Thursday, September 13, 2007

U.S. Pro-Life Reporter Warns Abortion and Euthanasia Absent From Social Justice Agenda of World Youth Day 2008

In a press release to pro-life leaders world-wide, Randy Engel, Executive Director of the U.S. Coalition for Life, raises an alarm about the upcoming World Youth Day in Sydney, Australia in July of 2008.

She claims that neither abortion nor euthanasia are present as subjects in the Social Justice agenda of WYD. Noting that the WYD agenda includes topics related to ecology and ‘eco-justice,’ world peace and disarmament, world hunger, immigration, health care for the poor, Third World debt, and justice for indigenous populations, she wonders why the fundamental right-to-life issues of abortion and euthanasia are absent.

This is an extremely good question to be asking.

If WYD were being held in Canada and managed by the Catholic Bishops of Canada, this would not be so surprising perhaps. In fact, Cardinal George Pell of Sydney serves as the Chairman of the World Youth Day Organizing Committee. But as was noted in previous postings on the Vote Life, Canada! blog, Cardinal Pell’s actions in many respects have been extremely disappointing and troubling over the past few months.

Randy Engel goes right to the heart of her concerns when she proposes that Cardinal Pell or one of the 300 Bishops attending WYD ought to lead thousands of Catholic youth on daily “visits” to every abortuary in Sydney, protesting the slaughter of innocents while saying the rosary on their knees. That would be a fitting exercise to add to the WYD program, which is an official Catholic event, and many lives could be saved as well as a wonderful example set for Catholics of all ages around the world.

The press release appears below, along with a list of action items. Vote Life, Canada! urges as many people as possible, particularly Catholics, to follow through on these items in order to send a clear signal to Cardinal Pell that the right to life issue must be restored to its primary place in the Social Justice agenda of WYD08.


Abortion and Euthanasia Absent From Social Justice Agenda of Catholic WYD

Press Release from: U.S. Coalition for Life, Export, PA

To: World-wide Pro-life Leadership

Date: September 12, 2007

Export (Pittsburgh), Pennsylvania, September 12, 2007 New concerns about the Social Justice and Ecology Agenda of the Catholic Church’s international World Youth Day/2008 in Sydney, Australia, from July 15-20, 2008, were raised today by long-time pro-life activist and Catholic writer Randy Engel, Executive Director of the U.S. Coalition for Life. (1)

According to Engel, “World Youth Day, which has already achieved a reputation as a ‘Catholic Woodstock,’ now appears to have been hijacked by ‘politically-correct’ pundits with a human rights agenda that excludes the most basic God-given right – the right to life, and an ‘environmental strategy’ that employs the anti-life rhetoric of ‘sustainability.’”

Engel quotes from the 2004 “Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church” which states, “The first right presented in this list is the right to life, from conception to its natural end, [318] which is the condition for the exercise of all other rights and, in particular, implies the illicitness of every form of procured abortion and of euthanasia. [319]” (2)

“But where on the WYD Social Justice agenda that includes topics related to ecology and ‘eco-justice,’ world peace and disarmament, world hunger, immigration, health care for the poor, Third World debt, and justice for indigenous populations, do we find the fundamental right-to-life issue of abortion and euthanasia?” asks Engel. “No where,” Engel says. (3)

Noting the prominence given by WYD organizers to environmental issues, Engel says “it would be well for Church organizers to remind Catholic youth that man’s first environment is the womb, and therefore we need to protect children in the womb not only from mechanical suction machines and steel curettes, but also from abortifacient intrauterine devices and deadly hormonal pollutants that turn the mother’s womb into a tomb for the tiniest of human beings, the human embryo, so that his first environment is his last.”

Billed in one WYD promotional piece as “the world’s largest party,” Engel said that “because of abortion, there are millions of unborn children the world over who will never have the opportunity to be baptized or attend their first birthday party much less a WYD event.”

Sydney has numerous human slaughter houses,” Engel notes. “If each aboratorium received a daily “visit” during WYD by thousands of Catholic youth saying the rosary on their knees and led by Cardinal George Pell of Sydney, Chairman of World Youth Day Organizing Committee, or one of the more than 300 bishops expected to attend WYD, many lives could be saved and a wonderful example set for Catholics of all ages around the world,” says Engel.

Engel notes that there have been many other legitimate criticisms of World Youth Day events including the up-coming WYD/2008 including acts of sacrilege involving the Sacred Host at WYD Masses; the heavy rock music and Woodstock atmosphere that dominates much of the WYD scene; the mixing of young teens with Catholic and non-Catholic “youth” as old as 35 in an largely open-air unsupervised setting; immodest dress; and more recently, the hiring of Guy Sebastian a non-Catholic, pro-homosexual rock idol to co-write and sing the WYD 2008 charismatic anthem “Receive the Power.”

Engel also notes that the promotion by Australian Church WYD organizers of the Christian Brothers and Marist Brothers - two of the Australia’s most infamous religious orders connected to dozens of clerical sexual abuse cases involving children and adolescents – needs to be addressed immediately along with the abortion and euthanasia issues. (4)

“World Youth Day is an official event of the Catholic Church,” says Engel. “It’s about time WYD officials clean up their act, and make WYD truly Catholic in word and deed. If this cannot be done, then the Pope should discontinue World Youth Day forthwith and promote instead family and youth pilgrimages to traditional Catholic shrines, most especially those dedicated to Our Lady at Fatima, Lourdes, La Salette, Guadalupe, and Chartres,” she concludes.

1. The official website for WYD/2008 is found here. Links to various Social Justice sites are found on the left-hand menu under “About WYD08”
2. See Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church.
3. The only reference to abortion on the WYD web-site is found in the WYD/2008 Code of Ethics for Corporate Affiliates.
4. Reference promoting the Christian Brothers and their youth camps is found here.
Reference to the Marist Brothers is found here.


Action Line

1. Contact Archbishop Mons. Stanislaw Rylko (Poland), President of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, the Vatican office charged with the overall supervision of WYD/2008. Insist that abortion and euthanasia be added to the official Social Justice agenda of WYD/2008.

Pontificio Consiglio per i Laici
Palazzo San Calisto
00120 Città del Vaticano
Telephone: +39 (0)6 698.87.396
Fax: +39 (0)6 698.87.214

2. Contact Cardinal George Pell, Chairman of World Youth Day Organizing Committee asking him to give a voice to the voiceless – the unborn child - by organizing WYD Rosary Vigils to all of Sydney’s aboratoriums during WYD.

Archdiocese of Sydney
Polding Centre, 133 Liverpool Street
Sydney 2000
Telephone: 9390 5100
Fax: 9261 8312

3. Other letters of concern can be addressed to:

Auxiliary Bishop Anthony C. Fisher, O.P. of Sydney, coordinator of World Youth Day at or Sydney Chancery Office (above).

Auxiliary Bishop Jamie Soto of the Diocese of Orange (USA), Chairman of the USCCB Subcommittee on Youth and Young Adults and the U.S. Coordinator for World Youth Day at

Mailing Address:
P.O. Box 14195
Orange, CA 92863-1595

Phone: (714) 282-3000
Fax: (714) 282-3029

For additional information contact Randy Engel, Executive Director of the U.S. Coalition for Life, Box 315, Export, PA 15632, phone: 724-327-7379 or e-mail at

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