John Westen

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Prominent members of D&P accuse Cardinal Collins, pro-life bishops of ‘shameful blackmail’

John Westen
John Westen

MONTREAL, November 30, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Some of the most senior members of the Canadian Bishops’ international development agency – Development & Peace (D&P) – have publicly accused Toronto Cardinal Thomas Collins and other pro-life bishops pushing for a pro-life reform of D&P of ‘shameful blackmail.’ They have also criticized Pope Benedict’s reformation of the Vatican’s Catholic charity umbrella organization. Journalist Dennis Guending, a former Director of Information for the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, has described the situation as a “virtually unprecedented” and an “open revolt against the Catholic hierarchy from within.”

As the National Council of Development & Peace (D&P) meets this weekend, prominent members of the organization have mounted a campaign to halt the organization’s pro-life reform.  Findings first discovered by LifeSiteNews in 2009 showing that D&P was funding numerous groups in the developing world which advocated for abortion caused various bishops to demand the reform, especially in light of Pope Benedict XVI’s recent encyclical Caritas in Veritate, which stressed that respect for life is key to the development of peoples.

That reform process and recent funding cuts by the Conservative Government have led to the resignations of various staff members from the Montreal-based D&P head office. Resigning leaders have expressed their disdain for the pro-life bishops and the Vatican. 

Michel Beaudin, a 38-year veteran of D&P resigned his post as one of the organization’s theological directors this month, remaining however an active member.  In his open letter of resignation Beaudin accuses “some of the bishops in the richest dioceses serving a shameful blackmail.” And in case there was any doubt about who was meant, Beaudin attached a footnote to an interview wherein the Archdiocese of Toronto is identified.

After LifeSiteNews reported on the problematic funding practices of D&P, Toronto’s Cardinal Collins – whose archdiocese provides the largest share of donations to D&P - was the first Canadian bishop to assure the faithful that D&P would not receive funds from the archdiocese if they supported pro-abortion groups. 

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The ‘blackmail’ charge is levelled again in another document addressed to the D&P National Council, this time coming from Beaudin and four others – Beline Beaulieu, Guy Cote, Lise Lebrun and Richard Renshaw - who identify themselves as The Quebec Group of Contextual Theology.  Featured on the blog for Members of Development and Peace, the letter blames the crisis at D&P on “a power move perpetrated by a minority of bishops in the CCCB following attacks led by the LifeSiteNews agency against Development and Peace in 2009 and then again in 2011.” 

“We deplore the blackmail and the intimidation inspired by a retrograde concept of the Church and its mission that were imposed since then on decisions at Development and Peace,” the letter continues.

The letter to the D&P National Council also takes aim at highest levels of the Church.  “The view that seems to us to underlie this twist is one that currently dominates the Vatican,” continues the letter.

In his own letter of resignation, Beaudin also notes pressure from the Vatican for pro-life reform of the umbrella group for Catholic charities known as Caritas Internationalis. Beaudin adds: “These pressures go along with reducing the social teaching of the Church to one encyclical, Caritas in veritate.”

Beaudin says: “Is it not troubling to see the bishops make Development and Peace the symbolic scapegoat of a certain kind of Catholicism that some bishops want to break away from in order to substitute, it would seem, a form of fundamentalism? … The only ‘consolation,’ if there is any, is that we continue to believe that a majority of the bishops do not approve of a policy carried out in their name.”

The same charges were leveled against Rome and pro-life bishops by Louis Favreau, a social scientist who assembled a group of 42 professors and theologians to support D&P in their struggle against the pro-life reform.

“The direction of the Vatican with Benedict XVI is that what is rising and taking precedence in the Catholic Church is sexual morality,” said Favreau on a CBC French-language program earlier this month. “From this moment onwards the pro-life cause is becoming an interlocutor alongside a series of Bishops who are…who are becoming receptive. The movement is coming above all from certain Bishops who are in important Dioceses – Vancouver, Toronto and Ottawa - and it’s very simple, that is to say, for us, the money which we collect in the parishes this year for Development and Peace, it will go there or elsewhere.”

Another prominent D&P member who has been with the organization for 13 years and served on its National Council slammed the Canadian Bishops in a post on a D&P members Facebook page. Paul McGuire of Ottawa urged members to read “A terrific letter that condemns the CCCB for their lack of leadership and their attempts to pressure Development and Peace. Please spread this widely - the CCCB are unable to lead Canadians who seek justice.” The letter he referred to was penned by the Executive Director of the Centre Justice et Foi in Montreal, and said that recent actions by the bishops “reveal an official Church that is less and less interested in working together with organizations and social movements concerned about social justice.”

In a note to members on the official D&P website about the National Council meeting this weekend, D&P National Council President Ronald Breau says, “We have gone through a challenging period and have heard from many members from across the country regarding their concerns, questions and frustrations.” 

Pro-life leaders in Canada have encouraged pro-life Catholics to similarly make their concerns known to their own bishops across the country. “Pro-life Catholics should encourage and thank their bishops for urging pro-life reform of Development and Peace,” said Campaign Life Coalition’s Mary Ellen Douglas in a comment to LifeSiteNews.

Contact Information:

Important: see Composing Effective Communications in Response to LifeSiteNews Reports.

Archbishop Pedro López Quintana, Apostolic Nuncio to Canada
724 Manor Avenue
Ottawa, ON KIM OE3
Phone: (613) 746-4914
Fax: (613) 746-4786
E-mail: [email protected]

Archbishop Richard Smith of Edmonton
CCCB President
8421-101 Avenue
Edmonton (AB) T6A 0L1
Tel: (780) 469-1010
Fax: (780) 465-3003
E-mail: [email protected]

To contact any Canadian bishop, find contact information here.

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Lisa Bourne

‘You can’t have’ marriage equality ‘without polygamy’

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By Lisa Bourne

July 3, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – Motivated by the U.S. Supreme Court ruling legalizing homosexual “marriage,” a Montana polygamist has filed for a second marriage license, so he can be legally wed to two women at once.

"It's about marriage equality," said Nathan Collier, using homosexual advocates’ term to support marriage redefinition. "You can't have this without polygamy."

Collier, who has has appeared on the TLC reality show Sister Wives with his legal wife Victoria, and his second wife Christine, said he was inspired by the dissent in the Supreme Court decision.

The minority Supreme Court justices said in Friday’s ruling it would open the door to both polygamy and religious persecution.

“It is striking how much of the majority’s reasoning would apply with equal force to the claim of a fundamental right to plural marriage,” wrote Chief Justice John Roberts.

Collier and his wives applied for a second marriage license earlier this week at the Yellowstone County Courthouse in Billings, a report from the Salt Lake Tribune said.

Collier, who was excommunicated from the Mormon Church for polygamy, married Victoria in 2000 and had a religious wedding ceremony with Christine in 2007. The three have seven children between them and from previous relationships.

"My second wife Christine, who I'm not legally married to, she's put up with my crap for a lot of years. She deserves legitimacy," Collier said.

Yellowstone County officials initially denied the application before saying they would consult with the County Attorney and get him a final answer.

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

Bigamy, the holding of multiple marriage licenses, is illegal all 50 states, but Collier plans to sue if his application is denied. Officials expect to have an answer for him next week.

While homosexual “marriage” supporters have long insisted legalization of same-sex unions would not lead to polygamy, pro-life and family advocates have warned all along it would be inevitable with the redefinition of marriage.

“The next court cases coming will push for polygamy, as Chief Justice John Roberts acknowledged in his dissent,” said Penny Nance, president of Concerned Women for America, after the Supreme Court ruling. “The chief justice said “the argument for polygamy is actually stronger than that for ‘gay marriage.’ It’s only a matter of time.”

In a piece from the Washington Times, LifeSiteNews Editor-in-Chief and the co-founder of Voice of the Family John-Henry Westen stated the move toward legal polygamy is “just the next step in unraveling how Americans view marriage.”

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Chris Christie: Clerks must perform same-sex ‘marriages’ regardless of their religious beliefs

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By Ben Johnson

TRENTON, NJ, July 3, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – Chris Christie is not known for nuance. This time, he has turned his fiery personality loose on county clerks and other officials who have religious objections to performing same-sex “marriages.”

In a tone usually reserved for busting teachers' unions, Christie told clerks who hold traditional values, “You took the job, and you took the oath.” He would offer no exemption for an individual whose conscience would not allow him to participate in a union the vast majority of the world's religions deem sinful.

“When you go back and re-read the oath it doesn’t give you an out. You have to do it,” he said.

He told a reporter that there “might” be “individual circumstances” that “merit some examination, but none that come immediately to mind for me.”

“I think for folks who are in the government world, they kind of have to do their job, whether you agree with the law or you don’t,” the pugnacious governor said.

Since the Supreme Court voted 5-4 to legalize homosexual “marriage” last Friday, elected officials have grappled with how to safeguard the rights of those who have deeply held religious beliefs that would not allow them to participate in such a ceremony.

Christie's response differs markedly from other GOP hopefuls' responses to the Supreme Court ruling. Mike Huckabee, for instance, has specifically said that clerks should have conscience rights. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal signed an executive order granting such rights and ordered clerks to wait until a pending court case was fully adjudicated before any clerk issues a marriage license to a homosexual couple.

Christie gave up a legal appeal after a superior court judge struck down his state's voter-approved constitutional marriage protection amendment. New Jersey is the only state where such a low court overturned the will of the voters.

The decision to ignore conscience rights adds to the growing number of Christie's positions that give conservatives pause.

The natural locus of support for a Christie 2016 presidential run is the Republican's socially liberal donor class, for personal as well as political reasons. His wife works on Wall Street, and some of the GOP's high-dollar donors – including Paul Singer – have courted Christie for years.

However, this year Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, and to a lesser degree Scott Walker have eclipsed Christie as the preferred candidates of the boardroom donors – who sometimes prefer Democrats to Republicans.

Christie also used language during a speech before the Republican Jewish Coalition last year, which concerned some major GOP donors.

Christie is reportedly spending this weekend with Mitt Romney and his family at Romney's New Hampshire home. Romney declined to enter the 2016 race himself and may be able to open his donor list to Christie's struggling campaign.

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After having a girl with Down syndrome, this couple adopted two more

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By Ben Johnson

LINO LAKE, MN, July 3, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – For most people, having five biological children would have been enough. In fact, for many Americans, large families are treated as a scandal or a burden.

But one family made the decision, not just to have a large family, but to give a home to some of the most vulnerable children in the world: Girls born overseas with Down syndrome.

Lee and Karen Shervheim love all seven of their children, biological or otherwise. Undeterred by having twin boys – Daniel and Andrew, 18 – they had Sam four years later.

They now have three daughters who are all 11 years old. All three have Down syndrome.

And two of them are adopted.

About the time their eight-year-old son, David, was born, Lee and Karen decided to adopt a child with Down syndrome to be a companion to their daughter, Annie.

They made the further unexpected choice to adopt a child from Eastern Europe with the help of Reece's Rainbow, which helps parents adopt children with Down syndrome.

“Between my wife and I, we couldn’t get it out of our heads,” Lee told the Quad City Press. “So many children need families and we knew we could potentially do something about it.”

After originally deciding to adopt Katie, they spent six weeks in Kiev, visiting an orphanage in nearby Kharkov. While there, they decided they may have room in their heart, and their home, for another child.

When they saw a picture of Emie striking the same pose as their biological daughter in one of their photographs, they knew they would come home with two children.

Both girls were the same age as their Annie. She would not lack for companionship, as they worried.

Lee said after the Ukrainian government – finally – completed the paperwork, they returned to the United States, when the real challenges began.

“The unvarnished truth,” Lee told the Press, is that adopting the Russian-speaking special needs children “was really disruptive to our family. They came with so many issues that we had not anticipated.”

After teaching them sign language and appropriate behavior, they moved to Lino Lake, Minnesota and found a new support group in Eagle Brook Church. There they found personal assistance and spiritual solace.

Every year in the past seven years has been better and better, they say.

“I think my girls can do almost anything they want to do,” he said, “and that’s what I want to help them become.”

The family's devotion is fueled by their faith, and it informs the sense of humor Lee showed in a tweet during the 2014 midterm elections:

It takes a special person to believe in the potential of the “mentally retarded,” as they were once labeled. Today, 90 percent of all babies diagnosed with Down syndrome in the womb will be aborted. The percentage is higher in some countries. Some have even spoken of "a world without people with Down syndrome."

Their God, and their experience, tell them that every child has infinite worth and potential, Lee told local media, and he would encourage anyone to follow his footsteps and adopt a Down syndrome child – or two.

“The message is that it really doesn’t matter where you started or where you came from,” Lee said. “There are endless opportunities for everyone, whether they have disabilities or not. They deserve a shot.”

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