Matthew Cullinan Hoffman

Church authorities silent in face of ‘Catholic’ Melinda Gates’ global contraceptive campaign

Matthew Cullinan Hoffman
Matthew Cullinan Hoffman
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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.

Contact information:

Pope Benedict XVI
[email protected]

Msgr. Gerhard Ludwig Müller, Prefect
Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
Piazza del S. Uffizio, 11, 00193 Roma, Italy
phone: 011.3906.69.88.33.57
phone: 011.3906.69.88.34.13
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
202-541-3000
Email: http://www.usccb.org/about/contact-us.cfm

Archbishop J. Peter Sartain
Archdiocese of Seattle
710 9th Avenue, Seattle, WA 98104
Phone: 206-382-4560
Fax: 206-382-4840
[email protected]

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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

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

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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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