Steve Jalsevac

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Pope Francis certainly has a way of stirring things up

Steve Jalsevac

Pope Francis certainly has a way of stirring things up, as we can see again from today's report on his lengthy interview with the Jesuit magazine America. That magazine, by the way (which I don't mean to imply reflects on the Pope), has for over 30 years been the intellectual flagship of the leftist dissident movement within the Catholic Church, especially on issues related to Church teachings on sexual morality.

I appreciate Francis's strong encouragement for clergy and other Church leaders to get out of their parishes, head offices and NGO social agency and other institutional mentalities. He insists on a high priority being placed on personally evangelizing a world greatly in need of encountering the love and mercy of Jesus Christ. Very good.

I am however puzzled by his comment that “We cannot insist only on issues related to abortion, gay marriage and the use of contraceptive methods." Exactly who in Church institutions is actually doing that? In Brazil, he never mentioned these issues during all the many events that took place there during World Youth Days (which I was open to possibly being a good strategy at the time). But even during the Gospel of Life celebration Mass in Rome, at which I was present, in his homily he did not mention abortion or any of the life issues, and he did not quote anything from John Paul II's powerful encyclical, which surprised many, especially given that Pope Francis has made very strong statements on abortion in the past.

The reality is that there has been widespread, massive negligence throughout much of the Church, at least in the developed West, for the past several decades to teach on the moral issues and to ensure that Church moral teachings are followed. They have been avoided in most parishes as being too controversial and many Catholic schools, colleges and universities have been either totally ignoring or acting against the Catholic Church's authentic teachings on moral issues.

The pro-life and pro-family movements have been formed mostly in response to the giant vacuum of leadership from religious and other leaders. It has been a near impossible job for the relatively very few dedicated to the task.

Think of the numbers: hundreds of millions of unborn babies murdered worldwide since the 1960s. 300 million in China alone. And many millions more to come. A large percentage of these abortions have left millions of women damaged emotionally, physically and spiritually. The deliberate destruction of the natural family is now being attempted on a worldwide and intensified scale by de-populationists and secular extremists.

Children are being abused by the millions by explicit, vile sex-education programs beginning now even in kindergarten. A giant tidal wave of euthanasia seems imminent because of the demographic imbalance caused by abortion and decades of contraceptive use. The list goes on and is becoming a great, worldwide nightmare.

Francis says that what the Church believes on these issues is "clear" and therefore there is no need for him to go on about them. But my experience, and that of probably most pro-life, pro-family leaders that I know is just the opposite.

Yes, most people know that the Church opposes contraception, abortion and homosexuality, as well as pornography, prostitution and much more. BUT, very, very few, including the vast majority of Catholics, do not understand WHY Christianity opposes these things. They have not been taught this. Usually very little or nothing is said about them in Catholic institutions.

They do not know that these are all teachings of a loving Father to protect us all rather than restrictions to prevent enjoyment and freedom. They do not know that Catholic moral teachings are about charity and deep concern for the good of every person and are based on millennia of human experience and reason, as well as on the the teachings of Christ.

They believe many lies fed to them about how harmless and wonderful it is to engage in immoral actions. No one tells them about the many, very real dangers and consequences and the alternatives that are available to them.

So, for myself, and others who have been giving their lives to these issues and suffering considerable hardship and persecution for doing so, this work is understood to be extremely necessary. We see a cataclysm ahead if current trends are not stopped.

Still, I do agree with Pope Francis that conversion, preaching, evangelization are greatly needed. These open the heart and the mind to accept what might previously have been seen as hard truths, when in fact they are principles of love.

I was once pro-abortion and strongly supported population control and was opposed to a lot of Christian moral teaching. Then I had a dramatic conversion back to my faith and soon after became involved in the pro-life movement thanks to a pro-life display with photos of aborted babies that I saw at a Right to Life booth at the Canadian National Exhibition.

To me, Francis is right about clergy needing to get out of their chanceries and parishes and expensive institutions and going out to bring the people back to God. However, at the same time, I think he greatly underestimates the severe need for much preaching, teaching and especially encouragement that is still needed directly on the life and family issues and movements.

The Culture of Death is advancing at an alarmingly fast pace at this time in history. We must meet it on all fronts, with both evangelization and with greater than ever emphasis on teaching the truths on contraception, abortion and homosexuality that have actually been pre-occupying the world, rather than Christians. Our obligation is to respond to the mess that this pre-occupation and dangerously self destructive addiction has created.

When we do this we love our fellow man in a very real way. When we don't, we will be held to account for not doing so.

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Mugging by Catholic bloggers

Steve Jalsevac
Steve Jalsevac

Now and then various Church officials complain about deeply uncharitable and harmful discussions on some Catholic blogs. Facebook, blogs, Twitter and even email can each far too easily allow angry thoughts that cross people’s minds to be published for all the world to see without the sober second thought that would naturally accompany face-to-face or spoken communication.

There was a recent attack against LifeSiteNews from a very well known Catholic writer and another such writer and her husband. Using these means of unfiltered near-instant communications, they poured calumny and invective on LifeSiteNews and our talented and committed staff.

Critics who obviously know very little about us, how we function, and our editorial decision-making penned very harsh judgments about our motives and other aspects of our work.

Here are just a few samples of what was what posted on the Facebook pages of various well-known and prolific Catholic writers:

  • “Two sentences that make me turn on my bullshit detector: ones that start, ‘Guess what Pope Francis just did?’ and ones that start, ‘According to LifeSiteNews . . . ‘”
  • “lying assholes who attack the Church”
  • “lazy, biased, and stupid reporting”
  • “no respect for LSN as a whole”
  • “an organization with a bad reputation”
  • “no news sense and no conscience”
  • hang your “head in shame for attempting to bring division in the Church through inaccurate and dishonest reporting”
  • “anti-Catholic bias”
  • “They have a distorted view of reality, and no conscience when it comes to reporting lies in order to advance the agenda.”
  • “sleazier than the National Enquirer”
  • “They don't actually do any reporting. They rewrite a lot of other people's reporting without checking facts or giving attribution.”
  • “The narcissism and pride is epic.”

Criticism naturally comes with the territory of journalism and should always be expected. However, when this kind of crude assault is hurled so recklessly from fellow Catholics or other Christians, it does leave us unsettled. Moreover, when such vile language and character assassination comes from Catholics who are published at influential Catholic publications, it is also a concern for the writers’ own Catholic reputation and that of their employers.

LifeSiteNews does not claim to be a Catholic organization. We have many good and faithful Catholics on staff, but we do not claim to be a Catholic organization and our reporting is intended for people of all faiths and even no faith. 

Nothing written by LifeSiteNews ever remotely approaches the level of calumny in the condemnations and criticisms seen in the Facebook posts mentioned. We explicitly forbid our writers from making such comments and are constantly removing similar comments from readers commenting under our reports. That is not free speech. We consider it to be an abuse of freedom. We also have a policy of never responding in kind to such comments.

However, a natural response is: “Where is the Christianity in any of these comments?” It boggles the mind that anyone would publicly exhibit such a total lack of charity for all the world to see and think that they are thus exhibiting love of God or properly defending the Church or Pope Francis.

We often encourage our readers to be very respectful in any communications they make in response to our reports. We recognize that condemnatory, hostile, and disrespectful communications will always cause harm and hardly ever help advance the cause of life and family.

Why the scandal of such ad-hominem attacks are permitted by well-known Catholic websites is a puzzle. LifeSiteNews is only one of many victims who have been targeted and at times harmed by these all-too-frequent, very uncharitable, and careless blog postings over the years. 

Productive dialogue is impossible without mutual respect. Still, we never close the door to future communications if circumstances change. Many of us on the LifeSiteNews team have gone through major life conversions, so we understand the importance of forgiveness and charity.

One of our team did attempt to reach out and dialogue. Unfortunately, all attempts to respond to the criticism charitably, humbly, and privately, resulted in further, public attacks against the professionalism and integrity of LifeSiteNews, and on the personal character of LifeSiteNews personnel.

At LifeSiteNews we welcome feedback and reasoned, respectful criticism. When readers feel we are not doing the job, or are not doing it well, we take it seriously. We try to respond with charity, humility, and clarity.

The feedback we’ve received over the years has varied wildly from being told we are “doing the work of Satan” to the more usual one that we are doing God’s work. We‘ve been told more times than we can count, in emails and personal encounters with readers, that our reports are among the most reliable, trustworthy, and professionally written on the Internet on the issues that we cover. That is truly our aim. We pray and work every day to arrive at that lofty goal. And with your support, your prayers, and your constructive advice, I’m sure we can maintain our current high level of reporting while always striving to improve it even more.

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Thank Canada's Archbishop Richard Smith; watch excellent EWTN coverage of Ottawa march Sat.

Steve Jalsevac
Steve Jalsevac

Edmonton Archbishop Richard Smith’s strong, blunt criticism of Liberal Party leader Justin Trudeau’s outrageous announcement that pro-life candidates will no longer be permitted to run for the Liberal Party is a welcome change from the usual silence of Canada’s bishops on almost all such developments.

I really hope many pro-life Canadians thank Archbishop Smith for speaking out and encourage him to continue to publicly hold Canadian Catholic politicians accountable for their anti-life and anti-family pronouncements, votes and other actions.

Here is the archbishop’s contact information:

Most Rev. Richard SMITH
Archbishop of Edmonton
8421-101 Avenue

Edmonton (AB) T6A 0L1

Tel: (780) 469-1010
Fax: (780) 465-3003
Web Site
Message entry page

And PLEASE, don’t criticize him for not doing all that you think that he should have said and done about Trudeau. This was a positive step. Congratulations, gratitude and encouragement is what you should convey.

Hopefully, more bishops will start to publicly hold to account Canada’s Catholic politicians who have very badly betrayed the people of Canada by leading, as have Justin and many other Canadian Catholic politicians, the advancement of the culture of death in Canada. It has been a sordid, terrible record so far, probably worse than in any other nation in the world.

The archbishop proclaimed that Justin’s announcement of his pathetic policy just before the Marches for Life to be "slap" in the face for all those who would be participating in the various marches across Canada. How true that is and I hope Canadians do not conveniently forget this travesty when the next federal election finally comes around.

Voters have a strong tendency to forget these things, much to the benefit of the worst politicians. Hopefully, there will be more strong statements from Canadian bishops around election time in order to refresh memories.

By the way, the EWTN coverage of the National March for Life in Ottawa was really outstanding this year. If you missed it, I strongly recommend that you tune into the replay tomorrow (Saturday) from 1 to 5:30 p.m.

I wasn’t able to make it to the March this year, having just come back from 10 days in Rome and now preparing for Washington next week, but I did catch some of the EWTN coverage and was thoroughly impressed.  If you can’t get EWTN on your cable network I believe the program can still be viewed via the EWTN website. 

Give it a go.  It is a wonderful way to experience the march and a lot of the interviews were great. LifeSiteNews team members John-Henry Westen and John Jalsevac were among those interviewed.

And I must also mention that Sun News gave the Ottawa March for Life excellent, fair coverage. See a list of their video reports here.

Unfortunately, there was one begrudging report in the National Post, "Activists entrench on abortion", by what appeared to be a feminist writer, Meghan Hurley, consistently refering to "anti-abortionists", that had a pro-abortion edge to it. There was also a the predicatable accompanying photo of just a small portion of the massive crowd with emphasis on a large cross in the middle.

The article and the text under the photo presented the ridiculously far too low estimated number of persons present as only 6,000 to 8,000 persons. I don't understand why the Post would allow such obvious inaccuracy and poor reporting to be published as a supposed professional news report on the march.

To anyone who was there, the report really undermined the credibility of the Post. Any reasonably seasoned reporter who was at the event would have easily seen that the number was likely far closer to the march organizers' offical count of 23,000. the RCMP count has always been way off the mark as well and it has always been noticed that both the RCMP and Ottawa police are not not remotely enthused about having to cover the march every year. The pathetic police response to the Femen protesters this year really gave evidence to their atttitude towards the pro-life event - no matter how many Members of Parliament, Senators and Catholic bishops and cardinals are present.  

However, we do have to give the Post credit for publishing a lot of excellent commentaries on the Justin Trudeau statement that no pro-life candidates would be allowed to run for the Liberal Party while he is the leader.

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Legatus Summit blew us away

Steve Jalsevac
Steve Jalsevac
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John-Henry Westen, Jon Fidero and I just came back from attending the annual Legatus Summit in Orlando, Florida that took place this past Thursday to Saturday. It was an astonishing event, in that every speaker was rock solid and of the highest quality from the pro-life and pro-family perspective.

For those of us from LifeSiteNews and many others who heard John Smeaton's talk titled, "Bishops are the first ones called to be untiring preachers of the Gospel of Life", his was the highlight of the conference. Smeaton's current-state-of-the-world speech was high calibre, very well prepared and revealed his thorough knowledge of developments in England, Ireland and much of the world that in the end give cause for alarm, but also for hope. I overheard a few Legatus members state that they were shaken by what Smeaton revealed.

Smeaton's presentation was about far more than just the subject of denying communion to pro-abortion politicians. It is a 13-page masterpiece overview of a world in major crisis regarding the value of human life and what must be done about this crisis. I have personally known this incredible man for several years and can vouch for his competence and the truth of all that he said in his talk.

Smeaton's talk is MUST READING for all good people in order to understand just where we are at at this alarming time in history. He was notably passionate while giving his erudite presentation because he knew he had to be. He knows what is at stake now regardless of the contradictory claims by some that abortion will soon be ended.

This particular audience was one that might be able to do something about the reality of the looming monsters that we are about to face unless strong actions are quickly taken, especially by the leadership of the Catholic Church. There is no way to overemphasize or exaggerate the gravity of the situation. PLEASE read Smeaton's full talk that is linked to at the bottom of the article and then pass it around far and wide. Thank Legatus for allowing John Smeaton this special opportunity to present his prophetic message for the world at such an opportune gathering.

But back to the rest of the conference. The many members of this Catholic Christian business leaders’ organization, founded by Domino's Pizza billionaire Tom Monaghan, that we met during our stay blew us away. It is rare to attend such an event where most people really get it about the culture war that has been raging in the world. We also found everyone we met to be especially warm and gracious personalities and very open to engage in conversation about the difficult subjects that LifeSiteNews covers, no doubt largely because of their personal commitment to live their Catholic faith in all that they do.

Legatus members want to learn more and do whatever they can to help evangelize the world with Christian principles and the saving truths of the Christian faith. We saw that this personally means a lot to these high level business CEOs and their families. We found them to have much higher principles than we normally associate with persons in top business leadership positions.

After having now attended our second Legatus Summit as exhibitors and sponsors, I would strongly recommend membership in Legatus to any Catholic business leader who meets its membership qualifications. Husbands AND wives are strongly encouraged to attend together to emphasize the importance of the married couple and their family as the foundation of society. Legatus is clearly not a typical men-only business organization.

The personal growth experiences and exceptional fellowship opportunities that it offers can only enrich the lives of its members and their families.  Legatus also provides a real benefit to the rest of us who are not business leaders in that these specially gifted men and women are being guided by their Legatus formation to take on larger roles than many of us are capable of to make this a better world. There was a lot of stress on the essential role of the laity, partnering with their bishops, in the evangelizing mission of the Church.

Hats off to Tom Monaghan and his team of leaders and also to the membership of Legatus for incorporating into their business life a high calling to life, family and faith, without which they realize all their other successes would be seriously lacking full satisfaction and meaning. Legatus helps them to open and keep their eyes on God’s rewarding expectations of them. That is a win-win for everyone.

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