Hilary White

Widespread abortion in Kazakhstan comes from Marxism and Western hedonism, Bishop says

Hilary White
Hilary White
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ROME, November 21, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – After a childhood spent under the Soviet regime, Bishop Athanasius Schneider knows better than most where abortion, homosexual activism, and the rest of the woes of the Western world have come from.

In this month’s edition of Notizie ProLife Bishop Schneider, who was born in Tokmok, Kirghiz SSR in the Soviet Union, frankly identified widespread abortion with “atheist and materialistic Marxist ideology,” pointing to this as the cause of the high rates of abortion in the former Soviet state of Kazakhstan.

“As we know,” he said, “the Soviet Union was the the first state in the history of humanity that legalized the killing of unborn children, the logical result of Marxism and materialism,” he told Notizie ProLife’s editor Antonio Brandi. “But speaking with women who have had an abortion, you can nevertheless find a deep remorse of conscience. What is clear [from this] is the demonstration of the truth: you can’t suppress or kill the natural law, which God the creator has inscribed in human nature itself.”

As auxiliary bishop of the tiny archdiocese of Maria Santissima in Astana, Kazakhstan, a place most people have never heard of, Bishop Schneider is acquiring a disproportionate repuration as a defender of the rights of Christians around the world under threat from a radicalised Islam on one hand, and the growth of what Pope Benedict XVI called an increasingly “aggressive secularism” on the other.

He called the attempts by EU institutions to force member states to accept abortion, “evidence of the existence of anti-democratic structures” left over from the totalitarian ideologies of the 20th century. “We see a real danger of loss of full sovereignty of European countries, the national, cultural, moral and religious values of the European peoples,” he said. “There is a danger of losing all of these human and spiritual riches that the Christian faith has produced on the European continent during 2,000 years.”

He urged Christians “to defend against a new totalitarian system that imposes a single ideological social model, marginalizing the real social and human values of natural law and of the Christian faith.”

“We live in a time of course hostile to everything that is linked with God and his revelation in Christ and his Holy Church.”

Interviewed during one of his frequent trips to Rome earlier this month, Bishop Schneider spoke of an “all-encompassing ideology” that “has stifled the voice of conscience in the souls of many people who continue to practice abortion in former Soviet countries in a frightening way, as a simple means of contraception.”

He warned that Kazakhstan needed steadfastly to maintain its sovereignty in order to keep its people’s dedication to the Natural Law, and “independence from ideological pressure” favoring the “ideology of ‘gender’” that has become such a feature of the European Union and the United Nations.

He is, however, hopeful that the pressure from the West will not triumph, saying that among “the peoples of the East, Natural Law on sex and marriage between man and woman is so deeply rooted that the homosexualist ideology will not have a real or substantial chance, unless the State impose a dictatorship with violence or with threats of new types of the concentration camps, ‘the gulag’.”

Kazakhstan, a small former Soviet satellite state wedged between the Caspian Sea, the southern border of Russia and the extreme western end of China, is home to an array of ethnicities and religious groups, but is predominantly Islamic (70.2 percent). The next-largest minority group is Russian who are mostly Orthodox, with a small number of Ukranians and Germans; of these, only a tiny fraction are Catholics (Russian Orthodox 23.9 percent, “other Christian” 2.3 percent).

“Kazakhstan is not formally a Muslim country, but, as they say, a secular country,” Bishop Schneider said. “The Muslim region religion hasn’t the force required to influence a change from a materialistic inheritance so deeply rooted in society.”

He confirmed that abortion is often available in his country “on demand” and is recommended by doctors based on “pseudo-scientific pretences” and “with threats.”

“All this is a mirror of materialistic mentality of the past and the new hedonistic mentality imported from the West,” he said.

He called the pro-life and family movement in his country small but effective, saying what is important “is that you save a life …since before the eyes of God one soul is like an entire world”.

Bishop Schneider’s reputation as a champion of the Church’s liturgical traditions was established by his book, Dominus est, (“This is the Lord”) defending the traditional manner of receiving Holy Communion at Mass – that is, with the communicant kneeling and the host placed directly on the tongue. Since its publication in 2008, the book has acquired what might be described as a “cult” following, having been translated from the original Italian into English, German, Estonian, Lithuanian, Polish, Hungarian, and Chinese.

His reputation for outspokenness on doctrinal orthodoxy was equally well established in 2010 when, at a theological conference in Rome, he said the Church needs “a new Syllabus,” to correct what he called the erroneous interpretations of the Second Vatican Council.

“There is need for a new Syllabus,” he said, “this time directed not so much against errors coming from outside the Church, but against errors spread within the Church on the part of those who maintain a thesis of discontinuity and rupture with its doctrinal, liturgical, and pastoral application. Such a Syllabus would consist of two parts: a part marking errors and a positive part with propositions of doctrinal clarification, completion, and precision.”

The reference was to a famous document, usually called the “Syllabus of Errors,” condemning the “errors of Modernism,” published by Pope Pius IX in 1864, that has been widely reviled as “authoritarian” by the “progressive” wing of modern theologians and prelates.  

Bishop Schneider lamented that “many Catholics in Europe are shy and doubtful about [defending] life and often do not have the courage to take a stand.”

“The abortion issue is first and foremost a matter of natural law, inscribed by God in the soul of every man: ‘killing is wrong’ and even worse is killing an innocent person.” This law is included by God in the 10 Commandments, and no believers may have “the slightest doubt about the immorality of any kind of abortion.”

“Unfortunately the spirit of this world, the spirit of doctrinal and moral relativism is also entered in the sphere of the life of the Church and in the life of Catholics,” he said.

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But he also cautioned against despair, saying that the current situation “also provides a privileged means to boldly confess God’s law and the Catholic faith.”

“This time reveals more clearly that we are here on earth the ‘Church Militant’. We are all called, each in his place, and according to his ability to be a ‘miles Christi,’ [soldier of Christ] a ‘confessor Christi,’ and this is to be a true disciple of Christ.”

“We are increasingly living with the belief that Christ is the only winner, and we belong to the winner’s party,” he added.

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Indiana Gov. Mike Pence signs the state's Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
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Indiana faces backlash as it becomes 20th state to protect religious liberty

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By Ben Johnson

INDIANAPOLIS, IN, March 27, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) – On Thursday, Indiana became the 20th state to prevent the government from forcing people of faith to violate their religious beliefs in business or the public square.

Gov. Mike Pence signed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (SB 101) into law, saying the freedom of religion is a preeminent American value.

“The Constitution of the United States and the Indiana Constitution both provide strong recognition of the freedom of religion, but today, many people of faith feel their religious liberty is under attack by government action,” Pence said.

Gov. Pence, a possible dark horse candidate for president in 2016, cited court cases brought by religious organizations and employers, including Catholic universities, against the HHS mandate. “One need look no further than the recent litigation concerning the Affordable Care Act. A private business and our own University of Notre Dame had to file lawsuits challenging provisions that required them to offer insurance coverage in violation of their religious views.”

The new law could also prevent Christian business owners from being compelled to bake a cake or take photographs of a same-sex "marriage" ceremony, if doing so violates their faith. In recent years, business owners have seen an increased level of prosecution for denying such services, despite their religious and moral beliefs.

The state's pro-life organization applauded Pence for his stance. "Indiana's pro-life community is grateful to Gov. Mike Pence for signing the Religious Freedom Restoration Act into law,” said Indiana Right to Life's president and CEO Mike Fichter. “This bill will give pro-lifers a necessary legal recourse if they are pressured to support abortion against their deeply-held religious beliefs.”

“RFRA is an important bill to protect the religious freedom of Hoosiers who believe the right to life comes from God, not government,” he said.

The state RFRA is based on the federal bill introduced by Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-NY, and signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1993. The Supreme Court cited the federal law when it ruled that Hobby Lobby had the right to refuse to fund abortion-inducing drugs, if doing so violated its owners' sincerely held religious beliefs.

In signing the measure – similar to the one Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer vetoed – Pence and the state of Indiana have faced a torrent of venom from opponents of the bill, who claim it grants a “right to discriminate” and raises the spectre of segregation.

"They've basically said, as long as your religion tells you to, it's OK to discriminate against people," said Sarah Warbelow, legal director of the Human Rights Campaign, a national homosexual pressure group.

The Disciples of Christ, a liberal Protestant denomination based in the state capital, has said it will move its 2017 annual convention if the RFRA became state law. The NCAA warned the bill's adoption “might affect future events” in the Hoosier state.

Pence denied such concerns, saying, "This bill is not about discrimination, and if I thought it legalized discrimination in any way I would've vetoed it."

The bill's supporters say that, under the Obama administration, it is Christians who are most likely to suffer discrimination.

"Originally RFRA laws were intended to protect small religious groups from undue burdens on practicing their faith in public life,” said Mark Tooley, president of the Institute on Religion and Democracy. “It was not imagined there would come a day when laws might seek to jail or financially destroy nuns, rabbis or Christian camp counselors who prefer to abstain from the next wave of sexual and gender experimentation. And there's always a next wave.”

The bill's supporters note that it does not end the government's right to coerce people of faith into violating their conscience in every situation. However, it requires that doing so has to serve a compelling government interest and the government must use the least restrictive means possible. “There will be times when a state or federal government can show it has a compelling reason for burdening religious expression – to ensure public safety, for instance,” said Sarah Torre, an expert at the Heritage Foundation. “But Religious Freedom Restoration Acts set a high bar for the government to meet in order to restrict religious freedom.”

Restricting the ability of government to interfere in people's private decisions, especially their religious decisions, is the very purpose of the Constitution, its supporters say.

"Religious freedom is the cornerstone of all liberty for all people,” Tooley said. “Deny or reduce it, and there are no ultimate limits on the state's power to coerce."

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Fight pornography. Beat pornography. And join the ranks of those who support their fellow men and women still fighting.
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Porn is transforming our men from protectors into predators. Fight back.

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By Jonathon van Maren

Since I’ve gotten involved in anti-pornography work, I’ve met countless men who struggle, fight, or have beaten pornography. Each person seems to deal with the guilt and shame that accompanies porn use in a different way—some deny that it’s “all that bad,” others pretend that they could “stop whenever they want,” many insist that “everyone is doing it,” and most, when pressed, admit to a deep sense of self-loathing.

One worry surfaces often in conversation: What do my past or current struggles with pornography say about me as a man? Can I ever move past this and have a meaningful and fulfilling relationship?

I want to address this question just briefly, since I’ve encountered it so many times.

First, however, I’ve written before how I at times dislike the language of “struggling” with pornography or pornography “addiction,” not because they aren’t accurate but because too often they are used as an excuse rather than an explanation. It is true, many do in fact “struggle” with what can legitimately be considered an addiction, but when this language is used to describe an interminable battle with no end (and I’ve met dozens of men for whom this is the case), then I prefer we use terminology like “fighting my porn habit.” A semantic debate, certainly, but one I think is important. We need to stop struggling with porn and start fighting it.

Secondly, pornography does do devastating things to one’s sense of masculinity. We know this. Pornography enslaves men by the millions, perverting their role as protector and defender of the more vulnerable and turning them into sexual cannibals, consuming those they see on-screen to satisfy their sexual appetites.

What often starts as mere curiosity or an accidental encounter can turn into something that invades the mind and twists even the most basic attractions. I’ve met porn users who can’t believe the types of things they want to watch. They haven’t simply been using porn. Porn has actively reshaped them into something they don’t recognize and don’t like. 

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Porn is this generation’s great assault on masculinity and the role of men in society. It is essential that we win this battle for the sake of society’s survival. Contrary to what the gender-bending and family-morphing progressive elites claim, good husbands and good fathers and good church leaders are necessary for a healthy society. But pornography is destroying marriages, creating distant and disconnected fathers, and, metaphoricaclly castrating men, hindering their ability and desire to make a positive difference in the society around us.

So, with this sobering set of facts in mind let’s return to the question: what do pornography struggles, past and present, say about a man?

The proper way to respond is with everything that is good about masculinity. We have to fight pornography as men have fought countless evils throughout the ages. We need to fight pornography to protect women, and wives, and children, and our society at large. This is how pornography threatens society, by castrating men, and turning them from protectors into predators. Rooting out the evil in our own lives allows us to better fulfill the role we are called to perform in the lives of others. Battling our own demons enables us to battle the wider cultural demons. Every day without porn is another bit of virtue built. Virtue is not something you’re born with. Virtues are habits that you build. And one day without porn is the first step towards the virtue of being porn-free.

Many men ask me if men who have had past porn addictions are cut out for being in a relationship or working in the pro-life movement or in other areas where we are called to protect and defend the weak and vulnerable. And the answer to that is an unequivocal yes. Our society needs men who know what it means to fight battles and win. Our society needs men who can say that they fought porn and they beat porn, because their families and their friends were too important to risk. Our society needs men who rose to the challenge that the evils of their generation threw at them, and became better men as the result. And our society needs men who can help their friends and their sons and those around them fight the plague of pornography and free themselves from it, too—and who can understand better and offer encouragement more relevant than someone who has fought and been freed themselves?

So the answer to men is yes. Fight pornography. Beat pornography. And join the ranks of those who support their fellow men and women still fighting. Lend them support and encouragement. We cannot change the fact that porn has left an enormous path of destruction in its wake. But we can change the fact that too many people aren’t fighting it. We can change our own involvement. And we can rise to the challenge and face this threat to masculinity with all that is good about masculinity.

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Red Alert!

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By John-Henry Westen

I don’t like having to do this, but we have always found it best to be totally upfront with our readers: our Spring fundraising campaign is now worrying us! 

You see, with just 6 days remaining, we have only raised 30% of our goal, with $125,000 still left to raise. That is a long ways to go yet.

We have no choice but to reach our minimum goal of $175,000 if we are going to be able to continue serving the 5+ million readers who rely on us every month for investigative and groundbreaking news reports on life, faith and family issues.

Every year, LifeSite readership continues to grow by leaps and bounds. This year, we are again experiencing record-breaking interest, with over 6 million people visiting our website last month alone!

This unprecedented growth in turn creates its own demand for increased staff and resources, as we struggle to serve these millions of new readers.

And especially keep this in mind. As many more people read LifeSite, our mission of bringing about cultural change gets boosted. Our ultimate goal has always been to educate and activate the public to take well-informed, needed actions.

Another upside to our huge growth in readers is that it should be that much easier to reach our goal. To put it simply: if each person who read this one email donated whatever they could (even just $10) we would easily surpass our goal! 

Today, I hope you will join the many heroes who keep this ship afloat, and enable us to proclaim the truth through our reporting to tens of millions of people every year!

Your donations to LifeSite cause major things to happen! We see that every day and it is very exciting. Please join with us in making a cultural impact with a donation of ANY AMOUNT right now. 

You can also donate by phone or mail. We would love to hear from you!

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