Hilary White, Rome Correspondent

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Still waiting for moral leadership in Britain: Queen’s cousin speaks to LSN

Hilary White, Rome Correspondent
Hilary White, Rome Correspondent
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ROME, March 21, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Lord Nicholas Windsor, the youngest child of the Duke and Duchess of Kent and first cousin once removed to Queen Elizabeth II, told LifeSiteNews.com earlier this month that patience is required from those waiting for true moral and spiritual leadership to turn the anti-human, anti-life tide in Britain.

Lord Windsor sat down with LSN at the annual plenary meeting of the Vatican’s Pontifical Academy for Life on February 25th. He spoke at length of his conversion to Catholicism, through the influence of the late Pope John Paul II, and his dedication to the pro-life philosophy.

The hope of turning society away from the post-Christian amorality, he said, lies with the post-Baby Boom generation: “Our generation is the one after [the one] which made these, I think, calamitous decisions. To some extent, our generation looks upon all that with horror.”

He said that “undoubtedly” true leaders will emerge from the generation disillusioned with the social revolution. “There are inspiring people,” he added, but “perhaps not on the national stage … One has to be patient.”

Lord Windsor was received into the Catholic Church ten years ago and became the first ever member of the current English Royal Family to be married at the Vatican and the first since 1554 to be married according to the rites of the Catholic Church. His son Albert was the first member of the Royal Family to be baptized a Catholic since 1688.

Under the 1701 Act of Settlement, Lord Windsor lost his place in line, 27th, for the English throne upon his conversion. He studied theology in university and recently moved to Italy, but when resident in London attends Mass regularly with his wife at the Brompton Oratory. Lord Windsor’s mother, Katherine, Duchess of Kent, and his sister, Lady Helen Taylor, are also converts to Catholicism.

Recently, the American media was made aware that a member of the British Royal Family was a strong pro-life Catholic when the journal First Things published an article in which Lord Windsor asserted that abortion is a greater threat to Europe than Islamic terrorism.

As with so many young converts, he credits the influence of Pope John Paul II for his awakening to faith.

“It was a recognition of a richness and a fullness of Christian exposition, what is the faith, that I admit I hadn’t encountered” in the Anglican Church, he said. 

Born in 1970, Lord Windsor sits squarely in the demographic that has come to be known in Catholic circles as the “JPII generation,” that which saw directly the “calamitous” results of the sexual and social revolutions of the latter half of the 20th century.

He became aware of the message of John Paul II in his late teens and remembers him as the young, dynamic “skiing” pope who appealed so strongly to younger people. It was the “realisation of the potential excitement of the life of faith” presented by Pope John Paul, that prompted him to look more deeply into what the Catholic Church proposed.

“To invite young people to the challenge of living an orthodox faith with integrity and being prepared to witness to it as much as they were able, was a very appealing thing. The directness of the pope in his address to young people was something perhaps they were not used to.”

The pope, and the Church he represented, offered, “rich, nourishing food” for the spiritual life. “Perhaps nourishing is the best word. He wasn’t offering anything diluted or made softer for our generation. It was a very hard but beautiful and loving presentation of faith and living it.”

“When I was a teenager, I have to say I more or less went along with the prevailing culture, and I wasn’t experiencing much of a pushing back against that from the church I belonged to, the Anglican Church.”

A pilgrimage to World Youth Day in Rome in the Jubilee year 2000 brought about a profound change and moved him away from acceptance of modern social and sexual mores.

“It was then I started to join the dots a bit. How it was possible that the Church could be holding these positions that society found so improbable or worse, retrograde or even wicked. And realising that not only did they make sense, but make sense in a very beneficial way, in a way that really is concerned, doesn’t just pay lip service, to the flourishing of human beings and desiring that they should be happy.”

Asked the million-dollar question: “What’s wrong with Britain,” Lord Windsor said, “I do hear a lot of people say that something has changed, whether it’s something to do with the loss of politeness that the British were famous for, or their reserve or perhaps innate conservatism, social conservatism.”

“It doesn’t really exist any more, or if it does it’s more on the margins of life. And perhaps this is partly where the pro-life question comes in because it’s something wrapped up in a matrix of questions about how to live and how to love and conduct relationships. How family life is and why it matters as the foundation of society.”

He said that, although there are many deep critiques of the direction of British society, his own impression is that there is hope. “There is something in British life that is resilient. I’m not sure that these things that people see should be seen as a permanent change for the worse. I definitely think there’s hope.”

Where things have become “particularly bad,” however, is among the working class people whose lives and prospects have been blighted by the moral breakdown that prevailed in the 1960s, ‘70s and ‘80s, and the social breakdown that followed it.

“Life for a lot of working class people, especially in the cities and housing estates, has got very, very tough indeed. With the expectation and opportunities pretty constricted. It looks very grim in some respects for a lot of people, who possibly can’t see.”

He said that this is “possibly” what Prime Minister David Cameron has repeatedly spoken of when referring to Britain’s “broken society” and his proposals that “voluntary efforts and civil society can help some of the people that the state evidently isn’t reaching,” he said. “By lifting them out of want, in its various forms, including education.”

But he said that it is spiritual poverty, which is outside the purview of the state, that most profoundly affects British life.

Part II of the interview with Lord Windsor will be published tomorrow.

This article updated with a minor correction 03/22/2011 at 11:52 am.

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PBS defends decision to air pro-abortion documentary ‘After Tiller’

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By Dustin Siggins

Under pressure for showing the pro-abortion documentary "After Tiller" on Labor Day, PBS' "POV" affiliate has defended the decision in response to an inquiry from LifeSiteNews.

The producers of the film say their goal with the documentary, which tells the stories of four late-term abortion doctors after the killing of infamous late-term abortionist George Tiller, is to "change public perception of third-trimester abortion providers by building a movement dedicated to supporting their right to work with a special focus on maintaining their safety.” 

POV told LifeSiteNews, "We do believe that 'After Tiller' adds another dimension to an issue that is being debated widely." Asked if POV will show a pro-life documentary, the organization said that it "does not have any other films currently scheduled on this issue. POV received almost 1000 film submissions each year through our annual call for entries and we welcome the opportunity to consider films with a range of points of view."

When asked whether POV was concerned about alienating its viewership -- since PBS received millions in federal tax dollars in 2012 and half of Americans identify as pro-life -- POV said, "The filmmakers would like the film to add to the discussion around these issues. Abortion is already a legal procedure."

Click "like" if you are PRO-LIFE!

"This is an issue that people feel passionately about and will have a passionate response to. We are hopeful that the majority of people can see it for what it is, another lens on a very difficult issue." 

In addition to the documentary, POV has written materials for community leaders and teachers to share. A cursory examination of the 29-page document, which is available publicly, appears to include links to outside sources that defend Roe v. Wade, an examination of the constitutional right to privacy, and "a good explanation of the link between abortion law and the right to privacy," among other information.

Likewise, seven clips recommended for student viewing -- grades 11 and beyond -- include scenes where couples choose abortion because the children are disabled. Another shows pro-life advocates outside a doctor's child's school, and a third is described as showing "why [one of the film's doctors] chose to offer abortion services and includes descriptions of what can happen when abortion is illegal or unavailable, including stories of women who injured themselves when they tried to terminate their own pregnancies and children who were abused because they were unwanted."

Another clip "includes footage of protesters, as well as news coverage of a hearing in the Nebraska State Legislature in which abortion opponents make reference to the idea that a fetus feels pain." The clip's description fails to note that it is a scientifically proven fact that unborn children can feel pain.

The documentary is set to air on PBS at 10 p.m. Eastern on Labor Day.

Kirsten Andersen contributed to this article.

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He defended ‘real’ marriage, and then was beheaded for it

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By Pete Baklinski

A Christian man was executed during the night by a high-profile ruler after making an uncompromising defense of real marriage.

The Christian, who was renowned for his holiness, had told the ruler in public that his relationship with his partner was “against the law” of God. The Christian’s words enraged the ruler’s partner who successfully plotted to have him permanently silenced.

John the Baptist was first imprisoned before he was beheaded. The Catholic Church honors him today, August 29, as a martyr and saint.

While John’s death happened a little less than 2,000 years ago, his heroic stance for real marriage is more pertinent today than ever before.

According to the Gospel of Mark, the ruler Herod had ‘married’ his brother’s wife Herodias. When John told Herod with complete frankness, “It is against the law for you to have your brother’s wife,” Herodias became “furious” with him to the point of wanting him killed for his intolerance, bullying, and hate-speech.

Herodias found her opportunity to silence John by having her daughter please Herod during a dance at a party. Herod offered the girl anything she wanted. The daughter turned to her mother for advice, and Herodias said to ask for John’s head on a platter.

Those who fight for real marriage today can learn three important lessons from John’s example.

  1. Those proudly living in ungodly and unnatural relationships — often referred to in today’s sociopolitical sphere as ‘marriage’ — will despise those who tell them what they are doing is wrong. Real marriage defenders must expect opposition to their message from the highest levels.
  2. Despite facing opposition, John was not afraid to defend God’s plan for marriage in the public square, even holding a secular ruler accountable to this plan. John, following the third book of the Hebrew Bible (Leviticus 20:21), held that a man marrying the wife of his brother was an act of “impurity” and therefore abhorrent to God. Real marriage defenders must boldly proclaim today that God is the author of marriage, an institution he created to be a life-long union between one man and one woman from which children arise and in which they are best nurtured. Marriage can be nothing more, nothing less.
  3. John did not compromise on the truth of marriage as revealed by God, even to the point of suffering imprisonment and death for his unpopular position. Real marriage defenders must never compromise on the truth of marriage, even if the government, corporate North America, and the entire secular education system says otherwise. They must learn to recognize the new “Herodias” of today who despises those raising a voice against her lifestyle. They must stand their ground no matter what may come, no matter what the cost.

John the Baptist was not intolerant or a bigot, he simply lived the word of God without compromise, speaking the word of truth when it was needed, knowing that God’s way is always the best way. Were John alive today, he would be at the forefront of the grassroots movement opposing the social and political agenda to remake marriage in the image of man.

Click "like" if you want to defend true marriage.

If he were alive today he might speak simple but eloquent words such as, “It is against God’s law for two men or two women to be together as a husband and wife in marriage. Marriage can only be between a man and a woman.” 

He would most likely be hated. He would be ridiculed. He would surely have the human rights tribunals throwing the book at him. But he would be speaking the truth and have God as his ally. 

The time may not be far off when those who defend real marriage, like John, will be presented with the choice of following Caesar or making the ultimate sacrifice. May God grant his faithful the grace to persevere in whatever might come. St. John the Baptist, pray for us!

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The Wunderlich family Mike Donnelly / Home School Legal Defence Association
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German homeschoolers regain custody of children, vow to stay and fight for freedom

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By Thaddeus Baklinski

One year to the day since a team of 20 social workers, police officers, and special agents stormed a homeschooling family’s residence near Darmstadt, Germany, and forcibly removed all four of the family’s children, aged 7 to 14, a state appeals court has returned custody of the children to their parents.

The reason given for the removal was that parents Dirk and Petra Wunderlich continued to homeschool their children in defiance of a German ban on home education.

The children were returned three weeks after being taken, following an international outcry spearheaded by the Home School Legal Defense Association.

However, a lower court imposed the condition on the parents that their children were required to attend state schools in order for them to be released, and took legal custody of the children in order to prevent the family from leaving the country.

In a decision that was still highly critical of the parents and of homeschooling, the appeals court decided that the action of the lower court in putting the children in the custody of the state was “disproportional” and ordered complete custody returned to the parents, according to a statement by the HSLDA.

The Wunderlichs, who began homeschooling again when the court signaled it would rule this way, said they were very pleased with the result, but noted that the court’s harsh words about homeschooling indicated that their battle was far from over.

“We have won custody and we are glad about that,” Dirk said.

“The court said that taking our children away was not proportionate—only because the authorities should apply very high fines and criminal prosecution instead. But this decision upholds the absurd idea that homeschooling is child endangerment and an abuse of parental authority.”

The Wunderlichs are now free to emigrate to another country where homeschooling is legal, if they choose, but they said they intend to remain in Germany and work for educational freedom.

“While we no longer fear that our children will be taken away as long as we are living in Hessen, it can still happen to other people in Germany,” Dirk said. “Now we fear crushing fines up to $75,000 and jail. This should not be tolerated in a civilized country.”

Petra Wunderlich said, "We could not do this without the help of HSLDA,” but cautioned that, “No family can fight the powerful German state—it is too much, too expensive."

"If it were not for HSLDA and their support, I am afraid our children would still be in state custody. We are so grateful and thank all homeschoolers who have helped us by helping HSLDA.”

HSLDA’s Director for Global Outreach, Michael Donnelly, said he welcomed the ruling but was concerned about the court’s troubling language.

“We welcome this ruling that overturns what was an outrageous abuse of judicial power,” he said.

“The lower court decision to take away legal custody of the children essentially imprisoned the Wunderlich family in Germany. But this decision does not go far enough. The court has only grudgingly given back custody and has further signaled to local authorities that they should still go after the Wunderlichs with criminal charges or fines.”

Donnelly pointed out that such behavior in a democratic country is problematic.

“Imprisonment and fines for homeschooling are outside the bounds of what free societies that respect fundamental human rights should tolerate,” he explained.

“Freedom and fundamental human rights norms demand respect for parental decision making in education. Germany’s state and national policies that permit banning home education must be changed.

"Such policies from a leading European democracy not only threaten the rights of tens of thousands of German families but establish a dangerous example that other countries may be tempted to follow,” Donnelly warned.

HSLDA Chairman Michael Farris said that acting on behalf of the Wunderlichs was an important stand for freedom.

“The Wunderlichs are a good and decent family whose basic human rights were violated and are still threatened,” Farris said.

“Their fight is our fight," Farris stressed, "and we will continue to support those who stand against German policy banning homeschooling that violates international legal norms. Free people cannot tolerate such oppression and we will do whatever we can to fight for families like the Wunderlichs both here in the United States and abroad. We must stand up to this kind of persecution where it occurs or we risk seeing own freedom weakened.”

Visit the HSLDA website dedicated to helping the Wunderlich family and other German homeschoolers here.

Contact the German embassy in the U.S. here.

Contact the German embassy in Canada here.

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