Patrick Craine

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Notre Dame professors demand removal of bishop who blasted Obama’s HHS mandate

Patrick Craine
Patrick Craine

SOUTH BEND, Indiana, April 23, 2012 ( - After an IRS complaint from an secularist group and other criticism, Peoria Bishop Daniel Jenky is now facing a petition by Notre Dame faculty to have him removed from the Catholic university’s board of fellows.

The action comes in response to a strongly worded homily denouncing President Obama’s HHS mandate, in which the bishop said that in his attacks on freedom of religion the president “seems intent on following a similar path” as past totalitarian dictators such as Hitler and Stalin.

After the remarks created a stir, drawing praise from pro-life advocates and denunciations from secularist groups and the Jewish Anti-Defamation League, the Diocese of Peoria emphasized that the bishop did not claim Obama’s infringements on religious freedom are comparable to that of Hitler or Stalin. Instead, they said, his comments were merely offered as “historical context … to prevent a repetition of historical attacks upon the Catholic Church and other religions.”

Nevertheless, fifty faculty members penned a letter Friday to university president Fr. John Jenkins and board chair Richard Notebaert claiming the charge was “profoundly offensive.”

“Bishop Jenky’s comments demonstrate ignorance of history, insensitivity to victims of genocide, and absence of judgment,” the professors wrote.

Bishop Jenky is a member of the Congregation of Holy Cross, which founded Notre Dame, and he is the sole bishop on both Notre Dame’s board of trustees and board of fellows.

In the homily, offered at the cathedral to a gathering of 500 Catholic men, the bishop urged the faithful to oppose President Obama’s “radical pro-abortion and extreme secularist agenda” at the ballot box in November.

He insisted that Catholics must oppose the mandate because “no Catholic institution, under any circumstance, can ever cooperate with the intrinsic evil of killing innocent human life in the womb.”

The strong rebuke of Obama led to charges of partisanship, and the secularist lobby group Americans United for Separation of Church and State called for an IRS investigation, claiming that the bishop violated federal laws for tax-exempt charities.

In their letter, the Notre Dame faculty acknowledged that Bishop Jenky’s comments are protected under the First Amendment, but said they found it “profoundly offensive that a member of our beloved university’s highest authority, the Board of Fellows, should compare the President’s actions with those whose genocidal policies murdered tens of millions of people, including the specific targeting of Catholics, Jews, and other minorities for their faith.”

“We request that you issue a statement on behalf of the University that will definitively distance Notre Dame from Bishop Jenky’s incendiary statement,” they continued. “Further, we feel that it would be in the best interest of Notre Dame if Bishop Jenky resigned from the University’s Board of Fellows if he is unwilling to renounce loudly and publicly this destructive analogy.”

At the same time, the bishop has been defended by parishioners at the cathedral and even the mayor of Peoria.

“There’s nothing the bishop said that he intentionally meant to hurt folks in the Jewish community or any other community,” Mayor Jim Ardis, described as a practicing Catholic, told the Post-Dispatch. “I absolutely agree with what he said.”

“He was saying, ‘As Catholics, we need leaders to represent your values,’ ” Ardis added. “As time goes on, we see more and more of the government getting into the churches.”

In his homily, Bishop Jenky insisted, “this fall, every practicing Catholic must vote, and must vote their Catholic consciences.” Otherwise, he said, “by the following fall our Catholic schools, our Catholic hospitals, our Catholic Newman Centers, all our public ministries - only excepting our church buildings – could easily be shut down.”

Though the Church may lose the battle against the mandate, he said, “before the awesome judgement seat of Almighty God this is not a war where any believing Catholic may remain neutral.”

“The days in which we live now require heroic Catholicism, not casual Catholicism,” he added. did not hear back from the University of Notre Dame by press time.

Contact Information:

Notre Dame
Phone: (574) 631-5000

Bishop Kevin Rhoades of Fort Wayne-South Bend
915 South Clinton
P.O. Box 390
Fort Wayne, Indiana 46801
Phone: (260) 422-4611
Fax: (260) 969-9145

Most Reverend Daniel R. Jenky C.S.C.
Spalding Pastoral Center
419 NE Madison Avenue
Peoria, IL 61603-3719
Phone (309) 671-1550
Fax (309) 671-1576
E-mail: [email protected]

Steve Jalsevac Steve Jalsevac Follow Steve

Today’s chuckle: Rubio, Fiorina and Carson pardon a Thanksgiving turkey

Steve Jalsevac Steve Jalsevac Follow Steve
By Steve Jalsevac

A little bit of humour now and then is a good thing.

Happy Thanksgiving to all our American readers.

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Building of the European Court of Human Rights.
Lianne Laurence


BREAKING: Europe’s top human rights court slaps down German ban on pro-life leafletting

Lianne Laurence
By Lianne Laurence

STRASBOURG, France, November 26, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – The European Court of Human Rights ruled Thursday that a German regional court violated a pro-life activist’s freedom of expression when it barred him from leafleting in front of an abortion center.

It further ruled the German court’s order that Klaus Gunter Annen not list the names of two abortion doctors on his website likewise violated the 64-year-old pro-life advocate’s right to freedom of expression.

The court’s November 26 decision is “a real moral victory,” says Gregor Puppinck, director of the Strasbourg-based European Center for Law and Justice, which intervened in Annen’s case. “It really upholds the freedom of speech for pro-life activists in Europe.”

Annen, a father of two from Weinam, a mid-sized city in the Rhine-Neckar triangle, has appealed to the Strasbourg-based European Court of Human Rights at least two times before, Puppinck told LifeSiteNews.

“This is the first time he made it,” he said, noting that this time around, Annen had support from the ECLJ and Alliance Defense Fund and the German Pro-life Federation (BVL). “I think he got more support, better arguments and so I think this helped.”

The court also ordered the German government to pay Annen costs of 13,696.87 EUR, or 14,530 USD.

Annen started distributing pamphlets outside a German abortion center ten years ago, ECLJ stated in a press release.

His leaflets contained the names and addresses of the two abortionists at the center, declared they were doing “unlawful abortions,” and stated in smaller print that, “the abortions were allowed by the German legislators and were not subject to criminal liability.”

Annen’s leaflets also stated that, “The murder of human beings in Auschwitz was unlawful, but the morally degraded NS State allowed the murder of innocent people and did not make it subject to criminal liability.” They referred to Annen’s website,, which listed a number of abortionists, including the two at the site he was leafleting.

In 2007, a German regional court barred Annen from pamphleteering in the vicinity of the abortion center, and ordered him to drop the name of the two abortion doctors from his website.

But the European Court of Human Rights ruled Thursday that the German courts had "failed to strike a fair balance between [Annen’s] right to freedom of expression and the doctor’s personality rights.”

The Court stated that, “there can be no doubt as to the acute sensitivity of the moral and ethical issues raised by the question of abortion or as to the importance of the public interest at stake.”

That means, stated ECLJ, that “freedom of expression in regard to abortion shall enjoy a full protection.”

ECLJ stated that the court noted Annen’s leaflets “made clear that the abortions performed in the clinic were not subject to criminal liability. Therefore, the statement that ‘unlawful abortions’ were being performed in the clinic was correct from a legal point of view.”

As for the Holocaust reference, the court stated that, “the applicant did not – at least not explicitly – equate abortion with the Holocaust.”  Rather, the reference was “a way of creating awareness of the more general fact that law might diverge from morality.”

The November 26 decision “is a quite good level of protection of freedom of speech for pro-life people,” observed Puppinck.

First, the European Court of Human Rights has permitted leafleting “in the direct proximate vicinity of the clinic, so there is no issue of zoning,” he told LifeSiteNews. “And second, the leaflets were mentioning the names of the doctors, and moreover, were mentioning the issue of the Holocaust, which made them quite strong leaflets.”

“And the court protected that.”

Annen has persevered in his pro-life awareness campaign through the years despite the restraints on his freedom.

“He did continue, and he did adapt,” Puppinck told LifeSiteNews. “He kept his freedom of speech as much as he could, but he continued to be sanctioned by the German authorities, and each time he went to the court of human rights. And this time, he won.”

ECLJ’s statement notes that “any party” has three months to appeal the November 26 decision.

However, as it stands, the European Court of Human Rights’s ruling affects “all the national courts,” noted Puppinck, and these will now “have to protect freedom of speech, recognize the freedom of speech for pro-lifers.”

“In the past, the courts have not always been very supportive of the freedom of speech of pro-life,” he said, so the ruling is “significant.”

As for Annen’s pro-life ministry, Pubbinck added: “He can continue to go and do, and I’m sure that he does, because he always did.”  

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A vibrant church in Africa. Pierre-Yves Babelon /
Pete Baklinski Pete Baklinski Follow Pete

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‘Soft racism’: German Bishops’ website attributes African Catholics’ strong faith to simplemindedness

Pete Baklinski Pete Baklinski Follow Pete
By Pete Baklinski

GERMANY, November 26, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) --  The only reason the Catholic Church is growing in Africa is because the people have a “rather low level” of education and accept “simple answers to difficult questions” involving marriage and sexuality, posited an article on the official website of the German Bishops' Conference posted yesterday. The article targeted particularly Cardinal Robert Sarah of Guinea, the Vatican's prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and ardent defender of Catholic tradition.

First Things blogger Leroy Huizenga, who translated a portion of the article, criticized the article's view as “soft racism.”

In his article, titled “The Romantic, Poor Church,” editor Björn Odendahl writes: 

So also in Africa. Of course the Church is growing there. It grows because the people are socially dependent and often have nothing else but their faith. It grows because the educational situation there is on average at a rather low level and the people accept simple answers to difficult questions (of faith) [sic]. Answers like those that Cardinal Sarah of Guinea provides. And even the growing number of priests is a result not only of missionary power but also a result of the fact that the priesthood is one of the few possibilities for social security on the dark continent.

Huizenga said that such an article has no place on a bishops’ conference website. 

“We all know that the German Bishops' Conference is one of the most progressive in the world. But it nevertheless beggars belief that such a statement would appear on the Conference's official website, with its lazy slander of African Christians and priests as poor and uneducated (Odendahl might as well have added ‘easy to command’) and its gratuitous swipe at Cardinal Sarah,” he wrote. 

“Natürlich progressives could never be guilty of such a sin and crime, but these words sure do suggest soft racism, the racism of elite white Western paternalism,” he added. 

African prelates have gained a solid reputation for being strong defenders of Catholic sexual morality because of their unwavering orthodox input into the recently concluded Synod on the Family in Rome. 

At one point during the Synod, Cardinal Robert Sarah urged Catholic leaders to recognize as the greatest modern enemies of the family what he called the twin “demonic” “apocalyptic beasts” of “the idolatry of Western freedom” and “Islamic fundamentalism.”

STORY: Cardinal Danneels warns African bishops to avoid ‘triumphalism’

“What Nazi-Fascism and Communism were in the 20th century, Western homosexual and abortion ideologies and Islamic fanaticism are today,” he said during his speech at the Synod last month. 

But African prelates’ adherence to orthodoxy has earned them enemies, especially from the camp of Western prelates bent on forming the Catholic Church in their own image and likeness, not according to Scripture, tradition, and the teaching magisterium of the Church. 

During last year’s Synod, German Cardinal Walter Kasper went as far as stating that the voice of African Catholics in the area of Church teaching on homosexuality should simply be dismissed.

African cardinals “should not tell us too much what we have to do,” he said in an October 2014 interview with ZENIT, adding that African countries are "very different, especially about gays.” 

Earlier this month Belgian Cardinal Godfried Danneels, instead of praising Africa for its vibrant and flourishing Catholicism, said that African prelates will one day have to look to Europe to get what he called “useful tips” on how to deal with “secularization” and “individualism.” 

The statement was criticized by one pro-family advocate as “patronizing of the worst kind” in light of the facts that numerous European churches are practically empty, vocations to the priesthood and religious life are stagnant, and the Catholic faith in Europe, especially in Belgium, is overall in decline.

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