Hilary White

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Irish ‘Children’s Rights’ referendum poses major threat to families/parents, say critics

Hilary White
Hilary White
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DUBLIN, October 16, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Irish pro-life and family observers are warning that an upcoming referendum to amend the constitution regarding the “rights of the child” is in reality a “power grab of monstrous proportions” by government aimed at erasing the natural rights of parents and of children. The referendum is set for November 10th, and opponents say that if the wording stands, parents will lose all rights to raise their children as they see fit.

Human Life International Ireland (HLII) Chief Executive Patrick McCrystal said that the referendum is “staggering in its audacity” and “in a perverse sense … an attack on children.”

Critics are warning that under the proposal’s mandate, children can be removed from their natural homes and put up for adoption by the state at any time, “where the best interests of the child so require.”

McCrystal said the undefined term “best interests of the child,” “is a carte blanche to the State to do whatever it wants and parents will be helpless.”

The proposal intends to amend the constitution of Ireland to say that the state “recognises and affirms the natural and imprescriptible rights of all children,” but declines to define or even name them. Instead, the amendment focuses mainly on the right of the state to remove children from their families and adopt them out or keep them in government care.

According to critics, its wording effectively transfers all responsibility for children’s welfare and education from parents and the family to the state. The proposed new Article 42A says that in “exceptional cases” where parents “fail in their duty towards their children” the state, “as guardian of the common good,” will be empowered to “supply the place of the parents”.

“Concerning the adoption, guardianship or custody of, or access to, any child, the best interests of the child shall be the paramount consideration.”

The government is claiming that the amendment will address the abuse of children by various care institutions that has tainted Ireland’s past. But Nora Bennis, a conservative campaigner and the founder of the National Party, wrote in a letter to the Irish Examiner that the referendum “could lead to many more and far worse abuses of children because there is absolutely nothing in the wording to show how children will be protected from the State if it fails in its new constitutional duty towards Irish children.”

“It was the State and State agents that were primarily responsible in the past for removing thousands of children from their parents and placing them in institutions where they were physically and sexually abused,” Bennis said.
The idea for the referendum comes in the wake of a series of government-sponsored reports into allegations of abuse of minors in the care of various state-funded and supervised institutions over the last 50 years.

Writing in the Daily Mail, Mary Ellen Synon called the proposal “dangerous” and pointed out the irony of the state granting itself further powers over children in the wake of the abuse scandals that they have laid at the feet of the Catholic Church. Synon pointed out that in her speeches promoting the amendment, Frances Fitzgerald, Ireland’s minister at the Department of Children, has never said exactly who has been “failing our country’s children.”

Synon wrote, “Answer, in almost every case: the agents of the State. Yet this amendment is geared to give the agents of the State even more power over children.”

Although campaigners on the NO side have their work cut out for them and less than a month to go, there has been very little movement from them to date. With the government pouring its massive funding power promoting the YES side in the referendum, very little in the way of public response has been made outside a small number of newspaper editorials, blog posts and letters to the editor.

In fact, the NO campaign is all but invisible in the public eye, with most pro-life and pro-traditional family activists focusing on the looming abortion issue. The silence prompted concerns by the state broadcaster, RTE, that the “low profile” of the NO side is going to make more problematic the usual rule of 50 percent coverage for both sides.

Even the YES campaigners appear to be wondering where their opponents are hiding. Tanya Ward, chief executive of the Children’s Rights Alliance, was quoted in the Irish Times saying she was concerned there are not enough people on the No side to fully inform the public.

“People need to understand what the amendment is about and what impact it will have on their children and on their family life,” she said. “I think we’re probably concerned that the media won’t be able to run enough packages and enough items explaining the details of the amendment.”

LifeSiteNews’ requests for comments or input from NO campaign organizers have remained unanswered.

Fr. Peter West, Vice President, Human Life International, warned that Ireland’s growing hostility to the natural family is a sign that the government has only the government’s “best interests” in mind.

“One gets the sense that very few people in Ireland realize how radical the proposed amendment really is,” West told LifeSiteNews.com. “People of all faiths or no faith should be demanding answers from their representatives as to how this unjust proposal has even seen the light of day.

“Irish leaders must demand that it be buried, and that an article unequivocally protecting the sovereignty of the family, and parents rights, be adopted in its place.”

But the attempt at such a state power-grab in Ireland should not only be of concern to the Irish, “it must concern and outrage us all that such an obscene and dictatorial proposal is even up for consideration,” he said.

“Already in the UK and Germany we see parents under attack for daring to remove their children from ‘education’ that they find morally indefensible.”

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Lisa Bourne

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Pressure mounts as Catholic Relief Services fails to act on VP in gay ‘marriage’

Lisa Bourne
By Lisa Bourne
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Rick Estridge, Catholic Relief Services' Vice President of Overseas Finance, is in a same-sex "marriage," public records show. Twitter

BALTIMORE, MD, April 24, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) -- Nearly a week after news broke that a Catholic Relief Services vice president had contracted a homosexual “marriage” while also publicly promoting homosexuality on social media in conflict with Church teaching, the US Bishops international relief agency has taken no apparent steps to address the matter and is also not talking.

CRS Vice President of Overseas Finance Rick Estridge entered into a homosexual “marriage” in Maryland the same month in 2013 that he was promoted by CRS to vice president, public records show.

Despite repeated efforts at a response, CRS has not acknowledged LifeSiteNews’ inquiries during the week. And the agency told ChurchMilitant.com Thursday that no action had been taken beyond discussion of the situation and CRS would have no further comment.

"Nothing has changed,” CRS Senior Manager for Communications Tom said. “No further statement will be made."

LifeSiteNews first contacted CRS for a response prior to the April 20 release of the report and did not receive a reply, however Estridge’s Facebook and LinkeIn profiles were then removed just prior to the report’s release.

CRS also did not acknowledge LifeSiteNews’ follow-up inquiry later in the week.

“Having an executive who publicly celebrates a moral abomination shows the ineffectiveness of CRS' Catholic identity training,” Lepanto Institute President Michael Hichborn told LifeSiteNews. “How many others who hate Catholic moral teaching work at CRS?”

CRS did admit it was aware Estridge was in a “same-sex civil marriage” to Catholic News Agency (CNA) Monday afternoon, and confirmed he was VP of Overseas Finance and had been with CRS for 16 years.

“At this point we are in deliberations on this matter,” Price told CNA that day.

ChurchMilitant.com also reported that according to its sources, it was a well-known fact at CRS headquarters in Baltimore that Estridge was in a homosexual “marriage.” 

“There is no way CRS didn't know one of its executives entered into a mock-marriage until we broke the story,” Hichborn said. “The implication is clear; CRS top brass had no problem with having an executive so deliberately flouting Catholic moral teaching.”

“The big question is,” Hichborn continued, “what other morally repugnant matters is CRS comfortable with?”

While the wait continues for the Bishops’ relief organization to address the matter, those behind the report and other critics of prior instances of CRS involvement in programs and groups that violate Church principles continue to call for a thorough and independent review of the agency programs and personnel.

“How long should it take to call an employee into your office, tell him that his behavior is incompatible with the mission of the organization, and ask for his resignation?” asked Population Research Institute President Steven Mosher. “About thirty minutes, I would say.”

“The Catholic identity of CRS is at stake,” Hichborn stated. “If CRS does nothing, then there is no way faithful Catholics can trust the integrity of CRS's programs or desire to make its Catholicity preeminent.” 

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Thousands of marriage activists gathered in D.C. June 19, 2014 for the 2nd March for Marriage. Dustin Siggins / LifeSiteNews.com
The Editors

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Watch the March for Marriage online—only at LifeSiteNews

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WASHINGTON, D.C., April 24, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) -- At noon on Saturday, the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) and dozens of cosponsors, coalition partners, and speakers will launch the third annual March for Marriage. Thousands of people are expected to take place in this important event to show the support real marriage has among the American people.

As the sole media sponsor of the March, LifeSiteNews is proud to exclusively livestream the March. Click here to see the rally at noon Eastern Time near the U.S. Capitol, and the March to the Supreme Court at 1:00 Eastern Time.

And don't forget to pray that God's Will is done on Tuesday, when the Supreme Court hears arguments about marriage!

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Ben Johnson Ben Johnson Follow Ben

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

Ben Johnson Ben Johnson Follow Ben
By Ben Johnson

NEW YORK CITY, April 24, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Speaking to an influential gathering in New York City on Thursday, Hillary Clinton declared that “religious beliefs” that condemn "reproductive rights," “have to be changed.”

“Yes, we've cut the maternal mortality rate in half, but far too many women are still denied critical access to reproductive health,” Hillary told the Women in the World Summit yesterday.

Liberal politicians use “reproductive health” as a blanket term that includes abortion. However, Hillary's reference echoes National Organization for Women (NOW) president Terry O’Neill's op-ed from last May that called abortion “an essential measure to prevent the heartbreak of infant mortality.”

The Democratic presidential hopeful added that governments should throw the power of state coercion behind the effort to redefine traditional religious dogmas.

“Rights have to exist in practice, not just on paper. Laws have to be backed up with resources, and political will,” she said. “Deep-seated cultural codes, religious beliefs, and structural biases have to be changed.”

The line received rousing applause at the feminist conference, hosted in Manhattan's Lincoln Center by Tina Brown.

She also cited religious-based objections to the HHS mandate, funding Planned Parenthood, and the homosexual and transgender agenda as obstacles that the government must defeat.

“America moves ahead when all women are guaranteed the right to make their own health care choices, not when those choices are taken away by an employer like Hobby Lobby,” she said. The Supreme Court ruled last year that closely held corporations had the right to opt out of the provision of ObamaCare requiring them to provide abortion-inducing drugs, contraceptives, and sterilization to employees with no co-pay – a mandate that violates the teachings of the Catholic Church and other Christian bodies.

Clinton lamented that “there are those who offer themselves as leaders...who would defund the country's leading provider of family planning,” Planned Parenthood, “and want to let health insurance companies once again charge women just because of our gender.”

“We move forward when gay and transgender women are embraced...not fired from good jobs because of who they love or who they are,” she added.

It is not the first time the former first lady had said that liberal social policies should displace religious views. In a December 2011 speech in Geneva, then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said perhaps the “most challenging issue arises when people cite religious or cultural values as a reason to violate or not to protect the human rights of LGBT citizens.” These objections, she said, are “not unlike the justification offered for violent practices towards women like honor killings, widow burning, or female genital mutilation.”

While opinions on homosexuality are “still evolving,” in time “we came to learn that no [religious] practice or tradition trumps the human rights that belong to all of us.”

Her views, if outside the American political mainstream, have been supported by the United Nations. The UN Population Fund stated in its 2012 annual report that religious objections to abortion-inducing drugs had to be overcome. According to the UNFPA report, “‘duty-bearers’ (governments and others)” have a responsibility to assure that all forms of contraception – including sterilization and abortion-inducing ‘emergency contraception’ – are viewed as acceptable – “But if they are not acceptable for cultural, religious or other reasons, they will not be used.”

Two years later, the United Nations' Committee on the Rights of the Child instructed the Vatican last February that the Catholic Church should amend canon law “relating to abortion with a view to identifying circumstances under which access to abortion services may be permitted.”

At Thursday's speech, Hillary called the legal, state-enforced implementation of feminist politics “the great unfinished business of the 21st century,” which must be accomplished “not just for women but for everyone — and not just in far away countries but right here in the United States.”

“These are not just women's fights. These have to be America's fights and the world's fights,” she said. “There's still much to be done in our own country, much more to be done around the world, but I'm confident and optimistic that if we get to work, we will get it done together.”

American critics called Clinton's suggestion that a nation founded upon freedom of religion begin using state force to change religious practices unprecedented.

“Never before have we seen a presidential candidate be this bold about directly confronting the Catholic Church's teachings on abortion,” said Bill Donohue of the Catholic League.

“In one sense, this shows just how extreme the pro-abortion caucus actually is,” Ed Morrissey writes at HotAir.com. “Running for president on the basis of promising to use the power of government to change 'deep seated cultural codes [and] religious beliefs' might be the most honest progressive slogan in history.”

He hoped that, now that she had called for governments to change religious doctrines, “voters will now see the real Hillary Clinton, the one who dismisses their faith just the same as Obama did, and this time publicly rather than in a private fundraiser.”

Donohue asked Hillary “to take the next step and tell us exactly what she plans to do about delivering on her pledge. Not only would practicing Catholics like to know, so would Evangelicals, Orthodox Jews, Muslims, and all those who value life from conception to natural death.”

You may watch Hillary's speech below.

Her comments on religion begin at approximately 9:00. 

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