the result of the Sexual Revolution, the latter is the result of something called Cultural Marxism – a movement associated with Antonio Gramsci, the Frankfurt School and Herbert Marcuse.

Cultural Marxism was their answer to the failure of worldwide revolution after the First World War. Gramsci believed family and church gave workers what communists called a “false class consciousness” that made them immune to the appeals of Marxism.

The solution, then, was to destroy the family and religion – and what better way to do that than to foster sexual license and a society oriented toward mindless pleasure and away from hearth and home.

While there’s no proof that dramatically declining fertility is what Cultural Marxists wanted, it’s the natural consequence of creating a highly eroticized society where family is viewed as an obstacle to self-fulfillment and children as a burden.

We won’t find our way out of the forest of Demographic Winter until the Sexual Revolution is overthrown -- its prophets exposed and its dogma debunked.

Ultimately, the Sexual Revolution is about death – abortion, contraception, sexually-transmitted disease, pornography and promiscuity, in place of marriage, fidelity, procreation, and responsibility.

To combat both the Sexual Revolution and Demographic Winter, we must embrace a philosophy of life. For does not the Bible tell us: “I have set before you this day life and death, blessing and curses. Therefore, choose life so that you may live – you and your children.”

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Cardinal Dolan greets worshipers and guests on the steps of Saint Patrick's Cathedral in Manhattan after Easter mass on April 8, 2012 in New York City. Lev Radin / Shutterstock.com
Lisa Bourne

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Catholic leaders criticize Cardinal Dolan’s defense of gay group at St. Patrick’s Parade

Lisa Bourne
By Lisa Bourne
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New York Cardinal John O'Connor on the cover of the New York Post on January 11, 1993. http://rorate-caeli.blogspot.com/

New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan defended his decision to serve as grand marshal for the 2015 St. Patrick’s Day Parade on Wednesday, in the wake of widespread criticism from Catholics after he praised the organizing committee for allowing a homosexual activist group to march.

“If the Parade Committee allowed a group to publicize its advocacy of any actions contrary to Church teaching, I’d object,” Dolan stated in his weekly column. On the contrary, he argued, “The committee’s decision allows a group to publicize its identity, not promote actions contrary to the values of the Church that are such an essential part of Irish culture.”

Austin Ruse, president of the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute, was not impressed with the cardinal’s argument. This is precisely about publicizing advocacy contrary to Catholic teaching,” he said.

“As a Catholic father I find there is rapidly contracting space where this shameful agenda is not stuck in the faces of my children,” Ruse told LifeSiteNews. “The Church should be protecting our children rather than abetting those who prowl about the world seeking the ruin of innocent souls."

Pat Archbold, a popular blogger at the National Catholic Register and who runs the Creative Minority Report blog, lambasted Dolan for suggesting the embrace and promotion of “gay identity” can be separated from the sin of homosexuality.

“This identity is not a morally-neutral God-given attribute such as male or female, black or white,” he said. “The identity is with the immoral choice to engage in immoral behavior.”

“The best that can be said in this situation is that these people choose to proudly identify themselves with an intrinsic disorder.  But in reality, it is worse than that,” he continued. “The people find their identity and pride in sin.  Either the Cardinal knows this or he doesn't, either way Cardinal Dolan reveals himself unequal to his responsibility as a successor of the Apostles.”

The parade committee changed its longstanding policy on September 3 after decades of pressure from homosexual groups. Upon being announced as the parade’s grand marshal later the same day, Cardinal Dolan said he had no trouble with the decision at all, calling it “wise.”

The organizers had never prohibited any marchers, but did not ban issue-focused banners and signs, whether promoting homosexuality or the pro-life cause.

Cardinal Dolan stated in his column Wednesday that he did not oppose the previous policy.

“This was simply a reasonable policy about banners and public identification, not about the sexual inclinations of participants,” he explained.

“I have been assured that the new group marching is not promoting an agenda contrary to Church teaching,” he said as well, “but simply identifying themselves as ‘Gay people of Irish ancestry.’”

The homosexual activist group that will march is called OUT@NBCUniversal, which describes itself as the employee resource group for LGBT & Straight Ally employees at the media giant.

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The network held the broadcast contract for parade coverage. Reports indicated the contract was about to expire, and that NBC joined in pressuring on parade officials.

Cardinal Dolan conceded in his column there were many thoughtful reasons for criticizing the parade policy change, and noted that he shared some of them.

“While a handful have been less than charitable in their reactions, I must admit that many of you have rather thoughtful reasons for criticizing the committee’s decision,” he said. “You observe that the former policy was fair; you worry that this is but another example of a capitulation to an ‘aggressive Gay agenda,’ which still will not appease their demands; and you wonder if this could make people think the Church no longer has a clear teaching on the nature of human sexuality.” 

However, he said, the most important question he had to ask himself was whether the new policy violated Catholic faith or morals.

In stressing that homosexual actions are sinful while identity is not, Cardinal Dolan said, “Catholic teaching is clear: ‘being Gay’ is not a sin, nor contrary to God’s revealed morals.”

Making opinion paramount, the cardinal offered that the parade committee “tried to be admirably sensitive to Church teaching,” and even though the original policy was not at all unfair, the committee was “realistic in worrying that the public perception was the opposite, no matter how often they tried to explain its coherence and fairness.”

“They worried that the former policy was being interpreted as bias, exclusion, and discrimination against a group in our city,” Cardinal Dolan wrote. “Which, if true, would also be contrary to Church teaching.”

When the decision was announced and Cardinal Dolan named the parade’s grand marshal, Philip Lawler, director of Catholic Culture and editor for Catholic World News, called it a significant advance for homosexual activists, and a significant retreat for the Catholic Church.

Pointing out in his column that the media will be correct to concentrate on that narrative at next March’s event, Lawler identified what he said is almost certain to be the result of the 2015 St. Patrick’s Day Parade.

“Next year there will be only one story-line of interest to the reporters who cover the annual parade in the world’s media capital: the triumph of the gay activists,” Lawler wrote.

“Photographers will be competing for the one ‘money’ shot: the picture of the contingent from OUT@NBCUniversal marching past the reviewing stand at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, under the benign smile of Cardinal Timothy Dolan.”

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