Hilary White

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Children’s referendum grants the State power to seize children to serve new ideology: experts

Hilary White
Hilary White
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DUBLIN, October 25, 2012, (LifeSiteNews.com) – According to opponents, Ireland’s upcoming Children’s Rights Referendum is nothing more than a ploy by a power-mad State to grant itself the right to snatch children from parents and seize control over the most fundamental unit of society. Polls indicate the Irish public is about to pass the measure.

Critics have called the proposed amendment to the Constitution “a beachhead by the state into what has traditionally been the preserve of the rights of parents in the upbringing of their children”. The amendment’s wording allows state agents to remove children from the family and place them in care if they believe it is in the child’s “best interests”. It allows children to be adopted out to other families without parents’ consent. Richard Green of the Christian Solidarity party said the State has already “failed dismally” to protect children already in their care.

Government and the amendment’s supporters have said that the amendment will “give a voice” to children. But those who oppose the amendment, who began organizing later than its proponents, have warned that a yes vote will force the country’s families into an unenviable position: play along with the prevailing ideology or lose your children to the mercies of state social services. Such a threat is only too familiar to homeschooling families in Germany and Sweden.

The group Parents for Children has said, “This referendum will remove the most important right that children can have: the right to parental protection and advocacy.”

“Instead there will be the State and the child, and the parent is removed. The State will be the final arbiter of the child’s rights, will decide what a child’s rights are.”

Polls show 74 percent of respondents saying they would vote yes, with just 4 percent saying they would vote no.

Maria Mhic Mheanmain, spokesman for Parents for Children, told LifeSiteNews.com that it is “untenable” that so many are supporting the amendment “while at that same time only 10 percent understand the issues involved”, something she called “highly irresponsible”.

The current provisions of the Irish Constitution already recognise the same personal rights for children as for other citizens under article 40. It recognises that children, being immature, are unable to protect themselves, and therefore stands upon the duty of parents to uphold and protect their children’s rights.

Its current provisions already obliges the State to intervene in those cases where parents fail in their duties. “When the State fails in its obligations no one will be in a position to vindicate a child’s rights,” Mhic Mheanmain said.

The amendment’s supporters claim that current constitutional protections for the family exclude the “voice of children.” Mhic Mheanmain responded that, in a 2006 by Supreme Court case, Justice Adrian Hardiman described the claim as “breathtakingly inaccurate”.

Hardiman said the Constitution does not prefer parents over children, but preferred parents over the State.

“If this is passed,” Mhic Mheanm added, “that balance will be removed and the State will be preferred to parents when it comes to deciding children’s matters. So the child still won’t have a voice, the only difference is who will be the child’s voice!”

Still, the No campaign is already well behind in the race and, with support for the Yes side coming now from the Church, have an even steeper hill to climb.

Diarmuid Martin, the Archbishop of Dublin has said he believes that the proposed wording tries to address the rights and obligations of all involved “in a balanced way”. Martin said he believes that a “reasonably good job” has been done protecting the family, with state intervention permitted only in exceptional circumstances.

Father John I. Fleming Ph.D., Adjunct Professor of Bioethics, Southern Cross Bioethics Institute, Adelaide, South Australia Corresponding Member of the Pontifical Academy for Life, wrote a legal analysis of the amendment’s wording. Fr. Fleming wrote that the new wording will add nothing to the rights of children already enshrined in the Constitution.

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The current wording, he wrote, gives “explicit recognition of the family as the fundamental group unit of society which preceded the formation of the state.” The ability of the state to intervene in the family is “carefully circumscribed” and starts by protecting the “natural and imprescriptable” [inalienable] rights of the child, including the “natural right of the child to be brought up by his or her own parents in the context of their family life”.

The new wording, however, “represents a dramatic ideological shift” away from these fundamental principles. This shift, he said, is “away from the prior rights of the family, of parents, to bring up their children as they see fit”. These principles are replaced by the notion of the State protecting the “best interests” of the child, which term remains undefined, without reference to the family. The only point of supervision for the State is the courts, “where an unelected group of individuals will be encouraged to move well beyond the black letter requirements of the law to impose their own personal preferences.”

These will, Fleming said, be supplemented by the opinions of “a plethora of ‘experts’”.

“The reality is that we will be left with state bureaucrats, politicians, and judges “balancing” the different opinions in some kind of utilitarian calculus, a calculus which has been aptly described as a ‘smokescreen for arbitrary preferences and desires” on the part of those who will have the power to judge and enforce’,” Fr. Fleming wrote.

Others have objected to the use of public funds to promote a particular outcome. It is estimated that as much as €1.1 million is being spent by the allegedly neutral government with media and internet materials having been prepared and disseminated since September. Mark McCrystal, an engineer from Dublin said that the materials are clearly supporting the Yes campaign, and this constitutes a breach of a 1995 judgment by the Supreme Court. McCrystal has launched proceedings over the matter against the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, the Government of Ireland, and the Attorney General. He has said he has no objection to the State arguing for a Yes vote but that the government should not be using public funds to support a particular outcome.

The Yes campaign is officially made up of an array of groups and individuals, and has the broad support of the country’s left-leaning mainstream media. Behind it are the Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (ISPCC), the Children’s Rights Alliance and other organisations including Campaign for Children. Former Supreme Court Judge Catherine McGuinness is chairwoman of Campaign for Children, while board members include journalist Olivia O’Leary and former senator Joe O’Toole. It also has support from all major political parties, Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil, Labour and Sinn Féin.

Funding from non-government sources has also been generous, totaling, as of September 20th, €1.5 million from two philanthropic groups: Atlantic Philanthropies, founded by US billionaire Chuck Feeney, and the One Foundation, co-founded by RyanAir heir Declan Ryan and Deirdre Mortell, according to the Irish Times.

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Dr. Miriam Grossman speaks to large audience in Mississauga, Ontario Steve Jalsevac/LifeSite
Lianne Laurence

VIDEO: How DO you to talk to kids about sex? US sex-ed critic gives practical tips

Lianne Laurence
By Lianne Laurence

MISSISSAUGA, ON, August 27, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – Talking to their children about sex is “anxiety provoking to say the least,” for parents, says American sex-ed expert, Dr. Miriam Grossman.

“Some people just can’t even do it, and that’s okay,” the New York-based psychiatrist told the crowd of 1,000 who packed a Mississauga conference hall August 18 to hear her critique of the Ontario Liberal government’s controversial sex-ed curriculum.

After Grossman explained how the Liberal sex-ed curriculum is dangerously flawed and ideologically driven, she used the question-and-answer session to give parents much appreciated and sometimes humorous practical advice on how to teach their children about “the birds and the bees.”

“If you feel you can’t do it, maybe there’s someone else in the family or in the constellation of people that you know you can trust that could do it,” said Grossman, author of “You’re teaching my child WHAT?” and an internationally sought-after speaker on sex education.

A child, adolescent and adult psychiatrist with 12 years’ clinical experience treating students at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) clinic, Grossman said explaining sexuality and procreation to children is “a process,” that “shouldn’t ideally happen all at once. A child is not a miniature adult, and absorbs…new information differently than adults do.”

And parents need to be sure just what their child wants to know.

To illustrate this, Grossman referred to her earlier story about a father who gave his son every detail on human procreation after the boy asked him, “Dad, where do I come from?”

After the father finished, his son replied, “Well, that’s funny, because Johnny told me that he came from Montreal.”

“Try to find out what your child is really getting at, and, don’t give it all at once,” Grossman said. “You start with a little bit at a time…and you know, there’s so many variables here, and people have their own traditions and their own ways of explaining things, and something that might be right for my family might not be right for your family.”

She also advised that, when confronted with a four, five, six or seven-year-old asking about a pregnant woman, or where babies come, a parent can ask, “What a good question that is. What do you think?”

And parents can also legitimately put off the discussion when appropriate, telling the child, “That’s really not something you need to know about right now.”

“Wow, what a novel idea: Telling a child that they could wait until they’re older to discuss that subject,” Grossman said, adding that parents wouldn’t brook a six- or even fifteen-year-old child asking how much money they made or had in the bank. “Excuse me? Not every subject has to be an open book.”

However, the time will come when a child needs to know “about how her body’s going to change, about reproduction, about how a new life is created.”

That time, Grossman advised, is puberty, or “as puberty is beginning,” and this is especially so for girls, who, if unprepared for the surprise onset of menstruation “might think [they’re] dying.”

“The actual nitty-gritty about the birds and the bees and intercourse” can “be told in bits and pieces, or it can be told all at once, if you feel it’s necessary,” she said, adding that it’s beneficial if the parent acknowledges his or her awkwardness, because the child will think: “This must be such an important subject that my mother or my father is sitting there squirming, but he’s doing it anyway. I’m really loved.”

“And the children need to understand that as you grow up, you change a lot, not only physically but emotionally,” Grossman said, “and what may seem odd or disgusting when you’re ten years old, or whatever age, it becomes something very special and beautiful when you’re older and you’ll understand it later. You don’t have to understand it now.”


Know your child and guard your home

But as an essential foundation for this discussion, parents must both know their children and guard their home from the encroachments of a culture that Grossman described as “very, very sexualized” and “really horrible.”

“Children need parents who are loving but are also firm and authoritative,” she asserted.  “They don’t need best friends. They need us to guide them, to know what they’re doing, to be on top of what they’re doing.

So parents need to be aware of whom their child is “hanging around with, and what kind of movies are they watching…what’s going on with your child.”

“You need to know that anyway, even if it’s not about sex education,” she pointed out. “Try and know your child. Every child is different.”

And Grossman emphasized that it is “extremely important to be careful about what your child is exposed to in the home, in terms of television and Internet, obviously.”

Children need to understand that “just like you have garbage you take out of the house, you put it in the garbage bin, it’s dirty, it smells…there are other things that also don’t belong in the house.”

And children learn quickly what is, and is not, permissible inside the home, Grossman said. “Me, I keep kosher…If I go into a store, my kids know from a very young age, we don’t eat that.”

So they are used to the idea of “the world outside and the inside world, of inside your home, and inside your heart as well.”

Parents can also convey this by telling their children that “the world is an upside-down place, and sometimes the most special, holy subjects are…just thrown in the gutter. And that’s a bad thing. In our family, in our tradition, we don’t do that.”

“Sexuality is one of the subjects that in this upside-down world, it is sometimes just in the gutter,” she said. “And so I want you to tell your child to come to me when you have questions, I will give you the straight story about it.”

Grossman herself is “not even sure,” as she stated in her seminar, that sex education should be in the schools: “I believe sex education should be at home for those parents that want to do it.”

She also noted that parents “can make mistakes. We all make lots of mistakes but it’s okay, you can always come back and do it differently,” adding that this is “another wonderful message for your child. You know what, it’s okay to make mistakes, you can always go back and try and fix it.”

Grossman urged parents to visit her Facebook page, website and blog. “I have so much information you can get there that you’ll find useful,” and added that she will be publishing books for children, and has posted her critique of New York City’s sex-ed curriculum, which is similar to Ontario’s.

The parental backlash to that sex-ed curriculum, set to roll out in the province’s publicly funded schools this September, has been “amazing” Grossman noted.

Grossman’s seminar was sponsored by Mississauga-based HOWA Voice of Change along with the Canadian Families Alliance, an umbrella group representing more than 25 associations and 200,000 Ontarians opposed to the curriculum. The report on her devastating critique of the sex-ed curriculum can be found here, and the video here.

Ontario readers may find information and sign up for a September 2 province-wide protests at MPPs offices here. So far, there are protests planned for 92 of Ontario’s 107 constituencies. The parents’ movement seeking removal of the curriculum is urging all concerned citizens to join this special effort to influence individual Ontario legislators.

See related reports:

Ontario’s dangerous sex-ed is indoctrination not science says U.S. psychiatrist to large audience

Videos: US psychiatrist tells parents “stand firm” against dangerous sex-ed

See the LifeSiteNews feature page on the Ontario sex-ed curriculum containing nearly 100 LifeSite articles related to the issue

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Pete Baklinski Pete Baklinski Follow Pete

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Did the pope just endorse a gay children’s book? Of course not, says Vatican

Pete Baklinski Pete Baklinski Follow Pete
By Pete Baklinski

ROME, August 28, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) -- While mainstream media is gushing with news today that Pope Francis allegedly praised a children’s book that promotes gender theory, the Vatican is decrying what they called the "manipulation" of a cordial letter from an official in the Secretariat of State to suggest that the Vatican is promoting teachings contrary to the Gospel.

Italian children’s author Francesca Pardi was reported by The Guardian to have submitted a parcel of children’s books promoting the acceptance of homosexuality and gender theory to Pope Francis in June after Venice’s mayor Luigi Brugnaro publicly banned the author’s newest book, Piccolo Uovo (Little Egg), from children’s schools. The book was criticized by pro-family leaders for promoting non-natural family structures of two men and two women.

In a letter accompanying the books, Pardi wrote: “Many parishes across the country are in this period sullying our name and telling falsehoods about our work which deeply offends us. We have respect for Catholics. ... A lot of Catholics give back the same respect, why can’t we have the whole hierarchy of the church behind us?”

The Guardian is reporting that Pardi has now “found an unlikely supporter in Pope Francis,” who through his staff has responded to the author and is presented as “praising her work.” It quotes the following from a July 9 letter to Pardi from the Vatican.

“His holiness is grateful for the thoughtful gesture and for the feelings which it evoked, hoping for an always more fruitful activity in the service of young generations and the spread of genuine human and Christian values,” wrote Peter B. Wells, a senior official at the Vatican Secretariat of State, in a the letter The Guardian is reporting it has seen.  

While the letter gently calls the author to use her talents to spread “genuine human and Christian values,” The Guardian takes it as the pope’s endorsement of gender theory.

“Pope Francis sends letter praising gay children's book,” the paper’s headline states. “Italian book that explores different family types including same sex was banned by mayor of Venice, but pontiff becomes unlikely supporter,” reads the subtitle.

In a press release that Vatican spokesman Fr. Federico Lombardi sent to LifeSiteNews on Friday, the vice speaker of the Vatican, Ciro Benedettini, made clear that the friendly reply letter to the author in no way approves of attitudes or positions that are contrary to Catholic teaching and the Gospels.

The Vatican's statement also says that in the original letter from the secretariat of state Wells merely "acknowledged receipt" of the materials sent by Pardi, and also made clear that the letter was private and not meant for publication. 

"In no way does a letter from the Secretary of State intend to endorse behaviors and teachings not in keeping with the Gospel," says the statement, decrying the "manipulation" of the letter.

Benedettini said the blessing of the pope at the end of the letter was meant to be for the author herself, and not to affirm positions concerning gender theory that are contrary to the Church's teaching. Using the letter to this end is erroneous, he said.

Pope Francis has strongly condemned the notion of “gender theory” on numerous occasions, saying that it is an “error of the human mind that leads to so much confusion.”

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Lisa Bourne

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Poll suggests most US Catholics wrongly believe Pope Francis backs gay ‘marriage’

Lisa Bourne
By Lisa Bourne

August 28, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) -- A considerable majority of U.S. Catholics are in conflict with Church teaching on abortion and marriage, a new study says, and a startling number of those also believe Pope Francis backs homosexual “marriage.”

Despite Church teachings, Catholics in America also closely parallel the general populace in their support for abortion and homosexual “marriage,” falling short in the Biblical call to be “in the world but not of the world.”

The findings suggest what many Catholics have said is a climate of confusion in the midst of the Francis pontificate. Concerns over that confusion prompted a coalition of pro-family groups to respond with an international petition effort asking the pope to reaffirm Church teaching, drawing more than a half-million signatures.

The survey, conducted by Public Religions Research Institute, found that 60 percent of all U.S. Catholics favor legalized homosexual “marriage,” compared to 55 percent of all Americans. Likewise, 51 percent of Catholics think that abortion should be legal in all or most cases, with 53 percent of the general population holding this view.

The Catholic Church teaches that marriage is a sacramental union between one man and one woman, mirroring Christ and the Church respectively as bridegroom and bride.

The Church also teaches that life begins at conception, that each human life possesses dignity as a child of God and is to be afforded protection, making abortion an intrinsic evil.

Catholics, accounting for 22 percent of adults in the U.S. population, have a favorable view of Pope Francis, the study said, but they are very confused about his take on homosexual “marriage.”

Of the Catholics who back homosexual “marriage,” 49-percent also think the leader of the Catholic Church backs it along with them. Fifteen percent of those Catholics who oppose homosexual “marriage” also mistakenly believe Pope Francis supports it.

Pope Francis has made numerous statements in support of life, marriage and family, but the confusion remains.

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"After Ireland and the U.S. Supreme Court both approved same-sex 'marriage,' a strong reaffirmation of Church teaching could save the sacred institution of marriage, strengthen the family and dispel the lies of the homosexual revolution," TFP Student Action Director John Ritchie stated.  "Young Catholics -- even non-Catholics -- look to the Church as a beacon of morality and stability in our Godless culture, but some of our shepherds have issued confusing statements."

TFP Student Action is a part of the lay Catholic organization American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property, and is part of the alliance behind the Filial Appeal, the petition asking the Holy Father to reinforce Catholic teaching at the Vatican’s upcoming Synod on the Family in October.

Ritchie explained how the confusion was aiding the Church’s enemies, and warned of the potential consequences.

"This prayerful petition asks Pope Francis to clear up the moral confusion that's been spreading against Natural and Divine Law," he said. "If the enemies of the family continue to chip away at holy matrimony, the future of the family and civilization itself will be in even more serious peril."

At press time more than 500,000 signature had been gathered for the appeal, including five cardinals, 117 bishops and hundreds of well-known civic leaders.

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