Hilary White, Rome Correspondent

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Crowd of gay activists demonstrate outside Italian archbishop’s house

Hilary White, Rome Correspondent
Hilary White, Rome Correspondent

TRIESTE, January 28, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Earlier this month about two hundred homosexualist activists, including a number of local politicians, demonstrated in front of the residence and offices of the Catholic bishop of Trieste. The bishop later told an interviewer that he spent the afternoon, effectively barricaded in his own house, reading and catching up on correspondence.

Archbishop Giampaolo Crepaldi told the diocesan newspaper Vita Nuova (New Life) he was reading a book by American sociologist, Rodney Stark, titled The Triumph of Christianity, “which analyzes, among other things, the many persecutions suffered by Christians in two thousand years of history”. The book, he said, “demonstrates...that in the end, the persecutors pass and Christians continue, because the persecutions purify them and make them stronger. It’s a book that I recommend.”

His offence was having publicly defended the Catholic Church’s teaching on the nature of marriage in the diocesan newspaper. He said the purpose of the demonstration, a display of political power, was to define any opposition to the political agenda as “homophobia” and a criminal offence. 

Ultimately the goal of the movement, he told a local newspaper, is to “give legal force and criminal significance to ‘homophobia,’ that those who say publicly - as the Catholic Church has always said - that the only real family that founded on marriage between a man and a woman are declared ‘homophobic, intolerant, racist’ and, therefore, subject to criminal prosecution. 

“If you will travel this road,” he added, “anyone who belongs to the Catholic Church and professes its doctrine…will become liable to criminal punishment, even jail.”

The activists outside his door January 12th accused Crepaldi of reviving the “classic racist campaign against gay, lesbian and transgender people” and announced they intend to “prosecute” anyone who opposed their agenda, including churchmen.

Local news reported that two members of the Trieste city council were part of the crowd. Councilors Peter Faraguna and Paul Menis signed a petition “to fight discrimination” against homosexuals and the “promotion of non-discriminatory policies”. 

David Zotti, an organizer of the protest and president of the Rainbow Club, indicated that the bishop should not be allowed to speak on Catholic teaching outside the confines of his church.

“The bishop never misses an opportunity to trample the dignity of people and same-sex families, denigrating their lives and making it clear that there can be no legal recognition,” Zotti said.

The demonstration, he added, was also in response to the homily of Pope Benedict XVI on December 21st in which he identified “gender theory” and the global homosexualist movement as a “threat to the foundations” of western society. It was supported by provincial councilors - Štefan Čok, Gianluca Balbi, Nadja Debenjak, Sandy Klun, Matthew Puppi, Sabrina Morena, Marcello Bergamini, Elena Legiša and Majda Canziani and an extreme-left environmentalist political party Sinistra Ecologia e Libertà. 

Bishop Crepaldi responded that the accusations made against him are “false and serious,” particularly since he has dedicated his life “to fighting racism and has contributed a great pool of international jurists to rewrite the document of the Holy See against racism”.

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The genesis of the demonstration was a public campaign launched by Italy’s leading homosexualist group Arcigay the Christmas season against “homophobia” that involved photos on all city buses of same-sex couples in “intimate family attitudes”. The purpose of the campaign was to demand “equality” in law for “all types of families”.

Crepaldi said that the demonstration had nothing to do with “homophobia” but was intended to promote “same-sex marriage”.

“The ultimate goal of these campaigns is to undermine what is a cornerstone of civilization, the concept of the family founded on marriage between a man and a woman, equating it to other forms of cohabitation,” Archbishop Crepaldi told Tempi.

He called the homosexualist ideology an “insidious program, disguised as progressive and libertarian, to put a muzzle on all, depriving us of freedom.”

“It is ironic that the Church has given the world the higher conception of the incomparable value of the human person and taught him the duty of respect, equality and fraternity, [and is now] described as ‘racist and discriminating’.”

He called the participation of local politicians particularly “disturbing” and said it “has resulted in a black page for democracy and for the honor of the city's institutions”.

“What credibility can a city government claim when two of its members go around with insouciance to demonstrate against the bishop and the Catholic Church? It is good to know that in this city, since the early centuries of Christianity, is protected by a martyr, San Giusto. The Catholic Church of Trieste has been humiliated and I have been treated as a ‘series C’ citizen.”

He called for a halt to the “ideological conformism and a return to discussion in a civilized and constructive dialogue with a sense of respect for others and to value all assets.”

Crepaldi is close to Pope Benedict and was granted the personal rank of archbishop, though Trieste is not an archdiocese. He is the founder and president of the International Observatory Cardinal Van Thuan, a think tank that provides “reasoned information” and “reflections, evaluations and in-depth studies” on the Church’s social doctrine. In a paper for the Observatory, Archbishop Crepaldi warned of a “colonization of human nature” by an ideology that is spreading from Europe around the world, “gender,” an expression of “a nihilistic culture that intends to overcome completely the concept of human nature.” 

Catholics, he said, are not asked to take refuge in a small enclave to “cultivate traditional values,” but to compete in the world with a vision of the nature of the human being. “There is a huge cultural work to be done to educate this sense of nature and of human nature. And I’m sorry to see that within the Church and among the Christian communities themselves the importance of this point is often overlooked.”

Crepaldi predicted that the “gender-theory” ideology is driving secular society in Europe towards open persecution against Christianity, “and that it will be tough.” 

“There will be the militants, those who seek compromise, those who cheat, will be faithful and there will also be a martyr.”

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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.

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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, www.babycaust.de, 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.”  

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Pete Baklinski Pete Baklinski Follow Pete

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

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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,” Katholisch.de 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.

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