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World Youth Day Organizers Distance Themselves from Pro-Abortion UN Speaker

LifeSiteNews.com

COLOGNE, August 18, 2005 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Since LifeSiteNews.com broke the story of the pro-abortion United Nations representative Eveline Herfkens who was to speak at World Youth Day, there has been a flurry activity to protest the move. Numerous LifeSiteNews.com readers, Human Life International, and the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute lobbied Cardinals and World Youth Day organizers in Germany to put a stop to the scandal. (See the original LifeSiteNews.com story here: https://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2005/aug/05080908.html )

On August 15, Human Life International received a fax from the Apostolic Nuncio to Germany, Archbishop Erwin Josef Ender indicating that he had raised the matter with the office of Cardinal Joachim Meisner, Archbishop of Cologne, the city where the World Youth Day is taking place. The nuncio states in the letter that Cardinal Meisner’s office “has informed me that there is not scheduled any statement from Mrs. Herfkens in any official part of ‘World Youth Days’ celebration.”

LifeSiteNews.com spoke with the office of the Bund der Deutschen Katholischen Jugend (BDKJ), the federal umbrella group for Catholic Youth Groups in Germany, which took part in coordination of World Youth Day. While it is true that the World Youth Day joined with the United Nations in supporting the Millennium Development Goals, it did not endorse Herfkens as a speaker.

BDKJ’s Rowena Roppelt told LifeSiteNews.com that Herfkens, although she did speak at the BDKJ sponsored WYD event called the “Youth Hearing for Justice and Peace,” she was “not invited by the office of the World Youth Day.” Roppelt said that Herfkens was “sent by the United Nations and spoke as a representative of the United Nations.Â

Roppelt added that Herkens “did not speak on the platform, but was invited to and spoke from the front.” She was “more or less in the audience,” said Roppelt.Â

UN Secretary General Annan appointed Herfkins as the Executive Coordinator for the Millennium Campaign in October 2002. Prior to this appointment, Ms. Herfkens served as the Netherlands Minister for Development Cooperation (between 1998 to 2002). During this time, she supported the notorious proposal of an abortionist who wished to circumvent laws prohibiting abortion in various countries by performing abortions on a ship after taking women of the targeted countries off-shore into international waters.

Roppelt assured LifeSiteNews.com more than once, “We are a Catholic youth organization and we don’t support that position (abortion),” later adding “we do not support abortion in any form.”

A World Youth Day Pilgrim Service Center worker responded toÂconcerns raised about UN involvement with WYD noting that while the UN does not have a correct policy on abortion,Âthey play a huge role in establishing peace.

International Right to Life Federation Vice President Jim Hughes commented on the situation to LifeSiteNews.com saying, “In light of recent developments at the UN, it’s rather surprising that someone who’d be so unalterably opposed to Church teaching on life and family matters was there to speak at World Youth Day. However, we can also hope that the Holy Spirit can influence her to alter her opinion on crucial issues of life and family.”

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