Saturday 6th February 2016

Home » Featured Today » Currently Reading:

Hope And Empowerment . . . John Paul II’s Legacy In Europe

May 14, 2014 Featured Today No Comments

By ROGER KISKA

(Editor’s Note: Roger Kiska serves as legal counsel with Alliance Defending Freedom and is based in Vienna, Austria, where he specializes in international litigation with a focus on European law. This is the text of a speech he gave at the C-FAM/ADF Rome conference “Building a Global Culture of Life: The Legacy of St. John Paul the Great at the UN” on April 25, 2014.
(ZENIT News Agency provided the text of his talk, which we present below. All rights reserved.)

+    +    +

It is indeed a grand task to try and summarize the legacy of Pope John Paul II.
I have been asked specifically to speak on the issue of Europe. Being here in Rome, I am brought back to two memories. The first a childhood memory from Manitoba, Canada, where I grew up with a great number of Slovaks and other Central and Eastern Europeans who fled from the monster of Communism.
I was seven and John Paul was coming to Winnipeg for an open-air Mass.
For my family it was a special honor, as my father — a structural steel engineer — was given the task of designing the altar. At the age of seven, I thought of Pope John Paul II as a superhero. I remember the Mass was on a Saturday and the next day at our small Slovak parish, where I served as an altar boy, I had daydreams that he would come and surprise us with a visit.
It was perhaps a silly childhood wish, but what has never changed is my belief that he was a superhero.
The second memory I have is of conversations with several leaders of the Velvet Revolution in the former Czechoslovakia. When they spoke of their experiences in challenging socialism, they all had one thing in common — that was that eventually during the conversation the name of John Paul would always come up.
Indeed, Pope John Paul II was a towering figure in the miraculous events that happened in 1989 when the Iron Curtain fell throughout Europe. That legacy is what I wish to speak about today. Because it is that legacy which is perhaps most under threat — this time not from Moscow but from Brussels, and from Strasbourg and from Geneva. It is often said that the Communists didn’t die out in 1989: They simply re-branded and moved to Brussels.
One of the hallmarks of the Iron Curtain was state control of every aspect of one’s life — whether it be religion, freedom of expression, the provision of goods and services, freedom of association, and so forth.
While there are countless issues regarding how the European institutions and national governments are suppressing religious freedom and other fundamental rights, today I would like to address two of those rights: freedom of expression and so-called anti-discrimination laws.
Addressing the issue of freedom of expression, I would note first that modern-day “hate speech” laws were initially introduced into international law at the United Nations by the USSR, former Yugoslavia and former Czechoslovakia.
The first attempts to introduce “hate speech” into the corpus of international law failed during the drafting of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights because Western democracies like Canada, the United States, Belgium, and the United Kingdom fought tooth and nail to keep them out. The same battle took place when the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights was being drafted.
This time the Communists got in some of their language. The irony among ironies is that all of those countries that fought to introduce “hate speech” all fell under the weight of their tyranny. However, the concept they introduced — the concept that the West fought so hard to keep out of the United Nations — is exactly what those same nations now are forcing upon Europe and the West.
I would also note that “hate speech” laws do not work. Laws prohibiting anti-Semitic speech were present in the Weimar Republic in an attempt to stop the uprising of the National Socialist Party. Far from stopping Nazism and anti-Semitic speech, it made heroes of those prosecuted under the law among their fringe followers. It empowered their hate and gave them a broader platform.
On the flip side, freedom of expression transforms cultures. The words and actions of the late Pope John Paul II and the brave members of Solidarnosc proved this to be true by standing up to Communism and winning!
Evangelism also changes lives. To the sinner, of course, the words of the Gospel can be offensive and hard to hear. That is why God blessed us with grace.
In the words of one leading court judgment: Free speech “includes not only the inoffensive, but the irritating, the contentious, the eccentric, the heretical, the unwelcome, and the provocative provided it does not tend to provoke violence. Freedom only to speak inoffensively is not worth having.”
What is truly sad is that we in Europe have recreated the concept of the witch-hunt.
Those who dare challenge the cultural orthodoxy of the day by speaking on behalf of the family, against homosexual behavior, for life and for religious freedom are losing their jobs, being fined, and even going to prison.
No fewer than four Catholic bishops in Europe have had prosecutorial files opened against them simply for speaking out against homosexual behavior. A bishop in Ireland had a file opened up against him for referring to Ireland as a Godless culture — a statement which apparently offended an atheist.
And anyone who was following either the Commission Hearings of Rocco Buttiglione or Tonio Borg knows very well what I am talking about!
What we have learned from the life of John Paul is that free speech is never free. If we want to impact culture in a radical way, just as the beloved Pontiff did, we must expect consequences. But we must continue to kick at that darkness until it bleeds daylight.
A second area of state control, one becoming equally rampant in Europe, is the use of so-called anti-discrimination laws. In fact, one of the most existential threats to religious liberty in Europe today is the European Union’s proposed Equal Treatment Directive on goods and services. The directive, if adopted, will have to be transposed into the national legislation of all 28 EU member states and will have “sexual orientation” as a protected grounds for discrimination.
The legislation could make cases against Christian service providers commonplace in Europe.
What’s more is that the legislation is so vague that it can be abused with impunity.
For example, the directive introduces the concept of harassment. If an individual receiving a service or refused a service feels harassed he or she can bring a claim (and shockingly the directive uses a subjective standard rather than an objective standard). Equally shocking is that there is a rebuttable presumption of guilt. That means that the service provider is guilty until proven innocent.
Looking to the United Kingdom, we can see that similar legislation adopted there has already led to widespread litigation. Bed and breakfast owners are being sued for refusing to let a single bed in their private home to a same-sex couple. Foster parents are being refused the privilege of fostering children because they oppose homosexual behavior.
An entire diocese was successfully sued when it refused to hire a man openly engaged in the homosexual lifestyle as their youth pastor.

Inadequate Care

Let’s start with a brief piece of history. In 2007 the United Kingdom adopted the Sexual Orientations Regulations. In 2007, the same year the regulations were adopted, there were 14 Christian adoption agencies in the United Kingdom: 11 Catholic adoption agencies in England and Wales; two Roman Catholic adoption agencies in Scotland; and one evangelical adoption agency in England and Wales.
As a result of the Sexual Orientation Regulations, all 14 agencies suffered severe repercussions.
Of these 14, several of which had existed for a hundred years or more and were credited with placing the most difficult children with families, 11 of them were either forced to remove their Christian ethos and become secular adoption agencies or they went out of business completely. Catholic Care, in the Diocese of Leeds, continues to fight to remain open but is facing an uphill battle.
To put this into perspective: The two Catholic adoption agencies in Scotland accounted on average for 20 percent of the adoptions in Scotland each year. Of the 11 Catholic adoption agencies in England and Wales, they performed one-third of all private adoptions in the United Kingdom. Before closing its doors to business, the Westminster Catholic Children’s Society alone provided services to more than 3,000 children, young people, and their families.
While we lament the loss of ethos-based adoption agencies because of gender politics, what is equally deplorable is that in the name of so-called “sexual orientation,” countless children will stay in orphanages or inadequate foster care because of the loss of these adoption agencies.

Youthful Efforts

Europe is indeed at a crossroads. And there is much reason for hope. And much of that hope comes from our youth — and this in itself is a testament to the legacy of Pope John Paul II and the tremendous focus he put into reaching out to young people. All throughout Europe we see increasingly and historically robust opposition to same-sex “marriage” and same-sex adoption. Many of these grass-roots efforts have been begun by students and young professionals.
In France, La Manif Pour Tous mobilized marches through the streets of Paris and around France with a million protesters. In Croatia, youth together with the Church collected an astounding amount of signatures to force a referendum on the question of marriage. Just at the signature-gathering stage, nearly 20 percent of Croatians signed to constitutionally protect the sanctity of marriage. In the actual referendum, 66 percent of voters voted in favor of conjugal marriage.
In the United Kingdom, an astounding 668,000 people signed a petition in favor of marriage as between one man and one woman. A competing petition put online by homosexual agenda organizations and with corporate sponsorship received only 50,000 signatures. That is 13 times fewer signatures. A number so embarrassing, they were forced to shut the web site down!
In 2012, Slovenians voted down a family code that would have allowed same-sex civil unions. And in Slovakia, the Parliament has already passed the first reading of a constitutional amendment to protect the sanctity of marriage as between one man and one woman.
For those on the left who think that the marriage debate is over, I say: “You haven’t seen anything yet!”

Protecting Life

The fight for the unborn child, another battle near and dear to our beloved John Paul, has also taken a decidedly positive step forward — in fact, several massive steps forward. The Court of Justice of the European Union — in October 2011 — in the case of Brustle v. Greenpeace ruled that in the context of patent law, life must be seen as beginning from conception. The landmark ruling is unique in that it is the first intergovernmental judgment of its kind. No other ruling or other binding legal instrument contradicts it.
Second, we have seen several national parliaments in Europe tighten their laws (either judicially or through their constitutional processes) to limit access to abortions.
Because of our collective efforts the European Parliament failed not once, but twice, to pass the much-maligned [anti-family and anti-life] Estrela report. The sounds of Ms. Estrela weeping and gnashing her teeth can still be heard in the halls of Strasbourg!
And of incredible significance has been the success of the One of Us European Citizenship Initiative, which has collected nearly 2 million signatures Europe-wide. The purpose of the initiative is to have the European Commission initiate legislation to protect life, stop the funding of embryonic stem-cell research, and end its foreign policy spending toward overseas abortions.
And so to conclude, I want to go back again to the question of the legacy of our beloved Pope John Paul II. And I believe what his legacy in Europe is can be summed up by two words: Hope and Empowerment.
Who would have ever thought that a Polish-born Catholic — under Communism nonetheless — could become arguably the most important figure in the 20th century? Many of the battles he fought are now our battles to fight. Just as Communism and its twisted ideals did not die entirely with the fall of the Iron Curtain and the Berlin Wall, so too we must not let the grand legacy of John Paul to have been in vain.
It is not the role of government to keep Christians from being able to live their lives in truth. It is not the role of government to stifle the teaching and preaching of moral theology. It is not the role of government to compel service providers and professionals to act contrary to their consciences. This is a fundamental misreading of the foundational treaty documents drafted after World War II which were meant to take the power out of the hands of government and give them to the people where natural law properly places them!
So let us celebrate the life and sainthood of John Paul II this weekend.
And let us continue to fight for his legacy. Thank you.

+    +    +

(© 2014 Innovative Media Inc.)

Share Button

Comment on this Article:

COMPLETE 3 PART Interview With Cardinal Burke . . . Insights On The State Of The Church In The Aftermath Of The Ordinary Synod On The Family

Cburke3

By DON FIER Part 1 (Editor’s Note: His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke, Patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, recently traveled from Rome to the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in La Crosse, Wis., a magnificent place of worship which he founded and dedicated. (His Eminence graciously granted an extensive interview to The Wanderer during which he…Continue Reading

Marco Rubio, David Daleiden; Chi-Town priest ‘outs’ himself

The young investigative journalist and pro-life activist David Daleiden – whom GOP presidential hopeful Marco Rubio recently defended – will present himself before Judge Brock Thomas in Houston on February 4. Peter Breen, special counsel for the Thomas More Society,…Continue Reading

Catholic Italy mobilises as conservatives mount last stand against same-sex unions

It has been 2,000 years since Romans gathered at the Circus Maximus to watch chariots roar around the racetrack, but a new battle was brought to the ancient site on Saturday . Clutching banners reading “We defend our children” and…Continue Reading

New documents prove Planned Parenthood profited from selling aborted body parts: pro-life group

HOUSTON, January 29, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – A pro-life organization has released documents that may show Planned Parenthood illegally profited from the sale of aborted babies’ body parts, furthering a Texas state investigation and possibly triggering a new grand jury in…Continue Reading

TRUMP’S SPOKESWOMAN MUST APOLOGIZE

Bill Donohue comments on a remark made by Donald Trump’s national spokeswoman, Katrina Pierson: On December 18, 2011, Katrina Pierson sent the following tweet: “Just saw a commercial from Catholic Church stating that Catholic Church

Faithful Catholic Education Offers Understanding of True Freedom, Says Archbishop Lucas

Catholic education prepares students to live a life of faith, but also offers students a true understanding of God-given freedom in an environment in which they can grow in virtue, said Archbishop George Lucas of the Archdiocese of Omaha, Neb.,…Continue Reading

NFL star who refused to meet Obama over abortion gives powerful talk at March for Life

WASHINGTON, D.C., January 22, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – All the speakers at the 2016 March for Life play a pivotal role – but only one was regularly called an MVP. Matt Birk, the former center for the Minnesota Vikings and the…Continue Reading

2016 March for Life heats up blizzard-stricken Washington (PHOTOS)

WASHINGTON, D.C., January 22, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – The blizzard snows are falling on the nation’s capital, layering the city in a blanket of frost that could be two to three feet thick by tomorrow morning. But for awhile this afternoon,…Continue Reading

SPECIAL REPORT: Planned Parenthood Offices Located Near Half of Catholic Colleges, Alarming Pro-Life Leaders

Half of all four-year, residential Catholic colleges in the U.S. are within five miles of Planned Parenthood facilities, a study by The Cardinal Newman Society has found. Catholic pro-life leaders warn that the close proximity of these Planned Parenthood centers…Continue Reading

81 percent of Americans support dramatically stronger pro-life reforms: Poll

WASHINGTON, D.C., January 19, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – An overwhelmingly majority – including two-thirds of self-described “pro-choice” Americans – would support greatly strengthening laws that protect the unborn, according to a new poll released this morning. In all, 81 percent of…Continue Reading

New initiative aims to make Catholic men ‘watchmen’

For years, Chad Crow has attended the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis’ annual conference for men. And the father of four, who is a parishioner at Transfiguration in Oakdale, said that he and other men who attend the conference…Continue Reading

Vatican Parishes Are Now Welcoming Refugees

Diocese of Rome Responds to Holy Father’s September Invitation for Parishes to Host a Family of Refugees January 15, 2016  By ZENIT Staff Responding to Pope Francis’ appeal this September, Vatican parishes have begun welcoming refugee families. In his Sept.…Continue Reading

Planned Parenthood sues group that exposed its trafficking of babies’ body parts

Ben Johnson IRVINE, CA, January 14, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – Planned Parenthood has filed a lawsuit against the organization that exposed their practice of receiving financial remuneration for collecting the body parts and tissues of aborted babies. Planned Parenthood sued the…Continue Reading

Newsmax

Untitled 5 Untitled 2

Attention Readers:

  Welcome to our new website. Readers who are familiar with The Wanderer know we have been providing Catholic news and orthodox commentary for over 145 years in our weekly print edition. Now we are introducing the online daily version of our print journal.


  Our daily version offers only some of what we publish weekly in print. To take advantage of everything The Wanderer publishes, we encourage you to su
bscribe to our flagship weekly print edition, which is mailed every Friday or, if you want to view it in its entirety online, you can subscribe to the E-edition, which is a replica of the print edition.
 
  Our daily edition includes: a selection of material from recent issues of our print edition, news stories updated daily from renowned news sources, access to archives from The Wanderer from the past 10 years, available at a minimum charge (this will be expanded as time goes on). Also: regularly updated features where we go back in time and highlight various columns and news items covered in The Wanderer over the past 145 years. And: a comments section in which your remarks are encouraged, both good and bad, including suggestions.
 
  We encourage you to become a daily visitor to our site. If you appreciate our site, tell your friends. As Catholics we must band together to rediscover our faith and share it with the world if we are to effectively counter a society whose moral culture seems to have no boundaries and a government whose rapidly extending reach threatens to extinguish the rights of people of faith to practice their religion (witness the HHS mandate). Now more than ever, vehicles like The Wanderer are needed for clarification and guidance on the issues of the day.

Catholic, conservative, orthodox, and loyal to the Magisterium have been this journal’s hallmarks for five generations. God willing, our message will continue well into this century and beyond.

Joseph Matt
President, The Wanderer Printing Co.

Untitled 1

A Powerful Weapon: 15 Quotes on the Holy Rosary

We live in evil times. I hardly need elaborate the multitude of crises that fill the globe. Sadly, many are being swept away by this flood of evil and are succumbing to an overwhelming anxiety and discouragement. But no matter how tempting it is, we must not shrink back. We must pray and fast with a living faith and a firm confidence—and there is no better way to…Continue Reading

12 Ways to Become a Committed Catholic Man

There is a Catholic “man-crisis.” Large numbers of men who were baptized Catholic have left the Church and the majority of those who remain are “Casual Catholic Men”, men who do not know the Catholic faith and don’t practice it. This large-scale failure of Catholic men to commit themselves to Jesus Christ and His Church has contributed to the accelerating…Continue Reading

Today . . .

INTERVIEW: Padre Pio In Rome: Saints as Living Icons of Divine Mercy

Stefano Campanella, Director of Padre Pio TV and Author of Publications on the Friar of Pietrelcina, Reflects on Significance of the Historic Transfer •February 4, 2016•Osvaldo Rinaldi• Stefano Campanella, born in 1964 in Putignano, Italy, lives with his family at San Giovanni Rotondo. He has been a parliamentary journalist and Vatican expert. Currently, he serves as director of Padre Pio TV and heads the press office of the religious province of Sant’Angelo and Padre Pio…Continue Reading

Pope: The Faith is the greatest inheritance we can leave

(Vatican Radio) The most beautiful inheritance we can leave to others is the Faith: that was Pope Francis’ message during Holy Mass on Thursday morning at the Casa Santa Marta. In his homily, he invited us to not fear death, because the course of life continues. Thinking about death illuminates life The day’s first reading tells the story of the death of King David. “In every life there is an ending,” the Pope said. This…Continue Reading

The Pope: consecrated life must be close to the people

pope301

Vatican City, 2 February 2016 (VIS) – The following are extensive extracts of the Holy Father’s extemporaneous address to the participants in the Jubilee of Consecrated Life, which took place yesterday in the Paul VI Hall. This afternoon in St. Peter’s Basilica he will celebrate the Mass to conclude the Year of Consecrated Life. “I have prepared a text for this occasion regarding the themes of consecrated life and three of its most important pillars:…Continue Reading

Pope’s Morning Homily: If You’re Not Humble, You Won’t Be Holy

During Mass at Casa Santa Marta, Francis Says Sometimes We Need to Be Humiliated to Entrust Ourselves Truly to God February 1, 2016 Deborah Castellano Lubov Zenit If you wish to be holy, then you better start by being humble. According to Vatican Radio, Pope Francis stressed this during his daily morning Mass at Casa Santa Marta this morning, as he recalled the story of King David who, aware of his own sin, accepted humiliation…Continue Reading

Pope’s Address to Congregation for Doctrine of the Faith

pope920

ZENIT ‘This attention to the works of mercy is important: they are not a devotion. It is the concreteness of how Christians must carry forward the spirit of mercy.’ Dear Brothers and Sisters, I meet with you at the end of the works of your plenary session. I greet you cordially and I thank the Cardinal Prefect for his courteous words. We are in the Holy Year of Mercy. I hope that in this Jubilee…Continue Reading

Sources, Methods, And Lives

By JUDGE ANDREW P. NAPOLITANO This has not been a good week for Hillary Clinton. She prevailed over Sen. Bernie Sanders in the Iowa Democratic presidential caucuses by less than four tenths of one percent of all votes cast, after having led him in polls in Iowa at one time by 40 percentage points. In…Continue Reading

Is A New Era Upon Us?

By PATRICK J. BUCHANAN Whoever wins the nominations, the most successful campaigns of 2016 provide us with a clear picture of where the center of gravity is today in both parties and, hence, where America is going. Bernie Sanders, with his mammoth crowds and mass support among the young, represents, as did George McGovern in…Continue Reading

Fire From Ice

By DONALD DeMARCO One of the most improbable ways of getting a fire started is by using ice. That’s right, using ice. No survivor’s manual would be complete without describing how this can be accomplished. First, one finds some clear ice and then shapes it into a disk that can be used as a lens.…Continue Reading

The Jurisprudence Of Benedict XVI Vs. That Of August Comte

By JUDE DOUGHERTY In his address to the German Bundestag on September 22, 2011, Benedict delivered a lecture on the framing of law that is worth revisiting in this election year. Well, in any year. Speaking to that body of lawmakers, he asks, “How do we recognize what is right and may be given the…Continue Reading

Federal Report: 40 Percent Qualify For Need-Tested Benefits

By TERENCE P. JEFFREY (Editor’s Note: Terence P. Jeffrey is the editor-in-chief of CNSnews.com. Creators Syndicate provided this column. All rights reserved.) + + + As of December 2012, the total population of the United States — including members of the Armed Forces stationed overseas — equaled 315,255,012, according to the Census Bureau’s estimate. At…Continue Reading

Advertisement

Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

Catholic Replies

Q. I know that in this Jubilee Year of Mercy, we are supposed to practice more fervently the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy. Most of these are fairly easy to understand, but I wonder about the one that says we are to “admonish the sinner.” How can one do that without judging another person, which we’re not supposed to…Continue Reading

One Truth, One Lord, One God

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER First Sunday Of Lent (YR C) Readings: Deut. 26:4-10 Romans 10:8-13 Luke 4:1-13 In the Gospel reading today we hear about Satan tempting our Lord. In the third temptation the Devil offers all of the kingdoms of the Earth to Jesus if He would just bow down and worship the tempter. In response, our Lord quotes…Continue Reading

Pope’s Address To Roman Rota… Proclaim The Truth Of God’s Plan For Marriage

VATICAN CITY (ZENIT) — Below is a ZENIT translation of Pope Francis’ January 22 address to the tribunal of the Roman Rota in the Vatican. In his talk, the Holy Father affirmed: “The Church, in fact, can show the indefectible merciful love of God to families, in particular those wounded by sin and by the trials of life and, at…Continue Reading

A Leaven In The World… Rest In Peace, Fr. Mark Wayne Ervin

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK In a welcome example of bringing greater clarity to moral teaching, Pope Francis is urging us to distinguish sacramental marriage from other unions. As reported by Catholic News Service on January 22: “Pope Francis said there can be no confusion between God’s plan for marriage as an indissoluble bond between one man and woman who…Continue Reading

An Apologetics Course . . . Summing Up And Answering Objections

By RAYMOND DE SOUZA, KM Part 39 Yes, to join the Church of Jesus Christ is necessary for salvation. But we must understand that when the Church teaches that outside her pale there is no salvation, she does not intend to pass judgment on individual cases, nor on God’s mercy and Providence. Whatever is connected as exceptions to the rule…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… Blessed Boleslava Maria Lament

By CAROLE BRESLIN The Catholic Church observes the Church Unity Octave from January 18 through January 25. For each day of the octave, we pray for a different form of unity. For example, on January 18, the intention is for the return of separated Eastern Christians to communion with the Holy See. Another day the intention is for the restoration…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Vincent Pallotti

By CAROLE BRESLIN Throughout the history of the Church, beginning with Christ Himself, disenfranchised youth have found a friend in the followers of the Lord. St. John Bosco and St. Philip Neri come to mind. There is another saint who also helped both young men and young women, St. Vincent Pallotti, a man born and raised in Rome during the…Continue Reading