Hilary White


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

Hilary White
Hilary White

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 Borg is a Catholic, with “staunchly conservative and outdated” views on homosexuality, divorce and abortion.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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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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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, www.babycaust.de, 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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‘Soft racism’: German Bishops’ website attributes African Catholics’ strong faith to simplemindedness

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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,” Katholisch.de 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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