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At UN Vatican reaffirms stance against condoms for HIV/AIDS prevention - Analysis

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By John-Henry Westen

NEW YORK, November 25, 2011 ( - At United Nations headquarters Tuesday, Vatican representative Fr. Philip Bené reiterated the long-held position of the Holy See against the use of condoms, even for AIDS prevention.  While the position has had some accuse the Pope of ‘crimes against humanity’ and been ridiculed by the mainstream press and political leaders, the Catholic Church has nevertheless refused to be cowed by the criticism.

Speaking to the Third Committee of the UN General Assembly meeting in New York on Tuesday Nov. 22nd about a resolution on the Rights of the Child, Fr. Bené stated: “the Holy See in no way endorses contraception or the use of condoms, either as a family planning measure or in HIV/AIDS prevention programmes.” 

The tenacity of the Catholic Church on the issue is remarkable given the massive pressure directed at the institution on the matter. 

Fr. Bene’s comments follow on the heels of the Pope’s own recent talking points in Africa where he reiterated the same teaching. 

On Sunday November 20 Pope Benedict XVI presented his document - Africae Munus - to chart evangelization of the continent in the coming years.  The 55-page document spoke of AIDS noting that while the Church has encouraged a medical and pharmaceutical response, the problem goes deeper. “Above all, it is an ethical problem,” he said. “The change of behaviour that it requires - for example, sexual abstinence, rejection of sexual promiscuity, fidelity within marriage - ultimately involves the question of integral development, which demands a global approach and a global response from the Church.” 

The significance of this stance may be easily missed.  Recall that in his first trip to Africa as Pope, Benedict XVI inadvertently enraged the left when he noted that AIDS “cannot be overcome through the distribution of condoms, which even aggravates the problems.” 

He said the “traditional teaching of the Church” on chastity outside marriage and fidelity within it had proved to be “the only sure way of preventing the spread of HIV and AIDS.” He added that while “we must suffer with those who suffer” and give greater support to those who are sick with the disease, combating AIDS in Africa depends on promoting “correct and moral behavior.”

The day after the Pope made his comments, the then heavily anti-Catholic government of Spain announced it would be sending over a million condoms to African countries. The French foreign ministry called the Pope’s comments a “threat to public health policies and the duty to protect human life,” while the Dutch development minister said it was “extremely harmful” and that “the pope is making matters worse.”

The Belgian Parliament went so far as to pass a resolution 95-18 deeming the Pope’s remarks “unacceptable” and forcing the Belgian envoy to the Vatican to “condemn the unacceptable affirmations of the Pope during his trip to Africa and to protest officially to the Holy See.” 

Meanwhile, one of the world foremost AIDS experts confirmed that science supported the Pope’s assertion that condoms exacerbate AIDS.  Edward C. Green, director of the AIDS Prevention Research Project at the Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies, said that evidence confirmed the validity of the Pope’s remarks.

The mainstream media attempted to distort the Pope’s stance (and claim victory in the fight) by misinterpreting comments in his 2010 book-length interview with reporter Peter Seewald. The New York Times headline read: ‘In Rare Cases, Pope Justifies Use of Condoms’ and the London Telegraph screamed ‘Pope approves use of condoms in fight against Aids’. Even some Catholic media added to the confusion about what the Pope meant by his comments.

The Seewald interview recorded in the book ‘Light of the World’, actually had the Pope rejecting condom use.  “(W)e cannot solve the problem [of AIDS] by distributing condoms…” he said, adding that “the sheer fixation on the condom implies a banalization of sexuality.” 

Rather, media focussed attention on a hypothetical scenario raised by the Pope in which he again did not okay the use of condoms for AIDS prevention. 

In addition to media correction by the publisher of the book, some 40 bishops around the world spoke out publicly to affirm the Vatican’s unchanging stance against condoms as AIDS prevention measures. 

What the above demonstrates is a new strategy by the leadership of the Catholic Church to confront the culture head on even on the most difficult issues.  It seems the often-used and failed tactics of avoidance of difficult situations, of attempts to obfuscate or of entering into compromises are being put aside.

Benedict realizes that when truth is pushed aside for political correctness, to fulfil ideals of civility or to achieve false unity and false peace, the world is harmed by the lack of truth the Church is called to bring to it.

When truth is boldly proclaimed and held to, despite persecution, even the enemies of truth are forced to see that the opponents of their secular or liberal ideologies truly believe their teachings and are willing to suffer for them. This eventually generates a degree of respect from some of the critics and an openness to re-consider their own flawed positions.

Pope Benedict understands that this has always been the only way to evangelize, for the benefit of all people.

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Pete Baklinski Pete Baklinski Follow Pete

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Revolt over plan to tax churches forces Canadian city to back down

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By Pete Baklinski

LANGLEY, British Columbia, November 25, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) -- The city council in Langley, British Columbia, unanimously decided Monday to revoke its plan to raise $82,000 by taxing eight local churches. The decision came after an uprising of Protestants, Anglicans, and Catholics descended upon the meeting and demand that the plan be canceled.

“The council made a decision not to proceed with this initiative,” Don Adams, a member of Langley’s St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, told LifeSiteNews.

Adams said that about 100 protesters from local churches and various community groups that would be affected by the City’s plan attended the meeting to state their opposition. About 15 different presentations were made focusing on how losing the tax exemption would cripple programs and outreach, even forcing some churches to close.

“Everyone spoke against it,” he said. “When the Council voted against it, everyone stood up and clapped. It was overwhelming.”

On September 28, Langley Council approved a strategy to tax properties that had previously been exempt in order to “reduce the tax burden for the general taxpayers.” The plan was to go into effect in 2017.

Of about 30 properties that were currently receiving tax exemption, the first to be considered for the removal of the exemption were churches. While the provincial government has declared that land beneath buildings used for public worship is statutorily exempt from property taxation, the municipality has the power to tax the land surrounding the building, such as parking lots, playgrounds, and grass areas.

Despite admitting that the churches provide a “benefit to society,” the city nevertheless voted 5-2 on September 28 — Mayor Ted Schaffer voted against it with councillor Rudy Storteboom — to begin taxing the churches as well as a few other non-profit organizations.

The responses from the churches submitted to the City Council was heartbreaking. The letters are available on the City’s website.

Stuart Allan, People Warden at St. Andrew’s Anglican Church of Canada in Langley, wrote to the Council that he was “surprised and somewhat shocked” to receive a letter indicating that the church’s tax exemption status was in jeopardy.

“Historically, in Canada, churches have not been taxed by the local, provincial or federal governments for the very good reason that churches are nonprofit and provide community services that are often not able to be provided by others.”

“Without exaggeration, if the City of Langley were to move forward with the proposal to reduce or eliminate Saint Andrew’s property tax exemption the additional tax burden would force us to close our doors and cease operation,” the letter stated. “This would result in the elimination of the Anglican Church in the City of Langley, all the services it provides and the nonprofit groups who rely on us would have to find other space, likely at a cost they would have difficulty managing.”

Writing on behalf of St. Joseph’s Catholic Parish located in Langley, the Archdiocese of Vancouver stated that services provided by the parish — including religious worship, education for pre-school and elementary children, women’s groups, men’s groups, and youth groups — would cost the city more than almost $40,000 that the parish would lose annually if it started being taxed.

“I think if I were to cost out the value of all the above services for the City of Langley to provide, the cost will outweigh the property exemption amount by a significant amount,” the letter written by the Archdiocese’s Director of Finances Francis Wong, stated.

The City of Langley’s director of corporate services, Darrin Leite, told LifeSiteNews that it is “reasonable” to assume that the delegations proved effective.

“After last night’s meeting, the motion was on the agenda and there was a number of delegations that spoke to council. When it came time for council to make a vote on the motion, it never got a seconder,” he said.

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Fr. Mark Hodges

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VIDEO: Expert says China will continue forced abortions, sterilizations

Fr. Mark Hodges
By Fr. Mark Hodges

IRONDALE, Alabama, November 25, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – An expert on China says the country's move from the infamous "one-child per family" policy of forced abortion and sterilization to a "two-child" policy will leave the status quo largely intact.

Human rights activist Reggie Littlejohn, an expert on China and the president of Women's Rights Without Frontiers, spoke with Raymond Arroyo of Eternal Word Television Network's The World Over show about China's new policy of allowing families two children.

Littlejohn said that the change from a one-child to a two-child policy is motivated not by human rights, but by demographics. "It is not that the Chinese communist party has suddenly grown a all. It is that they are facing a threefold demographic disaster."

First of all, Ms. Littlejohn said, China "doesn't have enough women, because of their gendercide."

"The core of the policy is not that they allow one child or two children, but is that they are setting a limit, and enforcing it through forced sterilization, forced contraception, and a whole web of surveillance of women, monitoring women's menstrual cycles and their fertility," Littlejohn explained. "All of that coercion will remain the same under a two-child policy."

"A two-child policy carries all of the [same] terrible and appalling methods of abortion as the one child policy," Ms. Littlejohn explained. "It's just that they start killing after two, instead of after one."

Littlejohn went on to say that China's demographic problems resulting from 40 years of gendercide will not be fixed by the new two-child allowance. "Even if China were to completely abolish their policy right now, and allow to everybody to have as many kids as they want to have, it's going to take twenty years for the women to grow to the point where they can marry, and everybody to the point where they can be workers," she said.

She said that the Chinese have "dug themselves in a hole that they can't get out of."  Arroyo pointed out that there are 33 million more men than women in China today.

Littlejohn does not expect gendercide to decrease immediately. "What I think is going to happen," Littlejohn said, "is couples who have a boy are going to stop at one," because of the high expense of having children in China. "And those who have a girl first are going to continue to abort a second daughter, because they still want to have a son."

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When Arroyo pointed out that government statistics say 350 billion dollars since 1980 were levied in fines against those who tried to defy China's one-child policy, Littlejohn responded, "That's why I don't think China will ever abandon its policy: it's a huge money-maker for them." She noted that local officials determine the amount of fines and line their pockets with the cash.

She pointed out that five years ago, the Chinese government admitted that over four hundred million babies in the womb have been killed – and that number is far greater today.

Littlejohn pointed out that any Chinese citizen who dares to tell the truth about the communist policy is persecuted. "People who get their stories to the West – not only do they have to endure the trauma of the forced abortion itself, but they have to endure trauma [against] themselves and their families from the Chinese Communist Party for seeing them before the world."

"Thank God for Ted Cruz, also for Marco Rubio, and for Congressman Chris Smith – all three of those have come out with very, very powerful statements saying basically that the two-child policy does not fix any of the problems with the one-child policy," Littlejohn said. "I'm so glad that they ... are getting the truth out there."

Republican presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz spoke against China's policy earlier this month. "In America, we should stand with victims of oppression," he said. "These are horrific acts of brutality. They are inhumane. They are contrary not only to American values, but to human rights across the globe, and they are carried out as a matter of policy."

Rep. Chris Smith and Sen. Marco Rubio have also issued statements cautioning that China's move to a two-child policy will not end brutal, coercive population control.  

Rep. Smith, chairman of the House subcommittee that oversees human rights and chairman of the Congressional-Executive China Commission, held a hearing entitled "China's One-Child Policy: The Government's Massive Crime Against Women and Unborn Babies." Smith explained, "The policy has directly contributed to what is accurately described as gendercide – the deliberate extermination of a girl, born or unborn, simply because she happens to be female."

In October, Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio criticized China's two-child policy. "The policy is still repressive," Rubio explained. "The fact remains that when couples conceive a third child, the Chinese government will force them to eliminate him or her, by any means necessary."

Rubio concluded, "A two-child policy is as indefensible and inhumane as a one-child policy, and it would be a mistake to assume this change in any way reflects a newfound respect for human rights by Beijing. The U.S. must continue advocating for the complete elimination of government-forced population planning."

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Steve Weatherbe

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Irish children’s minister joins call for nation to abandon pro-life constitution

Steve Weatherbe
By Steve Weatherbe

DUBLIN, November 25, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – Ireland's health minister has joined the chorus of feminist groups calling for a referendum to repeal the country's 30-year-old Eighth Amendment, a part of the Constitution, which allows abortion only when the mother's life is directly threatened.

Children's Minister Dr. James Reilly told the Sunday Independent that despite the reluctance of the major parties (including his own Fine Gael) to support a referendum, the public wants it. "We have had more than 30 years on this and we really need political leadership on this issue. I think it is quite clear from opinion polls that the vast majority of people are way ahead of politicians on this."

Reilly said women carrying unborn babies with fatal abnormalities should be allowed to have abortions, regardless of whether delivery poses a risk to their lives or health.

But Cora Sherlock, the head of the Prolife Campaign, told LifeSiteNews, "It is not something the people really want; it is not coming from the grassroots, but from a few pressure groups like Amnesty International. The people of Ireland have always had a heart for the unborn."

Pro-abortion activist Sinead Kennedy of the Repeal the Eighth Coalition said every politician should declare his or her position. "We would like to see political parties in the run up to the election [expected in spring] come out and declare that this will be [a] red-line issue for any participation in government."

In fact, in September, Ireland's Taoiseach, or prime minister, Enda Kenny, said his government, if re-elected, will hold a referendum on the Eighth Amendment only if a workable alternative is advanced at the same time.

Sherlock noted that despite an "aggressive campaign" from Amnesty Ireland and its uncritical promotion by the news media, popular support for the referendum is waning. A poll published by the Sunday Independent on Nov. 22 showed 56% in favor of the referendum, down 10% from June, with 22% opposed.

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Support for abortion in specific cases is also down: in cases of fatal abnormalities in the unborn baby, support for abortion is down 9% to 55%; when the mother threatens suicide, it is down 4% to 68%; and when there is a long-term threat to the mother's health, support is down 5% to 64%.

"I think it is going down because people are becoming aware of the Planned Parenthood stories from the U.S., and of Kermit Gosnell," Sherlock said, in reference to the videos showing America's leading abortion provider trafficking in body parts from aborted babies, and to the abortionist convicted of multiple murders of babies who survived his botched abortions only to be executed by him and his staff afterwards. "The news media don't like to cover those stories, but the social media has a mind of its own," she added.

Last year, several government ministers declared that the people of Ireland had "no appetite" or "little appetite" for a referendum; however, they might vote if it were held anyway. They promised there would be no referendum before the 2016 election and even warned against making it an election issue, which was the case in 1983 with the referendum that put Amendment Eight in the Constitution in the first place.

The Eighth Amendment declares the unborn child's life as equal to, and equally worthy of protection as, the life of the mother. The vagueness of this formula led the current government to pass a law two years ago allowing abortion when the mother's life is at risk, including at risk by suicide, right up to the day of a child's birth.

Popular opinion still opposed abortion as late as 2007, but by 2012, support for abortion had risen to 85%. Lately, Amnesty International has lent its reputation to the push for a referendum, leading Sherlock to predict, "Amnesty will be the loser when the hypocrisy of a so-called human rights group attacking the unborn becomes evident and when people see that they are only willing to talk about teenage pregnancy, but not about the unborn, not about the Planned Parenthood videos nor Kermit Gosnell, and about how these go hand in hand with abortion on request."


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