April 30, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) – As an Archbishop, dealing on a daily basis with people infected and affected by HIV/AIDS, I know that the Pope is speaking the truth. I suspect that those who were so vociferous in condemning the Pope have never touched an HIV infected person, let alone rendered any care and attention. It is so much easier to distribute gadgets, especially at other people’s expense.
What reduces infections is less casual sex, not more condoms. That is the truth. Those who accuse the Pope of being “unrealistic,” that young people will have sex anyway, have no respect for the young people. When they are given true orientation, they freely respond with far greater sexual responsibility that the armchair social experts can ever imagine.
As an African Archbishop, it is my nephews and nieces that are in danger of dying of HIV/AIDS. Let no one ever suggest that they are more concerned about them than I am. The condom distributors should listen to the truth coming not only from the Pope and Bishops, but even from impartial and serious scientific research. The facts are there, as Cardinal Pell has briefly illustrated. To ignore these facts is the greatest disservice anyone can do to the future of Africa. The struggle continues, and we are overcoming!
During the recent interview, Turcotte also addressed the controversy over Pope Benedict’s remark against condoms during his recent trip to Africa. According to Cardinal Turcotte, it would be “ridiculous” to suggest that the Pope said condoms should not be used.
“Essentially, the pope said that it took two things to fight this disease, the means, but also a change of mentality. He pronounced this sentence to show that condoms were not in and of themselves the perfect solution; we took his words out of context and all this was largely amplified,” said Cardinal Turcotte.
“As if the pope had said that condoms should not be used. This is ridiculous! When someone has AIDS, it is his or her responsibility to protect the people with whom he or she has intercourse.”
There is something profoundly sick about this story.
Firstly, the young people phoned ahead and the Governor General’s office agreed to meet with them.
Secondly, they were on public property, outside of the Governor General’s “private” property.
Thirdly, the presentation was made respectfully and peacefully.
I’m not sure what kind of thuggery the RCMP was engaging in, but I trust David’s account completely. I’ve had my own run-ins with the RCMP myself, and I don’t have a favourable impression of them. And as for the Governor General’s big brother approach with the professional camera, I find that very eerie.
The fact is that none of us should really be surprised by this story because social conservatives are quickly being demoted to second class citizens for simply having a politically incorrect opinion. That’s the reality. There was no reason at all for the rough treatment these peaceful pro-lifers received from the RCMP. None at all. Don’t they have enough violent Leftists to beat back at some protest some where? They have to intimidate 12 harmless (mostly female) pro-lifers and interrogate its spokeman instead? Like much of our civil institutions, the RCMP is becoming a sick and dangerous joke.
And before the Leftists reading this entry soil themselves with glee, just remember….when we’re peeled away by the fascist impulses that are running roughshod over this country and the totalitarian jackboots start stomping, they really have no reason to stop when they come across your opinion that registers on their politically incorrect radar.
Oh…I know, things are just swell now, but the thing about not tolerating dissent and intimidating people into silence is that it is very dangerous.
Removing “the right” does not remove the right. It only shift the political opinion to the left so that the people who were once considered “moderate” become the new “right”, and then they become the new targets and on and on it goes….until it comes to you.
OTTAWA, April 28, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Nine Canadian Catholic bishops are set to take part in this year’s Canadian March for Life, which will take place on May 14 on Parliament Hill in Ottawa. This is the first year in the March’s 11 year history that the March has been given the full support of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB). (For more info about the March, click here)
Deborah Gyapong of Canadian Catholic News said that she expects this to be, “the biggest and best March for Life ever,” with at least nine bishops confirming their attendance, as well as thousands of pro-life Canadians of all and no religious denominations.
“We want to support it because it is a good thing,” said Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) president Archbishop James Weisgerber after discussion among bishops at last year’s annual plenary, which was held September 22-26.
St. Catharine’s Bishop James Wingle first raised the idea of mass mobilization for the March for Life on the part of the Catholic bishops and he received strong backing from Quebec Cardinal Marc Ouellet and Ottawa Archbishop Terrence Prendergast, who will both be present at this year’s March.
Campaign Life Coalition president Jim Hughes welcomed the news of the participation by the bishops.
“That’s powerful,” Hughes said. “That’s probably the best news I’ve heard in 2009. It’s always wonderful to have the spiritual leadership and support of the bishops of Canada and we welcome this initiative on their part and we look forward to a long and growing relationship with them.”
Archbishop Weisgerber designated Archbishop Prendergast, who was the first Canadian bishop to attend the March for Life last year, as the coordinator for the bishops’ initiative.
Neil McCarthy, communications director for the Archdiocese of Toronto, said his diocese will have a strong presence at the March.
“The March for Life provides an ideal opportunity for the Catholic community to come together in support of life,” McCarthy told the Catholic Register. “Archbishop (Thomas) Collins will be attending this year’s march and the Office of Catholic Youth will be organizing buses to Ottawa so that our young people may join with others from across the country at this important event.”
As well as Bishops Collins, Ouellet and Prendergast, the other bishops that will be at the Ottawa March for Life this year are: Most Rev. Stephen Victor Chmilar of the Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of Toronto; Most Rev. Michael Mulhall, Bishop of Pembroke, Ontario; Most Rev. Nicola De Angelis, C.F.I.C., Bishop of Peterborough, Ontario; Most Rev. Ronald Peter Fabbro, C.S.B., Bishop of London, Ontario; Most Rev. John Stephen Pazak, C.Ss.R., Eparchial Bishop of the Catholic Slovaks of the Byzantine Rite in Canada; and Most Rev. Jean-Louis Plouffe, Bishop of Sault Ste-Marie, Ontario.
This year’s event mourns the 40th anniversary of legalized abortion in Canada. Organizers of the March are encouraging pro-life Canadians to go out of their way to attend the landmark event.
This year’s theme is Exodus 2009 – A Future without Abortion. Events begin on Wednesday, May 13th with a Mass at St. Theresa’s Parish at 7:30 p.m. followed by a Candlelight Vigil at the Canadian Tribute to Human Rights Monument in the nation’s capital at dusk.
On May 14th there are a number of ways in which Christians of various denominations might spiritually prepare for the day’s events. At 10 a.m. there is a Mass at both Notre Dame Cathedral and St. Patrick’s Basilica, a Prayer Service at St. George Anglican Church, and a worship and meditation service hosted by the Canadian Reformed Church at the Merivale United Church.
At noon, the gathering begins on Parliament Hill with the introduction of dignitaries and select speeches. The March will begin at 1:30 p.m. and lasts about an hour. When people return to the Hill, the Silent No More Awareness Campaign will make a presentation at 2:45 p.m. The Eastern Catholic Chaplaincy of Ottawa will lead a closing Prayer Service at 4 p.m.
I heard about this announcement this past Sunday from a fellow Knight of Columbus who was attending a function where Ottawa Archbishop Prendergast was speaking. The archbishop announced that 10 bishops would be coming to this year’s National March for Life in Ottawa. (There are also regional rallies planned throughout the country to mark the 40th year abortion has been legalized in Canada, with other bishops participating as well.) By the time May 14th rolls around, we could have many more. Remember what I said at the 40 Days for Life kickoff rally this past campaign? The pro-life movement in Canada is a rolling snowball, gathering momentum. And there’s no stopping it now, either. We’re on the march. It’s just a matter of time before abortion falls. You watch. It’s gonna happen a lot quicker and unexpectedly than anyone could have imagined.
Why? Because God’s ways are not our ways. That’s why you can’t see it coming. So let us not be discouraged with mere political appearances, and keep focused and resilient in the battle.
“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”- Gal.6:9
We all owe a great debt of gratitude to Archbishop Prendergast for his dedication to the pro-life cause and to moving this issue among the bishops. I think that the D&P scandal has put the issue of abortion front and center on the episcopal agenda. I believe that the bishops want to show that indeed they are on the side of life and they want to ensure there is no confusion on this point.
In that respect, the abortion scandal at Development & Peace has been a blessing in disguise. That’s what I’ve been telling people too: Don’t be upset. Rejoice! For the light is shining forth and piercing the hearts of many!
This is extremely good news. All of the prayers of the little hobbits are working overtime. The Rosarium continues to ask for more participation from the bishops. It’s not yet enough. We need to see more bishops hitting the pavement and leading us. (In fact, we need more clergy from every denomination to attend.) And we also need money to fight. So far the Church has contributed too little to this battle in proportion to other causes. This disposition must change dramatically if we are to make any advances. Your money and your resources is where your heart is. Money might not buy happiness, but it does save lives – babies’ lives to be exact.
Back in March 2008, The Rosarium sent a letter to all of the country’s bishops asking them to 1) issue a clear affirmation of Humanae Vitae2) formally retract the Winnipeg Statement and 3) participate in the March for Life rallies in 2009. (In our meeting with Archbishop Prendergast in November 2007, we actually asked him to invite the country’s bishops to Ottawa for the March for Life in remembrance of the 40th year of legalized abortion in Canada.) It appears therefore that everyone’s prayers and efforts might have been blessed to receive 2 of the 3 requests we asked for. The above story addresses the third request while the first was answered a day short of the 40th anniversary of the Winnipeg Statement. Like the song says, “2 out of 3 ain’t bad”, but we’re not stopping there.
We hope that the bishops present at the Mass at Notre Dame Cathedral will ask for forgiveness for the past. For our neglect. For our laxity. For our complicity. All of us. Bishop, Priest, Laity.
Let us make May 14 the day of a new beginning for a new Canada!
National March for Life: Exodus 2009 – A Future Without Abortion
This year on May 14, 2009, Canada will mark40 years to the day Canadian Parliament passed the infamous Omnibus Bill, C-150, the legislation decriminalizing contraception, abortion, and homosexuality, (Votes: 149-55). For the next 40 years, the moral and social fibre of our country has been steadily eroded as millions of unborn children have been mercilessly slaughtered in their mothers’ wombs. In Canada today, there is no law restricting abortion – even up to the moment before birth.The polls have consistently showed that Canadians do not approve of the status quo on abortion on demand in this country. They have consistently showed through the years that two-thirds of Canadians want some restrictions on abortion. (See Environics Poll – October, 2005, Environics Poll – October, 2006, Environics Poll – October, 2007, Environics Poll – October, 2008). But still, the government won’t touch this issue with a 10-foot pole. And year after year, our country dies a little more.In fact, whenever pro-abort forces faces off against concerned Canadians, they are resoundly defeated both in informal competitions and even ones hosted by the liberal media itself.Abortion clinics in Canada flaunt their late term abortion services (up to 23 weeks), all the while refusing to acknowledge the humanity of a child even at 20 weeks. And if the pregnancy is over 24 weeks, we ship our sisters and daughters to Wichita, Kansas for the “procedure” by Tiller the Killer, on the taxpayer’s dime no less. While our politicians and judges either mouth platitudes of opposition, or work actively to ensure this deadly sacrifice continues year after year and decade after decade, the cry of the innocents goes unheard. It’s the silent scream that we would rather not hear. Natural justice is denied to the most defenseless human being in the most dangerous place to be in Canada: a mother’s womb. Every societal indicator of a healthy society has shown that Canada is a social disaster zone. Abortion rates continue to skyrocket, as does family breakdown, drug abuse, violence, addiction to pornography, and every sort of social malady imaginable.And while Canada continues to disintegrate, the media pundits and the politicians promote foolish and idiotic solutions to the nation’s problems while willfully ignoring the real reason why Canada is destroying itself. Do we not have eyes to see what is happening to Canada today? Are we so blinded by our decadence and selfishness that we will let ourselves descend into the basest depravity before we are thoroughly destroyed as a country; where even now our basic civil rights and freedoms are being threatened because we refuse to rear our own children and pass down our traditions?
Without a genuine respect for human life and the natural family, and the concomitant reflection of that respect in law, the Canadian social fabric, like an unborn child’s flesh during an abortion, will continue to tear and bleed until there is nothing left. It is a fallacy to believe a nation can willfully and legally destroy its own children without also destroying itself. To be sure, it does not happen over night. It has taken decades for the consequences to come bearing down, but they do come. Once the effects are conceded among the elites and the chattering classes, no one will ever again try to argue that abortion does not have lethal consequences in every strata of our society.
Canada has become a barren desert of murderous self-indulgence. We’ve been on a suicide trip for the past 40 years, but we all know that it cannot go on indefinitely. It can only go on so long before some serious and rather irreversible consequences happen.
Is it too late? Perhaps. But May 14, 2009 may be a new beginning for this country. 40 years in the desert can come to an end — or at least the beginning of the end — if we really want to enter the promised land.
The March for Life has been taking place on Parliament Hill since 1998. The March has been steadily growing in numbers ever since its inception, reaching its high last year of 8,000 people.
The Rosarium wants to encourage everyone participating this year to make an extra effort to attend the March on Thursday May 14, and encourage your friends and family to participate too. This year’s March is entitled “Exodus 2009″ in remembrance of the last 40 years of abortion in this country. With your prayers and participation, this year’s March can be the most dramatic ever.Please make every effort to attend, and be part of the greatest civil and human rights movement of all time!
MORELIA, MEXICO April 28, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The Canadian Catholic bishops’ foreign aid organization, the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace (CCODP), is funding an organization in the Mexican state of Michoacan that refers women to government hospitals to receive abortifacient “emergency contraception,” LifeSiteNews has learned.
The group, called the Women in Solidarity Action Team (Equipo Mujeres en Acción Solidaria – EMAS), also campaigns to legalize abortion and to streamline existing procedures for abortions in cases of rape, and gives instruction on the use of contraceptives.
Ana Luisa Barajas Perez, General Coordinator of EMAS, confirmed to LifeSiteNews in a telephone interview today that in the struggle to legalize abortion in Mexico City “we have supported our counterparts in the Federal District in everything regarding the law, promoting here all of the actions that they were undertaking and why it was important.”
“So in the Federal District EMAS has helped with the legalization of abortion?” asked LifeSiteNews. “Uh huh,” responded Barajas. “Not only EMAS but all of the women’s organizations denominated as feminist in the state [of Michoacan], there are eight of us.”
Barajas explained that EMAS campaigned through “the media, press conferences, explaining to various news agencies, what the implication of the law is in the Federal District and why it is a success for women in the state.”
In the state of Michoacan, EMAS has “supported a proposal for a manual of mechanisms so that women who are raped may truly have access to legal interruption [of pregnancy],” said Barajas.
Moreover, Barajas also stated EMAS gives instruction on the use of contraceptives, and that “we have a relationship…with the Secretary of Health…so that women really have access to this type of service as a matter of public policy” and added that “many women don’t even know that they have a right to this, no? To request this type of service.”
Asked if the “service” included “emergency contraception,” which causes abortions, Barajas responded “Yes, including emergency contraception.”
In an article dated April 8, 2007, the newspaper La Jornada de Michoacan confirms that EMAS supports legislation to clarify and streamline procedures for obtaining legal abortions in the state, in cases of rape and fetal deformity.
“The fact that a legal initiative to create norms for abortions in specific cases is being presented represents a great advance,” Barajas told La Jornada. “We only hope that they follow through and don’t shelve it as they have other times” (see article in Spanish at http://www.lajornadamichoacan.com.mx/2007/04/08/index.php?se…).
On its blog (http://equpomujeresenaccionsolidaria.blogspot.com/), EMAS describes itself as a “civil organization founded in 1985 in Mexico City by a group of women committed to the struggle for gender equality, inspired by the utopia of a world without discrimination, truly just, inclusive, and democratic. Since 1987 we have worked in Michoacan, contributing through educational work in rural communities to promote public policies that help to improve the living conditions of women and their social position.”
EMAS received $31,000 Canadian dollars during CCODP’s 2007-2008 budget year. If projected over the entire 2006-2011 program, EMAS will have received $155,000 CAD in total.
EMAS is the eighth group funded by CCODP identified by LifeSiteNews as pro-abortion, indicating that at least 73% of the eleven Mexican groups listed as CCODP grant recipients in its 2006-2011 program for Latin America are in favor of legalizing and/or making abortions that are currently not penalized more easily accessible to women in the country.
On Wednesday, April 29, at 9:30 am, an emissary to the Governor General of Canada, will meet a delegation of young people at the gate of Rideau Hall, who will present a petition of 18,222 Canadians who oppose the Governor General’s decision to award Henry Morgentaler the Order of Canada.
These young people, lead by David MacDonald, are marking the 40th year since the legalization of abortion and the resulting fallout on their generation of Canadians, 25% of whom have died in the womb. The delegation will include Frances Wilkenson, a woman who regrets her abortion, and Faytene Kryskow, director of 4 My Canada.
Former Broadway performer, David MacDonald, who is the father of an aborted child says “Henry Morgentaler’s appointment does not represent the Queen’s policy of non-intervention in internal Canadian politics, nor does it represent Canadians who are looking to the Governor General to unify the country.”
4MyCanada (Motivated Young People for a Strong Canada) is a movement of young people committed to educating young Canadians on how they can shape Canada in a positive way for generations to come and practically mobilizing them to do it.
Who: A delegation of 12 young people will meet an emissary to the Governor General, on behalf of 18,222 Canadians
What: The presentation of a Petition of 18,222 Canadians against the Mortgentaler appointment to the Order of Canada
When: Wednesday, April 29, 9:30 am
Where: Front gate of Rideau Hall, Sussex Dr., Ottawa
Why: These young people believe that their generation has been severely compromised by abortion and dont think Henry Morgentaler should be honoured.
Tuesday, April 28, 2009Governor General of CanadaHonourable Michaëlle JeanRideau Hall1 Sussex DriveOttawa, ON, K1A 0A1Your Excellency
I come with a delegation of 12 young people to present this petition of 18,222 Canadians who oppose the decision to award Henry Morgentaler the Order of Canada. In this 40th year since the legalization of abortion in Canada, we reflect on the 25% of our generation of who have died in the womb, most of whom were lost at a Morgentaler “clinic.” This is his legacy.Mr. Morgentaler has said that six months after conception a mother is not carrying a fetus but rather, “a baby.” Yet he fought to make it legal to take the life of that “baby” one day before she is born, which has resulted in hundreds of late term “babies” sent to the US for abortion, paid for by taxes, sanctioned by this law. This is also his legacy, and now it is yours.
This award does not represent the Queen of England’s policy of non-intervention in internal Canadian politics, nor does it represent Canadians who are looking to the Governor General to unify their country. Rather, we believe it undermines the relevance of the Office of the Governor General. It has dampened our national pride. It will ultimately hurt women and increase the number of abortions. As a person who helped pay for an abortion and watched my girlfriend, who was a medical doctor, deteriorate afterward, I am profoundly aware of abortion’s repercussions on both women and men. There has been no greater mistake in my life, and I believe there has been no greater mistake made by the office of the Governor General than to honour abortion this way. This issue will not go away by handing honours to abortionists or by muting those who object. That is no way to appease the conscience.
The petition was gathered by the Family Party of Ontario.
Until last week, there was no evidence that any of the shady partners of Development and Peace (D&P) were directly involved in abortion activities. Although many partners were involved in appalling activities such as lobbying for increased access to abortion and trying to influence public opinion towards a greater acceptance of abortion, no partner could be directly linked to abortion activities.
All of that changed on April 22nd with a shocking report by LifeSiteNews about a D&P partner called Comaletzin Rural Feminist Interregional Coordinator. It turns out that Comaletzin helps make abortion available to women who don’t want to keep their baby. To understand how grave this really is, you need to understand how abortion works in Mexico.
The country is composed of 32 states. Legal restrictions on abortion vary depending on where you live. In the vast majority of the country, including the state where Comaletzin operates (called Puebla), abortion is only permitted in the case of rape or health problems. In Mexico City, abortion on demand is legal during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. In two other states, the Yucatán and Morelos, abortion access is not quite as liberal as in Mexico City, but is more accessible than in the rest of the country.
Given this mixed-bag of abortion legislation, pregnant women don’t always know what their abortion “rights” are. That’s where Comaletzin comes into play. In their interview with LifeSiteNews, the boss at Comaletzin admitted quite candidly that they help women obtain legal permissions for abortions. In other words, they serve as a broker for pregnant women seeking abortions. Looking for an abortion but don’t know how to go about it? Just drop by and we’ll get you connected with the right people to make it happen.
So although Comaletzin doesn’t run abortion clinics, there is no doubt that Comaletzin is facilitating direct access to abortions and contributing to some babies being aborted who might otherwise have been carried to term. By facilitating access to abortion and sending women to abortion clinics, they are directly complicit in the act of abortion. In other words, more babies are dying because of the actions of this D&P partner.
This is extremely grave. There is no more time for our bishops to dither over D&P. We need action now. When the lives of innocent people are on the line, you need rapid and bold action. If terrorists hijack a bus and hold 50 people hostage, the police don’t strike a commission to study the problem and report back in 2 months. They call in the SWAT team.
I see that LifeSite has picked up my original report about the Women’s Collective in Nicaragua. I was pleasantly surprised to see that they followed up with an interview with one of the staff of the “clinic”. You can read about the eye-opening admissions below. I thought this exchange was particularly notable:
“The March 8th Women’s Collective, you would like to make abortion available for any woman who would like to choose an abortion, right?” LSN asked. “Claro,” responded Carla in Spanish, meaning “of course,” or “clearly.”
The word “clearly” is such a difficult idea to grasp or concede these days. Wouldn’t you say?
In fact, all of us useful idiots can hopefully see what’s going on now.
Are not the pictures enough for you to act immediately, your Graces?
I mailed them to you last week.
Just how long will we have to wait? And just how long will you permit our money to continue to fund pro-abort and anti-Catholic groups?
Photographic Evidence of Pro-Abortion Nicaraguan Group Funded by Canadian Bishops’ Development Arm
Group member confirms to LifeSiteNews that they support abortion on demand and promote the use of contraceptives
By Matthew Cullinan Hoffman
NICARAGUA, April 23, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A representative of a group that is funded by the Canadian bishops’ official development arm has admitted in an interview with LifeSiteNews.com that it actively promotes an abortion-on-demand agenda in Nicaragua. The group has worked to block pro-life legislation in the country, demands the legalization of abortion, and supported Obama’s decision to revoke the Mexico City Policy. The representative also told LSN that the group promotes and dispenses contraceptives from its “women’s health” clinic.
The interview substantiates photos of the group’s headquarters, which prominently displays pro-abortion signage, and other documents obtained by LSN and another Canadian pro-life activist.
Recently a traveler to Nicaragua returned with photos of the March 8th Women’s Collective, a funded “partner” of the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace (CCODP).
The CCODP (or D&P), which is an arm of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, receives much of its funding from collection drives in parishes held during Lent. Over the last two months LSN has reported that at least 18 groups funded by CCODP are involved in pro-abortion and/or pro-contraception activities. (See all the evidence here: http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2009/apr/09041702.html)
The photos of the March 8th Women’s Collective, which were first published by Canadian pro-life and pro-family activist John Pacheco on his Socon or Bust blog, show signs posted within the building advocating the legalization of abortion.
According to Pacheco, the eyewitness who took the photos, whom he has spoken to directly, traveled to Nicaragua within the last year on a “faith-based education trip.” One of the projects that she visited on that trip was that of 8 de Marzo (see original blog post at http://www.socon.ca/?p=1596).
Pacheco says his source, who wishes to remain anonymous and whom he calls “Conchita,” was taken to an office of 8 de Marzo, which includes a clinic capable of doing gynecological exams. The participants were then given a talk by the director of the clinic, Luz Marina Torres, who stated that 8 de Marzo supports the legalization of abortion in Nicaragua and had been involved in campaigns to prevent the passage of the nation’s current pro-life penal code, which punishes all abortions except for those necessary to save the life of the mother.
As Torres spoke, she reportedly stood in front of a large banner which proclaims: “VIOLENCE IS: Requiring a girl to carry a pregnancy. We demand the return of therapeutic abortion” (see photo).
“Conchita” also told Pacheco that two doors at the clinic had signs that read, “I support abortion.” A poster she photographed proclaimed that 8 de Marzo’s mission is to defend “sexual and reproductive rights,” a common euphemism used by pro-abortion groups for abortion and contraception (see photo).
A representative of 8 de Marzo who identified herself only as “Carla” confirmed to LSN in a telephone interview that the organization supports the legalization of abortion on demand and has been involved in the struggle against Nicaragua’s pro-life penal code.
“In 2006 you were very involved in the struggle to preserve the legal right to perform an abortion,” LSN mentioned, at which point Carla interrupted to say, “therapeutic abortion,” and added, “yes, and it was stolen here.”
“The March 8th Women’s Collective, you would like to make abortion available for any woman who would like to choose an abortion, right?” LSN asked. “Claro,” responded Carla in Spanish, meaning “of course,” or “clearly.”
“Do you distribute contraceptives?” asked LSN. “Yes,” responded Carla, “there is a sexual and reproductive health campaign, by means of workshops, information…for young people.”
LSN has also learned that 8 de Marzo joined a coalition of groups in 2006, including the pro-abortion “Catholics for the Right to Decide,” dedicated to stopping pro-life legislation then under consideration by the Nicaraguan Congress.
The purpose of the coalition, called the Focal Point Feminist Movement (Punto Focal – Movimiento Feminista), and its so-called September 28 Campaign, was to “demand of our governments the effective regulation of abortion where it is recognized legally, and to demand its depenalization in cases in which it is still penalized,” according to a bulletin issued by the group in September of 2006 (see original in Spanish, page 1, at http://www.puntos.org.ni/servicios/catalogos/actividadesdoc/…).
According to the bulletin, on the first and second of September of that year, 8 de Marzo was to hold a “workshop” for the members of the group, entitled “Reflecting on Therapeutic Abortion” (p.5). On August 16, it held a meeting for the coalition’s members to discuss the September 16 Campaign (p.5). It is listed as a member of the coalition on page 8 of the bulletin.
LSN has also verified that 8 de Marzo signed a letter congratulating Barack Obama for approving US overseas funding for pro-abortion groups.
The letter expresses “deep gratitude for your repeal of the Global Gag Rule.” The Mexico City Policy, also called the “Global Gag Rule” by pro-abortion groups, was an executive order signed by Presidents Reagan and Bush Sr. and Jr., that prohibited U.S. funding from going to groups that promote or refer for abortions.
“From our daily work with those most affected, we know that your action will have profound positive effects on the lives of millions of people,” continued the letter. “We are hopeful that it heralds a new era of U.S. partnership in global cooperation to ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health and the advancement of women’s sexual and reproductive rights worldwide.”
It also states: “We specifically call on you to … support removal of remaining legal and policy restrictions on U.S. funding for safe, voluntary, legal abortion information and services, including the Helms Amendment,” and “restore funding for the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF), and ensure that officials from your Administration act as a strong voice for women’s sexual and reproductive health and rights in the United Nations and other international arenas and do all in their power to translate international agreements into actions that improve women’s lives” (see document in its entirety at http://www.filia-frauenstiftung.de/fileadmin/upload_redakteu…).
According to CCODP’s 2006-2011 program for Latin America, 8 de Marzo is receiving an unspecified amount of Canadian dollars from the CCODP for “organizational strengthening,” “women’s health,” and “training and development.”
THERE is coming a time when the Church will imitate her Lord in the face of her accusers, when the day of debating and defending will give way to The Silent Answer.
“Have you no answer? What are these men testifying against you?” But Jesus was silent and answered nothing. (Mark 14:60-61)
THE ECLIPSE OF TRUTH
I wrote recently about the coming Revolution. Many simply cannot believe this is possible. But what we think and what we see are two different things: the signs of the times are all around us. Whether it is a Miss USA candidate standing up for traditional marriage, or the Holy Father exposing the lie about condoms, the response is increasingly unrestrained. One of the greatest signs, at least in the case of the Holy Father, is that he is increasingly being flogged by fellow bishops. I think of Our Lady of Akita whose message, ironically, Pope Benedict approved himself when he was Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith:
The work of the devil will infiltrate even into the Church in such a way that one will see cardinals opposing cardinals, bishops against bishops. The priests who venerate me will be scorned and opposed by their confreres… — Our Lady of Akita, Third and last message, October 13th, 1973;www.ewtn.com/library/mary/akita.htm
As far back as the 1990’s, I produced a two-part mini-documentary for a newscast exposing the fact that condoms do little to prevent the sexually transmitted diseases of Chlamydia and Human Papilloma Virus (which is linked to cervical cancer) since these are transmitted through touch. Furthermore, there is substantial evidence that condoms actually lead to an increase in sexual activity, exacerbating the AIDS epidemic:
There is a consistent association shown by our best studies, including the U.S.-funded ‘Demographic Health Surveys,’ between greater availability and use of condoms and higher (not lower) HIV-infection rates.—Edward C. Green, Director of the AIDS Prevention Research Project at the Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies; LifeSiteNews.com, March 19th, 2009
But the days are here and coming where the evidence matters little; where truth is subjective; where history is rewritten; where the wisdom of the ages is mocked; where reason is replaced by emotion; freedom displaced by tyranny.
In one of my very first writings, I wrote:
The intolerance of “tolerance!” It is curious how those who accuse Christians of hatred and intolerance are often the most venomous in tone and intent. It is the most obvious—and easily over-looked hypocrisy of our times.
Jesus prophesied these days at the very beginning of His ministry:
And this is the verdict, that the light came into the world, but people preferred darkness to light, because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come toward the light, so that his works might not be exposed. (John 3:19-20)
THE TIME OF TIMES
Once again, brothers and sisters, we should not be afraid to call evil by its name, recognizing that we are living in an extraordinary battle, what Pope John Paul II called “the final confrontation.” The immensity of this battle was underscored again by Bishop Robert Finn of the diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph.
As I speak a word of encouragement today I also want to tell you soberly, dear friends, “We are at war!”…today’s issues bring“an intensity and urgency to our efforts that may rival any time in the past.”—April 21st, 2009, LifeSiteNews.com
Bishop Finn acknowledged that the war is often between members of the Church itself.
The “battle between believers,” who claim a certain “common ground” with us, while at the same time, they attack the most fundamental tenets of the Church’s teachings, or disavow the natural law—this opposition is one of the most discouraging, confusing, and dangerous.—Ibid.
Or disavow the central message of the Gospel itself? The sitting Chairman of the German Episcopal Conference, Archbishop of Freiburg, Robert Zollitsch, recently said,
Christ “did not die for the sins of the people as if God had provided a sacrificial offering, like a scapegoat.” Instead, Jesus had offered only “solidarity” with the poor and suffering. Zollitsch said“that is this great perspective, this tremendous solidarity.” The interviewer asked, “You would now no longer describe it in such a way that God gave his own Son, because we humans were so sinful? You would no longer describe it like this?“
Monsignor Zollitsch responded,“No.”—LifeSiteNews.com, April 21st, 2009
Discouraging, confusing, dangerous. Nonetheless, we need to speak the truth while it is time for speaking truth, even if, says Bishop Finn, “it means we might get scolded at times by those who want us to speak less.”
You know that he was revealed to take away sins… The blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin… Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! (1 John 3:5; 1:7; John 1:29)
CARRIERS OF HOPE!
Satan and the enemies of life would love for you and I to crawl into a hole and remain silent. This is not The Silent Answer I am speaking of. For whether we speak or whether we are silent, our lives must shout the Gospel of Jesus Christ through either our words or our deeds; through the proclamation of truth or the witness of love… a love that triumphs. Christianity is not a religion of philosophical babble but the Gospel of transformation where those who believe in Jesus, who turn from a life of sin, and follow in the footsteps of the Master, are “transformed from glory to glory” (2 Cor 3:18) through the power of the Holy Spirit. This transformation should be visible to the world in all that we are and do. Without it, our witness is sterile, our words powerless.
If Christ’s words remain in us we can spread the flame of love that He kindled on earth; we can bear aloft the torch of faith and hope with which we advance towards Him.—POPE BENEDICT XVI, Homily, St. Peter’s Basilica, April 2nd, 2009; L’Osservatore Romano, April 8th, 2009
Perhaps Pope Benedict signaled the days of Silent witness approaching when, in his trip to Africa, he echoed the simplicity with which the Apostles in their days of persecution approached the world:
I am leaving for Africa aware that I have nothing to propose or give to those whom I shall meet except Christ and the Good News of his Cross, a mystery of supreme love, of divine love that overcomes all human resistance and even makes forgiveness and love for one’s enemies possible.—Angelus, March 15th, 2009, L’Osservatore Romano, March 18th, 2009
As the Church enters her own Passion, the day will come when The Silent Answer will be all there is left to give… when the Word of Love will speak for and through us.
…we will not be swayed from our path, though the world seduce us with its smiles or try to terrify us with naked threats of its trials and tribulations.—St. Peter Damian, Liturgy of the Hours, Vol. II, 1778
As many Socon or Bust know very well by now (how could you not, I’ve been hammering this topic almost every day for past month!), Development & Peace is funding pro-abortion groups in the Global South. Three dozen of them in 20 or so countries on 3 continents…and that’s only what we know of. You know what happens to an onion when you start to pick at it right? Two things: tears and a lot of unravelling. Same deal here, I fear.
But this story is not just about abortion propaganda or the condom distribution centres or the condom bottles or reproductive “rights” or gender “re-education” courses or the rest of the contraptions and programs of the culture of death and dismemberment. That’s certainly the main scandal in the story, but not the only one.
Here is another angle that really needs to be understood and appreciated. I call it the “Useful Idiot Guide to Attacking the Catholic Church”, as in, we were the useful idiots who were guided into supporting Dismemberment and Pieces’s anti-Catholic partners.
It’s not exact situation we have here in Canada, but it’s not too far off. You see, not only have we been funding pro-abortion groups, we have been funding groups which are directly attacking the Catholic Church, and in particular, the Church in the Global South. Hence the appropriate moniker, “useful idiot”. In other words, these groups take Catholic money and then use that money to attack the Catholic Church, its beleagured bishops and lay faithful in the Global South who are on the front lines opposing abortion.
After they take our money and apply it to the pro-abortion propaganda machine, they laugh at us and rightly consider us their useful idiots. Here’s a few examples:
LifeSiteNews.com (LSN) has learned that a pro-abortion NGO that is going head-to-head with East Timor’s Catholic bishops in an effort to legalize abortion in the strongly Catholic country, is funded by the Canadian Catholic bishop’s official development arm, the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace (D&P)….Early last month the second International Women for Peace conference took place in East Timor, a country where upwards of 95% of residents are Catholic. At the conclusion of the conference, participants produced a list of recommendations, including one that said that abortion should be legalized in cases of incest and sexual abuse…also reported that the push to legalize abortion by Fokupers was creating a firestorm of controversy in the Catholic country. The Catholic bishops from the Dili and Baucau dioceses reportedly wrote in early March to the Timor-Leste Council of Ministers, the council responsible for making the country’s laws, urging them to keep abortion illegal in all circumstances. (Source)
PERU, April 15, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The Canadian Catholic bishops’ international aid organization, the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace (CCODP), is funding an international organization in Peru that includes pro-abortion groups, and that republishes their pro-abortion statements in its website, LifeSiteNews has learned. In addition, the group denounces the Catholic bishops of the Dominican Republic for their “intervention” in “government affairs”.The group, which is called the Latin American Coordinator of Rural Organizations (Coordinadora Latinoamericana de Organizaciones del Campo – CLOC) displays a “Manifesto of Women’s Organizations for the Eighth of March,” which was signed by CLOC itself, on its website. The statement claims that the “high rate of abortions done under clandestine, unhealthy, and risky conditions, constitutes a public health problem that is being treated with insensitivity by not adopting current legislation to depenalize abortion at least in cases of incest, rape, and the life of women.” (Source)
PUEBLA, April 22, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A Mexican organization funded by the Canadian Catholic bishops through the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace (D&P), the bishops’ official international development arm, helps women to obtain legal permission for abortions, promotes the depenalization of abortion, opposes pro-life legislation, and has called for the United Nations to revoke the Vatican’s diplomatic status, LifeSiteNews (LSN) has learned. The group, known as the Comaletzin Rural Feminist Interregional Coordinator (La Coordinadora Interregional Feminista Rural Comaletzin, or simply “Comaletzin”), received $32,000 from Development and Peace in the 2007-2008 year. It is headquartered in the state of Puebla, where it promotes a radical feminist agenda that includes advocating for abortion-on-demand. (Source)
In the Women’s Theatre Program (WTP) of the PETA, theatre is an artistic medium that eventually became our weapon in the face of relatively conservative political and religious influences. Women’s issues have historically been invisible in our culture…they have been considered sensitive and private matters. We use theatre to present political commentaries about women’s situations and conditions in the Philippines. We explore issues like violence against women, prostitution and trafficking, poverty, reproductive rights, and globalization, and forge partnerships with other groups (governmental, nongovernmental, and people’s organizations)… Talking about the politics of the body makes women confront their image of self and their beliefs about their own sexuality. Because women create an image of themselves from their image of their bodies, addressing the issue of body politics involves getting in touch with the self. Talking about it is the first step in reclaiming the body.” (Source)
How long do you think we will continue to be the useful idiots for these anti-Catholic groups and abortion pushers?
For at least another six weeks…if not much, much longer.
Last year, the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD) announced it would no longer fund the community-organizing arm of ACORN, a decision based on the disclosure of ACORN’s explicitly partisan efforts on behalf of President Barack Obama’s political campaign.
Now a much more egregious use of Catholic money has been alleged. LifeSiteNews (LSN), which operates primarily out of Toronto and is leading the investigation, has presented evidence that the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development & Peace (CCODP), an official arm of the Canadian Bishops’ Conference, is funding 16 organizations in 9 countries who advocate in favor of abortion and/or contraception.
At first, the Canadian Bishops’ Conference paid little heed to the evidence against CCODP and instead urged Catholics to continue giving to the organization. Two Canadian bishops called LSN’s reporting “false” and “malicious.” After months of following the story, however, it began to gain traction. An editorial in the Catholic newspaper of Vancouver acknowledged the scope of the CCODP scandal. Vancouver’s Archbishop, J. Michael Miller, and several other bishops demanded an internal investigation of CCODP before passing along its share of the annual Lenten collection. As a result, CCODP has asked a group of Canadian, U.S., and Mexican bishops to investigate the allegations.
This isn’t a new charge. In 2000, the CCODP was forced to stop funding the pro-abortion World March of Women after LifeSiteNews reported on the issue. That led to a huge controversy in Canada, with bishops publicly disagreeing with each other, creating widespread mainstream media coverage of the issue.
But CCODP’s denials will be considerably weakened after Wednesday’s interview on LSN with the Mexican official of an organization receiving CCODP grants ($32,000 in 2007-2008). Ofelia Pastrana Morena, the general coordinator of the Comaletzin Rural Feminist Interregional Coordinator, said in a telephone interview yesterday that the organization promotes the use of artificial birth control and “sexual and reproductive health services.” According to Pastrana Morena, if contraceptives fail, her organization seeks to make abortion available to women who don’t want what she called the “product” of conception, meaning the unborn child….
Read the rest of the article here at Inside Catholic.
Having never actually taken drugs, I can now see why my parents made such an effort to keep me away from them. In honour of earth day (yeah I know it was yesterday) I thought that I would provide the readers with some comic relief. Actually, after watching this video I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. O.K. I laughed (my side is still sore), but make no mistake these people are serious.
This is the face of the militant environmentalist movement. It is serious. It is dangerous. It hates humanity and it worships the earth. Don’t let anyone try to convince you otherwise. This religion would have us all living in huts, using leaves for toilet paper, washing our laundry (loincloths) in a muddy river and smacking them against a living rock (watch the video and you will see what I mean).
I have had some inquiries and comments about my open letter to Bishop Durocher. For the most part, the majority of people have agreed with me that his homily was in extremely bad taste.
I do, however, want to make a correction. The bishop referred to pro-life “militants” in his homily. I took issue with that label, of course, calling it an “ad hominem” attack on pro-lifers, since it carries an extremely negative connotation in English. Apparently, the bishop (who is bilingual) has responded to a query to him about this, and said that, in French, “militant” does not have the same nuance. In French, the word “militant”, he says, means someone who believes in a cause, is proud of it and is involved in it in a committed way. Although the homily was written in English, such an explanation is certainly reasonable, although his message was confusing because he juxtaposed “Development & Peace” against “Prolife Militants”.
I accept his explanation and I have corrected my response to his commentary in the original article. I also apologize for my reaction on this point. Unfortunately, I do not believe it changes the general thrust of his homily in any significant way. In fact, he should remove his entire homily from the Diocese’s website.
I have also been asked why I did not contact the Bishop in private about his homily first before airing my grievances publicly. That’s a very good question. I am well aware of what Christian charity demands in these situations. I cannot say any more than that at this time.
Please pray for Bishop Durocher and all of the bishops that they may clearly see and understand the necessity to act expeditiously and thoroughly to address the abortion scandal of Development & Peace.
Please also pray for me and my family as we have had to endure the insults of various ministers and lay people within the Church.
Carrie Prejean, otherwise known as Ms. California, stood up to homo-fascist establishment within the popular culture and she won. Not the Ms. America pageant mind you, but a pageant in which her crown will be rewarded not in this world but in the next. Unfortunately, she will face many trials and will suffer much for her defense of traditional marriage. Christians of good will can help to ease some of her pain. We can stand by her while she carries this cross. We can storm heaven with our prayers that God will give her the strength to carry on. We can tell our friends and neighbours how proud we are of her, but more importantly we can learn a great lesson. We should not be afraid to shout our beliefs from the rooftops. We should not be ashamed to proclaim what we believe to the world. We must stand for truth or we will fall for lies.
OTTAWA, April 21, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A report from the committee of inquiry that travelled to Mexico to investigate the funding of pro-abortion groups by the development arm of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) is under preparation and will only be made public “as late as June,” according to a CCCB representative.Having visited Mexico from the 15 to 18 April, 2009, the committee, made up of officials from Development and Peace and the CCCB, including two Canadian bishops, will first present its report to the CCCB Permanent Council, a committee of 12 bishops made up of the CCCB executive and the leaders of the largest dioceses in the country.Following that, all the bishops of Canada will be notified of the results of the inquiry, after which they will be made public. Gerald Baril, of the Communications Service of the CCCB told LifeSiteNews.com (LSN) that the next meeting of the Permanent Council is in early June. He added, however, that they could do it by conference call and thus expedite the process. “It may be as early as May and as late as June,” he said, about the timing of the report becoming public.The committee was established in response to reports initiated by LifeSiteNews.com that Development and Peace, the official development arm of the bishops’ conference, has been funding pro-abortion groups in Mexico. While the original LSN report mentioned only five groups in Mexico who received $170,000 in total last year, later reports have found evidence for D&P funding of pro-abortion and pro-contraception groups throughout Latin America, Africa, and Asia. The latest report on another Mexican D&P partner, not part of the original 5, included an interview with the group in which they admit to arranging an abortion for the unborn child of a woman with Down syndrome.While in Mexico, the members of the committee, chaired by Archbishop Martin W. Currie of St. John’s, Newfoundland, and Bishop François Lapierre of Saint-Hyacinthe, Quebec, met with representatives of the Episcopal Conference of Mexico and with senior representatives of the organizations mentioned in the initial LSN report.While in Mexico, Michael Casey, the Executive Director of Development and Peace, spoke with the Catholic News Service (CNS) about the investigation. Other members of the investigation team would not speak to the media. Baril told LSN that although Monsignor Mario Paquette, the General Secretary of the CCCB was also part of the investigation, he “was told not to discuss any details of the inquiry until the bishops have been informed because they are directly concerned with the whole thing.”In the interview with CNS Casey expressed his confidence in the groups after an initial April 16 meeting with leaders of the groups in Mexico City. He said he was “not dismayed” at the result of the meeting and said he considered D&P to be cautious in selecting partners to fund. “We do a lot of research when choosing new partners; our program officers visit here regularly,” he said. “We look for partners that share the same value base … we’re very much focused on integral human development – people-oriented, community-based.”
The Members of the CCCB Permanent Council include:
* Most Reverend V. James Weisgerber, Archbishop of Winnipeg, President of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops
* Most Reverend Pierre Morissette, Bishop of Baie-Comeau, Vice-President of the CCCB
* Most Reverend James M. Wingle, Bishop of St. Catharines, Co-Treasurer of the CCCB
* Most Reverend Paul-André Durocher, Bishop of Alexandria-Cornwall, Co-Treasurer of the CCCB
* His Eminence Jean-Claude Turcotte, Archbishop of Montréal, Ex Officio Member
* His Eminence Marc Cardinal Ouellet, Archbishop of Québec, Ex Officio Member
* Most Reverend Thomas Collins, Archbishop of Toronto, Ex Officio Member
* Most Reverend Lawrence Huculak, O.S.B.M., Eparchial Archbishop of Winnipeg and Metropolitan for Ukrainian Catholics in Canada, Ex Officio Member
* Most Reverend Douglas Crosby, O.M.I., Bishop of Corner Brook and Labrador, Atlantic Regional Representative
* Most Reverend Eugène Tremblay, Bishop of Amos, Quebec Regional Representative
* Most Reverend Ronald P. Fabbro, C.S.B., Bishop of London, Ontario Regional Representative
* Most Reverend Luc Bouchard, Bishop of Saint-Paul, Western Regional Representative
Over the past few weeks, Socon or Bust readers have been informed about the scandalous betrayal of Canadian Catholics by Development & Peace, the official aid and development agency of the Catholic bishops of this country. The evidence just keeps piling up, day after day, week after week. And while the Bishops and D&P are back from Mexico, now working on a report that might be issued in June of this year, the blood money just keeps flowing all around the world. The report comes out in June. That’s one to two months from now. That’s a long time and a lot of blood money flowing for the pro-abort thugs to advance the culture of death. This only confirms once again that the Church in Canada is not serious about fighting abortion. Every week, every day, every minute, every second that this Council delays is another second, another minute, another day, another week that the abortion agenda advances in the Global South.
It’s on your hands and your consciences, your Graces.
What can D&P possibly say that THEIR OWN PRO-ABORT PARTNERS’ VERY WORDS AND WEBSITES do not? What good is this report if it takes them two months to consider only a fraction of the evidence? And what do you think this report is going to say when it is finally released? It’s going to take them four to eight weeks to say what precisely? That their Mexican partners promised them that they were not advocating for abortion? And that the evidence against the other three dozen groups in eighteen countries is not even being considered?
What utter bullshit.
Did you catch Michael Casey’s reaction above? Let’s read it again:
In the interview with CNS Casey expressed his confidence in the groups after an initial April 16 meeting with leaders of the groups in Mexico City. He said he was “not dismayed” at the result of the meeting and said he considered D&P to be cautious in selecting partners to fund. “We do a lot of research when choosing new partners; our program officers visit here regularly,” he said. “We look for partners that share the same value base … we’re very much focused on integral human development – people-oriented, community-based.”
I have no doubt that D&P is cautious about choosing its partners. But its their kind of “caution” that disturbs everyone. They don’t have a policy about abortion. So they don’t ask their partners. See? It works well for everyone.
But wait a minute, isn’t that the kind of legalism that Jesus excoriated the Pharisees for?
Don’t ask, don’t tell. Kind of like the U.S. military on homosexuality.
You know, Henry Morgentaler and I might otherwise be swell friends…we share common interests about the sunny weather, reading, bike riding, smelling flowers…we just don’t talk about what we do and the causes we advance. As they say, ignorance is bliss…except if you are an unborn baby being ripped apart because of Canadian Catholic donations. Then ignorance is deadly, courtesy of the official development arm of the Canadian bishops.
Morever, if Michael Casey wasn’t dismayed at the results, then what kind of “evidence” and representation do you think was presented during these meetings with these pro-abort groups? How exactly is this report going to refute the overwhelming and incontrovertible evidence against these groups?
The report had better give the EXACT DETAILS OF HOW EVERY SINGLE FACT SUPPORTING THE ALLEGATIONS AGAINST EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THESE PRO-ABORT GROUPS AROUND THE WORLD WAS WRONG, because if it doesn’t, the jig is up for good.
I can smell the stench of compromise and whitewash a mile away in this report. I really hope that I’m wrong. I hope that I am gloriously wrong and that the Church will do the honourable and noble and morally obligatory thing and recommend that D&P be shut down immediately or at least neutered.
But, if I am right, I will be asking every bishop who showed the least bit of hesitation against D&P’s activities to cease their association with the fraud of Development & Peace.
PUEBLA, April 22, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A Mexican organization funded by the Canadian Catholic bishops through the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace (D&P), the bishops’ official international development arm, helps women to obtain legal permission for abortions, promotes the depenalization of abortion, opposes pro-life legislation, and has called for the United Nations to revoke the Vatican’s diplomatic status, LifeSiteNews (LSN) has learned.
The group, known as the Comaletzin Rural Feminist Interregional Coordinator (La Coordinadora Interregional Feminista Rural Comaletzin, or simply “Comaletzin”), received $32,000 from Development and Peace in the 2007-2008 year. It is headquartered in the state of Puebla, where it promotes a radical feminist agenda that includes advocating for abortion-on-demand.
Comaletzin is the 17th group that LSN has reported on that is pro-abortion and/or pro-contraception and that receives funding from the Canadian bishops’ development arm. (For all LSN reports on the D&P scandal, see: http://www.lifesitenews.com/features/DevelopmentPeace/)
Comaletzin’s General Coordinator, Ofelia Pastrana Moreno, told LifeSiteNews in a telephone interview yesterday that the organization promotes the use of artificial birth control and “sexual and reproductive health” services. If contraceptives fail, said Pastrana, Comaletzin seeks to make abortion available to women who don’t want what she called the “product” of conception, meaning the unborn child.
“What we say is that if some contraceptive method fails, if they want an abortion it should be done in hospitals, and in hygienic, appropriate conditions,” said Pastrana. “And in the case of a rape of course we are in favor that if the woman doesn’t want to have this product then they should also attend to her in hospitals in the health sector of the government in conditions that are also completely hygienic and adequate.”
In addition, Pastrana told LifeSiteNews (LSN) that her organization had applied for permission for an abortion for a girl with Down syndrome, in accordance with state laws that do not penalize abortions in cases of rape.
“We had a case like that with a young woman with Down Syndrome who was sexually abused, of course it was never known by whom, and we … requested an abortion from the authorities which was permitted at that time before they approved this antiabortion law, and they took more than two months to respond,” she told LSN. “So when they responded, the time during which it was permitted, which is up to 12 weeks, had already run out.”
Because the government delayed the process, the child is now alive and being raised by other family members, she admitted.
Pastrana says that if women have access to adequate “sexual and reproductive health,” they won’t need abortions. She said her organization doesn’t distribute contraceptives, but it sends women to clinics that do.
Comaletzin has backed up its pro-abortion stance with concrete political action, campaigning last month in the state capital to prevent the passage of a pro-life amendment to the constitution of Puebla, which would protect the right to life from the moment of conception.
“We are surprised that the legislators want to push back the little progress that has occurred in Puebla in relation to the right to abortion, therefore we are promoting a campaign to tell the deputies that consult with people who know about this, with specialists, with the Supreme Court of Justice, but above all with women to see if they are in agreement or not with the proposal,” Pastrana told the newspaper Todo Puebla in March.
Comaletzin also participated in demonstrations against a pro-life amendment to the constitution of the state of Morelos in 2008, according to the Union, a Morelos newspaper.
Several organizations, among which is listed Comaletzin, “announced in a press conference the creation of a front and the carrying out of various mobilizations and actions, which would range from peaceful protests to the promotion of legal resources, to prevent the Constitutional reform, which was approved by the local Congress this week, from entering into effect,” wrote the newspaper (see full article in Spanish at http://www.launion.com.mx/mostrar_noticia.php?clave=72851&am…).
According to the pro-abortion feminist news organization CIMAC, Comaletzin also signed a declaration against an attempt to reform the state’s criminal code to remove exceptions in the penalization of abortion.
The CIMAC article states that the signers of the document, which included Comaletzin, contend that with the penal code reform “we are confronted with a serious setback regarding the respect and guarantee of the human rights of women in Morelos,” and quotes the petition as saying that, “This does not guarantee due process nor access to justice for women who have experienced a rape, as our Constitution establishes” (see original in Spanish at http://www.cimacnoticias.com/site/08022807-Codigo-Penal-de-M…).
According to the pro-abortion organization, “Catholics for Choice,” which has been denounced repeatedly by Catholic bishops for falsely promoting abortion in the name of the Catholic Church, Comaletzin is one of the signatories to their “See Change” petition, which demands that the Vatican’s diplomatic status at the United Nations be revoked (see list of signers at http://www.seechange.org/endorsers.htm).
Comaletzín is the seventh pro-abortion organization in Mexico confirmed by LifeSiteNews to be receiving funds from the Canadian Catholic bishops through D&P, which collects much of its money from annual fundraising drives conducted by the bishops during Lent, including “Share Lent,” and “Share Life.” If last year’s funding is extrapolated over D&P’s whole 2006-2011 program, the organization will receive a total of $175,000 Canadian dollars from D&P.
Gilio Brunelli, Director of International programs for D&P, admitted to LifeSiteNews in an interview last month that the organization has no policy of refusing funds to pro-abortion organizations (see full text of interview at http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2009/mar/090320b.html).
In the Philippines, Philippine Educational Theatre Association (PETA) works with young people to develop and perform theatre to draw attention to and explore critical social issues. Drawing on young people’s ideas and creativity, participation keeps alive the dream of the people and helps weave a finer dream for the future.You can visit their website: www.petatheater.com (Source: Development & Peace’s Just Youth “Think Fast 2007 Program”)
Today, PETA’s repertory theater program, embodied in the KALINANGAN ENSEMBLE is complemented by a closely-knit battery of programs and services. THE SCHOOL OF PEOPLE’S THEATER, PETA’s main training arm for amateurs, professionals, and communities alike, offers a wide range of courses on theater arts and related subjects. The METROPOLITAN TEEN THEATER LEAGUE PROGRAM and the CHILDREN’S THEATER PROGRAM combine performances with training modules for young people, their caregivers and educators. The former services PETA’s wide range of high school students and teachers. The latter gives special attention to the issue of children’s rights, just as the WOMEN’S THEATER PROGRAM addresses female problems like reproductive rights and domestic violence. Gender and sexual health issues, including AIDS, are also pet topics of the PETA-MEKONG PARTNERSHIP PROGRAM, a special project aimed at building capabilities and fostering collaboration in the Greater Mekong Sub-region. Continuous link-up with national and international artistic, educational, cultural, and development organizations has allowed PETA to share its expertise in theater and education. PETA is all about outreach and networking.(Source: PETA Website)”
In the Women’s Theatre Program (WTP) of the PETA, theatre is an artistic medium that eventually became our weapon in the face of relatively conservative political and religious influences. Women’s issues have historically been invisible in our culture…they have been considered sensitive and private matters. We use theatre to present political commentaries about women’s situations and conditions in the Philippines. We explore issues like violence against women, prostitution and trafficking, poverty, reproductive rights, and globalization, and forge partnerships with other groups (governmental, nongovernmental, and people’s organizations)… Talking about the politics of the body makes women confront their image of self and their beliefs about their own sexuality. Because women create an image of themselves from their image of their bodies, addressing the issue of body politics involves getting in touch with the self. Talking about it is the first step in reclaiming the body.” (Source: Association for Women’s Rights in Development)
You’ll notice above that Development & Peace’s Youth Wing likes to talk about the “critical social issues” which PETA is involved in, but for some reason, they don’t give us the specifics about these “critical social issues” on D&P’s youth website. Why do you think that is? There is nothing about “gender and sexual health issues “or “reproductive rights” that PETA is pimping for. Nor do we hear anything about PETA’s “weapon in the face of religiously conservative political and religious influence“.
<start sarcasm>I guess they didn’t see that part of PETA’s mission. Honest oversight, I’m sure.</end sarcasm>
On April 5th, Palm Sunday I was strongly prompted to write this letter. Here it is.
I have been reading about the events happening with the organization Development and Peace. According to the very documents from D&P there actually are ‘partners’ in other countries who are using our Canadian donations to promote abortions and a death culture in their own countries. As I said, this information is directly from the reports of D&P. What more evidence does a person need to immediately take action with this organization in order to stop funding in ALL the countries, not just Mexico?
I don’t expect D&P to have a deep change of heart because they appear to hold fast to their allegiances with other partners other than the CCCB – partners of a different order and mindset than devout Catholics. … “He speaks cordially with his friends, but in his heart he lays an ambush”. (Jer.9, 7)
I’m sorry but any fair-minded person who is reviewing this documentation from all parties involved can realize that it is ludicrous to think that we can just hope it goes away, hope we can brush it aside, or hope that it was all a big misunderstanding. We are not talking about an oversight or even gross negligence on the part of D&P. The spokesperson for that organization originally stated that they have no policy on abortion. One can safely assume that abortion is a non-issue as far as D&P’s policy making is concerned. The question is do they intend on establishing a policy against sending our money to groups that are involved in abortions and the advancement of a death culture?
Why are the bishops not taking a more definitive stand in the name of Truth now that more information is known? After all, it is not the first time that Development and Peace has behaved in manners that were controversial, as you are all aware. Where are the shepherds doing during this time? The silence is deafening and not assuring for many Catholics.
Last summer, our nation honored an abortionist with the Order of Canada. It is truly an abomination. We should be decrying the complacency over this decision. We are a nation that honors death. And its people don’t make much out of it.
A passage of ominous foreboding came to me over and over from the bible in the last few weeks: Jeremiah 6: 6-16.
6 This is what the LORD Almighty says:
“Cut down the trees
and build siege ramps against Jerusalem.
This city must be punished;
it is filled with oppression.
7 As a well pours out its water,
so she pours out her wickedness.
Violence and destruction resound in her;
her sickness and wounds are ever before me.
8 Take warning, O Jerusalem,
or I will turn away from you
and make your land desolate
so no one can live in it.”
9 This is what the LORD Almighty says:
“Let them glean the remnant of Israel
as thoroughly as a vine;
pass your hand over the branches again,
like one gathering grapes.”
10 To whom can I speak and give warning?
Who will listen to me?
Their ears are closed [a]
so they cannot hear.
The word of the LORD is offensive to them;
they find no pleasure in it.
11 But I am full of the wrath of the LORD,
and I cannot hold it in.
“Pour it out on the children in the street
and on the young men gathered together;
both husband and wife will be caught in it,
and the old, those weighed down with years.
12 Their houses will be turned over to others,
together with their fields and their wives,
when I stretch out my hand
against those who live in the land,”
declares the LORD.
13 “From the least to the greatest,
all are greedy for gain;
prophets and priests alike,
all practice deceit.
14 They dress the wound of my people
as though it were not serious.
‘Peace, peace,’ they say,
when there is no peace.
15 Are they ashamed of their loathsome conduct?
No, they have no shame at all;
they do not even know how to blush.
So they will fall among the fallen;
they will be brought down when I punish them,”
says the LORD.
16 This is what the LORD says:
“Stand at the crossroads and look;
ask for the ancient paths,
ask where the good way is, and walk in it,
and you will find rest for your souls.
But you said, ‘We will not walk in it.’
Much of this is happening right now in our country. We hear ‘peace, peace though there is no peace.’ One of the verses…‘Ever before Me are wounds and blows’. (Abortions) It’s no wonder that God ‘will turn a land into desert where no man dwells’ if its people honor death. Please reflect on this excerpt from the bible. The attitude of haughtiness is everywhere. More than ever I ask the bishops to stand strong for the church of God. You must rise up and stand firm in our Christian beliefs – even with D&P – and lead the way for those seeking the ‘good way’, ‘the ancient paths’. According to the rest of Jeremiah the alternative is not a good one.
We are living in such uncertain times. Purification has started since Nov. last year. I do not know if these times are those of the Great Purification, but a new period in time has occurred. God is taking another direction with His people. Darkness has set mechanisms in an order to oppress people soon. People will refer to the present as when we were in the Old World in the not too far future. The order of things will be changing; our routines, our habits, our priorities. The Old World is passing…
And we are already living part of the prophetic passage Jesus spoke of to the daughters of Jerusalem while He carried His cross. We are the generation who live among the women that say ‘blessed are the barren, the wombs that never bore, breasts that never nursed’ (feminist abortionists). Look at what they did to the ‘green wood’ (killing the unborn). It was that much easier to do it to the ‘dry wood’ (mercy killing for the dying). I ask myself what will happen to these women that they will wish for the mountains to fall on them, to cover them.
More than ever I ask the bishops to stand strong for the church of our God. You must lead the way for those seeking the path. Do the right thing. Truly your life is not your own, but for the flock, for God. Strive to enter through the narrow gate. He knew it was not easy to adhere to principles that seem antiquated, that’s why He said strive. I am urging all bishops to do the right thing. You are all being challenged to uphold the teachings of our Lord and Savior on these matters. Once again this injustice is an occasion for each bishop to answer Jesus’ question, “Who do you say that I am?” It is His way of saying, “What do my teachings mean to you? It is another occasion to lead the people to remember and recognize that the Lord’s ways are righteous.”
There can be no indifference, no wiggle room, and no half measures on this issue. It is too grave. Remember who you were in your youth when He called you to Himself. He remembers. Let this be a reflection.
I will cover each of you in prayer especially through out this week.
Next time some fool twaddles on about how marriage and family is totally arbitrary and that the State should get out of the “marriage business”, point them to this article and educate them on the facts.
Whether the State wants to be in the marriage business or not, we all end up paying for social breakdown. The best way to fight social breakdown and the exploding Welfare State is to promote the traditional family…the best social program going.
FAMILIES, POVERTY AND SOCIAL JUSTICE -THE UK PERSPECTIVE
Rt Hon Iain Duncan Smith MP Speech to the Institute of Marriage and Family in Ottawa Canada
“Let me begin by thanking the Institute of Marriage and Family Canada (IMFC) for organising this conference, and for inviting me to address it. I admire your work here David, and the many dedicated people I have met in the last two days.
This is a timely conference. We have entered a period of deep-rooted economic instability: the loss of jobs and the repossession of homes are more than economic, they affect the family.
At such a moment it is vital to consider the importance of the family, and I believe, to put it back once again at the heart of society.
It is therefore a privilege to speak to you today about families, poverty and social justice from the British perspective.
But let me begin with some context.
As former leader of Britain’s Conservative Party, I recognise that poverty and social justice have for decades been the preserve of the political Left. The Left were considered instinctively compassionate. Conservatives were condemned as finger-wagging moralisers, obsessed with toughness and empty of compassion.
There was some basis to this view. Many Conservatives declared that they didn’t do ‘social justice’. They cited Hayek’s critique that social justice is a contradictory notion – social is collective, justice individual.
However I realised that most of the British people haven’t heard of Hayek nor do they care for his analysis. Public polling we conducted found that social justice resonated. It meant a great deal. It revealed that the public had defined it, profoundly, as ‘help for those who genuinely need help, and help for those who deliver that help.’ What is more, results showed that people expected politicians to commit to it.
The Centre for Social Justice
In this context in 2004 I established the Centre for Social Justice (CSJ), after stepping down as leader of the British Conservative Party. My organisation is independent and works with left of centre think-tanks and Labour politicians.
Furthermore, we are not a typical think-tank. Whilst we seek policy solutions for the challenges facing our most disadvantaged communities, (and we have succeeded in putting social breakdown at the heart of British politics), what makes the CSJ unique is our practical partnership with organisations that are changing lives in Britain’s poorest communities – our Poverty Fighter’s Alliance.
This Alliance, of over 200 inner-city members and rising, champions the work of effective and innovative grass-roots voluntary groups around Britain. The Alliance gives these charities a voice and a network. It also makes annual financial awards to the most effective organisations from a poverty fighting fund of £70,000.
This practical element to our work, the heartbeat of what we do, was inspired by the countless voluntary organisations working in Britain’s broken communities. They are led by social entrepreneurs and are transforming lives. They grasp the scale and nature of Britain’s social breakdown, but, crucially also, they reverse it.
Organisations such as Save the Family, rescuing relationships and keeping families together, as well as Eastside Young Leaders Academy, educating and inspiring Afro-Caribbean boys from London’s poorest housing estates.
For too long the issue of poverty has been about money alone. What we have learned from these organisations is that the nature of the life you lead has a huge bearing on your financial status.
Through these poverty fighters that have we learned of the five common drivers of poverty. We call these the ‘pathways to poverty’ and I will outline the key principles of them shortly. They are Educational Failure; Economic Dependency and Worklessess; Serious personal indebtedness; Addiction; and Family Breakdown. The pathways are central to understanding social breakdown, and yet also central to the solution.
Second, these groups demonstrate that solutions exist – that the reversal of breakdown is possible.
What is life like in Britain’s poorest communities?
It seemed to me that society in the UK had become unbalanced. There was far too much entrenched poverty in Britain.
It shocked me that in the world’s fourth largest economy, our poorest people have life-expectancy lower than in the Gaza Strip. I was angered to learn of the 1.35 million children who had drug and alcohol addicted parents, brought home to me by the story of two young schoolboys queuing at 6 am in the winter, waiting for a church breakfast club to open for their breakfast – their parents so addicted to heroin that they were quite incapable of providing for them. There was little or no food in the house and the 8 year old got his 6 year old brother up, dressed him and brought him to the club.
As our recent report Housing Poverty concluded, the majority of this breakdown is concentrated in social housing estates, left behind by the rest of society. On these estates thrives a culture of worklessness and welfare dependency. Far from progressive social housing estates moving people from dependence to independence, they are trapping them there.
A characteristic of these social housing estates is that tenants are workless, fatherless and static. In 1970 just 11 per cent of households in British social housing were workless – today only a third of working age social housing tenants are in full-time work. Around three quarters of households on these estates are headed by lone parents or single men and women. Only 15 per cent of social renting households are headed by a couple with children and more than 80 per cent of social housing residents in 2006 had been in the sector ten years earlier
Violence is a daily reality. Most crime is committed by Britain’s poorest people on Britain’s poorest people. Our recent report on street gangs in Britain found that these communities are a breeding ground of youth violence, played out by brutal and territorial gangs.
As I met with people in these communities, often three unemployed generations of the same family living a stones throw from each other, I began to understand the words of my friend Bob Holman. He told me that “the inner-city was not a place, it was a state of mind”.
My promise to these people therefore, many of whom had given up hoping for anything better from politicians, was to speak on their behalf to a world that had moved on. I committed to finding solutions to this cycle of strangling social breakdown.
The burgeoning cost of dependency
Furthermore understanding the nature of the breakdown, I became more aware that successive governments have approached welfare reform from the wrong angle.
Concerned that the budget has grown, successive governments talked of cutting the bill of social justice but frankly this hasn’t worked. The reality is that this is a problem of demand, not supply. The reason why this growth has gone on and on is because of the breakdown of the welfare society. Families, communities and charities who deliver the vast majority of welfare beyond the state. The crumbling on the margins of this group has led to a growing demand on the state.
Whilst this process is damaging to the social structure of our society, there is a cost imperative as well. The cost of our fractured families, of poorly educated workers and dysfunctional adults is rendering Britain’s economy uncompetitive. Bankrupt Britain, a recent report distributed by the CSJ, demonstrates that this becomes more critical during an economic crisis such as the one we are in.
Government departments foot the bill for lifestyle related breakdown from one financial year to another. The cost of British social breakdown – £102 billion a year – fuelled by family breakdown – £20 billion a year – is spread across the benefits system; the education system; the care system; the National Health Service; the criminal justice system; and elsewhere.
The government picks up an increasingly expensive tab for society’s brokenness, while claiming it has nothing to do with policy and planning. Furthermore many of the government’s policies often have unintended consequences, often creating perverse behavioural incentives.
Politicians are often to be found debating small government verses big government. Yet often less than lip service is paid to the Voluntary and Community Sector which stands between government and business. These institutions could not matter more for our future and could hardly have been more neglected in recent times. There will be no sustainable reduction in the size of the state if civil society doesn’t become stronger – nurturing more self-sufficient and vigorous citizens. There’ll be no possibility of light touch regulation if certain moral values are absent from our culture. There’ll be no competitive economy if families don’t encourage their children to learn and excel.
However, governments have missed the point. They have successively failed to grasp the nature of the problem by looking at the system, not the people.
Where business strengthens by assessing who might purchase its product, who is purchasing its product and why, governments do not. As a result they simply don’t understand the nature of Britain’s most deprived communities.
This is illustrated by my friend, Sandy Weddell, who told me after walking around Easterhouse, a run down estate in Glasgow: “These were built in the 1960s and are now being knocked down because they have become slums. Yet unless the hearts and lives of the people in the houses are changed, they will quickly make the buildings look like them again.”
Breakdown and Breakthrough Britain
At the CSJ we wanted to understand the root-causes of this lifestyle poverty – the drivers of dependency demand – by listening to those at a grassroots level in these communities.
Commissioned in 2005 by the new leader of Britain’s Conservative party, David Cameron, we spent 18 months listening to practitioners and visiting effective poverty-fighting organisations to do so.
We made 300 visits. We held public hearings the length and breadth of the country, consulted with over 2,000 people working with Britain’s poorest people, and polled 50,000 members of the public about the causes and consequences of poverty. We travelled abroad to learn from other models.
As we listened we were offered a clear diagnosis: social breakdown was real, it was entrenched, it was inter-generational and it was rising. The welfare state was trapping people in poverty instead of providing support in troubled times. It was clear that the government worked with a narrow definition of poverty: viewing poverty as purely financial, and as being driven by financial factors.
But give a drug addicted parent £1000 and their family is unlikely to see the money. Instead it will go on his addiction. On paper he will be above the poverty line but their family will be below.
In response we published a 600,000 word body of work outlining our analysis, the five pathways to poverty, and more than 190 recommendations for reform.
I notice that many areas we identified for reform, including early intervention during the infant years, affordable housing and family breakdown, are coterminous with areas highlighted by the IMFC, and also The Caledon Institute of Social Policy in its recent report Poverty Policy. These are important developments for Canada.
The five pathways to poverty
Our period of analysis identified five common causes of social breakdown – what we call the ‘pathways to poverty’. Let me begin with educational failure.
Failing schools in our poorest communities are trapping children in dependency and causing criminality. The 20 per cent of young people who fail to obtain any GCSEs come from just 203 schools – most of these schools are located within two miles of a social housing estate.
Such educational failure pushes young people toward criminal behaviour: More than 70 per cent of young offenders describe their educational attainment as nil. Around half of the 83,000 prisoners in England and Wales have a reading and numerical ability of an 11 year old child.
We say it is time to install excellence in these schools. But for the continued worst performing, we offer parents a chance of change. We call for the introduction of ‘pioneer schools’ – allowing parents and third sector organisations to create new schools in their area and offer their children a better future
Economic dependency and worklessness:
Failed education in our poorest communities leads to economic dependency and worklessness. Approximately 3.5 million working-age people, many of whom are physically able, receive inactive benefits that require virtually nothing of them.
Britain’s benefits system, and its high marginal tax rates of up to 90 pence in every extra pound earned, ensures that for many, progression into work is not financially worthwhile.
But the CSJ believes in a ‘something for something’ culture. We call for a simplification of the benefits system, incentives to work and specialist support to ensure people sustain employment – to help them develop a ‘work habit’.
We discovered that devastating addiction is ruining thousands of lives in the poorest communities. Drug and alcohol abuse costs society almost £40 billion a year and in the decade to 2007, the British government spent more on its war on drugs than on its combined campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The principles of our recommended reform include developing a coordinated approach to drugs and alcohol treatment. We also say that government should end
its obsession with methadone and maintenance prescribing by properly resourcing the voluntary sector to lead its life-changing work
Serious personal debt
Many people dependent on state hand outs and locked in addiction have high levels of personal debt. Vulture loan-sharks thrive in Britain’s poorest communities – charging up to 1000 per cent on borrowing. Broken bones often substitute missed payments and pressures of debt destabilise relationships.
75 per cent of British couples admit they find money the most difficult subject to discuss. A third lie to their partners about levels of spending and a similar percentage are kept awake at night worrying about finances.
We propose strengthening Credit Unions. Here in Canada you are leading the way with more than 20 per cent of the population members of such a Union – in the UK it is just 1 per cent. We also call for improved sub-prime loan practices and more community based debt advice.
And at the heart of this social breakdown was the breakdown of the family unit. Lone parent families dominate Britain’s deprived communities. 15 per cent of babies are now born without a resident biological father – this will only increase.
Canada is experiencing similar trends. The proportion of lone parent families here rose from 11 per cent to 16 per cent in the twenty years to 2001, and children in lone parent families rose 14 per cent to 21 per cent in the same period.
Three factors have fuelled the damaging increase of less stable lone parent families in Britain:
First, in recent years, particularly within our poorest communities, divorce has increased.
Second, cohabitation has become a norm. As a consequence marriage rates have declined rapidly. European data demonstrates that by a child’s fifth birthday, less than 1 in 12 married parents split up compared to almost 1 in 2 cohabiting parents. So the assumptions that there are no differences between cohabitation and marriage are untrue.
Third, teenage pregnancy rates in Britain are now the highest in Europe. Often with different fathers for different children.
This breakdown, and its rising societal and financial costs, has been allowed to take root amidst an irrelevant ideological debate between the self-styled socially liberal Left and the ideological, often socially conservative, Right.
For many on the Left marriage and family are viewed as outdated optional extras, private choices, dismissed as the obsession of regressive social conservatives. They have argued that government must avoid attempting to influence these personal decisions.
For those on the ideological Right, too often family and marriage have become moral causes.
This debate has raged on the airwaves and in the newspapers for too long. It has been a battle of assumptions and suppositions. Both sides neglect the practical facts – they have failed to ask ‘what works?’
This is not an oversight unique to family policy. Throughout our analysis we found time and again a failure to ask this basic question.
In drug treatment millions of pounds are poured into programmes which replace an illegal addiction with a legal one.
Thousands of people in serious personal debt are still able to borrow huge sums of credit.
Those on benefits are given no incentive to return to work because of extortionate marginal tax rates.
Yes, the CSJ has set up to follow the facts and the facts on family breakdown showed that family stabilises society and marriage stabilises family. They are the framework in which our children most prosper.
Our research demonstrates this. We found that children who do not grow up in a two parent family are:
– 75 per cent more likely to fail at school
– 70 per cent more likely to be a drug addict
– 50 per cent more likely to develop an alcohol problem
– 40 per cent more likely to have serious personal debt problems
– and 35 per cent more likely to experience unemployment and welfare dependency
We know that family breakdown can lead to crime: 70 per cent of our young offenders are from lone parent families and our care system is for too many a conveyer belt to criminality. The failure of families drives many of our youth to violent street gangs. Our report, Dying to Belong, estimates that more than 50,000 young Britons are members of such gangs. Research shows that each gang impacts more than 8,000 people in their local area.
At the most difficult end of this process of breakdown and underachievement are dysfunctional families. More often lone parents, mostly 2nd and 3rd generation lone parents, unemployed and with few parenting skills. Too often their children will witness them being abused and continue the same cycle when they grow older.
What happens before the child is three is vital. The level of stimulation, nurture and empathy an infant receives profoundly shapes their ability to enter into all future relationships.
Working with a Labour MP, Graham Allen, we have presented a mass of powerful evidence, including brain scans highlighting neurological underdevelopment of our most dysfunctional children, that shows the first three years of a child’s life are the most vital. We discovered that within 24 months from birth, it was possible to accurately predict lifestyle outcomes at 26 years old.
And it is this principle of early intervention, for both children and families, that I consider pivotal.
The British government currently spends between £500 and £800 a year per taxpayer in dealing with the consequences of family breakdown – £20 billion. It spends only 50 pence in delivering effective preventative measures getting ahead of the problem and putting it right before it starts.
However what the voluntary sector showed us, particularly organisations like Save the Family, was that early remedial work with families can cut breakdown by up to a half.
I think of a young mother of five children I met when visiting the charity Save the Family. They house and work with families on the brink of break up. Over the period of several years three of her children had been taken into care because she couldn’t cope. State intervention had focused solely on the welfare of her children, neglecting her needs altogether. It failed to recognise that unless she was given help, within a few months she would be pregnant again and in the same position. About to lose her remaining two children she was taken in by Save the Family. The team worked with her providing counselling, developing parenting and money management skills. As a result, in time, she was reunited with her children and parenting again. Saving parents in this way saves children.
Canada’s excellent Roots of Empathy programme, working with pre-school children and their parents, is proven to increase children’s social and emotional competence as well as reduce aggression.
Amidst the deepest breakdown, intervention must be earlier still. Programmes such as Professor Old’s Nurse Family Partnership, working with parents during and after pregnancy, are highly successful.
Evaluation of this model shows that compared to control group-counterparts, 15 year-old children of low income, unmarried mothers, who had been in the programme thirteen years earlier had:
– 56% fewer emergency room visits where injuries were detected;
– 56% fewer behavioural problems due to drug and alcohol consumption
– and 63% fewer sexual partners
We consider early intervention the foundation for reversing social and family breakdown. Two of our recent reports made detailed recommendations in this area.
Responding to social breakdown
I often hear politicians in Britain draw a line between themselves and a pro-family, pro-marriage position. They say government should not get involved.
And yet, by adopting such a hands-off position, they fundamentally fail to understand that at national and local level, they are already involved because government picks up the pieces and often creates the problem at the same time.
In response, our purpose at the CSJ, the very reason we exist, is to change the terms of the debate. We say it is now time once again to recognise family, in particular marriage, not as an add-on or an ideal in a healthy nation, but a
foundation. People will and should make their own choices but should do so in an informed and rational manner, with the facts in front of them.
How we propose to reverse family breakdown
These are easy words, but the challenge of change is how?
We have made more than 10 detailed recommendations to resource proven early intervention initiatives based on models like Roots of Empathy and Nurse Family Partnerships. Spending now will save lives and money.
We have recommended, some say controversially but we say proudly, financially affirming marriage and commitment in the tax and benefits system.
We have called for enhanced training and support for family service professionals.
We believe that the government should roll out relationship and parenting education for people at key life stages, led by the voluntary sector.
We also call for the establishment of a Marriage and Relationships Institute to undertake groundbreaking research and champion the findings.
Some of our recommendations are counter-cultural, some are explicitly financial. Some are simple, some are complex. I know that some are popular, others not so. But we have been prepared to tell it as we see it – as those living and breathing it see it. Social breakdown is the issue of today. Unless we act now, the societal and financial costs will soon be unbearable.
We say that government should have a view because it is already involved, and so it must act.
I mentioned my visit to Glasgow at the beginning of this speech. Allow me to finish there as well. In 2002 I met a mother, Janice Dobbie, who had buried her young son a few days before I arrived. He died from a drugs overdose days after release from prison. Devastated and broken, Janice told me she knew she was one of thousands of others trapped in this hell, with seemingly no hope of a future. She warned me that the vicious cycle of dependency and brokenness that killed her son, would suck others in unless politicians woke up. Janice’s story inspired me to establish the CSJ, she is one of the most extraordinary people I know. It is with sadness I tell you that two years ago I returned to Janice to attend the funeral of her second son, who also died of an overdose. Trapped, neglected, forgotten. People like Janice, millions of them in Britain, are crying out for hope. They face daily realities no one should have to face in a nation as prosperous as mine. Their hope should be a good local school. Their hope should be freedom from dependency. Their hope should be addiction free living. Their hope should be freedom from debt. Their hope should be a strong, healthy family.”
This is not a debate about big government or small government. Trivial ideology achieves nothing for people like Janice and her sons. Instead, we at the CSJ believe, it is about effective government working with the voluntary sector, not usurping it. It is about government that leads for the good of everybody, one that isn’t afraid to follow the facts and act to bring real social justice to our most broken communities.
Can a Conservative care about social justice? I hope I have shown you that unless everyone does, we will be unable to mend our dislocated society.