John Pacheco

Opinion: Canadian gov’t cleaning up Catholic bishops’ Development and Peace mess

John Pacheco
By John Pacheco
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Guest commentary

OTTAWA, March 27, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - As LifeSiteNews reported, the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) has slashed by 65% its usual funding to the Canadian Catholic Bishops’ international aid organization, Development & Peace, for its 2011-2016 programs. It appears that the Canadian government has realized something that the Catholic bishops of Canada have not: that Development & Peace has some major problems which need an immediate and dramatic response.

The great irony, of course, is that instead of the Canadian bishops cleaning up the mess in their own backyard, the Canadian government has gone a long way in doing it for them. Caesar has decided that Development & Peace doesn’t meet the government’s standards for good stewardship of taxpayer funds. As government spokesman Justin Broekema said: “CIDA is responsible, particularly in times of fiscal restraint, for ensuring Canadian tax payers’ dollars deliver value for money and the strongest results in the lives of people in need.”

In July 2011, Socon or Bust published a comprehensive entry on how Development & Peace was doing in relation to other charities in Canada. The source of information for the entry was an article from the Summer edition of Money Sense.

The findings of the report were very sobering indeed for Development & Peace. In the category of Overall Charity Efficiency, Development & Peace received a grade of “C+”, the lowest of all 15 Canadian international charities, while also receiving a “C-” in Governance and Transparency, tying 3 other charities (including Amnesty International) for the lowest ranking.

Seizing on this report, LifeSiteNews readers and the Catholic blogosphere illuminated government officials as to the problems with Development & Peace. The Money Sense article (an independent and credible analysis of the international charity industry in Canada) likely had at least some influence on the cut to Development & Peace’s funding program, since the government’s stated “value for money” criteria was far from being met by the Canadian Catholic Church’s official aid and development agency.

In Embassy magazine’s follow-up article to the funding cut, there was speculation that the reduced funding might also have been related to Development & Peace’s direct involvement with the overtly political, ecumenical group, KAIROS, whose membership includes both Development & Peace (as a founding member no less) and the CCCB.

KAIROS’s funding was cut in 2009 by the Federal government because of their political advocacy against the State of Israel, as well as not meeting the conventional objectives for international aid, including providing water, health and education in developing nations. Instead, they consumed themselves, like Development & Peace did, with the latest “social justice” avante-guard causes like climate change, “eco-justice”, and the rest of the social Marxist fromage.

As with Development & Peace’s financial stewardship scandal which Money Sense exposed, Pro-Life Media, Catholic magazines and the Catholic Blogosphere reported on the close relationship between Development & Peace and KAIROS. This cozy connection between the Canadian Catholic Aid Agency and KAIROS caused some in the social justice industry to speculate openly about whether Development & Peace’s funding cut was in part responsible by their relationship with KAIROS:

“Mr. Casey said he doesn’t know whether the funding decision had anything do with the group’s advocacy work, or its membership in KAIROS. But Tony Martin, a Catholic former NDP MP and Development and Peace supporter, said he sees a connection. “The pattern is that anybody who stands up and is critical or lobbies government opposed to some of the activity of Canadian multinational corporations are going to get cut off at the knees,” he said from his home in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. He cited the KAIROS funding decision, and another government decision in December cutting funding to the Mennonite Central Committee, which is also a member of KAIROS.” (Source)

Mr. Martin’s observation was not too far off the mark. Concerned citizens’ complaints were not only restricted to abortion, but also included objections to taxpayer money being used to fund neo-Marxist revolutionaries in the Global South by these church organizations. During its never-ending abortion drama, Development & Peace, with its sordid 40+ year history of adopting socialist sensibilities, was also caught funding neo-Marxist groups who also freely admit to being pro-abortion.

For over three years now, both Socon or Bust (my blog) and LifeSiteNews (a news service - not a blog) have discovered at least 53 groups whose aims and policies are in direct contradiction to the Catholic Church’s teaching on human life. Some groups’ aims are more heinous than others, but all of them should be disqualified from receiving any Catholic aid whatsoever.

Despite the voluminous and troubling  evidence discovered thus far, most, but thankfully not all, of the Catholic bishops of this country have not sufficiently understood the systematic and deep-rooted problems with the orientation of Development & Peace. This was evidenced, for instance, by the bishops’ recent “solidarity” trip to Haiti where they were led around the island by George Soros’ pro-abort feminist shills. Do they even know who George Soros is? Remarkably, this “solidarity mission” was made after newly-elected CCCB president, Archbishop Richard Smith, asked Catholics to “trust the bishops” in October of last year.

The Church in Canada is coming to a crossroads of sorts concerning Development & Peace. This ongoing and perpetual failure to clean up Development & Peace points to something more than just Church politics and image. It points rather to a fundamental philosophical and theological error which many Canadian Bishops have adopted since the Winnipeg Statement. It’s called proportionalism.

Instead of recognizing the possibility of the intrinsic wickedness in an act, proportionalism seeks to downplay the inherent nature of an act to focus on the consequences instead. According to Blessed John Paul II, it is a teleologism which…

...by weighing the various values and goods being sought, focuses rather on the proportion acknowledged between the good and bad effects of that choice, with a view to the “greater good” or “lesser evil” actually possible in a particular situation (Veritatis Splendor).

It was this fundamental guiding error the Canadian bishops used with the Winnipeg Statement in which they said “a Catholic could contracept in good conscience”. It’s the same principle today when they are effectively telling Catholics they can give to pro-abort groups “in good conscience”.

And yet, this is not what the Church teaches at all. In 1994, Blessed John Paul II founded the Pontifical Academy for Life to promote the dignity of human life in medical science. In its statutes, it clearly says that close collaboration with medical doctors and researchers is to be encouraged, but only insofar as these doctors believe what the Church believes on the sanctity of human life:

The scientific and interdisciplinary activity of the Pontifical Academy for Life shall maintain a close connection with the bodies and institutions through which the Church is present in the world of the biomedical sciences, of health, and of healthcare organisations, also offering its collaboration to medical doctors and researchers (including those who are non-Catholics and non-Christians) who recognise that the dignity of man and the inviolability of human life from conception to natural death, as enunciated by the Magisterium of the Church, is the essential moral foundation of the science and art of medicine. (Article, 6)

If this is true for one area of Church mission, it is true for all areas of Church mission. As we can only co-operate with non-Catholic and non-Christians who share the Church’s values on the sacredness of human life in bioethics, so too is that principle no less binding in the area of human development and aid in the case of Development & Peace.

This means, of course, that the cumbaya “solidarity” missions with pro-abort feminists, anti-Catholic bigots, Marxists with masks, and the rest of the Church’s enemies embedded should be over. And so should sentiments like those of Bishop Fred Henry who said:

“The group may not be perfect but they must be doing a lot of good work even if there are a few positions and actions that we will have to challenge them on,” (Source).

No one would believe that the Catholic bishops of this country would hitch their wagon to organizations devoted to human trafficking, child pornography, or (heaven forbid!) climate change denial, despite all of the other social “good work” that they might do in the community. For some inexplicable reason, however, when the sin is about abortion or contraception, all of this other “good work” that the pro-abort pushers do somehow overrides their efforts to legalize abortion. Then, it becomes all about “walking with Jesus” or some other nonsense.

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Drew Belsky

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ACLU sues Kentucky clerk for refusing marriage licenses to all couples

Drew Belsky
By Drew Belsky

July 6, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) -- Four Kentucky couples are suing a clerk of the court in their county for refusing to grant them marriage licenses.

The clerk, Kim Davis of Rowan (pronounced "rah-win") County, declared that her faith prevents her from complying with the Supreme Court's Obergefell v. Hodges decision, issued in late June, which legally redefined marriage to include same-sex couples.  She is withholding licenses not only to same-sex couples, but to everyone – in fact, two of the couples suing Davis, with the help of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), are sexually complementary.

"It is my deep conviction and belief that God ordained marriage between a man and a woman," Davis told Kentucky station WYKT.  "I can't be a part of this."

"My Kentucky Constitution that I took the oath to uphold in January stated that marriage is between one man and one woman, and that is the constitution that I have vowed to uphold."

Laura Landenwich, an attorney with the ACLU, said that "Ms. Davis has the absolute right to believe whatever she wants about God, faith, and religion.  But as a government official who swore an oath to uphold the law, she cannot pick and choose who[m] she is going to serve, or which duties her office will perform based on her religious beliefs."

The ACLU's complaint avers that "Plaintiff and Plaintiff Class have suffered and continue to suffer irreparable harms, including harms to their dignity and autonomy, family security, and access to the full spectrum of benefits conferred by the state upon others."

Davis, a Democrat, is appealing to Kentucky's Bill of Rights, which states that "no human authority shall, in any case whatsoever, control or interfere with the rights of conscience."  Moreover, she told WSAZ reporter Kaitlynn LeBeau, "My Kentucky Constitution that I took the oath to uphold in January stated that marriage is between one man and one woman, and that is the constitution that I have vowed to uphold."

Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear, a Democrat, has ordered all clerks in the Bluegrass State to comply with the Supreme Court's decision.

"Each clerk vowed to uphold the law regardless of his or her personal beliefs," Beshear said in a statement.  "I appreciate the clerks who are fulfilling their duties, issuing licenses to all couples, and I would expect others to execute the duties of their offices as prescribed by law and to issue marriage licenses to all Kentuckians."

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

Davis's decision brought protesters to her office in Morehead last Tuesday.  The crowd comprised both opposition and supporters, bearing signs with messages including "Morehead = Equality," "Leave Religion out of your GOVERNMENT job!," and "We stand with you Kim."

Davis refuses to speak on camera because of an intensifying tide of threatening hate mail.  One man told her by e-mail that she needed to be killed.  She has received gratitude and support as well, including from states outside Kentucky.

"This is a battle," Davis told one reporter by phone, "nationwide, that I think is vital to every person who holds near and dear to their heart the word of God."

Resistance to Obergefell is not limited to one Kentucky county.  All three staffers at the county clerk's office in Decatur County, Tennessee resigned following the decision.  Decatur County commissioner David Boroughs told a local paper that he is "proud of them that their faith is so strong and well-rounded that they feel they can do that."

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Matthew J. Franck

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Obergefell is so awful that it makes Dred Scott look like a piece of lawyerly precision

Matthew J. Franck
By Matthew Franck

July 6, 2015 (ThePublicDiscourse) -- When the blow finally fell, the Supreme Court’s ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges—holding 5-4 that every state in the Union must license same-sex marriages—seemed somehow less crushing in its impact, less hurtful and wounding, than one might have expected from a decision that is so thoroughly a defeat for the truth about marriage and the truth about the Constitution.

Make no mistake, the harms from the Court’s appallingly illegitimate decision are many, and gravely serious. But the good news for a cockeyed optimist like me is that Justice Anthony Kennedy’s opinion is so incompetent, so gossamer-thin as an exercise in legal or constitutional reasoning, so unpersuasive even in political terms, that it renews my zest for carrying on the battle of persuading my fellow citizens and turning the country around on this issue.

I should have known he would do this for us, as well as to us. For Kennedy began to travel this road nearly twenty years ago in Romer v. Evans (1996), in which a 6-3 Court denied to the people of Colorado the authority to amend their state constitution to prevent their elected state and local legislators from adding “sexual orientation” to the list of “identities” on the grounds of which discrimination by public and private actors alike is forbidden.

Is Anyone "Demeaning" Others' "Dignity"?

Yet at least in Romer, the word “dignity” had not yet appeared in Kennedy’s reasoning. In Lawrence v. Texas (2003), which overturned state laws that criminalized homosexual sodomy, Kennedy turned away from the equal protection clause and to the textually and historically ungrounded jurisprudence of “substantive due process.” This meant, in Kennedy’s hands, the judicial protection of a free-ranging, judicially defined notion of “liberty” invoked to overturn any conduct-regulating statute that trenched on the “dignity” of persons whose wishes and desires tugged at the judges’ heartstrings.

In Romer, at least, Justice Kennedy had labored to produce something that resembled a competent account of the equal protection clause—though his attempt failed. But Lawrence was something else. Lawrence was a moment of real self-liberation for Kennedy. That can be seen in his quotation of what were probably his own words from the joint opinion he co-authored with Justices O’Connor and Souter in Planned Parenthood v. Casey: “At the heart of liberty is the right to define one’s own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life.” This “mystery passage” was already in 2003, and remains, the most widely lampooned bit of pseudo-reasoning of the last half century, but Kennedy sensed the cultural and political power that it represented, and in Lawrence he set it on course to colonize our constitutional law entirely. His opinion was also liberally salted with references to “dignity” (three times, including another line quoted from Casey), and to the idea that laws resting on negative judgments of homosexual conduct “demean” those who engage in it (four times).

United States v. Windsor, the Defense of Marriage Act case from two years ago, gave us more of Kennedy’s free-floating jurisprudence of “dignity” (ten mentions including “indignity”), condemning laws that “demean” (three mentions). Obergefell rests explicitly on this fragile, groundless rationale, with Kennedy mentioning the connection of marriage to “dignity” nine times, while three times saying that it “demeans” same-sex couples when a state limits marriage to one man and one woman, and twice invoking the matter of “identity.”

But there is something else quite new in Obergefell. Kennedy, somewhat defensively, mentions twice that defenders of conjugal marriage might believe redefining the institution to include same-sex couples “demeans” marriage itself. Since no one opposed to same-sex marriage actually speaks this way, this is a curious characterization, but perhaps an important one. In Kennedy’s mind, the Constitution has been converted into a great Dignity Document. The role of the Supreme Court is to adjudicate whose version of Dignity it embodies, which can be decided by pondering who is made to feel worse by having his strongest convictions “demeaned.” Victory will go to the one who can appeal successfully to strong feelings about his “identity.” As Chief Justice Roberts said in dissent, “The majority’s driving themes are that marriage is desirable and petitioners desire it.”

A Constitutional Crisis

Confronted by such a string of sentiments masquerading as constitutional principles, why then should I feel heartened by the new phase of the struggle into which the Obergefell ruling has just pitched us? The reason is that Kennedy is so terribly bad at his chosen profession of judge that he has now unmasked himself, and his four silent colleagues who joined his opinion for the Court, as imperial rulers with no regard for the Constitution, for the forms of reasoning that give the law its real vitality, or for the rightful authority of the people to govern themselves within the bounds of a Constitution they understand and respect.

Moreover, while noting all the manifold ways in which the marriage debate has been played out over the last two decades—just as he was attempting to shut that debate down—Kennedy evinced no understanding of what the arguments about marriage really are, not even grasping the arguments on the side he favored. In so doing, he showed himself to be, if not one of the least intellectually honest persons ever to come to that debate, then one of the least well-informed. His opinion is an act of the most breathtaking argumentative carelessness in the history of the Supreme Court. Roe v. WadeLochner v. New York, and Dred Scott v. Sandford—all rightly invoked by the dissenters in Obergefell as the true models for Kennedy’s reasoning—are closely reasoned works of lawyerly precision by comparison.

As a legal opinion, Obergefell is an utter failure. What the late John Hart Ely, who was politically in favor of abortion, said of Roe v. Wade, we can say of Obergefell: “It is bad because it is bad constitutional law, or rather because it is not constitutional law and gives almost no sense of an obligation to try to be.” But Obergefell is also embarrassingly bad as a contribution to the political and social debate on marriage. From this I take heart that the battle can be rejoined, with the making of better arguments—each side offering its best against the other’s best—in a struggle that will continue for years to come.

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But wait. Isn’t the debate over? Isn’t that what a Supreme Court decision on the Constitution means? Well, frankly, no. The movement for rescuing and restoring marriage in our country will not be made to vanish by so transparently political a holding of five justices of the Supreme Court. The movement for defending the sanctity of life in our law, forty-two years after Roe v. Wade, waxes rather than wanes in strength. As the pro-life movement was joined, so the marriage movement will be joined, by defenders of the authentic Constitution so blithely traduced by the Court’s majority. The Roe decision has often made pro-life converts out of people who actually read it—I know, because I was one of them—and the Obergefell ruling, in time, will do similar work in adding strength to the ranks of marriage’s defenders.

A constitutional ruling so shoddily reasoned, so completely and, one may say, easily dismantled by the four justices who dissent from it, must paper over a cause that cannot ultimately win in an open democratic debate, and that therefore seeks the shelter of powerful friends in the judiciary. This is just what many young people will come to see for themselves simply by reading the decision, just as many have done by reading Roe. The twin discoveries, that a great constitutional wrong has been committed to give cover to a great moral wrong, will come together.

We may take heart, then, from Justice Alito’s observation that “even enthusiastic supporters of same-sex marriage should worry about the scope of the power that today’s majority claims.” Indeed they should, for the debate is not over; it has only entered a new phase. That phase will necessarily include some sober deliberations regarding what can be done about a Supreme Court with (at least) five members who believe that they can rewrite the Constitution at will in order to transform fundamental institutions of our society. For Alito’s very next sentence is, “Today’s decision shows that decades of attempts to restrain this Court’s abuse of authority have failed.” Indeed, they have, and so it is back to the drawing board. When even the chief justice complains of “the majority’s extravagant conception of judicial supremacy,” it is time to do some hard thinking about meaningful institutional reform of the federal judiciary.

In the Meantime

While we prepare for hard work on many fronts in the battles for marriage and for the Constitution, we should recognize and immediately try to mitigate the great harm the Court has done. Despite Kennedy’s pat denials, marriage has been grievously wounded as an institution, and we must do what we can to bind up its wounds, in our own families, communities, and churches. After all, every future generation is at stake. We must never tire of saying: every child deserves a mother and a father—preferably his or her own biological parents. That, as the dissenting justices recognized, is what marriage has always been about, in every age and culture, and it is why marriage has always been understood as the union of a man and a woman.

And we must do all that we can to institute safeguards for religious freedom in our country, which will now come under attack as never before. It was strangely gratifying to see Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Thomas, in their dissents, give this matter their lengthy and considered attention. Thomas foresees “potentially ruinous consequences for religious liberty” in this invention of a new “right” of same-sex marriage, and Roberts noted how telling was the way in which Kennedy shrugged off such potentials:

The majority graciously suggests that religious believers may continue to “advocate” and “teach” their views of marriage. . . . The First Amendment guarantees, however, the freedom to “exercise” religion. Ominously, that is not a word the majority uses.

The protection of religious freedom may rapidly become our most urgent legislative business, both in Congress and in state legislatures. But win or lose in legislative assemblies, the faithful and their pastoral leaders in the many religious communities devoted to the truth about marriage must prayerfully muster the courage to act, and to live as their faith informs their consciences, as well as to “advocate” and “teach.” As Alito notes, “those who are determined to stamp out every vestige of dissent” on the marriage question will be ready to exploit the Court’s decision. Look at your social media feeds: That is already happening.

In our response to our counterparts in this great constitutional, political, and moral debate that now begins anew, we can start by preaching and practicing a truer, fuller understanding of dignity, in our families and churches, than the one about which Kennedy so vainly prattles. And we can fix our eyes on the prize of restoring, through real democratic debate and persuasion, the great goods of constitutional self-government and justice to individuals and families.

Thank you, Justice Kennedy, for giving us this opportunity. I know you didn’t mean it, but thank you nonetheless.

Reprinted with permission from The Witherspoon Institute

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Lisa Bourne

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US Episcopal Church faces backlash after approving gay ‘marriage’

Lisa Bourne
By Lisa Bourne

July 6, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) -- The bishops of the U.S. Episcopal Church gave the green light last week for clergy to perform same-sex “weddings,” in a heavily-debated fundamental change set to come in the door incrementally.  

As of November 1 of this year homosexual couples will have the right to be “married” in the church, the result of new liturgies for same-sex couples approved Wednesday at the denomination’s General Convention in Salt Lake City.

The bishops also accepted changing the church’s canons (rules) governing marriage, to make them gender neutral, thus replacing the terms “man and woman” with “couple.”

Episcopal clergy however, will be allowed to refuse to perform a homosexual “marriage” with the promise they would not be penalized, and individual bishops were also given the right to refuse to allow same-sex ceremonies to take place in their diocese.

The compromise is angering Episcopalians on both sides of the issue, with liberal factions potentially trying to block the plan and insist on the immediate introduction of same-sex “marriage” with no way for dioceses to opt out, and conservatives likely to reach out to overseas leaders in the wider Anglican Communion for help in getting the church to stop.

The leader of the worldwide Anglican Communion, which includes the Episcopal Church, released a statement expressing his “deep concern” over the U.S. Episcopal Church’s resolution to change the definition of marriage.

“Its decision will cause distress for some and have ramifications for the Anglican Communion as a whole,” Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby said, “as well as for its ecumenical and interfaith relationships.”

Blessings for homosexual unions were first approved at the denomination’s 2012 convention, along with acceptance of transgender clergy. The Episcopal Church still maintained at the time that marriage was an exclusive life-long covenant of one man and one woman, as held in the church’s Book of Common Prayer.

While several Episcopal bishops defended the Biblical definition of marriage at this year’s convention, the majority of bishops argued that the provisional and trial rites would expand the traditional teaching about marriage, without changing the church’s underlying text or doctrine of marriage.

Retired Episcopal Bishop Vicky Gene Robinson, the first openly gay bishop in the Episcopal Church, was among those at the convention who said homosexual sexual intimacy was morally acceptable and should be blessed in faithful covenanted relationships, stating, “I think it is time for us to do this.”

Robinson, whose 2003 elevation to bishop was a key factor in the denomination’s later split, said, “Gays and lesbians are living out their lives in holy ways,” and changing the church’s rules on marriage “allows us to recognize this,” to “declare how far we have come.”

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

In response to an inquiry for comment on the Episcopal bishops’ resolution accepting homosexual “marriage,” the Anglican Church in North America directed LifeSiteNews to the church’s recent response to the U.S. Supreme Court decision legalizing homosexual “marriage,” which said in part, “The Anglican Church in North America only authorizes and only performs marriages between one man and one woman.” 

Leaders of the Anglican Global South, a grouping of 24 of the 38 provinces of the Anglican Communion, issued a statement criticizing the U.S. Episcopal Church’s resolution as another unilateral decision taken without consideration for the Anglican Communion, ecumenical and interfaith relations and the mission of the church worldwide.

“This Resolution clearly contradicts the Holy Scriptures and God’s plan for creation as He created humankind as man and woman to complement each other physically and emotionally,” the Global South statement said.

“The church is intended by its Lord to be the holy leaven to shape society by its spiritual and moral values in line with God’s design,” it continued. “But sadly, by this action of (The Episcopal Church), the church gives way to the society to alter and shape its values. In other words the church is losing its distinctiveness as salt and light in this world.”

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