In an October 2013 Crisis article entitled “Kicking the Church out of the UN,” Austin Ruse, the president of Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute (C-FAM), suggests that the reason for the hostility directed at the Church is because the Church has obstructed the goals of the population control zealots at the UN. “Starting at the Cairo Conference in 1994, the Church has been able to block an international right to abortion … the Holy See has consistently handed the Catholics for Choice, the Norwegians, the United Nations Population Fund and all the other uglies at the UN defeat after defeat.”
It is likely that last week’s UN Committee on the Rights of the Child report was payback. Despite its non-voting status at the United Nations, the Holy See has stood as the major barrier to the UN goal of universal access to abortion and contraception for young girls and women throughout the world. While the Church was unable to convince all countries—including the United States—of the evils of abortion, the Vatican, as a sovereign state, continues to play an important role at the negotiating table in areas in which the Church has a stake in helping to ensure the right to life and the dignity of the person.
The UN has attempted to end that influence. In 1999, decrying the Vatican’s role in encouraging the United Nations to block funding for abortion services, Frances Kissling, then-president of Catholics for Choice—a group that claims to speak for pro-abortion Catholics, yet has no actual membership—began a campaign to remove the Vatican from the UN. A strong media presence and a letterhead funded by the abortion industry and pro-abortion organizations like the Ford and Rockefeller Foundations, Operation See Change, as Kissling called her campaign against the Vatican, attempted to persuade the United Nations to revoke the Vatican’s status as a permanent observer.
Although Kissling’s See Change Campaign was supported by the abortion industry and was successful in focusing international public attention on the unique standing of the Vatican at the UN, opposition to the Catholics for Choice initiative was also strong. Then-Senators Rick Santorum (R-PA) and Bob Smith (R-NH), and Representative Chris Smith (R-NJ) introduced congressional resolutions critical of the See Change Campaign and lauding the role of the Vatican at the UN. In the end, not a single member state signed on to support the Catholics for Choice campaign.
Still, the efforts to expel the Vatican continue today. Austin Ruse’s C-FAM recently announced that Catholics for Choice has re-launched its See Change Campaign demanding that the Vatican’s observer status be reduced to that of a non-governmental organization—barring Church officials from negotiations. And, as Ruse, who has a front row seat for the UN negotiations, writes: “a nasty Norwegian diplomat at the UN” who “frequently badmouths the Holy See” has suggested that it is time that the Holy See be expelled.
It is not a coincidence that Kirsten Sandberg, Chairman of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child that issued the attack on the Vatican last week, is from Norway. Demanding that the Church amend Canon Law to accommodate the changing culture, Sandberg’s committee “urges that the Holy See review its position on abortion which places obvious risks on the life and health of pregnant girls, and to amend Canon 1398 relating to abortion with a view to identifying circumstances under which access to abortion services can be permitted.”
Sandberg’s committee demands that the Church “assess the serious implications of its position on adolescents’ enjoyment of the highest standard of health and overcome all the barriers and taboos surrounding adolescent sexuality that hinder their access to sexual and reproductive information.” Further, Sandberg’s UN Committee moves beyond denigrating the Church for her teachings on abortion and contraception to demand that the Church “overcome the taboos” surrounding adolescent sexuality—including homosexual behavior—by changing Church teachings on homosexual relations to conform to the prevailing culture espoused by the UN.
Recent Events Highlight UN’s Progressive Culture
Although Sandberg’s Committee on the Rights of the Child report has gotten the most publicity because it is the first to directly attack the Church in this way, the truth is that the report is just the latest in a long series of UN reports designed to make abortion an international right, and increase world-wide support for same-sex behavior. A report issued last month by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) entitled “Teaching and Learning: Achieving Quality for All,” is described by C-Fam in a report released last week as suggesting that the purpose of educating children is not simply to increase literacy, but also to teach them “where and how to have an abortion” and to be more accepting of same-sex behavior.
The UNESCO report decries that “in many parts of the world, people remain intransigent in their attitudes toward homosexuality.” The truth is that many countries struggle with these new UN requirements to teach tolerance of homosexuality in their school curriculum while sodomy and homosexuality continue to be outlawed in their countries.
But, laws against abortion and homosexuality have not stopped UNESCO from promoting their pro-abortion and pro-same sex policies in the past. In 2012, Maria Casado, director of UNESCO’s presence at the University of Barcelona, Spain called for a national registry of doctors who refuse to perform abortions. According to LifeSiteNews, Casedo expressed opposition to restrictions to abortion in Spanish law and called for a more stringent definition of conscientious objection for doctors—claiming that her goal is to “respect rights in a democratic society, women’s rights as well as doctor’s rights…. When conscientious objection is transformed into a collective stance for ideological reasons, it turns into civil disobedience,” naming the Catholic Church as responsible insofar as it promotes conscientious objection to abortion.
And, while one of the goals of UNESCO and the Committee on the Rights of the Child has been population control through abortion and contraception, there is no other entity at the United Nations that has worked as ruthlessly for population control as the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). Exposed by Steven Mosher, president of the Population Research Institute, as being a direct participant in China’s coercive one-child policy, UNFPA is an international development agency that “promotes the right of every woman, man and child to enjoy a life of health and equal opportunity.” Three core areas of UNFPA’s work focus on reproductive health, gender equality, and population and development strategies. The main focus is on increasing access to contraception and abortion by working directly with governments throughout the world.
Population control supporters Bill and Melinda Gates have assisted the efforts of UNFPA through the Gates Foundation. Recipients of the prestigious UNFPA Population Fund award in 2010, Bill and Melinda Gates have donated more than one billion dollars to family planning groups—including the UNFPA; International Planned Parenthood Federation; CARE International—an organization that works with the UN to lobby for legalized abortion in several African nations; Save the Children—a major promoter of the population control agenda; and the World Health Organization—an organization that forcibly sterilized thousands of women in the 1990s under the pretence of providing tetanus vaccination services in Nicaragua, Mexico and the Philippines.
Sharing the same ideology as the UN, Bill and Melinda Gates view population control as the key to the future. For Bill Gates, “there is no such thing as a healthy, high population growth country. If you’re healthy you’re low-population growth…. As the world grows from 6 billion to 9 billion, all of that population growth is in urban slums.”
At an international women’s health conference called “Women Deliver” last May in Kuala Lumpur, Melinda Gates promised to expand access to family planning and promised to raise $4 billion to supply contraceptives, particularly Depo-Provera, to 120 million more women. Co-sponsored by the UNFPA, UNWomen, UNAIDS, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and others including the World Bank and the World Health Organization, the “Women Deliver” conference included a presentation by the late-term abortionist LeRoy Carhart who was there to instruct others on how best to expand abortion services. Participants also heard presentations from Princeton University’s most famous abortion proponent and euthanasia advocate, Professor Peter Singer.
It is likely that the United Nations will continue its commitment to expanding access to abortion and contraception, and removing the taboos that surround homosexuality throughout the world. The Catholic Church is one of the few remaining barriers to this expansion. There will be continued attacks and the Church needs to prepare for them as the United Nations will continue to attempt to diminish the authority of the Church by resurrecting old clergy abuse cases and inflating statistics on past misdeeds by priests.
Pot Calls Kettle Black
Continuing a defensive stance has not been effective. The Catholic laity should demand that the United Nations look to its own failures to protect children. Even Neil MacFarquhar, a reporter for the New York Times, had to admit in an article published in 2011 that the United Nations needs to “focus serious attention on addressing sexual crimes” by those involved in the peacekeeping missions globally: “But the question that diplomats, advocates and even some officials ask is why the efforts still lag in terms of investigating accusations and, making sure those who send troops and contractors abroad hold them accountable.”
In his Times article, MacFarquhar described a 2011 case in which “hundreds of Haitians protested in support of a teenage boy who said he was sexually assaulted by peacekeepers from Uruguay on a United Nations base, eliciting a furious rebuke from Haiti’s president and an apology from Uruguay.”
The Times article charges that human rights experts and some member states fault the United Nations for leaving too much of the job of enforcing its zero tolerance policy to others. Worse, MacFarquhar charges that “[i]ndividual cases and any disciplinary action are rarely made public.” The Times also points out that the United Nations has been recalcitrant in responding as “senior officials defend the numbers as improving and argue that publicly shaming member states would make finding peacekeeping troops more difficult. Going into a blame and shame approach is counterproductive because this requires a mind-set change, said Susanna Malcorra, head of the logistics end of (UN) peacekeeping.”
Of course, as the most recent report issued by the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, the UN has no problem in attempting to “shame” the Catholic Church by dredging up unsubstantiated allegations of priestly pedophilia. In contrast, the sexual abuse by UN peacekeepers continues. A report published last September in the United Nations own News Center described serious misconduct by its UN peacekeeping troops—including sexual abuse—in Mali.
More than a decade ago, the Christian Science Monitor suggested that “Wherever the UN has established operations in recent years, various violations of women seem to follow.” It seems that these violations also include sexual abuse involving young men and girls. The Christian Science Monitor concludes that these violations have included a prostitution ring in Bosnia involving peacekeepers, UN staff members in West African withholding aid such as bags of flour from refugees in exchange for sexual favors, Jordanian peacekeepers in East Timor accused of rape, peacekeepers in Somalia accused of sexual abuses, and Moroccan and Uruguayan peacekeepers in Congo accused of luring youth into their camps with offers of food for sex.
Perhaps it is now time for the Church—including the laity—to stand up to the bullying by the various committees of the United Nations—including the Committee on the Rights of the Child. It is time to expose the real agenda of the United Nations—most notably the UNFPA—to expand the lucrative contraceptive and abortion industry throughout the world, and remind others that the true protector of children remains the Catholic Church.
Anne Hendershott is Professor of Sociology and Director of the Veritas Center at Franciscan University in Steubenville, Ohio. She is the author of Status Envy: The Politics of Catholic Higher Education; The Politics of Abortion; and The Politics of Deviance (Encounter Books). She is also the co-author of Renewal: How a New Generation of Priests and Bishops are Revitalizing the Catholic Church (2013).
…Beyond “Cognitive Dissonance”
An early 1960s film about parents of developmentally delayed children struggling to adjust. A 1998 article about the one-third of our brightest young women who can’t be reached with the Pro-Life message. Today, a young writer explains how our criterion of success forbids us from accepting bumps in life’s road and receiving the unexpected Gift of Life.
Burt Lancaster and Judy Garland, (Judgment at Nuremberg, 1961) starred in the 1963 film A Child is Waiting. Lancaster is medical director at an institution for retarded children, dedicated to guiding young people with reduced expectations to the best possible life adjustment. (With calm dignity, actual developmentally-delayed children play many of the roles.)
Garland is a new employee of the institution whose overly emotional reaction to a young boy’s sense of rejection by his parents diminishes her ability to be of actual help to the children. The boy’s father seems to be aloof, to the point of refusing to visit his child—”A Child is Waiting”—when other children are seeing their families. Rather than uncaring, the father’s problem is shown to be acute discomfort with his son’s perceived imperfections.
One of the new generation of pro-life thinkers, First Things Junior Fellow Tristyn Bloom, examines our fixation on perfection and resistance to the unexpected, in “Beyond the Pro-Life Pep Rally: Where Do We Go From Here?” (The Federalist: “The Surprising Ingredient To Creating A Pro-Life Culture: Are Kids These Days ‘Too Responsible’?“ http://thefederalist.com/2013/10/29/surprising-ingredient-pro-life-culture/ ).
The reason people continue to defend abortion is because, essentially, of existential terror: fear of what will happen when something unexpected, uninvited, unplanned bursts into our lives demanding action.…We are pathologically terrified of risk and … we have this enslavement to our own ideas of respectability, our own ideas of our life plan, our commitments, our existing duties such that something as radically changing as a new life doesn’t fit in with those existing duties. To accept that life would be the irresponsible choice, and that’s the framework from which a lot of people are operating.…When we have something unchosen, unplanned, uninvited, it’s a direct attack against the very core of our being.
Ms. Bloom’s insight points toward a solution to an enduring mystery, a fly in the ointment marring the past generation’s great success in turning around public opinion about the issue of Life.
Fifteen years ago, news of a population of up to one-third of young women practically unreachable by the Pro-Life message was carried in another First Things article, “Abortion: A Failure to Communicate” www.firstthings.com/article/2008/11/004-abortion-a-failure-to-communicate-49 by Paul Swope of the Vitae Caring Foundation. The article was largely concerned with a self-defeating misapprehension among the Pro-Life mainstream: the “Adoption: The Loving Option” solution is, unexpectedly, completely contrary to a basic psychological premise for many of the most success-oriented, “upwardly mobile” young women. (Our front-line experience is liable to confirm the fact that it’s much easier to communicate the Pro-Life message to women of more modest “socio-economic” background than those of the educational and economic elite.)
Adoption, unfortunately, is seen as the most “evil” of the three options [giving birth, adoption and abortion], as it is perceived as a kind of double death. First, the death of self, as the woman would have to accept motherhood by carrying the baby to term. Further, not only would the woman be a mother, but she would perceive herself as a bad mother, one who gave her own child away to strangers. The second death is the death of the child “through abandonment.” A woman worries about the chance of her child being abused. She is further haunted by the uncertainty of the child’s future, and about the possibility of the child returning to intrude on her own life many years later. Basically, a woman desperately wants a sense of resolution to her crisis, and in her mind, adoption leaves the situation the most unresolved, with uncertainty and guilt as far as she can see for both herself and her child. As much as we might like to see the slogan “Adoption, Not Abortion” embraced by women, this study suggests that in pitting adoption against abortion, adoption will be the hands-down loser.
|“Lifesaver”, Vitae Caring Foundation||“I am a Life”, Heroic Media|
Many in the mainstream of dedicated, Pro-Life stalwarts, seem unaware of the fact, that much of the credit for turning around American public opinion about abortion goes to groups like the Vitae Caring Foundation and Heroic Media which have employed to best effect, sophisticated consumer-psychology research and Madison Avenue marketing expertise to support the cause of Life. Yet many Pro-Lifers remain rather in the dark about our failure to reach so many of the best and brightest, the very people who should be at the forefront bringing forth new generations to help ensure future prosperity and the health of society.
Vitae Caring’s “Lifesaver” commercial overcomes many of the hidden biases against Life by recognizing and affirming the special requirements of feminine psychology: It portrays a successful woman heroically–potentially, self-sacrificially–giving life to another while maintaining control over her own life and remaining personally successful. This flies in the face of the presumption of the upper-crust of young women that having a child when they’re reaching for success means the effective end of their lives.
It’s high time to take stock of our current course, to help the right-thinking majority on the Life issue overcome the unthinking bias against Life on the part of the “better classes” which have so much influence over the fate of our nation and our world.
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Positive vs. Natural Law
Picture this scene, a few years hence:
The vote of the Review Committee was 3 to 0. The Doctor, who was secretary of the meeting, marked the patient’s card “MR” and added his initials and the date. This “Merciful Release” had been provided by the Congress almost two years ago in the Geriatric Welfare Act of 1996, which was part of an overall revision of the bankrupt Social Security system.
Under the law, Social Security retirement benefits were reduced by the full amount of any outside income received from whatever source. The only persons, therefore, who actually received Social Security benefits were those whose outside earnings, gifts from relatives, and other income totaled less than the ordinary Social Security benefits. As a result, only the poor received Social Security retirement checks. But still there were too many of them. The Geriatric Welfare Act of 1996 provided that each recipient of Social Security retirement benefits over the age of 65 who was “confined to any hospital or infirmary” for more than three consecutive days “shall be entitled to a Merciful Release on his or her own request or on a decision by the Review Committee that prolongation of life is a meaningless burden.” Continue reading
Sacramento Bee, Sunday, August 11, 1974
Our heritage is freedom. The Constitution makes this manifest by declaring in its preamble that George Washington and his colleagues in the Convention of 1787 framed that instrument to secure the blessings of freedom to all Americans of all generations.
The love of freedom was brought to our land before the Revolution by courageous men and women from the British Isles, Holland, the vine-clad hills of France, the Palatinate of Germany, and the mountains of Switzerland, who craved, above all things, the freedom denied them by the tyrannical civil and ecclesiastical rulers of the Old World.
Since so many men appear so anxious nowadays to swap the reality of freedom for the mirage of security, it would be well for us to ponder the choice our ancestors made when they forsook the comparative security of the Old World for the terrifying insecurity of the new.
It was not without many pangs of regret that they turned their backs for all time upon the scenes of their childhood, the graves of their beloved dead, and the comparative security of the then civilized world, and journeyed in tiny barks across a boisterous ocean to establish homes for themselves and their children and their children’s children in what was then a perilous wilderness in a new and strange land. Continue reading
To Ethan Conrad:
Abortion facilities have limited tenancy, reduce properties to blight
Then Judas, his betrayer, seeing that Jesus had been condemned, deeply regretted what he had done. He returned the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, saying, “I have sinned in betraying innocent blood.” They said, “What is that to us? Look to it yourself.” Flinging the money into the temple, he departed and went off and hanged himself. The chief priests gathered up the money, but said, “It is not lawful to deposit this in the temple treasury, for it is the price of blood.” After consultation, they used it to buy the potter’s field as a burial place for foreigners. That is why that field even today is called the Field of Blood. Then was fulfilled what had been said through Jeremiah the prophet, “And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the value of a man with a price on his head, a price set by some of the Israelites, and they paid it out for the potter’s field just as the Lord had commanded me.” – Matthew 28:3-10