Tag: News

Anti-life & anti-Christian attack at the European Parliament

Anti-life & anti-Christian attack at the European Parliament

March 26, 2020 • Grégor Puppinc • European Centre for Law & Justice (ECLJ)

Two committees of the European Parliament met on Thursday 25 March to hold a hearing against European conservative organisations. The European Centre for Law and Justice, of which you are the director, is targeted in this attack. What is your reaction?

This attack is being carried out jointly by the global abortion lobby, the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF), and George Soros’s Open Society, with the financial support of the Gates Foundation, no less!

In 2019, the IPPF has decided to attack the persons and organisations resisting abortion and has charged Caroline Hickson, IPPF’s head of Europe, and Neil Datta, IPPF’s lobbyist to the European Parliament (EPF) with this task. They are both in charge and invited as “experts” by the European Parliament to this hearing. At the same time, the OpenDemocracy organisation is also involved in the fight against European conservative organisations through an initiative called “Tracking the Backlash”. This initiative is funded by George Soros’ Open Society with a budget of US$407,000 in 2019. The head of this programme, Claire Provost, was also invited as an ‘expert’. Finally, Véronique Sehier, former president of the French branch of the Family Planning between 2006 and 2015, and a member of the French EESC in this capacity, was invited to speak.

It was not a pluralist hearing that the Parliament organised, but a targeted attack on the main European conservative organisations. It goes without saying that none of the organisations attacked were invited to defend themselves. I addressed a request for it on behalf of the ECLJ to Raphaël Glucksmann, who was co-chairing this meeting with Evelyn Régner, both socialists. To no avail.

The purpose of this hearing was to initiate the drafting of a parliamentary report with a view to the adoption of a resolution in 2022 and to announce the forthcoming publication of a report on the financing of European conservative organisations. This hearing also arrives a few weeks before the vote on a new European Parliament draft resolution promoting abortion in a radical way. Its aim is therefore also to disarm pro-life organisations at this strategic moment; but it may backfire on them.

What is the strategy used to attack you?

This activist network uses a conspiratorial approach, trying to make people believe in the existence of a secret, powerful, global network of abortion opponents. The methods used are borderline illegal and undignified, for they attack people rather than their arguments.

During this hearing, the “experts” mainly targeted the wallet. They denounced the fact that some pro-life organisations, especially American ones, financially support their European counterparts ; and they inflate the figures in an extreme way by mixing all kinds of organisations. The aim is to scare people into believing that there is a danger. They refuse the democratic debate and act like Marxists. This is an example of “cancel culture”.

This ad hominem strategy is mainly implemented by Neil Datta. For more than ten years, he has stubbornly imagined himself tracking, flushing out and fighting a powerful, dangerous, and hidden network of abortion opponents. He publishes alarmist reports on a fantasized danger, presenting the conservative organisations as a “secret army” of “new crusaders”… In his reports, he does not hesitate to disseminate personal and family information on his opponents and their children, or to use documents declared as stolen. A judicial investigation is in progress regarding that.

On a few occasions, Neil Datta managed to spread his propaganda via the Arte channel which broadcasted alarmist reports. More recently, OpenDemocracy has undertaken to relay Neil Datta, and has given him a global reach, by having his message published by Reuters, Euronews and Times magazine…

But the organisations attacking you are also funded from abroad!

Indeed, such an attack is the height of hypocrisy when you consider that these organisations receive considerable funding from George Soros’ Open Society, the Gates Foundation, the abortion industry, etc. Not having been invited to defend myself, I sent a memo to all parliamentarians on the foreign funding and strategy of these organisations.

The budget of the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) and its members is in the billions of dollars. The Gates Foundation alone has contributed more than $25 million since 2010 to the IPPF European Network lobby and nearly $3 million in 2018 alone to the parliamentary arm of the lobby, the European Parliamentary Forum on Population and Development (EPF), led by Neil Datta. The EPF is also funded by 22 other organisations, including IPPF and its regional branches, the Open Society Foundations,[1] the MacArthur Foundation, MSD, Nike Foundation, TIDES, MVI, The Global Fund, Wallace Global Fund, Population Action International, AFPPD, The Summit Foundation, Hewlett Foundation, etc.

Between 2016 and 2019 OpenDemocracy has received US$1,533,457 from the Open Society. OpenDemocracy, has also been funded by dozens of other organisations including the Tides Foundation, Rockefeller Foundation, Ford Foundation, Oak Foundation, Wallace Global Fund, etc. IPAS, an abortion advocacy organisation, also funded OpenDemocracy in 2019.[2]

It is an example of the Gospel parable of the “mote and the beam in the eye”… It is also the proof that money is not everything: a tiny organization like the ECLJ manages to scare monsters like the Open Society and the IPPF. That is the strength of truth.

How did the hearing go?

There was no contradiction. It was two hours of one-sided propaganda on the “dangers for democracy and European values” that conservative organisations of Christian inspiration such as the ECLJ, the Fondation Lejeune, Alliance Vita, ADF, CitizenGo, etc. would cause.

Only one dissident MEP took the floor: the Spanish MEP Margarita de la Pisa, who courageously denounced this meeting as “propaganda for a unique and totalitarian vision”, recalling that no woman regrets being a mother, but that many regret their abortion. Raphaël Gluksmann, who chaired the hearing, replied that “we are for freedom and choice” as if he could speak for all MEPs. Caroline Hickson, the IPPF’s head of Europe, dropped out at the last minute.

Do you think that these organisations are really afraid of the ECLJ or is it just a communication exercise?

I think they are afraid of us, even though they are more powerful than us politically in Europe. We have already been able to thwart their plans several times and have inflicted them with bitter defeats, for example in 2013 against a previous radical report on abortion presented by Mrs Estrela.

The motion for a resolution that will soon be discussed aims to resurrect this report. Once again, a few parliamentarians want to promote abortion, even though this subject does not fall within the competence of the European Union, and we are experiencing a serious moral and demographic crisis. According to this text, having women “carry their pregnancy to term against their will (…) is a violation of human rights and a form of gender-based violence”… The European States should also, among other things, “eliminate” conscientious objection, in that it would be an obstacle to abortion. Legally, this text has no consistency, it refers to a long list of documents without direct link with abortion or without legal force. This is not law, but politics.

This attack on human life, and the people and organisations that defend it, is massive and violent. The financiers of the societal left, like Gates and Soros, have invested millions of dollars just to fight us. We will have to get used to a higher degree of violence.

Launch of ACN’s Religious Freedom in the World Report

Launch of ACN’s Religious Freedom in the World Report

Start: 20 Apr 2021 18:00 • End: 20 Apr 2021 19:30 • Live Streaming

Throughout the world, religious believers are persecuted because of their faith. According to the BBC, over a million Turkic Uighurs are detained in concentration camps, prisons and forced labour factories in China. The Yazidis and Christians of Iraq are still recovering from genocide at the hands of Daesh (ISIS), where Yazidi women were sold into sex slavery in open marketplaces.

We invite you to the virtual launch of ACN’s Religious Freedom in the World report, which assesses the extent that the core human right of religious freedom is upheld in 196 countries, every country on earth.

More than two years in the making, the report is the only global study on religious freedom that is not produced by, or for, a government. We are pleased to have guest speakers from across the world joining us for this event.

The event will livestream on YouTube and will be available on this page, from 5.30pm on 20th April.

Guest speakers:

UK: Brendan O’Hara SNP MP for Argyll and Bute

MP for Argyll and Bute since 2015, Brendan O’Hara is a long-time friend and supporter of ACN who visited Lebanon in 2019 and saw first-hand the suffering of Iraqi and Syrian Christians at the hands of Daesh (ISIS).

NIGERIA: Bishop Oliver Dashe Doeme of Maiduguri

Bishop Doeme was ordained bishop of Maiduguri, north-eastern Nigeria in August 2009, with the diocese often at the heart of Boko Haram’s violent campaign, with one massacre in November 2020 killing 110.

IRAQ: Archbishop Nathanael Nizar Semaan of Hadiab of Erbil

Ordained as Archbishop of Hadiab-Erbil in August 2019, Archbishop Semaan has overseen the recovery of the Christians there who suffered a genocide at the hands of Daesh (ISIS).

UK: Alexander Stafford, Conservative MP for Rother Valley

Alexander Stafford was voted in as Conservative MP for Rother Valley in 2019, the first Conservative to be elected for the seat. He has a long-held interest in the plight of Christians in the Middle East.

UK: Afzal Khan, Labour MP for Manchester Gorton

In 2005 Afzal Khan became the first Muslim Lord Mayor of Manchester and was appointed CBE in 2008 for his race relations work. Labour MP for Manchester Gorton since 2017, he is an outspoken critic of the Chinese government’s treatment of the Uighur Muslims.

The report will be available for download from the 20th April onwards.

Stand Against Unjust Discrimination: Oppose the Equality Act

Stand Against Unjust Discrimination: Oppose the Equality Act

March 16, 2021 • Cardinal Timothy Dolan • Public Disclosure: The Journal of the Witherspoon Institute

The Equality Act goes far beyond the noble desire to protect vulnerable people. It burdens consciences, severely curtails the rights of people to practice their faith, smuggles in an abortion mandate, and explicitly exempts itself from respecting religious freedom.

Americans have long been a tolerant people. In recent years, there has been much concern and lament about how divided we have become, and we are right to be concerned about the divisions that are opening up in our public life. At the same time, considering this country’s extraordinary diversity, we might marvel at the way the vast majority of us accept difference and show hospitality and respect toward our neighbors, even amid our deep disagreements.

The Equality Act takes us in a different direction. While the name sounds appealing—who is not in favor of equality?—the Equality Act is actually deeply intolerant. It forces a highly contested understanding of human nature on all people, and it goes out of its way to target people of faith.

The idea behind the Equality Act seems simple enough. It makes “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” protected categories in the Civil Rights Act. The goal is to protect people who identify as LGBT from discrimination.

The desire to protect people from unjust discrimination is a laudable one. We Catholics believe that every individual is created in the image of God, and so we have an obligation to treat all people with dignity, respect, and compassion. All Catholics should stand against unjust discrimination. But the Equality Act goes far beyond its ostensible goal.

While the name sounds appealing—who is not in favor of equality?—the Equality Act is actually deeply intolerant.

A Christian Understanding of Sex and Gender

One need not profess the Catholic faith to find problems with the Equality Act. Reason and natural law provide ample grounds for rejecting it. But a Christian perspective can illuminate how the codification of gender ideology into law is harmful.

A Christian understanding of sex and gender is not about following arbitrary rules. It is about human flourishing, the common good, and respecting the integrity of nature. The Church has long understood that the human person is a unity of body and soul. I am not a mind that happens to have a body. I am a body animated by a soul, a whole person. One’s identity is inseparable from one’s body. Gender ideology presents a counter anthropology, claiming that one’s given body could somehow contradict one’s identity.

Christians recognize that there is a distinction between the sexes. Sexual difference is a fundamental, sacred, and beautiful dimension of human nature, and the complementarity between male and female finds meaning in the “the flourishing of family life.”

Much of the language of Scripture and sacred tradition builds on the natural understanding of marriage as a fruitful union between male and female. Christianity becomes incomprehensible if we accept that marriage is based merely on strong affection or that gender can be untethered from biological sex. While Catholics must accompany all individuals, we cannot accept an ideology of gender, which, as Pope Francis says, “‘denies the difference and reciprocity in nature of a man and a woman and envisages a society without sexual differences, thereby eliminating the anthropological basis of the family.’” In fact, the Holy Father seems to be speaking directly to the problem represented by the Equality Act when he says, “‘This ideology leads to educational programmes and legislative enactments that promote a personal identity and emotional intimacy radically separated from the biological difference between male and female. Consequently, human identity becomes the choice of the individual, one which can also change over time.’”

While Catholics must accompany all individuals, we cannot accept an ideology of gender, which, as Pope Francis says, ‘denies the difference and reciprocity in nature of a man and a woman and envisages a society without sexual differences, thereby eliminating the anthropological basis of the family.’

Imposing Gender Ideology

Of course, many Americans may reject a view of sexuality rooted in the natural law, and perhaps many more do not accept a Christian understanding of the human person. The United States is highly pluralistic. One of the great benefits of living in a free society, though, is that we can reason together about how best to live together with our differences. As I noted earlier this year, Pope Francis offers much wisdom in Fratelli tutti when he teaches that dialogue allows us the room to seek the truth together in a pluralistic society. The Equality Act brings an end to dialogue. It forces all of us to accept the tendentious claims of gender ideology.

Allowing for room for discernment is especially important here. Consider a scenario involving female spaces at a school. A young male informs a teacher that he now identifies as a female, and that he wishes to be treated as a female. How should an educator respond?

Proper discernment entails taking full account of the whole situation. What is going on in this student’s life? What would be fair to all students? What sort of accommodations are possible? What kind of counseling options are available? It is not difficult to imagine several ways that a teacher could respond to this situation in a way that is both truthful and compassionate, faithful and empathetic. But the Equality Act allows for only one way to handle this situation, and it is a way that is unfair for the female students who want privacy and ultimately uncompassionate to a student in need of accompaniment that is both loving and honest. By forcing gender ideology on schools, charitable services, and hospitals, the Equality Act shrinks the space in which people of good will can discern how best to help persons experiencing gender dysphoria.

Targeting Religion

Religious freedom is a fundamental right, enshrined as the first in the Bill of Rights. All people of good will deserve the space to seek the truth about God and to respond to the truth when it is grasped. Certainly, ordering society toward the good while respecting the freedom of all can be a challenge. But at a minimum, no one should be forced by the government to do something that she or he understands to be against his or her deeply held convictions. The Catholic Church teaches this clearly:

[Religious] freedom means that all men are to be immune from coercion on the part of individuals or of social groups and of any human power, in such wise that no one is to be forced to act in a manner contrary to his own beliefs, whether privately or publicly, whether alone or in association with others, within due limits.

The Equality Act seems to go out of its way to target religion. It exempts itself from the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), a bill that was passed nearly unanimously by Congress and signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1993. RFRA basically says that if the government is going to burden religion, it needs to have a very good reason, and it needs to show that it did everything possible to avoid over-burdening the religion.

RFRA has been invoked by Muslims seeking to wear short beards in prison, American Indians using eagle feathers in religious ceremonies, humanitarians leaving water for migrants in the desert, and—yes—nuns who do not want to pay for contraceptives. RFRA protects people of all faiths. But under the Equality Act, a religious service provider is not protected by RFRA if it “discriminates” on the basis of “gender identity.” So, if a Catholic women’s shelter decides that it would be best not to house a biological man self-identifying as a woman in the same space as women who have been victims of domestic abuse, that ministry would not be protected under the Equality Act.

The Equality Act also expands the meaning of public accommodations. What this means is that some institutions we would not normally think of as public are considered public under the Equality Act. For example, a church is obviously a religious building. But what if the church has a banquet hall that it rents out for events? Most reasonable people would say that the law should not force a church to host an event that it considers to be immoral. But under the Equality Act, if the church is open to the public, then disallowing the celebration of a same-sex civil marriage would be discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. Of course, in this instance, the church objects to the activity of the participants, not the “orientation” of the individuals, but the Act does not make that distinction. Our recognition of the inherent dignity of all persons does not entail that we must celebrate conduct contrary to our beliefs.

The Equality Act goes far beyond the noble desire to protect vulnerable people. It burdens consciences and severely curtails the rights of religious people to be free to practice their faith.

The Equality Act also sneaks in an abortion mandate by defining “sex” to include “pregnancy, childbirth, or a related medical condition”—a phrase that courts have interpreted to include abortion. With this trick, the Act can effectively say that refusing to perform an abortion constitutes discrimination on the basis of sex. Consider a Catholic doctor working at a Catholic hospital. She is not protected from being forced to perform abortions by virtue of working at a Catholic hospital, because the hospital is a public accommodation. Her individual conscience rights are less protected, because she has no recourse to RFRA. It seems that whether the issue is abortion, gender ideology, or marriage redefinition, the activists are not content to simply do what they want. With the Equality Act, they are saying, “no matter what you believe, you are going to support these things.”

The Equality Act goes far beyond the noble desire to protect vulnerable people. It burdens consciences and severely curtails the rights of religious people to be free to practice their faith.

For the Good of All

All people should be treated with dignity and respect. There are cases of real harms that provide the impetus for bills like the Equality Act. During this season of Lent, we Christians reflect on ways that we have treated others unjustly, bringing our own failings to the sacrament of penance—including any times we have treated individuals experiencing same-sex attraction or gender dysphoria with anything less than love.

At the same time, as Justice Anthony Kennedy has put it, “Tolerance is most meaningful when it’s mutual.” The Equality Act codifies intolerance, not only for religious people, but for people who have serious, good-faith questions about the transgender political movement. As inheritors of a long tradition on what human flourishing looks like, Christians have a unique contribution to make to today’s conversations about sex and gender. We should have space to make it.

Inside the Vatican: Professor Jane Adolphe

Inside the Vatican: Professor Jane Adolphe

Jane Adolphe is a Catholic international human rights lawyer, and Professor of Law at Ave Maria School of Law (AMSL) in Naples, Florida, USA, with four law degrees: licentiate and doctorate in canon law (J.C.L/J.C.D), common law (LL.B), and civil law (B.C.L.) as well as a Bachelor of Arts. She began her legal career clerking with the Court of Appeal and Queens Bench in Calgary and the law firm Bennett Jones Verchere, then prosecuted criminal cases for the Alberta Crown Prosecutor’s Office. After that, she studied canon law and began teaching law at AMSL (2001 until the present).

Then, after working as an outside consultant to the Holy See’s Secretariat of State, Section for Relations with States (2003-2011), she entered the same section as an “Expert” to collaborate on work related to human rights’ treaties ratified by the Holy See, most notably the Convention on the Rights of the Child and its Optional Protocol on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography.

Dr. Adolphe’s term with the Holy See, which ended with her resignation in 2020, coincided with a series of challenges and changes that will forever mark, she says, the Catholic Church — and her life. Having entered during the final years of Pope Benedict VI’s papacy, she lived in Rome and worked in the Apostolic Palace, in Vatican City State, during amendment of its laws and during the following events:

2012 — Vatileaks I: the conviction of the Pope’s butler and accomplice

2013 — Resignation of Pope Benedict VI

2013 — Election of Pope Francis

2015 — Trial set for a former nuncio (deceased before trial) on child pornography and child sex abuse charges

2015 — Vatileaks II: the trial and conviction of a monsignor and lay woman

2017 — Trial and conviction of a lay person for diverting charitable funds to renovate a cardinal’s apartment

2018 — Conviction of a former Vatican diplomat for possession of child pornography

2018 — The McCarrick scandal

2019 — The London property investigation, and police raid of the Offices of the Secretariat of State

Despite the illnesses and deaths of her parents back in her native Canada within two years of each other, in 2018 and 2020, Dr. Adolphe, in her capacity as Professor of AMSL, was able to plan and organize multiple international conferences on topics of interest to the Holy See, which led to publications that she co-edited: The Persecution of Christians in the Middle East: Prevention, Prohibition, and Prosecution (Angelico Press: 2018); and Equality and Non-Discrimination: Catholic Roots, Current Challenges (Pickwick: 2019).

But the “most challenging” book she produced and co-edited, she says, was the 2020 volume Clerical Sexual Misconduct: An Interdisciplinary Analysis (Cluny) provoked, as it was, by the events of 2018, and the contradiction between efforts to protect victims from clerical-sexual abuse, the majority of whom were adolescent males and seminarians, while some sought to “mainstream” homosexual acts as a “good” within the Church.

Dr. Adolphe recounts the most “devastating” situation she encountered during her tenure at the Vatican: in 2017, Italian journalists exposed the alleged sexual corruption of adolescent boys dating back to 2012 in the pre-seminary of Vatican City State. She remained steadfast in her efforts to ensure that a Vatican investigation be opened. The case is currently before the courts in Vatican City State. “There’s a problem of clericalism in the Roman Curia, especially as embedded in the court setting,” comments Dr. Adolphe, “but I am very encouraged by Pope Francis’s ongoing efforts toward making the Curia more humanized and professionalized to allow for the development of all its employees.”

“If I were to sum up my time in Vatican City State,” Dr. Adolphe says, “I would quote St. Paul in his Second Letter to the Corinthians: ‘For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too.’”

Inside the Vatican: Top Ten 2020

Inside the Vatican: Top Ten 2020

The year 2020 was one which many people say they would like to erase from memory. Yet, many good people did many good things in the year 2020, and Inside the Vatican recognizes here just a few of them.

We begin our list with a somewhat unknown Vatican official, a Belgian layman who is also an academic and an author, the Vatican’s chief archivist, Dr. Johann Ickx. It has been Dr. Ickx’s work, pre-eminently, which has brought the world new understanding of Pope Pius XII’s key role in helping to save countless Jews from Nazi persecution.

Then we turn to a less obscure veteran of the Vatican, Australian Cardinal George Pell, who in 2020 was released from prison after the dramatic reversal of an unfounded conviction on charges of so-called “historic sexual abuse” dating back decades. Cardinal Pell confirms that many, including himself, suspect he may have been framed by enemies, both within and outside the Vatican.

Catholic book editor John Moorehouse passed away unexpectedly on December 4, 2020, at the age of 51, leaving a widow and five children. He was not only a talented editor for Catholic publisher TAN Books, but also a dedicated family man and a man of God.

2020 saw more tragedy than just that caused by the coronavirus. On August 4, a powerful explosion tore apart the harbor of Beirut, Lebanon — especially the part of the city where its dwindling Christian population dwells. But two young Lebanese Catholics, Aya Naimeh and Georges Assaf, have organized a group to bring relief — and hope — to the Christians who were victims of the unimaginable devastation.

Hong Kong was in the news throughout 2020 as the monolithic Chinese Communist Party, which formally took control of the island in 1999 and is now aggressively imposing its political will there, was challenged by a group of young — and a few not-so-young — crusaders for freedom, bolstered by their Christian, and in some cases, Catholic, beliefs. And Agnes Chow, Joshua Wong, Ivan Lam and Jimmy Lai have all been sentenced to prison for it.

The story of clerical sexual abuse is a long-running and multi-layered one, which unfortunately is still being revealed today even as the Church strives to end it. Dr. Jane Adolphe, originally from Canada, is a veteran civil and canon lawyer who spent years at the Vatican’s Secretariat of State assisting the Church’s leadership to prepare statements on morality and justice.

Belarus, a small nation once subsumed into the Communist Soviet Union, with its Christians, including a small Catholic minority, has seen a resurgence of freedom of religion along with democratic political reforms. Yet the Church continues to experience attacks in a struggle of ideas involving the current government. The Archbishop of Minsk, Belarus, Tadeusz Kondrusiewicz, has been in the middle of the struggle.

“Justice” was a popular word in 2020, but what exactly it meant, and means, is not so clear. In the U.S. system, the last word in “justice” is the Supreme Court; interestingly, at this time six of the nine Supreme Court justices happen to be Catholics. The newest is 2020 Donald Trump appointee Amy Coney Barrett, who had to brave animosity and insults because of her faith at her difficult confirmation hearings.

Eighteen-year-old Ugandan Michael Nnadi was kidnapped along with three fellow seminarians by militant Islamicists in 2020. Michael was murdered for continuing to preach the Gospel even in his captivity.

His killer, now in jail, praised his “outstanding bravery.” Sadly, he is one of hundreds, even thousands, of martyrs for Christ in 2020.

In a world which sometimes seems to have gone mad, one of the most lamentable tragedies is a new epidemic of adolescent girls who have undergone, sometimes without parents’ knowledge or consent, “gender transition” using drugs and surgery. Many of them regret it when they mature. Braving widespread criticism from the “LGBTQ community,” Abigail Shrier in 2020 sent out the alarm in her book Irreversible Damage. Although she is not a Christian, her book points the way back to common sense and an appreciation of human nature as God created it.

Join ITV in recognizing the contributions of our “Top Ten of 2020,” and pray for their continued work, each in his or her own way, for the Kingdom of God.