Hilary White

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No pro-life Catholic need apply to European Commission: gay and abortionist groups

Hilary White
Hilary White
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BRUSSELS, November 12, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A consortium of homosexualist, secular humanist and abortion groups are campaigning against the appointment of the Maltese Dr. Tonio Borg as the new EU Health and Consumer Protection Commissioner. The objection, they say, is nothing more than that Dr. Borg is a Catholic, with “staunchly conservative and outdated” views on homosexuality, divorce and abortion. 

The campaign has been organised, according to sources at the EU Parliament, by the European Humanist Federation, the International Lesbian and Gay Association, ILGA - Europe, and International Planned Parenthood Federation.

The situation is drawing comparisons to when a group of far-left activists blocked the appointment of Italian politician Rocco Buttiglione as Italy’s representative at the European Parliament in 2004. At the time, Italian Justice Minister Roberto Castelli accused Buttiglione’s opponents as “fundamentalist” anti-Christians.

“This decision shows the real face of Europe,” Castelli said, “a face which we don’t like. It’s fundamentalist, which is absolutely not on.”

A document released by the European Parliament’s Intergroup on LGBT Rights admits that a Commissioner’s personal religious beliefs are not “topics of EU competence.” However, they maintain that Borg’s “issues of conscience” would “prevent him from being an impartial commissioner.”

The group say they fear that since “all 27 Commissioners are always consulted before Commission proposals are made public; this would give him considerable influence across EU competences”. They particularly objected to his support for the pro-life NGO Gift of Life, whose mission includes, “making it harder for abortion to ever be legalised in Malta.”

The group complains that Borg once told a pro-life conference “that the Maltese constitution should define life as beginning from conception, defining any abortion as murder.” They objected to Borg reiterating the findings of human embryologists that “an embryo starts from fertilisation. There is no pre-embryo” … “meaning any fertilised egg is a full human embryo and must be legally protected as a person.”

They denied that their opposition to Borg’s candidacy is “‘anti-Christian’, ‘christianophobic’, or against religion,” saying he is “entitled to his own views” but maintain that he must not hold public office because of them.

“Dr. Borg is entitled to his own views (religious or not), but using such extreme views to define law and policy, and making it a case of conscience above any questioning, would likely prevent him from being a fair-minded commissioner for public health.”

Patrick Buckley, the representative at the European Parliament for the UK’s Society for the Protection of Unborn Children, said, “In other words, according to these vocal lobby groups, simply holding Christian beliefs on social issues is a sign of ‘extremism’.”

He added, “This would have certainly surprised the ‘founding fathers’ of European integration, many of whom were devout Christians who based the European project on Christian principles such as solidarity, subsidiarity and human dignity.”

Borg is the Deputy Prime Minister of Malta who currently also serves as the country’s Foreign Minister. He practiced law for fifteen years before entering politics, specialising in human rights cases, and served on the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture from 1990 to 1995. While serving as a backbencher, Borg was also a member of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe from 1992 to 1995 and as a member of the Joint Parliamentary Committee between the European and Maltese parliaments for the same period.

Despite these credentials, his pro-life and pro-family positions, which reflect the opinion of many in Europe, have prompted leftist MEPs to brand him a “not a commissioner but a dinosaur.”

Swedish MEP Cecilia Wikström is a member of the Liberal People’s Party and sits on the Committee on Legal Affairs for the European Parliament. She told Swedish media, “This is about human rights, about allowing people to choose how they want to live their lives.”

“He is against divorce (and) women’s rights in general. He is against letting women choose freely how they want to live their lives, for example on abortion. And he’s totally against sexual and reproductive health and rights,” she said. “I plan to take the lead so we can vote against him. We cannot accept him. This is not a commissioner for the 21st century.”

Wikström, who is also a vicar of the Lutheran Church of Sweden, has posted the interview to YouTube, in which she says Borg’s candidacy is a “big, fat, splendid scandal that they are sending us. Not a commissioner but a dinosaur.”

The European Parliament gives its approval of the Commissioner-designate following a public hearing by the competent parliamentary committees, scheduled for November 13th.

The Federation of Catholic Family Associations in Europe issued a statement denouncing the campaign against Dr. Borg, saying it is a brazen attack on fundamental rights of freedom of expression and religious belief.

“Fundamental rights such as freedom of conscience, belief and opinion are put at stake,” the group said, “as the personal values of Mr. Borg are depicted as incompatible with the European values.

“However, the fundamental rights are the core values on which the European Union is founded and apply to all citizens, including European Commissioners.”

“Atheist secularists, gay and pro-abortion lobbies,” the group continued, “are aggressively intolerant and discriminating with regard to politicians who promote the respect of life from conception, marriage between a man and a woman and the family based on this marriage.”

Despite the claims of the Intergroup on LGBT Rights, however, the EU Commissioner on health and consumer policy has no oversight on abortion or the definition of marriage and family, which are an exclusively national competency.

Like Buttiglione, Borg has agreed to abide by the Code of Conduct for Commissioners that says they “are expected to defend and support the decisions taken by the College” and are not allowed to make statements supporting the policy of their respective political parties. “This rule is without prejudice to the right of Commissioner to express their personal opinions.”

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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’

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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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