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Priest Ought to Return U.N. Award Print E-mail
By Austin Ruse   
Friday, 13 June 2014

An Italian Catholic priest received a high U.N. honor yesterday. It is a ghastly honor from a ghastly organization – and he should have turned it down.

By all reports, Father Aldo Marchesini does admirable work among the very poor in Africa. A Priest of the Sacred Heart, Marchesini was ordained in 1969 and, after receiving his medical degree, left for Africa in 1972. He has spent all of these many years in Mozambique.

He witnessed Mozambique’s successful fight for independence in 1975 and then watched the brutal civil war that went on for a decade during which he was kidnapped many times. He was not killed because his skills as a surgeon were useful to all sides.

One of the areas he has specialized in (and the reason he got the award) is obstetric fistula, something almost completely unknown in the developed world. It’s a condition where a woman, after a difficult childbirth, is left incontinent, unable to control bodily functions that leave her little more than a smelly outcast.

According to an article posted at maternova, a web marketplace for maternal health products, Mozambique has “an estimated 100,000 fistula cases per year.” The only doctor working on the illness for many years has been Marchesini. The article says he has performed 15,000 operations to remedy the problem. He is not alone any longer; he has trained many others who are now tackling the disease.

Marchesini is called the “Dr. Schweitzer of Today,” and he clearly deserves accolades, though there is little doubt he would be totally indifferent to them. Someone with his talent could easily have cleaned up in the medical field in the big city. But while he is a doctor, first he is a priest.

The problem is that Marchesini is receiving the award from one of the most wicked organizations in the world, one that works tirelessly and aggressively to spread the gospel of child killing.

Last night in New York, Marchesini received the 2014 United Nations Population Award from the U.N. Population Fund. The organization is the very one that helped the Chinese government set up the brutal one-child policy, resulting in tens of millions of forced abortions. Former UNFPA chief executive Nafis Sadik, herself a winner of the Population Award, said the one-child policy is one of the best things that ever happened to China.

A few years ago, a new U.N. delegate from a Caribbean nation balked at her country sponsoring a U.N. resolution that included coded pro-abortion language. The UNFPA lobbyist immediately threatened her government with losing UNFPA money.

In 1996, UNFPA convened a round table discussion in Glen Cove, New York, which brought together the heads of the major U.N. agencies (one is tempted to say the heads of the five families), treaty-body members, and others in order to discuss how to advance a right to abortion in international law.


       Abortion advocate: United Nations Fund for Population Activities

UNFPA was frustrated because the Vatican and many other governments over the previous two years had blocked an explicit right to abortion at the Cairo Conference on Population and Development and at the Beijing Women’s Conference.

The plan they cooked up is still unfolding: to make “reproductive health and rights” a new category of rights in all the existing U.N. human rights treaties. While the treaty monitoring bodies do not have the authority to rewrite treaties and add new rights, from that moment on, under the direction of UNFPA, they started doing just that.

This maneuver was played out in recent days when the Committee on the Rights of the Child actually told the Catholic Church to change her teaching on abortion in order to comply with the treaty, even though the treaty doesn’t mention abortion or even reproductive health.

UNFPA did that and more.

Consider this. Since the Cairo Conference in 1994 UNFPA and its allies have spent billions of dollars in advancing a right to abortion. Their fundraising for that purpose has kept those billions from going to efforts that would genuinely help the poor in Africa, such as basic medical care. Basic medical care is the thing that could solve the maternal health problem in Africa, including fistula. Yet all that money went instead to promotion of abortion. 

It is easy to be churlish in this day and age. We are told we must boycott almost every company because almost all of them in some way support things inimical to our faith. And that is sadly true. But you cannot boycott everything and oftentimes it is hard to see the real connection between my purchase of something and the company’s annual $5000 grant to Planned Parenthood. It is hardly cooperation with evil. But there are some bright lines.

Some years ago colleagues of mine went to the Sudan at the invitation of the government – this being the government that was at the time bombing Christian Churches in the south. I have nothing against working with difficult regimes behind closed doors at U.N. conferences. But my friends went to Sudan and actually allowed themselves to be interviewed on television. I would say they crossed a line.

The Population Award is more than a medal. It comes with a cash prize. Should a faithful Catholic accept such an award and the money? I think the answer is clearly no.

I was not there last night, indeed I wrote this before the ceremony. But it’s clear in advance that Fr. Marchesini will stand up in front of the U.N. and the world and receive an award form an organization that actively works to undermine the Catholic Church and Her teaching, and that is the global font of U.N.-style family planning and abortion.

What’s more, forever after his name will be listed on UNFPA’s website as an award recipient, right alongside the International Planned Parenthood Federation. It will look for all the world as if a heroic Catholic priest endorses the agenda of this wicked group.

He ought to give it back.


Austin Ruse
is the President of the New York and Washington, D.C.-based Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute (C-FAM), a research institute that focuses exclusively on international social policy. The opinions expressed here are Mr. Ruse’s alone and do not necessarily reflect the policies or positions of C-FAM.
 
 
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Comments (15)Add Comment
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written by Gian, June 13, 2014
By precisely identical logic, American Catholics ought to withdraw participation in American political processes since by participating, they legitimize the pro-abortion party.
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written by Jack,CT, June 13, 2014
Seems so contrary to his "Life" work
to accept such an award, I Agree!
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written by Gail FInke, June 13, 2014
The money is "blood money," which can be used for a good purpose but comes at the price of blood (in this case, from the same pot collected and used for promoting and increasing abortion). Blood money is difficult to think about. Some would say he did the right thing, taking the money for a good purpose, showing that the organization could do good things, and encouraging it to better pursuits. Others would say, as you did, that he strengthened the group by showing that it could do good things and therefore giving it cover -- "Oh yes, we also help women in these vital ways that have nothing to do with abortion!" When discussing isolated cases, it's difficult to judge. Or at least I find it difficult to judge. But on the whole I htink you are right. When you look at our "Catholic" politicians (Nancy Pelosi, Kathleen Sebelius, etc.) and what they have accomplished together while so many people have been willing to excuse them individually, it's clear that they have done a great deal of damage to the Church ("Catholics can ensure that partial birth abortion is legal! And can force payment for contraception on all employers! And destroy the legal career of someone suing abortion doctors! And give hundreds of millions of dollars to Planned Parenthood!") and the country. Some of their actions have been direct legislation and aid, but others have been "only" support. It would be hard to turn down a lot of money you could use to help poor people. But if that money is a trap, it comes with strings that will do anything but help.
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written by grump, June 13, 2014
Back in May of 2009, when President Obama was still selling himself to the nation as a post-partisan healer-in-chief, he was awarded an honorary degree and delivered the commencement address at the University of Notre Dame. The decision by the most famous Catholic university in America to honor a staunchly pro-abortion president was met with some protest. Harvard law professor Mary Ann Glendon declined to receive an award from Notre Dame and share the stage with Obama that day. She noted that the U.S. Catholic bishops had formally declared in 2004 that Catholic institutions "should not honor those who act in defiance of our fundamental moral principles."
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written by Kay, June 13, 2014
This priest is doing the work precisely that this award should be endorsing. Assuming this is a priest who understands the teachings of the Church, I could conceive of the possibility that reception of the award would enable him to evangelize the people within the UN who are on the periphery, the spiritually poor. I would like to read his acceptance speech to confirm that.
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written by Arthur Henry, June 13, 2014
I totally agree. Despite what the money might mean for his work with those in need, that end does not justify the means by which they would be accomplished. Give it back.
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written by Manfred, June 13, 2014
Thank you for a fine post, Austin. You have put your finger on a real problem, i.e., the collapse of the hierarchical Church. When we read of the Fathers Euteneuer, Corapi, Gruner, Pfleger, Pavone et al "leaving the reservation", the blame rests solely on the failure of the bishop to whom they are incardinated to effectively monitor them. As a result, these men, who often begin with the best of motives, find themselves heads of financial fiefdoms which answer to no one but themselves. The bishops are either too lazy or too intimidated to assert the proper control. But not to worry, this has been the history of the Church since Its inception.
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written by Kay, June 13, 2014
The times we are living could be a sequel to the Dark Ages. It will take some time to come out from under but many lights are beginning to shine. The New Evangelization has been a work in progress for the last 500 years. Take heart!
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written by Manfred, June 13, 2014
Kay:
My sources tell me that the New Evangelization was specifically begun to attract back to the Church all those who left during the last fifty years. As John Henry Cdl Newman said: "I want a laity, not arrogant, not rash in speech, not disputatious, but men who know their religion, who enter into it, who know just where they stand, who know what they hold and what they do not, who know their creed so well they can give an account of it, who know so much of history that they can defend it."
Is it too much to insist on an ordained priest (and a pope!) being held to the same standard as it existed before Vatican II?
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written by Paul, June 13, 2014
I couldn't disagree more. He should go there, speak truth to power and donate the money to help his patients.
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written by DeGaulle, June 13, 2014
While I share the abhorrence towards the UN, I have a hunch that Kay and Paul might be right here. It is true that the UN may contaminate with its evil all that it touches, but if this priest is really the genuine deal, he may be able to return the serve via the power of the Holy Spirit. We mustn't underestimate ourselves. It is dependent on the disposition of Fr. Marchesini and how he communicates this.
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written by Dave, June 13, 2014
Austin is right. Whether the good father intends it to be read this way, and no matter how he uses the money, the UNFPA will construe the acceptance of their award as the acceptance of their agenda, and that is how they will spin it: a "good" Catholic priest works with us and accepts our accolades over against those benighted Catholics in the hierarchy and pews who haven't yet come to their senses. This is what the Left always does. Do you think that Planned Parenthood would spin Nancy Pelosi's acceptance of the Margaret Sanger award in any other way? Or that Nancy intends it to be spun otherwise?
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written by bill bannon, June 13, 2014
The Vatican has an ongoing observer at the UN so the signal from the top at Rome is that one can engage the UN. To break it down into it's agencies is to send a message that few will get as a result of our prescence there.
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written by Marie, June 14, 2014
Father Aldo Marchesini was in a difficult situation. To refuse could have generated an outcry of RC priest refuses reward that could have helped millions on grounds of anti abortion convictions" As it is does the Un Population mention he is a catholic priest?
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written by Pravin Dubey, September 13, 2014
I was fortunate enough to have worked with Rev. Fr. Dr. Marchesini,and I know first hand his dedication,obligation for the have nots and stamina to work around the clock .He had helped all and sundry including me to alleviate the suffering of the patients.I would prefer not to go into the technicalities of the award,as I know that he would utilize it sanely.

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