This week SIECUS is writing a series of live-blogs for Rewire from the World
Congress of Families in Amsterdam. The third of these posts can be found here. Catholics for Choice, also attending the conference, has developed the following set of bios on Catholic participants in the conference program.
From Catholics for Choice Opposition Watch Page:
Brief Biographies of Some of the Catholics Speaking at the World Congress of Families, Amsterdam, August 10-12
10 August 2009
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L. Brent Bozell III, President and Founder of the Media Research Center
Mr. Bozell is a self-appointed conservative watchdog of anything he considers to be problematic in society. Before founding the Conservative News Service and the Media Research Center, which examines the media for alleged liberal bias, he ran the National Conservative Foundation project at the National Conservative Political Action Committee. In October 2006, Mr. Bozell founded the Culture and Media Institute (CMI), whose mission is to “thwart the efforts of the liberal media to subvert America’s culture, character, traditional moral values, and religious liberty.” He is also founder of the Parents Television Council, which seeks to highlight all that is wrong with television. He has taken very public and outspoken positions against President Barack Obama and other Democrats. His latest book, Whitewash: What the Media Won’t Tell You about Hillary Clinton, but Conservatives Will, was released in November of 2007. His previous book, Weapons of Mass Distortion: The Coming Meltdown of the Liberal Media, was released in July of 2004, but its subtitled prediction failed to materialize. He recently joined other conservative Catholics in urging Obama to remove gay rights activist Harry Knox from the White House Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, charging that Knox made anti-Catholic remarks. Mr. Bozell is regularly given a platform to express his views in conservative newspapers, including the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Times, the New York Post and National Review. He is also a regular on conservative news programs including Fox & Friends, Hannity & Colmes and The O’Reilly Factor, as well as Rush Limbaugh’s radio show.
Rene Bullecer has been a cheerleader for the Catholic hierarchy in its
campaigns against several reforms in Congress, including those which
support family planning, divorce and lesbian, gay, bisexual and
transgender (LGBT) rights. Dr. Bullecer said that if the bills are
approved, they would “lead to premarital sex and widespread abortion
among women, particularly those with unwanted pregnancies.” Dr.
Bullecer has threatened to conduct a mass boycott against paying taxes
in an attempt to protest the passage of the Reproductive Health Care
Bill, claiming that it is “anti-life, anti-health, anti-family and
anti-Christ.” Dr. Bullecer also claimed that “Catholics are open to sex
education as long as it is based on the practice of the Church centered
Archbishop Willem Jacobus "Wim" Eijk, Archbishop of Utrecht, Netherlands
Wim Eijk has a medical background, and has completed academic
dissertations on euthanasia and “genetic manipulation.” He is known as
a conservative, with extreme views against abortion and homosexuality.
He has the ear of the pope, as Benedict appointed him to the the
Congregation for the Clergy in addition to his duties as Archbishop of
Utrecht. He has described homosexuality as “a neurotic development
disorder” and said that all homosexuals, no matter what religion they
are, “need pastoral care.”
Babette Francis, Founder, Endeavour Forum, Australia
Endeavour Forum describes itself as a “pro-family, pro-life NGO” which
was set up to “counter feminism, defend the unborn and the traditional
family.” Ms. Francis has claimed that “a feminist is an evolutionary
anachronism, a Darwinian blind alley.” In October 1995 she was invited
by the Pontifical Council for the Family to chair the English language
group’s discussions at the Third World Congress of Pro-Life Movements
held in Rome. She has attended numerous UN Conferences on Women,
Population, Habitat and Food. She is opposed to working mothers,
insisting that while “more exercise and a healthy diet is important” in
combating obesity, “a significant factor has been overlooked: the role
Marie Claire Hernandez, President, Family and Society, Mexico
Hernandez is a founding member of the conservative Catholic
organization Family & Society, and a member of the board of Red
Familia (Family Network) in Mexico. She is on the planning committee
for the World Congress of Families. Ms. Hernandez has been a conference
speaker on education and sexuality for the past 15 years and has
recently started a campaign against online pornography.
addition to her position as director of HLI Europe, Ms. Kowaleska is
president of the Forum of Polish Women and a board member of the Polish
Association of Natural Family Planning Teachers. She has participated
in the UN meetings in Copenhagen, Beijing, Istanbul and Rome. She also
led an online campaign to send a message of support to the pope after
his statements against condoms during his recent visit to Africa.
Gwen Landolt, National Vice President, REAL Women of Canada
Landolt is a lawyer, long-time prolife activist and a co-founder of
Toronto Right to Life, the Coalition for Life and REAL Women of Canada.
She opposes all abortion, even for victims of incest and rape. She has
claimed that the winners of the prestigious Order of Canada are “mostly
left-wing feminists, homosexuals and environmentalists.” REAL
(Realistic, Equal, Active, for Life) Women works “to defend the dignity
of women, as well as the sanctity of life, marriage and family.” She
believes that the most important of her work is being a wife and
Katarzyna Mazela, Vice President, Forum of Polish Women
her appointment to her current position, Ms. Mazela was director of the
Department of Family Affairs in the Polish prime minister’s office and
the lead organizer in Poland for the World Congress of Families IV. She
attended several UN meetings as a member of the Polish government
delegation and spoke on behalf of the Government, stressing the
“crucial role of the family…[and] marriage as a union of a woman and
man; parental rights to decide about the upbringing of their children,
and also the protection of life from conception to natural death.” At
the June 2000 Beijing+5 meeting in New York, she was part of the Polish
delegation that caused controversy because it opposed the use of terms
such as reproductive rights.
Janet Morana, Executive Director, Priests for Life
Ms. Morana is the executive director of the ultraconservative Priests for Life (Read more about Priests for Life)
and a founder of the Silent No More Awareness Campaign, a campaign that
encourages women who regret their abortion and men who opposed the
decision by a partner or former partner to have an abortion to publicly
support the campaign to outlaw abortions. She has been involved in the
antiabortion campaigns since the late 1980s. Morana has recounted being
caused to “sob uncontrollably” by a video that convinced her that her
past use of ordinary birth control pills had “destroyed an unknown
number of children.”
Population Research Institute (PRI), a militant anti-family-planning
group based in Front Royal, Virginia, is funded by anticontraception
activist Father Paul Marx. Headed by Steven Mosher, who was expelled
from a Stanford University doctoral program in 1983 for violation of
research ethics in China, PRI says on its Web site that it is
“dedicated to stopping human rights abuses committed in the name of
family planning, and through research and education to dispelling the
myth of overpopulation.” His group played a significant role in
misleading the US government about coercive abortion in China, leading
to the defunding of the United Nations Fund for Population Activities. Read more about the United Nations Population Fund in China.
Dr. Margaret Ogola, Kenyan Catholic Health Commission
Ogola is a pediatrician based in Nairobi and the medical director of
Cottolengo Hospice, a hospice for HIV and AIDS orphans. She is also
Vice President of Family Life Counselling (Kenya). Previously, she was
the National Executive Secretary of the Commission for Health &
Family Life of the Kenya Episcopal Conference (1998-2002). In 1999, Dr.
Ogola was the recipient of the Familias Award for Humanitarian Service
at the World Congress of Families in Geneva, Switzerland. When she
accepted the award, she called for a return to the time when the power
to create life was treated as “a sacred obligation.” She claimed that
people believe that they can “get away with infidelity and premarital
sex” because of “value free education based entirely on how pregnancy
and disease could be avoided,” on “worldwide dissemination of a culture
of pleasure as the ultimate desirable good,” and on an “entirely
individualistic philosophy of me and I.”
Ruse is the president of the once effective and innovative but now
almost-defunct Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute. He has been
outspoken about his willingness to disrupt the workings of the United
Nations and boasted of his “veneer of support” for the UN and his
willingness to break “every single rule of UN lobbying.” Ruse has also
shown that he embraces extreme operating principles and lack of
cultural sensitivity in pursuit of his goals at the UN: “When we
finally convinced the Muslims that ‘forced pregnancy’ meant abortion
and they rose up and they squashed it. You know, our whole game is to
make the Muslims as mad as possible at the radical feminists. If that
happens, we win. Nothing like a Muslim in full-throated outrage at a
radical feminist from the United States.” Read more about the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute.
Bill Saunders, Family Research Council
L. Saunders, Jr. is senior counsel for Americans United for Life (AUL)
and senior fellow in bioethics and human rights counsel at the Family
Research Council. In fact, he is involved in some way with dozens of
antichoice groups. He is chairman for Religious Liberty for the
conservative legal organization the Federalist Society. In addition, he
is on the boards of the International Right to Life Federation, the
International Association of Catholic Bioethicists, the Christian
Institute on Disability and the Center for Bioethics and Human Dignity.
He served on the organizing committee for the conferences of the World
Congress of Families in Mexico City (2004), Warsaw (2007) and Amsterdam
(2009), and is a member of that organization’s Management Committee.
Mr. Saunders is regularly given a platform in the media to express his
ultraconservative views on bioethics, human rights, international law,
the family and Christian social responsibility in a series of
conservative journals including First Things, Human Events, Human Life Review, The Legal Times, Communio and Ethics & Medics. He is also a regular columnist for the National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly.
Fr. Jaroslaw Szymczak, Institute for Studies of the Family, Warsaw
Szymczak studied theology, philosophy and family studies and has a PhD
in theology on marriage and family from the Theology Faculty at the
Academy of Catholic Theology. He is a board member for family issues in
the conservative Catholic association Civitas Cristiana.
Francisco Sarmiento Tatad is a member of the ultraconservative Catholic
group Opus Dei, former senator and former Minister of Public
Information under Ferdinand Marcos in the Philippines. He is a member
of the International Board of the International Right to Life
Federation and the World Youth Alliance (Read more about the World Youth Alliance).
He spoke at two previous World Congress of Families meetings in Prague
and Geneva. He has a longstanding record of opposing family planning,
abortion and LGBT rights as well as supporting a traditional view of
the family. At one stage, he proposed a law that would require
parliamentarians to resign if they were found to have a mistress. His
wife, Fenny Tatad, is the executive director of the Catholic Bishops
Conference of the Philippines’ Bishops-Legislators Caucus.
Msgr. Carlos Simón Vázquez, Deputy Secretary of the Pontifical Council for the Family
the opening of the Theological-Pastoral Congress of Mexico, Msgr.
Vázquez was asked to clarify a statement by Cardinal Ennio Antonelli,
president of the Pontifical Council for the Family on homosexuality. In
doing so, he said, inter alia: “Homosexuality is not a necessary
component of society, as is the family. Society is organized around the
relationship of the couple that is formed by a man and a woman. They
find each other in conjugal life and in family life. … The relationship
between two persons of the same sex is not the same as the relationship
of a couple that is based on the sexual difference. … Legislators make
an anthropological error when they want to socially organize
homosexuality. They run the risk of provoking an intellectual
confusion, as well as confusion of identity and relationships. It
should not be forgotten that confusion frequently favors insecurity,
unstable relationships and violence, when legislators don’t respect the
fundamental sense of human relationships. … Affirming that
homosexuality is a private fact, the president of the Pontifical
Council of the Family is not justifying it. The cardinal simply
underlined that homosexuality does not contribute favorably to the
organization of individuals and of society. The exercise of
homosexuality does not reflect the truth of friendship. Friendship is
inherent to the human condition in that it offers relationships of
proximity, help and cooperation, in a courteous and amiable climate.
Friendship should be lived chastely.”
Christine Vollmer, President, Latin American Alliance for the Family
addition to her work with the Latin American Alliance for the Family,
which was “established to help children learn to cherish themselves and
others,” Ms. Vollmer is a founding member of the Pontifical Academy for
Life and a member of the Pontifical Council for the Family. She is
opposed to women working, claiming that “it is also a proven fact that
children brought up by their mothers have a better intelligence level
and health than those in day care.” She also claimed that “it is worth
any sacrifice for mothers to stay home until their children are in
school… This is an urgent need in order to preserve the family in the
senior member of Slovakia’s Christian Democrats (KDH), Dr. Zaborska has
publicly identified herself as a conservative. She is firmly opposed to
both abortion and LGBT rights. She is a prominent member of the Forum
of Life, an association of Slovak antichoice NGOs, organizations and
individuals. Dr. Zaborska has made several antigay comments, including
“AIDS is God’s vengeance for homosexuality” and “I don’t want to
discriminate against anyone, but with these people [homosexuals] there
is the potential chance that their outlook on life in basic family
matters, on male and female relations, could influence children.” Her
views on what a family should look like are no more progressive: “We
want to protect the traditional family based on the marriage of one man
and one woman. We voted on this basis in the National Parliament but we
want to proceed in the same way together with our partners in Europe,
in the European Parliament.” Read more about Anna Záborská.
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