Hilary White

Widespread abortion in Kazakhstan comes from Marxism and Western hedonism, Bishop says

Hilary White
Hilary White
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ROME, November 21, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – After a childhood spent under the Soviet regime, Bishop Athanasius Schneider knows better than most where abortion, homosexual activism, and the rest of the woes of the Western world have come from.

In this month’s edition of Notizie ProLife Bishop Schneider, who was born in Tokmok, Kirghiz SSR in the Soviet Union, frankly identified widespread abortion with “atheist and materialistic Marxist ideology,” pointing to this as the cause of the high rates of abortion in the former Soviet state of Kazakhstan.

“As we know,” he said, “the Soviet Union was the the first state in the history of humanity that legalized the killing of unborn children, the logical result of Marxism and materialism,” he told Notizie ProLife’s editor Antonio Brandi. “But speaking with women who have had an abortion, you can nevertheless find a deep remorse of conscience. What is clear [from this] is the demonstration of the truth: you can’t suppress or kill the natural law, which God the creator has inscribed in human nature itself.”

As auxiliary bishop of the tiny archdiocese of Maria Santissima in Astana, Kazakhstan, a place most people have never heard of, Bishop Schneider is acquiring a disproportionate repuration as a defender of the rights of Christians around the world under threat from a radicalised Islam on one hand, and the growth of what Pope Benedict XVI called an increasingly “aggressive secularism” on the other.

He called the attempts by EU institutions to force member states to accept abortion, “evidence of the existence of anti-democratic structures” left over from the totalitarian ideologies of the 20th century. “We see a real danger of loss of full sovereignty of European countries, the national, cultural, moral and religious values of the European peoples,” he said. “There is a danger of losing all of these human and spiritual riches that the Christian faith has produced on the European continent during 2,000 years.”

He urged Christians “to defend against a new totalitarian system that imposes a single ideological social model, marginalizing the real social and human values of natural law and of the Christian faith.”

“We live in a time of course hostile to everything that is linked with God and his revelation in Christ and his Holy Church.”

Interviewed during one of his frequent trips to Rome earlier this month, Bishop Schneider spoke of an “all-encompassing ideology” that “has stifled the voice of conscience in the souls of many people who continue to practice abortion in former Soviet countries in a frightening way, as a simple means of contraception.”

He warned that Kazakhstan needed steadfastly to maintain its sovereignty in order to keep its people’s dedication to the Natural Law, and “independence from ideological pressure” favoring the “ideology of ‘gender’” that has become such a feature of the European Union and the United Nations.

He is, however, hopeful that the pressure from the West will not triumph, saying that among “the peoples of the East, Natural Law on sex and marriage between man and woman is so deeply rooted that the homosexualist ideology will not have a real or substantial chance, unless the State impose a dictatorship with violence or with threats of new types of the concentration camps, ‘the gulag’.”

Kazakhstan, a small former Soviet satellite state wedged between the Caspian Sea, the southern border of Russia and the extreme western end of China, is home to an array of ethnicities and religious groups, but is predominantly Islamic (70.2 percent). The next-largest minority group is Russian who are mostly Orthodox, with a small number of Ukranians and Germans; of these, only a tiny fraction are Catholics (Russian Orthodox 23.9 percent, “other Christian” 2.3 percent).

“Kazakhstan is not formally a Muslim country, but, as they say, a secular country,” Bishop Schneider said. “The Muslim region religion hasn’t the force required to influence a change from a materialistic inheritance so deeply rooted in society.”

He confirmed that abortion is often available in his country “on demand” and is recommended by doctors based on “pseudo-scientific pretences” and “with threats.”

“All this is a mirror of materialistic mentality of the past and the new hedonistic mentality imported from the West,” he said.

He called the pro-life and family movement in his country small but effective, saying what is important “is that you save a life …since before the eyes of God one soul is like an entire world”.

Bishop Schneider’s reputation as a champion of the Church’s liturgical traditions was established by his book, Dominus est, (“This is the Lord”) defending the traditional manner of receiving Holy Communion at Mass – that is, with the communicant kneeling and the host placed directly on the tongue. Since its publication in 2008, the book has acquired what might be described as a “cult” following, having been translated from the original Italian into English, German, Estonian, Lithuanian, Polish, Hungarian, and Chinese.

His reputation for outspokenness on doctrinal orthodoxy was equally well established in 2010 when, at a theological conference in Rome, he said the Church needs “a new Syllabus,” to correct what he called the erroneous interpretations of the Second Vatican Council.

“There is need for a new Syllabus,” he said, “this time directed not so much against errors coming from outside the Church, but against errors spread within the Church on the part of those who maintain a thesis of discontinuity and rupture with its doctrinal, liturgical, and pastoral application. Such a Syllabus would consist of two parts: a part marking errors and a positive part with propositions of doctrinal clarification, completion, and precision.”

The reference was to a famous document, usually called the “Syllabus of Errors,” condemning the “errors of Modernism,” published by Pope Pius IX in 1864, that has been widely reviled as “authoritarian” by the “progressive” wing of modern theologians and prelates.  

Bishop Schneider lamented that “many Catholics in Europe are shy and doubtful about [defending] life and often do not have the courage to take a stand.”

“The abortion issue is first and foremost a matter of natural law, inscribed by God in the soul of every man: ‘killing is wrong’ and even worse is killing an innocent person.” This law is included by God in the 10 Commandments, and no believers may have “the slightest doubt about the immorality of any kind of abortion.”

“Unfortunately the spirit of this world, the spirit of doctrinal and moral relativism is also entered in the sphere of the life of the Church and in the life of Catholics,” he said.

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But he also cautioned against despair, saying that the current situation “also provides a privileged means to boldly confess God’s law and the Catholic faith.”

“This time reveals more clearly that we are here on earth the ‘Church Militant’. We are all called, each in his place, and according to his ability to be a ‘miles Christi,’ [soldier of Christ] a ‘confessor Christi,’ and this is to be a true disciple of Christ.”

“We are increasingly living with the belief that Christ is the only winner, and we belong to the winner’s party,” he added.

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Dustin Siggins Dustin Siggins Follow Dustin

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 more than $400 million 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."

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"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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Pete Baklinski Pete Baklinski Follow Pete

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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
Thaddeus Baklinski Thaddeus Baklinski Follow Thaddeus

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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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