Tuesday, March 27, 2012

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20 cities join largest ever March for Life in Romania: media pays attention

by Thaddeus Baklinski Tue Mar 27 18:12 EST Comments (4)

 

BUCHAREST, March 27, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Over 20 cities in Romania celebrated a March for Life on Saturday, March 24, an event organizers say is spreading a pro-life message across the country.

“It is becoming one of the most important events in Romania, where ideas for life are reflected in the street. This year’s event expanded nationwide,” Larisa Iftime, president of Pro-Vita Media, told LifeSiteNews.

Iftime explained that the first Romanian March for Life was organized by the Darul Vieţii (Gift of Life) Association in Timisoara five years ago, and last year was organized and held for the first time in the capital Bucharest by the Pro-Vita Bucharest Association.

“Many other non-governmental, Christian and pro-life organizations came together this year to support the March for Life,” Iftime said.

In Bucharest, organizers said about 1000 people, “mainly young people,” marched from Revolution Square to Izvor Park (Spring Park), in front of the Parliament Palace, where youth handed out flyers with information about the beginning of life and the tragic consequences of abortion.

At Izvor Park, Bogdan Stanciu, president of the Pro-Vita Bucharest Association, told the crowd that Romania has lost more children to abortion in the past fifty years than the current total population of the country. He said the timing of the event around the 25th of March, the day Catholics and Orthodox celebrate as the feast of the Annunciation, is intentional.

“The Mother of God was overjoyed at the news of being pregnant with Jesus Christ. The news that a family will have children should be a joy for us too,” Stanciu said. “We are against contraception, which is a form of slaughter also. In the past 50 years 22,178,906 children have been killed through abortion, far more than the present population of Romania.”

“The dramatic situation of abortion in Romania is a legacy of communism, when people forget about God, and have been brainwashed by atheistic ideas,” said Dr. Daniela Păun, president of the Bucharest branch of the Gift of Life Association, in her address to the participants.

“At present, the phenomenon of abortion in Romania is determined largely by the abortion industry that make huge amounts of money from abortions,” said Dr. Păun.


An important aspect to this year’s March, the organizers said, was the launch of the “Manifest for Life,” presented to politicians and the media in Bucharest, in which pro-life organizations are demanding legislation for the protection of life and the family in Romania.

In the city of Cluj the March for Life was organized by representatives of the Greek Catholic Diocese of Cluj-Gherla and other Christian associations, and was attended by over 500 people, the organizers reported.

In Oradea, hundreds gathered in the city centre to hear Florica Chereches, deputy mayor and mother of four children. “Statistics show that in Romania, on average, a woman has four abortions, but we have absolute records of women with 35 abortions or more each,” said Chereches. “These figures are frightening. We have every year 47,000 teenagers who have abortions and kill their babies in their wombs. That is why I support this March. We have to cry for those who cannot cry.”

In Arad, the March was organized by organizations “Drept” (Right) and “Alege Viaţa” (Choose Life). The participants stopped at Children’s Hospital to commemorate the children aborted there, then marched to Holy Trinity Orthodox Cathedral, where a cross of candles in memory of children killed by abortion was created.

“With this March, we want to warn people about the tragedy of abortion in Romania. We affirm the right to life of unborn children from conception, respect for life in all its phases and the need for family support,” said Ana-Maria Jitea, coordinator of the “Choose Life” campaign promoted in Arad schools.

Organizers said Marches in other cities were each attended by several hundred pro-life participants.

“A novelty is the way the March was perceived by the media this year,” Iftime told LifeSiteNews, “unlike last year.”

Organizers said the event was reported in almost all the national press, by newspapers and news agencies.

“The news was rich, interspersed with many positive comments on life, and in some cases, the event was particularly mentioned among the important issues of the day,” Iftime observed.

“The most important is that there were more than twice as many participants as last year,” Iftime said. “The vast majority of participants were young and very young people. We are pleased that the press was very much present. Little by little, the society starts to be interested in this topic. Our goal, as the organizers of this march, was to bring the issue of abortion on the public agenda. We are glad that we succeeded to do this.”

A video of the 2012 Romanian March for Life events has been produced by Pro-Vita Media and is available here.

Tags: abortion, march for life, romania

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Opinion: Canadian gov’t cleaning up Catholic bishops’ Development and Peace mess

by John Pacheco Tue Mar 27 16:21 EST Comments (14)

 
John Pacheco

Guest commentary

OTTAWA, March 27, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - As LifeSiteNews reported, the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) has slashed by 65% its usual funding to the Canadian Catholic Bishops’ international aid organization, Development & Peace, for its 2011-2016 programs. It appears that the Canadian government has realized something that the Catholic bishops of Canada have not: that Development & Peace has some major problems which need an immediate and dramatic response.

The great irony, of course, is that instead of the Canadian bishops cleaning up the mess in their own backyard, the Canadian government has gone a long way in doing it for them. Caesar has decided that Development & Peace doesn’t meet the government’s standards for good stewardship of taxpayer funds. As government spokesman Justin Broekema said: “CIDA is responsible, particularly in times of fiscal restraint, for ensuring Canadian tax payers’ dollars deliver value for money and the strongest results in the lives of people in need.”

In July 2011, Socon or Bust published a comprehensive entry on how Development & Peace was doing in relation to other charities in Canada. The source of information for the entry was an article from the Summer edition of Money Sense.

The findings of the report were very sobering indeed for Development & Peace. In the category of Overall Charity Efficiency, Development & Peace received a grade of “C+”, the lowest of all 15 Canadian international charities, while also receiving a “C-” in Governance and Transparency, tying 3 other charities (including Amnesty International) for the lowest ranking.

Seizing on this report, LifeSiteNews readers and the Catholic blogosphere illuminated government officials as to the problems with Development & Peace. The Money Sense article (an independent and credible analysis of the international charity industry in Canada) likely had at least some influence on the cut to Development & Peace’s funding program, since the government’s stated “value for money” criteria was far from being met by the Canadian Catholic Church’s official aid and development agency.

In Embassy magazine’s follow-up article to the funding cut, there was speculation that the reduced funding might also have been related to Development & Peace’s direct involvement with the overtly political, ecumenical group, KAIROS, whose membership includes both Development & Peace (as a founding member no less) and the CCCB.

KAIROS’s funding was cut in 2009 by the Federal government because of their political advocacy against the State of Israel, as well as not meeting the conventional objectives for international aid, including providing water, health and education in developing nations. Instead, they consumed themselves, like Development & Peace did, with the latest “social justice” avante-guard causes like climate change, “eco-justice”, and the rest of the social Marxist fromage.

As with Development & Peace’s financial stewardship scandal which Money Sense exposed, Pro-Life Media, Catholic magazines and the Catholic Blogosphere reported on the close relationship between Development & Peace and KAIROS. This cozy connection between the Canadian Catholic Aid Agency and KAIROS caused some in the social justice industry to speculate openly about whether Development & Peace’s funding cut was in part responsible by their relationship with KAIROS:

“Mr. Casey said he doesn’t know whether the funding decision had anything do with the group’s advocacy work, or its membership in KAIROS. But Tony Martin, a Catholic former NDP MP and Development and Peace supporter, said he sees a connection. “The pattern is that anybody who stands up and is critical or lobbies government opposed to some of the activity of Canadian multinational corporations are going to get cut off at the knees,” he said from his home in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. He cited the KAIROS funding decision, and another government decision in December cutting funding to the Mennonite Central Committee, which is also a member of KAIROS.” (Source)

Mr. Martin’s observation was not too far off the mark. Concerned citizens’ complaints were not only restricted to abortion, but also included objections to taxpayer money being used to fund neo-Marxist revolutionaries in the Global South by these church organizations. During its never-ending abortion drama, Development & Peace, with its sordid 40+ year history of adopting socialist sensibilities, was also caught funding neo-Marxist groups who also freely admit to being pro-abortion.

For over three years now, both Socon or Bust (my blog) and LifeSiteNews (a news service - not a blog) have discovered at least 53 groups whose aims and policies are in direct contradiction to the Catholic Church’s teaching on human life. Some groups’ aims are more heinous than others, but all of them should be disqualified from receiving any Catholic aid whatsoever.

Despite the voluminous and troubling  evidence discovered thus far, most, but thankfully not all, of the Catholic bishops of this country have not sufficiently understood the systematic and deep-rooted problems with the orientation of Development & Peace. This was evidenced, for instance, by the bishops’ recent “solidarity” trip to Haiti where they were led around the island by George Soros’ pro-abort feminist shills. Do they even know who George Soros is? Remarkably, this “solidarity mission” was made after newly-elected CCCB president, Archbishop Richard Smith, asked Catholics to “trust the bishops” in October of last year.

The Church in Canada is coming to a crossroads of sorts concerning Development & Peace. This ongoing and perpetual failure to clean up Development & Peace points to something more than just Church politics and image. It points rather to a fundamental philosophical and theological error which many Canadian Bishops have adopted since the Winnipeg Statement. It’s called proportionalism.

Instead of recognizing the possibility of the intrinsic wickedness in an act, proportionalism seeks to downplay the inherent nature of an act to focus on the consequences instead. According to Blessed John Paul II, it is a teleologism which…

...by weighing the various values and goods being sought, focuses rather on the proportion acknowledged between the good and bad effects of that choice, with a view to the “greater good” or “lesser evil” actually possible in a particular situation (Veritatis Splendor).

It was this fundamental guiding error the Canadian bishops used with the Winnipeg Statement in which they said “a Catholic could contracept in good conscience”. It’s the same principle today when they are effectively telling Catholics they can give to pro-abort groups “in good conscience”.

And yet, this is not what the Church teaches at all. In 1994, Blessed John Paul II founded the Pontifical Academy for Life to promote the dignity of human life in medical science. In its statutes, it clearly says that close collaboration with medical doctors and researchers is to be encouraged, but only insofar as these doctors believe what the Church believes on the sanctity of human life:

The scientific and interdisciplinary activity of the Pontifical Academy for Life shall maintain a close connection with the bodies and institutions through which the Church is present in the world of the biomedical sciences, of health, and of healthcare organisations, also offering its collaboration to medical doctors and researchers (including those who are non-Catholics and non-Christians) who recognise that the dignity of man and the inviolability of human life from conception to natural death, as enunciated by the Magisterium of the Church, is the essential moral foundation of the science and art of medicine. (Article, 6)

If this is true for one area of Church mission, it is true for all areas of Church mission. As we can only co-operate with non-Catholic and non-Christians who share the Church’s values on the sacredness of human life in bioethics, so too is that principle no less binding in the area of human development and aid in the case of Development & Peace.

This means, of course, that the cumbaya “solidarity” missions with pro-abort feminists, anti-Catholic bigots, Marxists with masks, and the rest of the Church’s enemies embedded should be over. And so should sentiments like those of Bishop Fred Henry who said:

“The group may not be perfect but they must be doing a lot of good work even if there are a few positions and actions that we will have to challenge them on,” (Source).

No one would believe that the Catholic bishops of this country would hitch their wagon to organizations devoted to human trafficking, child pornography, or (heaven forbid!) climate change denial, despite all of the other social “good work” that they might do in the community. For some inexplicable reason, however, when the sin is about abortion or contraception, all of this other “good work” that the pro-abort pushers do somehow overrides their efforts to legalize abortion. Then, it becomes all about “walking with Jesus” or some other nonsense.

Tags: catholic, cida, development and peace, kairos

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Health care law under fire from skeptical Supreme Court justices

by Kathleen Gilbert Tue Mar 27 16:06 EST Comments (0)

 

WASHINGTON, March 27, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Transcripts from the Supreme Court’s ongoing oral arguments over the Obama administration’s health care law show a sharply divided court that some analysts say could mean the controversial law is in “grave danger.”

At the heart of the controversy is the law’s mandate forcing Americans to purchase health insurance, which opponents have said goes beyond the scope of Congress’ power, and which many believe could unravel the entire law should it be struck down.

The law is being challenged by the attorneys general of 26 U.S. states and the National Federation of Independent Business.

Justice Anthony Kennedy, one of three swing votes proponents hope to win over, said on Tuesday that the mandate “threatens to change the relationship between the government and the individual in a profound way.”

Justice John Roberts also expressed skepticism that the broad power assumed by the government had any clear terminus, and compared the insurance mandate to a rule forcing Americans to buy cell phones in order to respond to emergency situations.

“You don’t know when you’re going to need [emergency services]; you’re not sure that you will. But the same is true for health care,” said Roberts. “So there is a market there. To—in some extent, we all participate in it. So can the government require you to buy a cell phone because that would facilitate responding when you need emergency services?”

Justice Antonin Scalia also appeared critical of the administration’s arguments, shooting down Solicitor General Donald Verrilli’s argument that the mandate was equivalent to previous laws regulating commerce that were unprecedented at the time.

“Oh no, it’s not,” Scalia interjected. “They all involved commerce. There was no doubt that was what regulated was commerce. And here you’re regulating somebody who isn’t covered.”

Politico noted that the conservative judges were open to hearing more about how health insurance difered from other commodities, as individuals without insurance nonetheless affect the insurance market. “Not everybody is going to enter the mortgage market. The government’s position is that almost everybody is going to enter the health care market,” said Justice Roberts.

The marathon of oral arguments will conclude Wednesday with 90 minutes of discussion of whether the health care law can stand if the individual mandate is struck down.

Several commentators concluded that the individual mandate, if not doomed, seems to have a much tougher fight in the high court than previously expected.

CNN senior legal anaylst Jeffrey Toobin said that Tuesday’s hearing showed that the law could be in “grave danger.”

“This was a train wreck for the Obama administration,” Toobin said on CNN. “This law looks like it’s going to be struck down. I’m telling you, all of the predictions, including mine, that the justices would not have a problem with this law were wrong.”

Prominent Supreme Court litigator Tom Goldstein of SCOTUSblog noted that the conservative justices’ questions for the plaintiffs’ lead attorney were “not nearly as pressing” as those directed at the Solicitor General, and that the fate of the mandate will likely rest with Justice Kennedy:

“If Justice Anthony M. Kennedy can locate a limiting principle in the federal government’s defense of the new individual health insurance mandate, or can think of one on his own, the mandate may well survive.  If he does, he may take Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr., and a majority along with him.  But if he does not, the mandate is gone. 

“That is where Tuesday’s argument wound up — with Kennedy, after first displaying a very deep skepticism, leaving the impression that he might yet be the mandate’s savior.”

Outside the Supreme Court, demonstrators for and against the measure clashed. At a rally by Tea Party leaders, Rep. Michele Bachmann highlighted the conflict.

“Two years later, this bill has not united our country, it has divided us more than ever. Look around you. We are divided. Not united,” Bachmann said, according to the Huffington Post.

Tags: mandate, obamacare, us supreme court

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Pepsi named one of “world’s most ethical companies” despite exploitation of aborted babies

by Christine Dhanagom Tue Mar 27 15:35 EST Comments (17)

 

NEW YORK, March 27, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - In the midst of a pro-life boycott over PepsiCo’s use of aborted fetal cells in flavor research, a prestigious international think tank has designated the soft drink company one of the “world’s most ethical companies.”

According to Ethisphere, the California based organization that produces the list, the ranking honors those companies that “go beyond making statements about doing business ‘ethically’ and translate those words into action,” and “demonstrate real and sustained ethical leadership within their industries.”

The recently released 2011 list names 110 companies, including Pepsi. Several other pro-life boycott targets were also included, such as Whole Foods and Marriott Hotels which have given support to Planned Parenthood.

The institute noted on its website that 26 companies which had previously been on the list were “dropped off” this year due to “ litigation and ethics violations, as well as increased competition from within their industry.”

Despite mounting outrage against Pepsi from consumers as well as a shareholder complaint, however, the soft drink company has never been removed from the list. In fact, Pepsi has touted itself as the only food and beverage producer to receive the honor every year since it was initiated in 2007.

While the soft drink company claimed in an email to LifeSiteNews that it does not “conduct or fund research that utilizes any human tissue or cell lines derived from human embryos or fetuses,” it did not deny the allegation in its response to a shareholder complaint over the research. Instead, the company told the Securities and Exchange Commission that shareholders should not be allowed to control whether a company uses aborted fetal cells in research since this “deals with matters related to the company’s ordinary business operations.”

According to Debi Vinnedge, executive director of Children of God for Life, the company’s denial of its use of aborted fetal cells likely rests on the fact that the research company it has contracted with does not use the original cells from the aborted baby, but rather cells derived from those original cells.

Vinnedge, who is leading the charge against Pepsi, told LifeSiteNews that her organization is “shocked and disappointed” by news of the award.

“We wrote to Ethisphere to let them know that the fact that PepsiCo is funding the use of aborted fetal cell lines to discover and develop their flavor enhancers is far from ethical business practices,” She said. “In addition, PepsiCo has misled the public using semantics and craftily worded responses to consumer complaints to try and weasel out of what they are actually doing.”

Ethisphere did not respond to Vinnedge’s complaint beyond the initial automated response generated by any inquiry. The institute also did not return repeated phone calls from LifeSiteNews seeking comment.

To contact Ethisphere, go here

Tags: aborted fetal cell lines, boycott, pepsi

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Outrage as activist Ontario court strikes law banning brothels, prostitution

by Peter Baklinski Tue Mar 27 15:18 EST Comments (11)

 
Prostitutes celebrate court's striking down of Canadian law

TORONTO, Ontario, March 27, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Yesterday’s decision by the Ontario Court of Appeal that ruled as unconstitutional provisions in the law that prohibited brothels and living from the profit of prostitution has caused a firestorm of dissent from Canada’s leading advocates who champion the dignity of women and the strengthening of marriages and families.

In its decision Bedford v. Canada (Attorney General), the Court of Appeal found that Sections 210 and 212 (1) (j) of the federal Criminal Code that regulate prostitution were now suddenly “unconstitutional”. It suspended its “bawdy-house” decision for twelve months to give Parliament time to draft a new “Charter-compliant” bawdy-house provision. The overturning of the “living on the avails” of prostitution provision will take effect within 30 days of the ruling.

Father Raymond J. De Souza in an op-ed in the National Post that appeared yesterday criticized the constitutional bases for the prostitution case arguing that it is not plausible that Parliament “desired to protect the right to run a brothel as part of our fundamental legal liberties” when it guaranteed everyone in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms the “right to life, liberty and security of the person.”

“Section 7 now apparently includes the right to sell one’s body for sex in a licensed establishment fully compliant with safe drinking water standards and the requisite no-smoking signs,” he said.

“The naïveté of the Court of Appeal is this regard is astonishing”, De Souza continued. “The learned justices have a vision of professionally accomplished, commercially savvy young women, contemplating careers either as hookers or graphic designers, and concerned about the enforceability of contracts and provision of benefits. A few high-end prostitutes would benefit from no longer having to disguise their ‘escort’ services, but prostitution in Canada is not a high-end occupation. It preys upon the desperately poor, the drug addicted, the homeless, the mentally ill and other vulnerable women in the dark corners of society.”

The Post’s Catholic priest columnist argued that with the prohibition against brothels lifted, which he saw as “one of the few tools that law enforcement and social services could use to pry women out from a life that precious few of them would ever choose”, prostitution in Ontario will only increase.

“It’s simple economics: Reduce the barriers to entry and more firms will enter. As a public policy matter, it is also simple. At the margin, this judgment will ensnare women in prostitution who otherwise would not have been.”

REAL Women of Canada was “disappointed” in the decision and called the Ontario Court of Appeal “the most liberal court in Canada” for ignoring “the views of Parliament in this case”.

“Prostitution itself is inherently dangerous, no matter where it is carried out. Prostitutes should not be encouraged to engage in this activity by way of brothels or otherwise,” stated Gwendolyn Landolt, national vice president of REAL Women of Canada in a press release. The woman’s organization was an intervener in the case at both the Superior Court and Appeal levels.

“This Court partially upheld the lower court’s decision of Madam Justice Susan Himel to allow prostitutes to operate from legal brothels. It based its decision on the belief that this will reduce the risk of harm to prostitutes.”

Landolt pointed out that evidence from countries, such as Sweden, Spain, Australia and the Netherlands, indicate that the legalization of brothels only “increases the number of individuals involved in prostitution, both on the streets as well as in brothels.”

“The legalization of brothels in Canada can therefore greatly increase the risk of harm to prostitutes by assaults and even death, as more individuals will inevitably become involved in this activity.”

REAL Women of Canada has urged the Attorneys General that this case “be immediately appealed” to the Supreme Court of Canada so that Parliament may “ultimately decide the grave issue of the social policy on prostitution, not appointed unaccountable judges.”

The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada (EFC) was “deeply concerned” that the court’s decision not only “fails to protect women from exploitation, but could lead to a situation in Canada where the most vulnerable are put at greater risk of violence, exploitation and trafficking.”

“Here’s the decision in a nutshell,” said Don Hutchinson, vice-president and general legal counsel with the EFC:  “The court gave the federal government twelve months to reform the provision against prostitutes operating out of brothels, massage parlours and other forms of common bawdy houses; which does nothing to protect the rank and file exploited women, men and children working on the street.”

Hutchinson explained that the court simply redrafted the ‘living on the avails of prostitution’ section of the criminal code so that it only applies to those who are doing so in an exploitive way. He said that this “accommodates the rare few” who have the capacity to structure a business with support staff.

“All of this was couched in the concept repeated page after page in the decision that, and I quote, ‘In Canada, prostitution itself is legal. There is no law that prohibits a person from selling sex, and no law that prohibits another from buying it.’”

Christian Legal Fellowship (CLF), which was also an intervenor in the case, was “disappointed in the decision”, which it says “ignores Parliament’s disapprobation of prostitution and the harms it causes both to prostitutes and our communities.”

Ruth Ross, CLF’s executive director and general legal counsel stated in a press release that there are some positive aspects to the decision.

“The court did not strike down the ‘living on the avails’ provision in its entirety but instead recognized its importance in protecting those who are exploited by prostitution,” she said.

The Institute of Marriage and Family Canada (IMFC) commented that while the court’s ruling is “being touted as a success that will make prostitution safer, international evidence exposes this [as] myth.”

IMFC pointed out in a press release that the Netherlands legalization of prostitution caused a dramatic surge in new criminal activity. In the aftermath of legalized prostitution Amsterdam’s former mayor Job Cohen was forced to concede that “this is no longer about small scale entrepreneurs, but that big crime organizations are involved here in trafficking women, drugs, killings and other criminal activities.”

IMFC’s also argued that the court’s decision “belies the realities facing the vast majority of prostitutes in Ontario today”.

“A high percentage of prostitutes have drug and sexual abuse in their pasts. Many are coerced into prostitution as minors. Prostitution is inherently dangerous and the legal changes that are currently being made in Ontario will not change that.”

Andrea Mrozek, IMFC’s manager of research and communications said, “Above all, the law should not in any way, shape or form allow men to buy women’s bodies. There will be no equality in Ontario so long as we sanction that,” she said.

The Catholic Civil Rights League (CCRL), which also intervened in the case is “disappointed with much of the ruling”.

Landolt from REAL Women called it “ironic” that the Court of Appeal stated in its decision that “prostitution is a controversial topic, one that provokes heated and heartfelt debate about morality, equality, personal autonomy and public safety; it is not the Court’s role to engage in that debate”.

“Yet the Court has done just that,” she pointed out.

To contact the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada
The Honourable Robert Douglas Nicholson
284 Wellington Street
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0H8
E-mail: mcu@justice.gc.ca
Ph: (613) 957-4222

Tags: court, ontario, prostitution, sexuality

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Gay ‘marriage’ push aims to ‘recreate society’ and marginalise Christianity: Archbishop of Glasgow

by Patrick B. Craine Tue Mar 27 14:49 EST Comments (1)

GLASGOW/STRASSBURG, March 27, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Creating “gay marriage,” is an attempt to rewrite the natural law and “recreate society,” says Mario Conti, Archbishop of Glasgow.

The bishop’s strong comments as the European Court of Human Rights has ruled that there is no such thing as a “right” to “gay marriage” in the European Convention on Human Rights, a revelation that has yet to put a damper on the UK government’s enthusiasm for changing the legal definition of marriage.

“It is certainly not the role of law to recreate our society according to passing fashions and ideologies, nor to redefine nature whether in terms of persons and their rights or its natural institutions,” Archbishop Conti said in a homily at St. Mary’s Cathedral in Edinburgh this weekend.

The prelate said that current plans to alter the definition of marriage, promoted by the Conservative government of David Cameron as an effort to strengthen marriage, are in reality just the next step in the “marginalisation” of Christianity and any voice opposed to homosexual activity.

“Those voices are growing ever louder in our country,” Conti said, “that attempted marginalisation is becoming ever more acute and we are witnessing the transformation of tolerance into a kind of tyranny in which religious views are the only ones which seem unworthy of respect and acceptance.”

The Archbishop cautioned, “We are witnessing the transformation of tolerance into a kind of tyranny in which religious views are the only ones which seem unworthy of respect and acceptance.

“Our society will descend further into ethical confusion and moral disintegration the more that those in Government and the judiciary slip society’s moorings from the capstans of virtue.”

While Prime Minister Cameron’s plans to rewrite the definition of marriage will only affect England and Wales, the local government of Scotland reportedly “tends towards the view” that the definition should also be altered in Scottish law. The consultation in Scotland closed in December, and never received the same media attention as England’s consultation that began this month.

In related news, a much-anticipated ruling by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has come down against the concept of “gay marriage” as a human right, protected under the European Convention on Human Rights. The Court said March 18th that the wording of the Convention itself restricting marriage to a man and a woman was “deliberate”. The ruling upheld one made earlier by France’s highest court prohibiting homosexual “marriage” and adoption.

There is no “indirect discrimination founded (…) on the impossibility of marriage,” the Court said. Article 12 of the Convention “does not impose on the governments of the state parties the obligation to open marriage to a homosexual couple”.

“Moreover, regard must be had to the historical context in which the Convention was adopted. In the 1950s marriage was clearly understood in the traditional sense of being a union between partners of different sex.”

Launching the British government’s consultation early this month, Equalities Minister Lynne Featherstone said, “Put simply, it’s not right that a couple who love each other and want to formalise a commitment to each other should be denied the right to marry.” It remains to be seen if the ECHR ruling, which is binding on the UK, that there is no such right, will put a damper on the government’s plans to introduce “gay marriage”.

The government’s plans are not popular among the British public. A recent ComRes poll showed that 70 per cent want marriage to remain defined as a “lifelong exclusive commitment between a man and a woman”. A similar poll in Scotland found that 53 per cent of the public thinks that “homosexuals should not be allowed to redefine marriage for everyone else”. Members of Cameron’s party have warned the Prime Minister that while pushing “gay marriage” will win him few points on the extreme left it will alienate voters who are more concerned with the economy and immigration.

A petition being circulated by the Coalition for Marriage to oppose the plan has collected 323,986 signatures as of today. Colin Hart, the head of the Coalition, has described the government’s consultation on the subject as “a sham” in which the crucial question of whether the change ought to be made has already been taken, and all opposition will be ignored. The government’s document launching the consultation said that “points raised in responses that are out of the scope of the consultation and the consultation questions will not necessarily be considered”.

“I always thought that a consultation was about listening to people and asking them their views before making a decision,” Hart said. “Not only are they redefining the meaning of marriage, they’re redefining the meaning of consultation.”

According to MEP Nigel Farage, the head of the increasingly popular libertarian United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP), David Cameron’s unprecedented push to create “gay marriage” has less to do with a sincere interest in the homosexualist political agenda than with fear of appearing weak to a public that is increasingly disillusioned with the EU and its mechanisms.

“The last thing he needs at the moment is to have the European courts declare our law discriminatory again and demand it be changed,” Farage wrote.

“He does not want you to realise that a foreign court is the highest court in the land,” a UKIP brief said.

David Coburn, UKIP’s openly gay London Regional Chairman, warned that the government is pointlessly picking a fight with religious people in Britain who could find themselves accused of “hate crimes” for their support of traditional marriage.

“That would be a grotesque assault on peoples’ freedom of conscience. As we all know these things tend to be the thin end of the wedge once the government’s ludicrous overpaid /over-pensioned thought police get on the job.”

Coburn wrote on the homosexualist news service Pink News, “The same-sex marriage debate is not an old-fashioned left-right political issue. It’s about freedom.”

“The Tories over the last few years have raced to catch up with Labour’s authoritarian politically correct agenda.” All three mainstream parties, Conservative, Liberal Democrat and Labour have adopted the authoritarian mode.

Calling the government’s plans for marriage “equality fascism,” Coburn said, they have “created a grotesque, maximum security, Kafkaesque society where everything including speech and thought are regulated in the name of security and equality.

“You can stab old ladies or promising teenagers and do three months, but woe betide if you transgress the language and thought police.”

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Cardinal Martini and the false theology promoting homosexuality

by John-Henry Westen Tue Mar 27 14:31 EST Comments (25)

 

ROME, March 27, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Cardinal Carlo Martini, who at the conclave of 2005 was a favorite of ‘social justice’ Catholics to be elected Pope, has penned a book wherein he supports homosexual relationships.  The powerful Cardinal who was Archbishop of Milan until his retirement in 2002 at age 75, now lives in Jerusalem and suffers from Parkinson’s disease.

Given Cardinal Martini’s prominence in the Catholic Church (some sources suggest that he had quite a few votes to become Pope in the 2005 conclave) his statements on homosexuality point to a powerful counter-ideology that has made significant inroads into the Church’s teaching on the matter of homosexuality.  It is an ideology or theology that was warned about already in 1986 by Martini’s contemporary Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI.

In his newly released book, Credere e conoscere (Faith and Understanding), Cardinal Martini posits his disagreement with the Catholic teaching against homosexual civil unions.  “I disagree with the positions of those in the Church, that take issue with civil unions,” he wrote. “It is not bad, instead of casual sex between men, that two people have a certain stability” and that the “state could recognize them.”

Cardinal Martini says that he can even understand (but not necessarily approve) gay pride parades.  He says he agrees with the Catholic Church’s promotion of traditional marriage for the stability of the human species, however he adds, it is “not right to express any discrimination on other types of unions.”

In his 1986 ‘Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons,’ then-Cardinal Ratzinger outlined the “causes of confusion regarding the Church’s teaching” on homosexuality.  He described a false “new exegesis of Sacred Scripture which claims variously that Scripture has nothing to say on the subject of homosexuality, or that it somehow tacitly approves of it, or that all of its moral injunctions are so culture-bound that they are no longer applicable to contemporary life.”

Cardinal Ratzinger laid out the false theology and counters it with a true Biblical exegesis which seeks, he says, to “speak the truth in love.”

He warned that “increasing numbers of people today, even within the Church, are bringing enormous pressure to bear on the Church to accept the homosexual condition as though it were not disordered and to condone homosexual activity.”

“The movement within the Church,” he explained, is made up of “those who either ignore the teaching of the Church or seek somehow to undermine it. … One tactic used is to protest that any and all criticism of or reservations about homosexual people, their activity and lifestyle, are simply diverse forms of unjust discrimination.”

Most importantly he said, “No authentic pastoral programme will include organizations in which homosexual persons associate with each other without clearly stating that homosexual activity is immoral. A truly pastoral approach will appreciate the need for homosexual persons to avoid the near occasions of sin.”

He added: “But we wish to make it clear that departure from the Church’s teaching, or silence about it, in an effort to provide pastoral care is neither caring nor pastoral. Only what is true can ultimately be pastoral. The neglect of the Church’s position prevents homosexual men and women from receiving the care they need and deserve.”

Tags: cardinal martini, homosexuality, pope benedict xvi

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Canada’s NDP elect new pro-abortion party leader

by Patrick B. Craine Tue Mar 27 13:37 EST Comments (2)

 
Newly-minted NDP leader Thomas Mulcair waves as he accepts victory at the party's convention on March 24th.

TORONTO, Ontario, March 27, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Canada’s New Democratic Party has elected a new leader who backs the party’s official pro-abortion stance.

Montreal MP Thomas Mulcair, 57, was elected to head up the federal party at the leadership convention in Toronto on Saturday, and has now taken over as leader of the official Opposition in the Canadian Parliament.

Mulcair replaces interim leader Nicole Turmel, who took over in the summer after the death of long-time leader Jack Layton. Layton’s charismatic personality was credited with the party’s meteoric rise in the May 2011 election from fourth party status to the Opposition.

During that election, the NDP pledged that they would work to promote even greater access to abortion across the country.

In a statement to Campaign Life Coalition, the political arm of Canada’s pro-life movement, the NDP said they are committed as a party to “universal access to abortion services and guaranteed reproductive freedoms for all Canadian women, regardless of income or where they live.”

They went on to emphasize that this position is demanded of all NDP candidates.  “All New Democrat candidates agree to adhere to these principles when they agree to accept the nomination from their riding association,” said the statement.

Notably, in 2010 every NDP Member of Parliament, except four who did not vote, opposed Bill C-510 (Roxanne’s Law), which would have protected women who choose to keep their unborn babies from being coerced into abortion.

In Mulcair’s own proposal on “women’s equality” for the leadership campaign, he also affirms “the right to reproductive choice.”

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Abortionist accused of cannibalism caught illegally dumping abortion records

by The Editors Tue Mar 27 11:40 EST Comments (33)

 
Abortionist Krishna Rajanna

Overland Park, Kansas, March 27, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) — On a tip from a local woman, the Kansas City Star has recovered over 1,000 abortion medical records from 2001-2002 that were illegally dumped in a public recycling bin by the discredited abortionist Krishna Rajanna, who was infamously accused of engaging in cannibalism by a former staff member. The files contained names, addresses and other sensitive information about abortion patients at Rajanna’s now-closed Affordable Medical Center. The newspaper has since turned the documents over to the Kansas State Board of Healing Arts. The documents could be used as evidence in a possible criminal case.

The law requires that medical records be maintained for ten years, but some of the records discovered in the recycling bin were less than ten years old.

Rajanna tried to defend his dumping the records as an attempt to be environmentally friendly.

“I thought that these would be recycled away just like any other papers,” Rajanna told the Kansas City Star. “I could just incinerate them just as well, I suppose. But usually that means we are creating more smoke.”

Click “like” if you want to end abortion!

Rajanna lost his medical license and was forced to close his abortion clinic in 2005 after pro-life supporters obtained photographs of filthy conditions and appalling practices inside his abortion clinic and circulated them publicly. Kansas City Police Detective William Howard who conducted an investigation at Rajanna’s clinic submitted a statement to the state legislature testifying to conditions so horrific that he was sickened by them and that he was stunned by allegations of the staff that Rajanna engaged in cannibalism. (Read Det. Howard’s full statement.)

Rajanna’s case helped fuel the passage of a 2005 clinic regulations bill in the Kansas Legislature that was later vetoed by then Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, who now serves as U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services.

“The illegal dumping of private abortion medical records is common in the abortion industry,” said Troy Newman President of Operation Rescue and Pro-Life Nation, who has worked to expose Rajanna’s illegal practices. “Through undercover investigations around the nation, we have obtained hundreds of illegally dumped abortion records containing just about every imaginable kind of sensitive medical and personal information. But the HHS under Sebelius, which seems to be the governing authority, has virtually ignored violations by abortion clinics.”

Abortion patient privacy issues scandalized Kansas for years after former Attorney General Phill Kline began investigating abortion clinics in 2003. His subpoena for medical records from two abortion clinics turned into a legal war that is still being waged in Kansas courts and has been aggressively obstructed by members of the Sebelius administration. Those medical records eventually served as the basis for 107 criminal charges against Planned Parenthood, a total of 49 criminal charges against late-term abortionist George Tiller, a medical board disciplinary petition against Tiller that could have revoked his medical license, and the recent license revocation of Tiller’s associate Ann Kristin Neuhaus. Fifty-eight criminal counts remain pending against Planned Parenthood.

“Sebelius was deeply dedicated to protecting abortionists in Kansas who were violating the law, and now we see that her Federal agency virtually ignores privacy violations committed by abortionists,” said Newman. “The Sebelius administration was hysterical about patient privacy when Attorney General Kline was investigation criminal action at abortion clinics. But when it is abortion clinics violating patient privacy, her agency turns a blind eye. It reveals the truth that the Sebelius agenda is all about shielding shoddy abortion mills from accountability under the law. That hasn’t changed.”

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Pro-abortion Emily’s List candidates decimated in Queensland Election

by Jason Rushton, Australia correspondent Tue Mar 27 11:20 EST Comments (7)

 
Former Premier Anna Bligh's party appears to have been reduced from 51 seats, to a mere eight.

SYDNEY, March 27, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - While votes are still being counted, the number of political candidates who are members of the pro-abortion organization Emily’s List in the Queensland parliament appears to have been reduced from as many as 13 to as few as one.

Before the election, the Emily’s List Australia website allowed the public to donate as much as $AUD 2,500 individually to a list of nine candidates, each of whom had signed a ‘pro-choice pledge.’

All of those candidates, bar one, have been swept from parliament. Anna Bligh - the premier of Queensland and an Emily’s List member - resigned the day after the election, after her party suffered the worst defeat of a sitting government in Queensland history.

Click “like” if you want to end abortion!

A further three Emily’s List members had previously announced that they would retire at the time of the 2012 state election. They are now listed as “Former State/Territory Members of Parliament” on the Emily’s List Website.

Yet another three MPs had been previously listed as Emily’s List members but were not listed online prior to the election. One of these MPs, Jo-Ann Miller, retained her seat.

In Australia Emily’s List, known in the United States for supporting pro-abortion Democratic candidates, only funds candidates of the Australian Labor Party (ALP) who adhere to its principles. While votes are still being counted for the March 24 Queensland election, the ALP is predicted to retain just eight seats, after holding 51 after the last election in 2009.

Luke McCormack, spokesperson for the Queensland Branch of the Australian Family Association, partly attributed Labor’s losses to the presence of Emily’s List members in parliament.

“One of the reasons Labor is on the nose is because the party no longer honours traditional labour values,” he said. “And one of the reasons for this is the successful infiltration of the feminist network EMILY’s list, which promotes radical feminist policies that financially manipulate families, and also promotes abortion law reform that allows terminations for any or no reason right up until full-term.”

Although votes are still being counted, it appears that only one of the 26 candidates who told the organization Pro-Choice Queensland that they would support a bill to decriminalize abortion has been elected.

Queensland pro-life groups had been expecting a push to decriminalize abortion after the 2009 election, when Emily’s List Member Anna Bligh was re-elected as state premier.

Graham Preston, the Queensland Co-ordinator of Right to Life Australia, said he now expects the status-quo to be maintained by the new Liberal National Party government. “I don’t know how much people voted out Emily’s Listers because they were pro-abortion or how much it was just a general swing against Labor, and to be honest it was probably more the latter,” he said. “We would like to think there would be good things under the new government, but to be honest we don’t think they’ll make any moves to make abortion more difficult in Queensland, but we don’t think they’ll make any moves to make it easier either.”

Teresa Martin, the state president of Cherish Life Queensland, urged Queenslanders not to be complacent. “We urge you to make contact with your new Member on a regular basis and keep the pressure on them to be held accountable in pro-life matters,” she said.

Australian Prime-Minister Julia Gillard, who wrote the constitution for Emily’s List in Australia, told reporters on Monday she was surprised by the scale of the ALP’s loss in the Queensland election.

Tags: abortion, australia, emily's list

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In Florida this Friday? LifeSiteNews Editor to speak at Ave Maria Law

by The Editors Tue Mar 27 10:55 EST Comments (0)

 

NAPLES, FL, (LifeSiteNews.com) - LifeSiteNews co-founder and Editor-in-Chief John-Henry Westen will be speaking at Ave Maria Law School this Friday March 30th from 9:30am – 11am.  The topic is The Culture Wars: Life, Family and Freedom.

Those wishing to attend must RSVP at JHinkle@avemarialaw.edu

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Pro-life women lawmakers just ‘men with breasts?’: Pennsylvania Rep.

by Kathleen Gilbert Tue Mar 27 10:37 EST Comments (47)

 
Rep. Babette Josephs

HARRISBURG, March 27, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - A Pennsylvania state lawmaker has called her female colleagues who co-sponsored a pro-life ultrasound bill “men with breasts.”

Rep. Babette Josephs, D-Philadelphia, was speaking at a Democratic rally on Monday against the measure.  which The bill requires that an ultrasound be performed 24 hours before an abortion in order to document the gestational age of the child to be aborted, and that women be given the option of viewing the ultrasound image or hearing the fetal heartbeat if they choose.

“They’re trying all these experiments on us,” said Josephs of conservatives, according the Pennsylvania Patriot-News.

Click “like” if you want to end abortion!

Referring to women lawmakers who co-sponsored the ultrasound bill, she said, “I do not understand how a woman in this Legislature can say to herself: ‘I’m not capable of making my own health decisions ... but I can get elected and make them for somebody else.’

“What is wrong with these women? What are they thinking about? Are they women, or are they men with breasts?”

The Patriot-News reports that 110 state House members have co-sponsored the measure, which was debated in that chamber this month.

Like the bill’s counterpart in Virginia, although the measure does not mention vaginal ultrasounds, opponents have attacked the bill as invasive based on the possibility doctors would perform one to fulfill the requirement. Supporters have noted that performing an ultrasound prior to an abortion is standard medical practice.

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7 years after Terri Schiavo’s death, brother to speak at Ave Maria ‘Law of Life’ Summit

by Kathleen Gilbert Tue Mar 27 10:03 EST Comments (4)

 

NAPLES, Florida, March 27, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - On the eve of the anniversary of Terri Schiavo’s death, pro-life leaders including Terri’s brother Bobby Schindler will converge in Naples, Florida for a summit on the intersection of law and the respect for life.

Ave Maria School of Law will host the Law of Life Summit this Friday a few miles down the coast of Florida from where Schiavo was dehydrated to death by court order seven years ago.

The pro-life action conference, spearheaded by third-year law student Royce Hood, will culminate with a pro-life strategy session at the law library from noon until 2:00 PM.

“Ave Maria School of Law was founded as an institution that respects the sanctity of human life,” said Royce Hood. “The Summit is about bringing together pro-life leaders, community members and students to create measurable and achievable objectives for defending life from conception until natural death.”

Terri’s brother Bobby Schindler, who now helps other families in similar situations through the Terri Schiavo Life & Hope Network, will speak at the summit. Other speakers include Lauren Muzyka, Campaign Coordinator with 40 Days for Life; Dr. Pat Castle – Founder of the National LIFE Runners; Brother Paul O’Donnell, Franciscan Brothers of Peace; and John-Henry Westen, Co-Founder and Editor of LifeSiteNews.com.

That evening, the annual memorial Mass for Terri Schiavo will take place at the Ave Maria Oratory.

For more information, visit lawlife.org or RSVP to info@lawlife.org.

Tags: 40 days for life

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Slovenians reject gay adoption law

by Hilary White, Rome Correspondent Tue Mar 27 09:51 EST Comments (2)

 
Slovenian President Danilo Turk

LJUBLJANA, March 27, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Slovenians rejected a proposal to allow homosexuals in registered partnerships to adopt children in a national referendum this weekend. The vote, with approximately 30 percent turnout, was 54.77 per cent to 44.23 per cent, overturning a law that was passed by the country’s National Assembly last June.

Slovenian President Danilo Turk told AFP that such decisions should not be left up to the public, and complained that submitting the law to a public vote had undermined the authority of the National Assembly.

“The Code is good and could have entered into force immediately. For the sake of the legislature’s authority, it would be better to have laws implemented and not contested on referendums,” Turk said.

Click “like” if you want to defend true marriage.

After the new Family Code was passed last year, a group of citizens, supported by the Catholic and Orthodox churches and the Islamic community, launched an initiative to collect the signatures necessary for a referendum. Ales Primic, head of the Civil Initiative for the Family and the Rights of the Child, said that the successful vote would protect the rights of children to a natural family.

The Civil Initiative said the law failed to respect the fact that “only a man and a woman can conceive a child and that a child needs a mother and a father for its upbringing and holistic development.”

Most crucially, they said, the law does not respect the “child’s fundamental right to a mother and a father.”

Primic said the vote sends a clear signal to the powers in Europe that are pressuring to extend the homosexualist agenda into every country.

“Those who wanted to sacrifice this right for the sake of personal privileges have been told unequivocally by the Slovenian people: motherhood and fatherhood are both unique and valued, we want marriage between a man and a woman to be protected, we want our next generation to grow up in the most favorable environment,” Primic told the EU civil rights group European Dignity Watch.

The result of this weekend’s vote came as a surprise to homosexualist campaigners who had assumed that they had the issue in hand, with both the media, President Danilo Turk and most political parties supporting the new law. The movement has made great gains in Slovenia, with the passage of the registered partnership act in 2006. In 2009, the Constitutional Court of Slovenia ruled that it is unconstitutional to refuse to allow registered partners to inherit each other’s property, and the government of the time announced the same year that it would institute “gay marriage” the following year.

The new Family Code was the result of over a year of intense negotiations and its failure will send a message to other EU countries that while the elites may want to alter the building blocks of the civil order, the public may not be willing to go along.

Tags: gay marriage, slovenia

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Study finds oral contraceptives spike blood pressure

by John-Henry Westen Tue Mar 27 09:30 EST Comments (3)

 

TEL AVIV, March 27, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Diseases such as kidney failure and endocrine tumors are among the suspects causing high blood pressure — but could the contraceptive pills in your medicine cabinet be the culprit?

According to Prof. Ehud Grossman of Tel Aviv University’s Sackler Faculty of Medicine and the Sheba Medical Center, many common over-the-counter and prescription medications are underlying causes of hypertension, which is a major risk factor for stroke, heart attack, and aneurisms.

The chemical components of the drugs can raise blood pressure or interfere with anti-hypertensive medications, he explains. And while many medications can cause this drug-induced hypertension, both patients and doctors remain dangerously uninformed.

His recent research was published in the American Journal of Medicine.

“In diagnosing the causes of hypertension, over-the-counter drugs like ibuprofen are often overlooked,” says Prof. Grossman. Patients often assume that because a medication can be obtained without a prescription, it’s relatively harmless. But that’s not always the case.

Many of the medications that are linked with a rise in blood pressure are quite widely used, says Prof. Grossman, whose research provides an overview of which medications are related to high blood pressure. Examples include contraceptive pills, various anti-depressants, anti-inflammatory pills to control pain. and bacterial antibiotics.

Though high blood pressure is a known side effect of many of these medications, doctors do not always account for them in their treatment plans, and they don’t inform patients of the potential risks associated with these medications. It’s ultimately the doctor’s responsibility to weigh treatment options and present the best course for their patient should issues of hypertension arise, Prof. Grossman says.

Doctors may be advised to decrease the dosage of the drug, or add an anti-hypertensive drug to the treatment regime, he says. In any case, awareness on the part of both doctors and patients needs to be raised. “Many physicians don’t account for this, and some don’t even know about it. It’s their responsibility to be informed and make sure that their patients are aware that this is a possibility.”

Tags: contraception, health risks, research

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‘A Heart on Fire’ is a blueprint for a nation redeemed

by Ben Johnson Tue Mar 27 07:06 EST Comments (3)

 
Archbishop Chaput at Georgetown University this past January

March 27, 2012, (LifeSiteNews.com) – Summarizing the broad contours of America’s commitment to religious liberty, from the time of the Founders until its present low-ebb, is no easy task. However, it is one Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia ably carries off in his new e-book, A Heart on Fire: Catholic Witness and the Next America.

At 19 pages, this treatise is more an addendum to his 2008 book Render Unto Caesar than a successor, one that single-mindedly focuses on America’s waning commitment to her roots and the American Catholic Church’s concomitant loss of self-confidence.

His thesis is as stark as it is compelling: America is in the process of losing its culture, its moorings, and the philosophy that informed its constitutional order for two centuries. An increasingly inflexible tide of popular opinion has pushed aside religious faith – often with a friendly assist from within the Church gates. The “next America” will be increasingly hostile to religion, contemptuous of its value, dismissive of its suggestions, and heedless of its free exercise unless members of the Church kindle the love of Christ in their hearts and bring its light to the public square.

After appropriately quoting George Orwell on the constricted public debate, the archbishop surveys a nation in the process of shrugging off the Christian religion. The “rigorously intolerant” press “has its own unstated orthodoxies, its own vanities, prejudices, and targets of disdain.” The government’s leaders are “frankly hostile to religious engagement in public affairs here at home” and “in the wider culture, many of our leaders no longer seem to regard religious faith as a healthy force.” When sexual minorities “routinely use the state’s power and friendly mass media to break down traditional definitions of marriage and the family,” they are met with a confused and disengaged response.

Linking together American legal and cultural history in a patchwork that includes James Madison, John Adams, John Bunyan, and Nathaniel Hawthorne, Abp. Chaput begins with the Christian faith’s centrality to the American Founding. The old faith refused to be confined to the church doors but demanded to be expressed in every area of life, including politics.

“The United States was never a Christian nation,” Chaput writes. “But it didn’t need to be. Its public life and civic institutions were deeply informed by biblical thought, language, and morality.”

“It’s true that God was left out of the Constitution—but not because he was unwelcome. In effect, God suffused the whole constitutional enterprise.”

As fidelity to religious orthodoxy began to subside, subservience to public opinion filled the philosophical void. An ever-changing moral compass led to a culture sinking deeper into its foundation of sand.

Because of poor formation, by the church and post-Christian society, today’s young adults lack the reasoning ability to apply moral principles to contentious debates.  This lack of common ground leads to the birth of a vigorous and expansive government to moderate countervailing sympathies. “Without the restraints of a moral consensus animated and defended by a living religious community, the freedom of the individual easily becomes a license for selfishness,” Abp. Chaput writes. “The meaning of right and wrong becomes privatized. And ultimately, society ends up as a collection of disconnected individuals whose appetites and needs are regulated by the only project they share in common: the state.”

The future their outlook will create is not a joyful thing to behold. “The America emerging in the next several decades is likely to be much less friendly to Christian faith than anything in our country’s past,” he writes. “In the years ahead, we’re going to see more and more of this trend, along with attempts by civil authority to interfere in the life of believing communities in the name of individual rights. We’ll also see less and less unchallenged space for religious institutions to carry out their work in the public square.”

“It’s not a question of when or if it might happen,” he writes ominously. “It’s happening today.”

Tempting as it would be to lay the blame at a secularizing media, a corrupt entertainment industry, or an overburdened public education system, A Heart on Fire singles out the role of Catholic higher education. When such institutions separate intellectual pursuits from moral formation, call for the autonomy of academia, or attempt to curry favor with their institutional peers, they lose that which most defines them: their faith. Without passing on the Faith once delivered, new generations of “Catholic” leaders are mentally and spiritually indistinguishable from their contemporaries. Thus, the paradox of an ever-increasing number of Catholics in the highest echelons of power – Joe Biden, Kathleen Sebelius, Sonia Sotomayor, Nancy Pelosi, et. al. – and the dwindling impact of the traditional values their religion holds dear.

Abp. Chaput argues the solution to the leadership vacuum is renewed Christian and Catholic leadership. “We make the future, not the other way around. Nothing in this world is inevitable except the victory of Jesus Christ; and that includes what history finally says about the character of the nation we call America.” And this leadership begins when potential leaders ignite the spark of faith in Christ that alone truly makes one Christian.  “Politics is important,” he writes, “but it’s never the main focus or purpose of a Christian life. If we do not know and love Jesus Christ, and commit our lives to him, and act on what we claim to believe, everything else is empty. But if we do, so much else is possible—including the conversion of the world around us.”

Our ultimate victory in the cultural battles depends less on political organization, curriculum selection, and media visibility than it does with our communion with the Victor over sin and death. “Do we really believe in Jesus Christ, or don’t we?” he asks. “And if we do, what are we going to do about it?”

America’s hope, and that of the American church, is to set our hearts aflame like that of St. Augustine,  to whose experience the title alludes. That alone can unleash “the only kind of revolution that really changes anything: a revolution of love.”

If the revolution is not yet begun, with Archbishop Chaput’s book, it now has a fitting Declaration of Independence.

Tags: charles chaput

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An encouraging letter

by Fidero Mon Mar 26 20:43 EST Comments (1)

 
LSN Director of Development, Jon Fidero

I have spoken with many Canadian Catholic donors about their frustrations over the silence and dreadful weakness of most of their bishops on the pro-life and pro-family struggles. 

This is a serious situation that is of course not unique to Catholic leaders in Canada. We have frequently heard the same dismay about poor leadership expressed by Christians of other denominations and faithful Jews and in other western nations. 

As Rabbi Yehuda Levin proclaimed in a powerful Friday LifeSiteNews story, ultimately the responsibility for the decaying morality of modern society lies with religious leaders, who have not acted with sufficient vigor to counteract such trends.

But I want to share with you today a little bit of sunshine.  We must not despair, for there are many who still do stand in this fight and, because of them, the truth ultimately will prevail. 

We just received a letter sent to LifeSiteNews from a Canadian Catholic priest.  It should be encouraging for Catholics and non-Catholics alike. We regularly receive similar correspondence or comments from numerous other priests and from clergy of other denominations who are devoted LifeSiteNews readers.

The letter is published below with the priest’s name withheld:

  • “I have been looking for some worthy organizations to support financially, and have no doubt that LifeSiteNews is one of them.  I have just sent you my donation of $100 to show my support for your excellent ministry to the Church and to the world.

    As a priest, it would be a strong understatement to say that I am disappointed by the actions of my fellow brother in the Priesthood, Fr. Gravel. I wholeheartedly support LifeSiteNews in your fight for the Truth, and offer my donation in reparation for Fr. Gravel’s behaviour toward you.

    I promise to keep you in my prayers at the altar, as I ask Our Lord and Our Lady to bless your apostolate and make it bear much fruit.

    Unfortunately, many of today’s clergy have still not fully understood the enormous importance of your work, and of speaking the Truth to the world—even when that Truth is not “politically correct” or convenient to say. 

    I must say that it is faithful organizations and people like those at LifeSiteNews that bring the most joy to my Priesthood and to my priestly ministry.

    I fully applaud LifeSiteNews in their unabashed reporting of the Truth, and for their unconditional stance in favour of Life.  After all, didn’t Our Lord Himself say, “I am the Life”?

    I intend to contribute further to LifeSiteNews, as I am able.  For now, I offer my $100 donation as a small token of my immense gratitude and appreciation for all that you at LifeSiteNews do.

    - Anonymous
    Associate Pastor

  • Coupled with recent appointments of especially faithful and aware new bishops in Canada and the United States, it appears that the long and arduous task of turning the tide in North America is now finally underway.

    The recent development of all the US Catholic bishops together with Evangelical and other religious leaders boldly acting against the tyrannical Obamacare mandate is another sign that the Church is awakening from its long sleep.

    Maybe the young priest who sent this letter will one day be elevated into the ranks of that growing new breed of fearless, evangelizing bishops that are creating new hope. We will do whatever we can to help them restore a Culture of Life.

    Tomorrow is the last day of our Spring Campaign.  Right now we are $40,000 shy of our goal.

    We hope that more of our regular readers will find in us a “worthy organization to support financially,” as this priest has.  If you haven’t already, please donate today!

    Help LifeSiteNews continue its “unabashed reporting of the Truth,” and help continue to turn the tides.


    Jon Fidero
    Development and Fundraising
    LifeSiteNews.com

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    Last Call!

    by Steve Jalsevac Mon Mar 26 20:14 EST Comments (3)

    Well, folks, this is the last day we appeal for donations to our Spring Campaign. Many of you have generously responded the past few days bringing the total up substantially. We are extremely grateful!

    However, to those who have not yet donated, please note that we are still $25,000 short of our necessary goal. No small amount.

    That last $25,000 seems to be an insurmountable challenge, and though we are quite concerned at such a shortfall, we know what our supporters are capable of.

    After looking closely at the numbers, we are confident the Spring Campaign goal can still be met.

    So far, close to 3/4 of our goal has been attained by merely 0.5% of our LifeSiteNews readers.

    Let me put it this way: 500,000 readers come through our website to find the most important Culture of Life news going on around the world today, and less than 2,500 of those people have brought us as close as we are to reaching our goal.

    If just 1% more of our readers could give just $5, the campaign would be a success!

    If you haven’t given yet to our Spring Campaign, is our service worth $5? This is your last chance to decide!
    (Click Here to Donate)

    Here is one more shocking statistic – if only 3% of our readers found our service to be worth $5 per month, we would never have to send out another Campaign appeal again!

    Although the appeals finish today, we will continue to update the Campaign donation thermometer throughout this week to show additional donations that continue to come online and in the mail.

    Thank you for your support!


    Steve Jalsevac
    Managing Director
    LifeSiteNews.com

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    Paris flash mob ahead of curve; Wagner story gets huge attention; several great women interviewed

    by Steve Jalsevac Mon Mar 26 19:02 EST Comments (0)

    We especially note Jeanne Smits’ report on the astonishing Paris anti-euthanasia flash mob. Alliance Vita is way ahead of the curve in realizing the gravity of this next great threat against vulnerable humans.

    There has been strong international interest in last week’s astonishing story on the diatribes of the ‘Your God’s wrong’ judge who sentenced Canadian pro-life witness Mary Wagner to more jail time. Mary Wagner is about as meek and gentle a person as one would ever encounter. It seems the judge feels the current social climate now gives him leeway to violate normal standards of judicial impartiality. Ominous.

    John-Henry Westen put extra effort on his Monday blog post, What do women think of women? He interviewed several great women for this.

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