Matthew Hoffman, Latin America Correspondent


Catholic Relief Services funding at least two pro-abortion groups in Mexico

Matthew Hoffman, Latin America Correspondent
Matthew Hoffman, Latin America Correspondent

MEXICO CITY, February 20, 2013, ( - Catholic Relief Services (CRS), the U.S. bishops' international development agency, has funded at least two organizations in Mexico that LifeSiteNews has verified as opposing pro-life constitutional amendments and supporting the provision of abortion by the government.

The funding of the groups has been confirmed in an e-mail received by from CRS Director of Communications John Rivera.

The two pro-abortion groups that have received CRS backing in Mexico are the Fray Bartolome de las Casas Human Rights Center (FRAYBA), and the Center for Reflection and Action on Labor Issues (CEREAL), both of which are currently advertised as "partners" on CRS's own website.

However, when asked by, Rivera refused to answer whether CRS was funding other pro-abortion organizations in Mexico, such as the "All Rights for Everyone" National Network of Civil Human Rights Organizations (TDT).

He also refused a request asking for a complete list of organizations funded or supported by CRS in Latin America and worldwide.

Rivera admitted to that CRS has known about the two groups' signatures on a declaration advocating the legalization of abortion since 2009, but continued to fund them at the time, because they claimed that "they neither advocate for nor condone abortion in any way." Rivera did not say, however, if the groups admitted promoting the legalization of abortion and its provision by the government, as well as opposing pro-life state constitutional amendments, all of which has documented.

FRAYBA's pro-abortion activities

As has documented in previous reports, FRAYBA has for several years engaged in pro-abortion activism individually and also as a member of the pro-abortion TDT network. In addition, the group has admitted to in a 2011 interview that it favors the legalization of abortion and even its provision by the government.

In 2008, for example, the group signed a declaration opposing a proposed right-to-life amendment for the state of Jalisco, one that was finally passed two years later.

The group's name appears on numerous other pro-abortion declarations and reports discovered by, including ones issued in 2006 (p. 9 of pdf, FRAYBA named on p. 3 of pdf), 2009 (p. 1, FRAYBA's signature p. 3), 2010 (pp. 7-10, FRAYBA on p. 1), and 2011 (pp. 22, 23, 47, FRAYBA on p. 2). The documents repeatedly denounce Mexico's state right-to-life amendments and demand the legalization and provision of abortion by the government.

For example, the 2010 declaration complains that the amendments, which protect the life of all from the moment of conception, "ignore the right of women to a dignified life, to personal integrity, to the protection of their health, to respect for their dignity, to the equal protection of the law without any discrimination, to effective recourse, to their private lives, to liberty of conscience, to liberty of thought, to the free choice regarding the course of her life."

In 2012 (pp. 8, footnotes 23, FRAYBA on p. 25) FRAYBA received special thanks for its personal contribution to a pro-abortion report issued by the All Rights for Everyone Network. The organization refused to answer questions about its participation when LifeSiteNews contacted it several months ago.

However, FRAYBA representative Jorge Armando Gomez admitted in an exclusive interview with in late 2011 that the organization regards abortion as a "right" that should be protected and even provided by the government.

Click "like" if you want to end abortion!

"We are in favor of the depenalization of abortion because we are against criminalizing women who opt for that,” spokesman Jorge Armando Gomez told LifeSiteNews, who also said that doctors should not be penalized for performing abortions.

"In this sense we say that the government should guarantee the right to health, because quite often abortion is done in Mexico in unhealthy conditions or in hospitals where women aren’t guaranteed a good service.”

"So, the government should provide the service in that case?” LifeSiteNews asked.

"Yes, in the framework of the right to health, like with many other services such as births, care for when we get sick, in the same way this action of opting to abort should be done in good conditions and life should not be endangered."

CEREAL's pro-abortion activities

CEREAL, a worker's rights advocacy group based in Mexico City run by members of the Jesuit order, has also attached its name to several pro-abortion declarations. The group is also a member of the pro-abortion "human rights" coalition TDT (mentioned above in connection to FRAYBA).

CEREAL joined FRAYBA in signing the 2008 protest against a proposed right-to-life amendment to the state constitution of Jalisco. It also joined FRYBA to sign the pro-abortion declarations in 2006, and 2012.

CRS has admitted to that it continues to "work with" CEREAL but has not elaborated on the statement.

CRS spokesman John Rivera admits knowledge of document, refuses to answer further questions

When asked by e-mail to explain CRS's funding of these two pro-abortion organizations, spokesman John Rivera responded: "In 2009 CRS became aware that these two partners had signed onto a broad United Nation’s report covering a number of human rights issues that included statements supporting the new Mexican abortion law."

"At that time CRS staff investigated the situation received written assurances from both organizations that they neither advocate for nor condone abortion in any way," wrote Rivera.

However, added Rivera, "LifeSite News has raised further allegations that had not previously come to the attention of CRS."

Although Rivera added that "CRS ‘ partner relationship with FRAYBA ended in 2011," he admitted that "CRS does still work with CEREAL and will consult with the Jesuit Province of Mexico regarding any statements or activities at odds with Church teaching."

Over a month-and-a-half following CRS' communication with in December, this news agency has no further information about CRS' promised "consultation" with the Jesuit Province of Mexico regarding CEREAL. The group also continues to be listed as a "partner" on the CRS website.

Although Rivera claimed in his e-mail to that CRS no longer has a "partnership" with FRAYBA, he has refused to explain why FRAYBA is still listed on the CRS website as a "partner," and will not say how much the organization has received from CRS. He has also refused to say if CRS is continuing to maintain a relationship with FRAYBA, and to give a complete list of groups in Latin America funded by CRS.

Following two unanswered requests for clarification by e-mail from, this reporter contacted Rivera directly by telephone to ask for the same information. Rivera, however, refused to answer.

After this reporter pointed out that Rivera had not responded to the e-mail requests, Rivera replied, "Yeah, well we sent the response, and that's our response."

LSN: “But you won't say whether you're funding other groups, specifically..."

Rivera: "We're sticking to the response we sent you."

LSN: "But why don't you want people to know who you're funding? It's a..."

Rivera: "Thank you very much." (Hangs up.)


United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
3211 Fourth Street NE
Washington DC 20017
Online contact form.

Steve Jalsevac Steve Jalsevac Follow Steve

Today’s chuckle: Rubio, Fiorina and Carson pardon a Thanksgiving turkey

Steve Jalsevac Steve Jalsevac Follow Steve
By Steve Jalsevac

A little bit of humour now and then is a good thing.

Happy Thanksgiving to all our American readers.

Share this article

Featured Image
Building of the European Court of Human Rights.
Lianne Laurence


BREAKING: Europe’s top human rights court slaps down German ban on pro-life leafletting

Lianne Laurence
By Lianne Laurence

STRASBOURG, France, November 26, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – The European Court of Human Rights ruled Thursday that a German regional court violated a pro-life activist’s freedom of expression when it barred him from leafleting in front of an abortion center.

It further ruled the German court’s order that Klaus Gunter Annen not list the names of two abortion doctors on his website likewise violated the 64-year-old pro-life advocate’s right to freedom of expression.

The court’s November 26 decision is “a real moral victory,” says Gregor Puppinck, director of the Strasbourg-based European Center for Law and Justice, which intervened in Annen’s case. “It really upholds the freedom of speech for pro-life activists in Europe.”

Annen, a father of two from Weinam, a mid-sized city in the Rhine-Neckar triangle, has appealed to the Strasbourg-based European Court of Human Rights at least two times before, Puppinck told LifeSiteNews.

“This is the first time he made it,” he said, noting that this time around, Annen had support from the ECLJ and Alliance Defense Fund and the German Pro-life Federation (BVL). “I think he got more support, better arguments and so I think this helped.”

The court also ordered the German government to pay Annen costs of 13,696.87 EUR, or 14,530 USD.

Annen started distributing pamphlets outside a German abortion center ten years ago, ECLJ stated in a press release.

His leaflets contained the names and addresses of the two abortionists at the center, declared they were doing “unlawful abortions,” and stated in smaller print that, “the abortions were allowed by the German legislators and were not subject to criminal liability.”

Annen’s leaflets also stated that, “The murder of human beings in Auschwitz was unlawful, but the morally degraded NS State allowed the murder of innocent people and did not make it subject to criminal liability.” They referred to Annen’s website,, which listed a number of abortionists, including the two at the site he was leafleting.

In 2007, a German regional court barred Annen from pamphleteering in the vicinity of the abortion center, and ordered him to drop the name of the two abortion doctors from his website.

But the European Court of Human Rights ruled Thursday that the German courts had "failed to strike a fair balance between [Annen’s] right to freedom of expression and the doctor’s personality rights.”

The Court stated that, “there can be no doubt as to the acute sensitivity of the moral and ethical issues raised by the question of abortion or as to the importance of the public interest at stake.”

That means, stated ECLJ, that “freedom of expression in regard to abortion shall enjoy a full protection.”

ECLJ stated that the court noted Annen’s leaflets “made clear that the abortions performed in the clinic were not subject to criminal liability. Therefore, the statement that ‘unlawful abortions’ were being performed in the clinic was correct from a legal point of view.”

As for the Holocaust reference, the court stated that, “the applicant did not – at least not explicitly – equate abortion with the Holocaust.”  Rather, the reference was “a way of creating awareness of the more general fact that law might diverge from morality.”

The November 26 decision “is a quite good level of protection of freedom of speech for pro-life people,” observed Puppinck.

First, the European Court of Human Rights has permitted leafleting “in the direct proximate vicinity of the clinic, so there is no issue of zoning,” he told LifeSiteNews. “And second, the leaflets were mentioning the names of the doctors, and moreover, were mentioning the issue of the Holocaust, which made them quite strong leaflets.”

“And the court protected that.”

Annen has persevered in his pro-life awareness campaign through the years despite the restraints on his freedom.

“He did continue, and he did adapt,” Puppinck told LifeSiteNews. “He kept his freedom of speech as much as he could, but he continued to be sanctioned by the German authorities, and each time he went to the court of human rights. And this time, he won.”

ECLJ’s statement notes that “any party” has three months to appeal the November 26 decision.

However, as it stands, the European Court of Human Rights’s ruling affects “all the national courts,” noted Puppinck, and these will now “have to protect freedom of speech, recognize the freedom of speech for pro-lifers.”

“In the past, the courts have not always been very supportive of the freedom of speech of pro-life,” he said, so the ruling is “significant.”

As for Annen’s pro-life ministry, Pubbinck added: “He can continue to go and do, and I’m sure that he does, because he always did.”  

Share this article

Featured Image
A vibrant church in Africa. Pierre-Yves Babelon /
Pete Baklinski Pete Baklinski Follow Pete

, ,

‘Soft racism’: German Bishops’ website attributes African Catholics’ strong faith to simplemindedness

Pete Baklinski Pete Baklinski Follow Pete
By Pete Baklinski

GERMANY, November 26, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) --  The only reason the Catholic Church is growing in Africa is because the people have a “rather low level” of education and accept “simple answers to difficult questions” involving marriage and sexuality, posited an article on the official website of the German Bishops' Conference posted yesterday. The article targeted particularly Cardinal Robert Sarah of Guinea, the Vatican's prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and ardent defender of Catholic tradition.

First Things blogger Leroy Huizenga, who translated a portion of the article, criticized the article's view as “soft racism.”

In his article, titled “The Romantic, Poor Church,” editor Björn Odendahl writes: 

So also in Africa. Of course the Church is growing there. It grows because the people are socially dependent and often have nothing else but their faith. It grows because the educational situation there is on average at a rather low level and the people accept simple answers to difficult questions (of faith) [sic]. Answers like those that Cardinal Sarah of Guinea provides. And even the growing number of priests is a result not only of missionary power but also a result of the fact that the priesthood is one of the few possibilities for social security on the dark continent.

Huizenga said that such an article has no place on a bishops’ conference website. 

“We all know that the German Bishops' Conference is one of the most progressive in the world. But it nevertheless beggars belief that such a statement would appear on the Conference's official website, with its lazy slander of African Christians and priests as poor and uneducated (Odendahl might as well have added ‘easy to command’) and its gratuitous swipe at Cardinal Sarah,” he wrote. 

“Natürlich progressives could never be guilty of such a sin and crime, but these words sure do suggest soft racism, the racism of elite white Western paternalism,” he added. 

African prelates have gained a solid reputation for being strong defenders of Catholic sexual morality because of their unwavering orthodox input into the recently concluded Synod on the Family in Rome. 

At one point during the Synod, Cardinal Robert Sarah urged Catholic leaders to recognize as the greatest modern enemies of the family what he called the twin “demonic” “apocalyptic beasts” of “the idolatry of Western freedom” and “Islamic fundamentalism.”

STORY: Cardinal Danneels warns African bishops to avoid ‘triumphalism’

“What Nazi-Fascism and Communism were in the 20th century, Western homosexual and abortion ideologies and Islamic fanaticism are today,” he said during his speech at the Synod last month. 

But African prelates’ adherence to orthodoxy has earned them enemies, especially from the camp of Western prelates bent on forming the Catholic Church in their own image and likeness, not according to Scripture, tradition, and the teaching magisterium of the Church. 

During last year’s Synod, German Cardinal Walter Kasper went as far as stating that the voice of African Catholics in the area of Church teaching on homosexuality should simply be dismissed.

African cardinals “should not tell us too much what we have to do,” he said in an October 2014 interview with ZENIT, adding that African countries are "very different, especially about gays.” 

Earlier this month Belgian Cardinal Godfried Danneels, instead of praising Africa for its vibrant and flourishing Catholicism, said that African prelates will one day have to look to Europe to get what he called “useful tips” on how to deal with “secularization” and “individualism.” 

The statement was criticized by one pro-family advocate as “patronizing of the worst kind” in light of the facts that numerous European churches are practically empty, vocations to the priesthood and religious life are stagnant, and the Catholic faith in Europe, especially in Belgium, is overall in decline.

Share this article


Customize your experience.

Login with Facebook