Patrick Craine

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Retired bishops join pro-Planned Parenthood group in call for Catholic funding of pro-abort orgs

Patrick Craine
Patrick Craine

WASHINGTON, D.C., June 14, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Ten Catholic bishops teamed up with a pro-Planned Parenthood group to a release a report this week that urges Catholic organizations to fund groups linked to the promotion of abortion and other acts opposed by the Church.

The 28-page report, released Tuesday by the advocacy group Faith in Public Life, targets Catholic critics of the Catholic Campaign for Human Development, accusing them of adopting “McCarthy-era tactics” in their quest to rid the USCCB-run organization of problematic partnerships.

The CEO of the group Faith in Public Life is Jennifer Butler a Presbyterian minister who sat on a panel of “pro-choice clergy” at Planned Parenthood Federation of America’s annual interfaith breakfast in 2008.  Moreover, the website of Faith in Public Life has published numerous blog posts defending Planned Parenthood.

The report was authored by John Gehring, Faith in Public Life’s Catholic Program Director, who once served as the USCCB’s Assistant Director for Media Relations.

The opening pages of the report include a list of endorsing groups and individuals, including nine retired U.S. bishops and one sitting bishop (Bishop Kevin Dowling of Rustenberg, South Africa). The retired bishops listed are Archbishop Fiorenza, Bishop William S. Skylstad of Spokane, Bishop John S. Cummins of Oakland, Bishop Thomas Gumbleton, Bishop Ricardo Ramirez of Las Cruces, Bishop Peter Rosazza, Bishop Sylvester Ryan of Monterey, Bishop Joseph Sullivan, and Bishop John Leibrecht of Springfield-Cape Girardeau. Archbishop Fiorenza and Bishop Skylstad are both former presidents of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Many of the bishops backing the report are known for taking public positions against Catholic teaching.

  • Bishop Dowling is famous for his opposition to Church teaching on contraception and in 2010 he was rebuked by the Southern African Bishops' Conference after giving a talk that criticized the Vatican and Catholic teaching against the ordination of women.
  • Bishop Gumbleton, a well-known dissident in the U.S. Church, made headlines in April when he opposed his own bishop, Archbishop Allen Vigneron of Detroit, after Vigneron defended the Church's opposition to same-sex "marriage" and urged Catholics who support the illicit unions to not approach for Communion.
  • Bishop Sullivan has been a speaker for the pro-homosexual New Ways Ministry, and has called for active homosexuals to be brought in to "full participation in the life of the church."

In the report, Faith in Public Life charges that CCHD’s critics are working to "undermine the U.S. Catholic bishops’ most successful anti-poverty initiative."

"Using guilt by association and other tactics from the McCarthy-era playbook, these activists are part of an increasingly aggressive movement of Catholic culture warriors who view themselves as fighting for a smaller, 'purer' church,” it reads.

The report mentions the Reform CCHD Now coalition by name, and focuses particularly on American Life League, which has been one of the leading critics. LifeSiteNews is also mentioned because of its recent reports highlighting Catholic Relief Services' links to pro-abortion groups.

It criticizes recent decisions by CCHD to defund grantees like the Land Stewardship Project and Compañeros, which were found to be taking active leadership roles in coalitions that endorse same-sex “marriage.”

These defunding decisions have come after detailed reports from the Reform CCHD Now coalition, but in these cases the coalition has merely called on CCHD to live up to its own guidelines. According to those guidelines, CCHD funds “cannot go to groups that knowingly participate in coalitions that have as part of their organizational purpose or coalition agenda, positions or actions that contradict fundamental Catholic moral and social teaching.”

The report also includes interviews with bishops and other faith leaders who oppose CCHD’s ongoing reform and believe the anti-poverty arm should work with groups that oppose fundamental Catholic moral teachings in the interest of securing relief for the poor.

“At a time when poverty is growing and people are hurting we should not withdraw from our commitment to helping the poor,” urges Archbishop Joseph Fiorenza, former head of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston. “Catholic identity is far broader than opposition to abortion and same-sex marriage. Catholic identity is a commitment to living the Gospel as Jesus proclaimed it, and this must include a commitment to those in poverty.”

The report won accolades on Thursday from the Human Rights Campaign, one of America’s leading homosexual advocacy groups, which used the occasion to urge Catholic leaders to fund “marriage equality” groups.

“It is utterly wrong that a network of conservative Catholic organizations would choose to withhold funds from local groups working with the poor because they support marriage equality and the LGBT community,” said Sharon Groves, HRC’s Religion and Faith Director. “Before all else Jesus’ ministry was with the poor and for the poor.  No matter what these Catholic leaders feel about marriage equality it is nothing short of wrong to turn poor people into pawns for their political ends.” 

“We thank Faith in Public Life for bringing this scandal to the attention of the wider public.”

Michael Hichborn, a researcher at American Life League and the lead spokesman for the Reform CCHD Now coalition, emphasized that they fully support authentic poverty relief efforts, but said Faith in Public Life is clearly not aiming to help the poor.

"Given that Faith in Public Life is headed by someone strongly aligned with Planned Parenthood, and that the ‘report’ they wrote is getting support from the Human Rights Campaign, it's clear that the reason for this report has nothing to do with the poor and everything to do with helping the gay and pro-abortion lobby,” he said.

"The whole report is nothing more than an apologetics piece attempting to make the case that in order to help the poor, Catholic money has to go to organizations working hand-in-glove with coalitions promoting abortion and homosexuality,” he added.

"Even though a number of bishops have endorsed this report, I am reminded of the warning of Our Lady of Akita that we will see cardinals opposing cardinals, bishops against other bishops, and the Church will be full of those who accept compromises,” Hichborn continued. “Ultimately what these bishops are saying is that those bishops who supported the review and renewal guideline on coalitions, and those others who’ve decided not to do the CCHD collection are hurting the poor because they oppose giving money to organizations who become members of coalitions that are the ideological enemies of Christ."

Hichborn also questioned why Faith in Public Life and its backers were targeting American Life League when the pro-life group has merely upheld CCHD’s own standards. He highlighted a quote last year by CCHD’s own executive director, Ralph McCloud: "To work with organizations who are working against some of the things that we're teaching, the tradition that we have -- we just have no tolerance for that," said McCloud.

“This is the executive director of the CCHD speaking, not American Life League,” said Hichborn. “If FIPL and all of its endorsers have a problem with the CCHD's standards, then I don't know why they are pointing a finger at American life League.  All we're doing is applying the Church's own standards in our investigations." 


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UK quietly opens the door to genetic engineering, ‘3-parent’ embryos

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By Hilary White

Last month the UK’s Department of Health quietly redefined the term “genetic modification” to open the door to allow certain kinds of modification of human embryos – thus potentially making it the first country in the world to allow genetic engineering.

Scottish journalist Lori Anderson recently raised the alarm over the change in a column in the Scotsman, in which she alleged that the change is designed to “dupe” the British public into accepting “full-scale germline genetic engineering,” using human embryos as test subjects.

Anderson said that in July, the Department of Health “effectively re-wrote the definition of ‘genetic modification’ to specifically exclude the alteration of human mitochondrial genes or any other genetic material that exists outside the chromosomes in the nucleus of the cell.”

“The reason for doing this is that it believes it will be easier to sell such an advancement to the public if it can insist that the end result will not be a ‘GM baby’.”

This change follows a statement from the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA), the government body that regulates experimental research on human embryos, approving the procedure to create an embryo from one couple’s gametes but with genetic material added from a third party donor, a procedure called in the press “three-parent embryos”.

Anderson quoted a statement from the Department of Health comparing this procedure to donating blood. The statement read, “There is no universally agreed definition of ‘genetic modification’ in humans – people who have organ transplants, blood donations, or even gene therapy are not generally regarded as being ‘genetically modified’. The Government has decided to adopt a working definition for the purpose of taking forward these regulations.”

This assertion was challenged by one of the UK’s leading fertility researchers, Lord Robert Winston, who told the Independent, “Of course mitochondrial transfer is genetic modification and this modification is handed down the generations. It is totally wrong to compare it with a blood transfusion.”

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The HFEA, which throughout its history has been known as one of the world’s most permissive regulatory bodies, has been working steadily towards allowing genetically modified embryos to be implanted in women undergoing artificial procreation treatments. In a document issued to the government last year, they called the insertion of mitochondrial DNA (mDNA) into embryos “mitochondrial donation” or “mitochondrial replacement”. mDNA is the genetic material found in the cytoplasm outside a cell’s nucleus, problems with which can cause a host of currently incurable genetic illnesses.

In the statement issued in June, the HFEA said the technique of inserting “donated” mDNA into already existing in vitro embryos, “should be considered ‘not unsafe’ for the use on a ‘specific and defined group of patients.’”

“Mitochondria replacement (or mitochondrial donation) describes two medical techniques, currently being worked on by UK researchers, which could allow women to avoid passing on genetically inherited mitochondrial diseases to their children,” the statement said.

The HFEA admitted that the techniques are “at the cutting edge of both science and ethics” and said that the results of a “public consultation” in 2012/13 were being examined by the government, which is considering “draft regulations”.

In June, the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children echoed Lori Anderson’s concern, commenting that the HFEA is attempting to deceive the public. Paul Tully, SPUC’s general secretary, said, “Human gene manipulation is being sold to a gullible public on a promise of reducing suffering, the same old con-trick that the test-tube baby lobby has been using for decades.” 

Any manipulation of human genetics, always breaks “several important moral rules,” entailing the creation of “human guinea-pigs,” Tully said. “Human germ-line manipulation and cloning – changing the genetic inheritance of future generations - goes against internationally-agreed norms for ethical science.”

He quoted Professor Andy Greenfield, the chairman of the scientific review panel that approved the techniques, who said that there is no way of knowing what effect this would have on the children created until it is actually done.

“We have to subject children who have not consented and cannot consent to being test subjects,” Tully said.

Altering the mDNA of an embryo is what cloning scientists refer to as “germline” alteration, meaning that the changes will be carried on through the altered embryo’s own offspring, a longstanding goal of eugenicists.

In their 1999 book, “Human Molecular Genetics” Tom Strachan and Andrew Read warned that the use of mitochondrial alteration of embryos would cross serious ethical boundaries.

Having argued that germline therapy would be “pointless” from a therapeutic standpoint, the authors said, “There are serious concerns, therefore, that a hidden motive for germline gene therapy is to enable research to be done on germline manipulation with the ultimate aim of germline-based genetic enhancement.”

“The latter could result in positive eugenics programs, whereby planned genetic modification of the germline could involve artificial selection for genes that are thought to confer advantageous traits.”


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Cable series portrays nun as back-alley abortionist

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By Ben Johnson
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'To depict a nun who performs an abortion is a new low,' said Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights.

The Cinemax TV series The Knick portrayed a Roman Catholic nun as a back alley abortionist who tells a Catholic woman God will forgive her for going through with the procedure.

In its latest episode, which aired Friday night, the series showed Sister Harriet (an Irish nun played by Cara Seymour) telling a Catholic woman named Nora, “Your husband will know nothing of it. I promise.”

“Will God forgive me?” Nora asked, adding, “I don't want to go to Hell for killing a baby.”

“He knows that you suffered,” the sister replied, before performing the illegal abortion off-screen. “I believe the Lord's compassion will be yours.” 

The period medical drama is set at the Knickerbocker Hospital (“The Knick”) in New York City around the turn of the 20th century, when abortion was against both civil and ecclesiastical law.

“It is no secret that Hollywood is a big pro-abortion town, but to depict a nun who performs an abortion is a new low,” Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, said. “The only saving grace in this episode is the real-life recognition of the woman who is about to have the abortion: she admits that her baby is going to be killed.”

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The series is directed by Steven Soderbergh, known for such films as Erin Brockovich, the Oceans Eleven franchise, and Sex, Lies, and Videotape. More recently he directed The Girlfriend Experience, a film about prostitution starring pornographic actress Sasha Grey.

Critics have hailed his decision to include a black surgeon in circa 1900 America. But after last week's episode, the New York Times stated that The Knick has chosen to “demonstrate concern for other kinds of progress,” citing the depiction of the abortion. 


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Balcony of the Grandmaster Palace in Valletta, which houses the Maltese Parliament. Shutterstock
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Catholic Malta enacts ‘transgender’ employment discrimination law

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By Hilary White

An amendment to Malta’s Employment and Industrial Relations Act means that employment “discrimination” against “transsexuals” is now officially prohibited in the Catholic country. The provision, which was quietly passed in May, came into effect on August 12th.

The law allows those who believe they have a complaint to make a case with the National Commission for the Promotion of Equality, with an industrial tribunal or the courts. A government spokesman told local  media, “Employees do not need to prove that their employer has discriminated against them.”

“They only need to provide enough evidence pointing to a likely case of discrimination. The employer will then need to prove that discrimination has not taken place.”

The amendment defines illegal discrimination against “transgendered” people as, “in so far as the ground of sex is concerned, any less favourable treatment of a person who underwent or is undergoing gender reassignment, which, for the purpose of those regulations shall mean, where a person is considering or intends to undergo, or is undergoing, a process, or part of a process, for the purposes of reassigning the person’s sex by changing physiological or other attributes of sex.” 

Silvan Agius, Human Rights policy coordinator with the Ministry for Social Dialogue, Consumer Affairs and Civil Liberties, told Malta Today newspaper that the new amendment brings Maltese law into harmony with EU law.

“This amendment is continuing the government’s equality mainstreaming exercise. The inclusion of gender reassignment in the Act also brings it in line with the anti-discrimination articles found in both Malta’s Constitution and the Equality for Men and Woman Act,” Agius said.

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Agius is a key member of the homosexual activist apparatus in Malta’s government working to entrench the ideology of gender in law in Malta and elsewhere. In June, he was a featured speaker, with the notorious British anti-Catholic campaigner Peter Tatchell, at a Glasgow conference organised by the Edinburgh-based Equality Network, a group that helps organise and train homosexualist campaign groups.

The amendment to the law follows promises made recently by the country’s equalities minister, Helena Dalli, to a “transgender” congress in Hungary in May. Dalli, who brought forward Malta’s recently passed same-sex civil unions bill, told a meeting of gender activists in Budapest that while her government’s focus had been mainly on homosexuals, that she would shortly be turning her attention to “trans” people.

“The next step now is a Bill towards the enactment of a Gender Identity law. A draft bill has been prepared and it has now been passed to the LGBTI Consultative Council for its vetting and amendment as necessary,” Dalli said.

“Some of you may be thinking that we are moving forward quickly. I have a different perspective though. We are doing what is right, what should have been done a long time ago,” she added.

Since the legalisation of divorce in 2011, Malta has been remarkable for its rapid adoption of the gender ideology’s agenda. In 2013, Malta was named the “fastest climber” on the Rainbow Europe Index, a survey organised annually by ILGA Europe, the leading homosexualist lobby group funded directly by the European Union.

The ILGA Europe report notes (p. 114) that Helena Dalli Helena “was one of 11 EU Member States’ equality ministers to co-sign a call for the European Commission to work on a comprehensive EU policy for LGBT equality.” The report also noted that although the new Labour government has proved cooperative, the Christian Democrat Nationalist Party has “progressively proved more receptive to LGBTI issues, including same-sex unions.”


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