Matthew Cullinan Hoffman

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Development and Peace invites leader of pro-abortion partner group to speak in Canada

Matthew Cullinan Hoffman
Matthew Cullinan Hoffman
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March 29, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace (D&P), which is currently on a Lenten fundraising drive in Catholic churches across Canada, has invited the leader of a pro-abortion Mexican “human rights” organization, which is also a D&P funding recipient, to speak at various parishes from March 30 to April 7.

According to D&P’s Share Lent website, Fr. Luis Arriaga, leader of the “Miguel Agustín Pro Juárez Center for Human Rights” (Centro de Derechos Humanos Miguel Agustín Pro Juárez), is scheduled to make appearances at various locations in eastern Ontario. On Saturday, April 2, Fr. Arriaga will speak at the Ottawa diocesan centre. Local Catholic pro-life activists will be holding a “protest and prayer” vigil outside the diocesan centre.

As LifeSiteNews has documented in previous reports, Fr. Arriaga and the Miguel Agustin Pro Juarez Center (PRODH) have been involved in abortion advocacy since at least 2005, signing numerous pro-abortion declarations and opposing a pro-life amendment to the constitution of the state of Jalisco.  However, this news agency has recently learned that both PRODH and Fr. Arriaga also personally support the pro-abortion organization “Catholics for the Right to Decide,” a group condemned by the Catholic Church for promoting the legalization of abortion and falsely claiming that killing the unborn is compatible with Catholic doctrine.

In November of 2010, after calling LifeSiteNews.com “nasty” for exposing his organization’s pro-abortion activities, Fr. Arriaga shared the stage at an award ceremony with Consuelo Mejía, director of Catholics for the Right to Decide, and the pro-abortion Marisa Belausteguigoitia of the University Program for Gender Studies (PUEG), applauding them both on their work. The award, named after the anti-Catholic feminist Hermila Galindo, was given by the Mexico City government’s Human Rights Commission, which simultaneously gave Arriaga a “special mention” certificate for his own work.

The event is advertised on the PRODH website itself, where the organization says “The PRODH center congratulates [the Mexico City government] for this decision that supports the outstanding career of Consuelo Mejia and the PUEG in the defense of the rights of women and the promotion of gender equality.”  A photo of of a smiling Arriaga receiving the award with Mejía is shown on the site.  (NOTE: Following publication of this article, PRODH removed the page from their website. However, LSN captured the page in a PDF, which can be seen here)

In an article about the event published by the pro-abortion news service CIMAC, Arriaga is also quoted as saying that in the struggle for women’s rights, “we recognize the support of the activity carried out by Consuelo Mejía and the PUEG, who have taught us lessons about new types of human relations, for the consolidation of an egalitarian society.”

In the same article, Mejía comments that the award is important because it highlights the plight of women “who dare to exercise their right to decide over their bodies,” while PEUG representative Marisa Belausteguigoitia complains that “in 17 states of the republic, women are obligated to give birth in all circumstances.”

The event was not the first time Arriaga and PRODH have participated in the promotion of “Catholics for the Right to Decide.”  As LifeSiteNews reported in 2010, Arriaga was a panel speaker for the organization’s 15th anniversary celebration, according to the Mexican radio station Radio Bemba (see article in Spanish here.) The panels were organized “to reflect on the contribution of this organization [Catholics for the Right to Decide] to the defense of the human rights of women and girls and the challenges that churches have regarding the topic of sexual and reproductive rights,” according to the radio station.


A history of pro-abortion activism

As LifeSiteNews (LSN) has previously reported, Fr. Arriaga’s organization has signed its name to many pro-abortion declarations. In 2008 PRODH signed a public declaration, published in the Guadalajara newspaper Publico, which specifically denounced a proposed pro-life constitutional amendment because it “intends to recognize rights for the unborn, against what is established by our constitutional system,” and “would eliminate the right of the women of Jalisco to interrupt a pregnancy.”

The declaration in Spanish can be found here, and an English translation can be found here.

The organization also signed on to a number of other “human rights” declarations in between 2005 and 2009 that included statements advocating the decriminalization of abortion and the availability of abortion in public hospitals (see LSN coverage here  and here). It is also a member of the pro-abortion “All Rights for Everyone Network” (Red Todos los Derechos para Todos y Todas), which is an open supporter of Mexico City’s law legalizing and subsidizing abortion on demand during the first 14 weeks of pregnancy. The “All Rights for Everyone Network” includes the Miguel Agustín Pro Juárez Center’s name in its pro-abortion pronouncements.


Non-denial denials

After LSN first exposed the PRODH Center’s signature on two “human rights” declarations that included pro-abortion statements in March of 2009, the organization responded with a brief statement claiming it had signed the documents “with the intention of supporting the general cause of human rights in Mexico; not in order to specifically support the legalization of abortion.”  However, it did not confirm or deny that it is a supporter of legalized abortion.

Fr. Arriaga later gave an interview to the Catholic Register, the Toronto diocese’s official newspaper, in which he denounced LSN’s coverage as “nasty,” and said simply that his group is “not focused on sexual or reproductive rights. This is not our specialty. Our focus is on the defence and promotion of civil and political rights.”

As LSN revealed in a series of articles during 2009 and 2010, D&P has allocated millions of dollars to pro-abortion groups in various nations as part of its 2006-2011 plan.  Fr. Arriaga’s PRODH itself received $24,000 Canadian Dollars in 2007-2008 year according to D&P, and is still a funding recipient, despite the revelation of its pro-abortion activities.

Although in recent months the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops has claimed that pro-abortion groups have been cut from funding, Arriaga’s speaking invitation and D&P’s continuing support for the Miguel Agustín Pro Juárez Center indicate that Development and Peace is continuing its policy of supporting pro-abortion organizations.

Locations of Fr. Arriaga’s speaking events scheduled at this time:

April 2, 10:00 am - 11:30 am

Conference Room, Diocesan Center
(protest scheduled)
1247 Kilborn Avenue, Ottawa
Click here for Google map

April 3, 9:00-11:30 am

St. Augustine Parish

1060 Baseline Road,
Ottawa, Ontario, K2C 0A6
Phone: (613) 225-7388
Fax: 613-225-6721
Web
Click here for Google Map of parish

April 3, 6:30 -7:30 PM (“Life Teen” mass)

Divine Infant Parish,
6658 Bilberry Drive
Orleans, ON, K1C 2S9
Phone: 613-824-6822
Fax: 613-834-7459
Website

Contact Information:

Contact information for every Canadian bishop

Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops
2500 Don Reid Drive
Ottawa, Ontario
Canada
K1H 2J2
E-mail: [email protected]
Phone: (613) 241-9461
Fax: (613) 241-9048

Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace
Phone: 514-257-8711
Email: [email protected]
Website

Note: see Composing Effective Communications in Response to LifeSiteNews Reports

Related LifeSiteNews coverage:

Development and Peace Funding of Pro-Abortion Groups 2009 / 2010

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Vatican’s doctrine chief: ‘Absolutely anti-Catholic’ to let bishops conferences decide doctrine or discipline

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By John-Henry Westen

VATICAN, March 26, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Müller, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, has rejected outright the idea floated by Germany’s Cardinal Reinhard Marx that various bishops’ conferences around the world would decide for themselves on points of discipline or doctrine. 

“This is an absolutely anti-Catholic idea that does not respect the catholicity of the Church,” Cardinal Müller told France’s Famille Chrétienne in an interview published today

The question was raised because Cardinal Marx, the head of the German Catholic bishops’ conference and a member of Pope Francis’ advisory Council of Nine, told reporters that the German bishops would chart their own course on the question of allowing Communion for those in “irregular” sexual unions.

“We are not a subsidiary of Rome,” he said in February. “The Synod cannot prescribe in detail what we should do in Germany.”

Vatican Cardinal Müller remarked that while episcopal conferences may have authority over certain issues they are not a parallel magisterium apart from the pope or outside communion with the bishops united to him.

Asked specifically about Cardinal Marx saying that the Church in Germany is “not a subsidiary of Rome,” the head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith said pointedly “the president of an Episcopal Conference is nothing more than a technical moderator, and as such has no special teaching authority.”  He added moreover, that the dioceses in a particular country “are not subsidiaries of the secretariat of an Episcopal conference or diocese whose Bishop presides over the Episcopal Conference.”

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The CDF head warned that “this attitude makes the risk of waking some polarization between the local churches and the universal Church.” He did not however believe that there was the will for Episcopal conferences to separate from Rome.

The important interview also saw Cardinal Müller contest the notion that the pastoral practice or discipline could change while retaining the same doctrine. “We can not affirm the doctrine and initiate a practice that is contrary to the doctrine,” he said.

He added that not even the papal Magisterium is free to change doctrine. “Every word of God is entrusted to the Church, but it is not superior to the Word,” he said. “The Magisterium is not superior to the word of God. The reverse is true.”

Cardinal Müller rejected the notion that we would have to modify Christ’s unflinching words totally forbidding divorce and remarriage.  We cannot “say that our ministry should be more cautious than Jesus Christ Himself!”  Nor could we, he added, say that Christ’s teaching is out of date or that “we need to correct or refine Jesus Christ because He lived in an idealistic world.” 

Rather, the cardinal said, bishops must be ready for martyrdom.  Quoting Jesus he said, “Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and if we speak all kinds of evil against you because of me.”

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‘Groundbreaking’: Kansas may become first state to ban dismemberment abortions

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By Ben Johnson

TOPEKA, KS, March 26, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Kansas will become the first state in the country to ban a procedure in which unborn children are dismembered in the womb, if Gov. Sam Brownback signs a bill that recently passed the state legislature.

The state House passed a ban on dilation and evacuation (D&E) abortions, called dismemberment abortions in common parlance, by 98-26 on Wednesday.

The Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act, which had already passed the state Senate in February 31-9, now heads to Gov. Brownback's desk.

Brownback, a staunch defender of life, is expected to sign the act into law.

"Because of the Kansas legislature's strong pro-life convictions, unborn children in the state will be protected from brutal dismemberment abortions," said Carol Tobias, president of the National Right to Life Committee, which has made banning dismemberment abortions a national legislative focus.

The procedure, in which an abortionist separates the unborn child's limbs from his body one at a time, accounts for 600 abortions statewide every year.

Nationally, it is “the most prevalent method of second-trimester pregnancy termination in the USA, accounting for 96 percent of all second trimester abortions,” according to the National Abortion Federation Abortion Training Textbook.

“It’s just unconscionable that something happens to children that we wouldn’t tolerate being done to pets,” Katie Ostrowski, the legislative director of Kansans for Life, told The Wichita Eagle.

Leading pro-life advocacy groups have made shifting the debate to dismemberment a national priority, with similar legislation being considered in Missouri and Oklahoma. Mary Spaulding Balch, J.D., who is NRLC's director of state legislation, called the bill's passage in Topeka “groundbreaking.”

"When the national debate focuses only on the mother, it is forgetting someone," she said.

The abortion lobby has made clear that it is uncomfortable engaging in a public relations tussle on this ground.

Elizabeth Nash, the senior state issues associate of the Guttmacher Institute, said that dismemberment is “not medical language, so it’s a little bit difficult to figure out what the language would do.”

On the state Senate floor, Democrats tried to alter the bill's language on the floor by replacing the term “unborn child” with fetus. “I know some of you don’t believe in science. But it’s not an unborn child, it’s called a fetus,” said state Senator David Haley, D-Kansas City.

If the bill becomes law, the abortion industry has vowed to fight on.

Julie Burkhart, a former associate of late-term abortionist George Tiller, said the motion's only intention is “to intimidate, threaten and criminalize doctors.”

“Policymakers should be ashamed,” she said, adding, “if passed, we will challenge it in court.”

Gov. Brownback has previously signed conscience rights protections and sweeping pro-life protections into law.

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Anne Hendershott

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How NOT to move beyond the abortion wars

Anne Hendershott
By Anne Hendershott

March 26, 2015 (CrisisMagazine.com) -- A few years ago, when an undergraduate student research assistant of mine—a recent convert to Catholicism—told me that he was planning to meet with a well-known dissenting Catholic theology professor who was then ensconced in an endowed chair at a major metropolitan Catholic university, I told him: “Be careful, you might end up liking him too much.” I jokingly told my student not to make eye contact with the theologian because he might begin to find himself agreeing with him that Catholic teachings “really allow” for women’s ordination and full reproductive rights—including access to abortion.

I was reminded of that conversation this week when I began reading a new book by yet another engaging Catholic theology professor at a major metropolitan university who also claims (pg 6) that the argument he puts forward in his book, Beyond the Abortion Wars, is “consistent with defined Catholic doctrine.” Written by Charles Camosy, associate professor of theology at Fordham University, the new book purports to be in line with Catholic teachings and promises “a way forward for a new generation.” But, Camosy delivers yet another argument for a woman’s right to choose abortion when confronted with an unborn child that he has described—in the past—as an “innocent aggressor.”

Indeed, Camosy has spent much of his career trying to convince us that he knows Catholic teachings better than the bishops. Criticizing Bishop Olmsted for his intervention and excommunication of a hospital administrator for her role in the direct abortion at a Phoenix Catholic hospital, Camosy suggested in 2013 that “the infamous Phoenix abortion case set us back in this regard.” Implying that Bishop Olmsted was not smart enough to understand the moral theology involved in the case, Camosy claimed that “The moral theology in the case was complex—which makes the decision to declare publicly that Sr. McBride had excommunicated herself even more inexplicable. The Church can do better.” For Camosy, “Catholics must be ready to help shape our new discussion on abortion. And we must do so in a way that draws people into the conversation—not only with respectful listening, but speaking in a way that is both coherent and sensitive.”

This new book is likely Camosy’s attempt to “draw people into the conversation.” But, there is little in his book that is either coherent or sensitive. Claiming to want to move “beyond” the abortion wars, Camosy creates an argument that seems designed to offend the pro-life side, while giving great respect to those who want to make sure abortion remains legal.

Especially offensive for pro-life readers will be Camosy’s description of the abortifacient, RU-486 as a form of “indirect abortion.” The reality is that RU-486, commonly known as the “abortion pill,” effectively ends an early pregnancy (up to 8 weeks) by turning off the pregnancy hormone (progesterone). Progesterone is necessary to maintain the pregnancy and when it is made inoperative, the fetus is aborted. For Camosy, who claims that his book is “consistent with settled Catholic doctrine,” this is not a “direct” abortion. To illustrate this, Camosy enlists philosopher Judith Jarvis Thompson’s 1971 “Defense of Abortion”—the hypothetical story of the young woman who is kidnapped and wakes up in a hospital bed to find that her healthy circulatory system has been hooked up to a famous unconscious violinist who has a fatal kidney ailment. The woman’s body is being used to keep the violinist alive until a “cure” for the violinist can be found. Camosy makes the case—as hundreds of thousands of pro-choice proponents have made in the past four decades—that one cannot be guilty of directly killing the violinist if one simply disconnects oneself from him. Likewise, for Camosy, simply taking the drug RU 486 is not “directly” killing the fetus. He writes:

The drugs present in RU 486 do not by their very nature appear to attack the fetus. Instead, the drug cuts off the pregnancy hormone and the fetus is detached from the woman’s body…. Using RU 486 is like removing yourself from [Judith Jarvis Thompson’s] violinist once you are attached. You don’t aim at his death, but instead remove yourself because you don’t think you have the duty to support his life with your body…. Some abortions are indirect and better understood as refusals to aid (pp 82-83).

Perhaps there are some readers who will find Camosy’s argument convincing, but I am not sure that many faithful Catholic readers will agree that it is consistent with settled Catholic doctrine.

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As one who is hardly a bystander in the abortion wars, I wanted to like this book. As an incrementalist who celebrates every small step in creating policy to protect the unborn, I had high hopes that this book would at last begin to bridge the divide. A decade ago, in my own book, The Politics of Abortion, I joined the argument begun by writers like Marvin Olasky in his Abortion Rites: A Social History of Abortion in America, that it is more effective to attempt to change the hearts and minds of people than to create divisive public policy at the federal level. I share Charles Camosy’s desire to end the abortion wars—but this war cannot end until the real war on the unborn ends. This does not mean that the two sides cannot work together—battling it out at the state level—where there is the opportunity for the greatest success. But, complex philosophical arguments on whether RU 486 is a direct or indirect form of abortion are not helpful to these conversations.

Camosy must know that we can never really “end” the abortion wars as long as unborn children are still viewed as “aggressors” or “invaders” and can still be legally aborted. Faithful Catholics know that there is no middle ground on this—the pro-life side has to prevail in any war on the unborn. It can be done incrementally but ground has to be gained—not ceded—for the pro-life side. Besides, Camosy seems a bit late to the battlefield to begin with. In many ways, he seems to have missed the fact that the pro-life side is already winning many of the battles through waiting periods, ultrasound and parental notification requirements, and restrictions on late term abortion at the state level. More than 300 policies to protect the unborn have been passed at the state level just in the past few years. The number of abortions each year has fallen to pre-Roe era levels—the lowest in more than four decade.   Much of these gains are due to the selfless efforts of the pro-life community and their religious leaders. Yet, just as victory appears possible in many more states, Camosy seems to want to surrender by resurrecting the tired rhetoric—and the unconscious violinists—of forty years ago.

While it is disappointing, it is not unexpected considering Camosy’s last book lauded the contributions of Princeton’s most notorious professor, Peter Singer—the proponent of abortion, euthanasia and infanticide. Claiming that Singer is “motivated by an admirable desire to respond to the suffering of human and non-human animals,” Camosy’s 2012 book, Peter Singer and Christian Ethics: Beyond Polarization, argues that, “Though Singer is pro-choice for infanticide, on all the numerous and complicated issues related to abortion but one, Singer sounds an awful lot like Pope John Paul II.”  In a post at New Evangelical Partnership for the Common Good, a progressive organization led by Rev. Richard Cizik (a former lobbyist for the National Association of Evangelicals who was removed from his position because of his public support for same sex unions, and his softening stance on abortion) Camosy wrote that he found Singer to be “friendly and compassionate.”  Camosy currently serves on the Advisory Board of Cizik’s New Evangelical Partnership—where he has posted Peter Singer-like articles including: “Why Christians Should Support Rationing Health Care.”

One cannot know the motivations of another—we can never know what is in another’s heart so it is difficult to know why Charles Camosy wrote this book. It must be difficult to be a pro-life professor at Fordham University—a school known for dissenting theologians like Elizabeth Johnson. But, if one truly wants to advance a culture of life in which all children are welcomed into the world, it would seem that inviting Peter Singer to be an honored speaker to students at Fordham in 2012 is not the way to do it, nor would claiming that RU-486 “may not aim at death by intention.” Perhaps it is unwise to continue to critically review Camosy’s work from a Catholic perspective because it gives such statements credibility—and notoriety. But, as long as Camosy continues to claim that his writings and policy suggestions—including his newly proposed “Mother and Prenatal Child Protection Act”—are “consistent with defined Catholic doctrine,” faithful Catholics will have to continue to denounce them.

Reprinted with permission from Crisis Magazine. 

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