A threat from without is less alarming than a threat from within. LifeSiteNews, which “emphasizes the social worth of traditional Judeo-Christian principles,” with a particular interest in Catholicism, is incensed by its discovery of that most egregious of combinations: the Catholic Church and reproductive freedom. LifeSiteNews has been hounding the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace, which, in promoting development and peace, has earned the ire of the pro-life news site.
The Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace helps fund the Agencia Latinoamericana de Información, a news agency based in Ecuador. LifeSiteNews charges that ALAI
…consistently publishes opinion and news articles supportive of the legalization or depenalization of abortion, contraceptive use, and homosexual behavior, as well as attacking the Catholic Church for its doctrines on human life and family.
A reporter from LifeSiteNews confronted the executive director of ALAI with the (curiously worded) accusation: “The organizations that use your organizations are left-wing organizations, aren’t they?" The director, Sally Birch, responded that they were “progressive, let’s say.”
The organization covers a broad spectrum of issues in Latin America, including the economy, human rights, elections, and health. Indeed, it could be accused of being progressive. LifeSiteNews points to articles that challenge, implicitly or openly, the Catholic Church on issues of abortion and sexual morality. In one case, a Catholic priest argues that embryos are not people. (All articles linked are in Spanish; an English version of the site is here.)
LifeNewsSite does not cite an article titled, “Constitution vs. Abortion,” which reports on the Dominican Republic’s upholding of a constitutional ban on abortion. The article points out that in 1992, there were 82,500 clandestine abortions, with 14,650 women hospitalized as a result.
Displayed prominently in LifeSiteNews’s article is the cover of a brochure, or perhaps a poster, put out by ALAI, titled, “For a Diverse and Plural Millennium.” Along the top is written: “World Conference Against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance.” It’s evidently the most damning graphic LifeSiteNews could find. (Though perhaps they suspect that gayness is involved; the poster has a broad rainbow running across it.)
Tolerance, apparently, is Enemy Number 1, especially in places where the Catholic Church’s sphere of social and political influence is intact, but waning.
Besides its commitment to Judeo-Christian principles, LifeSiteNews claims to be “respectful of all authentic religions and cultures that esteem life, family and universal norms of morality.” Its message to the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace, and to other wayward Catholics, is clear: we stand for “universal norms of morality,” not tolerance. We provide rules and lectures before humanitarian aid. If this comes at the cost of development, so be it. Because in Latin America and around the world, we, rather than the people we serve, know best when their bodies and souls are healthy.