Jeanne Smits, Paris correspondent

Parisian pro-lifers don clown garb and unite in massive ‘flashmob’ against euthanasia

Jeanne Smits, Paris correspondent
By Jeanne Smits

March 26, 2012 ( - A pro-life event made the national news on French television Saturday evening when “Alliance Vita” organized a giant flashmob against euthanasia on the “Parvis des droits de l’homme” (“Human Rights Square”) at the Trocadéro in Paris. Seven hundred people, young and old, holding red hearts with the slogan “Caring, not killing,” filled the esplanade facing the Eiffel Tower and danced to the sounds of Paul McCartney’s Live and Let Die.

The secret of the demonstration was carefully kept, with friends calling trusted friends to join the mystery event that was scheduled to coincide with a public demonstration in favor of euthanasia organized by the “Association for the right to death with dignity” (ADMD). Hundreds showed up on Saturday morning in time to don clown’s paint, a red nose and white coverings reminiscent of body bags before the press arrived at 12:15.

Participants danced in perfect coordination, turning to show the other side of their paper hearts bearing the words: “Solidarity with those who are the most fragile,” after which they lay on the ground to symbolize victims of euthanasia.

Why clowns? Because the pro-euthanasia event was being held in the famous Parisian “Cirque d’Hiver,” the covered “winter circus,” where well-loved troupes have held their shows in the cold season since 1852. Organizers of the protest said that it symbolized all the venue’s sad clowns who love life and children’s laughter joining together to warn the public about the evil of so-called “mercy killing.”

Red-nosed clowns are also familiar figures in French hospitals where volunteers dress up to visit children’s wards to cheer, help and console gravely ill little patients.

“Alliance Vita’s” president is Dr. Xavier Mirabel, an oncologist and father of a child with Down’s syndrome who has played a major role in helping pass a law in 2002 that prohibits gaining direct compensation for “wrongful birth” in France. During the rally at the Trocadéro on Saturday, he called on the French people resist euthanasia, a practice in which doctors and health care workers no longer perform their proper role of giving care, support and consolation to the aged and the suffering.

The originality of the demonstration made for wide media attention: none of the national and regional press reported on the “mainstream” pro-euthanasia rally without referring to the pro-life counter-event.

“Alliance Vita” is holding a fifty-city tour in France from March 5th to May 4th, during which the association’s permanent members are holding talks, conferences and debates to inform the population about the temptation of euthanasia.

Caroline Roux, who coordinates “Alliance Vita’s” hotlines and supportive websites for crisis pregnancies and questions surrounding the end of life, told LifeSiteNews that the initiative is proving successful.

The so-called “Tour de France” and its Parisian highlight are being held at the same time as the official presidential campaign, which moved into high gear at the beginning of the month in the leadup to the two rounds of voting on April 22nd and May 6th.

While “Alliance Vita” claims no political or religious affiliation, it has clearly taken a stand against socialist candidate François Hollande’s 21st proposition that seriously or terminally ill patients who are suffering unbearably in mind or body should be allowed to ask for “medical help to end their life with dignity.” Hollande has claimed that this would not amount to euthanasia or to decriminalizing mercy killing, a claim that has been rejected by “Alliance vita.”

As things stand a new official bid to make euthanasia legal has been registered with the French Senate whose liberal majority can be counted on to favor anti-life measures. If the left takes over the presidency and the National Assembly in the upcoming elections, legalization of euthanasia could follow quite soon.

In the wake of the ADMD’s rally on Saturday, two more presidential candidates have effectively proclaimed their support for euthanasia or assisted suicide: the leftist Jean-Luc Mélenchon and the ecologist Eva Joly. They were both present at the Cirque d’Hiver, as was Bertrand Delanoë, the socialist mayor of Paris who made his coming-out as a homosexual on French television in 1998.

Nicolas Sarkozy, Marine Le Pen and François Bayrou have made their opposition to euthanasia known, judging the current law (“loi Leonetti”) to be sufficient. The “loi Leonetti” favors palliative care and makes a distinction between deliberate killing and acts that alleviate suffering at the risk of hastening death but without aiming for it. However, it does allow withdrawal of food or feeding tubes in view of obtaining death for patients who are gravely ill and without hope of recovery.

For more photos of the protest on the French blog of Jeanne Smits, click here.

Share this article

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.

Share this article

Featured Image
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.”  

Share this article

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

, ,

‘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.

Share this article


Customize your experience.

Login with Facebook