Matthew Cullinan Hoffman


Mexican bishop condemns pro-abortion group listed as ‘partner’ by Development and Peace

Matthew Cullinan Hoffman
Matthew Cullinan Hoffman

CHIAPAS, January 14, 2011 ( - The Catholic Bishop of San Cristobal de las Casas, in the state of Chiapas, Mexico, has condemned a group that the Canadian bishops’ Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace (D&P) currently lists as its featured Mexican “partner” on its website, LifeSiteNews has learned.

The organization, known as the Center for Economic and Political Research for Community Action (“Centro de Investigaciones Economicas y Politicas de Accion Comunitaria” or CIEPAC) openly supports Mexico City’s law permitting and even funding abortions during the first 14 weeks of pregnancy, and complains that the Catholic Church seeks to “deny to women the possibility of deciding regarding their plans, their bodies, and their lives” (see document here in Spanish).

Following the statement, which the organization sent to the Catholic Bishop of Chiapas, Felipe Arizmendi Esquivel, the bishop responded with a letter thanking CIEPAC “for sending me your documents.”

“This one causes me much concern,” the bishop continued, “and above all the fact that it is fundamentally supported also by CIEPAC.  It is for this reason, and because of other things, that I am not in agreement with you giving advice to groups in the diocese.  I send to you what I wrote months ago with respect [to this topic].”

In the attached statement, Bishop Esquivel calls abortion a “Hitlerian extermination” and adds that “the fifth commandment of the law of God is very clear: ‘Thou shalt not kill (Ex 20,13; Deut 5,17). Jesus emphasizes and reiterates this command (cf Mt 19,18). There is no doubt, then. To take away the life of a human being, is murder. The fetus is a human being, even if he has been in existence for only one second.”

CIEPAC reprints the bishop’s letter and his statement condemning abortion commenting that they were “publicizing the commentary of Monsignor Felipe Arizmendi, together with the writing that was made public several months ago,” because of “respect for the diversity of opinions”.  “However, we are clarifying that in no way do we share in his assertions,” the organization added.

According to information sent by D&P to LifeSiteNews in 2009, CIEPAC was at that time receiving $40,000 per year from the organization, which is largely funded by a collection carried out by the Canadian bishops through annual Lenten collections.  As LifeSiteNews reported at that time, CIEPAC is also a signatory of the pro-abortion “Report of Organizations of Civil Society on Economic, Social, Cultural, and Environmental Rights in Mexico”,  which openly advocates legalization of abortion on demand throughout the country, with 67 mostly positive references to the practice or its legalization.

In addition, CIEPAC displays several other pro-abortion declarations on its website.

Mixed Signals

Following reports by LifeSiteNews and other media outlets of numerous pro-abortion, pro-contraceptive, and anti-Catholic organizations funded by D&P, and following interventions to the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, D&P’s leadership has indicated that it intends to change its policies.  Msgr. Pat Powers, Secretary General of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, told the BC Catholic newspaper in November that D&P is reformulating the “manner in which people become partners” and creating an “an exit strategy” for ending what the newspaper calls “controversial projects.”

According to Msgr. Powers, Development and Peace staff informed him that CIEPAC is no longer funded by the organization, following a review of its partners conducted during 2010. However, LifeSiteNews has been unable to get a direct confirmation of this assertion from D&P, an organization that continues to stifle attempts to obtain a list of its grant recipients.

In response to an inquiry by LifeSiteNews, Msgr. Powers said that “I have spoken with CCODP (D&P) concerning CIEPAC in Mexico, and as I suspected, they terminated their partnership last year.  As you know, CCODP conducted a major review of all their partnerships last year.  It is safe to say that according to the norms they now have in place, this group would never ever be eligible to be a partner with them.”

Regarding the fact that Development and Peace continues to list the organization as a “partner” on its website, Msgr. Powers thanked LifeSiteNews for the information and said that he would pass it on to Development and Peace.

As is customary, D&P President Michael Casey did not respond to an interview request by LifeSiteNews by press time. Casey has previously told LifeSiteNews that he will not grant interviews to this news agency.  Moreover, LifeSiteNews has recently been informed that, almost 10 months after filing a Freedom of Information Request with the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) to determine which groups D&P is funding in partnership with the agency, and how much it is contributing to each one, the organization continues to “negotiate” with CIDA over the release of the information.

CIDA told LifeSiteNews in a December email that “we are still under negociations (sic) with the third party in order to be able to finalize the processing of your request.  In other words, we are hoping that the result of these negociations (sic) will avoid that the case be referred to the Federal Court in which case it will take much longer before we are able to proceed further with your request.”

Called again later today for comment about CIDA’s ongoing blockage of the LifeSiteNews Freedom of Information request, Msgr. Powers told LifeSiteNews through a representative that “Michael Casey would have all the answers you would need.”

See also, The Development and Peace Scandal - All coverage from 2009 to Oct 30, 2010

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John-Henry Westen John-Henry Westen Follow John-Henry


Pope Francis eases forgiveness of abortion for Jubilee Year of Mercy

John-Henry Westen John-Henry Westen Follow John-Henry
By John-Henry Westen

ROME, September 1, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) -- In an announcement today, Pope Francis said that he is enacting an Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy from December 8, 2015 through November 2016. As part of the Jubilee, the pope has allowed priests to forgive the sin of abortion, which St. John Paul II taught in Evangelium Vitae (paragraph 58) is “murder.”

The statement marks the most extensive remarks on abortion that Pope Francis has made during his pontificate. Rather than downplaying the seriousness of abortion, as some media contend, in the statement the pope encourages the millions of women who have aborted their children to go to confession and seek God’s forgiveness.

In the Catechism, the Church calls abortion a “criminal” practice, and imposes the penalty of excommunication on those who do it -- essentially, removing those who commit abortions from the Church. In the past, typically re-entry into the Church for those who have separated themselves from it by excommunication can only be undertaken by a bishop. However in much of North America priests have already been given standing permission by their bishops to forgive abortion.

Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput explained in an email sent to LifeSiteNews today, “For many years now, parish priests have been given permission to absolve the sin of abortion here in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.” The Philadelphia archbishop, who will play host to Pope Francis during the pontiff’s visit later this month added, “But the practice has not been common in various other regions of the world.”

“This action in no way diminishes the moral gravity of abortion,” concluded Chaput. “What it does do is make access to sacramental forgiveness easier for anyone who seeks it with a truly penitent heart.”

The pope declared that all priests may forgive the sin of abortion for “those who have procured it and who with contrite heart, seek forgiveness for it.'"

The pope says in his letter that abortion is a “tragedy” wherein “extreme harm” takes place, and calls it “profoundly unjust.”  He admits however, as does the pro-life movement, that it is an “agonizing and painful decision” and many women “believe that they have no other option.”

In order to be forgiven by God of such a serious offence, the pope says the one who has procured the abortion must be made aware of the “gravity of the sin committed” and be truly repentant. They must come, says Francis, with a “contrite heart, seek forgiveness for” the abortion and hoping for “reconciliation with the Father.”

The full statement from the Pope on the matter of abortion follows:

One of the serious problems of our time is clearly the changed relationship with respect to life. A widespread and insensitive mentality has led to the loss of the proper personal and social sensitivity to welcome new life. The tragedy of abortion is experienced by some with a superficial awareness, as if not realizing the extreme harm that such an act entails. Many others, on the other hand, although experiencing this moment as a defeat, believe they they have no other option. I think in particular of all the women who have resorted to abortion. I am well aware of the pressure that has led them to this decision. I know that it is an existential and moral ordeal. I have met so many women who bear in their heart the scar of this agonizing and painful decision. What has happened is profoundly unjust; yet only understanding the truth of it can enable one not to lose hope. The forgiveness of God cannot be denied to one who has repented, especially when that person approaches the Sacrament of Confession with a sincere heart in order to obtain reconciliation with the Father. For this reason too, I have decided, notwithstanding anything to the contrary, to concede to all priests for the Jubilee Year the discretion to absolve of the sin of abortion those who have procured itand who, with contrite heart, seek forgiveness for it. May priests fulfil this great task by expressing words of genuine welcome combined with a reflection that explains the gravity of the sin committed, besides indicating a path of authentic conversion by which to obtain the true and generous forgiveness of the Father who renews all with his presence.

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TLC stars Kody Brown and his four "wives"
Fr. Mark Hodges

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Surprise, surprise: New suit says gay ‘marriage’ ruling laid ground for legal polygamy

Fr. Mark Hodges
By Fr. Mark Hodges

SALT LAKE CITY, UT, September 1, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – When "The Pill" was made available to the public in 1964, Christians warned it could lead to promiscuity and disassociation of sex with marriage and children.  They were ridiculed as religious fanatics.

When abortion was made legal throughout all nine months of pregnancy in 1973, Christians warned that it would not save women's lives, but would instead lead to devaluing all human life, especially children's lives. They were dismissed as moral-legislating hate-mongers.

When euthanasia was legalized in Oregon and other states, Christians warned that the non-terminally ill and eventually the mentally handicapped, or simply the unwanted, would be killed in the name of mercy. They were mocked as right-wing crazies.

When sodomy laws in Texas and elsewhere were stricken from the books in 2003, Christians warned that societal approval of that harmful practice would lead to an increase in disease and further perversion. They were ignored and vilified.

When DADT (Don't Ask Don't Tell) rules for the military were reversed, Christians warned that the epidemic of rapes in the armed services would increase, not decrease, and that combat readiness would continue to diminish. They were called bigots, their words "hate speech."

And so on. Recent history is rife with examples of conservatives warning against societal degradation being vilified as "slippery slope" straw man creators, who want only to legislate morality.

Click "like" if you want to defend true marriage.

That's how those who warned that the Supreme Court's same-sex "marriage" decision would lead to legalization of any and all kinds of "marriage," such as a man and several wives or vice versa.

And, as in every case cited above, what Christian conservatives warned is exactly what has now happened.

In a U.S. 10th Circuit court filing, reality TV polygamist Kody Brown and his wives point to the U.S. Supreme Court's historic ruling on same-sex marriage to buttress their pro-polygamy case.

Peter LaBarbera, president of Americans for Truth, summarized to LifeSiteNews, "The left's chaotic cultural agenda knows no boundaries. Once 'marriage' could be redefined to accommodate sexual perversion, it would be impossible to stop other perversions from being recognized." 

The American Family Association's Ed Vitagliano told LifeSiteNews, "It has been clear for decades that sexual radicals in America have been targeting the God-ordained institution of marriage for destruction. Toss in a handful of U.S. Supreme Court rulings, beginning in 2003 (Lawrence v. Texas), and ending with this summer's debacle (Obergefell v. Hodges), and we are on the verge of seeing the secularists succeed." 

The AFA executive vice president concluded to LifeSiteNews, "We have no doubt that the polygamists will be next to step into the federal courts."

Indeed. Brown and his four wives, Meri, Janelle, Christine, and Robyn, have asked the court to uphold a judge's ruling striking down part of Utah's law against polygamy. To prove their case, they cite precedents involving same-sex marriage (United States v. Windsor and Obergefell v. Hodges), and a case that struck down a ban on sodomy (Lawrence v. Texas).

"From the rejection of morality legislation in Lawrence, to the expansion of the protections of liberty interests in Obergefell, it is clear that states can no longer use criminal codes to ... punish those who choose to live in consensual but unpopular unions," Brown's filing states. "This case is about the criminalization of consensual relations."

LaBarbera told LifeSiteNews that the move to legalize polygamy is no surprise. "Once the argument for homosexual so-called 'marriage' became 'Love Is Love,' it was only a matter of time before multiple-partner activists would start defending the 'right' to have THEIR [perversion of] 'love' legitimized by state-recognized 'marriage.'"

The Browns, who appear on the television show "Sister Wives," sued the state of Utah over its ban on polygamy, which Brown calls "plural relationships." They argue that the law violates their right to freely practice their religion and their right to equal protection under the law.

Specifically, Brown is challenging the state's assertion that polygamy is harmful to societies that condone it.

Brown argues that the state should not have "the right to impose criminal morality codes on citizens, compelling them to live their lives in accordance with the religious or social values of the majority of citizens."

LaBarbera concluded, "Social conservatives and Christians must work to overturn Obergefell, just like homosexual activists worked to overturn the Supreme Court's Bowers v. Hardwick decision in 1986 that allowed anti-sodomy laws. Otherwise, we are guaranteed to lose more and more freedoms as 'gay' power grows, using legalized 'marriage' as leverage."

Arguments in the Brown polygamy case could take place before the 10th Circuit Court in Denver before the end of the year.

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Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-KY, speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference in National Harbor, MD, on March 6, 2014. Christopher Halloran /
Dustin Siggins Dustin Siggins Follow Dustin


Sen. McConnell: GOP won’t push Obama on Planned Parenthood defunding

Dustin Siggins Dustin Siggins Follow Dustin
By Dustin Siggins

WASHINGTON, D.C., September 1, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) -- Planned Parenthood won't lose its funding for at least 18 months, says America's top senator.

Speaking on WYMT TV, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-KY, said, "The president’s made it very clear he’s not going to sign any bill that includes defunding of Planned Parenthood, so that’s another issue that awaits a new president, hopefully with a different point of view about Planned Parenthood."

“We just don’t have the votes to get the outcome that we’d like,” he said. “Again, the president has the pen to sign it. If he doesn’t sign it, it doesn’t happen. But, yeah, we voted on that already in the Senate, we’ll vote on it again, but I would remind all of your viewers the way you make a law in this country, the Congress has to pass it and the president has to sign it.”

McConnell's comments came despite pressure from Senators and Representatives alike, as well as pro-life groups, who want Republicans to make defunding a priority.

"If the president of the United States and Harry Reid think it's more important that Planned Parenthood get your tax dollars than to pay our troops, then they are shutting down the government,” Freedom Caucus leader Jim Jordan, R-OH, told CNN last week.

Jordan and others have pushed GOP leaders to attach defunding efforts to must-pass pieces of legislation, such as a highway bill earlier this summer and the upcoming Continuing Resolution to keep the federal government running. GOP leaders have generally opposed this strategy, which has created a schism within the party.

Conversely, Democrats have been largely united. Leaders and rank-and-file members in both parties have generally supported taxpayer funding of the abortion giant, despite the possibility of illegal abortions being done to illegally harvest fetal organs and other body parts.


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