Patrick Craine

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‘Heads should roll’: Pro-life leaders react to U.S. Bishops agency’s funding of abortion giant PSI

Patrick Craine
Patrick Craine
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BALTIMORE, Maryland, July 19, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Pro-life leaders are expressing outrage after LifeSiteNews.com revealed Thursday that the U.S. Bishops’ foreign relief agency is funding a leading abortion-marketing firm.

Catholic Relief Services is distributing a two-year $2.7 million grant to Population Services International (PSI), which networks and trains local providers throughout the developing world to offer “safe abortion.” 

"Somebody has to get fired over this,” said Austin Ruse, president of the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute (C-FAM). “We fight groups like PSI all over the world and now we find our own church funds them. It's disgusting and for one I am bone-weary of these types of revelations. Heads should roll." 

Fr. Shenan Boquet, president of Human Life International, said he finds it “incomprehensible” that an organization like PSI was deemed worthy of Catholic funds. 

PSI’s “primary mission has always been to promote contraception, abortifacient drugs, condoms, and even surgical abortion,” he said. “Like many other population control groups in the mid-1990s, they started to rebrand their mission as being about 'health', using more positive language and adding malaria-prevention programs to their portfolio. But this should not confuse anyone as to their purpose.” 

Judie Brown, president of American Life League, said the news was “not surprising.” “Catholic Relief Services has historically been advocates, although not publicly – behind the scenes – advocates of population control in the Third World,” she charged. 

Brown’s point was echoed by Steven Mosher, president of the Population Research Institute, who said CRS implicates itself in population control by the very fact that it receives over two thirds of its funding from USAID. 

“CRS knows very well what the principal purpose of USAID is. And it tries to, in various ways, to massage that purpose, and avoid being implicated in the purpose of population control,” he said. “As far as I’m concerned, they know who’s paying their salaries, and that’s why the money goes to CARE, that’s why the money goes to PSI, that’s why the money goes back and forth to other population control agencies, because that’s what their masters in the federal government demand of them.”

“This is not an agency of the institutional Catholic Church. This is a separate aid agency, which, because it receives two thirds of its funding from the U.S. government, is Catholic in name only,” he added. “No man can serve two masters.”

The grant

The $2.7 million grant to PSI is part of a Global Fund-backed project run by CRS in Guinea to combat malaria. The funds are disbursed over the two years of the project’s initial phase, from January 1, 2012 to December 31, 2013. 

When LifeSiteNews questioned CRS about the grant, they initially claimed PSI had merely acted as a vendor by selling them mosquito nets, but when presented with more information, the Catholic agency acknowledged that the abortion giant is taking a decidedly more active role. 

“To be clear, now that we have had more time to talk with staff involved in the project, the money did not go specifically to purchase the nets but rather to implement other parts of the grant which is focused on distributing 3 million nets and making sure they are properly used to save thousands of lives by preventing malaria,” Michael Hill, CRS’ Senior Writer, told LifeSiteNews on Thursday. 

PSI, he said, is leading the project’s mass media marketing campaign as well as “training and overseeing community health workers” and “community organizations.” 

Though the Catholic agency stressed that PSI’s role was restricted only to malaria prevention, concern over the grant is heightened by the fact that PSI describes its work on malaria as “deeply intertwined” with its “reproductive health” agenda. 

“Reproductive, maternal and child health and malaria are all deeply intertwined, affecting poor and vulnerable populations in rural areas together,” the organization wrote in a program description [link] for a USAID-funded project in Madagascar running from 2008-2013. “Success (or failure) in one area, such as malaria, can free up resources to focus on other areas, or drag down progress.” Integrating these programs, they add, “offer[s] many opportunities to reach target audiences.” 

As LifeSiteNews reported Thursday, PSI’s “reproductive health” agenda is heavily abortion-focused. On its own webpage, the firm explains that it “works to increase access to WHO-approved medical abortion drugs,” and mentions its provision of medical abortions in Cambodia and Nepal, noting that in Cambodia it launched the country’s “first safe medical abortion drug, known as Medabon.” 

The firm markets a “safe abort kit” in India as a part of a project that aimed to “facilitate … over 200,000 safe abortions using medical abortions” from 2008-2013 by focusing “both on the demand and supply side” of the medical abortion market. 

At a “maternal health” conference in Tanzania on January 16, 2013, a PSI employee delivered a talk titled “Creating the misoprostol market”. (See video here.) 

Numerous job ads are accessible online showing PSI seeking to fill various roles in its campaign for globally-accessible abortion. Among them is one seeking a candidate with “clinical proficiency [in] surgical and medication abortion.” 

For more evidence of PSI’s work in the abortion industry view Thursday’s LSN report.

CRS willing to go to ‘third level of hell’, just not the tenth

LifeSiteNews initially began investigating CRS’ relationship with PSI because the Catholic agency’s IRS filings for 2012 showed that they had given PSI a grant of $9,588 for “agriculture.” 

But it turns out that CRS has a history of working with PSI going back at least over a decade. A page on the website of the Centers for Disease Control describes a safe water initiative in Madagascar, with an implementation date of April 2000, that CRS partnered on with PSI and CARE. On PSI’s website, CRS is listed as a partner in Zambia, Haiti, and Guinea. According to PSI’s webpage on Guinea, CRS partnered with them on a measles vaccination program there during 2009. 

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CRS has defended similar grants in the past, such as its multi-million dollar annual donations to the pro-abortion group CARE, by arguing that the funds are given only for projects in line with Catholic teaching and are not fungible because of the way the grant agreements are established. 

But the Catholic agency has also said that it would never give a dime to Planned Parenthood. “We would never partner with Planned Parenthood,” communications director John Rivera told LifeSiteNews last year. “We’ve given this a lot of consideration, and there’s a threshold in terms of what the focus of an agency is, and the preponderance of their work.”

In Thursday’s report, Michael Hichborn, director of American Life League’s Defend the Faith Project, said that CRS, in funding PSI, “might as well be funding Planned Parenthood.”

Judie Brown, ALL’s president, slammed the funding policy. “If you read Dante, there’s the ten levels of hell,” she said. By the policy’s logic, she said, “CRS is willing to go to the first, second, and third level of hell. They’re just not willing to go to all the way to the tenth.”

“The underlying philosophical bent of all of those organizations is ridding the world of poor people,” she added. “It’s just that they’re pecking order of how they get that done is a little bit different. The underlying philosophy is exactly the same.” 

“CRS should not be collaborating with any of the population control agencies funded by USAID, which means all of the agencies that receive money for ‘family planning,’ ‘reproductive health,’ and ‘population stabilization,’” said Mosher. “They are not as well known as Planned Parenthood, obviously, but they are all cut from the same cloth.” 

John Smeaton, chief executive of the UK’s Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC), said CRS’s claims that their multi-million dollar grants to groups like CARE and PSI are not supporting their evil actions are utterly false. 

“Firstly, CARE and PSI's knowledge that, year after year, CRS will give them millions of dollars for ostensibly ethical projects enables them to budget and plan ahead for their unethical activities,” he said. “Secondly, receiving millions from CRS helps whitewash their reputations in the wider world and entrenches their presence in the countries where they operate.” 

“Lastly, there are legions of pro-life/pro-family Catholic initiatives which desperately need funding, such as MaterCare International, the Billings Ovulation Method and Culture of Life Africa,” he added. “CRS' millions for CARE and PSI should be given to them instead."

A plea to the U.S. Bishops

According to Brown, the problems at CRS are “something that we’ve tried to call attention to the bishops for a long time.” 

“The longer the bishops remain in denial, the more obvious this population control aspect of CRS is going to become. Because they have nothing to lose, they have nothing to fear,” she cautioned. 

In her view, the issues are so deep that an attempt at reform simply wouldn’t be enough. “What has to happen is that the USCCCB itself has to dismantle this organization completely,” she said. Unfortunately, she added, “I just don’t see that happening.” 

Mosher urged action from individual bishops in their dioceses. “What we need in the United States is for a number of bishops to … say that until these problems with CRS are cleared up, they will not be taking a collection for CRS,” he said. “They will be encouraging Catholics in the U.S. to give to authentic Catholic charities.” 

“If you sup with the devil, you need a long spoon,” said Mosher, but “there is no spoon long enough to sup with this particular devil.” 

“This particular devil is in the business of destroying human life and any agency that’s supposed to be Catholic must not have anything to do with that agenda.” 

Contact info:

Cardinal Robert Sarah
Pontifical Council "Cor Unum"
Palazzo San Pio X
V-00120 Vatican City State
Phone: +39-06-69889411
Fax: +39-06-69887301 or +39-06-69887311
E-mail: [email protected]

Find contact information for all U.S. Bishops here.

Readers may also comment on Catholic Relief Services’ Facebook page.

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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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