Thaddeus Baklinski

20 cities join largest ever March for Life in Romania: media pays attention

Thaddeus Baklinski
Thaddeus Baklinski

BUCHAREST, March 27, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Over 20 cities in Romania celebrated a March for Life on Saturday, March 24, an event organizers say is spreading a pro-life message across the country.

“It is becoming one of the most important events in Romania, where ideas for life are reflected in the street. This year’s event expanded nationwide,” Larisa Iftime, president of Pro-Vita Media, told LifeSiteNews.

Iftime explained that the first Romanian March for Life was organized by the Darul Vieţii (Gift of Life) Association in Timisoara five years ago, and last year was organized and held for the first time in the capital Bucharest by the Pro-Vita Bucharest Association.

“Many other non-governmental, Christian and pro-life organizations came together this year to support the March for Life,” Iftime said.

In Bucharest, organizers said about 1000 people, “mainly young people,” marched from Revolution Square to Izvor Park (Spring Park), in front of the Parliament Palace, where youth handed out flyers with information about the beginning of life and the tragic consequences of abortion.

At Izvor Park, Bogdan Stanciu, president of the Pro-Vita Bucharest Association, told the crowd that Romania has lost more children to abortion in the past fifty years than the current total population of the country. He said the timing of the event around the 25th of March, the day Catholics and Orthodox celebrate as the feast of the Annunciation, is intentional.

“The Mother of God was overjoyed at the news of being pregnant with Jesus Christ. The news that a family will have children should be a joy for us too,” Stanciu said. “We are against contraception, which is a form of slaughter also. In the past 50 years 22,178,906 children have been killed through abortion, far more than the present population of Romania.”

“The dramatic situation of abortion in Romania is a legacy of communism, when people forget about God, and have been brainwashed by atheistic ideas,” said Dr. Daniela Păun, president of the Bucharest branch of the Gift of Life Association, in her address to the participants.

“At present, the phenomenon of abortion in Romania is determined largely by the abortion industry that make huge amounts of money from abortions,” said Dr. Păun.


An important aspect to this year’s March, the organizers said, was the launch of the “Manifest for Life,” presented to politicians and the media in Bucharest, in which pro-life organizations are demanding legislation for the protection of life and the family in Romania.

In the city of Cluj the March for Life was organized by representatives of the Greek Catholic Diocese of Cluj-Gherla and other Christian associations, and was attended by over 500 people, the organizers reported.

In Oradea, hundreds gathered in the city centre to hear Florica Chereches, deputy mayor and mother of four children. “Statistics show that in Romania, on average, a woman has four abortions, but we have absolute records of women with 35 abortions or more each,” said Chereches. “These figures are frightening. We have every year 47,000 teenagers who have abortions and kill their babies in their wombs. That is why I support this March. We have to cry for those who cannot cry.”

In Arad, the March was organized by organizations “Drept” (Right) and “Alege Viaţa” (Choose Life). The participants stopped at Children’s Hospital to commemorate the children aborted there, then marched to Holy Trinity Orthodox Cathedral, where a cross of candles in memory of children killed by abortion was created.

“With this March, we want to warn people about the tragedy of abortion in Romania. We affirm the right to life of unborn children from conception, respect for life in all its phases and the need for family support,” said Ana-Maria Jitea, coordinator of the “Choose Life” campaign promoted in Arad schools.

Organizers said Marches in other cities were each attended by several hundred pro-life participants.

“A novelty is the way the March was perceived by the media this year,” Iftime told LifeSiteNews, “unlike last year.”

Organizers said the event was reported in almost all the national press, by newspapers and news agencies.

“The news was rich, interspersed with many positive comments on life, and in some cases, the event was particularly mentioned among the important issues of the day,” Iftime observed.

“The most important is that there were more than twice as many participants as last year,” Iftime said. “The vast majority of participants were young and very young people. We are pleased that the press was very much present. Little by little, the society starts to be interested in this topic. Our goal, as the organizers of this march, was to bring the issue of abortion on the public agenda. We are glad that we succeeded to do this.”

A video of the 2012 Romanian March for Life events has been produced by Pro-Vita Media and is available here.

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Lisa Bourne

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Pressure mounts as Catholic Relief Services fails to act on VP in gay ‘marriage’

Lisa Bourne
By Lisa Bourne
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Rick Estridge, Catholic Relief Services' Vice President of Overseas Finance, is in a same-sex "marriage," public records show. Twitter

BALTIMORE, MD, April 24, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) -- Nearly a week after news broke that a Catholic Relief Services vice president had contracted a homosexual “marriage” while also publicly promoting homosexuality on social media in conflict with Church teaching, the US Bishops international relief agency has taken no apparent steps to address the matter and is also not talking.

CRS Vice President of Overseas Finance Rick Estridge entered into a homosexual “marriage” in Maryland the same month in 2013 that he was promoted by CRS to vice president, public records show.

Despite repeated efforts at a response, CRS has not acknowledged LifeSiteNews’ inquiries during the week. And the agency told ChurchMilitant.com Thursday that no action had been taken beyond discussion of the situation and CRS would have no further comment.

"Nothing has changed,” CRS Senior Manager for Communications Tom said. “No further statement will be made."

LifeSiteNews first contacted CRS for a response prior to the April 20 release of the report and did not receive a reply, however Estridge’s Facebook and LinkeIn profiles were then removed just prior to the report’s release.

CRS also did not acknowledge LifeSiteNews’ follow-up inquiry later in the week.

“Having an executive who publicly celebrates a moral abomination shows the ineffectiveness of CRS' Catholic identity training,” Lepanto Institute President Michael Hichborn told LifeSiteNews. “How many others who hate Catholic moral teaching work at CRS?”

CRS did admit it was aware Estridge was in a “same-sex civil marriage” to Catholic News Agency (CNA) Monday afternoon, and confirmed he was VP of Overseas Finance and had been with CRS for 16 years.

“At this point we are in deliberations on this matter,” Price told CNA that day.

ChurchMilitant.com also reported that according to its sources, it was a well-known fact at CRS headquarters in Baltimore that Estridge was in a homosexual “marriage.” 

“There is no way CRS didn't know one of its executives entered into a mock-marriage until we broke the story,” Hichborn said. “The implication is clear; CRS top brass had no problem with having an executive so deliberately flouting Catholic moral teaching.”

“The big question is,” Hichborn continued, “what other morally repugnant matters is CRS comfortable with?”

While the wait continues for the Bishops’ relief organization to address the matter, those behind the report and other critics of prior instances of CRS involvement in programs and groups that violate Church principles continue to call for a thorough and independent review of the agency programs and personnel.

“How long should it take to call an employee into your office, tell him that his behavior is incompatible with the mission of the organization, and ask for his resignation?” asked Population Research Institute President Steven Mosher. “About thirty minutes, I would say.”

“The Catholic identity of CRS is at stake,” Hichborn stated. “If CRS does nothing, then there is no way faithful Catholics can trust the integrity of CRS's programs or desire to make its Catholicity preeminent.” 

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Thousands of marriage activists gathered in D.C. June 19, 2014 for the 2nd March for Marriage. Dustin Siggins / LifeSiteNews.com
The Editors

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Watch the March for Marriage online—only at LifeSiteNews

The Editors
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WASHINGTON, D.C., April 24, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) -- At noon on Saturday, the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) and dozens of cosponsors, coalition partners, and speakers will launch the third annual March for Marriage. Thousands of people are expected to take place in this important event to show the support real marriage has among the American people.

As the sole media sponsor of the March, LifeSiteNews is proud to exclusively livestream the March. Click here to see the rally at noon Eastern Time near the U.S. Capitol, and the March to the Supreme Court at 1:00 Eastern Time.

And don't forget to pray that God's Will is done on Tuesday, when the Supreme Court hears arguments about marriage!

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Ben Johnson Ben Johnson Follow Ben

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Hillary Clinton: ‘Religious beliefs’ against abortion ‘have to be changed’

Ben Johnson Ben Johnson Follow Ben
By Ben Johnson

NEW YORK CITY, April 24, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Speaking to an influential gathering in New York City on Thursday, Hillary Clinton declared that “religious beliefs” that condemn "reproductive rights," “have to be changed.”

“Yes, we've cut the maternal mortality rate in half, but far too many women are still denied critical access to reproductive health,” Hillary told the Women in the World Summit yesterday.

Liberal politicians use “reproductive health” as a blanket term that includes abortion. However, Hillary's reference echoes National Organization for Women (NOW) president Terry O’Neill's op-ed from last May that called abortion “an essential measure to prevent the heartbreak of infant mortality.”

The Democratic presidential hopeful added that governments should throw the power of state coercion behind the effort to redefine traditional religious dogmas.

“Rights have to exist in practice, not just on paper. Laws have to be backed up with resources, and political will,” she said. “Deep-seated cultural codes, religious beliefs, and structural biases have to be changed.”

The line received rousing applause at the feminist conference, hosted in Manhattan's Lincoln Center by Tina Brown.

She also cited religious-based objections to the HHS mandate, funding Planned Parenthood, and the homosexual and transgender agenda as obstacles that the government must defeat.

“America moves ahead when all women are guaranteed the right to make their own health care choices, not when those choices are taken away by an employer like Hobby Lobby,” she said. The Supreme Court ruled last year that closely held corporations had the right to opt out of the provision of ObamaCare requiring them to provide abortion-inducing drugs, contraceptives, and sterilization to employees with no co-pay – a mandate that violates the teachings of the Catholic Church and other Christian bodies.

Clinton lamented that “there are those who offer themselves as leaders...who would defund the country's leading provider of family planning,” Planned Parenthood, “and want to let health insurance companies once again charge women just because of our gender.”

“We move forward when gay and transgender women are embraced...not fired from good jobs because of who they love or who they are,” she added.

It is not the first time the former first lady had said that liberal social policies should displace religious views. In a December 2011 speech in Geneva, then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said perhaps the “most challenging issue arises when people cite religious or cultural values as a reason to violate or not to protect the human rights of LGBT citizens.” These objections, she said, are “not unlike the justification offered for violent practices towards women like honor killings, widow burning, or female genital mutilation.”

While opinions on homosexuality are “still evolving,” in time “we came to learn that no [religious] practice or tradition trumps the human rights that belong to all of us.”

Her views, if outside the American political mainstream, have been supported by the United Nations. The UN Population Fund stated in its 2012 annual report that religious objections to abortion-inducing drugs had to be overcome. According to the UNFPA report, “‘duty-bearers’ (governments and others)” have a responsibility to assure that all forms of contraception – including sterilization and abortion-inducing ‘emergency contraception’ – are viewed as acceptable – “But if they are not acceptable for cultural, religious or other reasons, they will not be used.”

Two years later, the United Nations' Committee on the Rights of the Child instructed the Vatican last February that the Catholic Church should amend canon law “relating to abortion with a view to identifying circumstances under which access to abortion services may be permitted.”

At Thursday's speech, Hillary called the legal, state-enforced implementation of feminist politics “the great unfinished business of the 21st century,” which must be accomplished “not just for women but for everyone — and not just in far away countries but right here in the United States.”

“These are not just women's fights. These have to be America's fights and the world's fights,” she said. “There's still much to be done in our own country, much more to be done around the world, but I'm confident and optimistic that if we get to work, we will get it done together.”

American critics called Clinton's suggestion that a nation founded upon freedom of religion begin using state force to change religious practices unprecedented.

“Never before have we seen a presidential candidate be this bold about directly confronting the Catholic Church's teachings on abortion,” said Bill Donohue of the Catholic League.

“In one sense, this shows just how extreme the pro-abortion caucus actually is,” Ed Morrissey writes at HotAir.com. “Running for president on the basis of promising to use the power of government to change 'deep seated cultural codes [and] religious beliefs' might be the most honest progressive slogan in history.”

He hoped that, now that she had called for governments to change religious doctrines, “voters will now see the real Hillary Clinton, the one who dismisses their faith just the same as Obama did, and this time publicly rather than in a private fundraiser.”

Donohue asked Hillary “to take the next step and tell us exactly what she plans to do about delivering on her pledge. Not only would practicing Catholics like to know, so would Evangelicals, Orthodox Jews, Muslims, and all those who value life from conception to natural death.”

You may watch Hillary's speech below.

Her comments on religion begin at approximately 9:00. 

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