POLAND, June 30, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Catholic pro-lifers world-wide are petitioning the Vatican for a new patron – the late Pope John Paul II.
In a letter to His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI, the international pro-life organization World Prayer for Life thanked the pope for the recent beatification of John Paul II, noting his “great commitment” to protecting life from conception to natural death.
“We humbly dare ask Your Holiness to establish blessed John Paul II the patron of human life defenders,” the pro-life group wrote.
Pro-life leaders have long hailed the late pope for his many contributions to the cause of the pro-life movement, with Rev. Frank Pavone recently calling John Paul the “Pope of Life.”
“I saw, close-up, his devotion and enthusiasm for the cause of life. It shaped all that he did,” Pavone, national director of Priests for Life and a member of the Pontifical Academy for Life, told LifeSiteNews on the occasion of the pope’s beatification on May 1, 2011.
Judie Brown, president of American Life League and a member of the Pontifical Academy for Life, said the late pope’s beatification “validates his efforts as de-facto leader of the worldwide pro-life movement.”
Pope John Paul II died April 2, 2005 after the third longest pontificate in Church history. He was revered for his role in bringing about the collapse of the Soviet Union, his defense of theological orthodoxy, his painstaking efforts to implement an authentic interpretation of the Second Vatican Council, and his many theological contributions, particularly through pioneering what is known as the theology of the body.
Yet, many have said his single greatest contribution during his pontificate was his ardent promotion of the “culture of life,” a term he popularized through his 1995 encyclical Evangelium Vitae (“The Gospel of Life”).
In their request to Pope Benedict XVI, World Prayer for Life calls that encyclical a “prophetic encyclical” and “a signpost in the service for life.”
The encyclical not only included unequivocal condemnations of such evils as abortion, euthanasia, and artificial reproduction, but girded pro-life advocates with a meditation on the spiritual and philosophical underpinnings of the “culture of death.” The pope laid the groundwork for a truly Christian response to the attacks against life in modern society, centered on the fundamental dignity of the human person.
He was clear, for example, on the urgency of combating the “contraceptive mentality” as part of the pro-life effort. “Despite their differences of nature and moral gravity, contraception and abortion are often closely connected, as fruits of the same tree,” he observed. “The life which could result from a sexual encounter thus becomes an enemy to be avoided at all costs, and abortion becomes the only possible decisive response to failed contraception.”
According to Rev. Pavone, the pope’s addresses, encyclicals, and other writings on life provide a “package” containing the “doctrinal, spiritual, and personal expression of the Church’s unchanging pro-life message” for pro-lifers in the modern culture.
“He took the traditional, objective principle of the sanctity of life and spoke to a society that thinks in subjective, individualistic categories,” Rev. Pavone said. “He did this effectively by focusing on each human person as an individual, unique expression of the one God.”
World Prayer for Life is calling on pro-life groups world-wide to support and join their request to Pope Benedict XVI to make John Paul II a patron of life defenders all over the world.
The Population Research Institute and the Lepanto Institute continue to call for a full-scale reform of the U.S. bishops’ aid organization.
“CRS's response uses straw-man tactics, misdirection, and outright lies in order to cast doubt on the PRI and Lepanto Institute report,” Michael Hichborn, president of the Lepanto Institute, told LifeSiteNews.
The two groups also have 600 pages of CRS self-reported documents in their possession, obtained through Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and shared with LifeSiteNews, that they insist substantiate the claims they made in their report and irrefutably prove that the relief agency is being dishonest.
The report, issued March 3, says CRS took government grant money from the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) to implement an AIDS prevention program for Kenyan children with two components, Healthy Choices 1 (HC1) and Healthy Choices 2 (HC2), both of which promoted contraceptives and abortifacients in violation of Catholic teaching.
The report also says CRS cooperated in altering PEPFAR documents once its involvement in the program had become known and was brought to the agency’s attention.
In addition to the FOIA documents, evidence of CRS’s involvement in the contraception-promoting program was corroborated by CRS sub-partner website content, and by on-the-ground field interviews conducted by an independent investigator retained by PRI who had a medical background and who was fluent in local languages.
PRI, the Lepanto Institute, and Human Life International (HLI) attempted unsuccessfully to meet with CRS leadership, CRS Chairman and Oklahoma City Archbishop Paul Coakley, and other board members over several months before releasing the report.
After the apparent unwillingness of CRS and its governing body to discuss the concerns, the groups’ remaining recourse was the March 3 press conference called to share the results of the report.
“PRI has been trying for months to address these concerns through appropriate channels,” PRI President Stephen Mosher said. “We are now making our findings public in the hope that CRS will speedily enact credible reforms to ensure that such abuses never happen again.”
HLI Director of Mission Communications Stephen Phelan said at the press conference that his organization was part of releasing the report because of the unsuccessful efforts to meet, and while he expressed reluctance on the part of HLI toward taking part, they felt compelled to join with PRI and the Lepanto Institute because of their findings on CRS.
“We’ve read the reports, based on our own background in the area we find it to be very credible, and we’re very concerned that CRS’ current public explanation on the record cannot be true,” Phelan said. “I want to make that as clear as possible, what CRS has said about this cannot be true.”
“What makes it worse is that they’ve told the bishops this and now the bishops won’t talk to us about this,” he continued. “Again, forcing this out in the public.”
CRS issued its response to the allegations during the March 3 press conference, allowing PRI and the Lepanto Institute to respond at the event.
“After a careful review of the facts, the report's allegations unravel quickly,” the CRS statement said. “They are misleading, exaggerated, and untrue.”
Examples of what’s shown in the FOIA documents include CRS’s sub-partner, Africa Inland Church, indicating that it implemented eight modules (the full program) of Healthy Choices II through CRS-SAIDIA (Support and Assistance to Indigenous Implementing Agencies), and CRS’s sub-partner, Caritas Nyeri, indicating that it implemented Healthy Choices II, and that Healthy Choices II promoted “protected sexual intercourse,” “safe sex,” and “consistent condom use.”
The FOIA documents also show various results of the investigator’s findings, such as his being told by the CRS-Kenya secretary that CRS implemented HC2, that children he interviewed who had been through HC2 saying they had learned about contraception as a “healthy choice,” and CRS sub-partner MMAAK telling him they’d been advised by CRS “not to take Healthy Choices II to any Catholic school.”
CRS stated in its response to the report it is false that it promoted condoms with its Healthy Choices 1 (HC1) program.
“CRS took the original Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Healthy Choices I program and changed it to remove all aspects that violated Church teaching,” it said. “We then implemented this revised version of the program. We could do this because of PEPFAR's conscience clause, which allows faith-based agencies like CRS to design publicly-funded AIDS programs that respect our religious convictions, including focusing on abstinence and fidelity. Our modified version was approved by the CDC and the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops.”
PRI President Stephen Mosher and Hichborn both replied that their report didn’t allege that CRS HC1 continued to push condom use. Mosher pointed out, as the PRI/Lepanto Institute report states, that the removal of condom promotion occurred only after complaints from local Catholics, and also the investigation did confirm that the Healthy Choices (HC2) did not remove the endorsement of condoms, hormonal contraception, and abortifacients.
“If CRS had bothered to carefully review the facts contained in the report,” Hichborn said, “it would have seen very quickly seen that the PRI/Lepanto Institute report indicated that the Healthy Choices I program was modified in order to remove the promotion of condoms.”
Further, the CDC was not mentioned in the PRI/Lepanto Institute report, as the government grant documentation reported on was from PEPFAR. The two government agencies work in concert, but the report did not include the CDC.
CRS also stated in its response that it is false that it and the CDC changed documents to cover up CRS’s involvement in distributing contraception.
“The CDC made an error in a report, incorrectly listing CRS as involved in a program related to contraception,” the CRS statement said. “We asked the CDC to correct their mistake on the report, which they did. The PRI/Lepanto claim that asking the CDC to correct their error constitutes a cover-up is simply absurd.”
The original document was produced by PEPFAR, not the CDC, Mosher replied. The original PEPFAR document states that CRS implemented HC 2, the later version removes all indication that CRS implemented HC 2, and then CRS claimed in its response that they implemented HC2, but without any reference to contraception.
“All three of these things cannot be true,” Mosher told LifeSiteNews. “They can’t have it both ways.”
“CRS claims that the alteration of the PEPFAR document does not constitute a cover-up,” said Hichborn. “However, the removal of all mention of Healthy Choices II is neither consistent with the evidence, nor is it consistent with CRS's very next paragraph, which admits to implementing Healthy Choices II.”
“Either CRS implemented HC II or it did not,” he said. “If it did, then the PEPFAR document was falsified as we originally indicated.”
CRS states in its response that its implementing partners used only two of the four sections of HC2, “those two which were appropriate and in accordance with Church and CRS doctrine, and did not use the other sections, as they were deemed inappropriate.”
Yet, Mosher responded, PRI’s on-the-ground investigation and self-reporting by CRS acquired through the FOIA request indicate that CRS did implement Healthy Choices II as written, including the promotion of contraception.
“Furthermore,” Hichborn said, “the on-the-ground investigator obtained the facilitator’s manual for Healthy Choices II from CRS’s sub-partner KWOSP (Kenya Widows And Orphans Support Programme), and this manual contains all of the contraception-promoting elements.”
CRS said in its response the dispensary referenced in the PRI/Lepanto report was one of several local partners under SAIDIA, and that “no CRS project funds were ever used to purchase or distribute condoms or artificial contraception.” CRS stated the dispensary’s work with CRS was “limited to antiretroviral and tuberculosis treatment and clearly in line with Church teaching.”
“According to the CRS-certified nurse at AIC Kalamba (dispensary),” Hichborn responded, “condoms were a part of the package, CRS knew it, and kept quiet about it.”
CRS claimed in its response the PMTCT (Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission) Project referenced in the report was not operated under CRS, but was rather a separate project operated by the local organization, funded by another donor.
“This is completely false,” Hichborn countered. “We have dozens of pages of information obtained through a FOIA request, with CRS letterhead, indicating the number of individuals they reached with PMTC.”
Mosher concurred: “This blanket denial is especially concerning.”
CRS’s final rebuttal to the report was in regard to the investigator and more in the form of a disturbing charge in the direction of PRI and the Lepanto Institute.
“We are concerned that the ‘investigator’ misrepresented himself during his ‘research’ in Kenya,” the CRS reply stated. “He presented himself as a student doing research for his thesis when he visited CRS’ office and shared his CV. Such misrepresentation does not appear to comply with international standards on research that normally requires full disclosure on the purpose of research to all interviewees.”
“It is our sincere hope that international research standards were upheld during his interviews with children,” CRS said. “As young children were not only quoted, but photographed in this report.”
“This is what is colloquially referred to as ‘shooting the messenger,’ when you don't like his message,” Mosher responded. “Our investigator abided by the highest standards of investigative journalism.”
“Not only is this irrelevant, but the threatening tone of this statement is disgusting,” said Hichborn. “Why not just address what the investigator found?”
Mosher pointed out that PRI has a long history of conducting field research and that the investigator did not misrepresent himself. Additionally, Hichborn is formally trained in open source analysis.
“We are concerned that CRS is seeking to discredit us rather than address our concerns for constructive reform,” Mosher stated.
PRI, the Lepanto Institute, and HLI continue to call for review of CRS programs, and assurances that the necessary modifications be made to ensure that CRS’s assistance to those in need globally would be certain of an authentic Catholic foundation.
“We recommend that the USCCB establish a review committee of outside experts to review all CRS programs,” Mosher said, “including representatives from countries like Kenya which have been adversely affected, to enact needed reforms.”
CINCINNATI, OH, March 6, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) – One of the leading activists for gay “marriage” in Ohio faked his own abduction this week, causing an uproar that threatened to drain away precious resources from real emergencies, police say.
Adam Hoover, 20, is co-president of Marriage Equality Ohio, an LGBT pressure group promoting the redefinition of marriage in Ohio.
Hoover left his job at Chipotle on Monday evening. Hours later, around 12:30 Tuesday morning, he posted messages on his Facebook page and Twitter feed claiming that he had been kidnapped, stuffed inside the trunk of his car, and his captors were threatening to murder his entire family.
“Please help me I’m in the trunk of my ford escort red 2000,” he said, sending his license plate number, as well. “They said they are going to kill my family please call 911.”
Hoover said he had not called 911, because he was afraid his kidnappers would hear him talking and kill him.
"Please, please call,” he implored. “I don't want to die."
His friends and followers did just that, sharing his pleas under the hashtag #FindAdamHoover.
Local emergency personnel were “inundated with phone calls from friends and family,” according to Green Township Police Lieutenant Jim Vetter.
Emergency operators said anyone in that situation should dial them directly.
“If he’s in the trunk no one will hear him,” dispatchers told callers. “If he has a phone he can dial 911. You need to post that. Any phone can call 911. You cannot disable 911.”
Soon, police found his abandoned car in a country area, with Hoover nearby.
Hoover told Lt. Vetter that an armed man was waiting in the back seat of his car after he got off work. Somehow, he said, he escaped to a farmhouse and asked the strangers there for help.
Under the circumstances, Hoover appeared remarkably composed, Vetter said.
Officers charged Hoover with making false alarms, a first degree misdemeanor.
WCPO reported that “such events are troubling, because the sheer volume of calls could possibly prevent dispatchers from answering other emergencies.”
Lt. Vetter would not say what made Hoover allegedly make a false report, but alluded to “stresses” plaguing the Miami University student. “It’s…personal stuff,” the officer said. “It wouldn’t be fair to go into too much detail, but he’s a young man and as many young kids do, he’s dealing with some issues.”
Following the allegation that he caused a false panic, his friends in the homosexual activist movement are distancing themselves but hope to welcome Hoover back into the ranks of leadership soon. "In light of the recent controversy surrounding him, he is indefinitely suspended from posting on the page," Nicholas Wymer, the group's co-founder, told the Cincinnati Enquirer. “While it is our hope that we can work past this issue, we are waiting until the issue settles to make a permanent decision."
Hoover, who is now 20, had been part of the political wing of the LGBT movement since he was 17. In addition to promoting gay “marriage,” Hoover recently fought for the transgender cause, collecting $2,200 for a memorial for “Leelah” Alcorn, a transgender teenage boy from Ohio who committed suicide. As of January, no work had begun on the proposed memorial, according to media outlets.
If he is found guilty, Hoover will be far from alone. Numerous homosexuals have reported “hate crimes” – and often had their cases celebrated in social media – only to be revealed as frauds.
CHARLESTON, WV, March 6, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) – West Virginia has become the 11th state to pass legislation banning abortions after 20 weeks today, as the state Senate voted to override Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin's veto.
On Friday, the West Virginia state Senate voted to enact the pro-life protections by a vote of 22-5.
The House of Delegates voted to overturn Tomblin's veto on Wednesday, 77-16. Seven members did not vote or were absent.
The Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act (H.B. 2568) is set to become law 90 days after today's vote.
Only 51 state Delegates and 18 state Senators were needed to override the veto.
The state Senators who voted against enacting the pro-life law were: Sens. Bob Beach, D-Monongalia; Doug Facemire, D-Braxton; Corey Palumbo, D-Kanawha; Mike Romano, D-Harrison; and Herb Snyder, D-Jefferson.
Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards denounced the measure, which would prevent anyone in the state from subjecting a child to abortion after he or she can feel pain, as “cruel and dangerous.”
Pro-abortion activists doubled-down on that sentiment after today's vote. "Governor Tomblin was right to veto this callous, cruel and unconstitutional attack on health care for women facing complicated and sometimes dangerous situations in their lives and pregnancies," said Nancy Northup, president of the Center for Reproductive Rights, which is based in New York state. "With this action today, the politicians behind this law have revealed how far they are willing to go to advance their ideological agenda at the expense of women's rights, lives and safety.”
“They should be ashamed,” Northup added.
But national pro-life leaders applauded the legislators.
“We commend the members of the legislature who supported this bill for their courage and compassion by adding their voices in favor of protecting pain-capable unborn children who are unable to speak for themselves,” said Mary Spaulding Balch, J.D., director of state legislation for the National Right to Life Committee. “We condemn Governor Tomblin for his cowardice and indifference toward the innocent, unborn child who is capable of great suffering from the violence of abortion.”
They were also outraged by Tomblin's reference to revering life in his veto message. "Governor Tomblin cannot claim to be pro-life and then veto a bill that seeks to protect unborn children who can feel pain from abortions," said Karen Cross, National Right to Life political director."Unborn children who recoil from painful stimuli and who must routinely be given anesthesia when operated on will still be painfully killed in West Virginia because of the callousness demonstrated by Governor Tomblin."
While 10 other states have passed some form of fetal pain bill, the law is in effect in only eight states: Alabama, Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, and Texas.
West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, a Republican, has promised to defend the law from the anticipated legal challenges it will face. House Speaker Tim Armstead, R-Kanawha, told the Associated Press, “I frankly hope we don't have to try that out in court, but we'll see.”
This marks the first time since 1987 that West Virginia legislators have overturned a governor's veto.
The votes paralleled the bill's original passage. The House of Delegates passed the bill by an 82-12 vote on February 11, and the state Senate approved the pro-life bill by a 29-5 margin on February 25.