The Editors

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International pro-life group calls for U.S. Bishops to dissolve Catholic Relief Services

The Editors
The Editors
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Editor’s Note: The following quotes the hard-hitting 3 pages of conclusions in the Population Research Institute’s 119-page report on its on site investigations of Catholic Relief Services in Madagascar. The conclusions summarize the serious contradictions between CRS practices and its Catholic mission. It also emphasizes credible reasons for dismissing on-going CRS denials of the PRI investigation revelations. See the interview transcripts Part I and Part II of two Madagascar bishops supporting the previous series of articles published on LifeSiteNews regarding PRI’s investigations.

See also  PRI and Stephen Mosher should receive an award for exceptional report on CRS Madagascar scandals

September 11, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Catholic charity has always been, first and foremost, the responsibility of the Catholic faithful, who in living their Christian lives must follow our Lord’s commandment to “Love one another as I have loved you” (John 15:12).  PRI’s president, as the recipient of the Blessed Frédéric Ozanam Award from the Society of Catholic Social Scientists, and who has himself helped to found a number of charitable organizations, has a deep appreciation for this aspect of the Christian calling and a profound respect for those who are involved in such work.  

As Pope Benedict wrote in Deus Caritas Est, such an exercise in charity “needs to be organized if it is to be an ordered service to the community” (“Deus Caritas Est,” 20).  And among the most important of such organized charities, as noted in the Kinshasa Declaration, is the “diocesan Caritas . . . [which] unlike the other organizations of lay groups or religious congregations, [is unique] in being the official organ of the bishop for the service of charity.

Thus the African bishops, in concert with the universal Church, underline the indispensable role of the bishop in his diocese in overseeing both the giving and receiving of charity through the official organs of the Church.  

 This reasonable request—that all the official charitable organs of the Church, including CRS, respect and submit to the authority of the bishop in his diocese—constitutes a major stumbling block for CRS.  After all, it receives most of its funding from an organization—USAID—that forbids it to discriminate in favor of one religion over another.  Were “Catholic” Relief Services actually to attempt following the Church’s dictates and carrying out its government-funded programs through the bishop in his diocese, it would shortly thereafter lose its government funding.  

This same consideration accounts for the failure of CRS to favor Catholics in its hiring policies and to preferentially serve the population whose name it bears.  It bewilders African bishops that a “Catholic” charity does not hire Catholics to carry out programs to help fellow Catholics.  Muslim charities help fellow Muslims, they point out, and Baptist charities help fellow Baptists.  What they don’t realize is that the Muslim and Baptist charities rely upon private funds, but that grants from USAID come with nondiscrimination clauses attached.  Let CRS begin hiring only Catholics, and complaints of “bias” in the hiring would be quickly leveled and, if not corrected, contracts would be cancelled.

In fact, it is to avoid the appearance of favoring the Catholic Church in any way that CRS does not work, modestly and efficiently, out of the existing Catholic network of chanceries and parishes.  Instead, like the other secular humanitarian organizations that it partners with, it sets up an expensive, freestanding headquarters in the countries and dioceses in which it operates.  It may, as a matter of courtesy, inform the local bishop of its activities in his diocese, and it may from time to time, send a private donation his way, but it will not submit to his lawful authority.  It can’t, if it wants to continue to receive a half billion dollars from the U.S. Treasury each year.

CRS goes to great lengths to spin these necessities into virtues.  To explain why it does not preferentially serve Catholics in its programs, it loftily boasts of responding “on the basis of need not creed.”  To explain why an ostensibly Catholic organization does not preferentially hire Catholics, it speaks of hiring on the basis of professional qualifications.  Such claims sound plausible until you understand that they have been imposed on CRS by its principal donor, USAID.  

An authentic Catholic charity would understand that it is a guest in the diocese of the local bishop and would work under his authority.  It would hire faithful Catholics and, while not turning away anyone in need, seek above all to serve its fellow Catholics.  That approach would surely please the vast majority of CRS’ private donors, even if it would displease its enormous public one.  And it is an approach that St. Paul specifically endorsed in his letter to the Galatians: “So then, while we have the opportunity, let us do good to all, but especially to those who belong to the family of the faith. (Galatians 6:10)

What kind of an organization does CRS want to be? Does it want to fundamentally restructure society as many of the secular humanitarian organizations obviously do?  Does it want to prattle on endlessly about fighting for a more just or a more democratic society like the other humanitarian NGOs?  Or does it want to be a physical expression of the personal encounter with the love of Christ which moves us, as the Cardinal Sarah stated, “generously and freely towards the most disadvantaged so as to give witness to the Trinitarian love.”

Are its employees satisfied to be seen by the supposed beneficiaries of its actions as merely extensions of USAID and the anti-life ideology that it spreads?  Or are they seeking a personal relationship with God through prayer and the frequenting of the sacraments so that they can be true witnesses of the love of Christ and not fall into political or social activism or secularism?  

It is logically incoherent to say, as CRS currently does, that it is only necessary that the organization's employees recognize that CRS is officially Catholic.  Clearly, a Hindu employee of CRS is not going to be “frequenting the sacraments.[1]”  And a former CRS-Madagascar director, who happened to be Jewish, is not going to start going to Confession and being a “true witness of the love of Christ.  If Cardinal Sarah of Cor Unum suggests that employees of Catholic charities should be going to Mass, then those same charities, including CRS, are going to have to start hiring Catholics—faithful Catholics.

These are two fundamentally different visions of what Catholic charity should be. The first, which is espoused by many current CRS employees, is essentially secular and humanitarian.  The second, which is espoused by the Church, is sacred and Trinitarian. The Kinshasa Declaration seems to be speaking directly to CRS about its close relationship with USAID when it warns:  “We can thus not let ourselves be absorbed by those with powerful means – financial, of the mass-media, and of a great manipulative capacity – [who] want to spread, under the cloak of a so-called progress and of the vision of an allegedly universal man, a philosophy of rights that we cannot accept.”  

Taken together, the transcripts of the interviews we carried out in Madagascar, the more diplomatic but equally revealing speeches given by African bishops at Kinshasa, and the brief but incisive Motu Proprio issued by Pope Benedict XVI lead to a single conclusion: The official Catholic charities of the North are, at least to many of their supposed “beneficiaries,” no longer recognizably Catholic.  They have devolved into humanitarian relief organizations that are, in their day-to-day operations, indistinguishable from their secular counterparts.  Fundamental structural reforms are required to bring them into conformance with Church teaching.

In Paragraph 10 of the Kinshasa Declaration, the assembled African bishops called “upon our representatives . . . to draw the attention of other members of the Caritas family [to our concerns].”  There is no sign, however, that “other members of the Caritas family,” in particular CRS, have taken meaningful cognizance of the concerns expressed by the African bishops at this meeting.  And, if they have, it is certainly true that they have not shared these concerns with us, the members of the “Catholic community of the United States of America,” to whom the international humanitarian agency CRS supposedly belongs.  

In fact, the only reference to the Kinshasa meeting that a search of the CRS website brings up is a press release entitled, “Catholic Church in Africa 'outraged’ by Congo Violence.” As its title suggests, this one-page release highlighted an armed clash in the Congo that occurred simultaneously with the Kinshasa meeting.  It mentioned only in passing that “The bishops met November 20-22 on the work of Caritas on the continent.” That is the only reference to the Kinshasa meeting, the results of which the African bishops specifically asked to be conveyed to the “other members of the Caritas family”!

CRS continues to engage in the pretense that there is nothing wrong with its current business model.  Here is what a representative of CRS told one member of that American Catholic community who wrote to express concern that at least one African bishop was not at all happy with the American organization:

“We are unaware of any bishops that CRS works with in Africa having refused to work with CRS.  We have a very good working relationship with all of our partners around the world, including the Church, and meet with the bishops regularly to consult on our work and partner on projects.”

This is, purely and simply, a fantasy.  For real-life examples of how far removed it is from reality, remember the remarks of the bishops, priests, and other Catholic officials with whom we spoke in Madagascar, including the president of the Madagascar bishops’ conference.  Almost to a man, they were incensed at the “unequal,” “non-horizontal,” “infantilizing” working relationship that they had with CRS – when they even had a relationship.  As for the “regular” meetings, recall the remarks of the president of the Malagasy Bishops’ Conference about CRS operating out of his sight and behind his back in his own diocese.  Recall the complaints about how it had taken two years for the Malagasy bishops to wrangle a meeting with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB)/CRS, and how they had wanted that meeting not for the purpose of congratulating the USCCB/CRS on the “good working relationship” enjoyed by all, but to air their grievances against CRS and to fundamentally alter the one-sided relationship they had with that organization.

Some may conclude that CRS’ refusal to acknowledge its problems—and even its uncharitable attacks on its critics—are merely typical bureaucratic stonewalling.  We disagree.  We believe that the CRS leadership understands, perhaps better than the African bishops, and perhaps even better than the bishops who serve on its board, what is at stake here.  They understand the risks, both to their funding and to their careers, of acknowledging their past failures and embarking upon a process of reform.  They understand that extricating CRS from the smothering secular embrace of USAID will result in the loss of perhaps two-thirds of the organization’s funding.  They understand that re-establishing its identity as a truly Catholic charity means giving up its current pose as a humanitarian NGO and reintegrating it into the Catholic Church under the direct control of the bishops.

They understand that CRS, if it is to be an authentic Catholic charity as demanded by the Motu Proprio, “On the Service of Charity,” will cease to exist in its current form.  

Recommendations

 1.­ That the non-profit corporation known as Catholic Relief Services be dissolved.

 2. That the charitable activities of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) be carried out by an office, known as International Catholic Charities (ICC), located in the USCCB itself.

 3.  That all programmatic activities carried out by ICC be done in concert with the bishop in the local diocese where the program is located, under his guidance, approval, and supervision.

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Dynel Lane stands accused of numerous crimes, but murdering a baby is not one of them.
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Colorado Democrats vote to allow more deaths like baby cut from her mother’s womb

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By Ben Johnson

DENVER, CO, May 5, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Constituents and readers around the world were horrified when police reported that Dynel Lane cut a baby out of a pregnant woman's womb, nearly killing the mother and causing the baby to die. But Colorado Democrats voted down a bill that would have classified the crime as a homicide for fear the law could someday be used to challenge abortion-on-demand.

The state House's State, Veterans, and Military Affairs Committee voted down the Offenses Against Unborn Children Act (SB 268) by a party line vote of 6-5 on Monday.

The proposal would have allowed prosecutors to charge anyone who kills an unborn child with murder but, like bills in 38 other states, it specifically exempts abortion.

“It is a travesty that not a single Democrat voted in favor of this legislation, which would bring justice for babies like Aurora who die in violent homicides,” Colorado Citizens for Life said in a public statement. “At the very least, Colorado Citizens for Life would hope that lawmakers could put aside their partisan differences to pass this common sense piece of legislation.”

State legislators felt a need to plug legal loopholes after Lane allegedly lured Michelle Wilkins to her Longmont home with a phony Craigslist ad for baby clothes on March 18. Police say that Lane spoke with Wilkins for an hour before attacking her in the basement, smothering her with a pillow until she passed out, then using a knife to surgically remove the unborn child.

Lane, who had previous medical training, left Wilkins to bleed on a basement bed, officials say.

Wilkins revived and called 911, and emergency personnel rushed her to a local hospital.

Her unborn child, who was 34 weeks along and who had already been given the name Aurora, did not survive. Lane's husband said he saw the child “gasp” before dying.

Yet cautious prosecutors did not charge Lane with murder, because they feared they could not prove the girl had been “born alive.”

S.B. 268, introduced by Polly Lawrence of Littleton, would have made such a crime a homicide.

Click "like" if you are PRO-LIFE!

Democrats rejected the bill, saying it could be used to prosecute abortionists.

Planned Parenthood Votes Colorado said that “the bill did not explicitly protect access to abortion, putting Colorado physicians in danger of prosecution if they provide care to pregnant women facing complications in their pregnancy or for providing safe abortion services.” The abortion lobbying group also claimed the bill may have “opened the door to prosecutions of women whose pregnancies face complications and tragically end in miscarriage.”

The bill states, “For purposes of a prosecution of a homicide or assault offense, the bill does not apply to an act committed by the mother of her unborn child,” or to “a medical procedure performed by...[any] licensed medical professional at the request of a mother.” It also refuses to prosecute anyone who prescribes or administers any “medication,” such as RU-486 or the morning after pill.

“This has nothing to do with abortion,” Lawrence said, according to local media. “This is about justice for two victims of violent crimes.”

For now, Colorado remains an outlier in the national abortion debate. But Aurora Wilkins' story – and Dynel Lane's alleged ghastly crime – have inspired people across the country to speak out.

"Imagine the love and the bond that Michelle Wilkins had for young Aurora after seven months together, the handful of sonograms that showed the young life, the heartbeats that reinforced those images and the kicking that showed someone raring to come out,” wrote Bob Confer, vice president of a New York plastics business, in the Niagara Falls Gazette. “Aurora was just as real in the womb and her family’s hearts as she would be if she were resting in a bassinet.”

“So many people are afraid to admit what those with respect for life know to be true: It doesn’t matter if someone is seven months or seven weeks pregnant, there is a life in there," he said.

"Life is important no matter the stage. It’s time we treated it like that and punished those who take it,” Confer added.

“Why should we be robbed of the Aurora Wilkinses of the world while those who take them from us can roam free?"

The vote roll call was:

No:
Rep. Su Ryden (D) 303-866-2942 [email protected]
Rep. Joe Salazar (D) 303-866-2918, [email protected]
Rep. Mike Foote (D) 303-866-2920, [email protected]
Rep. Susan Lontine (D) 303-866-2966, [email protected]
Rep. Dianne Primavera (D) 303-866-4667, [email protected]
Rep. Max Tyler (D) 303-866-2951, [email protected]

Yes:
Rep. Steve Humphrey (R) 303-866-2943, [email protected]
Rep. Patrick Neville (R) 303-866-2948, [email protected]
Rep. Jack Tate (R) 303-866-5510, [email protected]
Rep. Dan Thurlow (R) 303-866-3068, [email protected]
Rep. Yeulin Willett (R) 303-866-2583, [email protected]

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Thaddeus Baklinski Thaddeus Baklinski Follow Thaddeus

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UK Green Party is ‘open’ to legalizing polygamy

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By Thaddeus Baklinski

May 5, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) -- The leader of the UK Green Party, Natalie Bennett, said she is “open” to considering legalizing "marriages" between three or more people.

She made the comment in response to a question posed by a reader of the homosexualist news service Pink News, who asked, "As someone living with his two boyfriends in a stable long-term relationship, I would like to know what your stance is on polyamory rights. Is there room for Green support on group civil partnerships or marriages?"

The radically pro-homosexualist Green leader replied that while her party had no specific policy on the subject, she was "open to further conversation and consultation" about polygamy.

"At present, we do not have a policy on civil partnerships involving more than two people," she said.

"We are, uniquely in this country, a party whose policies are developed and voted for by our members. We have led the way on many issues related to the liberalization of legal status in adult consenting relationships, and we are open to further conversation and consultation."

Speaking later at the launch of the Green Party's "LGBTIQ manifesto" in London's Soho district, Bennett said, “What I said was, we’d listen to the evidence on any issue, we believe in evidence-based policy-making. I have no personal view on this at all. This is the first time the question has been put to me so what I’m prepared to do is always listen to evidence.”

Bennett added, “LGBTIQ rights have come a long way since the millennium but there’s still an awful long way to go, as our manifesto sets out. Homophobia, transphobia and biphobia are still too common and too many people fear their impact in the workplace, in their schools and on the streets.”

Critics of “marriage equality” for homosexuals have long warned that the redefinition of marriage to include couples of the same sex will eventually extend that redefinition to polygamous relationships.

Michael Cook, editor of MercatorNet, said that while "activists for same-sex marriage have always insisted, that it will not lead to polygamy or polyamory, 'never, ever, ever,'" their denials are a crucial aspect of the homosexualist agenda because "if they were to concede that same-sex marriage would ultimately lead to polygamy and more imaginative forms of marriage, they would prove that there is a slippery slope. So they are forced into vehement denials."

“It’s like this,” explained Stanley Kurtz in a 2006 National Review article. “The way to abolish marriage, without seeming to abolish it, is to redefine the institution out of existence. If everything can be marriage, pretty soon nothing will be marriage. Legalize gay marriage, followed by multi-partner marriage, and pretty soon the whole idea of marriage will be meaningless.”

In Canada, defense lawyers in the 2010 trial of Winston Blackmore and James Oler of Bountiful, British Columbia, in fact used the country’s same-sex “marriage” law as justification for polygamy.

Blackmore was charged with marrying 20 women, though he openly claimed to have had 26 wives and more than 108 children. Oler was charged with marrying two women.

Blackmore's lawyer Blair Suffredine said his client had "a very strong case" in light of Canada’s legalization of homosexual "marriage."

"If [homosexuals] can marry, what is the reason that public policy says one person can’t marry more than one person?" Suffredine said at the time.

The charges in that trial were stayed when the BC Supreme Court was asked to examine the constitutionality of polygamy.

In 2011 the Court ruled that the law against polygamy was constitutional, which allowed a newly appointed BC Special Prosecutor, Peter Wilson, to continue to investigate potential criminal activity of Bountiful residents.

Gwen Landolt of Real Women of Canada, commenting on the federal government's 2014 Zero Tolerance for Barbaric Practices bill, which would strengthen the Criminal Code provisions against polygamy, told LifeSiteNews that “polygamy is harmful to women because it allows them to be abused, treating them as chattels at the discretion of a few men. They are not treated as equals and their children do not get proper parenting.”

While Green’s Natalie Bennett is "open" to considering polygamy, with its inherent possibility of a huge number of children begotten by just a few people, a longstanding member of the Green Party and one of the British government’s past advisors on environmental policies is on record for saying that if Britain is to be made "sustainable," its 60 million-plus population must be cut in half, by instituting China's model of population control.

Jonathon Porritt, a patron of the Optimum Population Trust (OPT), said that in order to reduce "pressure" on the world’s ecosystems, Britain must halve its population to 30 million inhabitants.

"Each person in Britain has far more impact on the environment than those in developing countries so cutting our population is one way to reduce that impact," Porritt told the 2009 OPT annual conference.

However, a number of media wags responded to the suggestion of mass population reduction, blithely saying that if Porritt was so enthusiastic, he was welcome to be the first volunteer.

Don Surber, a columnist for the Charleston Daily Mail, wrote, "He can go first." "This Jonathan Porritt is stuck in 19th century thinking. He said the Britons are worse on the world than people in developing countries. It is a combination of Malthusian logic and white man’s burden that I find amusing," Surber said.

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Lisa Bourne

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Nigerian bishop: Hillary must think she’s a ‘god’ if she wants us to abandon our pro-life values

Lisa Bourne
By Lisa Bourne

May 5, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) -- An African Catholic bishop has said he thinks Hillary Clinton believes she is a god, someone who doesn’t value others’ morals, and he hopes Americans will wake up to what sort of people are running to be their president.

“I believe there are three groups of people in this world,” said Bishop Emmanuel Badejo. “Those who believe in God, those who do not believe in God, and those who think they are gods.”

“Hillary Clinton I think is one of those who thinks she is a god,” he said. “And I’m not obliged to believe that.”

In an April 29 interview with the Catholic website Aleteia, the Nigerian bishop was asked about Clinton’s recent statements at the Women in the World Summit, where she said, “Deep-seated cultural codes, religious beliefs and structural biases have to be changed” to give women access to “reproductive health care and safe childbirth.”

In addition to Clinton’s disregard for other people’s principles, Bishop Badejo remarked that she was pandering.

“My personal opinion of Hillary Clinton is: She is seeking election in America so you can expect that, like most politicians, she will say just about anything to pander to the thoughts of whatever audience she is speaking to,” he said. “So I really think that Hillary Clinton is just speaking for votes, rather than speaking for reason.”

Clinton can’t be bothered with God, he said.

“From the way she spoke, people like herself very clearly don’t want to hear anything about God,” the bishop said. “Even if they say they believe in God, they really don’t.”

Her language makes her approach evident, said Bishop Badejo, and he thinks she’s become too wrapped up in technology, losing sight of the fact that people have their own values, including African people. 

“We talk about the dignity of life, the sanctity of life, etc. Is she saying they ought to be changed?” he asked. “Well, I don’t know what she is talking about. What are human beings going to change to?”

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Bishop Badejo has in the past criticized the cultural imperialism exhibited by some groups by way of foisting population control efforts and the homosexual agenda on African nations, and said that life is sacred for the African people.

In his most recent Aleteia interview he said God created the people of Africa this way in his infinite wisdom, “which I think might be a little bit more than Hillary Clinton’s.”

God did this to add to the beauty of his creation, he said, and those who push for such things to be imposed across the board don’t know the meaning of beauty, “which is found in variety, in color,” he said.

Those who don’t get this shouldn’t get to make the rules for others, the bishop said.

“If these values are not precious to Hillary Clinton,” said Bishop Badejo, “I think she has no right at all to call for a change in religious values and religious beliefs.”

He remarked how Clinton’s agenda of not respecting people’s values was evident despite her choice of language. 

“She also called them ‘structural biases.’ Again, that is a misuse of language,” he said. “‘Biases,’ to many people, are the things that make them who they are.” 

“So that’s as much importance as I attach to Hillary Clinton’s statement about cultural beliefs,” Bishop Badejo concluded. “It is my desire that the American people open their ears and their eyes and know exactly what kind of people are running to be the next President of the United States.”

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