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News

India seeks to liberalize abortion law, targets babies with fetal abnormalities

Currently, abortion in India is illegal after 20 weeks. The new bill would change the limit to 24.
Fri Feb 14, 2020 - 9:30 pm EST
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Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India. Drew Angerer / Getty Images
Jonathan Abbamonte
By

February 14, 2020 (Population Research Institute) — The Government of India is set to introduce a bill in the national Parliament that would legalize abortion up to birth for unborn children with “substantial foetal abnormalities.” The bill would also change the legal limit for abortion from 20 weeks to 24 weeks for “survivors of rape, victims of incest and other vulnerable women,” including minors and women with mental disabilities.

The bill would also remove a requirement in Indian law requiring there to be two consenting doctors to approve an abortion after 12 weeks. The bill would make it so that only one doctor would be required to approve an abortion up to 20 weeks.

By 20 weeks gestation, a baby can already stretch and move around and make sucking motions. Research shows substantial evidence that an unborn baby can feel pain by 20 weeks.

Currently, abortion in India is illegal after 20 weeks and legal after that point only in dire cases to save the life of the mother.

The abortion bill has gained approval at the highest levels of the Indian government. The bill is being introduced by the Union Cabinet, a high-level committee of the prime minister’s cabinet composed of the top ranking ministers in the Indian government. The Union Cabinet is chaired by India Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The Indian government has made clear that the abortion bill is intended to not only expand access to abortion, but to expand the utilization of abortion for eugenic purposes. The government’s objective in introducing the bill is “for expanding access of women to safe and legal abortion services on therapeutic, eugenic, humanitarianor [sic] social grounds,” according to an official news update posted on the website of the office of the prime minister.

The abortion bill, titled the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (Amendment) Bill, 2020, is set to be introduced in Parliament soon.

Christian bishops in India have blasted the government’s abortion bill, calling on Members of Parliament to oppose the measure.

“If the government aims a progressive reform through this, they should clarify what development they aim to bring in by killing innocent babies,” said an official spokesperson for the Synodal Commission of the Syro-Malabar Church, an ancient Eastern Syriac Church in India, according to the New Indian Express.

The decision by the Cabinet to move on the bill is baffling as the government just last September, in a staunchly-worded statement, defended India’s 20-week abortion limit in a case being argued before the Indian Supreme Court over whether to allow an abortion for a woman pregnant at 26 weeks.

In an affidavit sent to the court, the government argued that the “right to reproductive autonomy does not outweigh the interest of the state in protecting the life of [the] foetus in the womb, especially from the point of viability i.e from the period of 20 weeks onwards” and that “personal freedom of choice of an individual cannot curtail the freedom or choice of other individuals, [e]specially the most vulnerable and persons who are defenseless.”

Abortion has long been legal in India. In 1971, India became one of the first developing countries in the world to legalize abortion under a law titled the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971 (a.k.a. the “MTP Act”) — a full two years before the U.S. Supreme Court legalized abortion in the U.S. in its infamous Roe v. Wade decision. The Indian government in 1971 had legalized abortion up to 20 weeks under broad socioeconomic grounds, including physical and mental health of the mother, in cases of fetal disability, in cases of rape, and in cases of contraceptive failure.

With the introduction of the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (Amendment) Bill, 2020, however, the Indian government is now claiming that it is necessary to legalize abortion up to 24 weeks in cases of rape, incest, minors, and women with disabilities in order to reduce maternal mortality due to “unsafe” abortions.

In an op-ed that appeared in the Times of India, Smriti Irani, Minister of Textiles and Minister of Women & Child Development, and a member of the Union Cabinet that is responsible for introducing the abortion bill, argued that legalizing abortion up to 24 weeks is necessary to “reduce maternal mortality and morbidity arising out of unsafe abortions.”

The Minister claimed that the 1971 MTP Act is outdated as medical technology has developed since the early 1970s, including with methods such as “abortion pills and vacuum aspiration” which she argues allow for “safer abortions in advanced stages of pregnancy.”

However, Minister Irani’s claims are misleading as it is rare for abortionists to use abortion pills after 20 weeks in contexts where abortion is legal due to the “risk” that the child could in some instances be born alive. The technological development of the abortion pill will have no effect on abortions performed after 20 weeks as the abortion bill proposes to legalize.

Union Minister Irani, in her op-ed, also cited a study from the Indian Journal of Medical Ethics which claims that deaths from “unsafe” abortion constitutes 10–13% of all maternal deaths in India. However, the study from the Indian Journal of Medical Ethics was merely citing yet another study that was published in 2014 in PLoS One. However, the 2014 PLoS One study found that only 9% of women in the study died due both to induced abortions and natural miscarriages combined, a far cry from the false claim that 10–13% of Indian maternal deaths are due to “unsafe” abortion alone.

There is no evidence that changing the legal limit for abortion in India from 20 weeks to 24 weeks will make abortion any “safer.” The overwhelming majority of abortions take place within the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. India’s high induced abortion mortality rate has little to nothing to do with abortion not being legal after 20 weeks. It has much more to do with the fact that most abortions in India are either self-inflicted through the use of abortion pills, carried out in a private doctor’s office, or are carried out by unqualified providers. A widely-cited study published in The Lancet in 2018 found that 91% of abortions using the pill were either from private doctor’s offices or self-inflicted, and that 2.4 surgical abortions per 1,000 women of reproductive age were neither performed at public nor private clinics with basic operating theater capacity.

As for abortions being “unsafe,” abortion is always unsafe for the unborn child who is always killed as a result of the procedure.

According to the 2018 Lancet study, there were an estimated 15.6 million abortions committed in India in 2015. If abortion in India is legalized up to 24 weeks in certain cases and up to birth in cases of fetal disability, the number of abortions will likely climb higher still.

Over the past few years, India’s courts have taken up a slew of abortion cases addressing the question of whether abortion should be permitted after the 20-week limit in cases of rape, and where the unborn child has a disability or deformity.

In 2016, the Supreme Court of India breached the MTP Act’s 20-week abortion limit for a specific case where it approved of an abortion for a woman who was allegedly raped by her ex-boyfriend and pregnant with a 24-week old child with severe congenital defects.

In 2017, the Supreme Court suspended the law’s 20-week limit multiple times, allowing a woman to abort at 23 weeks gestation and, in another case, permitting an abortion for a Mumbai woman pregnant with a 24-week old child with anencephaly. Anencephaly, a rare birth defect where the child is born missing parts of the brain and skull, is usually fatal for the infant soon after birth, though there are several known cases where a child born with anencephaly goes on to live for years after birth.

However, the Supreme Court has also upheld the 20-week limit in cases with unborn children diagnosed with non-fatal congenital abnormalities. In 2017, the Supreme Court denied a woman’s petition to abort her 26-week old child with Down Syndrome. According to the Indian Express, the Supreme Court denied the woman’s request, because, in the words of the court, “We have a life in our hands.”

Courts in India have also denied requests for abortion of unborn children diagnosed with fatal congenital abnormalities if the pregnancy is too far along. In 2018, a Mumbai High Court denied a woman’s request for abortion at 31 weeks even though the child had been diagnosed with a severe life-threatening neurological abnormality.

On the other end of the spectrum, the Delhi High Court in December 2018 gave authorization for an abortion for a 16-year-old victim of rape pregnant at 22 weeks, even despite warnings from the medical board at the hospital where the abortion was requested that an abortion at that late stage of development would be a risk to the mother’s health. In 2019, the same Delhi court also permitted a woman to abort her child at 25 weeks, after being diagnosed with a congenital abnormality. And the High Court in West Bengal last year gave the authorization for a woman to abort her child at 29 weeks gestation after being diagnosed with Down Syndrome.

Published with permission from the Population Research Institute.


  abortion, eugenics, india, late-term abortion, narendra modi

News

Belgium Catholic hospitals under fire for alleged end run around euthanasia law

The most recent controversy went public in Belgium on Thursday.
Fri Feb 14, 2020 - 9:10 pm EST
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Lighthunter / Shutterstock.com
Jeanne Smits, Paris correspondent
By Jeanne Smits

February 14, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — Several Catholic hospitals in Belgium are under fire from the media and liberal politicians for their efforts to avoid giving euthanasia by “obliging” patients first to undergo palliative care — also known as hospice care — in end-of-life situations. Belgian health minister Maggie De Block has stated that the Catholic hospitals are violating patients’ rights.

According to the official report that preceded the adoption of the Belgian euthanasia law, the fact that euthanasia was simply being decriminalized through a series of conditions and exceptions meant that hospitals would be within their rights in refusing to implement euthanasia for reasons of conscience.

However, a case of conscientious objection on the part of a Catholic hospital in Brabant, Flanders in 2011 was sanctioned by the courts five years later and ordered to pay 6,000 to the family of Mariette Buntjens, 75, who had to be taken home by her family in order to be legally killed. It was argued that as Catholic health institutions are part of the public health system, they are compelled to provide all “health services” offered by the law.

At the time, Fernand Keuleneer, a lawyer and former deputy member of the federal euthanasia commission, published an opinion piece, contending that hospitals are in no way obliged to include euthanasia in their “care package.” He added that hospitals should clearly state their policy on the issue.

Regarding the present controversy, Keuleneer tweeted on Thursday: “Catholic hospitals are allowed to refuse euthanasia,” with a link to his 2016 article.

Theo Boer, a former proponent of euthanasia in the Netherlands, answered: “Why specifically Catholic hospitals? Why not simply all healthcare institutions that are bothered by this?” “I agree,” replied Keuleneer.

The most recent controversy went public in Belgium on Thursday, when De Morgen published a story of a terminally ill man who died before his euthanasia request could be implemented. He was suffering greatly, according to his wife Martha, but the Catholic hospital where he was being cared for informed him that he should follow a palliative care process before his request could be granted. He went through eleven days of “agony” before he died a natural death, she told De Morgen.

Apparently, no one is surprised that these Catholic hospitals should not simply refuse the killing of terminally ill patients. It appears that they only try to delay the procedure — making it unnecessary in some cases because death comes of its own — but that is already too much, according to critics.

Most worrying is the fact that liberal politicians and euthanasia campaigners have been joined by Minister De Block, who told Parliament on Thursday that the Catholic hospitals’ effort to put a brake on effective euthanasia is against the law.

De Block said hospitals should inform patients asking for euthanasia that they can receive palliative care.

“But their obligation to provide this information to the patient may not be misused in order to delay a euthanasia procedure,” she added. “It is unacceptable that granting euthanasia in hospital should be linked to the obligation first to receive full palliative care.”

The minister said there is no excuse for what she had read in De Morgen. “As a doctor, I am vicariously ashamed for such inhuman treatment. The carer may not exert pressure on the patient in order to obtain a choice in that or in no direction. Imposing a palliative filter certainly puts patients under pressure finally to opt for palliative care,” said De Block.

She also encouraged people who are of the opinion that their patients’ rights are being violated regarding their euthanasia request to immediately file a complaint with the ombudsman for patients’ rights, she told De Morgen.

This clearly indicates that the public authorities have already decided not to respect any kind of opposition to euthanasia, even in its most hesitant form, even though euthanasia is not a patient’s right in itself in Belgium. It is performed only when doctors and health-carers, acting according to the law, consider that all legal conditions have been met.

Catholic hospitals have responded by saying there’s nothing wrong with their attitude. Some — such as Gasthuiszusters Antwerpen, AZ Nikolaas in Sint-Niklaas and AZ Sint-Lucas in Ghent — make clear on their websites that they consistently make use of the so-called “palliative filter” to filter out the large number of euthanasia requests that they say are not effective requests to die, but rather calls to make end-of-life situations bearable.

In 2002, the bishops’ conference of Belgium unsuccessfully attempted to obtain the incorporation of the “palliative filter” in the euthanasia law that was being discussed at the time. After the law was adopted that same year, it was decided that Catholic hospitals would use it all the same, because all hospitals are permitted to have their own medical ethics policies. Today, the limits of that right are becoming very clear.

Legal experts support De Block’s view that obliging a patient who wants euthanasia to receive palliative care is against the law. Professor Luc Deliens, a university specialist in end-of-life care, said palliative care is “good medical practice,” but he said it goes against patients’ rights to force them to receive such care “because a patient has the right to reject a particular treatment.”

Gwendolyn Rutten, president of the Flemish liberal party “Open VLD,” tweeted her opinion that “the compulsory palliative filter is inhuman and turns the law to a hollow shell.” “Asking for euthanasia is a right. ... A civil law stands above the will of the bishops,” she added.

According to Jean-Jacques De Gucht, member of Parliament for Open VLD, “Catholic health care institutions are not above the law. We’ve known for a long time that Catholic healthcare institutions go about with the euthanasia law ‘creatively.’ ... People who ask for euthanasia and who meet the conditions should be able to get it. It’s that simple. Catholic health care institutions may not deprive people of that right,” he said.

At the institutional level, Paul Callewaert, secretary-general of the Socialistische Mutualiteiten — a public insurer that pays for medical costs as covered by national social security as well as additional coverage — accused “ some hospitals” of “thwarting” the end-of-life laws, which, he said, are “clear.” According to Callewaert, they should not be allowed to delay euthanasia processes.

Palliative care aims at alleviating suffering when there is no therapeutic option available to heal or to stabilize a patient whose death appears unavoidable. Treatment is no longer given except to calm pain and to make the patient comfortable, sometimes with the use of sedatives.

In principle, palliative care does not and should not use medication with the intention of provoking the death of the patient, even if, in some cases, death is hastened as an involuntary consequence of pain-alleviating procedures.

The Flanders Federation of palliative care does not appear to be in line with this principle. Reacting to the controversy, it deplored that palliative care should be framed as delaying a euthanasia request.

“You’ll have a hard time looking for palliative care teams who use palliative care in order to short-circuit a euthanasia request,” said its president, Gert Huysmans. “Today’s reality is quite the opposite: it’s the palliative care teams who make the implementation of euthanasia possible and who support it. They make sure that doctors and caregivers take the demand seriously and get going,” he explained.


  assisted suicide, belgium, catholic, euthanasia, hospitals, maggie de block

News

EWTN’s ‘World Over’ show criticizes Pope’s Amazon exhortation for lack of ‘clear answers’

Robert Royal, Father Gerald Murray, and Raymond Arroyo honed in on lack of straightforward answers from the Vatican during Thursday’s show.
Fri Feb 14, 2020 - 8:42 pm EST
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Martin Bürger Martin Bürger Follow Martin
By Martin Bürger

February 14, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – Raymond Arroyo, host of “The World Over” on EWTN, questioned on his show yesterday why Pope Francis’ post-synodal Apostolic Exhortation “Querida Amazonia” does not give “clear answers.”

“And the other thing, we keep hearing this term. The liturgy should be incarnate. Care for the environment should be incarnate,” Arroyo said, asking, “I’m not quite sure what that means, but why aren’t clear answers incarnate in these documents from the Church?”

Robert Royal, editor in chief of The Catholic Thing, named ambiguity as “a hallmark of what the Holy Father does.” In the context of the publication “Querida Amazonia,” he said Pope Francis might have intended to leave the door open to married priests by referring to the final document of the synod published last October.

On this, Royal disagreed with Father Gerald Murray, a canon lawyer and pastor within the Archdiocese of New York. Both made their comments on the Feb. 13 edition of “The World Over,” a news show on EWTN hosted by Raymond Arroyo. Murray and Royal are often called the papal posse.

“I think it was a very happy day when the synod document was issued by Pope Francis, because he was asked by the synod for two things. One is to have married men ordained priests, and secondly to have women ordained as deacons. And the Pope did not grant those requests,” Murray said.

Nevertheless, he later cautioned that “anything can happen.”

Murray pointed out that the Pope emphasized in “Querida Amazonia” to pray for vocations and send missionaries to the Amazon region.

Arroyo mentioned that some progressives blame conservative men of the Church, for instance Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, Cardinal Robert Sarah, and Cardinal Gerhard Müller, for elevating the issue of celibacy.

Murray set the record straight, showing that Pope Francis himself had first talked about an Amazon synod in reference to Bishop Fritz Lobinger, who had written a book about ordaining viri probati, proven men, as priests.

“The Pope then put it on the synod agenda. He made an advocate of that proposal to ordain married men, Cardinal Hummes from Brazil, the relator general. He was the one who was basically spearheading the document that came out of the synod,” Murray stated.

“To say that a controversy that should never have occurred, occurred because some recalcitrant people defended the tradition of the Church, that is just a basic debating tactic used to end the debate,” he added.

Royal continued in this vein by referring to comments made by Pope Francis to American bishops. The bishops were in Rome for their routine visit with the Holy Father, which happens every five years. “He was even denying that married priests were a major part of why he convened the synod in the first place,” according to Royal.

He asked, “If that was meant to deal with the Amazon, with certain elements that are having universal application, why not then hold that meeting in the Amazon itself?”

“Instead, they brought it to Rome, and they brought Pachamama, as well, to Rome. They created the expectation that what was being talked about there was inevitably going to have applications for the universal Church,” said Royal.

Royal suggested to take the document as written. “And we say, that’s as far as it goes, and no farther. All the rest is speculation, but it is not to be ignored that there is a possibility that something else can come back,” he clarified.

Father Murray talked about a distinction between moral and magisterial authority. The distinction had been introduced by Cardinal Michael Czerny during the presentation of “Querida Amazonia” in the Vatican.

Czerny, who served as special secretary for the Amazon synod, discussed the “status of the two documents” and where they “fit into the magisterium.” Regarding the final document, he said that “apart from formal magisterial authority,” the Pope’s “official presentation and encouragement” confer on it “a certain moral authority,” LifeSiteNews reported Wednesday.

Murray called that language “canonical fuzz talk.” The final document, he added, “is a bunch of suggestions by a synod. Does this leave a back door? Anything can happen.” At the same time, after two years of discussions about making celibacy optional, “there is no married clergy” contained in the new document.

Asked about the poetic language of “Querida Amazonia,” Robert Royal voiced his criticism of what he called “Amazonian Dreaming.” He said it is “not helpful for the kinds of problems that we’re facing.”

“The idea that somehow mysticism, or prophecy, or quoting poets … is somehow going to give us anything other than kind of a warm feeling about what we ought to do? It doesn’t seem to me that that goes very far,” Royal responded to Arroyo.

On the question of female deacons, Father Murray praised what Francis wrote in the Apostolic Exhortation. “To say women are underappreciated in the Church is an absolute falsehood, a calumny that’s used, basically, to get power,” the canon lawyer argued. He added, “People who want to un-Catholicize the Church are those who are proposing women’s ordination, and the Pope has said no.”

Regarding the Pachamama statues used during the Amazon synod, Murray said the Pope’s claim, according to which it is possible “to take up an indigenous symbol in some way, without necessarily considering it as idolatry,” might be possible, “but it’s not advisable.”

“Paganism is not a beneficent nature story in which people get along. Paganism is about fear of pagan gods who are vicious and who hurt people. You placate them, as the Aztecs did, by killing human beings. Paganism is about primal fears and anxieties that are not remedied because they don’t know the true God. It’s diabolical in origin and inspiration,” Father Murray explained unequivocally.

The papal posse touched on a number of other issues, for instance, the suspension of Archbishop Georg Gänswein, the speech by Bishop Robert McElroy of San Diego, who said climate change could be considered “uniquely preeminent in Catholic social teaching,” and Bishop Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo giving communion to the president of Argentina and his mistress.

PETITION: Catholics call on the Vatican to affirm all salvation comes through Jesus Sign the petition here.


  amazonian synod, catholic, ewtn, gerald murray, magisterium, married priests, pagan idols, pagan worship, papal posse, pope francis, querida amazonia, raymond arroyo, robert royal, women deacons

News

Catholic priest diagnosed with brain tumor offers up suffering for abuse victims

The priest had previously asked God for a cross to offer for victims of clerical sexual abuse.
Fri Feb 14, 2020 - 8:41 pm EST
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Fr. John Hollowell. Fr. John Hollowell / YouTube
Paul Smeaton Paul Smeaton Follow Paul
By Paul Smeaton

February 14, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — A Catholic priest who says he prayed that God would grant him some suffering that he could offer on behalf of victims of clerical sexual abuse is offering to pray for victims by name after he was diagnosed with a brain tumor.

Fr. John Hollowell, who recently defended the Church’s practice of priestly celibacy on an episode of The Dr. Taylor Marshall Show, and who blogs regularly at On This Rock, announced yesterday that he has been diagnosed with a tumor and wrote that he embraces the suffering willingly.

Doctors have advised that he will have to undergo surgery to remove the tumor, as well as possibly needing radiation and chemotherapy. He says the prognosis is “very good” and that he is thankful that the potential radiation and chemotherapy “are not the severe forms that certain cancers call for.”

Fr. Hollowell explained in a blog post his wish to offer his recovery process for victims of clerical sexual abuse.

One request: When the scandals of 2018 broke out, most of you know that they have affected me deeply, as they have most of the Church.  I prayed in 2018 that if there was some suffering I could undertake on behalf of all the victims, some cross I could carry, I would welcome that.  I feel like this is that cross, and I embrace it willingly.  I would love to have a list of victims of priestly abuse that I could pray for each day.  I would like to dedicate each day of this recovery/chemo/radiation to 5-10 victims, and I would like, if possible, to even write them a note letting them know of my prayers for them.  IF YOU KNOW OF A PERSON OR YOU ARE A VICTIM YOURSELF, with the victims permission, please send me the name and, if possible, a mailing address so that I can send them a note, that would be much appreciated.  my email address is fatherjohnhollowell at gmail.

Fr. Hollowell said he is “very much at peace” and assured the faithful of his ongoing prayers. “May Our Lady of Lourdes watch over and intercede for all those who are sick or suffering in any way!” he concluded.


  brain tumor, catholic, celibacy, john hollowell, sex abuse crisis

News

Brazil president criticizes Pope Francis for claiming Amazon region belongs to whole world

'Pope Francis said yesterday the Amazon is his, the world's, everyone's. Well, the pope may be Argentinian, but God is Brazilian.'
Fri Feb 14, 2020 - 8:36 pm EST
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President Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil. Marcelo Chello / Shutterstock.com
Paul Smeaton Paul Smeaton Follow Paul
By Paul Smeaton

February 14, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro has seemingly criticized Pope Francis for asserting in his exhortation released this week that the Amazon region belongs to people other than the nations among which the territory is spread.

Speaking yesterday, Bolsonaro said: “Pope Francis said yesterday the Amazon is his, the world’s, everyone’s. Well, the pope may be Argentinian, but God is Brazilian.”

In section 5 of Querida Amazonia, published on Wednesday, Pope Francis stated that he was addressing his exhortation on the Amazon region “to the whole world.” He wrote: “I am doing so to help awaken their affection and concern for that land which is also ‘ours,’ and to invite them to value it and acknowledge it as a sacred mystery.”

Bolsonaro has spoken out forcefully in the past against suggestions that the Amazon belongs to the whole world. Speaking at the United Nations in New York last year, he said: “It is a fallacy to say that the Amazon is the heritage of humankind, and a misconception, as confirmed by scientists, to say that our Amazonian forests are the lungs of the world.”

When Bolsonaro was elected in 2018, Catholics and pro-life campaigners described him as someone who could turn Brazil “from being a promoter of the Culture of Death to a defender of the Culture of Life.” Since then, he has announced plans to revise textbooks in public schools in order to eliminate references to homosexuality and same-sex “marriage,” signed a proclamation consecrating Brazil to the Blessed Virgin Mary, and consistently opposed socialism while promoting national sovereignty. His government minister for women, family, and human rghts has called on parents to consider telling their teenage children to wait until adulthood to have sex and has supported a chastity campaign sponsored by evangelical Christians.

Yesterday Pope Francis held an “informal meeting” with former Brazilian president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, known as “Lula.”

Lula was arrested in April of 2018 because of corruption charges and subsequently sentenced to twelve years’ imprisonment. However, he was released in November of last year. He claims he was arrested despite a lack of evidence and that all appeals had not been exhausted prior to his imprisonment.

As president, Lula had strongly supported the cause of homosexuals and abortionists in Brazil. In his last year in public office, he issued a legislative reform initiative securing abortion as a “human right” and imposing socialist and homosexual ideologies in schools and in the media. He also intended to ban crucifixes from all official government buildings. Lula spent millions of dollars for pro-homosexual causes and even introduced pro-homosexual educational materials for children as young as 7 to 12 years of age.

In 2018, Pope Francis met with allies of Lula in Rome,and also wrote to him giving him his blessing and asking the politician to pray for him. Pope Francis allegedly compared Lula’s sufferings in prison to the persecution of Jesus.

In section 9 of Querida Amazonia, Pope Francis writes: “The colonizing interests that have continued to expand — legally and illegally — the timber and mining industries, and have expelled or marginalized the indigenous peoples, the river people and those of African descent, are provoking a cry that rises up to heaven.”

Bolsonaro has supported mining projects on indigenous lands and accused those who attack his development projects of not being concerned with “the indigenous human being, but with the mineral wealth and biodiversity in these areas.”

At the U.N. last year, he noted that there are 225 indigenous tribes in Brazil, and some reserves, notably the Yanomami and Raposa Serra do Sol, have “plenty of gold, diamond, uranium, niobium, and rare earths, among others,” and are huge territories populated by few people.

“Unfortunately, some people both inside and outside Brazil, supported by NGOs, have stubbornly insisted on treating and keeping our Indians as if they are real cavemen,” Bolsonaro said.

Brazil’s native peoples are “human beings” who “want and deserve to enjoy the same rights as all of us,” he said. They “do not want to be poor, large landholders sitting on rich lands ... especially sitting on the world’s richest lands.”

Pope Francis is not known to have been critical of former president Lula, either for his support of abortion or for his support of pro-homosexual educational materials being used to teach young children in Brazilian schools.


  amazon synod, brazil, catholic, jair bolsonaro, luiz inácio lula da silva, pope francis, querida amazonia

News

African president publicly rebukes Justin Trudeau for pushing ‘gay pride’ parades in Senegal

The Senegalese president said ‘we’re comfortable with our laws’ and there’d be no change in legislation on homosexuality.
Fri Feb 14, 2020 - 8:13 pm EST
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Senegal President Macky Sall (left) greets Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
Lianne Laurence Lianne Laurence Follow Lianne
By Lianne Laurence

DAKAR, Senegal, February 14, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — The president of Senegal rebuffed Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s attempts to discuss decriminalizing homosexuality and promoting “gay pride” parades in the predominately Muslim West African country.

And President Macky Sall’s defense of his country’s culture and laws made front-page news in the Francophone country’s capital city of Dakar.

CTV correspondent Glen McGregor tweeted a photo of Le Soleil’s headline trumpeting Sall’s rebuke to Trudeau: “Our society does not accept homosexuality.”

Canada’s Liberal prime minister told reporters at a Wednesday press conference that he had to raise the subject of Senegal’s criminalization of homosexuality with Sall because he was a “great defender of human rights,” according to Associated Press (AP).

For his part, the Senegalese president said his country respected human rights, but that “we’re comfortable with our laws,” and he stressed there would be no change in legislation on homosexuality, AP reported. 

“We cannot ask Senegal to legalize homosexuality and organize tomorrow’s Gay Pride,” Sall said. “It is not possible. Our society does not accept it.”

“It is our way of living and being. It has nothing to do with homophobia,” he added.

Senegal is a “moderate, predominantly Muslim nation where homosexuality is criminalized and punishable by up to five years in prison. ProsecutionS are rare but discrimination in the country’s traditional communities runs deep,” according to AP.

The country is considered “one of Africa’s model democracies” and “has a tradition of stable governments and civilian rule,” according to the BBC.

Trudeau’s eight-day tour of Africa ends Friday and was primarily focused on winning support for Canada’s bid for a non-voting seat on the U.N. Security Council. 

Canada is vying with Ireland and Norway for the two vacant seats from the council’s Western group for 2021 to 2022, AP reported.

Although Sall repudiated Trudeau’s homosexual advocacy, he told reporters his country backs Canada’s U.N. bid.

“We need Canada’s voice at the Security Council. Canada is a country of diplomacy. Canada is not difficult to support,” the president said.

However, it remains the case that under Trudeau, Canada is committed to indefinitely bankrolling the global promotion of homosexuality and gender ideology.  

Last February, the Liberals announced they would spend $30 million over the next five years, and after that, more than $10 million every year in perpetuity – or as long as they are in power – to advance the LGBTQ agenda in as part of international aid. 

Trudeau is also committed to pushing abortion globally, with the Liberals earmarking a staggering $7.1 billion by 2030 to promote and provide abortion as part of international aid. 

The 48-year-old father of three is known for his non-stop homosexual advocacy at home.

In 2016, he was the first sitting prime minister to march in the infamously lewd Toronto Pride Parade and has marched in “Pride” parades every year thereafter. 

In 2017, Trudeau approved a $145 million dollar settlement to LGBT Canadians who claimed the government discriminated against them in the past, made a tearful apology to these individuals in the House of Commons, promised $16 million to launch an LGBT propaganda campaign, ostensibly as reparation for historical wrongs to LGBT people, and vowed to “stamp out” alleged discrimination against homosexual persons.

In June 2019, the Liberals repealed Section 159 of the Criminal Code, which prohibited anal sex for individuals under age 18 (unless between husband and wife) under Bill C-75. This has effectively lowered the age of consent for anal sex from 18 years to 16 years. 

The Liberals support a Bill S-202 currently in the Senate that would criminalize “conversion therapy” for minors and Trudeau’s mandate letter to the justice minister called for similar legislation.

His mandate letter to the minister of health asks her to “implement a behaviour-based model of donation that eliminates the blood ban for men who have sex with other men.”

Feb. 21 update: This report now provides more detailed information about Section 159 of the Criminal Code.


  canada, homosexuality, justin trudeau, macky sall, muslims, senegal, un security council

News

Vatican urged to partner with top population controllers on pope’s Global Education Pact

Will Pope Francis’s Global Education Pact for a ‘new humanism’ mobilize funding for population control?
Fri Feb 14, 2020 - 7:23 pm EST
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Bishop Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo (left) with Jeffrey Sachs. Edward Pentin / YouTube
Diane Montagna Diane Montagna Follow Diane
By Diane Montagna

PETITION: Catholics call on the Vatican to affirm all salvation comes through Jesus Sign the petition here.

ROME, February 14, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — American economist and population control proponent Jeffrey Sachs has announced that potential funding partners for Pope Francis’s May 2020 Global Education Pact to create a “new humanism” include U.S. billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates, China’s wealthiest business magnate, UNESCO and other United Nations agencies, and the Islamic Development Bank.

A key means of population control for Sachs and several potential funders is education. It is also the preferred method of population control for Bishop Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo, chancellor of the Vatican academy where the announcement was made.

Speaking at a Vatican workshop on the Global Education Pact hosted by the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, on February 6–7, Sachs said he had “spoken with some of the world’s wealthiest people” and is confident that an estimated $26-billion-a-year education fund can be secured.

“Here is where we’re going to get the funds,” he told invited guests, as he presented a slide of “Partners for the Global Pact for Education and a New Fund for Education.”

The list includes:

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  • Donor governments
  • European Union
  • Major philanthropists (Bill Gates, Jack Ma, Mukesh Ambani)
  • Islamic Development Bank
  • UNESCO, UNICEF, other U.N. Agencies
  • International Monetary Fund 
  • U.N. Secretary-General’s SGD Advocates
  • Global Citizens NGO
  • Youth for the Future

Sachs, a regular participant in pontifical academy conferences and an adviser to Pope Francis on sustainable development, said he had “recently” spoken with American, Chinese, and Indian billionaire business magnates Bill Gates, Jack Ma, and Mukesh Ambani about the project and had also visited the Islamic Development Bank.

He also assured participants at the February 6–7 “Workshop on Education: the Global Compact” that the managing director of the International Monetary Fund has expressed “complete commitment” to the agenda, that Global Citizens NGO for the SDGs includes “many of the most famous rock stars in the world and some of the most famous performing artists,” and that Greta Thunberg and other young people are “ready to join.”

Education as Population Control

In his presentation, Jeffrey Sachs said $26 billion devoted to Africa would “put all African children into school up through the secondary level.”

“Pope Francis is our greatest mobilizer for decency in the world, and when Pope Francis calls for a Global Compact for Education, let us use the occasion to mobilize the basic financing so that this is real, not only a great idea,” he exhorted attendees.

Sachs, who has become a fixture at Pontifical Academy of Sciences meetings, said: “I believe that if we recommend to Pope Francis, that with his leadership which is unique in the world, we will go out to find these funds, each of us will go knock on the door of our favorite billionaire, of our next door neighbors, people who can make a difference, we will get this done, even by May.”

He said that “some of the world’s wealthiest” want to be in Rome for the May 2020 Global Education Pact event. “But I think we need clarity that part of the goal is not only the wonderful aim of the improved content, but actually making sure that children have a school room and a seat so that they can benefit from that content.”

While the goal of providing quality education for children across the world is a noble one, often there are strings attached.

Jeffrey Sachs has long advocated reducing the population, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, by educating girls about “sexual and reproductive health, and about the options for contraception.”

The “causal link” between education and population control, in fact, was raised at the two-day Pontifical Academy of Sciences workshop.

In a talk on the “interplay of education with population health and demographics,” Harvard professor of economics and demography David E. Bloom highlighted as something positive that education “reduces fertility and population growth rates.”

Educational development, Bloom suggested, “is probably best approached multi-sectorally, through a blend of health, population, and education policies — especially those that promote child health such as prenatal care, childhood vaccination, and investments in school water and sanitation infrastructure.” 

In his remarks at the Vatican, Bloom left out his long-held belief that educational development also involves providing, in his own words, “increased access to family planning services” and “addressing the considerable unmet need for contraception.”

Writing in the New York Times in 2011, Bloom wrote that the “daunting challenge” of population growth in Africa (according to his estimates, African women have 4.5 children) also involves “moderating the high rates of desired fertility” seen on much of the continent. This, the Harvard professor of economics said, “will naturally occur as the status and education of women improve and couples increasingly recognize that they will be better off with smaller families.”

“Drawing closer” to the Gates Foundation

Jeffrey Sachs’s February 6 announcement that U.S. billionaire Bill Gates is a potential funding partner for Pope Francis’s Global Education Pact coincided with the February 10 release of an annual letter from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, announcing that “the climate crisis and gender equality” have emerged as priorities for their future philanthropic giving.

Melinda Gates says in the letter that she wants to focus efforts particularly on gender equality, including “reproductive rights.” “My journey as a public advocate began with family planning,” she writes. “There are over 200 million women in developing countries who do not want to get pregnant but are not using modern contraceptives.”

Since then, she said her foundation, which works closely with Jeffrey Sachs, has stepped up “our commitments to family planning” while also developing “strategies that prioritize gender equality.”

Earlier this month, Edward Pentin of the National Catholic Register reported that the Vatican has been “drawing closer” to the Gates Foundation in recent months. Reliable sources told the Register that last November, Pope Francis had received Melinda Gates in an unpublicized private audience.

The danger of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for African women and children is not unknown.

In a 2018 interview, Obianuju Ekeocha, a pro-life activist and author of Target Africa, noted that Pope Francis has spoken out against the growing phenomenon of Western countries, entities, and foundations coming to Africa with “aid” and “gifts” with “strings attached.”

Ekeocha, a biomedical scientist born in Nigeria and currently residing in the UK, explained:

They are moving through their humanitarian aid projects, giving us gifts, and at the same time trying to get us to align with them ideologically on issues that are quite important for Africans: issues like abortion, contraception, population control, what happens with youth and human sexuality, sexuality identity. ... They are bringing it in as part of their foreign aid projects, and that’s actually quite dangerous for us because we are ... on the receiving end. Not only are we receiving the money, but we are receiving all of the things that come with it, which is now threatening to erode our own cultural views and values.

Ekeocha said the Church is “right in the heart of the storm.”

In the interview (and Target Africa) she identifies the Gates Foundation as one of the principal foundations that presents itself as a “friend” and tries to “partner with the Church, because the Church has such a great network everywhere across the continent of Africa.”

She added: “The Church then sees contraception programs, condom programs being targeted towards children, and the bishops speak out and call it what it is: cultural imperialism or ideological neo-colonialism.”

“The Church has to be the line of defense against them,” the pro-life scientist said. 

In 2012, Ekeocha wrote an open letter to Melinda Gates in response to her plan and promise to implant the seeds of her “legacy” — i.e., $5 billion in pledges — in 69 of the poorest countries in the world, most of which are in sub-Saharan Africa, in order to ensure that the African woman is less fertile.

“An African Woman’s Open Letter to Melinda Gates”  may be read in full on the website of the Pontifical Council for the Laity.

“We don’t have the money”

During the morning session, Pontifical Academy of Sciences workshop on February 6 (before Sachs’s announcement), LifeSite spoke with Monsignor Vincenzo Zani, secretary for the Congregation for Catholic Education, whom Pope Francis has tasked with overseeing the Global Education Compact.

Asked who would be paying for the event, Msgr. Zani replied: “We are looking for foundations that will give us a hand. The Vatican hardly has anything; we are looking for outside help.”

After Sachs’s talk that afternoon, LifeSite sat down with the Pontifical Academy of Sciences’ chancellor, Argentine bishop Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo.

Bishop Sánchez told LifeSite that the February 6–7 workshop was organized in response to a request by the Congregation for Catholic Education and was a sort of advisory meeting for the content of the Global Education Pact. 

He said the academy is “very happy” that compulsory education is becoming more widespread across the globe, but “as Jeffrey Sachs explained, the great problem is the money. We don’t have the money.”

Bishop Sánchez said the people and organizations listed by Jeffrey Sachs were potential collaborators in the educational pact but added that “this is nothing in reality for people who have real money.”

“We have 1 billion people without education, and education is the key to the development of people and of the person,” he said.

Asked if the Global Education Pact is therefore a way to mobilize money in order to direct it toward education, Bishop Sánchez replied: “This is part of it. The other question is: what kind of education?”

The Argentine prelate said Pope Francis believes that, when it comes to education, “we need the language of the mind” but also “language of the values, the language of the heart.” It is very important, Sánchez said, to have education that puts at the center the human person, the dignity of the human person,” as well as “the question of gender, the question of woman.”

He said the content of the Global Education Pact will focus particularly on women, in part with a view to combatting new forms of slavery and human-trafficking. The academy chancellor also said he hopes it will focus on the “truth that comes from the sciences” such as “climate change” and “evolution.”

Significantly, Sánchez said the relationship between the Global Education Pact and the realization of the 2030 Education SDG (sustainable development goals) is “very close” but added that “the pope wants to put more emphasis on the question of values and of ethics, and the question of woman. In this sense, there are some differences.”

Pressing the pontifical academy chancellor on those differences, LifeSite pointed out that while the SDGs have some worthy targets, the goals regarding gender equality, health, and education are at odds with the Church’s teaching.

In particular, it was pointed out to him that the United Nations would like to teach African girls how to use contraception and advise them to have an abortion if they get pregnant and don’t want to keep their babies. In view of this, and considering Scripture’s teaching about the battle between the world and the Church, LifeSite asked Bishop Sánchez how the Church can feasibly collaborate with the U.N. on this issue.

“That it is typical of the American people, especially the right wing, to exaggerate the idea that abortion is included in these [SDG] goals, and it’s not true,” Bishop Sánchez retorted.

LifeSite then put it to him that those organizations Sachs is promoting as funding partners for the pact are the very same that Ekeocha and others are battling because they promote contraception and abortion to people in Africa against their wishes.

Bishop Sánchez responded: “Yes, but this depends on the country. It doesn’t depend on the United Nations; this is the question. The United Nations is not in favor of abortion. Maybe some of the bureaucrats, but it’s not in the documents. The documents don’t speak about abortion.”

Presented with the fact that the United Nations uses the language of “reproductive rights” and “reproductive health” to signify contraception and abortion, the bishop denied it.

“This is a typical question[.] ... They don’t say this,” he said.

But they do — even explicitly. The U.N.’s SDG 3 on Health targets “expanding access to modern contraceptive methods” by 2030 as “essential to ensuring universal access to sexual and reproductive health-care services.”

The SDG on Gender Euality (5.6.1) seeks by 2030 to “ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights,” including “contraceptive use” and “health care” — a term the International Planned Parenthood Federation often uses to describe abortion.

And the SDG on Education (4.7) seeks to guarantee that “all learners acquire the knowledge and skills to promote ... sustainable lifestyles [and] gender equality.” By the standards of economists like Sachs and Bloom, reducing the fertility of African women is essential to meeting this goal.

“But ‘reproductive rights’ is the family for the Church’s interpretation,” Bishop Sánchez insisted. “We can have one interpretation and not the other interpretation.”

Suggesting the importance of having one’s terms “very clear,” we asked how the Church will guarantee that an education pact funded by the people and organizations on Sachs’s list will not lead to African girls being taught about contraception and abortion.

Bishop Sánchez answered by recalling a meeting he had with a Catholic priest in 1971 at the Lateran University. Sánchez said the priest told him that “the solution to the question of reproduction is a woman’s need to study, because when a woman studies she will have a critical spirit, and when she marries she will be more intelligent and won’t marry the first one who comes along. And after she can have one or two children but not more.”

“That is the truth,” the bishop said, chuckling.

LifeSite pressed the bishop on the problem of workshop attendees such as David Bloom stressing the “causal link” between education and population control, particularly in light of Jeffrey Sachs’s writing and statements on the need to reduce fertility in Africa.

“Not here,” Bishop Sánchez shot back regarding Sachs’s statements. The academy chancellor said claims that Sachs supports contraception and abortion in Africa are “another myth.”

In 2011, Sachs told CNN that education is one of the best means to achieve “voluntary” decreased fertility. And in his 2015 work, The Age of Sustainable Development, he advocated educating girls in Sub-Saharan Africa “about sexual and reproductive health, and about the options for contraception.”

When questioned on the wisdom of entering into an educational pact with people whose SDG vision includes flooding Africans with contraception and lobbying for legal abortion, Bishop Sánchez retorted that “the Church has a completely different policy.”

Pope Francis agrees only “in part” with the SDG education goal, because “there is nothing about values,” Bishop Sánchez said, who added that he has “criticized” Jeffrey Sachs “many times” for “not putting the family at the center” of his goals.

Asked how the Vatican will guarantee in the Global Education Pact that African girls are taught about the true meaning of family and not contraception, Bishop Sánchez said the “agreement” is meant “to guarantee these things.” This, he said, is the “difference between the agreement of the Pope and the agreement of the United Nations.”

Asked if he thought Melinda Gates would agree with this, Bishop Sánchez replied “no.”

“We don’t have an agreement with Melinda Gates,” he said. “This is the reason we don’t have the money of these people.”

When it was pointed out that that Jeffrey Sachs had the Gates Foundation and other pro-contraception and pro-abortion organizations on the list of potential funders for the Global Education Pact, the academy chancellor claimed that these partners were “for [Sachs’s] goals.”

When it was pointed out that Sachs labeled his list “Partners for the Global Pact for Education and a New Fund for Education,” Bishop Sánchez replied: “I don’t know, but it’s clear that the pope is against this; the pope has said this, many times.”

“Many Americans criticize us for the same things. So why would the pope collaborate with these people?” the perplexed bishop asked.

Seeking to present the perspective of many readers, this correspondent replied:

I don’t know. We see that there is an increasing cooperation between the United Nations and the Vatican. St. Paul speaks about the enmity between the Church and the world. The values of the Catholic Church often do not align with the values of these supranational bodies, like the United Nations. We don’t want to give our children’s minds over to the United Nations to educate our children. Because what will they teach them? If I had a little girl, she would be taught that when she’s 13 or 14 that she can be on contraception. And she won’t be taught about the family. She’ll be taught that she has her “rights.”

“So, what is the solution for you, not to collaborate on anything?” Bishop Sánchez asked.

When it was put to him that the solution is clarity and that practicing Catholics see a battle raging over the family, he replied: “Sorry, what is the solution, not to speak with these people? To say that we don’t want to speak with you, that you are completely in (the hands of) the devil?”

When it was reiterated to him that the Church and the Pontifical Academy need clarity, he insisted: “It’s very clear, there is no ambiguity. Jeffrey Sachs knows perfectly our position. Perfectly.”


  abortion, africa, bill and melinda gates foundation, catholic, contraception, education, jeffrey sachs, marcelo sánchez sorondo, pontifical academy of sciences, population control, sustainable development goals, united nations

News

German Catholic dioceses to embark on lenten fast to save planet from ‘climate change’

Catholics have traditionally fasted during Lent as an aid to configuring themselves more to Christ.
Fri Feb 14, 2020 - 6:32 pm EST
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Martin Bürger Martin Bürger Follow Martin
By Martin Bürger

February 14, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – Several Catholic dioceses in Germany are participating in a campaign that encourages fasting in order to protect the planet from “climate change.” In a brochure created by the campaign “Klimafasten,” the organizers express their solidarity with the demands made by “Fridays for Future.”

While mainly sustained by various Protestant communities in Germany, four Catholic dioceses have joined the campaign. Apart from the Archdiocese of Berlin, this includes the dioceses of Eichstätt, Hildesheim, and Rottenburg-Stuttgart.

Last year, more than 440 scientific papers were published that cast doubt on climate alarmism and the claim that man-made carbon emissions are causing changes to the climate.

The fast to protect the planet would take place during Lent. In German, the connection between Lent (“Fastenzeit”) and fasting (“fasten”) is evident from the words themselves.

“An ‘ethics of enough,’ which the churches have long been demanding, is becoming increasingly plausible and is urgently needed. The climate fasting campaign offers various suggestions for practicing such an ‘ethics of enough.’ It is about ensuring that everyone – the present generation as well as future generations – has enough to live on.  But it is also about ensuring that those who have too much can let that be enough,” the organizers explain.

“With this Lenten campaign, we place ourselves in the Christian tradition, which commemorates the suffering in the time before Easter and consciously practices renunciation in order to become free for new thoughts and different behavior. Climate change is causing suffering because it endangers the lives of people, animals and plants. Protecting the climate requires renunciation. However, it is always a gain if we succeed, alone or in the community, in making life more climate-friendly,” states the brochure about the campaign, which is set to begin on Ash Wednesday.

The Catholic understanding of penance, of which fasting is a part, is, however, different from the climate-change fasting program. The Catechism of the Catholic Church speaks of penances as helping to configure us to Christ, “who alone expiated our sins once for all. They allow us to become co-heirs with the risen Christ, ‘provided we suffer with him.’”

According to “Klimafasten,” the first week of Lent will focus on the ecological footprint. Based on a kind of quiz, participants are able to determine how conscious they are of the effect their lifestyle has on the environment.

One of the statements within the quiz says, “For distances under 3 kilometers (a little less than 2 miles), I walk or use my bicycle.” The participant can choose between “always (0 points), often (3), rarely (6), or never (9).” The lower the score, the better the ecological footprint.

The remaining weeks, then, focus on doing better in various areas of life, beginning with power usage. Suggestions include getting rid of one unnecessary electronic device, lowering the room temperature, and checking if switching to a provider of sustainably sourced power might be an option.

The third week looks at food items. “In the supermarket, I decide to buy products at a reduced price which have an expired best-before date,” one suggestion reads.

This is followed by developing a strategy for using less information technology, for instance by using a smartphone that has room for two SIM cards instead of one. This would enable the participant in fasting to protect the planet from climate change to get rid of the phone used either for business or privately. Ironically, another suggestion for week four seemingly contradicts this. “I use my equipment as long as possible and check whether I can repair or technically upgrade it,” it says.

The fifth week studies car usage and asks, “Where and how can I travel in a way friendly to the climate for my next vacation?”

Week six focuses on the use of plastic in everyday life. The brochure produced by “Klimafasten” suggests using cotton bags for groceries instead of plastic ones. Another suggestions is to go on a walk and pick up plastic trash along the way.

The last week says, “For Easter, we are happy that there is someone who gives us strength for change and reminds us that we can become a blessing to our fellow creatures, people, animals and plants.” Among other things, the brochure encourages the participants to tell others about their experiences.

Conservative German newspaper Junge Freiheit reported on various ideas for worship services proposed by “Klimafasten.” However, these ideas would most likely apply only to Protestant communities.

“On the website of the campaign, there are also ‘theological impulses’ for ‘climate fasting.’ … Among other things, it is recommended to distribute pens and paper so that every church member can write down ‘ideas for a climate-friendly church.’ The sheets of paper can then be attached to a picture of a tree that has previously been hung on a pin board. The ‘Tree of Life’ by Gustav Klimt, for example, would be suitable,” the German newspaper wrote.


  archdiocese of berlin, catholic, climate change, diocese of eichstatt, diocese of hildesheim, diocese of rottenburg-stuttgart, fasting, german dioceses, germany, klimafasten, lent, penance

News

Hundreds of Slovaks urge gov’t at prayer rally to not ratify pro-gay ‘marriage’ European agreement

The government so far has resisted attempts to weaken the constitution on traditional family values.
Fri Feb 14, 2020 - 5:46 pm EST
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Dorothy Cummings McLean Dorothy Cummings McLean Follow Dorothy
By Dorothy Cummings McLean

BRATISLAVA, Slovakia, February 14, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) ― Hundreds of Slovaks gathered outside the presidential palace on Tuesday to oppose LBGT ideology through public prayer.

The Slovenský dohovor za rodinu (SDZR, or “Slovakian Convention for the Family”) organized a public recitation of the Holy Rosary in Bratislava’s Freedom Square on February 11. Afterward, the crowd marched to Hodžovo Square, where the presidential palace is located.  

According to participant Matúš Belák, the three-hour event was attended by between 500 and 700 people from all over Slovakia. 

“Some of us were students, and others were older people,” he told LifeSiteNews. 

“People came from throughout Slovakia, but because (the rally) was on a workday during work hours, not as many people came as might have.”

The principal reason for the demonstrations was to ask the Slovak government to state that it will never ratify the Istanbul Convention (on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence), which many Slovaks believe weakens the definition of marriage between one man and one woman. 

Slovakia first refused to ratify the agreement in March 2019. Robert Fico, the nation’s former prime minister and leader of the ruling party, said then the government could not agree to a law that does not respect the beliefs of most Slovaks.  

“Some parts of the (Istanbul) convention could be incompatible with the Slovak constitution, as it allows for the introduction of same-sex ‘marriages,’” he stated.

Slovakia reiterated its refusal in November.

Belák said the organizer, SDZR’s leader Father Marián Kuffa, was asked by his ecclesiastical superiors not to attend the rally, apparently because his presence might have inflamed people of both the far-left and the far-right. The student suggested that the heavy police presence at the rally was due to tension around the question of LGBT ideology.  

The rallies were peaceful, and during the demonstration outside the presidential palace, the pro-family crowd began to sing.

“When we all gathered, we sang some traditional Catholic hymns, like “ó Mária, bolestivá,” Slávna si Kráľovná nebies Pani,” and other Marian hymns,” Belák told LifeSiteNews. 

“Liberal photographers were running around and taking pictures of us and the demonstration,” he added. 

“Luckily, even then no conflict happened, which was quite a blessing.” 

SDZR regularly holds pro-family rallies to protest LGBT Pride parades and organizes smaller prayer demonstrations throughout Slovakia year-round. The group has also helped circulate a petition against the Istanbul Convention, believing that the binding European agreement weakens the definition of traditional marriage. Slovakia has so far refused to ratify the document.

According to SDZR’s website, it affirms that marriage is “a unique bond between a man and a woman” and that the principal purpose of marriage is to have children and raise them properly. It believes that the family is the basic unit of society and parents have the right to raise and educate their children in accordance with their own religious and philosophical beliefs.   

Belák said Slovakia’s resistance to LGBT ideology resembles that of Hungary and Poland but is not as strong. 

“Although 70 percent Slovakians are Catholics, only around 15 percent are practicing,” he told LifeSiteNews. 

“That is around 700,000 (people).” 

Slovakia goes to the polls on February 29, and Belák fears that a left-wing electoral victory will mean radical change to Slovakia and its laws. However, he believes that even the current government is a “servant to Brussels,” i.e. the European Union, despite being somewhat conservative and populist. 

“They have promised the United Nations that LGBT rights will be implemented in our laws soon,” he said. 

“ … People used to speak of ‘Christian Slovakia’, but now we’re reaching the point at which either this will remain or we will become like other liberal countries,” he continued.  

“If  Slovakia falls, the (whole) Visegrad Group, the central European resistance, will fall.”

However, Belák is hopeful because of Fr. Kuffa and the SDZR. 

“Luckily, Fr. Marián Kuffa and other great Catholic priests and even Bishops (like Ján Orosch) are (talking) about these issues, and so we Christians here in Slovakia are slowly waking up from a deep sleep,” the student said.  

The pro-family group is organizing another large event for February 23: “The Rosary for Slovakia.” A few thousand people are expected to participate, inspired by previous public prayers. 

“The February 11 event had a few hundred participants, but its online video had 91,500 viewers in only 24 hours,” Belák said. 

He believes the fight for the family is predominantly spiritual.  

“There is a large spiritual warfare going on, the battle that Our Lady of Fatima told us about through Sister Lucia,” the student said, “the final battle for the family.”

But Belák has confidence in the strength of the patroness of Slovakia, Our Lady of the Seven Sorrows. 

“We are going through these sorrows now,” he said. “But in the end, her immaculate heart will triumph.


  bratislava, catholic, homosexuality, lgbt, our lady of fatima, robert rico, rosary, slovakia

News

EXCLUSIVE: Cardinal Zen criticizes Vatican for ‘despis[ing] the heroes of faith’ in China

In a 20-minute discussion, the cardinal lamented the Pope’s silence on China’s abuses of power in Hong Kong and described a dire situation for faithful Chinese Catholics.
Fri Feb 14, 2020 - 5:12 pm EST
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Cardinal Joseph Zen speaks with LifeSite in New York on February 14, 2020. Jim Hale / LifeSite
Claire Chretien Claire Chretien Follow Claire
By Claire Chretien

PETITION: Support Cardinal Zen's plea to stop the "murder of the Church in China"" Sign the petition here.

NEW YORK, February 14, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – The communist-run Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association “has always been objectively schismatic” and remains that way “but with the blessing from the Holy See,” Cardinal Joseph Zen said today.

Cardinal Zen sat down with LifeSite for a one-on-one interview in New York today.

In the 20-minute discussion, the cardinal lamented the Pope’s silence on China’s abuses of power in Hong Kong and described a dire situation for faithful Chinese Catholics.

One of the architects of the Catholic Church’s secret deal with the Chinese government, Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin, “is not acting for the faith,” said Zen. “I’m sorry to say, he is not a man of faith because he despises the heroes of faith.”

Commenting on the secretive Vatican-China deal, the cardinal warned that communists “never accept compromise. They want full surrender. And so now we are at the bottom. They finished the operation selling the Church.”

Cardinal Zen also spoke about the Chinese government’s response to the Coronavirus outbreak and what that response shows about communism. He urged people to be well-informed and look to history.

“With a totalitarian regime, there’s no possibility of any talk or bargaining. No, no,” warned Zen. “They just want you on your knees.”

Watch LifeSite’s full interview with Cardinal Zen:

Read more coverage of Cardinal Zen on LifeSite here.


  catholic, communism, joseph zen, pietro parolin, pope francis, vatican deal with china

News

Top cardinal behind Amazon synod: Plan for married priests to be ‘developed and completed’

Cardinal Hummes said that the Pope 'clearly says that the whole Church will strive to put this final document into practice' which calls for married priests.
Fri Feb 14, 2020 - 5:02 pm EST
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Brazilian Cardinal Claudio Hummes
Martin M. Barillas Martin M. Barillas Follow Martin
By Martin Barillas

BRASILIA, February 14, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – Brazilian Cardinal Cláudio Hummes stated that ordaining married men to the priesthood “must be developed and completed” following the release this week of Pope Francis’ apostolic exhortation Querida Amazonia [Beloved Amazon], which stalled the liberal push for married priests in the Catholic Church.

Known as an ally of Pope Francis, Cardinal Hummes (85) was prominent as the rapporteur at the Amazonia Synod in October, where evangelization, “ecological sin,” the struggles of isolated communities in the region, “new” ministries for women, and the possibility of ordaining mature men “viri probati” to the priesthood were discussed amidst much controversy. Hummes also presides over the Panamazonia Church Network (REPAM), a grouping of bishops and clergy influential in steering the Amazon Synod that has also advocated for married men. 

REPAM helped organize the Amazonia Synod, bringing clergy and laity from the countries of the Amazon Basin to the Vatican. The synod featured the worship of the Pachamama earth goddess by clergy in the presence of the Pope in the Vatican Gardens, sparking accusations of idolatry

The Instrumentum Laboris or working document that guided the Synod led to controversy even before the meeting, having been condemned by Cardinals Gerhard Muller and Walter Brandmuller. For his part, fellow German Bishop Erwin Krautler and Synod organizer said he hoped that at least female deaconesses would result from the Synod. He said that those who oppose the Synod, “which has been called by the Pope, are against Francis.”

Hummes has advocated for married priests for more than a decade. Just before becoming prefect of the Congregation for Clergy in 2006, for instance, he told an interviewer that priestly celibacy is not a dogma of the church and that it should be reviewed. His remarks earned him a rebuke from then-Pope Benedict XVI, who had him state that celibacy for the clergy is not debatable. 

Section 111 of the final document of the Amazonia Synod suggested that some Church ministries be conferred to women, and that married men should be considered for the priesthood. That final document, Hummes said, should not be rejected or shelved. Moreover, Hummes said that “the Synod is not the end of the process.” While Hummes and others had hoped that the Amazon Synod might have kicked off a change in Church discipline regarding celibacy for priests, the Pope did not mention it in Querida Amazonia. 

While speaking at the headquarters of the Brazilian Conference of Catholic Bishops about Querida Amazonia on Wednesday, Hummes said that he believes the Pope did not intend to “replace” the conclusions of the final document about priestly ordination. “This issue, like all the rest, should be worked on with the Pope by the agencies of the Holy See. It will be taken up again,” he said in a press conference in Brazil's capital. “This matter will have to be developed and completed,” he added.

In Querida Amazonia, Pope Francis says that he intends to “officially present the [synod’s] final document,” while encouraging “everyone to read it,” and “strive to apply it” according to their vocation in the Church. While some observers contend that the exhortation shut one door on married priests, others contend that its ambiguous wording may have opened a back door. 

In his preamble to Querida Amazonia, the Pope wrote: “I will not go into all of the issues treated at length in the final document. Nor do I claim to replace that text or to duplicate it. I wish merely to propose a brief framework for reflection that can apply concretely to the life of the Amazon region a synthesis of some of the larger concerns that I have expressed in earlier documents, and that can help guide us to a harmonious, creative and fruitful reception of the entire synodal process.”

At the end of the preamble, the Pope writes: “I have preferred not to cite the Final Document in this Exhortation, because I encourage everyone to read it in full.”

Speaking in Brasilia, Cardinal Hummes reflected on the Pope’s words, saying that he “didn’t cite anything” so that no one point would be emphasized over others. Hummes added, “He doesn’t speak about any point, and this shows that he appreciates all of them because they are the products of the Synod, they are not the product of a small group of theologians but of a synod of the Church. Everything that the Synod decided and approved is important.” 

In an interview with Vatican News, Hummes affirmed that the Pope said that the Church will accept the Amazonia Synod’s final document and put it into practice. “It is a continuation of the process, he said. “He clearly says that the whole Church will strive to put this final document into practice,” Hummes said, and added: “It is the whole text that the Church must seek to put into practice. This is very clear, but this is part of a process, which the Pope has also made very clear, which is a process.” 

Hummes said that the Synod was the high point in a “process” that did not end there. “It is a path that we still have to travel, continue to travel, as the Church must always do in history,” he concluded.

Another one of the Pope’s allies, fellow Argentine Archbishop Fernández of La Plata, wrote in Argentina’s La Nacion newspaper that anyone disappointed that the Pope did not specifically mention a married clergy should take heart from what the Pope didn’t say. “It is clear that if the Pope did not mention some point, that is not because it is discarded, but because he did not wish to repeat what the Synod declared.”

“For the first time ever, an apostolic exhortation is not constituted as an interpretation of a synod’s final document nor in a restriction of its contents. It is merely a complementary framework of that document,” Archbishop Víctor Manuel Fernández wrote, adding, “That is a great novelty of the synod that has been unfortunately unnoticed.”

Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni told reporters at a press conference earlier this week that the exhortation [Querida Amazonia] is “magisterium,” adding that the “final document is not magisterium.” 


  amazon synod, catholic, claudio hummes, married priests, pope francis, querida amazonia, repam, victor manuel fernandez

News

Judge slams police for ‘Gestapo’ investigation of UK man’s tweets critical of transgenderism

'In this country, we have never had a Cheka, a Gestapo or a Stasi. We have never lived in an Orwellian society,' the judge said.
Fri Feb 14, 2020 - 12:59 pm EST
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Harry Miller @talkRADIO / Twitter
Dorothy Cummings McLean Dorothy Cummings McLean Follow Dorothy
By Dorothy Cummings McLean

LONDON, England, February 14, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – A UK High Court judge ruled today that it was “unlawful” for police to investigate a man for writing tweets critical of men who say they’re ‘women’ and to record it as a “hate incident.”

Mr. Justice Julian Knowles stated that for a member of Humberside Police to go to the workplace of Harry Miller and upbraid him for his political opinions was a “disproportionate interference" with Miller’s freedom of expression. 

Last January,  Humberside police officers went to Miller’s business to investigate a third-party complaint that Miller had posted “transphobic” tweets. Miller had retweeted a poem that poked at transgenderism which allegedly included the lines, “Your breasts are made of silicone, your vagina goes nowhere.” Miller had also written in a tweet: “I was assigned mammal at birth, but my orientation is fish. Don't mis-species me." 

When Miller spoke with Police Constable (PC) Mansoor Gul, he was given a mini-seminar in trans ideology. Gul also informed Miller that although Miller had not committed a crime, his tweets would be recorded as a “hate incident.”

According to the BBC, Knowles said that the impact of the police turning up at Miller’s work "because of his political opinions must not be underestimated".

"To do so would be to undervalue a cardinal democratic freedom,” he continued.

"In this country, we have never had a Cheka, a Gestapo or a Stasi. We have never lived in an Orwellian society."

The BBC reported that the judge acknowledged that Miller denied being prejudiced against “transgender people” and considered himself as taking part in a public debate. He noted also that only one person had complained about Miller’s tweets and that her complaint had been recorded as a hate incident “without any critical scrutiny … or any assessment of whether what she was saying was accurate.” 

"The claimants' tweets were lawful and there was not the slightest risk that he would commit a criminal offence by continuing to tweet,” Knowles said. 

"I find the combination of the police visiting the claimant's place of work, and their subsequent statements in relation to the possibility of prosecution, were a disproportionate interference with the claimant's right to freedom of expression because of their potential chilling effect."

Miller told LifeSiteNews that he was “absolutely delighted” by the decision.

“It’s a personal vindication after a year-long fight,” he said. 

The former police officer said that the case had exposed that Britain has an ideological police force. Miller was particularly pleased that Knowles had made reference to the Soviet, Nazi, and East German secret police to describe what the Humberside constable had done.

“He couldn’t have used a harsher comparison,” Miller said and added that police forces can no longer hide behind College of Police guidelines to behave unlawfully.

“This is a terrible day for the [College of] Police, and a fantastic day for liberty and freedom of speech,” he declared. 

Miller said he believes ordinary police officers “hate” having to follow up complaints about tweets. He told LifeSiteNews that he has had many emails from police officers saying so and also that they hoped he would win his challenge to the College of Policing and Humberside Police. 

“They’re sick of being used as ideological pawns,” he explained. 

It was not a total victory for Miller and his citizens’ rights organization Fair Cop: Knowles rejected Miller’s argument that the College of Policing guidelines on hate crimes are unlawful. The judge decided that they “serve legitimate purposes” and are “not disproportionate.”

Miller disagrees and told LifeSiteNews that he and Fair Cop are going to take the matter further. 

“We’re seeking the right to go to the Supreme Court to get the guidance struck down,” he said.  

He finds the provisions in the guidance for accepting third-party perceptions of “hatred” with no evidence being necessary “irrational.” Miller added that there have been 87,000 so-called “non-crime crime incidents” recorded.

“It’s Big Brother double speech,” he stated. 

 CitizenGO UK chief Caroline Farrow told LifeSiteNews that she found the ruling “refreshing.”

“It was refreshing to hear a High Court judge reiterate the principles of free speech which ought to underpin any free and democratic society,” she said. 

“Nobody should expect a knock on their door from the police as a result of telling the truth about male and female. While today’s judgment is very welcome, [Miller] should never have been put in the position of having to fight the police in the High Court.”

Farrow said that Fair Cop should be “applauded for its decision to appeal the guidance that led to this situation.” 

“The concept of what constitutes a hate incident needs urgent revision,” she added. 

Miller told LifeSiteNews that Fair Cop will “fight on.”

“This is no longer about Harry Miller,” he said. 

“This is about the [British] people.”


  fair cop, free speech, gender ideology, good news, harry miller, transgender ideology, transgenderism, transgenders, united kingdom

News

Trump says he’d vote vote for a gay president, predicts most of America would too

In an interview with Fox's Geraldo Rivera, the president said of those who couldn't support a homosexual candidate, I 'wouldn't be in that group.'
Fri Feb 14, 2020 - 12:59 pm EST
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Calvin Freiburger Calvin Freiburger Follow Calvin
By Calvin Freiburger

February 14, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – President Donald Trump told Fox News personality Geraldo Rivera that he would be willing to vote for a homosexual man for President of the United States, and predicted that most if not all the country would be open to the same.

Rivera interviewed the president Thursday in a wide-ranging conversation on a host of issues, during which Rivera asked, “Would Americans vote for a gay man to be president?”

“I think so,” Trump answered. “I think there would be some that wouldn’t, and you know, I wouldn’t be among that group, to be honest with you.”

“It doesn’t seem to be hurting Pete Buttigieg,” he added, referring to the former South Bend, Indiana mayor and Democrat presidential candidate who currently holds a narrow lead in delegates for his party’s nomination. Buttigieg is “married” to another man yet regularly invokes Christianity in contrasting himself with Trump. 

“There would be a group that probably wouldn’t. But, you know, you or I wouldn’t be in that group,” Trump continued.

“We would not,” Rivera agreed.

Last year, Gallup found that a record 76 percent of Americans would be willing to vote for a homosexual for president. Whether Buttigieg would defeat Trump, however, is another matter – a recent Washington Post/ABC News poll found Trump leading Buttigieg 48 percent to 45 percent, a gap that could widen once greater national attention fell on Buttigieg’s hard-left stances on issues such as abortion.

Additionally, polling on LGBT political candidates is likely to be exaggerated to some degree due to the Bradley effect, a phenomenon in which respondents tell pollsters they support a minority candidate in order to avoid being seen as intolerant, but go on to vote against that candidate in the privacy of a voting booth.

A supporter of same-sex “marriage” who previously said it was “absolutely fine” to see Buttigieg on the campaign trail with his “husband,” Trump has a mixed record on LGBT issues. He has nominated a variety of pro-LGBT officials to various government posts and judicial vacancies. He has continued some Obama-era LGBT policies such as an executive order on “gender identity nondiscrimination” and U.S. support for international recognition of homosexual relations at the United Nations Human Rights Council. His campaign is also actively courting LGBT voters with rainbow merchandise.

At the same time, Trump has prioritized religious liberty and generally been aligned with social conservatives against the gender-fluidity movement, from banning gender-confused soldiers from the military to protecting women from having to share close quarters such as homeless shelters with men claiming to be transgendered. The White House also opposes the so-called “Equality Act” and maintains a biological definition of sex in its implementation of federal laws and regulations.

While lamenting the president’s moderate-to-liberal stances on some LGBT issues, social conservatives generally find their disagreements more than outweighed by Trump’s strong pro-life record and the majority of his judicial nominees, such as the recently-confirmed Sarah Elizabeth Pitlyk.


  2020 presidential election, donald trump, geraldo rivera, homosexuality, lgbt, pete buttigieg

News

Mississippi Democrat introduces bill to force homeschoolers to use govt-approved courses

Democratic Rep. John Hines' bill would mandate curriculum that homeschoolers in the state must teach.
Fri Feb 14, 2020 - 12:20 pm EST
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Rep. John Hines Sr. Cynthia Hines / Vimeo
Martin M. Barillas Martin M. Barillas Follow Martin
By Martin Barillas

JACKSON, Mississippi, February 14, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – A Mississippi Democrat introduced a bill in the state House that would force parents who homeschool their children to “provide the same curriculum” as government schools in Grades 9 through 12.

While homeschool parents and non-public schools currently have considerable freedom to teach children under their care according to their values, Mississippi House Bill 188 would mandate that the same courses on Mississippi History and American Government currently taught in public schools would also be required of homeschool families, as well as private and parochial schools.

Introduced by state Rep. John Hines Sr. (D), the bill proposes:

The Mississippi History course must provide students with an examination of the history of the State of Mississippi from the age of discovery and colonization to the present with particular emphasis on the significant political, social, economic and cultural issues of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries which have impacted the diverse ethnic and racial populations of the state. All private, parochial and home-based school programs shall provide the same curriculum requirements to students enrolled in Grades 9 through 12.

According to the Mississippi Center for Public Policy (MCPP), if passed, the bill “would give the state authority to dictate what parents teach their children and how they teach it.” The pro-family, pro-life organization argued that homeschool parents have the right to educate their children. It said that homeschoolers “generally make that choice because they want to set the curriculum that’s appropriate for their children free of state mandates.” 

“Whether or not homeschool families in Mississippi teach Mississippi history or government – and we know most do – that is the choice of the parents, not the state,” the group stated. 

Mississippi has numerous private and parochial schools, many of which are sponsored by various churches and Christian communities.

In a conversation with LifeSiteNews, MCCP communications director Brett Kittredge said that the “freedom to teach children belongs to private schools that parents opted into and are paying to send their children there, and it belongs to the parents who have chosen to make the sacrifice to homeschool. They are the ones ultimately responsible for the education of their children.”

Even though the bill is ostensibly limited to mandating courses in Mississippi History and American Government, Kittredge argued that, nevertheless, it would involve the state “where it has no business being in homeschool and private school curriculums.” He said that the bill could start a trend.” Kittredge added that Mississippi has very good laws regarding educational freedom for private schools and homeschools. “This just pushes the state into private lives and private schools. We don’t like that and we think that it sends a bad message.”

The Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) has also condemned the legislation and has formulated a petition for parents to send to Mississippi legislators.

HSLDA stated that while “homeschooling parents embrace teaching History and Government, this bill gives the state the authority to dictate curricular content, which undermines parents’ freedom to tailor their child’s educational program.” It is parents who have the “right and responsibility” to oversee the education of their children, and it is a right that is prior to a “governmental interest in promoting and requiring education.” 

Declaring that compelling homeschoolers to educate their children according to government dictates is neither necessary or appropriate, HSLDA said: “The state ought not to compel homeschooling parents to teach specific course content developed by the state or teach subjects a certain way.”

Currently, the Mississippi House has a Republican majority. Past attempts in the legislature to mandate homeschool and private education have failed.


  education, homeschooling, john hines, mississippi, mississippi house bill 188

News

Pro-life Hollywood actress slams Dems for ‘barbaric platform that champions abortion’

‘Why would any civilized person want to support a barbaric platform that champions abortion for any reason?’
Fri Feb 14, 2020 - 11:20 am EST
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Hollywood actress Patricia Heaton. Frazer Harrison / Getty Images
Paul Smeaton Paul Smeaton Follow Paul
By Paul Smeaton

February 14, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — American actress Patricia Heaton, star of the CBS sitcom Everybody Loves Raymond, has called out the Democratic Party for its pro-abortion stance and questioned why any pro-lifer would be interested in knowing whether he’s welcome to join the party.

Heaton wrote on Twitter yesterday: “I don’t understand why pro-life people want to know if they are “welcome” to join the democrat party. Why would any civilized person want to support a barbaric platform that champions abortion for any reason through all nine months funded by taxpayers?”

Her comments come after South Bend, Indiana mayor and Democrat presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg last month rejected an appeal from the leader of Democrats for Life for token language in the party platform in order to represent pro-life Democrats.

Kristen Day asked Buttigieg during a candidate town hall whether he wants the support of pro-life Democrats and would “support more moderate platform language in the Democratic Party to ensure the party of diversity and inclusion really does include everybody.”

“I’m not going to try to earn your vote by tricking you. I am pro-choice, and I believe that a woman ought to be able to make that decision,” Buttigieg answered.

Buttigieg’s answer did not leave Day satisfied.

“The Democratic platform contains language that basically says that we don’t belong, we have no part in the party because it says abortion should be legal up to nine months; the government should pay for it,” she said after the event. “And there’s nothing that says that people that have a diversity of views on this issue should be included in the party.”

The 2020 Democrats are all virtually in lockstep on social issues: they support taxpayer-funded abortion on demand and the homosexual/LGBT cause. At least two candidates — Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Pete Buttigieg — list their “gender pronouns” in their Twitter bios. The latter is in a same-sex “marriage.” Warren says she will let a gender-confused child vet her nominee for secretary of education if she wins the presidency. Former vice president Joe Biden has said he would direct the Justice Department to “do everything in its power” to block state laws that place any restriction on abortion, including parental notification requirements, ultrasound laws, and waiting periods. Meanwhile, Sen. Bernie Sanders has threatened that he would “use the Department of Justice to go after those states” that restrict abortion “in every way that I legally can.” Every Democrat candidate has also pledged to nominate pro-abortion judges to the Supreme Court and federal bench.


  2020 democrat primary, 2020 presidential election, abortion, democratic party, hollywood, patricia heaton, pete buttigieg

News

This dad begged for the life of his 7-month-old unborn son. His ex aborted anyway

Juan Pablo Medina, 25, had offered to take care of his baby alone. The child's mother, and his grandmother, would not be moved, and now baby Juanse is dead.
Fri Feb 14, 2020 - 11:11 am EST
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TZIDO SUN / Shutterstock.com
Jeanne Smits, Paris correspondent
By Jeanne Smits

Analysis

February 14, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — A particularly tragic abortion case made headlines in Colombia when a young woman obtained the abortion of her seven-month-old unborn child despite her ex-boyfriend’s desperate fight for the life of his baby. Juan Pablo Medina, 25, had been pleading online and in the media to be allowed to save his son, whom the couple had already decided to have baptized under the name of Juan Sebastián, offering to take care of him alone. Now he is asking for all that is left to him: the possibility to give “Juanse” a Christian burial.

The Colombian bishops’ conference reacted strongly, calling abortion a “death penalty inflicted on the smallest and the defenseless.”

The abortion took place on February 11, under the authority of the local family planning association ironically named “Profamilia,” which is an affiliate of the International Federation of Planned Parenthood. Profamilia committed the abortion even though it was not covered by legal exceptions as defined by Colombia’s constitutional court in 2006.

At seven months, a fetus is generally deemed viable, and the abortion procedure is gruesome. The little boy had no disease or malformation, and the pregnancy was progressing without any health problems either for the child or for his mother, according to the father.

Juan Pablo Medina’s heartbreaking loss followed what looked like an ordinary story of an ordinary couple from the suburbs of Bogotá. The senior law student from Popayán in the southeast of the Colombian capital told the media that when Juanse was conceived, it was the result of a joint decision on the part of his girlfriend, who was then a 22-year-old student, and himself. They had been together for 14 months, and they both wanted a baby.

It was in September of last year that they discovered that she was three months along. “It made us very happy,” says Medina. They actively prepared to welcome the child.

His joy came to a sudden halt on December 27, when his girlfriend's mother learned about the pregnancy. According to Medina, he was at that point separated from his girlfriend by her family, who told her she was jeopardizing her studies and her career. He lost all contact with her. On January 7, he learned that she had been voluntarily hospitalized and was asking for a voluntary abortion.

Mutual friends conveyed the message to Medina that the baby had a malformation; it was also said to him that she was in a critical condition.

Medina never believed that, because a December 6 sonogram had shown the baby in perfect condition. Besides, the mother did not obtain the abortion she was asking for because none of the circumstances defined by law had been verified: illness or malformation of the fetus, rape, or a serious threat to the physical or mental health of the woman. In particular, her health care providers were not prepared to certify that her mental health was in danger.

The girl’s parents later told Medina that she thought she was not ready to have a child and that she wanted to get along with her career. According to them, she also thought she didn’t have enough money to take care of the baby.

She was discharged from hospital on January 21, at which point the pro-abortion NGO Profamilia took over. Founded in 1965, when it campaigned for legal contraception, it stepped over to lobbying for legal abortion after the 2006 decision of the Constitutional Court.

Profamilia is presently working to make abortion legal unconditionally during the first three months of pregnancy through a bid to change Colombia’s jurisprudence. A presentation by a pro-abortion magistrate, Judge Linares, is expected to be heard by the Constitutional Court two weeks from now. A “scientific expert” for Profamilia, Juan Carlos Vargas, told El Expectador that if the pro-abortion association has its way, with a “right” to abortion during the first 15 weeks of pregnancy, legal exceptions would still apply for abortions beyond three months of gestation.

Profamilia refused to take Medina’s pleas into account. For nearly two months, the young man attempted to block the abortion, organizing protests at the foot of the clinic of Popayán where the abortion would take place.

Medina even filed a criminal complaint for attempted murder, through which he also hoped to obtain legal guardianship of his son. During this procedure, Profamila said that on January 22, a “psychological assessment” of the mother had been made. It said that the grounds of threat to her “mental health” were verified and that this factor had justified that it should prepare to go on with the procedure, as was its “obligation.”

According to RCNRadio, the young woman, named Angie Tatiana Palta, gave the station an interview on January 17, in which she accused both Medina and her family of pressuring her into keeping her child and saying she was in a “nightmare.”

According to Infobae.com from Argentina, the judge decided that Profamilia’s opinion was not sufficient and that another assessment should be made. The pro-abortion NGO replied that this would be a hindrance to a “fundamental right” and that, being duty-bound to guarantee that abortion services be obtained according to guidelines from National Health Services, it should normally do so within five workdays after the consultation. It added that asking for extra medical certificates would constitute “a hindrance and an administrative barrier” to abortion “rights.”

During this hearing, the local public prosecutor of Popayán told the court that there were no legal grounds for the abortion and that such a procedure would be illegal in this case. On January 30, the judge did not openly reject the mother's bid to abort but, noting that Profamilia’s gynecologist had authored her psychological assessment, made clear that this doctor was not the right person to have done so, not being specialized in mental health. The judge decided that the mother would have to undergo further psychological testing before she could go ahead with the abortion.

But Profamilia did not wait for that to happen. It proceeded with the abortion on February 11. It justified the act on the grounds that “the young woman had undergone emotional changes when she learned that she was pregnant.” It quoted depression, crying fits, suicidal ideation, and loss of sleep and appetite. “She wanted once more to become a joyful young woman who enjoyed going out, dancing, and making jokes.”

It is not known whether the woman was told of her ex-boyfriend’s wish to look after their baby alone if she did not want the child.

The judiciary authorities were the ones who told Medina that the abortion had taken place.

“They’ve killed him,” he answered. He is now filing criminal complaints against his girlfriend and her mother, accusing the latter of having instigated the abortion. He published a statement thanking the many Colombians who helped him over the last few months and speaking of his grief at having lost his son, whom he had hoped to see being born and growing up. “I would have given him all my love,” he said.

Profamilia told the media that in this sort of case, it is simply a question of pitching one right against another right. “A woman is a being who exists,” Juan Carlos Vargas told El Expreso. “A pregnancy is a project,” he added. It was therefore normal to privilege the right of the person already existing, he claimed, glossing over the fact that if Juanse had been born prematurely at seven months, he would have been taken care of as a human being — the human being he already was in his mother's womb.

On Wednesday, a demonstration was held in front of the headquarters of Profamilia in Bogotá, accusing the NGO of not defending the family in Colombia and shouting: “No to the torturers, yes to life!” Men and women of all ages were present, as well as politicians and even candle and flower vendors, according to lafm.com.

Services of the Bogotá municipality responded, asking for the complete decriminalization of abortion Colombia. Claudia López, the capital’s mayor, stands behind this demand.

In a statement, the archbishop of Popayán, Luis José Rueda Aparicio, quoted St. John Paul II’s Evangelium Vitae to recall that “every life is a gift from God and good news.” On February 13, reacting to news of the death of Juanse, he stated: “The social environment in Colombia leads us to be as a voice in the desert fighting for the fragile lives of unborn children.”

Bishop Rueda added that human beings should be respected as persons from the moment of conception and that the “inviolable right of every innocent human being to life” should be recognized.

He added that even when laws exist against nascent human life, “we must recall that the mission to defend life in homes, in hospitals, in universities, in the country and in the cities, is incumbent upon all of us, women and men, with scientific, legal, ethical, and spiritual arguments.”

The Colombian bishops’ conference also published a communiqué shortly before the abortion took place, calling for prayer for the little boy’s life. Its signatories said they were “perplexed” by the fact that the institutions of Colombia “should not guarantee the rights of a father who, with insistence and determination, is fighting for the life of his son.”

“We reaffirm that life is sacred, and that abortion is an injustice that cries out to Heaven and deeply wounds society. It is impossible to build peace while implementing this death penalty against the smallest and the defenseless,” they proclaimed. “All the limits of logic have been crossed,” they added, calling on all Catholics to join in “prayer days for the victims of abortion.”


  abortion, catholic, colombia, courts, fatherhood, infanticide, late-term abortion, profamilia

News

Spanish socialist govt moves to let doctors kill sick patients as health care costs rise

The pro-life party in Spain accused the ruling socialists of promoting euthanasia to eliminate 'people who are expensive at the end of their lives.'
Fri Feb 14, 2020 - 10:47 am EST
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Martin M. Barillas Martin M. Barillas Follow Martin
By Martin Barillas

MADRID, February 14, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — A majority in the lower chamber of Spain’s Congress has voted to consider a bill that would legalize euthanasia and assisted suicide in case of “clearly debilitating diseases without a cure, without a solution and which cause significant suffering.”

Spanish daily El País reported that the 350-member Congress of Deputies passed a measure on Tuesday by a vote of 201 to 140, with two abstentions. Following debate in committee, the bill would go to the Senate for a final vote. In its current form, if passed, the law would allow voluntary euthanasia as well as assisted suicide. This is the third time the bill has emerged in Congress, where its proponents hope it will be approved in June.

Assisted suicide means that a doctor prescribes lethal drugs to a patient, who then self-administers the drugs. Voluntary euthanasia can be defined as when a physician or medical professional kills a patient at the patient’s request. Both forms of killing are legal in Belgium, Canada, Colombia, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and in the state of Victoria in Australia. Switzerland and some states in the U.S. allow assisted suicide.

Both forms of dealing death would be legalized by the Spanish legislation, which would allow doctors to object on the basis of conscience but require them to refer patients to doctors willing to assist in death. The bill also requires that patients not have to wait more than a month after making a request for either assisted suicide or euthanasia. After two doctors consider an initial request, patients would then make an additional request for approval by a government committee.

The Catholic Church, as well as the Popular Party and Vox Party, has expressed vehement opposition to the bill. From the floor of Congress, Deputy José Ignacio Echániz of the Popular Party accused Spain’s socialist government on Tuesday of seeking to “save money” on care for “people who are expensive at the end of their lives.” He said, “For the Socialist Party, euthanasia is cost-saving measure.”

Euthanasia as cost-saving measure

Echániz said the socialist government is having trouble paying for its welfare policies: “Every time one of these people with these characteristics disappears, there also disappears an economic and financial problem for the government. For each one of these people who is pushed toward death by euthanasia, the government is saving a great deal. Behind this is a leftist philosophy to avoid the social cost of an aging population in our country.”

While offering legislation to improve palliative care, Echániz said it is “curious” that despite Spain’s excellent medical care, socialists are calling for euthanasia rather than “defending life until the last moment.”

Madrid mayor José Luis Martínez-Almeida and city chief executive Isabel Díaz Ayuso, both of whom represent the Popular Party, also denounced the bill. In an interview with Antena 3 radio, Díaz Ayuso reproached the socialists for their reasoning, saying, “Death is not dignity; it is death,” and added, “Life is dignity.” The euthanasia bill, she argued, is a “red herring” being offered by her opponents to distract from their failings.

Speaking for the pro-life Vox Party, Rocio Monasterio said in a news conference on Tuesday that Vox will mount strong opposition the bill. “We believe in the dignity of the person,” she said while calling for more resources for palliative care. Vox, she said, defends the dignity of people from conception to natural death, unlike the leftists, who “want to eliminate all those whose lives, according to the Socialist Party, are no longer useful.”

Vox Deputy Lourdes Méndez took to the floor on Tuesday, warning Congress that they had embarked on legislation that resembled Nazi law of the 1930s with which the German Third Reich could legally murder mentally and physically handicapped people who had been judged “unfit.”

Méndez said, “The weakest and most vulnerable would be pressured by the system and would come to feel that they are a burden.” While she also proposed a bill for palliative care, she said, “In the face of suffering, we propose to offer companionship; we propose a culture of care and propose to relieve pain. You propose in the face of suffering to eliminate the sick; you propose death.” Speaking directly to the socialists, she said, “May God forgive you!”

The Spanish bishops’ conference has condemned euthanasia, issuing a document titled “Sowers of Peace” in December, saying that the Tradition and Magisterium of the Church “have been constant in stressing the dignity and sacredness of every human life” and its opposition to legalized euthanasia and assisted suicide.

The Church, the document reads, offers various ways of accompanying the sick and suffering, “shaping the many charisms that have inspired many institutions and congregations dedicated to their care.” This is based on the words of Jesus Christ, who said, “I was sick, and you visited me” (Matt. 25:36), and in the parable of the Good Samaritan (Lk. 10:25–37).

Critics of the leftist euthanasia bill point out that both euthanasia and assisted suicide are beyond the scope of medicine and also violate the Hippocratic Oath, well enshrined in the medical profession, which states: “I will neither give a deadly drug to anybody who asked for it, nor will I make a suggestion to this effect.”

In a statement, the Catholic bishops said there is a flawed belief that assisted suicide and euthanasia are acts of autonomy, saying: “[I]t is not possible to understand euthanasia and assisted suicide as something that refers exclusively to the autonomy of the individual, since such actions involve the participation of others, in this case, of health personnel.” Instead of promoting death, Spain should instead embrace palliative care that can ease suffering, they said.

Fr. Pedro Trevijano Etcheverria, a Spanish theologian and columnist, reacted to the vote that came on the day Catholics commemorate the apparition of the Virgin Mary at Lourdes to a simple peasant girl, Bernadette, in 1800s France. The shrine at Lourdes, which is known all over the world for its healing waters, has drawn millions of ailing visitors and their companions for more than a century. Tuesday is also known among Catholics as the International Day of the Sick, Trevijano Etcheverria mused, pointing out that while the irony of advancing a bill to kill sick people on that day might have been lost on Spain’s leftists, it would be easily recognized by Satan.


  assisted suicide, catholic, euthanasia, popular party, socialism, spain, vox party

Opinion

Priest: Pope’s Amazon exhortation is ‘Trojan horse’ for female ministry, married priests

Amazonia is known for its sometimes fairy tale–like landscape, which is often shrouded in deep fog. Likewise with the pope's post-synodal text.
Fri Feb 14, 2020 - 8:01 pm EST
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Fr. Frank Unterhalt
By Fr. Frank Unterhalt

February 14, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — Amazonia is known for its sometimes fairy tale–like landscape, which is often shrouded in deep fog. What seems romantic at first glance tempts many to start dreaming. But the panorama has a big shadow side. That side is to be found everywhere where the cloudy haze blocks the full light. Missionaries report that deadly dangers are difficult to recognize in this scenery. So the fog often brings a deceptive situation. When it dissolves the whole reality of the Amazon becomes visible.

The region recently received much attention through a document from the Vatican.

Although the title of the text (Querida Amazonia) focuses on Amazonia, it claims to extend its dimensions to the whole world. The river has never been wider. A synod framed with pagan rituals and blasphemous idolatry was to be cast into a document, and the jubilant dance was to be continued.

The first statements were quickly made, most of which — partly out of haste and partly out of wishful thinking — got stuck to the first impression. There were quite a few who did not see the forest for the trees. That is to say, the external number of words and the choice of the words of substance have created an Amazonian fog. To be more precise, there is something in the writing that at first could not be seen at all.

It says in the text: “I will not go into all of the issues treated at length in the Final Document. Nor do I claim to replace that text or to duplicate it” (no. 2).

Thus, after the fog has lifted, it becomes visible: the final document of the synod.

If an author does not wish to replace something, it logically means that he wants to leave it as it is. This intention is reinforced with the following words: “At the same time, I would like to officially present the Final Document, which sets forth the conclusions of the Synod” (no. 3).

Connoisseurs of the scene will pay attention to the latest here. This strategy seems familiar to the one of Amoris Laetitia. The priestly group Communio Veritatis pointed this out (here is an English report on it) at the time with its declaration “To follow the Magisterium – to Overcome the Empty Teaching.” At that time, it was a footnote; today, it is a Trojan horse made of Amazon wood. The procedure is similar.

What agenda does the Final Document of the synod have ready?

We read of “new ways” for the sacramental and ministerial structure of the Church, “especially” with regard to women. Laypeople are to be made “privileged actors.” A person from the congregation could be entrusted with the “responsibility for pastoral work” — on a rotation basis. A “ministry” for the “female leader of a congregation” should be institutionally recognized. Men are also mentioned — married permanent deacons could be admitted to priestly ordination.

Querida Amazonia claims to want to proclaim Christ. But which one is meant? The Eternal Son of God, made Man by the Holy Ghost of the Virgin Mary, who after His sacrificial death on the cross rose victoriously and ascended into Heaven? The only Savior, then, who testified, “No one comes to the Father except through Me” (Jn. 14:6)? Then the signature under the document of Abu Dhabi, which says the pluralistic diversity of religions corresponds to the will of God, would have to be withdrawn even today. In fact, however, this mother of heresies was continued in the Pachamama worship in the Vatican.

So what is the crucial point now?

In the face of the age of false prophecy, in which the perishable lie limps around, it is important not to be caught in the fog, but to preserve the purity of Faith and the clarity of thought.

Father Unterhalt is a pastor of the Archdiocese of Paderborn and is the speaker of the priestly group Communio Veritatis.


  amazon synod, catholic, pope francis, priesthood, querida amazonia