European Commission Vetoes Pro-Life Petition!!

Rejection of Largest Petition in European History a “Travesty”, Say Campaigners


The largest petition in European history, calling for an end to European funding of research that destroys human embryos, has been vetoed by the European Commission. 

In its last day in office May 28th, the “Barroso Commission” vetoed the Citizens’ Initiative “Un de Nous / One of Us” which demands that Brussels no longer finances any practice that destroys human life before birth.

The petition, backed by two million people and the largest in the history of the European Institutions, calls on the EU research budget to no longer be used to finance projects that involve or pre-suppose the destruction of human embryos. In order to cease funding, it requests that modifications be made to EU regulations.

The European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI), a participative democracy mechanism created by the Treaty of Lisbon, allows a million citizens to take the initiative of introducing a legislative proposal in the European institutions. 

Pro-life groups called the decision a “travesty” and a “farce” that “flouts” democratic procedure.

In a statement, the One of Us Committee expressed its “deep disappointment” with the decision. It criticized a “deaf Commission” that has acted “contrary to ethical and democratic requirements.”

“While each initiative draft is controlled upstream by the Commission before being open to signature, the Barroso Commission claims to possess the right of veto downstream, against initiatives having yet successfully obtained the required popular support,” the committee said. “Such veto power is illegitimate and anti-democratic since politically, it is the European Legislature that may give a verdict on the content of the Initiative, and not the Commission, otherwise, the ECI mechanism would be meaningless.”

European Dignity Watch, a Brussels-based pro-life think tank, also said the outgoing Commission acted “illegitimately and anti-democratically”, and accused it of having “biased political will.”

The Commission’s decision meant the entire European Citizens’ Initiative is a “farce” as the Initiative was meant to empower European citizens, the organization said. It noted that the European Commission is under no obligation to follow the petition, but said “it makes a fool of itself if it shoots down a democratically backed request that is in line with European law.”

The One of Us Committtee said the Commission’s response is “hypocritical and disdainful as it pretends to not understand the purpose of the demand and comprises of thirty pages of self satisfaction of its own policy.

“The Commission wishes to continue financing non ethical and outdated biotechnological practices, as well as abortion in developing countries including countries where this is prohibited by criminal law,” it said.

Noting how the veto flouts democratic procedure, and the Commission’s unwillingness to recognize the Initiative’s success and transmit it to the European Parliament and Council of Europe, the Committee said the Commission has “abused its power”.

It said the decision made the petition mechanism “a travesty” and “thus testifies to the absence of a democratic culture.”

The Committee remains hopeful, however, and the veto is likely to go to appeal before the Court of Justice in Luxembourg which acknowledges respect for human life from conception. 

A European Parliament which has just held elections, and a new European Commission to be sworn in soon, also give grounds for hope. 

http://www.zenit.org/en/articles/european-commission-vetoes-pro-life-petition

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Francis blasts ‘globalization of indifference’ for migrants!!!

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Pope Francis reiterated his call against “globalization of indifference” for migrants today and said human trafficking and slave labour are “crimes against humanity”.

“The sheer numbers of men and women forced to seek work away from their homelands is a cause for concern,” the Pope said In a message to International Labour Organization (ILO) Director Guy Ryder, on the occasion of the organization’s 103rd session. “Despite their hopes for a better future, they frequently encounter mistrust and exclusion, to say nothing of experiencing tragedies and disasters,” The Pope added.

The pontiff stressed that human trafficking and slave labour are “a plague, a crime against humanity” and called to “join forces and work together” to erradicate the “globalization of indifference” that immigrants face in their search for “dignified work”.

“At the dawn of creation,” Francis said, “God made man the steward of his handiwork and charged him to cultivate and protect it. Human labour is part of that creation and continues God’s creative work. This truth leads us to consider work as both a gift and a duty.”

“Indeed, labour is not a mere commodity but has its own inherent dignity and worth,” the pontiff asserted.

http://www.buenosairesherald.com/article/160615/francis-blasts-globalization-of-indifference-for-migrants

Gay Lobby Delivers Letter to Vatican Due to Growing Concern on Anti-LGBT Stance of Catholic Schools Across America

WASHINGTON – The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, today delivered a letter to the Vatican on behalf of 9 teachers who have lost their jobs at Catholics Schools for either being LGBT, or supporting an LGBT family member.

Last month, the Archdiocese of Cincinnati took anti-LGBT to a new level, calling not only for the firing of gay and lesbian school employees, but also citing support of the “homosexual lifestyle” as grounds for dismissal. More than 2,200 educators at 94 parochial schools in the archdiocese have been affected by this new contract.  In April 2014, HRC responded by delivering a petition signed by over 30,000 supporters of the Cincinnati Diocesan school teachers calling on Archbishop Schnurr to remove the discriminatory clause. 

Read more – http://www.therainbowtimesmass.com/2014/05/28/hrc-delivers-letter-vatican-due-growing-concern-anti-lgbt-stance-catholic-schools-across-america/

Pakistani family stones daughter to death for marrying man she loved!!

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Islam is of the Devil!!

Nearly 20 members of a Pakistan family attacked and killed Farzana Parveen, 25, in front of a court Tuesday. The family, who disapproved of the woman’s marriage because it wasn’t arranged, had filed an abduction case against her husband, and the couple was on their way to court to contest it. Parveen’s father called her murder an ‘honor killing.’

A woman was stoned to death by her own family in front of a Pakistani high court on Tuesday for marrying the man she loved, police and a defense lawyer said.

 

Nearly 20 members of the woman’s family, including her father and brothers, attacked her and her husband with batons and bricks in broad daylight before a crowd of onlookers in front of the high court of Lahore, said police official Naseem Butt. He said Farzana Parveen, 25, had married Mohammad Iqbal, with whom she had been engaged for years in opposition to her family.

 

Her father had filed an abduction case against her husband, which the couple was contesting, her lawyer Mustafa Kharal said.

 

Arranged marriages are the norm among conservative Pakistanis, who view marriage for love as a transgression.


Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/world/pakistani-woman-stoned-death-family-article-1.1806700#ixzz331maxkFT

 

 

 

Abbas, Perez Confirm They Will Meet Pope Francis At The Vatican For Peace Prayer!!

POPE FRANCIS

BETHLEHEM, West Bank (AP) – Pope Francis plunged Sunday into Mideast politics during his Holy Land pilgrimage, calling the current stalemate in peace efforts “unacceptable” and winning the acceptance from the Israeli and Palestinian presidents to pay a symbolic visit to the Vatican next month to pray for peace.

Francis issued the surprise, joint invitation after landing in Bethlehem, the cradle of Christianity, in a symbolic nod to Palestinian aspirations for their own state. In another unscripted moment, he prayed at the Israeli separation barrier surrounding the biblical West Bank town and briefly donned the checkered black and white headscarf that is a symbol of the Palestinian cause.

Jubilant Palestinians cheered Francis as he arrived in Bethlehem’s Manger Square, shouting “Viva al-Baba!” or “Long live the pope!” Giant Palestinian flags in red, white, green and black and the Vatican’s yellow-and-white flags decorated the square, which is home to the Church of the Nativity, built over Jesus’ traditional birth grotto.

At the end of Mass in the square, Francis invited Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli President Shimon Peres to pray with him for peace, saying: “I offer my home in the Vatican as a place for this encounter of prayer.”

The offices of the Israeli and Palestinian presidents quickly confirmed that they had accepted the invitation, with the Palestinians saying the meeting would take place in June.

The invitation – and the acceptances – were unexpected given Francis’ insistence that his three-day visit was “strictly religious” pilgrimage to commemorate a Catholic-Orthodox anniversary. But it showed that the pope, who is named after the peace-loving St. Francis of Assisi, has been able to channel his immense popular appeal to be a moral force for peace, even though the proposed meeting will be largely a symbolic affair.

Israeli-Palestinian peace talks broke down in late A p ril, and there have been no public high-level meetings for a year.

Peres, a 90-year-old Nobel Peace laureate, is set to step down over the summer, and the meeting would take place shortly before he leaves office.

Peres, whose job is largely ceremonial, has no authority to negotiate peace, and the meeting will be merely symbolic. But he nonetheless risks upsetting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with the move.

Netanyahu has expressed anger with politicians that have reached out to Abbas at a time when the Palestinian leader is reconciling with the Islamic militant group Hamas. Israel considers Hamas a terrorist group. There was no immediate comment from Netanyahu’s office.

Francis started out the second day of his three-day Mideast trip with a deeply symbolic decision to land in at a Bethlehem helipad, arriving from Jordan aboard a Jordanian helicopter. Previous popes have always come to the West Bank after first arriving in Tel Aviv, Israel.

P a lestinian officials hailed Francis’ decision to arrive first in Bethlehem, and to refer to the “state of Palestine.” In its official program, the Vatican referred to Abbas as the president of the “state of Palestine,” and his Bethlehem office as the “presidential palace.”

“It’s a blessed day,” said Samar Sakkakini, 52, a Palestinian-American from Canton, Michigan, who attended the Mass in Manger Square. “Coming to Bethlehem and flying to Bethlehem from Jordan shows solidarity with the Palestinian people, which is wonderful. We need that.”

In November 2012, the United Nations General Assembly overwhelmingly recognized a “state of Palestine” in the West Bank, Gaza and east Jerusalem – lands Israel captured in the 1967 war – as a non-member observer. The recognition still has little meaning on the ground, with Israel remaining in full control of east Jerusalem, which it annexed in 1967, and the West Bank.

Israel objects to the Palestinian campaign, saying it i s an attempt to bypass negotiations.

Standing alongside Abbas at a welcome ceremony, Francis declared: “The time has come to put an end to this situation which has become increasingly unacceptable.”

He said both sides needed to make sacrifices to create two states, with internationally recognized borders, based on mutual security and rights for everyone.

“The time has come for everyone to find the courage to be generous and creative in the service of the common good,” he said, urging both sides to refrain from any actions that would derail peace.

In his remarks, Abbas voiced his concerns about the recent breakdown in U.S.-backed peace efforts and lamented the difficult conditions facing the Palestinians. He also expressed hope for peace.

“Your visit is loaded with symbolic meaning as a defender of the poor and the marginalized,” he said.

Abbas listed a series of complaints against Israel, including continued settlement construction, the pli g ht of thousands of Palestinian prisoners, Israel’s control of east Jerusalem – the Palestinians’ would-be capital – and Israel’s construction of the “ugly wall” that encircles Bethlehem.

“We welcome any initiative from you to make peace a reality in the Holy Land,” Abbas said. “I am addressing our neighbors – the Israelis. We are looking for the same thing that you are looking for, which is safety, security and stability.”

Security was lax by papal standards, even for a pope who has shunned the armored popemobile that his predecessors used on foreign trips.

Only two bodyguards stood on the back of Francis’ vehicle keeping watch as Palestinian police kept the crowd at bay. Francis waved and warmly smiled as his car made its way through the crowd in Manger Square, at one point holding a child passed up to him.

In addition to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Francis also sought to encourage Palestinian Christians, whose numbers have dwindled as the conf l ict drags on.

Currently, Christians are roughly 2 percent of the population of the Holy Land, down from about 10 percent at the time of Israel’s establishment in 1948. In Bethlehem, they are less than one third of the population.

Francis acknowledged the Palestinian Christian hardship and in his homily sought to encourage the younger generations with a strong plea for children around the globe to be protected and defended from war, poverty, disease and exile as refugees.

“All too many children continue to be exploited, maltreated, enslaved, prey to violence and illicit trafficking,” he said, a mural depicting the Nativity scene with the baby Jesus wrapped in the black-and-white checkered Palestinian headdress behind him. “Today in acknowledging this, we feel shame before God.”

After Mass, Francis had lunch with Palestinian families and visited a Palestinian refugee camp before flying by helicopter to Tel Aviv’s Ben-Gurion airport for the Israeli leg o f his trip.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/05/25/pope-francis-abbas-perez-peace_n_5388266.html?&ncid=tweetlnkushpmg00000055

Israel will ‘speak to the Vatican’ about Pope’s unscheduled stop near an Israeli-built barricade

During an unscheduled stop on his visit to Jerusalem, Pope Francis spoke of ‘State of Palestine’ and stopped at an Israeli-built barricade – seen by many Arabs as a symbol of oppression

Pope Francis prays at Israel's separation barrier

Pope Francis made an unscheduled stop at the Israeli-built barrier that separates the town of Bethlehem from Jerusalem on Sunday, praying against the wall that has come to symbolise Arab-Israeli division.

The unexpected gesture in the cradle of Christianity came as the Pope was en route to Manger Square, where Jesus is thought to have been born 2,000 years ago.

Ordering his white Pope-mobile to stop, he clambered out and pressed his forehead head against the wall, which Israel began building a decade ago in order to keep suicide bombers from launching attacks on Jerusalem. Palestinians have long regarded it as a symbol of their oppression, and the section that the Pope chose to stop at bore spray-painted graffiti saying “Free Palestine”.

While the gesture delighted Palestinians, Israeli officials tried to play down the significance of the Pope’s decision to stop at the barrier, which snakes across the parched hills between Jerusalem and the West Bank.

“We had expected that the Pope would make a human gesture. There’s nothing political here,” said a foreign ministry spokesman, who accused the Palestinians of turning the papal visit into “a propaganda stunt”.

“But that’s what they do and the Vatican plays along with it, and so be it. We will find the time to speak with the Vatican through diplomatic channels about this.”

In another surprise initiative, the Pontiff, who is on a three-day tour of the Middle East, announced efforts to try to revive the Arab-Israeli peace process, which broke down last month. He invited President Mahmoud Abbas, the president of the Palestinian Authority and Shimon Peres, the president of Israel, to a meeting at the Vatican.

He made the announcement, which had not been part of his official programme, as he addressed thousands of Christians in Manger Square, enclosed on one side by the Church of the Nativity, the centuries-old church built over the spot where Mary is believed to have given birth to Jesus.

“I offer my home in the Vatican as a place for this encounter of prayer,” he said. “To build peace is difficult, but to live without peace is a constant torment.”

The failure of peace efforts was “increasingly unacceptable” he said earlier, standing alongside Mr Abbas at a welcoming ceremony.

The initiative was “a very significant proposal”, said Rev Federico Lombardi, the Vatican spokesman.

“I don’t remember anything else like this [by a Pope],” he said. “I think it is one of the signs of the creativity and courage of Pope Francis.”

Within hours both President Peres, who steps down over the summer, and President Abbas had accepted the invitation to the meeting, which is expected to take place on June 6.

The Pope was greeted by rapturous applause when he was driven into Manger Square, with crowds chanting “Viva al-Baba!” or “Long live the Pope!” and waving the flags of Palestine and the Vatican City State under a cloudless blue sky.

His reference to “the State of Palestine” rather than the widely-used “Palestinian Territories”, and his decision to fly direct from Jordan to Bethlehem, bypassing Israeli territory, was interpreted by many as tacit support for the creation of a Palestinian state.

The three previous Popes to have visited the Holy Land, including John Paul II and Benedict XVI, came to the West Bank after first arriving at Tel Aviv airport.

“The fact that he came straight from Jordan is a sign that the Pope sees Palestine as a state,” said Ilias Abdo, 59, a Christian clergyman from Bethlehem. “That was a deliberate decision – it was not by chance.”

George Zaineh, 55, a Christian from Bethlehem and the leader of a Scout troop, said: “It is very symbolic for our struggle for statehood. He’s showing sympathy for the Palestinian people, who are besieged by the separation wall.”

In an address to the Pope, President Abbas condemned the wall built by the Israelis, calling it “monstrous”.

He accused the Israelis of violating international law by building settlements, of unjustly keeping Palestinians in military prisons, and of squeezing Muslims and Christians out of the old city of Jerusalem in order to make way for Jews.

After the Mass, the Pope visited a Palestinian refugee camp outside Bethlehem, where Palestinian children held up signs in English and Arabic saying “the right of return is our sacred right”.

He then flew by helicopter to Tel Aviv for an official welcome by Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, and then onto Jerusalem, where he will on Monday visit the Western Wall and Church of the Holy Sepulchre, where Jesus is believed to have been crucified.

Additional reporting by Said Ghazali

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/israel/10855742/Israel-will-speak-to-the-Vatican-about-Popes-unscheduled-stop-near-an-Israeli-built-barricade.html