Matthew Cullinan Hoffman

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Vatican gives ultimatum to wayward Catholic university: conform to Church law by April 8

Matthew Cullinan Hoffman
Matthew Cullinan Hoffman
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February 23, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The Vatican has issued an ultimatum to a Peruvian Catholic university known for its deviation from Church teaching, giving it a deadline of April 8 to change its statutes to bring it into conformity with Church law.

Although the Holy See’s communique on the matter, displayed on its website, does not state what the consequences would be should the institution fail to comply, various Peruvian publications and broadcasters are reporting that the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru (PUCP) would be required to jettison the words “Pontifical” and “Catholic” from its name.

The ultimatum follows months of talks between Vatican officials and the wayward institution, which employs professors that speak against the Catholic Church’s moral doctrines regarding abortion and homosexuality.

The Holy See ordered the PUCP to change its statutes in July of last year to submit to Church control after decades of resistance, and is now indicating that it is no longer willing to wait.

Following a meeting this week between the university’s rector, Marcial Rubio Correa, and the Vatican’s Secretary of State, Tarcicio Bertone, “the Most Eminent Secretary of State has notified Doctor Rubio Correa that the statutes of the PUCP must be regularized as soon as possible, conforming them to the Apostolic Constitution Ex Corde Ecclesiae, for the good of the same PUCP and the Church in Peru,” Vatican Radio reported yesterday.

“Given the evident importance of safeguarding the Catholic identity of the University, the Most Eminent Secretary of State has therefore asked that the competent academic authorities present, before the next April 8, Easter Sunday, the statutes with the amendments required of the university on the 16th of July, 2011, for their approval,” the report added.

In addition to losing its Catholic and Pontifical titles, the PUCP could lose far more, according to canon lawyer Fernán Altuve. It could also lose the inheritance that was left to the institution in the 1940s on condition that it function as a Catholic institution.

“If you’re not a Catholic university and you don’t have the recognition of the Vatican, you cannot use that for the purposes of Catholic education. So, you have to return those properties,” Altuve told the Peruvian daily El Cormercio in a recent interview. The property, he said, would therefore “revert to the Archdiocese of Lima.”

University defiant

Despite the warning, the University’s administration is maintaining a defiant tone, citing the decision of the University Assembly, the “highest instance of (university) government” last September 23, “to not approve the modifications to the statutes of the University, because they go against our autonomy.”

“Our university is regulated by the Political Constitution of Peru, by Peruvian legislation, and its statutes,” the PUCP adds.

The Church’s Apostolic Constitution Ex Corde Ecclesiae requires the university to operate in conformity with the teaching authority of the Catholic Church. It states, “In ways appropriate to the different academic disciplines, all Catholic teachers are to be faithful to, and all other teachers are to respect, Catholic doctrine and morals in their research and teaching. In particular, Catholic theologians, aware that they fulfill a mandate received from the Church, are to be faithful to the Magisterium of the Church as the authentic interpreter of Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition.”

The same Constitution requires a majority of the faculty to consist of faithful Catholics, and mandates that the university provide students with “formation in moral and religious principles and the social teachings of the Church.” Despite the PUCP’s “Catholic” title, its administration appears reluctant to accept such principles.

“The university supports the Church, but respects diversity. There are diverse ways of living Catholicism. We have a more social theology, and this is disliked in the most conservative sectors,” Marcial Rubio, the university’s rector, said last year as the conflict began.

“They want to intervene when it is believed that a professor doesn’t have a moral conduct that they consider correct,” the university’s Vice-Rector for Research, Pepi Patron Costa, told the BBC last year. “It is direct interference. For certain sectors of the Catholic Church we are not sufficiently Catholic.”

Students are also organizing protests, claiming that the whole affair is nothing more than an attempt by Lima’s archbishop Juan Luis Cipriani to seize the university for himself. Although the statutes of the university technically recognize him as Grand Chancellor, his attempts to bring the PUCP into conformity with Church law have been repeatedly rebuffed, and he is not permitted to pick the rector under current statutes. The Vatican is seeking to restore his right to do so, which was taken from the archbishop of Peru in the 1970s.

“Promoters of abortion and gender ideology”

Carlos Polo, a Peruvian Catholic who heads the Latin America office of the Population Research Institute, and who received his degree in Social Anthropology from the PUCP in 1987, told LifeSiteNews that the university has been the stomping ground of radical leftists for decades.

“Many of the principal promoters of abortion and gender ideology in Peru work in the University or in the institutes that depend on it.  Many of the NGOs with this anti-life ideology receive financing from the University or receive its academic support,” said Polo.

“The attitude of the authorities of the University is absolutely contrary to the spirit of Catholicism. They have ignored the request to reformulate their statutes that was made for the first time almost 30 years ago through the (Papal) Nuncio,” Polo said.

“They publicly insult Cardinal Cipriani, who is the Great Chancellor of the University and they promote protests that are injurious to the students against the Cardinal and against the Catholic Church in general, and they have misinformed the public, repeating that their statutes are in accordance with Ex Corde Ecclesiae. Today, following the ultimatum of Rome, it is clear that they were far from the truth.”

The firm actions of the Holy See with regard to the PUCP may signal a new approach to Catholic universities worldwide, many of which rejected episcopal oversight and Catholic doctrine in the chaos of the 1970s. Today, many universities with “Catholic” in their titles play host to professors who actively work to subvert Church teachings, especially those regarding the right to life and sexual morality.


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Although it is widely believed that people with Down syndrome are doomed to a life of suffering, in one large survey 99% of respondents with Down syndrome described themselves as "happy." Shutterstock
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‘Sick and twisted’: Down’s advocates, pro-life leaders slam Richard Dawkins’ abortion remarks

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By Dustin Siggins

Advocates on behalf of individuals with Down syndrome, as well as pro-life leaders, are slamming famed atheist Richard Dawkin’s statements made on Twitter earlier today that parents have a moral responsibility to abort babies diagnosed in utero with Down’s.

During a shocking Twitter rant, Dawkins responded to questioners saying that it was "civilised" to abort Down Syndrome babies, and that it would be "immoral" to choose not to abort babies diagnosed with the condition.

He said that his goal is to "reduce suffering wherever you can," indicating that unborn children cannot suffer, and that unborn children don't "have human feelings."

In addition to being scientifically challenged - unborn children can feel both pain and emotions - Dawkins' comments drew criticism for his callousness towards children with disabilities.  

"A true civilization – a civilization of love – does not engage in such cold and ultimately suicidal calculus"

“It's sick and twisted for anyone to advocate for the killing of children with disabilities,” Live Action President Lila Rose told LifeSiteNews. “Dawkins's ignorant comments serve only to further stigmatize people with Down syndrome.

“While many people with Down syndrome, their families, and advocacy groups are fighting discrimination on a daily basis, Dawkins calls for their murder before they are even born,” she said. “Those with Down syndrome are human beings, with innate human dignity, and they, along with the whole human family, deserve our respect and protection.”

Carol Boys, chief executive of the Down's Syndrome Association, told MailOnline that, contrary to Dawkins’ assertion, “People with Down’s syndrome can and do live full and rewarding lives, they also make a valuable contribution to our society.”

A spokesperson for the UK disabilities charity Scope lamented that during the “difficult and confusing time” when parents find out they are expecting a child with disabilities, they often experience “negative attitudes.”

“What parents really need at this time is sensitive and thorough advice and information,” the spokesperson said.

Charlotte Lozier Institute president Chuck Donovan agreed with Rose’s assessment. "Advocates of abortion for those 'weaker' than others, or of less physical or intellectual dexterity, should remember that each of us is 'lesser' in some or most respects," he said.

According to Donovan, "we deliver a death sentence on all of humanity by such cruel logic."

"A true civilization – a civilization of love – does not engage in such cold and ultimately suicidal calculus" he said.

One family who has a child with Down syndrome said Dawkins was far from the mark when he suggested that aborting babies with Down syndrome is a good way to eliminate suffering.

Jan Lucas, whose son Kevin has Down syndrome, said that far from suffering, Kevin has brought enormous joy to the family, and "is so loving. He just has a million hugs."

She described how Kevin was asked to be an honorary deacon at the hurch they attend in New Jersey, “because he is so encouraging to everyone. At church, he asks people how their families are, says he'll pray for them, and follows up to let them know that he has been praying for them."

It's not just strangers for whom Kevin prays. "My husband and I were separated for a time, and Kevin kept asking people to pray for his dad," said Jan. "They didn't believe that Kevin's prayers would be answered. Kevin didn't lose hope, and asking people, and our marriage now is better than ever before. We attribute it to Kevin's prayers, and how he drew on the prayers of everyone."

"I don't know what we'd do without him," said Jan.

Speaking with LifeSiteNews, Kevin said that his favorite things to do are "spending time with my family, and keeping God in prayer." He said that he "always knows God," which helps him to "always keep praying for my friends."

"I love my church," said Kevin.

Although it is widely believed that people with Down syndrome are doomed to a life of suffering, in one large survey 99% of respondents with Down syndrome described themselves as "happy." At the same time, 99% percent of parents said they loved their child with Down syndrome, and 97 percent said they were proud of them.

Only 4 percent of parents who responded said they regretted having their child.

Despite this, it is estimated that in many Western countries the abortion rate of children diagnosed in utero with Down syndrome is 90%, or even higher. The development of new and more accurate tests for the condition has raised concerns among Down syndrome advocates that that number could rise even higher. 


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Asked about Iraq on his return flight from South Korea, Francis replied that 'it is legitimate to halt the unjust aggressor.' Shutterstock
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Pope Francis: steps must be taken to halt ‘unjust aggressor’ in Iraq

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Pope Francis and his emissary to Iraq’s persecuted non-Muslim minorities, Cardinal Fernando Filoni, have both called on the United Nations to act in concert to protect Iraqis Christian and Yazidi minorities from the radical Islamic forces of ISIS.

Asked about Iraq on his return flight from South Korea, Francis replied that “it is legitimate to halt the unjust aggressor.”

He added, however, that “halt” does not mean to “bomb” and lamented “how many times with the excuse of halting the unjust aggressor…have powerful nations taken possession of peoples and waged a war of conquest!”

He also cautioned that no single nation could determine the right measures. Any intervention must be multilateral and preferably by the United Nations, he said.

Meanwhile, Cardinal Foloni, who is visiting Iraq on behalf of Pope Francis, issued a joint statement this week with Chaldean Catholic Patriarch Louis Raphael I Sako and the Iraqi bishops that urged the international community to “liberate the villages and other places that have been occupied as soon as possible and with a permanent result.”

The statement also urged efforts to “assure that there is international protection for these villages and so to encourage these families to go back to their homes and to continue to live a normal life in security and peace.”

Archbishop Giorgio Lingua, the Vatican nuncio to Iraq, was also asked by Vatican Radio earlier this month about the U.S. airstrikes in Iraq.

“This is something that had to be done, otherwise [the Islamic State] could not be stopped,” the archbishop said. 

Although Pope Francis’ own remarks about an intervention in the war-torn country were carefully guarded, Catholic commentator Robert Spencer, author of such bestselling exposes of Islam as “The Truth About Muhammad: Founder of the World's Most Intolerant Religion,” told LifeSiteNews he believes the pope was clearly calling for an “armed intervention, though a very limited one.”  

“Only a fool would think there is another way to stop an ‘unjust aggressor,’” he said.

Spencer expressed concerns that both Francis and Pope John Paul II before him have both referred to Islam a “religion of peace,” which Spencer says is “completely false.” However, he suggested that Francis’ remarks calling for action in Iraq are a sign of a more realistic attitude towards Islam.   

On this, Spencer would likely have the support of Amel Nona, the Chaldean Catholic archbishop of Mosul, who issued a letter last week warning the West in stark terms about the encroaching threat of Islam.

“Our sufferings today are the prelude of those you, Europeans and Western Christians, will also suffer,” Nona warned. “Your liberal and democratic principles are worth nothing here.

“You must consider again our reality in the Middle East, because you are welcoming in your countries an ever growing number of Muslims. Also you are in danger. You must take strong and courageous decisions, even at the cost of contradicting your principles,” he said

“You think all men are equal, but that is not true: Islam does not say that all men are equal. Your values are not their values. If you do not understand this soon enough, you will become the victims of the enemy you have welcomed in your home.”


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'Apparently I'm a horrid monster for recommending WHAT ACTUALLY HAPPENS to the great majority of Down Syndrome fetuses,' said Dawkins. 'They are aborted.' Shutterstock
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Richard Dawkins: it’s ‘immoral’ NOT to abort babies with Down syndrome

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By Dustin Siggins

In a bizarre rant on Twitter earlier today, atheist Richard Dawkins wrote that choosing not to abort a child with Down Syndrome would be "immoral."

The conversation started when Dawkins tweeted that "Ireland is a civilised country except in this 1 area." The area was abortion, which until last year was illegal in all cases.

A Twitter user then asked Dawkins if "994 human beings with Down's Syndrome [having been] deliberately killed before birth in England and Wales in 2012" was "civilised."

Dawkins replied "yes, it is very civilised. These are fetuses, diagnosed before they have human feelings."

Later, Dawkins said that "the question is not ‘is it 'human'?’ but ‘can it SUFFER?’"

In perhaps the most shocking moment, one Twitter user wrote that he or she "honestly [doesn't] know what I would do if I were pregnant with a kid with Down Syndrome. Real ethical dilemma."

Dawkins advised the writer to "abort it and try again. It would be immoral to bring it into the world if you have the choice."

According to Dawkins, the issue of who should be born comes down to a calculation based upon possible suffering. "Yes. Suffering should be avoided. [The abortion] cause[s] no suffering. Reduce suffering wherever you can."

Later, however, he said that people on the autism spectrum "have a great deal to contribute, Maybe even an enhanced ability in some respects. [Down Syndrome] not enhanced."

When Dawkins received some blowback from Twitter followers, he replied: "Apparently I'm a horrid monster for recommending WHAT ACTUALLY HAPPENS to the great majority of Down Syndrome fetuses. They are aborted."

It is estimated that in many Western countries the abortion rate of children diagnosed in utero with Down syndrome is 90%, or even higher. The development of new and more accurate tests for the condition has raised concerns among Down syndrome advocates that that number could rise even higher. 

Although it is widely believed that people with Down syndrome are doomed to a life of suffering, in one large survey 99% of respondents with Down syndrome said they were "happy." At the same time, 99% percent of parents said they loved their child with Down syndrome, and 97 percent said they were proud of them.

Only 4 percent of parents who responded said they regretted having their child. 

A number of Dawkins' statements in the Twitter thread about fetal development are at odds with scientific realities. For example, it is well-established that 20 weeks into a pregnancy, unborn children can feel pain. Likewise, unborn children have emotional reactions to external stimuli -- such as a mother's stress levels -- months before being born. 

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