OpinionFri Sep 21, 2012 - 2:38 pm EST
Church authorities silent in face of ‘Catholic’ Melinda Gates’ global contraceptive campaign
September 21, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Since the launch of self-professed “practicing Catholic” Melinda Gates’ $4 billion global campaign to deliver abortion-inducing contraceptives to up to 120 million women worldwide, major media outlets have noted her open defiance of Catholic teaching on sexual morality.
“Melinda Gates Takes on the Vatican,” blared one British newspaper in July. “Melinda Gates challenges Vatican,” said another. LifeSiteNews’ own characterization of the campaign, a “blatant attack on Catholic sexual morality,” was quoted by CNN, Time, and other major periodicals both in the United States and abroad.
However, despite Gates’ very public and aggressive international effort to distribute unhealthy drugs that violate Catholic sexual morality and even kill the unborn, Catholic Church officials have been virtually silent on the matter with not a public word coming from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) or even Gates’ own bishop.
The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales were also mute in the face of Gates’ “Family Planning Summit,” held in their country, which generated over four billion dollars for her campaign.
According to American Life League President Judie Brown, she has contacted Gates’ Seattle Archbishop J. Peter Sartain several times regarding Gates’ activities, and has never received an answer, nor even an acknowledgment of her correspondence.
CNN has tried to get the Catholic side of the story as well, but was met with silence. “As far as the broader Catholic church stance on the Gates program, CNN requested a comment from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, but did not get a response,” wrote the news agency at the launch of the campaign.
The only official statement to come out on the matter thus far has had to come from the Vatican. The Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano criticized Gates as having an “unfounded and second-rate understanding” of Catholic teaching on contraception. Moreover, Gates was accused of “disinformation, presenting things in a false manner” to the detriment of the poor in the developing world.
Even the Vatican response however, was not issued by an Bishop, nor did it mention the moral implications of contraception, or suggest a sanction of Gates’ privileges as a Catholic.
The only US prelate who has spoken even tangentially about the campaign is Dallas Bishop Kevin J. Farrell, in a statement that apparently sought to address the alleged endorsement of Gates’ campaign by the nuns of the Ursuline Academy of Dallas, a school within the boundaries of his diocese.
Referring only to “recent news events,” without naming Gates or the nuns, Farrell noted that “Human sexuality and sexual expression in marriage are among God’s greatest gifts” and that “Artificial contraception violates the meaning of this gift.”
However, the statement made by Farrell has now disappeared from its original web page, and Google’s database has no record of it being posted anywhere else on the site.
Some priests, and many lay Catholics, have raised their voices against the campaign, most notably Human Life International, led by Fr. Shenan Boquet, and the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute, a lay organization specializing in international law and institutions, led by Austin Ruse.
Human Life International has created a web page and a powerful video presentation to combat the errors, while C-FAM has given interviews and has written its own refutations of Gates’ propaganda. Several Catholic media outlets, such as the National Catholic Register, Catholic World Report, and Britain’s Catholic Herald have also sounded off against Gates’ cynical campaign.
Meanwhile, the Church’s hierarchy remains virtually speechless, and Gates’ claim to be a pro-contraception “Catholic” stands unchallenged by ecclesiastical authority.
The USCCB in retreat?
Where are the Church’s leaders, the bishops, in this moment of crisis? Archbishop Dolan, President of the USCCB, only recently admitted that the hierarchy “forfeited the chance to be a coherent moral voice when it comes to one of the more burning issues of the day,” by failing to communicate the Church’s teaching on artificial birth control to the faithful in recent decades.
Pope Paul VI’s condemnation of contraception in 1968, “brought such a tsunami of dissent, departure, disapproval of the church, that I think most of us—and I’m using the first-person plural intentionally, including myself—kind of subconsciously said, ‘Whoa. We’d better never talk about that, because it’s just too hot to handle’,” said Dolan in early April.
“We have gotten gun-shy . . . in speaking with any amount of cogency on chastity and sexual morality,” he added.
However, Dolan’s office at the USCCB is now sitting on its hands as a self-identified Catholic launches the largest, most expensive campaign in the history of the world to bring abortifacient contraceptive drugs, with dangerous side effects, to millions of impoverished women worldwide.
Skeletons in the closet? The USCCB’s international aid agency receives millions from Gates
Although the USCCB has shown great signs of improvement of late on matters related to human life and family, it may have reasons for staying silent about Melinda Gates’ contraceptive campaign.
The USCCB’s international aid agency, Catholic Relief Services (CRS), receives tens of millions of dollars from the Gates Foundation itself, and repeats the organization’s claim that it is “guided by the belief that every life has equal value,” adding that “the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation works to help all people lead healthy, productive lives.”
CRS’ relationship with the Gates Foundation creates an obvious conflict of interest. Moreover, as LifeSiteNews.com has reported recently, CRS itself has been involved in the promotion of birth control, and has donated millions of dollars to a contraceptive-distributing organization known as CARE.
These unsavory relationships would likely be embarrassing to the bishops if they were to speak forcefully and clearly against Gates’ horrendous campaign.
The responsibility for this sad situation, however, lies not only with the bishops, but also with the laity, who often fail to encourage the hierarchy to remain firm under pressure. The Code of Canon Law of the Catholic Church, however, establishes the right and even the duty of laymen to make their minds known to their prelates. Perhaps the bishops are only in need of some support from the faithful.
Pope Benedict XVI
Msgr. Gerhard Ludwig Müller, Prefect
Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
Piazza del S. Uffizio, 11, 00193 Roma, Italy
Fax: (011 or other code for international calls) 39-06-69-88-34-09
E-mail: [email protected]
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
3211 Fourth Street NE
Washington DC 20017
Archbishop J. Peter Sartain
Archdiocese of Seattle
710 9th Avenue, Seattle, WA 98104
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Pro-life group asks: Pray for abortionists who sell baby body parts
February 11, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) - This Lent, a pro-life group would like you to pray for an abortionist - specifically, an abortionist who facilitates the sale of unborn babies' body parts.
The Pro-Life Action League is asking for people to pray for three people in particular throughout the 40 days of Lent. All three were caught on video by the Center for Medical Progress.
Dr. Deborah Nucatola appeared in the first video released last July, sipping red wine and stabbing her salad as she discussed the dismemberment of aborted children, including where to “crush” their bodies for a "less crunchy" technique.
The second is Dr. Mary Gatter, who appeared in the second undercover video, haggling over the prices Planned Parenthood expected to receive for the aborted children's organs and tissue. At one point, she joked that she wants the revenue to pay for “a Lamborghini.”
And the third is Planned Parenthood CEO Cecile Richards, who was also caught in the first video praising Dr. Nucatola.
Despite the shocking evidence uncovered by CMP, Richards has insisted her organization did not receive any profit for what she dubs its "fetal tissue donation program." She apologized only for Dr. Nucatola's "tone." She has since said that Planned Parenthood will not receive any remuneration for babies' body parts.
"These three architects of Planned Parenthood’s baby parts scheme have devoted their lives to the destruction and exploitation of human life in the name of ‘choice,’" said Eric Scheidler, executive director of the Pro-Life Action League. "If we won’t pray for them, who will?”
He asked Christians to pray for these three abortion industry profiteers - and for Richards, who is a post-abortive woman - in order to fulfill Jesus Christ's commandment in the Bible, “Love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you” (St. Matthew 5:44).
“In God’s eyes, what abortion has done to these three women may be worse than what they’ve done to unborn children, who now rest in our Lord’s loving arms," Scheidler said.
For most Catholics, Lent began yesterday on Ash Wednesday, and lasts 40 days.
Texas AG faces ethics probe for defending conscience rights of natural marriage supporters
AUSTIN, Texas, February 11, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – The attorney general of the state of Texas is facing an ethics investigation for having affirmed the constitutional religious freedom of state workers to decline to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples if it goes against their religious beliefs.
Attorney General Ken Paxton took steps to address the issue of conscience protection in his state before and after last June's Supreme Court's Obergefell decision imposing same-sex "marriage" on all 50 states, first issuing a statement the day prior clarifying that Texas law recognizes the definition of marriage as between one man and one woman and recommending that state officials wait for direction from his office should the High Court move to redefine marriage.
Paxton then issued a statement two days after the ruling, his office allowing county clerks and their employees to retain religious freedoms that may allow accommodation of their religious objections to issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, and said as well that justices of the peace and judges would similarly retain religious freedoms.
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A month later, a group of some 200 attorneys filed a complaint asserting that Paxton's position encouraged officials to violate the U.S. Constitution and break their oaths of office, according to ABC News.
The complaint was dismissed at first by the Office of Chief Disciplinary Counsel of the State Bar of Texas, but it was reinstated February 2 by a state Supreme Court-appointed appeals board, which contended that the complaint alleges a "possible violation" of professional conduct rules.
The appeals board decision to reinstate the case does not mean Paxton violated professional ethics, according to the ABC report, but does require him to respond to the complaint in conjunction with the investigation.
"The complaint has always lacked merit," said Paxton spokeswoman Cynthia Meyer, "and we are confident the legal process for resolving these complaints will bear that out."
Paxton was among several state officials across the U.S. who moved to ensure conscience protection in the immediate aftermath the Obergefell ruling, at times garnering the ire of homosexual activists.
Last July, South Dakota's attorney general granted permission to county clerks with conscientious objections to opt out of issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples as long as another clerk in the office would issue the license.
In a highly contentious case, Davis had asked for a religious accommodation allowing her office to issue altered licenses to homosexuals without her name on them, which was eventually granted by Kentucky's Governor Matt Bevin. However, the ACLU sued, seeking to force Davis to issue the old forms with her full name on them. A federal judge rejected the suit earlier this week.
Last year, homosexual activists sent harassing messages, including threats of violence, to Oklahoma State Senator Joseph Silk and his family after the Republican legislator sponsored a bill that would have given the state's business owners the freedom to follow their religious convictions in regard to homosexual "marriage."
Paxton faces penalties varying between a reprimand and disbarment resulting from the ethics complaint. The Texas attorney general is also facing securities fraud charges.
This pro-abortion billionaire may run for president
NEW YORK, February 11, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) - He's an upwardly mobile, socially liberal billionaire whose political affiliation has changed numerous times over the years. He's teased numerous presidential campaigns in the past, but this time he's talking like he's serious. And no, he's not who you think he is.
Michael Bloomberg, who served three terms as mayor of New York City, has confirmed to media sources that he is considering running for president as an independent in 2016.
Bloomberg told told the Financial Times this week that he finds American political "discourse and discussion distressingly banal and an outrage and an insult to the voters," and that he's “looking at all the options."
The 73-year-old tycoon was a registered Democrat before switching parties to run in the less contested Republican primary in 2001. He became a registered independent in 2007.
As mayor, Bloomberg governed as a social liberal who strongly supported abortion and the LGBT political agenda.
In 2011, Bloomberg signed a controversial gag order directed at crisis pregnancy centers. A year later, he endorsed Barack Obama's re-election, saying that abortion-on-demand is part of "the world I want to leave my two daughters, and the values that are required to guide us there."
That's the same year Bloomberg Philanthropies announced a $50 million undertaking to expand "reproductive health," including a major partnership with Planned Parenthood-Global to overturn pro-life laws in four nations: Nicaragua, Sengal, Uganda, and Burkina Faso.
Mayor Bloomberg played a pivotal role redefining marriage in New York state, giving the four Republican state senators who voted for New York’s same-sex “marriage” bill the maximum campaign contribution allowed by law. One retired and a second lost his primary fight.
His strong emphasis on health regulations, such as attempting to ban soft drinks larger than 16 ounces, did little to enhance his popularity and were deftly parodied by Sarah Palin. (A state court struck down the proposed regulation.)
The financial heft he could bring into the race, as well as his quirky politics, has tempted Bloomberg to enter presidential politics in the past. He considered a presidential run in 2008 and thought more strongly about a third party bid in 2012, after hosting the inaugural convention of the “No Labels” movement in New York City in 2010, but he backed off each time after not seeing a viable path to victory.
With an estimated fortune of $39 billion, he has said he would be willing to spend more than $1 billion on his campaign in 2016 - but he would only enter the race if the Republican Party nominates Donald Trump or Ted Cruz, and the Democratic Party nominates Bernie Sanders.
He called Jeb and Hillary Clinton "two quality” candidates and "the only two who know how to make the trains run." Jeb reciprocated last month, telling CNN that Bloomberg is "a good person, and he’s a patriot and wants the best for the country.”
At least one of his competitors is eager to see Mike run. "I hope he gets into the race," Donald Trump told Greta Van Susteren on Fox News Wednesday night. "I'd love to compete against him...I would love to see Michael in the race."
That is likely because polling shows Bloomberg would draw most of his support from the Democratic candidate. "Although he is characterized as the New York counterpunch to Trump, Mayor Mike Bloomberg is more the nemesis of Bernie than he is of Donald," said Tim Malloy, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll.
Bernie Sanders would defeat both Trump and Cruz in a head-to-head match, according to Quinnipiac. But if Bloomberg entered the race, he would win 15 percent of the vote largely from Sanders, giving Trump a one-point victory in the popular vote (and narrowing Cruz's loss to one point).
However, he could throw a major wrench in the Democrats' electoral college total, according to columnist Pat Buchanan.
"Not only would Bloomberg lose the Big Apple, his statewide vote would come mostly from the Democratic nominee, giving Republicans the best opportunity to carry the Empire State since Ronald Reagan coasted to re-election in 1984," wrote Buchanan, who served as White House communications director during Reagan's second term.
“It’s not beyond imagining that he could get in and have an effect on the race,” Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-RI, told The Hill.
Perhaps sensing this, numerous Democrats - including Senators Claire McCaskill and Jeanne Shaheen - have thrown cold water on a Bloomberg presidential run.
Democratic National Committee chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, a Florida congresswoman, said this week that an independent Bloomberg candidacy "won't be necessary" - because the Democrats already represent social liberals.
"I really think when he takes a good hard look, he will conclude that the issues that are important to him...[have] a natural home among our Democratic candidates," she said. "And so, I think Michael Bloomberg's agenda is well cared-for and advanced among our Democratic candidates, and his candidacy, I think he will find, won't be necessary.""
His entrance into the race would be a true injection of "New York values" - making him the third or fourth New Yorker in the race - alongside fellow billionaire Trump from Queens, the Brooklyn-born Sanders, and onetime New York Senator Hillary Clinton.
Annie Linskey, a reporter for the Boston Globe who once worked for Bloomberg, told Fox News on Monday that there is "about a four" percent chance that Bloomberg will run.