Patrick Craine

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U.S. Bishops’ relief agency caught giving $2.7 million to top abortion-marketing firm

Patrick Craine
Patrick Craine
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BALTIMORE, July 18, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Catholic Relief Services is in the midst of distributing a projected $2.789 million grant to one of the leading voices in the international abortion movement.

The U.S. Bishops’ foreign relief agency is distributing the funds to Population Services International, a $670 million organization that markets abortion drugs in the developing world.

When questioned about the grant, CRS initially claimed PSI had merely sold them mosquito nets to combat malaria, but when presented with more information, the Catholic agency acknowledged that the abortion giant took a decidedly more active role.

News of the grant has Catholic pro-life leaders raising concern that the funds, though ostensibly for a good project, are merely empowering PSI to fulfill its founding mission of population control.

“Anything you do to empower [this organization], anything you do to help it, anything you do by way of funding it, for whatever stated purpose, is strengthening an organization that is just absolutely diametrically opposed to the Catholic Church and its teachings,” said Steven Mosher, president of the Population Research Institute. “And to pretend otherwise is not just naïve, it is duplicitous.”

Founded in 1970 by porn baron Phil Harvey, who initially used his porn profits to fund PSI, the organization networks and trains local providers throughout the world to offer “safe abortion.”  The group’s “charity” work largely involves “stimulat[ing] demand” for contraceptives and abortion drugs among the world’s poor and then selling them the products. 

Mosher told LifeSiteNews.com that the reason PSI got involved in some legitimate health issues was to further its population control agenda. PSI first began tackling health issues such as malaria and safe water in the 1980s.

“They use the bait of health care or the bait of some form of aid to seduce women into coming into their clinics and availing themselves of their services, so they can be used as bribes, they can be used as sanctions,” he said. PSI “is first, last, and always a population control group,” he added, noting that it “promotes abortion, sterilization, contraception, always and everywhere.”

Investigating CRS’ connection with PSI

LifeSiteNews began investigating CRS’ relationship with PSI because the Catholic agency’s IRS filings for 2012 showed that they had given PSI a grant of $9,588 for “agriculture.”

Asked on Friday to explain the grant, CRS communications director John Rivera told LifeSiteNews that in late 2011 they had purchased water purification packets from PSI in Panama to help with water contamination following a major tropical storm.

“PSI was the vendor with the stocks nearby to respond to the emergency,” he said. “This helped to save lives from dysentery, cholera, and other water-borne diseases. The water purification packets were given to Caritas El Salvador and distributed to several dioceses in the coastal region as part of our joint CRS-Caritas disaster relief operation.”

Upon further investigation, LifeSiteNews discovered that CRS was given a grant of $26,939,110 by the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria to run a project combatting malaria in Guinea from January 1, 2012 to December 31, 2013. The grant agreement, signed December 13, 2011, indicates that CRS would award PSI $1,995,959 over the two year period to assist with the project. According to a grant performance report dated May 21, 2013, PSI signed the agreement with CRS on October 8, 2012, and agreed to take on more unspecified project activities on January 7, 2013.

CRS’ relationship with PSI goes back at least more than a decade. A page on the website of the Centers for Disease Control describes a safe water initiative in Madagascar, with an implementation date of April 2000, that CRS partnered on with PSI and CARE. Further, on its website PSI currently lists CRS as a partner in Zambia, Haiti, and Guinea. According to PSI’s webpage on Guinea, CRS partnered with them on a measles vaccination program there during 2009, in addition to its current funding relationship.

There is also movement of personnel between the organizations. In October 2011, CRS hired an HIV technical advisor after she had worked at PSI for three years. While at PSI, she had contributed to a paper on “global contraceptive needs.” Additionally, a member of PSI India’s board of governors indicates that he has worked for CRS in the past.

LifeSiteNews asked Rivera about CRS’ partnerships with PSI on Monday, and was told, “It may take awhile.” On Thursday morning, Rivera indicated that the Guinea grant was to purchase mosquito nets.

“CRS bought mosquito nets from PSI, the vendor designated by the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, which funded the project,” he said.

But on further questioning about the grant, including why PSI had needed to hire staff for the project – as indicated in the grant performance report – if they were merely a vendor, CRS acknowledged that PSI had taken a rather more active role in the project.

“To be clear, now that we have had more time to talk with staff involved in the project, the money did not go specifically to purchase the nets but rather to implement other parts of the grant which is focused on distributing 3 million nets and making sure they are properly used to save thousands of lives by preventing malaria,” wrote Michael Hill, CRS’ Senior Writer.

Hill said PSI’s grant grew to $2.789 million over the two-year period when PSI took over responsibilities from another sub-recipient that had dropped out before the project began. Part of those activities included “training and overseeing community health workers to educate households on malaria prevention, and training and overseeing community organizations which would organize anti-malaria themed events,” he said. He also noted that PSI is responsible for the mass-media marketing portion of the project.

“CRS did not choose PSI as a partner in the project,” Hill explained. “Rather PSI was selected as an implementing sub-recipient to the grant by the Global Fund’s Country Coordinating Mechanism, independent of CRS.” He stressed that PSI “was implementing activities related only to the prevention of malaria.”

PSI: Abortion, abortion, abortion

PSI is open about its promotion of abortion even on its own website. On its page about “reducing unsafe abortion,” the firm explains that it “works to increase access to WHO-approved medical abortion drugs.” Its website also mentions its provision of medical abortions in Cambodia and Nepal, noting that in Cambodia it launched the country’s “first safe medical abortion drug, known as Medabon.”

But what it states on its main website is just the beginning.

In India, PSI markets a “safe abort kit” and aimed to “facilitate … over 200,000 safe abortions using medical abortions” from 2008-2013 as part of a program that aims to network local clinics to insert IUDs and provide medical abortion drugs. The PSI India website, which is separate from the global organization’s website, indicates that they had succeeded in facilitating 2,774 medical abortions in the first year. The website says their work in India focuses “both on the demand and supply side” of the medical abortion and IUD markets, explaining that they promote the use of the products by “target[ing] audiences with information and messages using inter-personal; mid and mass media.”

The network that PSI has set up in India, begun in 2008, includes 908 clinics and 10,000 pharmacies in three Indian states, and has sold 229,398 IUDs, according to a program summary that was updated in May. At a national meeting of the country’s “Medical Abortion Consortium,” which PSI co-organized, one of their specialists explained that one of the aims of the program is to help local facilities get registered to offer abortion.

PSI also markets its own brand of condoms in India, stating on the PSI India website that it has sold over 2 billion.

In Nepal, PSI has played a central role in expanding abortion access after the country liberalized its abortion law in 2002, according to a 2012 article in the journal Reproductive Health. The article states that PSI has “trained local pharmacists to provide women with knowledge about medical abortion, referrals to abortion services and information on indications for legal abortion in Nepal.” It also says that they have served on a government team devoted to implementing the new law, joining groups like Marie Stopes International, the Family Planning Association of Nepal (IPPF’s local affiliate), and Ipas.

In Cambodia, in addition to marketing the country’s first legally registered medical abortion drug in 2009, the firm refers women to “safe surgical abortion clinics,” according to a presentation on their work in the country. The presentation also mentions that the group “subsidized the price of [medical abortion drugs] considerably to ensure availability to poor and vulnerable women of reproductive age.”

PSI is also a mainstay at pro-abortion conferences, and has posted numerous online job ads seeking employees to fulfill various roles in the organization’s campaign for globally-accessible abortion.

At the 2013 Women Deliver conference on May 31st, they organized a session on “making safe abortion care a clinical reality” and one of their employees was a panelist for a session dealing with methods to “increase access to safe abortion.”

On January 16, 2013, Daniel Crapper of PSI delivered a talk titled “Creating the misoprostol market” at the Global Maternal Health Conference in Tanzania. (See video here.) In his talk, Crapper indicates that PSI has "social marketing" programs for the abortion drug in 7 countries and talks about their strategies for promoting it.

The organization is listed as a participating sponsor at a conference in Lisbon, Portugal in 2010 dedicated to expanding access to medical abortion.

Regarding hiring, PSI has an active job ad – posted July 3rd and still open until August 1st – seeking someone who has “experience with safe abortion” to “oversee and coordinate … safe abortion … implementation” and to help “expand access to quality safe abortion … services and products.” The person must also “support countries as requested to advocate for use of [medical abortion] for safe abortion.”

A 2011 ad seeking a Deputy Director of Services for Kenya said the position had a focus on “increasing access to safe abortion services,” including “provid[ing] and organiz[ing] technical assistance to countries for training of trainers.” Among the needed qualifications was a “clinical proficiency [in] surgical and medication abortion.”

A 2012 ad sought a “maternal health consultant” to provide “technical guidance to PSI platforms implementing abortion, post abortion care, post partum hemorrhage programs,” and other programs. Another from 2012 sought a communications manager in Cambodia whose duties included managing PSI’s  “safe abortion” brand.

In addition to its work promoting medical and surgical abortions, PSI is a leader in the global movement to promote abortifacient “emergency contraception” pills. The organization is a member of the International Consortium for Emergency Contraception (ICEC), and has a staff member on the steering committee. A Google search of the ICEC website turns up numerous examples of PSI’s promotion of abortifacients. Other Consortium members include the International Planned Parenthood Federation, Ipas, and Catholics for Choice.

‘They might as well be funding Planned Parenthood’

As with its controversial grants to the pro-abortion group CARE, CRS’ $2.7 million grant to PSI Guinea is “pass-through” funding, meaning that CRS acts as a principal recipient to a funding agency and then doles out part of the funds to sub-recipients.

CRS defended this “pass-through” funding to CARE last year, arguing that the funds are given only for projects in line with Catholic teaching and are not fungible because of the way the grant agreements are established.

But when asked at the time if CRS would give ‘pass-through’ funding to Planned Parenthood for a morally neutral project, they said no. “We would never partner with Planned Parenthood,” Rivera said last year. “We’ve given this a lot of consideration, and there’s a threshold in terms of what the focus of an agency is, and the preponderance of their work.”

But Michael Hichborn, director of American Life League’s Defend the Faith Project, said that the U.S. Bishops’ relief agency, in funding PSI, “might as well be funding Planned Parenthood.”

"Based upon the preponderance of the work PSI does, I would love for CRS to explain how giving it money is any different than funding Planned Parenthood, because the preponderance of PSI's work IS birth control and abortion,” said Hichborn.

"Whenever CRS gets caught funding groups like this, they wave their professed fidelity to the Catholic Church the way Nancy Pelosi professes that she's an ardent, practicing Catholic. Simply having a Catholic Identity document cannot in any way exonerate CRS from giving money to an organization like PSI.”

Mosher’s claim that PSI uses legitimate health issues like malaria to promote its population control agenda would appear to be supported by statements PSI made in a program description for a Madagascar project funded by USAID from 2008-2013, where the pro-abortion group describes how it views its work on malaria as “deeply intertwined” with its “reproductive health” agenda.

“Reproductive, maternal and child health and malaria are all deeply intertwined, affecting poor and vulnerable populations in rural areas together,” the organization writes. “Success (or failure) in one area, such as malaria, can free up resources to focus on other areas, or drag down progress.” Integrating these programs, they add, “offer[s] many opportunities to reach target audiences.”

In the same document on the Madagascar project, PSI indicates that it would be partnering on the project with CRS.

"Given that PSI made perfectly clear that its distribution of malaria drugs and mosquito nets is 'deeply intertwined' with pushing birth control on the poor, CRS can't claim that giving a grant to PSI is isolated only for fighting malaria,” said Hichborn. “PSI's own documents explain that pushing birth control is its primary focus."

Contact info:

Cardinal Robert Sarah
Pontifical Council "Cor Unum"
Palazzo San Pio X 
V-00120 Vatican City State
Phone: +39-06-69889411
Fax: +39-06-69887301 or +39-06-69887311
E-mail: [email protected]

Find contact information for all U.S. Bishops here.

Readers may also comment on Catholic Relief Services’ Facebook page.

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Jeb Bush has already ‘evolved’ on marriage, and his advisers are at war with social conservatives: analysts

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By Ben Johnson

WASHINGTON, D.C., March 3, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The fact that Jeb Bush has surrounded himself with campaign advisers who have been hostile to social conservatives is just one sign that the former Florida governor has secretly “evolved” in his views of gay “marriage,” according to several figures who have spoken with him privately.

Bush, a leading candidate for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, has been hiring national staffers who have actively campaigned for the GOP to capitulate and embrace the redefinition of marriage or at least capitulate to judicial rulings that overturn the will of voters.

“When Bush officially launches his presidential bid later this year, he will likely do so with a campaign manager who has urged the Republican Party to adopt a pro-gay agenda; a chief strategist who signed a Supreme Court amicus brief arguing for marriage equality in California; a longtime adviser who once encouraged her minister to stick to his guns in preaching [marriage redefinition] for same-sex couples; and a communications director who is openly gay,” writes McKay Coppins in BuzzFeed.

The Bush 2016 campaign staffers include:

“In a word, if personnel is policy, Jeb is telling the pro-family community to drop dead,” said Bryan Fischer, host of Focal Point on AFR Talk.

Campbell told Buzzfeed that the staffing decisions reflected Jeb Bush's ideas of who would be best for the position, and “Gov. Bush’s position on gay marriage is clear. If he pursues a run, it will be premised on his agenda and views, not anyone else’s.”

But insiders say it is not merely his closest advisers and operatives who embrace a redefinition of marriage; several people who have spoken with Jeb say he secretly supports gay “marriage” or, at least, will offer no opposition to it.

One such donor, namely David Aufhauser, who signed the amicus and has co-hosted a fundraiser for Bush in Virginia, said, “His thinking [on marriage equality] appears to have evolved.” Other donors, who preferred to remain anonymous, agreed.

Bush's public stance has certainly shifted. As a conservative candidate running for governor of Florida in 1994, Jeb Bush wrote that he opposed conferring special rights on homosexuals: “[S]hould sodomy be elevated to the same constitutional status as race and religion? My answer is No.”

But according to the New York Times, Sally Bradshaw “helped recalibrate Mr. Bush as a more moderate candidate” in 1998. Today, donors who have spoken with Bush tell Buzzfeed they have walked away convinced that he quietly supports same-sex “marriage” or is ambivalent on the subject. They hope he will announce his support for redefining marriage after the Supreme Court issues its ruling on the subject this summer.

A senior Republican fundraiser said fleeing any opposition to homosexual “marriage” is a necessity to get any funding from the party's donor class. Although support for redefining marriage “hasn’t become a litmus test yet,” a senior Republican fundraiser said prospective candidates “have to be approaching the LGBT issue with a new mindset in order to be taken seriously” by the party's megadonors.

Sen. Rob Portman, as vice chairman of finance for the National Republican Senatorial Committee, announced his newfound support for gay “marriage” shortly after holding a dozen meetings with major campaign donors in New York who were unhappy with the party's pro-family platform.

Bush, who hopes to raise as much as $100 million before he formally enters the presidential contest, is the elite contributors' favorite now that Mitt Romney has declined a third presidential bid and Chris Christie stumbled during a meeting with billionaire casino magnate Sheldon Adelson.

Click "like" if you are PRO-LIFE!

Billionaire Paul Singer, who has devoted more than $13 million of his own money to promote homosexual "marriage" in the GOP, is said to view Bush in a positive light.

Bush has also attracted the support of former Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge, a pro-abortion Republican who ripped pro-life and pro-family conservatives as “narcissists and ideologues” imbued with an “unacceptable rigidity and self-righteousness on social issues” and who secretly promote “tyranny.”

The split between the Republican Establishment and its grassroots conservative base foreshadows a harder than expected fight for Jeb Bush in the primaries. “Endorsing gay marriage would make it difficult to win Iowa, even with Kochel on board,” conservative political analyst Jim Antle writes at The Week, “and would probably prevent Bush from emulating his brother's 2000 nomination strategy: combining establishment and evangelical support to prevent the emergence of a viable conservative alternative.”

But others warn it forebodes something more serious – yet another Republican presidential loss in 2016. Mike Huckabee and Gary Bauer, among others, have threatened to leave the Republican Party if it abandons its support of traditional marriage – one of two reasons the GOP was founded in the 1850s.

“Not all social [conservatives] will feel that way but a few hundred thousand spread across swing states are potentially the difference between winning and losing,” the blogger Allahpundit wrote at HotAir.com. “The right’s perennial fear of 'moderate' Republicans is that they campaign as conservatives and govern as independents. Jeb’s not even campaigning as a conservative.”

Fischer foresees another Bush candidacy depressing voter turnout and handing the election to a Democrat like Hillary Clinton.

“If conservatives want to save their party, and more importantly save America, step one is stopping Jeb Bush dead in his tracks,” he said. 

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When he began shooting a film on a pastor saving disabled babies, he had no idea God was planning to save him

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By Pete Baklinski
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Babies Pastor Lee has brought into his home through the drop box. Arbella Studios

March 3, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) -- Brian Ivie, 25, grew up in California dreaming about making movies. He loved making homemade movies with his friends and eventually went to school to learn how to make them professionally. He was always on the lookout for that one story that he would turn into a movie that would be his ticket to the Sundance Film Festival and rocket him to fame and fortune.

While flipping through the L.A. Times one morning in June 2011, Brian came across the story of a man in Korea who saved unwanted babies by having a baby box installed on the side of his home where parents could drop them off anonymously.

“That alone was compelling to me, the fact that this existed at all,” he told LifeSiteNews in a telephone interview.

Brian immediately saw the story’s potential. Here was the golden opportunity he had been looking for. He contacted the reporter who put him in touch with Pastor Lee Jong-Rak of Seoul, South Korea, the man behind the drop box.

Six months later he was flying to Korea with a team of friends to film a documentary.

“I went to Korea, planning to use this family to be my golden ticket to Sundance,” he said.

Before leaving, Brian picked up a cheap cross necklace so he could wear it to create “some sort of trust between me and this Pastor.”

“I didn’t really know what the cross meant. I just knew that it was this rallying cry for Christendom,” he said.

Brian had grown up thinking he was basically Christian, but having a real relationship with God was something that he had never factored into his life.

“I honestly thought I was a Christian, because I wasn’t a Muslim. I thought I was a Christian because, you know, it’s like you’re American, you’re a Christian, like apple pie and the Bible.”

“I just figured I was a Christian because I didn’t smoke cigarettes, and I watched Fox News with my mom. It was a very cultural label for me. It was a very decorative thing, like a decorative cross you put in the house, but you have no understanding of what it is.”

“My understanding of God, because of the media, was very warped,” he said.

When Brian arrived at Pastor Lee’s home in Seoul, what he experienced made him rethink his entire life. In Pastor Lee, Brian encountered a man who had been rescued out of the gutters of alcoholism and rage to do a work that most people would recognize as utterly selfless and heroic.

“He was not a natural born hero. This is an ordinary man who made a lot of mistakes and needed forgiveness, and once he received that and was saved from his own sin and from hell, then he went out and saved and rescued other kids,” Brian said.

Pastor Lee created the baby box because of the number of babies being abandoned on the streets, many of them dying from exposure before help arrived. The baby box would be a safe harbor to welcome and care for these babies. More than 600 babies have now come through the baby box.

“They’re not the unnecessary ones in the world. God sent them here for a purpose,” Pastor Lee says in the film.

Brian returned to California with his footage, but he was constantly haunted by what he had witnessed in Pastor Lee. He felt like something was missing from his own life, but he could not put his finger on it. Then one day while listening to a podcast about why Jesus died, he suddenly realized what that was.

“This podcast was all about how Jesus Christ took our place. When I heard that, it was like a movie through my own head.”

Brian started imagining Jesus suffering in his place for the six years he had been addicted to pornography, for his abusive relationships with girls, and for his loud and violent outbursts of anger toward his friends, girlfriends, and co-workers. He saw Jesus take it all upon himself and suffer for it all on the cross.

“So, I broke down. I started crying. All I could say was: ‘I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry.’ Even for a guy who didn’t lead some extreme life — I wasn’t the leader of some Mexican cartel, I didn’t almost overdose on heroine, I didn’t murder anybody in cold blood — but I needed to be forgiven, because I had done some shameful things, especially towards God. I realized all that, and knew that I needed to be saved too.”

“I hated myself for a while. But what changed all that was the Father’s love which said ‘I still want you, and in fact, I want you so much that I sent my Son because I’m willing to give everything for you, even though you don’t deserve it.”

Brian began connecting the dots between his filming in Korea about the drop box for babies and his own need to be saved.

“The drop box is the place we all belong. It’s the place we find ourselves when we go: ‘You know, gosh, I need to be saved. I need to be rescued from sin and from this place I’m running to which is called hell, which is the place where I am separated from God. I’m running there and Jesus can save me.”

“The drop box symbolized that to me because it’s the place where you are bound up in the dark, totally helpless and incapable of doing anything about it, and you need a father to come pull you out through the laundry room and into the light,” he said.

With his new spiritual insight, Brian traveled back to Korea in August 2012 to retell the story, this time from the perspective of love.

“The goal was to tell the story that I had experienced of the Father’s love as shown through this man, Pastor Lee.”

Brian’s film The Drop Box, released through Focus on the Family and Pine Creek Entertainment, has already won numerous awards at film festivals. It is opening this week in 800 theaters across North America.

Brian now realizes that his biggest mistake in life is thinking he was too good to need God’s forgiveness.

“My hope is that people realize that they need to be saved and that they would see themselves in these kids and God as Pastor Lee. Because to me, he's living proof of a loving God, and God is putting himself on display through this man.”

“What I see in this film is a man who has given up everything in his life for these children who have been lost on the street. I hope what people see is a picture of something much higher than that, which is really God giving everything on the cross for all of us lost people,” he said.

The Drop Box opens in U.S. cinemas today and in Canada tomorrow. Find a list of U.S. theaters here. Find a list of Canadian theaters here

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Lisa Bourne

San Francisco archbishop under attack: critics of Catholic school reforms hire high-profile PR guru

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By Lisa Bourne
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Public relations specialist Sam Singer

SAN FRANCISCO, March 3, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) -- Critics of San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone have raised the stakes in their opposition to improving the Catholic identity of the city’s Catholic high schools by hiring a high-profile PR strategist.

“Concerned parents are footing the bill” to hire “media relations heavyweight” Sam Singer, reports SF Weekly.

Singer specializes in crisis communication for high-profile figures and describes himself as The Fixer and Top Gun for Hire on his website. He’s also been called The Master of Disaster for his public relations work, which includes representing the San Francisco Zoo in the 2007 killing of a young man by the zoo’s Siberian tiger, and where, according to the news outlet, Singer “shaped hearts and minds to sympathize with the tiger.”

While media reports are not clear about who specifically is behind hiring Singer, the move shows the broad nature and depth of the battle against the archbishop’s efforts to uphold Church teaching.

At the same time Singer told SF Weekly, “he hopes the archbishop sees that the ‘loyalty oath’ he's asking of teachers does 'not keep with Catholic values'," he also said he didn’t accept the job of countering the archbishop’s efforts to maintain Catholic identity because “he himself is religious, necessarily.”

"I'm half Catholic, half Jewish," Singer said. "I like to say I'm the most guilty, most worried man alive." 

The archdiocese announced February 3 that they would add statements on morality to faculty handbooks, as well as three new clauses to teacher contracts, all derived from the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

Archbishop Cordileone explained at the outset that the intent was not to target anyone, but rather to clarify Church teaching and the long-established expectation of Catholic school employees to not publicly contradict the faith.

It is something he has continued to emphasize, along with the need for Catholic schools to be clear in imparting Catholic principles.

“We’re not on a witch hunt; we’re not looking to terminate teachers,” Archbishop Cordileone told the New York Times this week.

He said he was introducing the new language because “young people are under intense pressure today to conform to certain standards that are contrary to what we believe,” and he had focused on “hot-button issues” to clear up “the confusion.”

The archbishop also told the newspaper that he knew that not all teachers at the schools were Catholic, and he affirmed again that a teacher’s private life would remain private. He said his concern was that in their public lives faculty “don’t do anything to compromise the mission of our schools.”

Eight Democrat California lawmakers wrote a letter February 17 pressuring the archbishop to back down on the efforts. But the archbishop responded, “Would you hire a campaign manager who advocates policies contrary to those that you stand for, and who shows disrespect toward you and the Democratic Party in general?” 

“My point is: I respect your right to employ or not employ whomever you wish to advance your mission,” he said. “I simply ask the same respect from you.”

Two of the lawmakers then called for an investigation of working conditions at high schools administered by the archdiocese by the state’s Assembly Labor and Employment Committee and Assembly Judiciary Committee.

“California cannot become a laboratory for discrimination under the guise of religion,” the two Democrats told CBS San Francisco.

They said the archbishop’s measures to uphold Church teaching “set a dangerous precedent for workers’ rights through manipulations of law that deprive employees of civil rights guaranteed to all Californians.”

After a meeting with the San Francisco Chronicle’s editorial board on February 24, the paper reported that Cordileone was backtracking, but the archdiocese denied it in a follow-up statement.

The archbishop did agree, however, that they would not classify teachers as “ministers,” which teachers feared would remove them from federally-recognized civil rights protection.

“The Archbishop has not repealed anything,” Father John Piderit SJ, Vicar for Administration for the archdiocese and Moderator of the Curia said in the statement. “He is adding explanations, clarifications, and material on Catholic social teaching, via a committee of religion teachers he is establishing.” 

“The committee is to expand some areas of the material to be included in the faculty handbook, and clarify other areas by adding material,” said Father Piderit, who was also present at the meeting. “Nothing already planned to go in is being removed or retracted or withdrawn.”

The archdiocese stated the word “ministers” is no longer being considered to classify faculty, however the word “ministry” remained part of the language, and the archbishop was working to identify language that satisfies two needs, one to protect teachers’ rights and the other the right of the archdiocese to run Catholic schools that are faithful to its mission.

“Even if a substitute for ‘ministry’ is found,” Father Piderit said, “the substitute must guarantee that the teachers in the Catholic archdiocesan high schools promote the Catholic mission of the institutions."

Singer persisted in the apparent push for the archbishop to back down after the meeting.

“The proof is in the pudding,” Singer told the online magazine Crux. “So we’ll have to take a look at what the archbishop comes back with. But this is certainly a step in the right direction, and is welcomed by many of the parents, teachers and alumni. But there is still much work to be done.”

The Chronicle subsequently made a video of the meeting available, which was published by the archdiocese.

“The point I want to emphasize most of all though, is that everything that we do is for our students,” Archbishop Cordileone said in the meeting with the newspaper. “My primary concern and the most important thing, and that of everyone involved in the educational ministry of our archdiocese, is for the good of our students.”

Media reports also continue to highlight resistance to the archbishop’s efforts, and misunderstanding of Church doctrine in the moral issues the Church statements concern, such as homosexuality.

The Church teaches that while all people are deserving of respect as children of God, homosexual acts immoral and can never be accepted.

“We pray for the archbishop that his heart is changed,” Gus O’Sullivan told the New York Times. The openly gay senior at one of the schools spoke at a candlelight protest, reportedly part of the Singer campaign.

Michael Vezzali, a teacher at one of the schools and a union official, said the archbishop was “a very wise man,” but “we feel our schools are places where we’re supposed to share the gospel of Jesus and love, no matter what.”

“Our community is in pain; our teachers are scared,” said Jessica Hyman, another senior at one of the archdiocesan high schools.

“We sent our kids to these schools because they uphold the fundamental principles of our faith of love, acceptance and respect,” said Kathy Curran, a mother of freshman. “This language says some people are not O.K. — and that’s not O.K.”

Archbishop Cordileone’s language “is very, very hurtful,” but “he is representing exactly the Roman Catholic sexual doctrine,” Santa Clara University Associate Professor of Moral Theology Lisa Fullam told the New York Times. “Bishops do have a lot of authority in their own diocese.”

Michele Dillon, a sociology professor at the University of New Hampshire, and co-author of the book American Catholics in Transition, which chronicled changes in Catholics’ attitudes and behavior from 1987-2011, said what’s happening in San Francisco reflects the attitudinal wavering among Catholics.

“The church wants people to be aware of official church teachings because they think there is confusion in the culture,” Dillon told the New York Times. “A lot of Catholics aren’t confused. They simply ignore the church’s teachings.”

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